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Thread: Impenetrable Tank Armor

  1. #1 Impenetrable Tank Armor 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Is there such a thing? Watched a series on tanks last night on Netflix. They showed a tank equipped with some sort of ceramic composite protection. I tried to make out the name of this stuff, it was mentioned but not spelled out, and I believe it is called Chobham. Kind of looks like floor tiles. As I googled onward it was mentioned that Chobham is now obsolete or at least old. Apparently tanks are not the piece de resistance they once were and many nations are not producing tanks, at least not where everyone can see. A lot of tank design is shrouded in secrecy so could be not a lot is known about exact composition of Chobham and whatís come after. If anyone knows what exactly itís made of or the process involved, feel free to inform us.

    As with military technology, once someone invents a defensive tool a more powerful offensive counterpart is sure to follow, IMHO. I believe Chobham armor was derailed by a new type of projectile. If I remember correctly this new shell was called a double-hit but how it works I canít say.


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    It's relative: armour is impenetrable right up until a gun comes along with the velocity/ penetrator mass/ pentrator material to make it penetrable.
    (E.g. current front-line MBTs are essentially impenetrable1,2 to anything less than the latest 120mm/ 125mm tank guns).
    Chobham is/ was more a class of armour types rather than a single specific type (Burlington and Dorchester armour were specific types within that class). The exact composition is still secret even after ~45 years of its development.
    It's a swings and roundabouts game: the armour is x times as effective as "normal armour" by weight, thus a given protection level can be achieved with a lighter weight of armour3 or an increased level of protection for a given weight4,5.

    Not many nations are producing tanks because it's a resource-hungry industry with little to no application in civilian fields.

    As for the "double-hit" are you talking about the "dual warhead" (precursor and main charge) of missiles? They were developed to get through ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour).


    1 Depending, of course, upon where they're hit - I'm talking about the front aspect here.
    2 The Leopard 2 has an actual frontal thickness of 1 metre on its turret front (to each side of the gun mantlet) although that includes spacing.
    3 Apparently the first type of Chobham (as fitted to the M1 Abrams6 had to be a minimum of 300mm thick to be effective. (That fact actually made the US opt for a heavier-than-planned MBT in order to incorporate it).
    4 E.g. make lighter vehicles better protected.
    5 It should be noted that maximum weight is a severe consideration due to transport/ shipping constraints. It's okay having a 100 tonne tank that is truly impenetrable, but it can't be airlifted anywhere and couldn't cross most bridges...
    6 Yes, the USA built the first tank with the British-developed Chobham, because the planned British MBT-80 was cancelled.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Dywyd....yes for dual warhead

    Remembering something else about Chobham armor, I believe they said any tank equipped with it had to have more of rectangular look to it, can’t bend the Chobham. None of that angular look which I think was incorporated into most tanks to deflect a round. Keep thinking of that FURY scene when the enemy shell bounces off Brad Pitt’s tank. Any idea how good tanks were at deflecting the enemy’s shells?

    One thing I remember hearing a tank driver say when I was younger, I grew up in Canadian Armed Forces base, was that an armor piercing shell more or less chewed up the tank personnel like hamburger before there was any explosion. Was that true, because I’ve never heard that since?
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Remembering something else about Chobham armor, I believe they said any tank equipped with it had to have more of rectangular look to it, can’t bend the Chobham.
    Yep, that's right. Apart from manufacturing issues (can't bend Chobham) the fact that it (possibly) incorporates ceramics is also a factor - ceramics aren't stiff enough to work as deflecors.

    Any idea how good tanks were at deflecting the enemy’s shells?
    Try this (ignore the lower graph):


    The top right graph shows two curves: the right-most/ lower one shows the increase in thickness due purely to geometry (line of sight thickness) (the 20 on the lower left diagram) while the upper/ left-most shows the effective thickness which takes into account the "deflection chance" (the 32 on the lower left diagram).
    (I have the equation somewhere, but IIRC it's cos(angle from vertical)1.86 x nominal (plate) thickness).

    One thing I remember hearing a tank driver say when I was younger, I grew up in Canadian Armed Forces base, was that an armor piercing shell more or less chewed up the tank personnel like hamburger before there was any explosion. Was that true, because I’ve never heard that since?
    If someone's in the way of it as it goes through then yes, casualties are also caused by spalling - pieces of armour flake off from the interior face and go hurtling round the inside of the tank.
    Not many anti-tank "shells" were actually shells (they tended to be shot1) as the bursting charge was relatively small and found to be generraly ineffective with all other effects considered2.

    1 Shell = an explosive charge surrounded by a (relatively) light casing, shot = a (mostly or entirely) solid "bullet). Shells, being lighter than shot were somewhat less effective at penetrating armour because they lost velocity rather more quickly than shot and impact velocity is a major factor in penetration (it varies as the square of impact speed).
    2 Typically for a a "killed" Sherman (for example) tank in WWII 1 crewman would be killed, one wounded and three would survive.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 1st, 2019 at 05:01 PM.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    It's relative: armour is impenetrable right up until a gun comes along with the velocity/ penetrator mass/ pentrator material to make it penetrable.
    This reminds me of the rivalry between Barbicane and Nichol in Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. Barbicane designed guns, and Nichol armor. Whenever the second produced a new "inpenetrable" armor, the first wouldn't rest until he came up with a gun/projectile that could penetrate it, which then drove the other to design better armor...
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    This reminds me of the rivalry between Barbicane and Nichol in Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. Barbicane designed guns, and Nichol armor. Whenever the second produced a new "inpenetrable" armor, the first wouldn't rest until he came up with a gun/projectile that could penetrate it, which then drove the other to design better armor...
    Yep.
    Many people think that the gun/ armour "race" started with tanks. Of course it predates that by a while: warships (post wooden ships of course) started it.
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    First clash of “Ironclads”, American Civil War. CSS Virginia and USS Monitor. The battle lasted for most of a day, with neither vessel destroyed at the end.
    There are a few interesting videos (YouTube) on the Finnish anti-tank rifle. One mentions armor angles.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Is modern tank armor better equipped to withstand ground or infantry attack? I’m speaking of hand held weapons or even cannon an attacking ground force has that might penetrate armor.
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    Purely anecdotal, I'm afraid, but I recall an Australian serviceman saying that tanks with (effectively) impenetrable armour could be done - but the reverberations inside would kill the occupants.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Is modern tank armor better equipped to withstand ground or infantry attack? I’m speaking of hand held weapons or even cannon an attacking ground force has that might penetrate armor.
    Infantry-portable (as opposed to, say, -luggable)1 are weight-limited and thus of limited effectiveness against MBTs2.
    What's needed to reliably kill an MBT is velocity (implying a heavy system), calibre (if using CE3 weapons - also implying a heavy system) or mass (= heavy system).


    1 Portable = RPG, LAW etc, luggable = Milan and the like (i.e. a firing post/ sight unit and replaceable missiles).
    2 Depending, of course, on situation: T-80 got a bad reputation for vulnerabilty in Grozny: mainly because the type was used in cities and was coming under fire from multiple RPGs from upper floors - engine decks are much more thinly armoured than the frontal aspect.
    3 CE = chemical energy (as opposed to KE = kinetic energy) - hollow-charge weapons. (Which also actually use a kinetic penetrator but hey ho...).
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Hard to believe the Panzerfaust could penetrate up 8" of armor. Have read that allied tank crews actually had to call for the assistance of infantry, especially in an urban arena. Most movies tell it the other way around but boots on the ground always seems to be the final resort.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Have read that allied tank crews actually had to call for the assistance of infantry, especially in an urban arena.
    Absolutely: when a tank is closed up (i.e. the commander is inside with his hatch shut1 a tank crew has very limited visibility. A roughly keyhole-shaped blind spot (tail to the rear) that extends to about (IIRC) 10 metres forwards/ sideways and up to 30 metres rearwards. Any infantry that close and crouched (or laid in hiding/ ambush) isn't visible to the crew. Unsupported armour is extremely vulnerable to skilful/ brave infantry. Having their own pongoes along with them means that there's far less chance of being caught unaware.

    Despite it being a "maxim" of tank warfare that "armour doesn't/ shouldn't operate in urban areas except as a last resort" recent studies have shown that the majority of tank action in WWII was, in fact, in urban settings.


    1 If the guy decides to keep his head out (to see what's happening) he risks being hit by a sniper or anyone with a small arm lucky enough to to be on target.
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    Tanks are a funny piece of hardware. Their existence makes them obsolete. They were invented to break out of the stalemate of bloody meat grinder trench warfare. Barbed wire held up advancing troops, entrenched machine guns killed the held up troops in cats cradles of interlocking fire. Both side had this and couldn't advance much hence stalemate for year after year. The tank is intended to crush the barbed wire and put the entrenched defenders under machine gun fire from the tank. The machine gun being the main weapon of the tank. The big gun merely being defense from other tanks. That was WWI. For WWII a lot of tanks were built to win the kind of war WW1 was. But nobody fought from trenches because everybody knew tanks could over run them. The strategy then was maneuver warfare. Go fast hit, hard and win quickly. In the first few days of WWII Germany won what they couldn't win for years in WWI. But that relegated tanks to the role of very expensive mobile artillery. But if you don't have tanks it encourages the enemy to entrench. So you have to have them, and you have to use them for something. But usually they are used in roles they are inappropriate for. Advancing against small unit resistance in cities, jungles, mountain, and forest roads is the usual role. That role makes them extremely vulnerable to the kind of inexpensive weapons that small units can field. The shaped charge is the prescription for small unit combat against armor. RPG against light armor, and larger shaped charge rockets against heavier armor. There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world. That's why modern western mechanized armies have done so poorly in Korea, Vietnam, and the middle east.

    But it's not just small units that made the difference in recent wars. It's the over all strategy, the way of war, that the small units support. That way of war is best illustrated in comparison to the way of western mechanized war. The western way is attrition, the eastern is territorial occupation. The western is chess. You take out the men until the king surrenders. You don't kill the king. The eastern way is akin to the game of Go. The one who holds the most territory when no further moves are possible, stalemate, is the winner. But war isn't Go. There is another way to win that kind of war. That way is the opposite of the western way. You don't start out at the bottom taking out the troops, and up the hierarchy till the king surrenders. You take out the head, and shoulders, and down the hierarchy until every one left says thank god they're gone. That's what we know about government by territorial occupation. Everybody hates the leaders. That's because they govern by terrorism. They don't even issue much ammunition to most of their troops. They know if they did their troops would overthrow them. They issue just enough for their troops to resist an initial conventional assault. Then they issue more ammunition. Only a few units of elite troops get as much ammo as they need, and live well. Their purpose is to protect the leadership against overthrow, or an external attack directed on the leadership.

    To bad western armies don't understand that.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    Tanks are a funny piece of hardware. Their existence makes them obsolete.
    No.

    For WWII a lot of tanks were built to win the kind of war WW1 was.
    A lot?

    But that relegated tanks to the role of very expensive mobile artillery.
    No.

    There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world.
    Name one.
    The fact is that if ALL anti-tank weapons were shaped charge then building an impenetrable tank wopuld be far easier.

    That's why modern western mechanized armies have done so poorly in Korea, Vietnam, and the middle east.
    Rubbish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    No.

    A lot?

    No.

    Name one.
    The fact is that if ALL anti-tank weapons were shaped charge then building an impenetrable tank wopuld be far easier.


    Rubbish.
    I'll take the intelligence in my post over the intelligence in your 27 word response any day of my life.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    And yet you can't - or won't - back up your claims.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    And yet you can't - or won't - back up your claims.
    What claim specifically? I didn't "claim" anything. I essayed basic military knowledge.
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  19. #18  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    What claim specifically? I didn't "claim" anything. I essayed basic military knowledge.
    Let's see...

    Tanks are a funny piece of hardware. Their existence makes them obsolete.
    If this is "basic military knowledge" I wonder why armies have been using them for nearly 100 years.
    The role of tanks, like tanks themsleves, evolved.

    The machine gun being the main weapon of the tank. The big gun merely being defense from other tanks. That was WWI.
    False. The big gun was intended to fire high explosive - dug-in artillery (one of the targets of the first tanks) with gun shields were relatively safe from MG fire.

    For WWII a lot of tanks were built to win the kind of war WW1 was.
    This is simply wrong.
    Trials, experiments, military thinking and a couple of wars evolved a different role for tanks during the 20s and 30s. Ergo WWI-style fighting wasn't the driving factor of tank design for WWII tanks.

    But that relegated tanks to the role of very expensive mobile artillery.
    I have no idea what you mean here.

    There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world.
    Name one.

    That's why modern western mechanized armies have done so poorly in Korea, Vietnam, and the middle east.
    Really? "Western" armies didn't have shaped-charge wepaons? Do you have a breakdown of tank losses by weapon to support your claim?

    That way is the opposite of the western way. You don't start out at the bottom taking out the troops, and up the hierarchy till the king surrenders. You take out the head, and shoulders, and down the hierarchy until every one left says thank god they're gone.
    You're apparently unaware that dating from the 1930s Western (and Soviet/ Russian) armoured units have largely been predicated on bypassing combat, cutting off the troops "at the bottom" and doing their best to disrupt headqaurtes units: esentially decapitation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    What claim specifically? I didn't "claim" anything. I essayed basic military knowledge.
    Let's see...

    Tanks are a funny piece of hardware. Their existence makes them obsolete.
    If this is "basic military knowledge" I wonder why armies have been using them for nearly 100 years.
    The role of tanks, like tanks themsleves, evolved.
    I explained that in the earlier post.

    The machine gun being the main weapon of the tank. The big gun merely being defense from other tanks. That was WWI.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    False. The big gun was intended to fire high explosive - dug-in artillery (one of the targets of the first tanks) with gun shields were relatively safe from MG fire.
    No. Artillery was several miles behind the lines. shows what you know.
    For WWII a lot of tanks were built to win the kind of war WW1 was.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    This is simply wrong.
    Again explained in the earlier post. We have to have them to prevent entrenchment. Without tanks WWI proved not masses of infantry, nor air power, nor massive artillery or chemical gas will can move entrenched lines much. They just sit there and kill troops on both sides by the millions.
    Trials, experiments, military thinking and a couple of wars evolved a different role for tanks during the 20s and 30s. Ergo WWI-style fighting wasn't the driving factor of tank design for WWII tanks.
    Explained earlier. Tanks discouraged entrenchment. Absent entrenchment, but still having a lot of expensive tanks, they were put to other uses. But more tanks on both sides were taken out by small unit action than were taken out by enemy tanks, air power, and artillery. The allies used the bazooka and the germans used the panzerfaust. Small unit weapons with shaped charge rockets.

    But that relegated tanks to the role of very expensive mobile artillery.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    I have no idea what you mean here.
    You have no idea what mobile artillery is? You have no idea that there are cheaper forms of mobile artillery than very expensive tanks? You have no idea how they're used as artillery? What specifically?

    There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world.
    Name one.
    See above. Named two. They've only gotten more powerful since then. <And no, I'm not going to post to potential enemies a shopping list of anti tank rockets.
    That's why modern western mechanized armies have done so poorly in Korea, Vietnam, and the middle east.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Really? "Western" armies didn't have shaped-charge wepaons? Do you have a breakdown of tank losses by weapon to support your claim?
    As I wrote earlier. The enemy didn't have to use tanks in their main strategy. It was territorial occupation and terrorism. You want stats for how small unit action does against modern air power, and armor? Look up how the afghans did against the Soviets after we armed their small units with small unit rockets. A billion dollars worth of briefly trained small units with rockets booted out a trillion dollar Soviet army. Something about that you don't understand? Or was it "before your time". Surely you've seen "Charlie Wilson's War"?

    That way is the opposite of the western way. You don't start out at the bottom taking out the troops, and up the hierarchy till the king surrenders. You take out the head, and shoulders, and down the hierarchy until every one left says thank god they're gone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    You're apparently unaware that dating from the 1930s Western (and Soviet/ Russian) armoured units have largely been predicated on bypassing combat, cutting off the troops "at the bottom" and doing their best to disrupt headqaurtes units: esentially decapitation.
    However you characterize what they did, and I'm not saying your characterization is even accurate, It didn't work.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    I explained that in the earlier post.
    Nope. Otherwise why leave in the claim that theire existence makes them obsolete.

    No. Artillery was several miles behind the lines. shows what you know.
    Heavy artillery was way behind the line: field guns weren't.
    If your claim is correct then why did the first tank fielded carry two 6 pounder guns?

    Explained earlier. Tanks discouraged entrenchment. Absent entrenchment, but still having a lot of expensive tanks, they were put to other uses.
    Utter crap.
    Post WW1 tanks were designed for roles other than getting through barbed wire.

    But more tanks on both sides were taken out by small unit action than were taken out by enemy tanks, air power, and artillery.
    Oh good: post the figures. (You're wrong by the way).

    You have no idea what mobile artillery is? You have no idea that there are cheaper forms of mobile artillery than very expensive tanks? You have no idea how they're used as artillery? What specifically?
    I have no idea what you mean. Tanks (especially early on in WWII) were, with one or two exceptions (e.g. PzKpfw IV with the 75 L/24, Stug III with the same gun), designed with anti-tank weapons. British tanks (again apart from CS versions - which had smoke ammunition only) didn't even carry HE rounds, so how were they "used as mobile artillery"?

    See above. Named two. They've only gotten more powerful since then.
    The only "names" you've given are Panzerfaust and Bazooka from WWII (apparently being unaware that these are essentially generic names - i.e. multiple variants with varying effectiveness). And you claim that either of these " can take out any tank in the world"? Really? I wonder why there are far larger systems in service then.

    Look up how the afghans did against the Soviets after we armed their small units with small unit rockets. A billion dollars worth of briefly trained small units with rockets booted out a trillion dollar Soviet army. Something about that you don't understand?
    Again, this is just an empty claim unless you have a breakdown of kill causes. The Soviets lost a mere 8% of tanks that they fielded in Afghanistan.

    However you characterize what they did, and I'm not saying your characterization is even accurate, It didn't work.
    Yeah...
    The fact that you're talking about one kind of war when tanks were and are designed for an entirely other kind doesn't exactly validate your claims.
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    Dywyddyr,

    You clearly have very little interest in military history, equipment, or use. If you did you would know at least a little. Even if what you knew was in error, or you misunderstood what you saw some facts would filter through in your posts.

    You don't even have the interest to read what I wrote. This discussion is degenerating into a series of me repeating what I wrote, and repeatedly saying that I didn't write what you claim I did.

    Your intelligence on this subject thin, and is rubbish. I answered the OP question. There will never be impenetrable tank armor that small unit tank killers can't defeat with cheap small unit arms unless the tank so big and heavy that the missile is too big to carry by small units. Then the tank is too big and heavy to get to the battlefield because of the limits of logistics like roads, trains, ships etc. The only thing a penetrating round from a gun has over small unit rockets is it's cheaper than a rocket. But putting a gun capable of firing a penetrating round on a tank risks a very expensive tank. Tanks will never be invulnerable to small unit forces unless they are used in the strategic purpose for which they were originally designed. Leading the charge in penetrating trenches. What emerged from that successful purpose is that no one entrenches. That no one entrenches is their current strategic purpose. They don't even have to fight to achieve that purpose. Their practical use is relegated to infantry support. Following the infantry, and putting fire on small unit resistance entrenched in buildings, pill boxes, and other hardened emplacements that infantry can't penetrate without great loss. Sure artillery can knock down a building but a tank can put one right through the door, or window, or hole the enemy is firing from.

    But the enemy strategy of territorial occupation risks attacking tanks to enemy rockets. You lose your tanks the enemy entrenches and you can't dislodge them. But protecting the tanks against the rockets with infantry is very costly in infantry.

    Now let's see if you can respond to this without claiming I wrote something I didn't..
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    Dywyddyr,

    You clearly have very little interest in military history, equipment, or use. If you did you would know at least a little.
    Considering that I've been a consultant and advisor on modern military equipment for a number of years I'd suggest you're mistaken.

    I answered the OP question.
    And made several claims that you can't back up.

    There will never be impenetrable tank armor that small unit tank killers can't defeat with cheap small unit arms unless the tank so big and heavy that the missile is too big to carry by small units.
    Still waiting for you to come up with a "small system" that can kill any tank...

    The only thing a penetrating round from a gun has over small unit rockets is it's cheaper than a rocket.
    Wrong. It's much easier to defend against CE warheads than against KE ones.

    Following the infantry, and putting fire on small unit resistance entrenched in buildings, pill boxes, and other hardened emplacements that infantry can't penetrate without great loss.
    Right. So what you're saying here is that a tank can be killed by any "small system" but that same system (or one of a similar weight) can't put a big hole in a wall.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 7th, 2019 at 10:25 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    The allies used the bazooka and the germans used the panzerfaust. Small unit weapons with shaped charge rockets.
    "Bazooka" refers to a whimsical musical instrument a comedian played circa 1942. The first man portable anti-tank rockets sort of looked like that instrument, so the name stuck.

    But that name refers to a great many weapons, from the M1 to the M65. All were very different. Some were man portable anti-tank weapons. Some were smoke/phosphorous grenades. Some were used for air-to-ground missions. Claiming "the bazooka could kill almost any tank" is like saying "the pistol can penetrate almost any protective vest." You have to be more specific than that.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    From Brittanica.com:
    Fighting in Lebanon in 1982 saw the first use, on Israeli tanks, of explosive reactive armour, which consisted of a layer of explosive sandwiched between two relatively thin steel plates. Designed to explode outward and thus neutralize the explosive penetration of a shaped-charge warhead, reactive armour augmented any protection already provided by steel or composite armour.
    How thin is thin? Was this armour (ERA) used for only certain areas of the tank? Was a weapon/warhead designed to counter it?

    I guess one could say that no armoured tank designer would ever co-design a weapon that could penetrate their new shield. So when a tank is designed that can't be penetrated by current/modern weaponry, how long does it take on average for a counter weapon to be designed?
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; February 8th, 2019 at 05:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    From Brittanica.com:
    Fighting in Lebanon in 1982 saw the first use, on Israeli tanks, of explosive reactive armour, which consisted of a layer of explosive sandwiched between two relatively thin steel plates. Designed to explode outward and thus neutralize the explosive penetration of a shaped-charge warhead, reactive armour augmented any protection already provided by steel or composite armour.
    How thin is thin?
    I haven't seen any exact figures but around 5mm (possibly up to 10) is my estimate from drawings I've seen. The thickness isn't of any particular import (apart from thicker = more weight): it's the fact that the plates are ejected rapidly into the moving stream of the shaped charge, thus preventing it forming fully into a penetrator and thereby degrading the armour penetration.

    Was this armour (ERA) used for only certain areas of the tank?
    Usually fitted to the most "vulnerable" areas (not the parts with the thinnest armour as built but the parts most likely to be hit: hull front, turret front and sides and, sometimes, hull sides).

    Was a weapon/warhead designed to counter it?
    The previously-mentioned dual warhead missile: this carries two warheads (one smaller than the main charge) the first of which triggers the ERA and then the second (main penetrator) to attack the armour that's now exposed after the ERA has gone off.

    I guess one could say that no armoured tank designer would ever co-design a weapon that could penetrate their new shield.
    Well, apart from them being entirely different disciplines there's also the money aspect: Wanna buy a new tank? Nothing can kill it. Six months later: Oh, wanna buy a new gun, it can kill anything!

    So when a tank is designed that can't be penetrated by current/modern weaponry, how long does it take on average for a counter weapon to be designed?
    Not that long, I'd suggest that the counter-measures are more of tooling up industry to get the new item into production. Designers start looking at "the next big thing" as soon as they've completed the last one, additionally the theories are always being expanded and extended.
    E.g. 140mm guns (with around twice the muzzle energy of then-contemporary - Chieftain, M1A1 Abrams, Leopard 2 etc - tanks) were under study and test 20 years ago. Specifically designed to be retrofitted to many tanks they were dropped in favour of ammunition improvements and/ or longer-barrelled 120mm guns (L/52 instead of L/44) which turned out to cheaper, less work overall and gave something like 50% improvement in muzzle energy.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Dywyd...you’ve been a wealth of tank information. I only have couple more queries....

    Seems as if tank armour is primarily designed to keep the operators alive to allow the full extent of its weaponry to be unleashed. However when I look at a tank it’s not hard to notice that the cogs & sprockets (tracks) are nearly all or partially exposed which may lead one to suspect they don't represent the tanks most vulnerable area. Have seen photos of tanks that have some sort of armoured skirt but never one that completely covers the tracks. Regardless, no skirting I’ve seen seems to be of a type of armor that could resist a big gun projectile very well. I would imagine a disabled tank is a sitting duck(npi) but at the same time I think for any tank commander, the importance of delivering a death blow overrides any decision to shoot at the tracks. I’m thinking that as long as a tank can fire off a round then it is still very dangerous. Do you think, other than getting things jammed up under metal skirting that the tracks are relatively safe from opposing tank fire during an engagement, thus the apparent lack of concern re track protection?

    Now for the tank’s underbelly. I would expect this to be less thicker armour wise. During the Netflix tank series they discussed the American obliteration of Iraqi armor. From what I understand the Iraqi tanks were dug in but in order to fire off a round they had to raise the tank above the parapet and expose their underbelly. I believe the narrator said the American tanks had a much farther range and that combined with the Iraqi tank being vulnerable was major bad news for anyone fighting in one of Saddam's mobile metal boxes. I suspect Americans knew they had the advantage in this scenario but that’s another topic. So my question is whether or not tank designers ever considered same protection for a tank’s bottom* as they would with the exposed areas of the machine?

    *I stand to be corrected if same amount of protection is common practice.
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; February 8th, 2019 at 08:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Seems as if tank armour is primarily designed to keep the operators alive to allow the full extent of its weaponry to be unleashed. However when I look at a tank itís not hard to notice that the cogs & sprockets (tracks) are nearly all or partially exposed which may lead one to suspect they represent the tanks most vulnerable area. Have seen photos of tanks that have some sort of armoured skirt but never one that completely covers the tracks. Regardless, no skirting Iíve seen seems to be of a type of armor that could resist a big gun projectile very well.
    I would imagine a disabled tank is a sitting duck(npi) but at the same time I think for any tank commander, the importance of delivering a death blow overrides any decision to shoot at the tracks. Iím thinking that as long as a tank can fire off a round then it is still very dangerous. Do you think, other than getting things jammed up under metal skirting that the tracks are relatively safe from opposing tank fire during an engagement, thus the apparent lack of concern re track protection?
    Most tanks can run with one or two roadwheels damaged/ destroyed1 but providing the same level of protection to any of the wheels (sprocket/ idler/ roadwheel would be expensive (in weight) and impractical (especially for the roadwheels, since they have to have a large amount of vertical travel in order to smooth out the cross-country ride): skirt armour that completely covered those would actually touch the ground and bottom out on bumps).
    However, those wheels are (relatively) easily replaced when damaged. It's cheaper and more practical to accept the loss of wheels than to provide anything approaching full protection. Plus which, studies have shown that in most types of terrain the bottom 0.7m of a tank is rarely visible (bumps/ ridges/ undergrowth etc) so targeting them is problematic.

    Now for the tankís underbelly. I would expect this to be less thicker armour wise.
    Absolutely - usually in the tens of millimetres (rather than tens or hundreds of centimetres of the frontal armour). Again this is the result of numerous studies on where tanks are likely to hit in combat - the less likely any area is to be hit the less it's armoured (to keep the weight down).
    Upgrades have been added to various tanks to add armour to the underbelly in the light of IED attacks which specifically aim at the underbelly.

    During the Netflix tank series they discussed the American obliteration of Iraqi armor. From what I understand the Iraqi tanks were dug in but in order to fire off a round they had to raise the tank above the parapet and expose their underbelly.
    Soviet/ Russian tanks have less gun depression than Western types ( -5 vs -10 degrees). This does mean that the tank is lower overall but it also means that when they're on a ridge they have to move down from the crest, exposing themselves to get a shot - as they do move up to, and over, the crest then they expose their belly which might as well be cheese for all the protection it offers against most AP/ APFSDS rounds.

    I believe the narrator said the American tanks had a much farther range
    It's not so much the gun range2 as the sighting/ targeting system.
    Better optics and fire control allow more precise targeting at longer ranges.

    1 Roadwheels being the ones that run along the bottom run of the track, i.e. they'd touch the road were it not for the track itself. Other wheels being the (drive) sprocket, the idler and - in some tanks - the return rollers (the ones that are rarely seen due to skirt armour that support the the top (return) run of track.
    2 Usually tank guns are said to have ranges of 2-4 km, but this is a factor of gun elevation. IF they could elevate more then, given the phenomenal muzzle velocities involved, 15-20 km (or more) would be closer to the limit of range. Compare a tank gun muzzle velocity (around 1800 m/sec) with that of a self-propelled howitzer (M88 HE round at 925 m/ sec). And elevation (tank ~20 degrees, SP How ~60-70 degrees). And then compare nominal ranges...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Right. So what you're saying here is that a tank can be killed by any "small system" but that same system (or one of a similar weight) can't put a big hole in a wall.
    knew you couldn't do it. Not one post without claiming I said something I never said. In that one sentence you put two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    2 Usually tank guns are said to have ranges of 2-4 km, but this is a factor of gun elevation. IF they could elevate more then, given the phenomenal muzzle velocities involved, 15-20 km (or more) would be closer to the limit of range. Compare a tank gun muzzle velocity (around 1800 m/sec) with that of a self-propelled howitzer (M88 HE round at 925 m/ sec). And elevation (tank ~20 degrees, SP How ~60-70 degrees). And then compare nominal ranges...
    Well HE rounds are never fired as fast as KE rounds. Tanks can usually fire both. But howitzers almost never fire KE rounds. But tanks fire KE rounds at armor. It's an armor perpetrator. They are not usually fired for range. They could go farther than an HE but they're not used that way He rounds are usually fired on tanks at range, and as plunging fire. They are intended to go up and come down on top of the tank past the thick frontal armor. or at closer range at the side. howitzers are artillery and fire a variety of rounds, anti personnel, high explosive, and the occasional shaped charge, and KE. After all, if a howitzer artillery battalion was set upon with direct fire from tanks you wouldn't want to have to pot away at frontal armor with nothing but AP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    Well HE rounds are never fired as fast as KE rounds.
    And your point...? This makes my point (again).

    They could go farther than an HE
    Like I said: they can't because the gun doesn't have the elevation.

    They are intended to go up and come down on top of the tank past the thick frontal armor.
    No. They're not intended for use against tanks per se (i.e. not tank killing, merely formation disruption). (Although rounds like Copperhead do give some capability).

    howitzers are artillery and fire a variety of rounds, anti personnel, high explosive, and the occasional shaped charge, and KE.
    KE for howitzers? Which ones?

    After all, if a howitzer artillery battalion was set upon with direct fire from tanks you wouldn't want to have to pot away at frontal armor with nothing but AP.
    1) Howitzers shouldn't be any where near engagement range of tanks.
    2) "You wouldn't want to fire at tanks with AP" when you've already stated that AP is an anti-tank round?
    3) Howitzers don't have the fire control for direct anti-tank use. That, coupled with the (generally) bagged charges and round weights would make such an action simply a last-ditch defence option.
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Right. So what you're saying here is that a tank can be killed by any "small system" but that same system (or one of a similar weight) can't put a big hole in a wall.
    knew you couldn't do it. Not one post without claiming I said something I never said. In that one sentence you put two.
    Really?


    1) There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world (post #13).
    2) Following the infantry, and putting fire on small unit resistance entrenched in buildings, pill boxes, and other hardened emplacements that infantry can't penetrate without great loss. And: but a tank can put one right through the door, or window, or hole the enemy is firing from. (post #21)

    So what we have is a tank putting rounds into bunkers (a very expensive tank which - according to you1 - is vulnerable to small unit rockets) yet (apparently) it will survive where infantry (smaller, sneakier, able to use cover better) would die. The same infantry that, equally apparently, has the system to kill "any tank" but doesn't have a system to make holes in bunkers.
    Perhaps you should be clearer when making posts.

    1 And still unsupported.

    Oh. Why do you persist in claiming that I've (in every reply by me, apparently) ascribed something to you that you didn't say?
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 8th, 2019 at 05:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Right. So what you're saying here is that a tank can be killed by any "small system" but that same system (or one of a similar weight) can't put a big hole in a wall.
    knew you couldn't do it. Not one post without claiming I said something I never said. In that one sentence you put two.
    Really?


    1) There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world (post #13).
    2) Following the infantry, and putting fire on small unit resistance entrenched in buildings, pill boxes, and other hardened emplacements that infantry can't penetrate without great loss. And: but a tank can put one right through the door, or window, or hole the enemy is firing from. (post #21)

    So what we have is a tank putting rounds into bunkers (a very expensive tank which - according to you1 - is vulnerable to small unit rockets) yet (apparently) it will survive where infantry (smaller, sneakier, able to use cover better) would die. The same infantry that, equally apparently, has the system to kill "any tank" but doesn't have a system to make holes in bunkers.
    Perhaps you should be clearer when making posts.

    1 And still unsupported.

    Oh. Why do you persist in claiming that I've (in every reply by me, apparently) ascribed something to you that you didn't say?
    You persist in pretending to be a professional military expert but need to ask me twice for a shopping list of current anti tank rockets for you to Googol in your Googol fight. A post about foolishly using an expensive tank killer rocket against a holed up small unit. A tank properly screened with proper tactics using a 200 dollar shot is cheaper. (Not giving a shopping list of proper attack tactics for you to Googol either). You don't know AP isn't armor piercing. I even gave a hint.

    Show me where I said "a tank can be taken out by any "small system". What I said was anti tank has gotten bigger since WWII panzerfaust, and bazooka. You only had those two words to Googl fight with so those are what you looked up to dispute. You don't even know enough to look up other rockets in your googol fight 'cause I won't give the names. Hah!
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    Its GOOGLE get it right.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    You persist in pretending to be a professional military expert but need to ask me twice for a shopping list of current anti tank rockets for you to Googol in your Googol fight.
    Because YOU made the claim. (In case you hadn't guessed I disagree with you and it's not up to me to support your claim).

    A post about foolishly using an expensive tank killer rocket against a holed up small unit. A tank properly screened with proper tactics using a 200 dollar shot is cheaper.
    No it's not. A tank cost in the millions of dollars. A shoulder-launched missile in the tens of thousands.

    You don't know AP isn't armor piercing. I even gave a hint.
    Actually AP = Armour Piercing (given that you'd previously claimed that howitzers carry KE - i.e. AP - rounds). If meant anti-personnel then why didn't you use "HE".

    Show me where I said "a tank can be taken out by any "small system".
    I didn't say "any". What you wrote was "There are small unit shaped charge rockets that can take out any tank in the world" (post #21).
    You also stated (post #19) "See above. Named two. " and all that was mentioned were "bazooka and panzerfaust".
    These are not capable of taking out modern tanks.

    What I said was anti tank has gotten bigger since WWII panzerfaust, and bazooka.
    And modern armour is vastly more effective than WWII-style simply metal. Like I said: it's far easier to protect against shaped charges than against KE (this is why "effective thickness values" are typically 50% higher for resistance against CE than they are against KE).

    I note that you still haven't supported a single one of your claims - from ANY post.
    (Nor have you shown where I've claimed you wrote something you haven't).
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 9th, 2019 at 02:45 AM.
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    Stepping up to the future and right out of Star Wars, Electromagnetic Armour. Unfortunately this article is 9 years old and what became of the work I couldn't say. Bullshit, Scrap Heap or Top Secret at this point?

    Excerpt:
    Researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which is the research and development arm of the Ministry of Defence, claim it is possible to incorporate material known as supercapacitors into armour of a vehicle to turn it into a kind of giant battery. When a threat from incoming fire is detected by the vehicle, the energy stored in the supercapacitor can be rapidly dumped onto the metal plating on the outside of the vehicle, producing a strong electromagnetic field.

    Scientists behind the project claim this would produce a momentary "force field" capable of repelling the incoming rounds and projectiles.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Its GOOGLE get it right.....
    Don't waste your time Paleo, Doit has already shown himself to be an imbecile. I mean he honestly thinks that by posting names small unit weapons with shaped charges that he would be helping enemies as per this statement in post #19
    And no, I'm not going to post to potential enemies a shopping list of anti tank rockets.
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Stepping up to the future and right out of Star Wars, Electromagnetic Armour. Unfortunately this article is 9 years old and what became of the work I couldn't say. Bullshit, Scrap Heap or Top Secret at this point?
    As far as I can ascertain it's still under test and development.
    (And, also as far as I can discern actual details, it's "only" effective against shaped charge weapons: it disrupts the warhead - preventing the full formation of the penetrator - rather than "repelling" incoming rounds).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    (Nor have you shown where I've claimed you wrote something you haven't).
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    Show me where I said "a tank can be taken out by any "small system".
    I didn't say "any".
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    So what you're saying here is that a tank can be killed by any "small system"
    So now I showed you, despite your false denial, where you did claim I wrote something I didn't write. So say something about your false accusation and your false denial. Or are you just going to continue to Google fight, make false accusations, false clams, and false denials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    See above. Named two. They've only gotten more powerful since then.
    The only "names" you've given are Panzerfaust and Bazooka from WWII (apparently being unaware that these are essentially generic names - i.e. multiple variants with varying effectiveness). And you claim that either of these " can take out any tank in the world"? Really? I wonder why there are far larger systems in service then.
    Didn't say Panzerfaust and Bazooka can take out any tank in the world. But I see you've learned there are larger systems in the world now. Maybe some day you'll learn about ones that can take out a main battle tank.

    So now you can go Google main battle tank.
    Last edited by doitright; February 10th, 2019 at 03:03 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    So now I showed you, despite your false denial, where you did claim I wrote something I didn't write.
    If you have to resort to lying then you don't have much of an argument.
    Please quote and list the post where I wrote "any small system can take out any tank" (learn context!).
    (I.e. the "any" small system that CAN take out a tank is - apparently - incapable of putting a large hole in wall the way a tank can).

    Didn't say Panzerfaust and Bazooka can take out any tank in the world.
    And yet when I asked for examples of your claims "small systems that could take out any tank" those are the only two that you referred back to.

    But I see you've learned there are larger systems in the world now. Maybe some day you'll learn about ones that can take out a main battle tank.
    Enough is enough: provide a link to these or face a 3 day ban.
    The constant refusal to support your claim, coupled with deflections and the resort to false accusations1 is becoming tedious.

    1 You have repeatedly claimed that I have stated you wrote something you didn't, and, apart from this one instance of confusion, you haven't backed it up.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 10th, 2019 at 03:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by doitright View Post
    So now I showed you, despite your false denial, where you did claim I wrote something I didn't write.
    If you have to resort to lying then you don't have much of an argument.
    Please quote and list the post where I wrote "any small system can take out any tank" (learn context!).
    (I.e. the "any" small system that CAN take out a tank is - apparently - incapable of putting a large hole in wall the way a tank can).

    Didn't say Panzerfaust and Bazooka can take out any tank in the world.
    And yet when I asked for examples of your claims "small systems that could take out any tank" those are the only two that you referred back to.

    But I see you've learned there are larger systems in the world now. Maybe some day you'll learn about ones that can take out a main battle tank.
    Enough is enough: provide a link to these or face a 3 day ban.
    The constant refusal to support your claim, coupled with deflections and the resort to false accusations1 is becoming tedious.

    1 You have repeatedly claimed that I have stated you wrote something you didn't, and, apart from this one instance of confusion, you haven't backed it up.
    Fuck you you lying fucking cheat. I knew showing you up for a liar and cheat would get me banned. So I'll just call you a fucking lying cheat and ban your ass and you ignoramus members for good. No one with any self respect would submit to your cheating ignorance. Shove it up your ass.
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    Bye...
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    Doitright has 3 days off.
    If/ when you come back I expect:
    a list of all posts where I wrote something you didn't say ("Not one post without claiming I said something I never said.")
    at least two names of small systems that can take out any tank.
    and answers to all other questions posed (but so far ignored).

    Oh, and in any further posts: a cessation of evasion, deflection and unsupported claims.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Its GOOGLE get it right.....
    Don't waste your time Paleo, Doit has already shown himself to be an imbecile. I mean he honestly thinks that by posting names small unit weapons with shaped charges that he would be helping enemies as per this statement in post #19
    And no, I'm not going to post to potential enemies a shopping list of anti tank rockets.
    But it's a well-known fact that anyone who can afford to buy anti-tank launchers doesn't have access to Google. Or Jane's, or any reliable source on weapons capability. They have to rely on information scavenged from forums!
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; February 12th, 2019 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Typo error corrected.
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  45. #44  
    Samurai of Logic Falconer360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    But it's a well-known fact that anyone who can afford to buy anti-tank launchers doesn't have access to Google. Or Jane's, or any reliable source on weapons capability. They gave to rely on information scavenged from forums!
    Ah, it all becomes as clear as mud now. It's amazing how the internet will allow access to forums but not to google or any other reliable source for weapons info, it must be the damn CIA running interference.
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    Here's something on metal foam tank armour. Seems to be more advantageous, but again, for how long?
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    Well, the rpg-29 which is a russian launcher developed in the late 80's did this according to some stuff from the wikipedia article:

    2003 Iraq War[edit]

    The RPG-29 is believed to have been used in skirmishes against American and British forces during the initial 2003 invasion of Iraq.[10] An RPG-29 round was reported in August 2006 to have penetrated the frontal underside hull (equipped with ERA) of a Challenger 2 tank during an engagement in al-Amarah, Iraq, maiming one and wounding several other crew members, but only lightly damaging the tank, which drove home under its own power.[11]
    On August 25, 2007 a PG-29V hit a passing M1 Abrams in the hull rear wounding 3 crew members.[12] On September 5, 2007, a PG-29V hit the side turret of an M1 Abrams in Baghdad, killing 2 of the crew and wounding 1, and the tank was seriously damaged.[13]


    So maybe, making an impenetrable tank is much harder than once thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASPIS View Post
    Well, the rpg-29 which is a russian launcher developed in the late 80's did this according to some stuff from the wikipedia article
    According to that article the Chally was damaged, not "taken out" per se. Oh, and it was hit on a portion of its armour that was deliberately designed as less thick than elsewhere when caught in an unusual position.
    The Abrams was in more trouble, but again: damaged.
    What isn't reported is how many times a Chally (or an Abrams) was hit by an RPG-29 and got away with it: i.e. the reports are are already skewed data, they only cover part of the information.
    Further: that incident was over 10 years ago (about one generation with regard to tank design) and upgrades (including better armour) have since been fitted.
    So maybe, making an impenetrable tank is much harder than once thought.
    Except that no one has ever claimed that tanks are "impenetrable".
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; June 30th, 2019 at 06:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ASPIS View Post
    Well, the rpg-29 which is a russian launcher developed in the late 80's did this according to some stuff from the wikipedia article
    According to that article the Chally was damaged, not "taken out" per se. Oh, and it was hit on a portion of its armour that was deliberately designed as less thick than elsewhere when caught in an unusual position.
    The Abrams was in more trouble, but again: damaged.
    What isn't reported is how many times a Chally (or an Abrams) was hit by an RPG-29 and got away with it: i.e. the reports are are already skewed data, they only cover part of the information.
    Further: that incident was over 10 years ago (about one generation with regard to tank design) and upgrades (including better armour) have since been fitted.
    So maybe, making an impenetrable tank is much harder than once thought.
    Except that no one has ever claimed that tanks are "impenetrable".
    Yeah, I'm saying that the OP wants to know if its possible to design nigh impenetrable tank armor, and I'm voicing that if 80s tech can incapacitate an abrams of 2003 then it would be more difficult than one might believe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASPIS View Post
    Yeah, I'm saying that the OP wants to know if its possible to design nigh impenetrable tank armor
    Hasn't that been addressed by prior posts in the thread?
    and I'm voicing that if 80s tech can incapacitate an abrams of 2003 then it would be more difficult than one might believe.
    Er... the Abrams is, essentially, 70s tech.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ASPIS View Post
    Yeah, I'm saying that the OP wants to know if its possible to design nigh impenetrable tank armor
    Hasn't that been addressed by prior posts in the thread?
    and I'm voicing that if 80s tech can incapacitate an abrams of 2003 then it would be more difficult than one might believe.
    Er... the Abrams is, essentially, 70s tech.
    Yeah, I was just adding my two cents, also the abrams at the time wasn't the original as most of them in the inventory were mostly M1A2s or M1A2 SEPS, so it isn't entirely 70's tech.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASPIS View Post
    also the abrams at the time wasn't the original as most of them in the inventory were mostly M1A2s or M1A2 SEPS, so it isn't entirely 70's tech.
    Except that the M1A2 doesn't carry any more armour than the M1 = still 70s tech and the SEP which does carry more armour (if indeed the vehicle in question was an SEP variant) is still only 90s tech (first one delivered in 99). Not that much of a mismatch between RPG and tank "tech levels" given the slow pace of advancement these days.
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