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Tanks A Thing Of The Past?

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It seems we're returning to WWI again, Each side's ability to counter the opponent freezes the lines and makes forward movement impossible. Perhaps this is why so many recent wars have been heavily asymmetric. Because any conflict besides asymmetric war is practically a guaranteed stalemate (unless you opponent is utterly incompetent like Iraq or Georgia). That was why the Ukraine conflict began with 'green men' without national insignia instead of massed Russian armored formations. Because once the conflict transitions to full-on war the expense in both capital and lives goes up. I'm reminded of an old political cartoon from the Spanish American war. Uncle Sam throwing tiny American soldiers at a bulls-eye target with a grinning native head in the center with the caption 'Is the game worth the penny?"

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I wouldn't write off the tank. It does seem to be moving in a similar direction as the Navy after the Falklands War that demonstrated the vulnerability of warships to guided missiles. All sorts of defensive systems were developed and deployed to defend ships from missiles and now tanks are sprouting up defensive systems to protect itself.

Of course, a LOT of the vulnerability was designing "warships" to operate in peace time. (OT: what the hell is it with multiple British governments adopting "10 year" white papers? See the pre-WWII study.)

See, amored warships are heavy. They burn a lot of fuel. Can't have that. Budget buster in peace time. Make 'em out of thin, flammable, metal. Yeah, that'll save the $. Err, Quid. Works great. Really. Until there's a conflict. Then your "peaceships" tend to sink.

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...I mean.. a good example from the Beta AAR. Tunguska showers T-90, crippled tank but still a mobile gun, crews alive. Tunguska showers BMP-3, blown up vehicle, many lives lost. So when the **** hits the fan...

Guys please be careful when discussing the AAR outside of the threads... there is some intelligence that could be valuable to Scott in the above. I don't think there will be much harm done, but just be careful in the future. ;)

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Guys please be careful when discussing the AAR outside of the threads... there is some intelligence that could be valuable to Scott in the above. I don't think there will be much harm done, but just be careful in the future. ;)

ooops! somehow i can't edit that post anymore, perhaps it's been too long?...

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It's amazing how good some ideas look from a swivel seat, or the edge of a conference table. Power point can really "leverage" a lot of "synergies" in a "dynamic", "kinetic" manner.

And then things look very different when YOU are using that gear. Ask any trigger puller how many times they wished for a smaller bomb. Yeah, looks good in theory: when you want a boom, you want a BIG boom.

In a similar manner, thin-hulled ships look good on spreadsheets. A 16" belt of armored steel around the waterline looks better when you're inside that ship.

A Humvee (or other fast vehicle) looks great on the slideshow. When bullets fly, a 60 or 70 ton armored beast solves a lot of problems.

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It's amazing how good some ideas look from a swivel seat, or the edge of a conference table. Power point can really "leverage" a lot of "synergies" in a "dynamic", "kinetic" manner.

And then things look very different when YOU are using that gear. Ask any trigger puller how many times they wished for a smaller bomb. Yeah, looks good in theory: when you want a boom, you want a BIG boom.

In a similar manner, thin-hulled ships look good on spreadsheets. A 16" belt of armored steel around the waterline looks better when you're inside that ship.

A Humvee (or other fast vehicle) looks great on the slideshow. When bullets fly, a 60 or 70 ton armored beast solves a lot of problems.

Of course, in defense of the swivellers, for a thin armoured ship to be in a place where armour matters, or a HUMVEE to be in direct fire, some sort of misuse of that thing is happening.

The Battlecruisers are a good example - made to defend and attack merchant shipping - excelled at that. Not designed to go head to head in a line of battle situation - blew up.

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Of course, in defense of the swivellers, for a thin armoured ship to be in a place where armour matters, or a HUMVEE to be in direct fire, some sort of misuse of that thing is happening.

The Battlecruisers are a good example - made to defend and attack merchant shipping - excelled at that. Not designed to go head to head in a line of battle situation - blew up.

Except... German BCs are designed to fight in the line and... that is not even the reason they blew up but... cordite handling? i.e. of course the Vee shouldn't stop an RPG but it shouldn't go up in a mushroom cloud after a hit either not 3 of them in a row.

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I was talking about the British Battlecruisers. The ammo handling was a cause, but the lighter armour certainly didn't help in a fleet battle situation. The point remains that they didn't fare well when used outside of the situations they were specced for.

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The tech is moving fast, and there's a lot to speculate about.

But I'm actually wondering how it works in CMBS as I haven't seen any mention of anti-drone measures in the previews. What counters drones in the game?

A Tunguska or similar would make mincemeat out of them.

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Tunguska SAM and cannon top out around 3,500m altitude. Just FYI.

Even the newer missiles? I thought they reached higher, but I could be mistaken. There's plenty of systems to choose from - the USSR seemed to go a bit nuts with AD stuff.

It is easy to overlook that drones haven't as yet operated in any decent IADS environment. Outside of their inherently low RCS they are pretty much defenceless.

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Light, fast and cheap works well...until you run into something bigger, better armored and harder hitting.

Still the quest for lighter stronger materials and other cutting edge tech is worthwhile. The force field concept and the ability to change your ir signature to a different shape is interesting. Whether either will become a practical reality is another story.

Lighter, cheaper, faster has been tried before. Shermans vs Tigers and Panthers.

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Eventually we'll have light, fast and cheap robowarriors of all kinds with directed energy weapons and hypersonic missiles and the whole shabang, but I imagine there will always be a need for a mobile, well protected and/or concealed human crew armed with things that go boom, perhaps including analog weapons that will still go boom after ECM or EMP effects are taken into account. So I expect tanks will be around for a while yet.

I expect things like unmanned submersible vehicles and hypersonic torpedoes, however, will drive the last nail in the coffin of capital ships.

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Light, fast and cheap works well...until you run into something bigger, better armored and harder hitting.

....

Lighter, cheaper, faster has been tried before. Shermans vs Tigers and Panthers.

And cheap, easy to mass to produce and repair Shermans and T-34s won the day. The Germans might've been better off spamming PzIV, no?

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And cheap, easy to mass to produce and repair Shermans and T-34s won the day. The Germans might've been better off spamming PzIV, no?

Many have said Germany would have been better off spamming MarkIVs and assault guns based on the Mark IV. Economy of scale production, logistics and maintaining so on and so forth.

It also took 4 or 5 Shermans to gang up on 1 Tiger or Panther with the expectation you could lose 3 or 4 Shermans.

There may have been differing views on all this. It may be one thing if u were a tanker and another if you were in logistics and another if you were a war planner.

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And cheap, easy to mass to produce and repair Shermans and T-34s won the day. The Germans might've been better off spamming PzIV, no?

No, because they couldn't produce enough extra PzIVs to make the Allies lose as many Shermans as the Kitties killed, just by using the resources in the cats to make more underarmoured IVs. The Germans were boned, whatever they decided to make because the entire rest of the world (that mattered) was producing the materiel the Jerries had to stop. Maybe the war could have been dragged out a bit longer, but would that actually have made the "...Germans...better off..."?

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Germany was engaged in a 2 front war. Had they not invaded Russia and focused on just the West things could have been different. They may have just been a recipient of an atomic bomb if things dragged out too long.

Russia is often cited as the reason why the German designed and built the cats. Russia was the main show and where the real tank arms race was taking place. The Western Front was a sideshow. Some contend the Americans were too influenced by the British early war experience and an intelligence failure to realize what was taking place in Russia with regards to tank warfare and paid the price in 44.

All hindsight.

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Drones are countered by any kind of AA on the field.

I think that the "Electronic Warfare" option will also impact the use of drones.

Depends on the drone; most of our armed types fly well above the effective envelope (<20,000ft,) of all but the largest AAA calibers.

I think the problem tanks have these days isn't from the drone, it's from a weapon system that has already been around for about 20 years or so. The Javelin. Not the Javelin by itself though, a whole ilk of modern ATGMs are becoming so common and powerful that infantry are beginning to subdue the tank's role in battlefield dominance.

The tank's battlefield role is mobile, protected long-range firepower. Protected in the sense that there are far fewer weapons on the battlefield that will threaten a tank (ATGMs, dedicated AT mines, other tanks, etc.), whereas basically everything can threaten a dismounted infantryman. That is the battlefield problem the tank was built to -- and continues to -- solve.

Any infantry squad can now wield the firepower necessary to stop or at least suppress, armor. This is a total reversal of a battlefield food-chain that has been the norm since 1916. Developments in armor are now being made in reaction to anti-tank weapon systems. It was totally the other way around right up until around 1993. The initiative in the tank's development has been lost and this brings its whole role into question in my mind. Much like the battleship right before it went extinct, a tank's only role anymore seems to be a big gun carrier. Is that really enough? Much cheaper vehicles can be and have already been designed to do that job.

This is not a reversal of the battlefield food-chain from 1916. The advantage of armor from that period, up until at least the sixties or seventies when ICM was widely available, was that it was largely immune to anything but absurd amounts of massed artillery and still able to press forward an attack. This is still an advantage armor in general possesses over dismounted infantry. Infantry-centric forces fighting today structure their operations in such a way that they avoid firepower (now including effective and responsive aerial weapons on top of artillery) as their foremost concern.

Firepower still kills.

That is why armor is going to remain relevant, until you can come up with some way of making an unarmored man able to stand up and wade through machine gun fire and shell's fragments.

The situation bears a parallel with the arrival of the musket in Europe. A weapon that drove the mounted Knight to extinction.

Mounted troops with melee weapons remained an integral part of combined arms long after the musket was introduced. They just didn't bother wearing as much armor, because it pointless. The armor on a tank isn't pointless since there remain a whole host of weapons on the modern battlefield against which immunity is still a solid tactical advantage.

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Many have said Germany would have been better off spamming MarkIVs and assault guns based on the Mark IV. Economy of scale production, logistics and maintaining so on and so forth.

It also took 4 or 5 Shermans to gang up on 1 Tiger or Panther with the expectation you could lose 3 or 4 Shermans.

There may have been differing views on all this. It may be one thing if u were a tanker and another if you were in logistics and another if you were a war planner.

If I were a tanker I might indeed see things differently, but I guess I'm more of a logistics guy. If I were fighting a war operationally, I'd rather have a larger number of inferior tanks with compatible parts and reasonable fuel requirements than a smaller number of superior tanks that are constantly breaking down and being abandoned in the field due to a lack of parts or fuel, as frequently happened. However many Shermans or T-34s you can take out in a big cat (and that's a lot, particularly with respect to the latter), it don't make much difference if you can't maintain them in the field for any length of time.

Germany was engaged in a 2 front war. Had they not invaded Russia and focused on just the West things could have been different. They may have just been a recipient of an atomic bomb if things dragged out too long.

Russia is often cited as the reason why the German designed and built the cats. Russia was the main show and where the real tank arms race was taking place. The Western Front was a sideshow. Some contend the Americans were too influenced by the British early war experience and an intelligence failure to realize what was taking place in Russia with regards to tank warfare and paid the price in 44.

I've heard it said that the Russians won the war, we just happened to be in the area at the time. As Womble pointed out, it's economies that win wars in the grand scheme of things, so in that sense nobody won the war so much as Germany lost it by attacking Russia and treating the conquered population so harshly. I'd argue they had a better chance of winning the first world war than the second - which is to say a slim-to-none chance of a negotiated settlement. Two front wars are a bitch.

Anyway, I'm drifting off topic here.

That is why armor is going to remain relevant, until you can come up with some way of making an unarmored man able to stand up and wade through machine gun fire and shell's fragments.

Not men, but robots. Well, brainwashing augmented human clones may be cheaper, but unpopular, so... robots it is.

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Nano-robots. The first country that weaponizes and mass produces these is liable to turn warfare on its head. Probably not in the next decade, but pretty soon after that. Remember you heard it here.

Michael

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Nano-robots. The first country that weaponizes and mass produces these is liable to turn warfare on its head. Probably not in the next decade, but pretty soon after that. Remember you heard it here.

No, no, no.

Grav tanks first, THEN nano-robots:

https://www.google.com/search?q=grav+tank&client=firefox-a&hs=vJR&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=MPh_VJZ-wdWgBNHvgdgL&ved=0CB8QsAQ&biw=1526&bih=817

Grav tanks are WAY too cool to leapfrog.

Deal?

:P

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