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Do we need a medium tank?
drewgimpy
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 10:11 AM UTC
I don't have a real educated opinion on this but thought it would be neat to discuss it. I have seen some discussion on the subject in the M24 post but thought we may continue it here in more detail.

I could see both sides to the argument. My first reaction would be sure we need it. I guess the main reason is we have had them before so why not now. My main question personally is what role would it fill today. It was mentioned the the post I mentioned above that as soon as it went against a main battle tank it would run into trouble and be considered a falure, which I agree with. I also read that it could be used in urban areas, but can the Bradley or LAV handle this role?

Like I said, I don't have an educated opinion on the subject but would like to hear from those who can give one. If we had a meduim tank, just how would it be deployed and how effective would it be?
GunTruck
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 10:29 AM UTC
Andrew - I think Rob and DJ will jump in here too, but here's my thoughts off the bat. I think we need the Medium with the speed and agility exhibited by the BullDog. It could hit hard, with a variety of ammunition, was swift, agile, and small enough to be nimble in close-quarters like urban settings. This coupled with an ability (if possible one day) to be airdropped - or at least LAPESed into a trouble-spot allows a rapid-deployment capability and firepower to deal with a threat for the quick-reaction force(s).

A fully-tracked vehicle would allow for greater armor protection than a wheeled vehicle and some mobility advantages. What I think would really be an advantage, is that if such a Medium Tank were fielded, it had commonality with the Abrams - i.e. tracks, road wheels, engine components, etc. An Abrams is a large vehicle, and probably not an attractive option for street fighting in an urban setting. But a Medium Tank, deployed in the opening stages of a conflict with such mobility and firepower could keep the aggressor at bay until the Abrams is deployed - and then would be a real force multiplier in combat formations with the Abrams as a centerpiece. An Abrams Combat Team, if you will, with the Medium Tank and the Bradley complimenting the Abrams.

I think with such a vehicle in the arsenal, the deployment of the Medium with the Bradley could replace the Abrams - keeping the heavies in reserve - or on the ready for other theaters where the threat of deploying reserve Abrams would be enough to keep a potential aggressor in check.

Gunnie
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:06 AM UTC
Think of the Abrams as a linebacker. Big, strong and quick in the open field. It doesn't have the best maneuverability in a heavily wooded or built up environment. You need something a little more nimble, smaller. A Bradley is cumbersome as a light/medium tank, too high a profile, TOW (or any guided missile) does not lend itself to street fighting and too lightly armored. Don't want RPG gunners getting cheap mobility kills on the vehicle and then picking off the tank.

You want a medium tank to be like a star running back. Highly maneuverable, very fast, able to take a hit and, if necessary, run over the opposition. The AGS system was a light tank that too many people wanted to hang too much stuff on. Sometimes the simplest design can be the best. A smaller, heavily armed tank with laser range finder and able to fire HEP and beehive as well as a sabot and HEAT round (upload ammo based the upcoming mission) would be better for street fighting. Even ERA could be attached to the exterior to increase survivability iif the mission dictated it.
drewgimpy
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:11 AM UTC
EDIT (I made this post while Rob was making his so I didn't get to read his first)

Makes sense to me. I am just trying to picture where it would come into play and that helped. I really liked the idea of interchanging parts, makes a ton of sense. Thanks for the reply, I look forward to more.

Also, can an Abrams be airlifted at all? I rember seeing a diagram somewhere of a single one in a C-5 but that was years ago and I know the weight has climbed in the last 10 years or so.

One more thing, could a Bradley take a hit from a RPG and live? I am curiouse as to how much they would have helped in the Blackhawk down situation or in the urban situations we are talking about.
pipesmoker
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:21 AM UTC
Hey guys.
IIRC seeing on the History Channel maybe? something about a low profiile 2 man stealth - type tank, about 6 feet tall, fast and agile. Or have I been with the glue bottle open too long?
I think it was at the end of the show about the Abrams test track.
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Also, can an Abrams be airlifted at all? I rember seeing a diagram somewhere of a single one in a C-5 but that was years ago and I know the weight has climbed in the last 10 years or so.

Yes, one can ride in a C-5 or C-17.
Quoted Text

...could a Bradley take a hit from a RPG and live?

Yes, but if hit in volley (several RPGs fired at it simultaneously) it may not. Also if hit in the tracks or from a roof top, it may be killed or disabled.
drewgimpy
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 12:56 PM UTC
The more I learn the more I want to know. So basically the ideal medium tank would take as many M1 parts as possible and be shrunk down. I would like to get opinions on what exactly this tank would have for components. Would it have the same gun and fire system of the Abrams? Would a 105mm gun be enough today and in the future? Would the large Abrams engine fit or would all that power be needed? How about the crew, would we drop one of them and go down to 3?
210cav
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 09:10 PM UTC
Guys--I doubt that we need a medium tank. The deficiency in the force today comes from the lack of a system you can get into a C-130 for local delivery in theater. That means the platform has to weigh 64,000 pound or less. Depending on distance and age of the aircraft this weigh could be less. You normally get your stockpile from fast sea transports. The C-130 flies you from the port to the target area. Now the Sheridan was suppose to LAPES and be air droppable. Believe me, it only did spectacular crashes and even if it survive impact, it was mechanically screwed up. We (the Army) developed and bought the M-8 Stingray a 105mm auto loader compatible with a C-130. We were going to equip the tank battalion in the 82nd Airborne with them. The Army never consumated the deal. Why? I do not know. Now we are just crazy over the LAV. It's wheeled, the M-8 was tracked. I do not believe they will re visit the M-8. Terrible shame.
DJ :-
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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:23 PM UTC
Interesting discussion. This goes back to what I was thinking when I watched Black Hawk Down, but I think military designers need to start working on a high-tech vertical take-off vehicle (well one that works - unlike the Osprey). I know it may sound a "tad" far-fetched by what we need is something like what was in the movie Aliens. A vertical take-off weapons platform that also can deliver an AFV.

Ok...so it's probably 20 years off. But (as wartime shows) if you put your mind to doing something you ussually can.
210cav
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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 06:57 AM UTC
Any discussion on a given platform is undertaken in a void if you do not consider how a given instrumentality fits into the entire fire power and support system. You have to answer several key questions as you design and develop weapons. How will it enhance what we already have? Can we maintain it? When we employ it, will be able to maintain and re supply it? I pose the question because a great deal of the DoD budget is devoted to basic and applied research that attempts to answer these key questions. We have some of the best equipment in the world. It is not perfect. Training is what takes any piece of equipment and turns it into a lethal instrument. Tell me about the quality of the training the people manning a given system get in addition to the quality of the system.....remember Michael Whitmann in Normandy.
DJ
drewgimpy
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 01:29 PM UTC
Sorry to bring up an old topic. I was wondering how people think this would have filled this role.

http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m8-ags.htm
staff_Jim
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 01:39 PM UTC

Quoted Text

From the above site:
The AGS is not a tank -- it may look like a tank, but it's not a tank. It's a thin-skinned vehicle with a gun on it.



A thin-skinned tracked vehicle with a big monster gun. I wonder what defines a "tank" to these folks? To me armor thickness is a matter of debate. Sure the army may have some obscure rule: "to be considered a tank a vehicle mush have armor plating thicker than 25mm", but this seems a little too burocratic for my tastes.

Oh...and no I don't think so. Geese can you imagine trying to manuver that gun around city corners??
Bluefalcon47
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 04:05 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Geese can you imagine trying to manuver that gun around city corners??



Perhaps reintroducing a gun/launcher system like on the M60A2 "Starship" would be a solution??? Or maybe design a vehicle that can carry the GAU-8 Avenger, now that would be sufficient to deal with just about any threat.
210cav
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 07:26 PM UTC
Dave--Can I assume you were never on an M60A2? If you were and did not come away saying that is the worst tank/gun combination the world has ever seen I'd be surprised. That damn thing would not even make a good pillbox. I am continually surprised that people do not seem to grasp you do not employ systems (like AGS) in a vacuum. They are part of a combined arms team. Each has a role and is supplemented and reinforced by other systems. If you get the AGS, then you use it in combination with infantry, artillery, close air support, and surveillance systems to defeat the enemy. The idea is to be somewhere or do something that the bad guy does not expected. This is what is now called asymmetric warfare. It is as old as the hills. Tanks acting as single entities on a battlefield are 67 ton targets. My two cents.
DJ
Bluefalcon47
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 09:26 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Can I assume you were never on an M60A2?


Affirmative DJ, I was never on an M60A2, maybe the fact that I am not from the US but from Holland has something to do with it...
I know the system on the M60A2 did not work well, but I thought they might have improved the concept by now. However, I fully agree with the asymmetric warfare idea. Combined arms is the way to go. Since we are on that topic, does anyone think robots/droids might prove to be useful in any way???? Seen some pretty neat stuff on Robot Wars the other night. How about one on an Abrams chassis with a huge wedge that can flip over enemy vehicles and tanks???? :-)
210cav
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 10:26 PM UTC
Dave--you need to submit your ideas to the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA). Robotics are an up and coming topic of discussion in light of the emphasis for training for combat in cities.
DJ
GeneralFailure
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 10:38 PM UTC
To some extent, robots already ARE used :

- small teleguided tracked vehicles are used to detonate mines or bomb-threats in urban environments
- Much research is done to deploy even more and better unmanned aircraft types for espionage / recon duties.
210cav
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 11:57 PM UTC
Jan--I agree robotics are just blooming. We used them experimentally in room searches, bomb detection and surveillance operations. Great ideas.
DJ
drewgimpy
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2002 - 03:42 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Or maybe design a vehicle that can carry the GAU-8 Avenger, now that would be sufficient to deal with just about any threat.



That I would really like to see. It is a really big gun so I am not sure how well it would fit, but I would love to see a concept vehicle or something along those lines. You could do some real damage in an urban area with it.
salt6
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2002 - 09:12 PM UTC
Sorry guys, this is the future until we get a new Chief of Staff, United States Army.

https://www.bctide.com/newpages/iavphotogallery.shtml

Check page three for you tanker types.

General Shinseki vision is for a light mobil "medium" BDE.

I think this is about as good a having all soldiers wearing a beret.

SB
210cav
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Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2002 - 09:57 PM UTC
Ouch! The beret issue oh pity the poor soul searching for how best to make a fashion statement.
matt
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Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2002 - 03:12 AM UTC
Yes we need a medium tank M1= 70 tons (2)M1's fit on a C-5 Not many C-5's in service

Do the math. You can move to a fight very fast (unless it's in the gulf again) stockpiles.
sgtreef
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Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2002 - 06:53 AM UTC
without reading any posts my answer would be NO with aircraft today that take one out from how far away 7 miles or so no just like shooting ducks in a barrel. Aircraft are the wave of the future who ever controls the sky wins. All the tanks and troops are nothing compared to a good carpet bombing go ask Iraq about that. Nothing more to break the sprit of the troops then a good barrage either artillery or aircraft or hell some 16" guns off shore I wish I could watch a 16" salvo from a battleship in real life,lets not forget the the aircraft carriers and escort needed to protect such valuable ships. With the BIG E out their with her 90 aircraft enough their to take out a small country. Need more aircraft carriers and planes plus destroyers, curisers subs everything needed to protect the allmighty aircraft carrier.
Linz
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Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2002 - 07:46 AM UTC

Quoted Text

without reading any posts my answer would be NO with aircraft today that take one out from how far away 7 miles or so no just like shooting ducks in a barrel. Aircraft are the wave of the future who ever controls the sky wins. All the tanks and troops are nothing compared to a good carpet bombing go ask Iraq about that. Nothing more to break the sprit of the troops then a good barrage either artillery or aircraft or hell some 16" guns off shore I wish I could watch a 16" salvo from a battleship in real life,lets not forget the the aircraft carriers and escort needed to protect such valuable ships. With the BIG E out their with her 90 aircraft enough their to take out a small country. Need more aircraft carriers and planes plus destroyers, curisers subs everything needed to protect the allmighty aircraft carrier.



Bzzt, wrong. Aircraft are needed yes, but not at the expense of tanks or troops. Aircraft cannot take or hold ground, nor does bombing work to the extent it does in theory. Airpower has not won a war yet, Kosovo came the closest, but it can be argued that the threat of ground troops forced the Serbs hand. Other than that, airpower has just assisted the ground forces.

As for asking the Iraqi's, there is a quote from an Iraqi battalion commander that puts armour versus air into an interesting light:


Quoted Text

When I went into Kuwait I had thirty-nine tanks. After six weeks of air bombardment, I had thirty-two left. After twenty minutes in action against the M1s, I had none.



For the record, M1s destroyed more tanks than airpower.

Finally, as for shore bombardment with 16" guns, that requires the BBs to be brought back, and it is hard to find a sillier proposal than that sorry.

Cheers,
Linz
Linz
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Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2002 - 08:02 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I could see both sides to the argument. My first reaction would be sure we need it. I guess the main reason is we have had them before so why not now. My main question personally is what role would it fill today. It was mentioned the the post I mentioned above that as soon as it went against a main battle tank it would run into trouble and be considered a falure, which I agree with. I also read that it could be used in urban areas, but can the Bradley or LAV handle this role?



Any armour, along with supporting elements, is going to get chewed up in urban areas, no matter what the fancy pamphlets say. There is a website floating around about the Russian experience in Chechnya and how their armour performed in the cities, unfortunately I cannot find it at the moment, but from memory the results were not in favour of armour. Ultimately one would be better off going into built up areas with combined arms, and sucking up the casualties. Short of using robots, which have their own problems, that's all you can do, and a new medium tank will not solve anything.


Quoted Text

Like I said, I don't have an educated opinion on the subject but would like to hear from those who can give one. If we had a medium tank, just how would it be deployed and how effective would it be?



Well, considering that for all intents and purposes, we (Australia) use medium tanks (90 Leopard 1s), I struggle to see how the US could utilise one. Ours are the best armour in the region, but US forces are much more spread out than ours, meaning the threats that they will face are much more varied. The only scenario I can see medium tanks being useful for the US is to provide limited armour support to troops whilst building up the heavy stuff further back. But still, the mediums will take a large amount of casualties. Plus, it may very well be impossible to airlift mediums in, meaning that they have to come with heavies, which is silly, just use that space for more heavies

Ignoring everything else, the biggest problem I can see is that of training. For all the training in the world, a TC of a medium tank will be in a similar position to the TC of a tank-destroyer in WWII. Despite having different tactics to tanks, TDs were often used as tanks, with the bloody results. Why? Well, they looked like tanks, and they hunted tanks, but they weren't tanks. They didn't have the protection, and hence needed to be sneaky. Going face to face was suicide. A medium today would be in the same boat, looks like a heavy tank, hunts similar stuff to a heavy tank, but doesn't have the protection of a heavy tank.

Cheers,
Linz