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John Kettler

Just had a tremendous ordnance shock

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Was texting with brother George of retired Bradley CFV Master Gunner fame, and he was responding to some WW II data saying it took a 76 mm gun Sherman 13 rounds to hit a fully exposed tank at 1500 meters 50% of the time. He came back with APC busting engagements with the 25 at 1200 and 1600 meters. Had to get at least 3 hits in 8 rounds fired. Got to wondering what the L was for the Bushmaster, which is when I got one heck of a surprise. Did you know it's an L/87? A Panther was an L/70. No wonder he found it so easy to get hits at range! No wonder, also, with DU Sabot, the Bradleys killed T-72s frontally during the first Gulf War. The Navy mount is the exact same gun.

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_25mm_mk38.php

Regards,

John Kettler

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What are you actually trying to tell us?

Weapon technology advanced over the course of 40 years?

Shocker!

PS - The T-72s story is BS too, they were locally made copies with mild steel armour.

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Andy,

The shock was that the Bushmaster is an L/87, which is a tremendously long barrel. The apparent length is hidden by that big external sleeve and by how much of it is inside the turret. Would never have guessed the L number to be that high. As for the T-72s, knowledgeable people here have shown the Iraqi T-72s were the same as , say, what the Czechs were using. 

Regards,

John Kettler

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, John Kettler said:

As for the T-72s, knowledgeable people here have shown the Iraqi T-72s were the same as , say, what the Czechs were using. 

Some were, some weren't to be fair.....But I'd be inclined to bet that if a Bradley was penetrating them from the front with the Bushmaster it was probably the locally made 'mild-steel' version.  If they used the TOW then I wouldn't argue at all.  ;)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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There was a discussion about this on the Forums, probably CMSF, a few years ago, I believe. Part of that discussion, or maybe it was another one later, was a discussion of the particulars of the T-72s the Iraqi Republican Guards were using at 73 Easting. The conclusion was there were no monkey models used. They were stock Warsaw Pact export versions.

Regards,

John Kettler

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1 hour ago, John Kettler said:

The shock was that the Bushmaster is an L/87, which is a tremendously long barrel.

Only 2.2 meters plus some small change. Tanks have been sporting longer barrels for decades.

Michael

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Michael Emrys,

The Abrams gun is only L/44. The 2A46 is an L/48. It's not tube length that's the issue, but is the number of gun calibers that fit into that tube length. The long 5" on US warships is a 5"/54. A ZIS-2, which had the longest barrel I can recall seeing on an ATG, is L/69.3. This is why I'm having the reaction I'm having. 

Regards,

John Kettler

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"he was responding to some WW II data saying it took a 76 mm gun Sherman 13 rounds to hit a fully exposed tank at 1500 meters 50% of the time."

76mm gun had quite decent muzzle velocity, so it seems for me it was really poor gunner if it didn't hit the exposed tank at 1500m with 3rd or 4th shot at worst. 

Could you describe conditions of this shooting in more details ? Why did he need 13 shots and what "50% of the time" mean in this context ?

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Amizaur,

That was presumably data derived by the US Army people from Operations Research. I have no additional data to offer, just what was in the report. Remember, this is the average, and there's a big difference between range firing on a known distance range or similar controlled situation and having to engage targets under highly dynamic conditions, moving target, maybe own tank moving, crew jostled, in WX, looking up sun, poorly contrasting target and what have you. Then there's the state of the crew (general and specific fatigue, hunger, thirst, illness, etc), guns out of boresight, lens obscuration to one degree or another, gun wear, state of any number of components, projectile variations from the specs, variations in powder charge, ammo temperature and temperature and handling history from when first produced.

These are but a few of the things which, taken in aggregate, drastically degrade real world gunnery performance in combat. So many things have to mesh well in order to conduct any sort of effective engagement, and all of them reflect back into gunnery performance. I have quite a few days in which my vision is kind of blurry, so imagine trying to sense a round in such a state while cold, hungry and seriously sleep deprived to the point where it takes considerable effort simply to keep your eyes open. I've been that way driving home on many occasions, and I wasn't trying to run a battle from a tank whose general sound level, never mind the battlefield noise, is quite loud. The TC's on the radio and the intercom as well. Certainly, the ammo expenditure seems ridiculous to have only a 50% chance of getting a hit at all, but by the time the 76 mm armed Sherman is a big player in the war, those guys with two years of training are largely a thing of the past(things like gunners with only two weeks training dropped straight into tanks from the repple depple); many tanks are short crewed; the men, based on the accounts I've read, though winning, are fried, see no end in sight and don't feel like they're winning. But if you've got enough tanks, especially against a foe who's short of same, while not fun, the problem is manageable. And  if we wait long enough, JasonC will show up and explain to us how eminently reasonable the figures MG Gorman provided are! There's also the minor matter of enemy fire, with all that entails.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Some were, some weren't to be fair.....But I'd be inclined to bet that if a Bradley was penetrating them from the front with the Bushmaster it was probably the locally made 'mild-steel' version.  If they used the TOW then I wouldn't argue at all.  ;)

The myth of mild steel armor on Asad Babil is exactly that, a myth. The Iraqis used the same composition of armor steel as the Soviets themselves, mainly because the "locally produced" Asad Babils were basically just T-72M parts kits bought from the Soviets and put together in Iraqi plants. Asad Babil was functionally the same as other non-WarPac T-72Ms, because it more or less was.

The Iraqis had T-72s exactly as good as what their status of getting aid as a non-WarPac nation allowed them to. The various variations of T-72 they had were basically adequate tanks not really any different from the bulk of non-WP T-72s, the main issue with them being less with the tanks themselves, and more with the fact that 1) the Iraqis were terrible tankers and 2) they were issued with decades old obsolete ammunition.

Edited by Saint_Fuller

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11 hours ago, John Kettler said:

The Abrams gun is only L/44. The 2A46 is an L/48. It's not tube length that's the issue, but is the number of gun calibers that fit into that tube length. The long 5" on US warships is a 5"/54. A ZIS-2, which had the longest barrel I can recall seeing on an ATG, is L/69.3. This is why I'm having the reaction I'm having. 

 

It's a small caliber weapon, so it's easy to have a barrel that is many multiples of that.  The 2A42 30mm on the BMP-2 is 2.416 long, meaning it's an L/81.

And of course, the 75mm KwK 42 was L/70 and the KwK 43 was L/71, so the Bushmaster length isn't anything earth shattering.

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Posted (edited)

A bad workman blames his tools? Most certainly.

I am skeptical about the Bushmaster knocking out T-72s across the frontal arch, at combat ranges. I remember reading about a situation where recon Bradleys had to reload their TOWs in combat with Iraqi T-72s. Why bother exposing yourself, if a Bushmaster can get the job done? 

According to various sources (Steel Beasts, Gary's Place and International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons) the M919 DU round was not officially in-service during Operation Desert Storm. These sources do give conflicting dates -- all after '93. According to Steel Beasts, the M919 has a penetration of around 100mm RHA, its tungsten cousin, M791 -- 60mm RHA . The T-72 has a minimum of 300mm RHA protection across the frontal arch.

I am skeptical about the large-scale use of DU munitions on the Bradley, during Desert Storm. Hypothetically speaking, even if they were in-service, and they were as effective as the M919, I do not believe they could penetrate the frontal armour of a T-72 at ranges of 1km to 2km. I do believe that the Bushmaster could achieve mobility kills, maybe even side penetrations. 

Luckily for the Bradley, she has 2 perfectly fine TOW missiles just for that occasion. Do I believe a Bradley could take out 2 T-72s (across the frontal arch, at 2km), or even more with slick loading? Absolutely.

My sources do suck. I would welcome any better ones.

Edited by DerKommissar

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3 hours ago, Saint_Fuller said:

The myth of mild steel armor on Asad Babil is exactly that, a myth. The Iraqis used the same composition of armor steel as the Soviets themselves, mainly because the "locally produced" Asad Babils were basically just T-72M parts kits bought from the Soviets and put together in Iraqi plants. Asad Babil was functionally the same as other non-WarPac T-72Ms, because it more or less was.

Incorrect, you seem to forget that Iraq was under a massive sanctions regime, they simply could not import components, so they either ignored them or made their own.

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13 hours ago, John Kettler said:

Amizaur,

That was presumably data derived by the US Army people from Operations Research. I have no additional data to offer, just what was in the report. Remember, this is the average, and there's a big difference between range firing on a known distance range or similar controlled situation and having to engage targets under highly dynamic conditions, moving target

OK I though this was data from some kind of test shooting

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Incorrect, you seem to forget that Iraq was under a massive sanctions regime, they simply could not import components, so they either ignored them or made their own.

The Iraqis bought T-72Ms from the USSR in the mid-80s. It was parts from this lot that were used to locally assemble the Asad Babils.
Some parts were locally sourced, almost certainly, but there's no real reason to believe this included doing something as inane and frankly stupid as replacing the armor with mild steel, or even that they had to use locally-produced armor plating in the first place.

And even if they had needed to source armor locally, Iraq kept building ballistic missiles while under heavy UN sanctions specifically intended to keep them from getting such missiles and after suffering massive economic/industrial damage in the Gulf War.
If Iraqi industry post-1991 didn't even have the ability to make something as basic as decent armor plating (which the claim that Asad Babil had to use mild steel armor logicaly implies), then it really begs the question how they managed to make far more complicated things such as ballistic missiles.

Edited by Saint_Fuller

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Posted (edited)

Here's the rundown on the T-72 export situation, from an industry insider. This guy's a pro. The top paragraphs set the tone for what follows.

(Fair Use)

T-72 monkey models

 
In various discussions about the performance of the T-72 in recent and past military conflicts or in fictive combat scenarios, there is always that one key word that will be thrown out by either side "monkey model".

 People arguing against the performance of the US military in Operation Desert Storm will say "the US fought only against monkey models, real Soviet tanks were much stronger!". In the same manner people, who try to argue about how "weak" the Soviet Union was, will say "most of the tanks were monkey models, we know that they are no problem".


Actually the export versions of T-72 sold to non-members of the Warsaw Pact were nearly equal to those used by East-Germany, the ČSSR, Hungary and Poland.
https://below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com/2015/06/t-72-monkey-models.html

Separate post by same author on T-72 armor protection, including some serious photos of the various armor arrays.
 
 
Regards,
 
John Kettler
Edited by John Kettler

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Saint_Fuller said:

Some parts were locally sourced, almost certainly, but there's no real reason to believe this included doing something as inane and frankly stupid as replacing the armor with mild steel, or even that they had to use locally-produced armor plating in the first place.

I'll concede that on investigation I'm not finding evidence supporting the 'mild steel' claim.....Still researching. 

EDIT:  I reckon I may have to eat my words on this one, it seems the  'Assad Babil' is largely fictional.....The kits supplied appear to have been rather sub-par, but it also appears that Iraq was utterly incapable of building these tanks on their own, regardless what steel they used.

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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On 4/19/2018 at 6:33 PM, John Kettler said:

Really good guide to bustin' up T-72s in tank games.

Why would anyone, under economic strain, build a front plate for a foreign specification (reverse engineer?) with mild steel? Not only is steel a valuable resource in war, but the time and effort required by machining out new plates and welding them to the hull (an oversimplification of the process). Why not just scuttle some tanks and refurbish others? I suppose, in some dark depths of hypothetical possibilities, it could have been a clerical error, a la Bellamy's Cromwell. 

I have read that armour modules of questionable quality were added as applique armour. Mayhaps, that is where this myth comes from? Then again, I still find M242 frontal penetrations during Desert Storm to be fantastical exaggerations. 

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On Iraqi T-72s:

The Iraqis operated the following types of T-72s:

T-72M
T-72M1
T-72A

The M and M1 models were both Polish sourced and otherwise identical to vehicles in service with both the Poles and other Warsaw Pact users of Polish production (inclusive the silly little fan the constituted the entire turret cooling system).  The T-72As were much the same, identical to T-72As of that 80's vintage from the Soviets.  

Basically the Soviets supplied some tanks out of the box (60ish T-72As if I recall correctly), then decided they wanted to pursue the Iranian market, so chose to pass the Iraqis as a client off onto the Poles (the remainder, T-72M and T-72M1).  Some of the T-72s from Poland were provided as "knockdown" kits which basically were plug and play assembly (by East German technicians) and did not use Iraqi components.

The "IraqI" variant T-72 myth comes from:

The Iraqis showcased a T-72 of some origin claiming it to have been indigenous production.  For a time the Iraqis certainly did explore the idea of being able to build their own tanks, but likely correctly figured out they neither could afford, or likely sustain such an operation

Some of these T-72s were modified with various indigenous or non-Soviet hardware.  Chinese EO jammers, exhaust diverters, etc all made appearances, which lead to the impression that they might be Iraqi production models vs modified Polish tanks given the earlier showcase display.  

The frankly disastrous display of T-72s during the conflict was at odds with the impression the tank was reasonably good. That these weren't "real" T-72s seemed to jive well with the earlier analysis.  

Tying into the previous comment, the re were still people trying to market and sell T-72Ms after 1991, and to be able to pretend that was all the result of some terrible not-actually-T-72s made by those Stupid Iraqis was helpful in sales pitches.

As to defeating a T-72 with 25MM, I've heard a fair enough of anecdotes enough to say I wouldn't feel confident doing it, but I've met people claiming to have:

1. Engaged T-72 Frontally from 1000 Meters with 25 MM HE (was attempting to suppressing tank while breaking contact).  Tank was unable to acquire Bradley in time to engage, wing Bradley fired TOW and destroyed target (1991).

2. Engaged T-62 frontally 800 meterish, claimed penetration and vehicle kill.  I asked him to confirm because I didn't hear him right.  Resulting conversation with other cav scouts sitting around brought up some vaguer stories about killing Iraqi tanks with 25 MM fire.  

Basically it seems like concentrated 25 MM has an effect on Soviet tanks of a certain generation, but at the same time I wouldn't feel supremely comfortable banking on the anecdotal stuff, and we were always told to hit tanks with TOWs from Bradleys.  

If I somehow were back in the Bradleyworld, I would initiate fires with a TOW if it was reasonable (or better, with a dismounted Javelin, then TOWs at the non-Javelin targets, mo' missile's mo' problems if you will*).  I wouldn't engage with 25 MM unless I was seen, or it was mission critical (basically it makes sense to seek the sure kill than it does to chase the 10% p/ks unless you have to).  

*What you really want to do is "mass" fires, in that your TOWs to their tanks are followed by 25 MM to the IFV/PC targets in the same formation once the missiles are on target.

Basically if you play the max range game (going by the book, using the "safe" book and 80% p/k answers vs what the system is capable of), you're putting out TOWs at the 4 KMish mark,  tank main guns and Javelin at 2.5 KM, then 25 MM around 1.5-2KM, followed by infantry small arms around .5-.8 KM.

This sounds cool, but the first eight (say it's a mech heavy combined arms team, so 8 BFVs, 4 tanks) TOWs accomplish kills....but the survivors now know what's up and are moving to not get wacked.  This makes everyone else's job a lot harder now.

What you really want is something closer to a 2-2.5 KM point to open fire, as then instead of 8 TOWs heading towards this formation....you've got 8 TOWs, 8 Javelins, and 4-8 tank rounds (first and second shots are likely going to be out before the enemy realizes what's up).  Assuming the 80% p/k at 2 KM, someone is now down about two companies of AFVs  in a few seconds.  25 MM and follow on tank shots work on anyone who's still got the fight in them, artillery comes in on pre-plots at the 2 KMish line (which also gives the team time to displace to follow on fighting positions).

Anyway.  Lengthy ramble, but there's a video gamism to seek kills that do not make a lot of sense in real life (or the value of a lost asset isn't well reflected in game, nor the "long game" of losing battles but winning the war sometimes.  

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10 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

The frankly disastrous display of T-72s during the conflict was at odds with the impression the tank was reasonably good. That these weren't "real" T-72s seemed to jive well with the earlier analysis.  

Tying into the previous comment, the re were still people trying to market and sell T-72Ms after 1991, and to be able to pretend that was all the result of some terrible not-actually-T-72s made by those Stupid Iraqis was helpful in sales pitches.

Thanks for that very interesting post - especially this part ^^^.

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TOWs are killers, and I am sure 25mms can suppress -- even knock out tank systems. I am a tad bit skeptical about the 25mm frontal penetration of the T-62. I suppose a few well-angled shots at close range to a vulnerable part of the armour could penetrate something?

Considering you're quite knowledgeable on the subject: were any Bradleys equipped with DU rounds (M919 or other)?

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On 4/24/2018 at 8:48 AM, HerrTom said:

An Iraqi crew didn't necessarily need a penetration to bail out. Could be the ping pong ping was enough to spook them into running?

There's no doubt in my mind that at least one Iraqi crew put the wind up and bugged out from that. 

Assuming that was witnessed by one or more US troops, then we all know how well fun stories propagate.

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Posted (edited)

Some time ago, there was quite the discussion of 25 mm vs T-72 fronts, and the veterans waded in on the matter, much to our edification. Here's one thread I unearthed, but it's not the one I'm thinking of. One below is from 2015.
 


Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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