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"Tanks have rarely been more vulnerable" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse15 Sep 2020 3:59 p.m. PST

"ank battles are rare these days. Crews that wish to prove themselves can turn instead to the Tank Biathlon, part of the International Army Games—a sort of Olympics with guns—organised each year by Russia. On September 5th Russian tanks raced and blasted their way to victory over teams from China, Belarus and Azerbaijan.

A century after its debut at the Battle of the Somme, the tank—an armoured vehicle typically equipped with a cannon on a turret—remains the backbone of most armies. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (iiss), a think-tank, counts over 5,000 in Europe, and 54,000 globally…"
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Legion 415 Sep 2020 4:10 p.m. PST

I'd say just about everything on the battlefield is more vulnerable today compared to the past.

Not counting nukes of course. But with the concerns about CD, and strict ROE it limits the use of conventional firepower. So in turn everything is more vulnerable.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 4:42 p.m. PST

Yep, just like from the height of the Cold War, if it can be seen it CAN be killed.

They need to get working on getting widespread cloaking tech added onto vehicles and troops, STAT, since apparently they have some experimental stuff that does work.

15mm and 28mm Fanatik15 Sep 2020 7:10 p.m. PST

A few cheap drones armed with Hellfires can wreak havoc on a tank formation. That was the game-breaker.

arealdeadone15 Sep 2020 8:28 p.m. PST

Fanatik, operations in Syria, Libya and Ukraine showed that tanks are still viable.

The cheap drone itself relies on a permissive environment with electronic warfare superiority.

And save a couple of exceptions the militaries of the world generally aren't rushing to buy armed drones.

Indeed the armed aviation assets that seem to sell the most in active warzones are still Mi-35 Hinds and upgunned Mi-17 helos whilst the EMB-314 Super Tucano turbo prop armed trainer is also popular in the third world.

In the west most states don't even operate armed drones and very often only operate a few larger recce drones.


The other funny thing is that all these people saying that tanks or unguided artillery or manned combat aircraft are obsolete don't actually offer any viable solutions and ignore actual combat.

Apparently a few dudes in armoured trucks and a couple of drones or missile launchers is all that is needed to win future wars.

Zephyr115 Sep 2020 9:30 p.m. PST

The greatest danger is the "eco-friendly" fuel that might be forced on them… ;-)

backstab16 Sep 2020 3:02 a.m. PST

I have to agree with arealdeadone , drones are prone to jamming and other EW activities. In a near-peer conflict, your precious drones are most likely to be either compromised, shot up by Air defence or shot down by air assets. The current trend is not light vehicles and combat drones but heavy armour and artillery as well as spotter drones . If you look at modern armies , they are gravitating towards heavier vehicles.. for example, Australia is replacing its combat ineffective ASLAVs with Boxers that are nearly as heavy as the old Leopard 1AS

Legion 416 Sep 2020 8:08 a.m. PST

thumbs up

just like from the height of the Cold War, if it can be seen it CAN be killed.
Yes had heard and said something similar myself when on Active Duty, '79-'90.

As well as again have to agree with all of what arealdeadone posted.

I have said before, being a former Light & Mech Infantry Officer, often cross-attached to Armor Bns. We fight combined arms. And as a Grunt we like the firepower an MBT can give you.

RudyNelson16 Sep 2020 6:14 p.m. PST

Even in the 1970s and 1980s tanks were vulnerable.

The warning slogan of the time was: If you can be seen, you can be killed.
At that time with the Soviet doctrine on the use of chemicals and biological with artillery, we knew dot ruction was more of a probability than a possibility.

Legion 417 Sep 2020 7:40 a.m. PST

Agreed !

arealdeadone20 Sep 2020 5:21 p.m. PST

Australia is replacing its combat ineffective ASLAVs with Boxers that are nearly as heavy as the old Leopard 1AS

The Boxer is IMO an extremely stupid design.

Basically it dwarves an ASLAV (and even an M1 Abrams – see pic below) but doesn't really improve protection (up to 14.5mm) but presents a much taller target.

It's also too big to fit in most aircraft including the European A400 strategic transport or C-130. You can fit 1 in a C-17. An ASLAV could be carried by a C-130.

C-17s outside of USAF are a rare breed – Europe has 3, UK 8, Australia 8 and Canada 5. C-130s and A4000s are far more common.

Finally it's weight means it will struggle on some bridges (up to 38 tons for a combat configured one)!

It is basically designed around comfort and surviving IEDs. It offers no resilience in peer level combat (or against insurgents with ATGMs as in Syria or Yemen). It offers not much more firepower than an ASLAV.

And it's not as mobile or easily transportable, thus negating one of the arguments about tanks being obsolete.

backstab20 Sep 2020 8:09 p.m. PST

Strange that the majority of the RAAC thinks that the Boxer is an improvement over the ASLAV. If you study modern combat , you'll see how light vehicles like the ASLAV do not survive ( go ask the Ukrainians how their BTR/BMP/BDRM go against modern Russian weapons ?

As for resilience against peer combat … APS , FLIR , BMS, modular armour packs … everything the ASLAV can't sustain. The 30mm gun has more options in ammunition and has a longer engagement rage than the 25mm from the ASLAV … add in SPIKE and you got a great package ….. that's it for now … but I'll be back to address your other claims as well

arealdeadone20 Sep 2020 8:46 p.m. PST

Backstab, as has been mentioned above, if you can be seen you can be killed.

And the number 1 rule of modern warfare is he who fires first generally wins.

The BTR/BMP/BRDM (and M113) were poorly armoured from the minute they were designed. The BTR/BMP/M113 primary purpose was protection of infantry from artillery fragments.

The BRDM was to be part of airborne assaults on key NATO targets and they were meant to bypass NATO frontline troops via massed aerial assault (hence the Mi-6, Mi-10 and later Mi-26 helos). They were meant to only last long enough for the heavy armour to meet up with them and then mainly against second line formations.

Finally the Ukrainian Army is for the most part incompetent, hence their reliance on various right wing militia groups. You could give them latest M1 Abrams and Lynx IFVs and they would still trashed.

ASLAV's primary purpose is reconnaissance. They were always going to suffer in actual combat against an organised opponent.

As German experiences with the Puma showed, using lightly armoured turreted vehicles as tanks is not advisable.

Smaller zippy vehicles are preferred for the role (and these days probably tied in with UAVs).

As for the RAAC and the Australian Army in general, they're a force without a mission save colonial interventions (and even then mainly in a training role).

Front line of Australian defence is the superb RAN and equally superb RAAF. If anyone has the capability to punch through those and land forces on mainland Australia, they won't be stopped by 3 brigades of mainly light infantry (supported by the odd company of under-gunned reserves).*

Thus their procurement is confused eg a measley 59 M1 Abrams (and many of those are in storage and the rest penny packeted across the 3 brigades) or these big giant tin cans or now self propelled howitzers or whatever.

And note the Boxer is no good for even the colonial/expeditionary or a strategic QRF role as it's too large to fit in most transport aircraft and needs to be deployed via ship much like the M1 Abrams.

(Those ships being the totally two undergunned Canberra LHDs and even less armed single Bay class LSD).

*At this point in time and into the near future the only country the can punch through RAN/RAAF is the US. Even the Chinese won't have that kind of capability for decades, if ever.

Legion 421 Sep 2020 7:24 a.m. PST

Great pics arealdeadone ! thumbs up

The (and M113) were poorly armoured from the minute they were designed. The BTR/BMP/M113 primary purpose was protection of infantry from artillery fragments.
Yep being 3 Mech Bns, '84-'90 and commanding an M113 Mech Co., '87-'89. We'd sandbags the inside deck, top and front when we were on the Korean DMZ, etc.,. Rode on the top deck many times on the DMZ as if the M113 hit a mine/booby trap/IED, etc.

Unmarked/undetected mines left over from '53 were still "found" on occasion. We had to medevac a local farmer who lost part of his foot. After that we thought how many others are out there unmarked/unknown ? frown

And talked about using chain link fence as was used in Vietnam. Many of our Senior NCOs & Officers had served in Vietnam. The "Chicken Wire" would be slung on pickets in front of the Track about 10-15ft. To protect M113s from RPGs' HEAT warheads. when in a static position, NDP, Laager, etc.

We'd generally dismount if on a long halt if the terrain & tactical situation allowed it, etc. Everything in dependent terrain and situation.

And yes again if you can be seen you can be hit … if you can be hit … you can be killed. frown Proper use of terrain for cover & concealment, terrain masking and proper use if camo as(is) SOP.

Deploy ability is another factor. After serving as a Rifle and 81mm mortar Plt Ldr in the 101, '80-'81. I was sent to Bn Ops and became the Bn Air Ops Officer, '82-'83. And became very capable with load planning for C-130s and C-141. Including equipment, etc., drops. Of course the 101 Bns had no heavy vehicles than an M561 Gamma-Goat Cgo Truck. Capable of being slung loaded under a UH-1 and later UH-60.

As an M113 Mech Co. Cdr, even in the late '80s being the Heavy Bde of the 18th Airborne Corps. We could load an M113 in a C-130s & 141s(?) if we had to. old fart Our Tank Bn's M60A1s and M1IPs would have to be deployed on ships or C5As, obviously .

On another note: US sends M2 Bradleys to Syria to take on ISIS, again … link

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