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Old 2018-02-08, 13:52   #1
PatrickLA_CA
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Default Heavy armor in modern battlefields

I want to start a discussion about the effectiveness of heavy armor, MBTs in particular, in modern theaters such as the ones in Syria and Iraq right now. There are countless of videos showing T-72s, Leopard 2A4s, M1A1s as well as T90s being taken out easily.
Some easier than others, for example, a couple of T90s survived ATGM hits to the face, but most of the other videos, except the ones with the T-72s that seem to be opened like tin cans with TOWs, feature tanks out of position.





These are just some of the latest videos featuring Turkish Leopard 2A4s taking a beating in Syria. If needed I can provide plenty of other videos of T-72s and some from M1A1s. I'm interested in what you guys think about MBTs in asymmetrical warfare.Are they obsolete? Is it just bad doctrine or bad execution of it? Are vehicles with higher mobility going to be preferred over vehicles with higher protection?

My opinion is that at the very least, tanks should be covered in ERA unless the budget allows the operators to install APS, otherwise the only way I see tanks used in these scenarios is in a "blitzkrieg" type of operation with combined air, ground and infantry assets where the enemy will have to keep retreating, therefore being unable to set up ATGM ambushes, if you can even call that (the above videos) an ambush.

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Old 2018-02-08, 15:34   #2
Jacksonez__

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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

Rebels usually know the terrain better = they know the ambush points. That's how Russia's armor got cucked in Chechnya back in 90s.

I think tanks are just a psychological effect, and of course destroying fortifications. Too bad highly mobile ATGM groups knock those tank in that kind of terrain.

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Old 2018-02-08, 16:12   #3
Xander[nl]
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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

I think one of the biggest factors contributing to the fact so many tanks are lost to ATGMs is because of the lack of a combined-arms doctrine. It's kinda comparable to Russia's war in Chechnya. Tanks need proper infantry, recon and air support (and other tanks) and can't operate effectively on their own.

Crew training is probably a big factor too, at least for rebel tanks. I doubt properly trained crews would ever park their tanks completely in the open in the middle of a valley.

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Old 2018-02-08, 17:45   #4
PatrickLA_CA
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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

That's what I'm wondering too, why do we keep seeing isolated tanks in Syria, regardless if it is the Turkish 2A4 or the Syrian T-72. There's no air cover and no infantry cover, yet they stay in open areas for a long time.

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Old 2018-02-08, 19:34   #5
BubblyNinja

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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

Also just to add whats already been stated, i'd like to point out that most if not all of the tanks that keep getting absolutely destroyed by ATGMs in Syria are all export models of those tanks or are old and obsolete.

For example the M1A1M that the Iraqis have don't include any depleted uranium mesh layer or composite lining meaning that all they have are M1 Abrams with sloped steel armor with some Burlington composite plates and the armor of the Leopard 2A4 is believed to only provide protection equivalent to 700 mm armor steel (RHA) against kinetic energy penetrators and 1000 mm RHA against shaped charge warheads. As far as the T-90 the only video I've seen of one getting shat on is when it got hit in the rear while it was retreating.

The BGM-71 TOW has an effective 900mmRHA+ penetration value after ERA. While many of the Russian ATGMs (Konkurs, Metis, Fagot, & some Malyutkas) have an effective 1000mmRHA+ penetration value after ERA.

Many of the tanks being fielded in Syria just weren't designed/intended to take on something like that.

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Old 2018-02-09, 00:20   #6
Ragnarok1775

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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

Bubbly points out an important fact, these are old tanks against newer AT weapons. Also the crews are not as trained and the tanks not as advanced as their western counterparts. Compare an American or British TC who might have 8-10 years of experience and constant training with his tank crew. While I imagine most of these irregulars have basically a crash course and trial by fire. They probably haven't seen repetitive deployments for the past decade either.

Tanks are really meant for fighting other tanks, in open ground. But they can also be invaluable in an urban environment if used properly. A HEAT or fragmentation round through a window completely disregards a sniper or MG team's cover for instance. So I don't think they are obsolete or will go away, but will find themselves doing a lot of things outside of what's normally expected of a tank.

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Old 2018-02-09, 00:34   #7
Hokunin
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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksonez__ View Post
Rebels usually know the terrain better = they know the ambush points. That's how Russia's armor got cucked in Chechnya back in 90s.

Not quite right. Russia lost lots of tanks on first part of war, due to stupid generals. They sent the tanks straight into the city, when Chechnya declared independence. Probably generals didn't take them seriously and hoped that upon seeing column of tanks in city they will surrender. Instead all the tanks were annihilated. Chechens had lots of soviet RPGs in storage.

From then on, Russian tanks started being used just as "snipers", and it was only infantry who fought in the city and other settlements.

Arabs losing modern MBTs in large quantities and other high-tech armament is result of their inexperience in warfare. In most of the videos of Saudis in Yemen, tanks are standing unprotected, in the open, in worst places possible, no camouflaging, no all round perimeter defense, no security measures taken.

In some cases, as with Iraqis they just leave their tanks and other armor for the taking and run in panic upon seeing insurgents pickup cars. Insurgents then blow tanks up leisurely by putting explosives inside tanks and taking photos of it. Something similar happened in Palmira, when Syrian army just runaway simply leaving tanks, bmps and ammunition for the ISIS.

Judging new MBT role in modern warfare basing research on Arabian conflcts is wrong, arabs just don't know how to fight properly yet, very low morale and low professionalism(except crazy insurgents probably). No offence for the arabs here.

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Old 2018-02-09, 05:10   #8
Cossack
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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

I indeed support Hokunin on this about Chechnya and armor. Perfectly fine T-80's that are state of the art tech back then, used in environment it was not suppose to be in. Its purpose was rolling thru the wide open country side of West Germany, not ride in heavy urban areas.

United States army for example created TUSK upgrade package for their tanks. Russians also have something similar, but haven't seen any news about their use in combat.

About T-90's, I really cant find any information about single one destroyed in Syria. If reference is to public youtube video I found, then I only see outdated T-72's that Syrians themselves modified them.

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Old 2018-02-09, 12:29   #9
PatrickLA_CA
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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

Here's the destroyed T-90
https://www.mmo-champion.com/threads...orded-in-Syria
Supposedly an ATGM to the upper turret knocked out their optics and a second one to the side injured the crew.

Interesting, I wonder if they used the Shtora or it failed. I don't think they even thought about using it.

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Old 2018-02-09, 19:09   #10
Xander[nl]
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Default Re: Heavy armor in modern battlefields

Could be an export model that doesn't feature the entire system, or it could have been a wire-guided ATGM. Shtora only interfers with laser guided missiles afaik. Probably also a badly trained crew that was only taught how to drive forward and press the big fire button.

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