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Its just, in terms of economics vs strategic result/gain, it seems that a tank (single, company, battalion of tanks) is more expensive and not as efficient to field as, say, a unit of troops properly armed with anti-personnel and anti-tank ordnance.

 

How much does it cost to make an Abrams M1? Say 6 million? Im not familiar with military economics, but how many troops can you train and equip for that same 6 million, to effectively combat other infantry, armour and some AA capability (manpad SAMs)? 

 

Now, as soon as a tank enters a conflict zone - it becomes a high risk priority, and the enemy will actively seek methods to destroy/disable it. So, we are talking Air assets out to destroy it, precision arty, and infantry. Thats alot of threats you gotta protect it from, which again increases the cost of fielding the tank (so, other assets on standby for defence, factor in the fuel consumption of the tank, the crew training, the expensive cost of ammo, etc etc).

 

Isnt it more effective to train a squad/platoon/company of troops (again, I dont know how many and how well equipped for the 6 million USD), and dispatch them to the combat area instead of the tank? They are harder to spot, can hide in buildings, trenches (a tank is harder to hide, right?), will cost less to support (maybe Im wrong on this?) while out in the field, and because they are considered of a less-immediate threat by the enemy, they can actually achieve more on the ground?

 

 

Pardon me if this line of reasoning is naive or can be considered stupid by some of the military related persons on the forum, but I ask this because I genuinely do not know, and I would like to know. Seems we are in good company here with various military professionals, so I hope to learn something from your explanations.  

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How much does it cost to make an Abrams M1? Say 6 million? Im not familiar with military economics, but how many troops can you train and equip for that same 6 million, to effectively combat other infantry, armour and some AA capability (manpad SAMs)?

 

About two platoons of light infantry, roughly. The downside is that there is nothing in that capability that confers the ability to shrug off artillery and machine gun fire the way a tank can, so the easiest method to no-sell a pure infantry attack is a de-nuded (nearly empty) frontline feature machine guns, mines, wire, etc. that "hold" the attack in place long enough for artillery to respond. And artillery can respond frighteningly fast nowadays, on the order of two or three minutes from first call to shell fall. The traditional infantry counter to such firepower was nighttime infiltration, which shortened the effective range on most weapons at the cost of being slow. So your opponent could always respond to the breakthrough with adequate force to stop it.

 

But nowadays, most serious players have some form of night vision and the upper-end guys have "persistent stare" surveillance. You can certainly get lucky, innovative, etc. and carry an attack forward, but the idea is that you can't consistently repeat that success, day-in, day-out, without bleeding yourself dry. And once you've been bled, it doesn't matter what you hold or think you hold, you'll either give it up of your own accord to stop the bleeding or have your unit fall apart from the (figurative) blood loss.

 

That's why tanks are useful; the number of weapon on the battlefield that threaten them relative to an infantryman is something like an order of magnitude lower. There are high-end ATGMs around, sure, but not nearly as many as people assume. Meanwhile an infantryman is concerned with a single bullet or 1lbs. anti-personnel mine...

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Its just, in terms of economics vs strategic result/gain, it seems that a tank (single, company, battalion of tanks) is more expensive and not as efficient to field as, say, a unit of troops properly armed with anti-personnel and anti-tank ordnance.

How much does it cost to make an Abrams M1? Say 6 million? Im not familiar with military economics, but how many troops can you train and equip for that same 6 million, to effectively combat other infantry, armour and some AA capability (manpad SAMs)?

Now, as soon as a tank enters a conflict zone - it becomes a high risk priority, and the enemy will actively seek methods to destroy/disable it. So, we are talking Air assets out to destroy it, precision arty, and infantry. Thats alot of threats you gotta protect it from, which again increases the cost of fielding the tank (so, other assets on standby for defence, factor in the fuel consumption of the tank, the crew training, the expensive cost of ammo, etc etc).

Isnt it more effective to train a squad/platoon/company of troops (again, I dont know how many and how well equipped for the 6 million USD), and dispatch them to the combat area instead of the tank? They are harder to spot, can hide in buildings, trenches (a tank is harder to hide, right?), will cost less to support (maybe Im wrong on this?) while out in the field, and because they are considered of a less-immediate threat by the enemy, they can actually achieve more on the ground?

Pardon me if this line of reasoning is naive or can be considered stupid by some of the military related persons on the forum, but I ask this because I genuinely do not know, and I would like to know. Seems we are in good company here with various military professionals, so I hope to learn something from your explanations.

The problem with this line of reasoning is the same as the Israeli experience after the 67 war. The tank was overemphasized at the expense of other arms like mech infantry and artillery. The Egyptians adopted arms and tactics to deal with the unbalanced Israeli doctrine and the Israelis suffered for it. They were forced to re-balance and gravitate back to a normal combined arms approach.

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Ok, makes sense Apocal, and thanks for the example Zero. 

 

How do you hide or "secure" your tanks after you have pushed and gained new ground in a combat zone, to protect it from precision arty or airstrikes (in todays modern battlefield)? Right up against sturdy-looking buildings? 

Edited by VasFURY

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Latest figures I saw was an M1A2 through all of its upgrades cost just over $3M...without crew.

 

A javelin missile is $85k and its launcher is about $150k...without crew.

 

The M1 tank is a multipurpose weapon while the Javelin is not.  And not only that, but the Javelin is costing you that $80k every time you fire it.  We'll assume food and logistics somewhat even out eventually.

 

But also look at how vulnerable the Javelin team is.  A Javelin might get off a first shot, but with good TI on a tank...it won't get a second.

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@Thewood1 - Is the training on the use of the Javelin extensive/expensive, or is it as simple as aiming, shooting, forgetting? I assume that Javelin operators are easier to replace than Tank crews?

Edited by VasFURY

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I would assume there mothers don't think so.

 

And no, it takes a heck of a lot more training to do anything in a tank.  But again, a Javelin operator is most likely carrying two rounds.  Two rounds and done.  The majority of tanks will most likely fire off multiple less expensive rounds.  And be able to move at 10-15 times the speed of the soldier.

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Aside from not being entirely accurate, that statement is also based on an apples vs. oranges comparison. When the Germans encountered the T-34 their MBT was the Panzer III with the 50mmL/42 gun. Hell, a number of their divisions were still using the Czech design with a 37mm gun. When the Sherman appeared over a year later, the Germans were re-equiping with Panzer IIIs with the L/60 gun and the much more powerful Panzer IV with the 75mm L/48 gun. And the Sherman could still beat those.

 

The T-34 was the right tank at the right time and place, but so was the Sherman in a different time and place.

 

Michael

 

 

I'm sorry but I must disagree strenuously.  When the T-34s were produced they not the right tank at the right time  since they fail to hold back the German tide in 1941 and underperformed in 1942.  If they were the right tank at the time, they would have been able to brush off the German army and counterattack into Axis territory.  They could not do this in 1941 or 1942.  Despite the apparently "inferior" Sherman, American forces were never pushed back 1,000 miles by German armies instead, you saw a fairly steady advance.  Too often people look at tanks from a war gaming perspective, where armor and firepower are the most important things.  When compared, the Early Sherman beats the T-34 for two reasons.  It had a radio in every tank, and it could be landed on a beach.  T-34s were not required to land on beaches, but this was an important requirement for Shermans.

Keep in mind that the Germans had motives for claiming the superiority of the T-34, as it helped excuse their failure to win the war.  To Western Audiences after the war they wanted to create a reputation of superb professionalism that was undermined by forces out side of their control.  Blaming political causes helped distance them from Hitler which was useful in the early postwar period since a lot of people wanted to hang them and exaggerating the power of soviet weaponry helped convince Westerners to rearm Germany against the Russians in the Cold War (it also helped their own pride if an inferior people only outfought them because of numbers and better weapons which they would have been able to match were it not the political leadership they were not so eager to distance themselves from).  The Germans created a myth to explain their defeat in WWI, and I believe they did so after WWII.  I see no reason to believe either one.

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I remember reading in Newsweek (or Time?) that training, equipping, transporting, and caring for a US Infantryman in Iraq cost $1 Million. Having been inside the military I totally believe that. I also believe you could do it for much less, but you get what you pay for. The only time such shortcuts would be made is in a WW3 scenario where Russia decides Europe has been naughty. By comparison, my flight training from API to the fleet has been estimated as $2-3 million, depending on who you ask. That doesn't include the capital costs of the aircraft, carrier, airfield, etc. If you look up the per day costs of USN carrier deployments you will be amazed. They're not cheap.

As for the argument that a Javelin costs $80k or whatever, that doesn't stop anyone. The infantryman is not going to be worried about the economic burden of his shot, only if he needs to take it to survive/carry out his mission. Javelin is and was used against infantry and technicals and all sorts of soft targets in Iraq and Afghanistan all the time. The cost of the missile is the problem of someone in the Pentagon or the Capitol, and they're not going to call you up and tell you to not blast some guy planting an IED 2 km away.

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Re: tank to infantry cost

 

Think of it like this.  How many boxes of cereal can you buy for how much money you spend on gas?  Likely more than a few.  However it doesn't help if you need to drive your car to work if you've got more breakfast cereal.  

 

This isn't an RTS in which units are balanced that the combat power of 300 dollars of tank=3 100 dollar infantrymen, they're very different tools for different jobs.  The tank is just a very expensive tool per unit, but it does things flatly no infantryman can do.  

 

 

 

How do you hide or "secure" your tanks after you have pushed and gained new ground in a combat zone, to protect it from precision arty or airstrikes (in todays modern battlefield)? Right up against sturdy-looking buildings?

 

1. Find low ground or concealment

 

2. Hey look, you just killed your way through the enemy front line. Why stop here when there's delicious logistics and support units awaiting you behind the next terrain feature?

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I'm sorry but I must disagree strenuously.  When the T-34s were produced they not the right tank at the right time  since they fail to hold back the German tide in 1941 and underperformed in 1942.  If they were the right tank at the time, they would have been able to brush off the German army and counterattack into Axis territory.  They could not do this in 1941 or 1942.  Despite the apparently "inferior" Sherman, American forces were never pushed back 1,000 miles by German armies instead, you saw a fairly steady advance.  Too often people look at tanks from a war gaming perspective, where armor and firepower are the most important things.  When compared, the Early Sherman beats the T-34 for two reasons.  It had a radio in every tank, and it could be landed on a beach.  T-34s were not required to land on beaches, but this was an important requirement for Shermans.

Keep in mind that the Germans had motives for claiming the superiority of the T-34, as it helped excuse their failure to win the war.  To Western Audiences after the war they wanted to create a reputation of superb professionalism that was undermined by forces out side of their control.  Blaming political causes helped distance them from Hitler which was useful in the early postwar period since a lot of people wanted to hang them and exaggerating the power of soviet weaponry helped convince Westerners to rearm Germany against the Russians in the Cold War (it also helped their own pride if an inferior people only outfought them because of numbers and better weapons which they would have been able to match were it not the political leadership they were not so eager to distance themselves from).  The Germans created a myth to explain their defeat in WWI, and I believe they did so after WWII.  I see no reason to believe either one.

Just as the Panther couldn't stop the hordes of Shermans, backed up by superior logistics and sheer industrial might, the T-34 in the numbers it was fielded with the crews, doctrine and C3 available to the Red Army in '41 couldn't stop the inferior tanks it was facing, no matter how hard to kill (while being able to frontally penetrate everything involved in Barbarossa). But nothing the Russians could have fielded would have "brushed off" the Germans and counterattacked. Replacing every T-34 with a Sherman and its radio wouldn't have changed the outcome of Barbarossa materially. The "right tank" for that time, given your frankly ludicrous criteria of "ending the war before it started" didn't exist. Never has. The Sherman didn't win the war on its own, you know. It was just a decent tool that could be supported. In the end it wouldn't have mattered what tank was fielded; the Allies would have done what they did, with Cromwells and Churchills, if that was what the US had decided to build in the end because they could make far more and supply far more than the Germans could. The tool used at that point was irrelevant, so long as it was at least nearly appropriate. Using the material superiority of the Allies is a piss-poor way of arguing that any given tank model was superior to another.

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Its just, in terms of economics vs strategic result/gain, it seems that a tank (single, company, battalion of tanks) is more expensive and not as efficient to field as, say, a unit of troops properly armed with anti-personnel and anti-tank ordnance.

 

Now, as soon as a tank enters a conflict zone - it becomes a high risk priority, and the enemy will actively seek methods to destroy/disable it. So, we are talking Air assets out to destroy it, precision arty, and infantry. Thats alot of threats you gotta protect it from, which again increases the cost of fielding the tank (so, other assets on standby for defence, factor in the fuel consumption of the tank, the crew training, the expensive cost of ammo, etc etc).  

 

But if we are talking economics, you need to think about how much those anti-tank systems are costing the other side. If you think tanks are expensive, wait to you see the bill for modern combat aircraft! And precision artillery rounds aren't exactly jelly beans either. And while tanks do burn a lot of fuel—the M1 especially—moving almost anything to and around the battlefield is going to also.

 

The real test is how does each part of a well-integrated combat team perform its functions and is there anything that might do it better, and that is always a controversial subject. As it should be.

 

Michael

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I'm sorry but I must disagree strenuously.  When the T-34s were produced they not the right tank at the right time  since they fail to hold back the German tide in 1941 and underperformed in 1942.  If they were the right tank at the time, they would have been able to brush off the German army and counterattack into Axis territory.  They could not do this in 1941 or 1942.

 

That has nothing to do with the merits (or lack thereof) of the T-34 and everything to do with the Soviet mechanized corps' all being unwieldy monsters of formations. In the circumstances where commanders had the experience and luck to handle more manageable forces, the T-34 did well enough to send the Germans into a furious upgrade cycle for their own tank park.

 

 

But if we are talking economics, you need to think about how much those anti-tank systems are costing the other side. If you think tanks are expensive, wait to you see the bill for modern combat aircraft! And precision artillery rounds aren't exactly jelly beans either. And while tanks do burn a lot of fuel—the M1 especially—moving almost anything to and around the battlefield is going to also.

 

The real test is how does each part of a well-integrated combat team perform its functions and is there anything that might do it better, and that is always a controversial subject. As it should be.

 

Precision guided artillery rounds actually save money over using the same amount of unguided HE to do the same. Excals aren't that expensive and fuel (to haul hundreds or thousands of shells) isn't that cheap.

Edited by Apocal

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Would you agree/disagree, that on todays modern battlefield, armour is mostly derelict and more of a liability than a bonus, taking into account the vast amount of cheap anti-tank systems available that can take any armoured behemoth out with relative ease?

Don't think so. There are now more sophisticated countermeasures and protection although not too prevalent.

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"Tanks are obsolete because they can be destroyed by much cheaper RPGs/ATGMs" = "Aircraft are obsolete because they can be shot down by much cheaper SAMs" / "Ships are obsolete because they can be sunk by much cheaper ASMs/torpedoes/mines" / "Infantrymen are obsolete because they can be killed by much cheaper bullets/grenades/shells", etc. Let's disband everybody and settle every conflict with ICBMs... :rolleyes:

P.S.: Though it might also be then concluded that humans are obsolete in general because they can be wiped out by much cheaper WMDs. :)

Edited by Krasnoarmeyets

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Precision guided artillery rounds actually save money over using the same amount of unguided HE to do the same. Excals aren't that expensive and fuel (to haul hundreds or thousands of shells) isn't that cheap.

 

But the laser designater and the person running it aren't cheap either.  Precision rounds are pretty expensive and they still not very common.  That is why you still have tanks and missles.

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The other unstated advantage of unguided artillery is area suppression.  If you can tell exactly where the enemy is, and he's broadly stationary, sweet, you're good to go.  But if it's just an area where you have contact coming from, or a battle position the enemy hasn't quite presented a good target with, laying down a few battery salvos with dumb rounds will still be quite effective.  You can still get very good results when you're using modern FCS and navigation equipment (which is to say, if you're thinking WW2 type artillery, the real exact location of the artillery, and the real exact location of the spotter were both fuzzy, the map was based on something much less precise than satellite imagery, and the sort of computations you can do now with digital fire control systems are the sort of things you'd needed several math savants attached to your battery to achieve quickly). 

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But the laser designater and the person running it aren't cheap either.  Precision rounds are pretty expensive and they still not very common.  That is why you still have tanks and missles.

 

Excal doesn't require a laser designator. The actual GPS+LRF combos used were pretty well cheap, occasionally off-the-shelf. Excal itself only costs around $30,000 - $50,000 per round, which might as well be a rounding error -- even when buying dozens -- when you're dealing with the money required to field a modern maneuver battalion.

Edited by Apocal

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Haven't dug that far yet, but the MLRS if available and still used would appear to be capable if laying down a pretty large pattern of fire on a Black Sea map.

In another thread it was mentioned that Tomahawks were outside the scope of the game, but recently it was mentioned that it has been tested by JTACs as a precision fire weapon that could be called in and reprogrammed while in flight.

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MLRS was deliberately left out because they're not really meant for use on tactical targets and because it's not fair for EVERYTHING in a 1km area target mission to die instantaneously.

TLAM would be interesting. The Block IVs are capable of retargeting in flight and hitting moving targets, plus they could be launched from safety outside the Black Sea so Russian Naval Assets wouldn't be able to harm the launch platform. It could be an interesting (QB cheap?) one time use support mission. I'm not sure if Tunguska can track munitions IRL, I know MANPADS can't. Even if Tunguska can, if it were modeled in CMBS then the Tomahawk should have a much lower probability of being intercepted seeing as it only flies at like 50 feet off the deck.

That said, I imagine most Tomahawks would be tasked against the Russian IADS network as well as forward C3 positions within Ukraine.

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