Peter Shulman's War

This blog is a place for the thousands of people who visit and email from the web site Peter Shulmans War. I thought that it was about time the viewers of the war site had a place to contact and communicate with each other about plastic modeling, war gaming and anything else of interest.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Main Battle Tanks Who Wins?

I am posting this string from the discussion board on the war site because it was to good to lose. I hope it can continue to get comments here on the blog. I will start it with the first post and continue it with the rest.

I'm starting this string in the hopes of getting opinions about tank agaist tank capabilities. In my war many times I have M1A1 tanks fighting against Challengers, Leopard II and T80 tanks. I also end up with combat between M60 marks agaist Merkava, T72, Cheiftans, Leopard I and other country's tanks. I use my shot counter shot method of fighting but have often wondered who would come out on top in real engagments involving these tanks. I sure would like to hear from others with more expertise than I have.


At 12:13 PM, Anonymous S. Haroldson said...

This is a good question. I only know that the Abrams may be more mobile than the Challenger and newest Leopard but since they seem to mount the same main gun I have no idea who would really have the advantage. I guess the armor carried would play a big part but I think the Abrams and Challenger have the same. I hope you get some real tech type opinions to post in this string.

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous B. Karkas said...

In my opinion an M60A3 without blazer armor would be killid by a well run T72 or Chieftain.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous H. Klien said...

The Challenger and Abrams duels would be won by the better trained crews and also influenced by the fog of war. Terrain would play a part and of course who saw who first. The newest Leopards would also come out equal depending on the same intangibles. These tanks may never square off in real life but it sure would be an interseting battle. I believe the T90 would fair the worst in these engagements.

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous S. Matthews said...

1. the T - series tanks used by ex-soviet satellites states or export variants were never built to the same combat capability as those used by the Russians themselves ( just in case the soviets had to put down an up-rising in one of these countries, so it was strategic/tactical decision)

2. The tank battles seen in recent warfare have not been a true reflection of the combat capabilities of Russian tank designs or the deployment of tank formations based on Russian combat doctrine which is a combined / integrated mechanized armour force
A interesting note everyone forgets the T-64 MBT which was the first tank in the world to use an automatic loading system thereby reducing the crew to just 3 (2+1) and these tanks were never exported and were mainly based on the old east German border manned only by Russian troops also the gearbox had a life of just 600km so if you draw a 600km line going west form the old east German border you would have advanced pretty far into western Europe by the time the gearbox has expired

3. given the developments of current Western tank combat capabilities (which are pretty much on par with each other) the primary decider in the event of, typically, a Leopard 2A5 engaging an M1a2 or vice versa would be on the situational awareness of the crew, the command and control and battle intelligence in other words he who sees first, identifies first and shoots first will in all probability win the fight

4. considering the leopard and M1 use the same main gun and their armour can defeat it's own projectile type it might end up in the vehicles becoming disabled due to loss of sighting systems or other sub-systems being damaged.
in summary it will come down to who pulled the trigger first based on good combat information and awareness given that western combat doctrines are so similar

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous D. O'Conner, Lt. General, Green Army said...

At this time 18 countrys are using depleted uranium ammunition for their main gun anti tank rounds. These darts can in theory pierce any armor yet designed. If this information is correct then it would seem that any engagment between modern main battle tanks will be won by the tank that fires the first accurate shot.
An interesting side note is that the Israeli's have developed these rounds in 105mm for use in many of their older tanks. They have also reportedly sold them to a few western countrys including Sweden for use in their Strv 103 "S" tanks.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in here and also say how much I enjoy this site and being in your war.

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous R. Cobb said...

Just wanted to drop a line and join the conversation on tank vs.tank topics. An earlier statement I read here stated that 18 countries use depleted uranium rounds. In reality, to set the record straight for everyone, 18 countries have tested these rounds. They do however fire rounds designed similarly, but they use traditional tungstun rather than depleted uranium. In particular the russian  D-81TM(in russian military circles called the 2A46).Most of the time these smoothbore sabot rounds are often confused with the same depleted uranium rounds used by the USA. Although they operate on the same smoothbore-fin-stabilized-discarding-sabot principal, most still use either tungstun sabot penetrators or HEAT(High Explosive Anti Tank) rounds. Very few countries, even today, actually have the depleted uranium sabot darts. What is more widely available, is traditional full-bore rifled ammunition. This,however, is less potent than the sabot round. Because counties equipped with Russian D-81TM armed tanks would be required to fire the appropriate rounds for them, they are coincidentaly less capable than depleted uranium APFSDS(Armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot) rounds used by the US and it's close allies. Also, to correct an incorrect statement I read earlier about the Challenger 2 having a 120mm smoothbore like that of the Abrams, this is incorrrect. The Challenger 2 series of MBTs is armed with the Royal Ordnance 120mm L30 rifled tank gun developed at the Royal Ordnance Factory which was based out of Leeds,England, before it was taken over by Vickers Defence Systems in 1986. Thats the real Scoop on these rounds and that gun. The 120mm smoothbore used by the Abrams and Leopard 2 series of vehicles is a German desighned weapon and was not adopted by the US military until the improved M1A1,the original M1 having the older 105mm M68 rifled gun.

I sent a previous E-mail to about amunition of tanks and Challenger main gun.I noticed eveyone on this website was either looking for tank info, or was wandering who would win in what fight. First I thought I'd lend a helping hand to S.Haroldson, in Visby Sweden. He wondered who had the advantage among the Leopard 2, Challenger 2, and Abrams. Well,Firepower is in the Abrams favor. It's fire control system is a little more adanced than the others. It averages a higher percentage of first round hits at long range than the others,though not a whole lot more. Also the chalenger fires traditional rifled tank rounds that don't penetrate as well as the depleted uranium APFSDS rounds used in the Abrams smoothbore gun. Where Armour is concerned, the Abrams and the Challenger 2 both have Top Secret Chobahm armour from England, the Leopard does not. Mobility-Abrams comes first, Leopard Very close second, and Challenger is third. My thoughts from facts. The Abrams has a defenite advantage at long range on open terrain. However, in short to medium range engagements, it's going to come down to who has the best tactical intel and who has the better training. Remember, even in today's advanced tanks, crew training and not computers will decide who goes home and who doesn't!!! To Answer Steve Matthews questions,yes alot of the info you have on the T-64 is correct, however, the geerbox problem was soon solved and the more modern T-90 and T-80 have proven very reliable, and in there latest forms with stabalized guns and much more advancd fire control systems, have shown themselves to be capable of much more accurate fire than before. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to talk to US soldiers who got to witness this first hand in a few combined military excercises in Europe and they can testify to the fact that the Russian Equipment still has a leathal bite. Don't count them out of anything!! Having enough money for appropriate training and PM(Preventative Maintanance) is a whole nother story, however. Also, he stated on point 5. of his letter that "Considering the Leopard and M1 use the same main gun and their armour can defeat it's own projectile type it might end up in the vehicles becoming disabled due to loss of sighting systems or other sub-systems being damaged."This is partly incorrect. The part that is wrong is that there armour IS good, but not strong enough to withstand the APFSDS rounds they fire.There is proof of this. Remember, that during the gulf war, there was an instance where an Abrams was misidentified as an enemy vehicle and hit by an Abrams main gun, causing the death of at least some of the crew and knocking-out the tank. Most of his info is correct, I just wanted to add any help I could.I Look forward to visiting your site again soon! If anyone has a question I can help with, I'll be glad to provide any info I can.

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous B. Johannes said...

I'm just another nosy student to put his two cents in, but i was amazed by the misinformation you were given...

At first I'd like to add somethin u blokes might not want to hear, but it is true...
The M1 Abrams throughout its variants is NOT significantly faster than the Leopard 2, they both reach a top-speed of about 45mph (70km/h for the Leopard, i found a Datasheet on the Net depicting the Abram's top speed at 68km/h, whereas the Challenger 2 is quite a snail at only 59km/h top speed). I should perhaps add that road-top speeds of around 100km/h (almost 70mph) have been reached with the Leopard 2, which seems quite unmatched....

Abrams and Leopard 2 are both powered by gas-turbines with a power rating of 1500 hp, whereas the Challenger 2 has only 1200 hp.
Concerning armour and passive security measures ALL three Tanks are protected by multi-layer "Chobham"-Armour (but plz take note that the only the Leopard 2 and the M1 Abrams armour in their last versions have been reinforced around the turrets and on top of the chassis to counter the threat of vertically impacting anti-armour missiles) and are all ABC-proof (hope no one ever needs that...).

Your information on the main guns is true, the challenger 2 is equipped with a 120mm rifled main gun, the other two both with the same model of a 120mm smoothbore developed by Rheinmetall in Germany.

DU-rounds (depleted uranium) : the US and several other countries might have tested DU-APFSDS, but NO ONE currently uses them (u might have heard of the "strange" cancer like symptoms american veterans from former Yugoslavia and the Gulf-Wars are complaining about after having contact with discarded DU-rounds.... in fact DU is still a bit radioactive, if your government admits it or not... ), but I'm quite sure the Germans could acquire some (might already have some on store, there are lots of nuclear power plants in Germany, along with lots of cunning scientists...)

The only actual difference between a Leopard 2 and an M1 is the weight (Leo 55t, Challenger 62t and last but (not?) least the Abrams with 70t(!!!)).

I'd agree that these 3 would be quite well matched (but should the need ever arise, the Challengers will be blasted by either Leo or Abrams, and no two ways about that..), but perhaps you should invest some time in close research on their russian counterparts (as these have an extremely low silhouette compared to the aforesaid 3, and the T-90 "Black Hawk" is quite the newest Tank in the world with a lot of nasty surprises (such as Laser-defense-system to destroy/disable laser-based targeting-units and rangefinders or "stealthy" hull) which make him a hard-hitting bastard).

I hope i didn't waste too much of your time and could give you a little insight into my opinion.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Peter said...

I can see from this discussion so far that in my war the intangables will have to be concidered in determining the winner of tank vs tank engagements. My Green Army has lots of M1 tanks and the Gray Army is getting stronger in the modern tank department each year thou it is still outnumbered in this area. Many fights with Leopard, Challenger and T80s on one side and M1s on the other take place. This summer I will take into concideration who sees who first, who shoots first and from what angle and just see what happens.
The one thing that generaly does effect the outcome of some of these battles is the involvment of other vehicles. Most of the Leopard vs Abrams fights also involve Bradley and Marder IFVs mounting anti tank missiles.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous R. Cobb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous R. Cobb said...

Sorry I haven't E-mailed in along time. I felt that I needed to write back to you to correct some things. The T-90 is not the neweset tank by a long shot. To set the record straight, the T-90 is the result of a program to bring older T-72s up to the standerd of the T-80, at that time it was the latest vehicle, but simply because the upgrade program came after the introduction of the new T-80. The NATO code name for the latest russian tank is "BLACK EAGLE" ,not "BLACK HAWK". It was code named Black Eagle because at the time the U.S. and it's allies had no real information on it, now that some information has become available, we can see that this vehicle is a very lethal fighting machine. The model showed to the public still retained the 125mm smooth-bore tank gun, however it is fitted with a much improved loading system. As we all know from what happened in the Gulf War,when a T--series tank took a hit in the lower turret,the ammunition stored their in the autoloader would very often detonate,blowing the turret off and of course killing the crew. To solve this problem the designers took an old idea modified it an made it work for them. They simply built a very sturdy blast bulkhead around the autoloader, to separate the crew from the amminition stored there, probably not too disimilar from those fitted to the Abrams. With the redesigned autoloader came a fortunate side-effect in that the height of the vehicle is "SAID TO BE"(Not confirmed by NATO) even lower than that of the T-80, providing a smaller target. Something I found to be very interesting is that to begin with this new tank was thought to be an improved T-80, however when it was unveiled, this proved to be completely wrong. It has a lower overall height, better engine which can run off of three different types of fuel, ammo bulkhead, better autoloader and something that many didn't believe the Russians had a stabilized main gun operated via an advanced computerized fire-control system. When this system was tested, the reports that came out of it stated the rate and percentage of accuracy was as good as any western tank and better than most. And get this, this the "Less Powerful Version" that will be offered as export! The version being submitted to the Russian military is basically the same except for the fact that it comes not with a 125mm main gun but with a 152mm main gun. So far none of this more powerful version have been ordered that I know of but the standard version with the 125mm was under consideration last I heard. Lastly, the running gear are different, now having seven running wheels on each side instead of six and when considering first look, first shot, first kill, remember this although Abrams tank crews love to brag about knocking out a T-72 at 3000 meters (which is an excellent shot for a first round kill) top of the line T-90s, T-80s, and now the T-95 "Black Eagle" all have the ability to fire the 9k119 laser guided missile from their main guns. These have a range of 5000 meters and almost 100% accuracy even while firing on the move. Just thought this info might come in handy in your war games. When it comes to the mention of a "Stealthy" hull on the new Black Eagle, I'v read over a dozen reports on this vehicle and even read the reported transcript of the first unveiling, there is absolutely no mention of a "Stealthy" hull in these reports anywhere, not even from the design team themselves. But keep an open mind because the T-95 and it's internal features are still classified therefore although it is extremely unlikely (mainly due to the economic strain of Russia) ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

The T-95 can accept any of the modern "add-ons" just as the T-80 can. This includes ERA(Explosive Reactive Armour).
I think you all probably know that most data sheets on the Net are incorrect. The Leopard can't do 70 mph. I know this PERSONALLY for a fact. Also, It doesn't have Chobham Armour, although it is similar. It is accually constructed of a very dense Laminate/Steel. The speed info on the Challenger 2 and Abrams is correct. Also, the cancer like symptoms that crews experienced was not from touching these knocked out vehicles. What does you harm is the radioactive dust that you breath in. There are actually three different kinds of radiation that our troops are tought to understand, Gama, Alfa, and Beta. Fortunately, not all of them will do immediate harm to us. Be aware of what you get off the internet. That's why I prefer to study actual fact sheets listed by the manufacturers if I can get my hands on some. Since the end of the Cold War, much of this information is now available but it is always best to research several different documents. Well, take it easy guys. Until next time!

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous toby said...

Your M60A1 tanks are certainly outgunned by the chieftans and T72s. Merkava I haven't seen any reports on but it to has only a 105mm gun. I would stay away from the T72 tanks with your M60s or put the ones with reactive armor up front.

Great site.


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