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    Austin
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    M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Austin on Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:34 pm

    US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom”
    Vasiliy Fofanov

    Moscow Defense Brief ( 2005 )

    US-led Operation “Iraqi Freedom” and the subsequent occupation have fueled debate on the future of armor systems over the next few decades. Supporters of the latest generation tank designs can justifiably claim that the Main Battle Tank (MBT) and the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) have proven their value on the Iraqi battlefield. This was clear especially during the initial stages of combat, when heavy brigade combat teams made up of the M1AHA Abrams and the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems (BFVS), and the British Challenger II Mk2 and Warrior IFVs, destroyed Iraqi combat systems with little resistance along the road to Baghdad and Basra, respectively. On the other hand, critics of this model point to the surfeit of heavy armor and the unacceptably high burden placed on supply chains to sustain heavy brigades so far removed from their bases. Moreover, the second phase of the operation and the occupation revealed certain shortcomings of current MBT protection and firepower systems. The US-Iraq war can hardly provide conclusive evidence in support of either side in this debate, since it is unlikely that the US will ever enjoy such an overwhelming technological and organizational superiority over the enemy. A more even contest will require radically different tactics and result in much higher losses. Nevertheless, the combat experience of medium and heavy fighting machines in Iraq provides some useful lessons for the future.

    Protection

    The Abrams tank armor system was not really put to the test during military operations in Iraq. There were virtually no reported hits on the highly protected frontal arc or on the “heavy” ballistic skirts; all tank losses to enemy fire were defeated from the top, side and rear. Iraqi soldiers had clearly familiarized themselves with the capabilities of American tanks during operation Desert Storm and avoided engaging them in direct battle. For example, there were no reported cases of anti-tank guide missiles (ATGM) being fired at any US army vehicle. At the same time, Iraqi resistance fighters, whose ranks were bolstered by scores of trained Iraqi soldiers, have clearly learned to exploit the vulnerabilities of the US systems. They managed to destroy up to 20 enemy tanks even with their antiquated light anti-tank weapons, mostly Soviet rocket-propelled grenades such as the RPG-7 or its Chinese and Egyptian variants, with rounds developed in the 1970s-early 1980s. The results of combat operations show that the side armor of the Abrams tank is completely inadequate to fire from light anti-tank weapons, including older generation weapons, making these tanks unsuitable for operations in built-up areas.

    For example, in a widely-discussed incident, an M1 tank from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Division was hit and disabled during a routine patrol on 28 August 2003. The American press, deluded by its own reports of the “invulnerability” of the Abrams, claimed that some kind of “secret weapon” was responsible for the damage. In fact, published photographs clearly show that the offending weapon was none other than a simple RPG. The hollow-charged jet penetrated the side skirt and turret ring and continued into the crew compartment as it disintegrated before finally coming to rest after boring a cluster of craters 30-50 mm deep in the hull on the far side of the tank. The crew was lucky to have suffered only minor shrapnel wounds as the projectile passed through the gunner’s seatback and grazed his flak jacket. On April 2, 2003 an RPG attack from the side disabled another tank by penetrating the turret’s hydraulic drive.

    The side protection of the M1 turret is also inadequate. On 7 April 2004 an anti-tank RPG penetrated the side of the turret resulting in serious wounds to two crew members. The top of the tank is equally vulnerable, and even the glacis was easily defeated by anti-tank weapons. For example, on April 10, 2004 a tank was hit on the right side of the glacis by an RPG fired from an overpass and destroyed. Additional measures designed to increase protection for the Abrams tank have showed mixed results. Halon firefighting gear has proven largely ineffective. Practically all secondary fires resulting from enemy fire, engine breakdown or overheating destroyed the tank completely. For example, the 7 April attack noted above ignited the tanker’s personal effects attached to the outside of the turret, and since the crew had abandoned the vehicle, the fire was left unchecked, while on 10 April, fuel leaked out of a damaged fuel tank and ignited. Externally stored items, including on one occasion an external auxiliary power unit (EAPU), caught fire on several occasions and led to catastrophic losses. On the other hand, the vulnerability caused by externally stored items only underlined the wisdom of storing ammunition in a separate compartment protected by blast doors, which contained fires and saved the crew when the main rounds ignited.

    The distribution of catastrophic damage to the Bradley IFV was somewhat different. In spite of the vehicle’s explosive reactive armor (ERA), its protection proved to be completely inadequate in combat against even outdated generations of light anti-tank weapons. This led to several episodes of defeat from RPGs, accompanied by crew casualties and in several cases the complete destruction of the vehicle from resulting fires. Significant losses of Bradley vehicles resulted from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) placed in cars or on roads. IEDs made from one or two 122 and/or 152 mm shells with between 4 and 14 kg of explosive proved more than adequate to inflict heavy damage to equipment and crew. The worst case was on January 17, 2004 when the explosion from an IED made from two 152 mm shells overturned the vehicle and destroyed the crew compartment, killing all five crewmen. The Abrams tank proved much more resistant to IED, as only one tank was destroyed on October 27, 2003 by an IED, presumably constructed from a 240 mm Soviet-made mortar-bomb with an explosive charge of 32 kg.

    It is interesting to compare the losses sustained by the Bradley Fighting Machines from light anti-tank weapons and IED to the experience of the new Stryker Medium Armored Vehicle. This wheeled 8x8 has about the same ballistic protection as the Bradley (360-degree protection from 14.5 mm shells). Enhanced survivability against RPG is provided by slat armor: testing and combat experience in Iraq has shown that this steel grille is able to prevent the proper functioning of anti-tank grenades and the formation of a hollow-charged jet. The Stryker also has higher survivability against mines. Whereas exploding mines have almost always stopped the Bradley in its tracks, the Stryker as a rule has been able to escape from the area of detonation. For example, on 9 September a Bradley was blown up by an IED placed in a parked car on Haifa Street in Baghdad with an explosive charge of about 10 kg. The IFV suffered damage to its tracks and lost mobility. Two crew members were injured and another four were hit by small arm fire and RPGs when they tried to exit the vehicle. Reinforcement units evacuated the crew and the vehicle burned unchecked. On 11 October, 2004, a car in Mosul rammed into the side of a Stryker, detonating a similar explosive charge. The MAV suffered serious damage, the commander was killed, and seven out of 8 wheels were punctured, but the vehicle retained mobility and was able to return to base on its own. In another pair of incidents, a Bradley and a Stryker each lost their front suspension arm, on 12 October and 20 December respectively. Again, the Stryker retained mobility while the Bradley did not.

    Firepower and Target Acquisition


    The American tank system is distinguished by the high quality of its infrared equipment. Second-generation forward looking infrared (FLIR) has a resolution that can distinguish small targets and people at far distances, at night and in bad weather, and even during sandstorms. But like its armor protection, the main gun of the Abrams tank, the 120 mm M256 often failed to meet expectations. Firepower problems were exacerbated by an initial reliance on a basic load appropriate for battle against enemy tanks, but not against infantry. High explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds at first made up only 25% of the stowed munitions. This share increased to 60% by the end of combat operations, but the lack of dedicated anti-personnel rounds reduced firepower effectiveness. Other problems, typical of the use of tank guns in urban conditions and against infantry ambushes, also played a role: the extension of the cannon beyond the hull of the tank, significant blind spots along the vertical, especially towards the rear, the gunner’s restricted field of vision, etc.

    One unexpected failing of the Abrams main cannon derived from the use of a fibreglass bore evacuator. Combat operations revealed that the bore evacuator is easily disabled by small arms fire, and the smoke generated by a malfunctioning bore evacuator drives the crew out of the tank after the firing of just two or three rounds. In battle with mobile enemy, Abrams crews used mostly open mounted machine guns (the commander’s 12.7 mm gun and the loader’s 7.62 machinegun on skate mount). A lack of protection for the machine gunner from small arms fire led to several casualties and created opportunities for the destruction of the crew compartment through the open hatch. A tank was disabled on March 26, 2003 when an anti-tank grenade ricocheted off a roof and through the commander’s hatch. The tank commander was hit and killed while he was manning his machine gun.

    The Bradley also had trouble applying firepower in urban areas. The fragmentation ammunition of the IFV’s 25 mm automatic cannon was not effective against enemy infantry in buildings, and so the vehicle’s Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command-link guided (TOW) missiles had to be used. The firepower of these missiles was more than adequate, but limited to two rounds since they are impossible to reload under the protection of armor. The firepower of the Stryker APC is even more limited. Depending on configuration it consists of either one 12.7 mm machine gun or a 40 mm grenade launcher, and was applied only in battle against enemy personnel in the open. Due to the unreadiness of Mobile Gun System (MGS) Strykers with 105 mm tank guns, support fire was provided by ATGM Strykers equipped with TOW missiles. The weak firepower of the APC Stryker limited its use during periods of heightened confrontation with Iraqi resistance.

    Mobility


    On the whole, the Abrams tank demonstrated a high level of mobility in combat operations. Notwithstanding instances where the tank may have flipped over or got stuck, the road system and bridges of Iraq were able to sustain the traffic of fighting machines weighing more than 63 tons; off-road mobility was also satisfactory. Nevertheless the quick pace of attack, extremely dusty conditions and sandstorms raised a host of problems. There was a high rate of failure on the road arms and assemblies. Road wheels and track wear proved to be significant. Just as during “Desert Storm” the air filters required continuous cleaning and servicing. Units used more fuel than expected due to the use of the antiquated gas turbines as a power plant, especially on those tanks not equipped with an auxiliary power unit. The Bradley APC, in spite of its smaller size, faced similar problems and, on the whole, did not prove to be more mobile than the tanks. The extensive use of armor in urban areas, especially during the occupation, created additional problems due to the limited manoeuvrability on the narrow Iraqi streets. In practice, the use of armor was possible only on wide thoroughfares and on squares. The use of heavy vehicles also caused significant damage to the urban infrastructure and to property, though the use of rubber-padded tracks helped to reduce the damage to roads.

    The Stryker APC was deployed in Iraq only after the end of active combat operations, so its ability to sustain a high tempo of attack under difficult climatic conditions remains to be seen in practice. Nevertheless, the high centre of gravity of these relatively heavy vehicles, combined with the crews’ lack of experience led to several unfortunate accidents. For example, on 8 and 16 December, 2003, three vehicles were severely damaged when they flipped into a canal, killing three soldiers. At the same time, the wheeled Stryker has an edge over the tanks in terms of speed and minimization of the damage to the urban infrastructure. Integrated C4SI provides enhanced situational awareness and allows the crew to navigate unfamiliar streets and rapidly come to the aid of ambushed comrades.

    Conclusions

    The examples above show that the Abrams M1 tank, on the whole, failed to live up to its full potential in combat, while the Iraqi resistance was able on several occasions to exploit faults in the vehicle's design. Nevertheless, the Abrams tank proved itself to be a formidable fighting machine with no serious competitor on the battlefield, while losses resulting from combat or technical causes remained within reasonable limits. Accounting for variations in national design, it is likely that other modern MBTs would have performed more or less the same under similar circumstances. It is worth recalling the range of measures proposed by American specialists to enhance the survivability of the Abrams tank under urban conditions: extra smoke grenade launchers along the perimeter of the turret that provide cover from all aspects; extra gun-slaved mount for 7.62 or 12.7 mm calibre machine guns or a 40 mm grenade launcher (CSAMM); improved protection side skirts and engine deck roof; slat armor for the stern; the PDCue computer system of directing to the sound of fire; commander-activated claymore mines on the side skirts for battle against infantry in blind spots; a retractable mast with observation instrumentation; video-camera on the sides and rear, etc. The vast majority of these measures are entirely appropriate for conditions of urban battle.

    The Bradley Fighting Machine on the whole performed rather well, though the destruction of several vehicles by anti-tank RPG suggests that in spite of the significant resources devoted to the development of additional anti-hollow charge defences, U.S. engineers have not yet solved the problem of 360-degree protection even from older generations of light anti-tank weapons. The installation of slat armor on the Stryker APC marks a real breakthrough in this regard. This extremely simple design reduced the effectiveness of the older types of light anti-tank weapons by some 200% or more. Several firms, including the Russian Scientific Research Institute of Steel, have developed similar grilles. We can only voice regret over the tardy introduction of such grilles for use in active combat in Chechnya. The Stryker fighting vehicle performed somewhat better than predicted, and undoubtedly confirmed the relevance of wheeled armor. Nevertheless, the incredibly high cost of such vehicles (over 2 million dollars for the basic model) is not matched by military utility. That said, the development of this type of vehicle for Russian procurement and export seems justified.

    Operations similar to the current occupation of Iraq require the development of a specialized heavy vehicle that compensates for the deficiencies of the MBT and maximizes its lethality. This machine could sacrifice heavy frontal armor, but in exchange would have 360-degree protection from modern infantry anti-tank weapons. All equipment should fit within the crew compartment. It is essential to increase the number of times a fire-fightingsystem can engage to five or six in place of the two or three currently in place. The vehicle should have a high degree of system redundancy, especially for sighting and target acquisition, and should not have any significant blind spots for scanning and firing. Auxiliary power units should ensure the reliable functioning of all main systems when the vehicle is parked or in case the engine is disabled. The vehicle’s firepower should be optimized for battle against both mobile and fixed infantry in the field and in urban conditions. All firepower should be controlled from under armor. It is essential to allow for the substitution of weapons systems of comparable dimensions to satisfy the demands of the customer in accordance with the appropriate standards or for the further optimization of weapons systems to address specific tasks. It would be very good to have a super-close-in anti-personnel armament. This role could be fulfilled by e.g. fragmentation grenades fired from the conventional smoke grenade launchers.The continued use of tracks would appear inevitable, but all possible measures to prevent the destruction of the road surface should be taken, including the use of “rubber-clad tracks.”

    The combat support vehicle currently under development at the Ural Tank Factory may be a step in the right direction. However the firepower system envisaged for this vehicle, essentially a doubled 30 mm automatic cannon and four ATGMs, is far from ideal, and should be replaced with a 50-60 mm cannon that can fire fragmentation or shrapnel rounds with high explosive fill ratio and preformed subprojectiles. The use of powerful guided missiles to defeat hardened targets is justified, but rather than using common ATGMs, it would clearly be preferable to look towards the development of dedicated assault missiles with reduced range (2-3 km would be sufficient), but with enhanced effectiveness against installations and personnel. The launcher must be protected against 12.7 mm rounds. Such a vehicle would be useful in low intensity conflicts, for patrols and to escort convoys in the context of peacekeeping operations, law enforcement and the battle against armed separatism and international terrorism. Insofar as several nations will evidently need to pursue such missions, the development of such a vehicle would have good prospects for export sales, modernization and subsequent maintenance contracts.

    Austin
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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Austin on Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:49 am

    BTW what do people think of the write up "US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom”
    Vasiliy Fofanov" in previous page , Did Abrams failed to live up to its reputation and a new tank needs to be designed for Urban Warfare ?

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  TR1 on Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:09 pm

    Austin wrote:BTW what do people think of the write up "US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom”
    Vasiliy Fofanov" in previous page , Did Abrams failed to live up to its reputation and a new tank needs to be designed for Urban Warfare ?

    Too costly, not happening now. All in all it performed fine, a dedicated urban kit is really enough. Let's hope the US doesn't get stuck in another conflict any time soon, and the need will be superfluous.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Mindstorm on Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:44 pm

    Austin wrote:BTW what do people think of the write up "US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom”
    Vasiliy Fofanov" in previous page , Did Abrams failed to live up to its reputation and a new tank needs to be designed for Urban Warfare ?


    Fail to live up to its reputation ?

    Well if we talk of the Abrams's completely artificial reputation constructed in public accessible media ,including the comical attempts (sometime truly to the limit of the pathetic Razz ) to "play" with operational loss figures in Iraq and attack and erase ,where possible, any public accessible source hosting "hard" proofs of the total inconsistency of theirs claims ,of course it failed to live up to those fables .

    But if we want to talk seriously of the subject we must consider what are ,behind those PR "screens", the real concerns of insiders on those subjects and ,even more, what was the main factors in western MBT's R&D history in half of Cold War leading to the acceptance in its structure of design compromises producing today the enormous amount of problems and inefficiency so well highlighted by its operational employment. (and those emphasized in the Fofanov's "US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom” article are, by far, the less worrying ones, believe me ).

    We must begin with a central postulate of any strategic and tactical military doctrine around the world foreseeing the employment of armoured formation :Force Concentration.
    This fundamental, crucially important factor is ,at its own time, linked to the non-linear trend of the exchange-loss function to the variation of the relative force ratio.
    In simpler terms this mean that if two particular MBTs show a relative exchange ratio of 1:1 in a condition of numerical parity, at the variation of this numerical ratio those two MBTs will see theirs relative exchange ratio modify itself following a progressively fast growing index ( ex.: 200 of the up-mentioned MBTs will exchange with 200 enemy MBTs in a frontal 200 vs 200 engagement -1:1 exchange ratio- ,now if those 200 MBTs manage to engage a segment of opposing armoured formation counting only 80 MBT the losses that them will suffer will not be of 80 MBTs but likely less than half - 1:2 loss exchange ratio- , this numerical overmatch will lead ,moreover, to losses figure progressively lowering as the engagement progress toward others, more internal, segments of enemy armoured formation , with a fast growing numerical overmatch between the two sides).


    From what just said is very easy to realize that the allowing element in pursuing this truly deciding factor for victory in any ground conflict (immensely more critical and decisive than any other technical specification of a particular weapon system).….at least one against a strong opponent….become : Strategic and Tactical Mobility and its Sustainability .
    M1 Abrams family (but this is a problem ,in some way, shared by all western MBT design after the failure of the ambitious MBT-70 project) represent , in this regard ,one of the most horrible planning and engineering failure of the whole modern military system development history.

    Mobility at the Strategic level is linked mainly to effective capacity of transport and rate of deployment of a particular system through strategic transport assets , ground, naval and air-based .

    Under this first point of view M1Abrams represented ,for no other reason than its inescapable volumetric and weight problems (now even worsened with a M1A2 in the 70 tons class …) , a true nightmare for US strategic Sealift and Airlift assets .

    On the Sealift department we have :

    An LMSR -Large, Medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off- sealift ship can carry about 58 M1A1 Abrams (54 M1A2 SEP) against about 80 MBT in the M-60/T-72 size class.
    An LCAC for weight/volumetric problems can carry only a single M1 Abrams against two MBT in the M-60/T-72 class .
    A Newport class LST was capable to transport 20 M1A1 but about 32 tanks in the M-60/T-72 class.

    On the Airlift department instead :

    A C-5 galaxy carry a single M1 Abrams against two in the M-60/T-72 class
    A C-17 Globemaster III carry equally a single M1 Abrams against two partially disassembled M-60s/T-72s.

    On the ground department is sufficient to say that any rail-based transport capable to carry M1 Abrams (where obviously track-rail status allow the passage of 70 ton class cargo in its Abrams’s volume ) is capable to carry about 50-60% greater number of MBT in the M-60/T-72 size class .

    The product of all those elements ,multiplied by the enormous burden of logistic and maintenance vehicles required to support M1’s readiness (i will cite that successively) was the main reason for which the deployment of 2000 M1 Abrams in Saudi Arabia before Gulf War required roughly.….11 months !!!
    Just those huge strategic deployment problems (a catastrophic factor against any opponent except an immensely inferior one) caused by Abrams weight and huge logistical burden leaded US MoD and US Army Amor School to order the study for the development of a tank in the 40 ton class allowing two of them to be carried on one C-17 Globemaster III (see "Force Development — Where We Are Headed," by George H. Harmeyer, Armor Magazine September-October 1997) or in 1998 to elaborate a doctrine even not foreseeing the presence of a MBT at all with the Future Combat System concept.
    With words of Lieutenant Colonel Dennis J. Szydlosky from “Will The US Army have a tank in 2020? ” :

    “The growth of US tank weight brings with it limited strategic mobility. Today's MlA2
    tank weighs about 70 tons.
    As rapid strategic deployability becomes more imperative, the tank appears to become increasingly irrelevant to most future operations of the US armed forces.
    Tanks cannot get quickly from the continental US to the fight anywhere in the world in
    significant numbers, unless already forward deployed or drawn from prepositioned stocks.”

    Mobility of a MBT at Tactical level is mainly defined as its freedom of movement in the different environments characterizing the theatre of operation ( speed of the single platform has ,conversely , almost zero value).

    The principal features of a MBT’s design codifying for high tactical mobility are obviously : capability to negotiate efficiently with environmental features and terrain morphology ,high level of readiness and low dependence from tactical logistical line ; also in those basic characteristics M1 Abrams appear to greatly suffer for its “overburdened” design.

    The enormous weight of M1A1/A2 Abrams is an enormous catalytic factor for any sort of problem related to off-road field mobility , in particular its high weight :

    -significantly decrease M1A1/A2’s capability to negotiate soft slopes of even the less abrupt type.
    - Greatly increase chance of Abrams to literally self-entrench in muddy ,snowy or boggy terrains.
    - Greatly increase the chance of road failure and fracturing.
    - Dramatically increase the chance of bridge failure (with the entire armoured column ,logistical vehicles included , blocked for very long ,with the disastrous tactical damages easily foreseeables)
    - Render impossible (also in reason of its volume) the travel in majority of mountain roads
    - Limit the climb degree of the terrain practicable by Abrams MBT.
    - Render it much more susceptible to defensive ditchs.
    - Augment the chance of M1A1/A2 to remain stuck in soft/dusty terrains .
    - Render rescue operations by part of support vehicles much more difficult and slow .

    All those problems (as clearly highlighted by a crushing amount of video and photographic material) render M1 Abrams literally a road-bound MB for wide majority of terrain’s type and morphology, element having a devastating impact on its degree of efficiency and survivability at tactical operational level against any enemy except immensely inferior ones .

    This factor ,in fact not only prevent the achievement of force concentration in a particular sector of interest coming from the most advantageous or ,sometimes, obliged attack’s vector ,but render M1s’ brigade deployment , transition and logistical tail position very, very, very predictable and self-canalized and ,therefore very vulnerable to : ambush (for Iraqi insurgents, at example, become almost trivial to plan IED attacks with a tank like Abrams effectively road-bound) , stand-off area fire and ,above all, bypass encirclement to achieve local force concentration overmatch .
    In Operation Desert Storm all those problems ,together with the logistical and sustainability problems of which i will write tomorrow if i will get some time, caused the VII Corps to cover
    170 miles in …89 hours .



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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  GarryB on Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:34 pm

    You raise a very good point Mindstorm mobility and concentration of performance.

    One of the advantages the German armour forces had early in WWII that made them so effective was the concentration of armour into armour units. The common practise at the time in Soviet units had been for tank units and infantry support units, but there were so many changes taking place the actual deployment of their enormous tank forces was piecemeal, and the supply of anti armour rounds was tiny.
    The result was that a well trained and experienced German tank unit with its full compliment of tanks and ammo and with good communication came into contact with a Soviet unit with half a dozen tanks and lots of infantry. The Soviet tanks might only be equipped with HE ammo, or it had a couple of armour piercing shells, but 40 odd German tanks facing 6 Soviet tanks even if you played it as a turn based computer game, where with their better communications and the advantage of attack the Germans get first shot... that means 40 shots at 6 tanks... there really isn't going to be very much return fire is there. In reality there can be misses and both sides could even fire at once, but without armour piercing ammo and most importantly without the ability to effectively communicate properly, but most importantly with one side trained and experienced and the other side trained to support infantry attacks and with little or no experience the advantages of German tank design and tactics were amplified.

    Of course even with the good communications and tactics when they came up against T-34s and KV-1s they experienced tank terror too.

    The Abrams has excellent communications and control systems that allow a smaller force take on larger forces with less control and win, but that advantage is not going to remain forever as new Russian tanks are now getting proper communications and battle management equipment so it is likely the Chinese will follow suit and soon even cheap tanks will enjoy the performance improvements C3 can provide.

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    US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom”

    Post  Mindstorm on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:01 pm

    I have some work-free time, therefore will capitalize it to complete my response on M1A1/A2 Abrams’s enormous problems ,both at a strategic and a tactical operational level (at least if we talk of a “real” large scale conflict against an advanced opponent) generated by some of its structural features.


    The last mention in the discussion about M1 Abrams’s features leading to meaningful operative shortcomings must be deserved surely to its very poor operative Sustainability ,(both as an unitary vehicle coefficient and as result of necessary logistical footprint for maintain its readiness ).

    Sustainability of a particular military system can be defined as the resultant of the average resources (material and immaterials) necessary for this product to maintain integer its operative potential also in reason of the variations in availability of its auxiliary assets ( its so called logistical tail).
    For a MBT this factor ,obviously, is mostly linked to the resources necessary at maintain integer its defining feature : the Mobility and ,therefore , its Engine.

    M1 Abrams series’s engine ,the AGT-1500 is a turbine engine virtually “tri-fuel” but effectively limited to the employment of jet fuel as its propellant (unless you want to try the modifications the Australians have carried-out to convert it to diesel and..... experience the same amount of problems Very Happy Very Happy ).

    This factor represent the first sustainability problem ,because ATG-1500 represent the only engine in US Army service at employ jet fuel and therefore force fuel-trucks and maintenance vehicles and structure to be dedicated exclusively for the task with enormous cascade of induced costs (the maintenance cost of AGT-1500 engines of the M1 Abrams cost ¼ of the TOTAL Army budget allocated for vehicle maintenance !!!! (consider that M1 Abrams represent only about 1% of the total number of vehicles of US Army ). Jet fuel moreover is significantly more costly than diesel and much more costly to transport and stock.

    The second ,enormous, problem of ATG-1500 is its truly ridiculous Fuel Consumption ,a factor leading also to the absurd volume of fuel carried by each M1 Abrams : 505 gallons !! This chart can aid to anyone to get an idea of what we talk here .





    This element has produced ,in Operation Desert Storm, some negative record breaking figures for this parameters , specifically a single division (350 unities) of M1 Abrams had consumed on average …600000 gallons of jet fuel at day !! The VII Corp, for cover 180 miles, at cause of its 1220 Abrams had employed …8,5 millions gallons of fuel .
    The motivation is that AGT-1500 is ridiculously fuel-hungry also when the tank is idle (15 gallons/hour !!) , and this one is the most common condition, under a strictly temporal point of view, of any MBT in an operative environment .
    Practically the sustainment of a similar limited operation against an immensely inferior enemy ,in an “heavenly” environment ,effectively uncontested and with no danger for the vital and forcibly colossal supply line, was possible only thanks to full commitment of Saudi Arabia at provide fuel and sustain a great fraction of the costs.

    Someone could image that this cursed M1A1/A2 Abrams’s engine ,for all its problems of : monstrous specific fuel-consumption, immense cost/mile figure and enormous logistical footprint necessary ,at least offered an high level of reliability .

    Well the thesis of high reliability of Abrams’s engine is present in vast majority of public accessible media ,but -as i always repeat- when ,suddenly, someone examine free not-controlled information coming from operatives of pasted conflict,present in some publications of “niche” (not dangerous for public opinion’s orientation) the picture change dramatically.

    Please read this letter to Armor Magazine by a tanker of Desert Storm, William J. Mc Canna, (pag-11)

    http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/armormagazine/content/Issues/1994/ArmorJanuaryFebruary1994web.pdf

    Those are some point of interest :

    The Germans have an MBT that weighs nearly the same, has an equivalent weapons system, top speed, power to weight ratio, and has much better fuel consumption. This makes it much easier to support logistically.The importance of this should not be underestimated.
    During the ground phase of DESERT STORM, my unit (A Co, 2-70 Armor, 2d Bde, 1st AD)was on the verge of running out of fuelseveral times. It slowed our advance considerably.
    And this in a logistical environment uncontested by enemy air and ground forces.

    My company crossed the Saudillraq border at the beginning of the ground war with 14 out of 14 tanks operational. Within 24 hours we had lost five tanks, four due to engine failures (and this after a rain, with no blowing sand).
    My battalion commander was forced to order at one point that tank engines were to be be kept running when we halted for long periods of time, to avoid engine failures during start up. Equally disturbing
    is what happened to my brigade on its redeployment from Iraq to KKMC in Saudi Arabia after the war was over.
    In a three day move, my company lost six tanks due to engine failures, my battalion - personal note : 58 tanks for US Army - lost 16 tanks, and my brigade (with three tank battalions) lost 60. This type of combat reliability is simply unacceptable.

    This can provide a first hand picture , behind the PR screen of what was the real immense mobility and logistical problems experienced by Abrams.





    Last edited by Mindstorm on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Austin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:21 am

    Zivo since I see you are from US what are the future plans of US Army for Future Main Battle Tank ? What after M1A2 ?

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Zivo on Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:11 pm

    I haven't been following the projects as closely as I should. IMO, the US army isn't sure what they really want yet for the new MBT, and are open to proposals from the usual manufacturers. It almost sounds like Russia's MoD in the late 90's. The Pentagon is focusing their resources towards a new heavy IFV rather than a MBT.



    The Abrams is a rather good piece of equipment aside from its weight and lack of mobility. It has room to upgrade, so I don't think we'll see a new MBT anytime soon.


    Damian said this is one of the official proposals for the upgrades.

    The M1A3 will probably have new large LCD displays for the crew, and some form of APS. This model has twin RWS, one for the commander and one for the loader. It also has what appears to be additional armor on the lower front hull and around the bustle, plus 360 cameras to aid in situational awareness. The DoD wants to adopt a gun launched ATGM with steep diving capability, iirc the goal was something ridiculous like 18km of range. I expect either a diesel engine or a diesel electric hybrid.

    There's also a new 120mm in the works. >>> http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2010armament/WednesdayReunionDavidSmith.pdf

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  collegeboy16 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:34 pm

    Zivo wrote:

    Damian said this is one of the official proposals for the upgrades.
    Armata MBT, RPGs, Smerch and even IEDs will eat these tank for breakfast Twisted Evil. They shouldn't have focused on surviving hits, that is so 20th century, hit avoidance is the trend now along with protecting a smaller target(like the crew or some valuable equipment).

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Zivo on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:28 pm

    The M1 doesn't really need very much improvement to accomplish its missions. There's also a significant number of them in service. The T-90 is a damn good tank, but it's vastly outnumbered by less than optimal T-72's. So Russia needs new MBT.


    Is Armata "better" than an M1, probably. Does that matter in the big picture, not really.

    The thing that disappoints me about the M1A3, is the continued use of machine guns as the primary anti-infantry weapon, they need an HE-FRAG round.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  collegeboy16 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:37 pm

    What missions? If you are referring to urban combat in COIN ops then the less than optimal T-72 can do the same, just put ARENA and Relict on it along with no ammo in crew compartment aside from autoloader.
    The thing that disappoints me about the M1A3, is the continued use of machine guns as the primary anti-infantry weapon, they need an HE-FRAG round.
    Yeah, you're right its like they forgot that they have a huge gun that is more capable than any number of mg.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Austin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:48 pm

    M1A2 is better in crew safety compared to most T-90 variant even the MS dont have isolation like Abrams have , for the rest T-90MS can match the Abrams even better it in firepower since it can fire a missile too.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Zivo on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:55 pm

    What missions? If you are referring to urban combat in COIN ops then the less than optimal T-72 can do the same, just put ARENA and Relict on it along with no ammo in crew compartment aside from autoloader.

    The T-72 could fight guerrillas just as we'll as an M1, even without Arena. But against modern forces or those with more than just RPGs, the T-72, at least the ones that haven't received recent upgrades lacks luster compared to the M1.

    Yeah, you're right its like they forgot that they have a huge gun that is more capable than any number of mg.

    They added a canister round, which isn't really effective. It's a WWII era band-aid solution.




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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  collegeboy16 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:04 am

    Austin wrote:M1A2 is better in crew safety compared to most T-90 variant even the MS dont have isolation like Abrams have , for the rest T-90MS can match the Abrams even better it in firepower since it can fire a missile too.
    I completely agree with this. However the turret bustle, when hit, will burst into flames thaw will prevent the crew from escaping from their hatches. Aside from a firepower kill, such hit could also score a mobility kill when the bustle is above the engine or even if it is near.

    Zivo wrote:
    The T-72 could fight guerrillas just as we'll as an M1, even without Arena. But against modern forces or those with more than just RPGs, the T-72, at least the ones that haven't received recent upgrades lacks luster compared to the M1.
    What modern forces? We're pretty sure its not Russia, nukes are used in such conflict, same as China India, etc.. So that leaves us with the rest of Nato which is very unlikely, and some nations in the middle east which would be too generous of us to call modern except in equipment perhaps.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Zivo on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:19 am

    What modern forces? We're pretty sure its not Russia, nukes are used in such conflict, same as China India, etc.. So that leaves us with the rest of Nato which is very unlikely, and some nations in the middle east which would be too generous of us to call modern except in equipment perhaps.

    I don't have a crystal ball. If there's one thing the last decade has shown, it's that nothing is "very unlikely".

    Russia needs to be able to face modern threats with something other than nukes to prevent the continued encirclement of it's territories and allies by NATO.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  TR1 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:31 am

    Zivo wrote:

    Is Armata "better" than an M1, probably. Does that matter in the big picture, not really.



    Heh, not probably.

    If the Armata is clearly not above any in service MBT, it will not be accepted.

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    M1A1 Abraams

    Post  Zivo on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:47 am

    TR1 wrote:
    Zivo wrote:

    Is Armata "better" than an M1, probably. Does that matter in the big picture, not really.



    Heh, not probably.

    If the Armata is clearly not above any in service MBT, it will not be accepted.

    I meant M1A3. Embarassed

    Compared to the current tanks in service, there's really nothing like Armata, or even Object 195. Even Object 640 surpasses the competition.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  rtech on Tue May 19, 2015 4:51 pm

    This is the first time i see M1 ammo detonation. I suspect the Iraqis were carrying ammo in hull (marked in red)







    Source Tarsenko


    Last edited by rtech on Tue May 19, 2015 4:58 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added source)

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  George1 on Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:48 am

    Tank Abrams M1A2 SEP v3



    http://bmpd.livejournal.com/1520326.html


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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Werewolf on Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:47 pm

    Funny, the tank recieves a new designation for just a few additional rounds and RWS? I thought that would come up with something good, but still anient and archaic design, no fix of flaws, not even attempt.

    Still use ineffecient HEMP rounds.

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    B-1B against the T-72

    Post  nemrod on Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:26 pm


    Another proof that the M1 Abrams could be destroyed by RPG. Unfortunetly we don't know in this article if it was by RPG-7, or RPG-16 ? It would be interresting to know. I don't know if in 2003 Iraq army had got RPG-29, but as you can see no need necessary of AT-14 Springham aka Kornet to destroy a western tank. If someone among has more info about this event.




    http://gurkhan.blogspot.fr/2016/03/b-1b-72.html

    B-1B against the T-72


    Not so long ago, in Irkutsk, was published book: Ilya Topchiy "second Iraq war: events, facts, results". Noteworthy is the fact that this is probably the first and only at the moment publication summarizes the disparate materials on this topic and drawing a complete picture. Unfortunately, this book describes are not many concrete examples of individual battles and battle scenes, as might be desired. The more interesting case is described:
    " In Al Mandir two tanks of the Ml 'Abram c ", separated from the main force, were destroyed by hitting shells from RPGs in poorly protected housing areas (initially it was assumed that they destroyed from ATGM 9M133 "Cornet", but these data have not been confirmed). Along the way, Iraqis shot down one armored vehicle "Bradley." In response, Americans have a few blows with the bomber B-1B "Lancer" burned two T-72. " Simply delicious!

    No, I do not want to say that T-72 was so impregnable that it took to destroy them to use strategic aviation. Moreover, I inclined to think that it was just a random hit a bomb, or else bobmёry already "in progress" had been retargeted to the area in which they operate tanks. But by itself this fact, agree, beautiful! Yankees chase with Diego Garcia, for tyschschi keme strategy to ukandybobit two old tractors, which cost less than the cost of jet fuel burnt ... Direct advertising "semdesyatdvoykam"!


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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  Werewolf on Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:35 pm

    nemrod wrote:
    Another proof that the M1 Abrams could be destroyed by RPG. Unfortunetly we don't know in this article if it was by RPG-7, or RPG-16 ? It would be interresting to know. I don't know if in 2003 Iraq army had got RPG-29, but as you can see no need necessary of AT-14 Springham aka Kornet to destroy a western tank. If someone among has more info about this event.




    http://gurkhan.blogspot.fr/2016/03/b-1b-72.html

    B-1B against the T-72


    Not so long ago, in Irkutsk, was published book: Ilya Topchiy "second Iraq war: events, facts, results". Noteworthy is the fact that this is probably the first and only at the moment publication summarizes the disparate materials on this topic and drawing a complete picture. Unfortunately, this book describes are not many concrete examples of individual battles and battle scenes, as might be desired. The more interesting case is described:
    " In Al Mandir two tanks of the Ml 'Abram c ", separated from the main force, were destroyed by hitting shells from RPGs in poorly protected housing areas (initially it was assumed that they destroyed from ATGM 9M133 "Cornet", but these data have not been confirmed). Along the way, Iraqis shot down one armored vehicle "Bradley." In response, Americans have a few blows with the bomber B-1B "Lancer" burned two T-72. " Simply delicious!

    No, I do not want to say that T-72 was so impregnable that it took to destroy them to use strategic aviation. Moreover, I inclined to think that it was just a random hit a bomb, or else bobmёry already "in progress" had been retargeted to the area in which they operate tanks. But by itself this fact, agree, beautiful! Yankees chase with Diego Garcia, for tyschschi keme strategy to ukandybobit two old tractors, which cost less than the cost of jet fuel burnt ... Direct advertising "semdesyatdvoykam"!


    We already knew that since 2006 of first circulating pics of Abrams that is also why they had to apply TUSK with ARAT ERA which is according to quite a few based on Kontakt-1 from NII Stali.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:00 pm

    Fat shia militiaman shooting RPG 29 at Abroomz in improbable social shenanigans is the staple of any Abroomz bashing fixture.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  nemrod on Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:36 am

    KoTeMoRe wrote:Fat shia militiaman shooting...
    Fat shia maybe, but this fat shia as you said it is a guy who has balls....and big. It is highly possible that US forced to withdraw from Iraq because of fat guys like him.

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    Re: M1 Abrams Discussion Thread:

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:00 am

    Jesus guys chill. Wtf is going on here. Abroomz Hunter is a meme from the Sadr/Quds era vs USA. He was the ultimate troll and gave his life for it. No one belittles his balls (god forbid), just saying that the guy was a notoriety from 2005 to 2008 (when they got him).


    This man is responsible for the TUSK update on his own. Vampyr salutes and kicks ass.

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