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Some thoughts on the effectiveness of the M735 and M774 APFSDS on the glacis armor of T-64A.


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So out of the gate I just want to say that Combat Mission Cold War is fantastic and is probably my favorite Combat Mission. Overall everything seems exceptionally well done and I am having tons of fun with the Campaign and Scenarios. I think I may have found an issue with M735 and M774 ammunition however. While playing various missions and some quick battle multiplayer with some friends, I noticed that the T-64A was remarkably durable. I didnt think too much of this at first, because I was expecting the T-64 to be a tough nut to crack. But as time went on I started to notice that it might be a bit too tough.

M735 and M774 are not capable of penetrating the front glacis plate of T-64A, in combat mission. I have not tested this agaisnt the other Soviet tanks with similar armor compositions, so I am not sure if this potential problem pertains to those tanks as well. If the same issue exists there, much of this post may be relevant to those tanks also since they have the same or similar armor profiles on the glacis.

 

I would like to start out by showing how the current game models the mentioned APFSDS vs the named target. I performed this test at 1000m, 0 degrees angle. I used RISE Passives for the M735 test and M60A3 TTS for the M774 testing. I counted each APFSDS fired to ensure I was not confusing sabot hits with other types of ammo the AI might choose to fire. I did the tests after noticing the durability of the T-64 glacis in various battles to verify under controlled conditions what I suspected was happening. In the screenshots you will notice that HEAT and Sabot hits have a different damage decal. To summarize the results, neither round can reliably penetrate the T-64 glacis. The game appears to model the weak point near the drivers hatch as the "upper front hull" and the main glacis as the "super structure front hull." M735 is ineffective against the superstructure and can occasionally gain penetrations against the driver plate area. M774 is slightly more effective with almost all rounds that hit the superstructure bouncing off, but very occasionally one will get though. M774 also tends to get through the driver plate area fairly reliably. However in both cases many of the hits to the driver plate area are counted as partial penetrations and not complete penetrations, which is odd considering that there is basically no composite armor in this area. Partial penetrations can seen in these screenshots via a smaller hole decal. They are rare for both rounds, especially vs superstructure.

 

M735:

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M774:

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The T-64A glacis plate uses a laminate armor array that consisted of 80mm of steel followed by 105mm of texolite followed by a 20mm backing plate of RHA. This armor greatly increased protection against shaped charges while still providing good protection against kinetic threats.  For additional visualization purposes, I will use some screenshots from war thunder in some areas. There will also be screenshots from various books and webpages.

 

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Source: https://thesovietarmourblog.blogspot.com/2017/12/t-72-part-2.html#8010520

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From Zaloga's T-64 Battle Tank:

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The Combat Mission CW manual states that M735 has 410mm of penetration and M774 has 440mm of penetration. These numbers are identical to the ones quoted on the steel beasts wiki, and are listed as being for a range of 3000m. I will include the table here, as well as some other rounds which will be relevant.

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From Tankograd: https://thesovietarmourblog.blogspot.com/2017/12/t-72-part-2.html#8010520

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The above simulation shows that M735 would certainly penetrate the 80/105/20 array and then some at 1000m.

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The Israeli M111 APFSDS was a derivative of the M735. It would appear to be ballistically of similar performance due to that and the penetration values on the SB wiki. Russian testing of this round revealed that it could penetrate

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From Tankograd:

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It should be noted here that the T-72A and M1 featured a even thicker armor array than the one on the T-64, going to 60mm RHA/105mm texolite/50mm RHA. So if this could be penetrated by M111 it stands to reason that M735 could go through the weaker T-64A armor.

 

After the end of the cold war T-72M1's were shot at with various German ammunition, including DM33 which is similar in performance to M774. These T-72s have the extra armor added later in the early 80s. It should be noted as well that the extra armor plates are past the scope of CMCW since they were not implemented until after the 1982 Israeli conflicts. DM33 105mm APFSDS penetrated the hull at 2km.

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Additionally, here is how M735 performs in steel beasts at 1840m, which is using the same penetration numbers as the CMCW manual (the picked range was just as close as I could get to 2km in the editor without spending 1 million hours trying to get it exact):

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Based on the general evidence, I think that the M735 and M774 ammunition should be made much more effective in game. M735 should be effective agaisnt the T-64A armor out to any practical range and M774 should be capable agaisnt the T-72A armor if it is not already, which I am guessing it is not based on in game performance agaisnt the worse T-64A armor array.

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Interesting post. I think you my have a point.

However, before addressing the issue in more detail, I'd like to point out two things.

1) Please notice that the figures listed in SBWiki ammo page are for point blank penetration.

2) Steven Zaloga in his old booklet on the M1 wrote that the Israeli M111 is comparable to the M735A1, not the M735. I admit that the source is dated but this may be consistent with the recurring anecdote about the (in)famous Kubinka tests of 1983 (see here: https://www.tanknet.org/index.php?/topic/20803-abrams-production/&do=findComment&comment=567798 )

P.S. In a series of CMCW test I just did with M774 against T-80B at 2000m, it took on average 4 hits to have the target destroyed (and in flames).Nearly all fatal penetration were Upper front hull hits, but there were also some Superstructure front hull hits that KOed the tank anyway. And all the non penetrating Superstructure front hull hits caused spalling.

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@FinStabilized this is a hell of a first post. Really well done! I appreciate the attention to detail, sources, and level headedness. That does not always happen on forums, as we are all too well aware. 

I am personally of the opinion that the performance of M774 in game is about right. 

There are essentially two camps of people when it comes to this specific issue. On one side, you have people (if you poke around on this forum a bit you will see some pretty out there claims from an infamous source around these parts) who claim that US antiarmor technology was essentially useless against Soviet armor such as the T-64/80.
On the other side, you have people who will argue that as long as you are pitting best vs best, both sides are relatively on par with each other. For example, an Abrams can kill a T-80B from the front, but it is not the easy one hit kill that it is in CMSF2 or CMBS. I personally fall into the second group. I would hazard that you fall into the second group as well.

A big thing when it comes to testing in Combat Mission is repetition. CM is extremely good at simulating chaos, those times where you do everything right and it still turns out badly, or the other way around. Warfare is not a binary equation, and CM gets that right more than most other systems even attempt. I think what you might be seeing is basically a case of tough luck. I say that because I have had a lot of success with Abrams vs all of the best Soviet armor in game (T-64B, T-80B, and T-72A). My experience tends to mirror @Amedeo in his post above. 

There is always going to be a bit of variation in what each individual player sees in CM, which can make it extremely difficult to test certain things. That said, the best way to present evidence of a possible issue is by uploading a save of the replay. The real head honchos at BFC have software tools that can pull that save apart and dig into the code to see what is going on, or at the very least get a much better idea of what is happening in the underlying systems than we can. 

I would recommend running the test multiple times to develop an average, and posting the results along with save files of the replays. 

If you don't know, the way to save a replay is to play the game in turn based (WeGo) mode and simply save the game as you normally would during the replay phase. This will save the entire 1 minute replay and allow others to load it up into their game and watch what is happening. If you are playing head to head and there is a password, that will be needed to view the replay as well. 

Again, great first post, and welcome aboard!

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Posted (edited)

I was in the Swedish military from the first half of the 90´s, to the beginning of the 20´s century. And when the Berlin wall fell. We got 5 T-72M1´s from Germany, allmost for free. To test amunition on, and to test the East German amunition, and to share the results to Germany (and other NATO contries). 

The T-72 M1 fired the BM22 and the arrows went straight through the S-Tank. When the S-Tank fired at the T-72 M1, it could not penetrate other than on weakspots! And remember, Sweden as a neutral country. Always bought the best (non DU ammo), if we could not developed it ourselfes (For political reasons, we could not buy DU ammo, nor develpe it ourselfs). And the S-Tank, had a longer barrel than any other 105mm L7 tanks out there at the time. So it compensated with higher muzzle velocity, for not using DU rounds (<10% higer penetration for DU rounds, and much more pyrophoric effects after penetration. Values are for 120mm rounds though). 

The same after we bought the Strv 122 for our armoured brigades, and rented 160 Strv 121 (Leopard 2 A4) for our mechanized brigades from Germany in 1994-95. We wanted the best non DU ammo, and it was not in Germany at the time. So we bought Israeli APFSDS ammunition after comprehensive testing. 

So I think that CM:CW is quite spot on, from my own experience!

Edited by Armorgunner
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@Cpt Miller@Amedeo Thanks for the compliments on my post :) I have only lurked on forums but Ive actually been playing combat mission since the mid-2000s. I totally agree that WEGO is the way to go!

 

@AmedeoM735A1 is the same design as M735, just with DU penetrator instead of WHA, and M111 is WHA. Also are you sure about the SB wiki ranges being for point blank? I dont think it makes much of a difference in the conclusions of my post, but the wiki does list ranges next to each penetration value. Either way estimates of the M111 point to it being comparable to 735, slightly worse even.

@Cpt Miller

I agree completely that a small number of samples could end up with just bad luck, however I performed over 100 tests of M774 and so far I have done 61 tests of 745 so far at 1000m. Results are below as are my saved games files. I forgot to save one or two of the tests but overall I think these show that this is not a case of bad luck.

774:

71 Failures Superstructure, 3 Pens of Superstructure, 29 Pens of UFP, 14 Partial pens SS, 1 Partial Pen of UFP.

95 percent chance of total failure relative to total success. 80% chance of no penetration or partial penetration. 15% chance of partial penetration (superstructure for all)

 

735 (so far): 43 Failures SS, 1 SS pen, 14 UFP pens, 0 Partial pens of SS, 3 Partial pens of UFP.

97 percent chance of failure agaisnt SS.

 

https://www.filemail.com/d/tefcobwkwqdhdaq

ufp.thumb.png.9afc70740d09ef05c95fbc1af409c71f.png

 

 

Also something I have noticed in testing is that the Upper front plate penetrations always appear where the LFP and Glacis meet. Never near the drivers hatch where one might expect. This is another indicator to me that something is bugged here. I see no reason why either of these rounds would fail agaisnt the main glacis armor, ie super structure. Especially M774, which we know for certain could penetrate the 80/105/20 array even out to 3km. I would also like to reiterate something from my original post, that this is mainly about the T-64A armor. The point of including the T-72 references is because M111 was able to penetrate the 60/105/50 array before the Soviets upgraded with with applique, which is stronger than the 80/105/20 array on T-64A.

 

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9 hours ago, FinStabilized said:

@Cpt Miller@Amedeo Thanks for the compliments on my post :) I have only lurked on forums but Ive actually been playing combat mission since the mid-2000s. I totally agree that WEGO is the way to go!

 

@AmedeoM735A1 is the same design as M735, just with DU penetrator instead of WHA, and M111 is WHA. Also are you sure about the SB wiki ranges being for point blank? I dont think it makes much of a difference in the conclusions of my post, but the wiki does list ranges next to each penetration value. Either way estimates of the M111 point to it being comparable to 735, slightly worse even.

@Cpt Miller

I agree completely that a small number of samples could end up with just bad luck, however I performed over 100 tests of M774 and so far I have done 61 tests of 745 so far at 1000m. Results are below as are my saved games files. I forgot to save one or two of the tests but overall I think these show that this is not a case of bad luck.

774:

71 Failures Superstructure, 3 Pens of Superstructure, 29 Pens of UFP, 14 Partial pens SS, 1 Partial Pen of UFP.

95 percent chance of total failure relative to total success. 80% chance of no penetration or partial penetration. 15% chance of partial penetration (superstructure for all)

 

735 (so far): 43 Failures SS, 1 SS pen, 14 UFP pens, 0 Partial pens of SS, 3 Partial pens of UFP.

97 percent chance of failure agaisnt SS.

 

https://www.filemail.com/d/tefcobwkwqdhdaq

ufp.thumb.png.9afc70740d09ef05c95fbc1af409c71f.png

 

 

Also something I have noticed in testing is that the Upper front plate penetrations always appear where the LFP and Glacis meet. Never near the drivers hatch where one might expect. This is another indicator to me that something is bugged here. I see no reason why either of these rounds would fail agaisnt the main glacis armor, ie super structure. Especially M774, which we know for certain could penetrate the 80/105/20 array even out to 3km. I would also like to reiterate something from my original post, that this is mainly about the T-64A armor. The point of including the T-72 references is because M111 was able to penetrate the 60/105/50 array before the Soviets upgraded with with applique, which is stronger than the 80/105/20 array on T-64A.

 

Thanks for posting the saves! I appreciate it.

I'll take a look at this and see what I come up with. 

My initial hunch is that this may be "laboratory bias." What I mean is that, when you place a tank at a perfect range, and it is perfectly flat, you remove some of the combat conditions that come into play. For example, armor sloping. Firing straight on with no ballistic arc or change in elevation, the round is always hitting the sloped armor at an unfavorable angle. Whereas if the tank is elevated or lowered a bit due to terrain, the round will strike the armor in a way that helps to negate the effect of the slope. Plunging fire, for example. 

I was playtesting a demo scenario last night (the demo is being worked on) that features some Soviet T-64Bs on the attack. Opposing them were M60A3s firing M774. I lost 6 T-64Bs and T-64As to frontal penetrations at a range of around 2000m, most of the penetrating rounds being through the front hull armor. This is consistent with what I have experienced throughout the development process for Cold War as well. T-64B and T-80B are hard tanks to kill, but not nearly as hard to kill as a Sherman vs Panther in the WW2 titles. I know your testing is specific to the T-64A, but everything I just stated holds true for that tank as well. 

I'm not saying you are wrong, and I appreciate the detail and explanation to your posts, just that I have not experienced the same thing myself. Again though, I will look into it because I think you are making sound points/arguments. That, and anecdotal evidence is not evidence, even from me 😁

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Posted (edited)

Well, regardless of overall performance, the apparent presence of a reduced strength area at the “nose” of the hull armor seems incorrect based on the armor design.  Possibly the system is assuming a “joint” where there is just overlap.

image.png.885c726ef4991e4842d9d7e9c75aa74a.png

Edited by akd
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13 hours ago, FinStabilized said:

@AmedeoM735A1 is the same design as M735, just with DU penetrator instead of WHA, and M111 is WHA. Also are you sure about the SB wiki ranges being for point blank? I dont think it makes much of a difference in the conclusions of my post, but the wiki does list ranges next to each penetration value. Either way estimates of the M111 point to it being comparable to 735, slightly worse even.

Yes, I'm sure the SBWiki penetration values are point blank and not at 3000m because the very first line of that page contains the words "measured at the muzzle".

Speaking of the M111, I know that some consider that round as similar in performance to the M735 (the same SBWiki does) but I simply wanted to remember that, in the mid '80s, Zaloga stated that its performance was similar to the M735A1 (and thus more in line with the M774 than the M735). Zaloga's statement was not based on Israely marketing hipe. In the same book I quoted before, Zaloga said also that Israeli sources claimed the M111 to be superior (!) to the latest US DU APFSDS (i.e. M774 and M833) but added that an US officer, asked whether this could be true, just chuckled.

Why are we discussing the M111? As you said, because of the notorious "Kubinka tests". Now, the only written published source about these tests (at least the only one I know of) was an article written by James Warford for the magazine Armor. The article said that the Soviet tested M111 APFSDS rounds against the T-72A in 1983 (circa) and were shocked when they found that the M111 was able to penetrate the tank's glacis. The article also reported that US made M735 APFSDS were allegedly tested, and the T-72A was found to be proof to them. The author wrote allegedly because he thinks it was unlikely that the Soviets managed to smuggle US ammo from West Germany.

But fact is that the only things we know for sure is that an Israeli M60 (with ammo) was recovered by the Syrians in 1982 and shipped to the Soviet Union (the Kubinka museum recently agreed to sent it back to Israel in exchange for another one - they did this because Israeli officials asked the return of what was considered a "war grave") and some time after, a 20mm appliqué glacis plate for T-72/64/80 tanks. Period. 

Actually, all the details we "know" about those tests were based on the recollections of colonel Murakhovskii (he, again) that leaked on internet forums: I'm referring in particular to the Tank-Net forum. The fact that the tank tested was a T-72A, the fact that it was tested at 1500m range, the fact that the Soviet found that the glacis was penetrated and the turret was proof, the fact that also the M735 was tested (actually it was said, generically, it was an "american APFSDS", but, if true, I think it's a safely assumption that we're talking about the M735, not the M774). I'm not stating that these details are false. I only want to point out that, as far as I know, there are no other independent confirmation of them, other than the aforementioned forum anecdotes.

So, I went on and tested the M735 against a T-72A in CMCW, expecting it to be basically proof against that tungsten APSFSD, but.... see below.

13 hours ago, FinStabilized said:

Also something I have noticed in testing is that the Upper front plate penetrations always appear where the LFP and Glacis meet. Never near the drivers hatch where one might expect. This is another indicator to me that something is bugged here. I see no reason why either of these rounds would fail agaisnt the main glacis armor, ie super structure. Especially M774, which we know for certain could penetrate the 80/105/20 array even out to 3km. I would also like to reiterate something from my original post, that this is mainly about the T-64A armor. The point of including the T-72 references is because M111 was able to penetrate the 60/105/50 array before the Soviets upgraded with with applique, which is stronger than the 80/105/20 array on T-64A.

In my tests the M735, against a T-72A at 1500m, obtained 46% Superstructure front hull penetrations (!!!), 15% Upper front hull penetrations, 15% weapon mount penetrations, 15% Lower front hull penetrations, 9% Turret hits (no penetrations). That was totally unexpected! Especially considering the results of your tests against the T-64A. I don't know whether I managed to get a string of unlikely results (I "destroyed" only a dozen tanks to get my data - I don't claim any statistical relevance) but, now I presume that the problem might not lie in  "underpowered" US APFSDS (since their results of both the M774 and M735 against T-72s and T-80s are in line with the expectations... even more so) but in some sort of tougher T-64A glacis. Additionally, I think that it would be interesting to know exactly to which glacis areas the "Upper front plate" and "Superstructure hull front" corresponds. Maybe that the "Upper front plate" contains not only the driver's hatch zone but also a significant portion of the glacis.

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17 minutes ago, Amedeo said:

Yes, I'm sure the SBWiki penetration values are point blank and not at 3000m because the very first line of that page contains the words "measured at the muzzle".

Speaking of the M111, I know that some consider that round as similar in performance to the M735 (the same SBWiki does) but I simply wanted to remember that, in the mid '80s, Zaloga stated that its performance was similar to the M735A1 (and thus more in line with the M774 than the M735). Zaloga's statement was not based on Israely marketing hipe. In the same book I quoted before, Zaloga said also that Israeli sources claimed the M111 to be superior (!) to the latest US DU APFSDS (i.e. M774 and M833) but added that an US officer, asked whether this could be true, just chuckled.

Why are we discussing the M111? As you said, because of the notorious "Kubinka tests". Now, the only written published source about these tests (at least the only one I know of) was an article written by James Warford for the magazine Armor. The article said that the Soviet tested M111 APFSDS rounds against the T-72A in 1983 (circa) and were shocked when they found that the M111 was able to penetrate the tank's glacis. The article also reported that US made M735 APFSDS were allegedly tested, and the T-72A was found to be proof to them. The author wrote allegedly because he thinks it was unlikely that the Soviets managed to smuggle US ammo from West Germany.

But fact is that the only things we know for sure is that an Israeli M60 (with ammo) was recovered by the Syrians in 1982 and shipped to the Soviet Union (the Kubinka museum recently agreed to sent it back to Israel in exchange for another one - they did this because Israeli officials asked the return of what was considered a "war grave") and some time after, a 20mm appliqué glacis plate for T-72/64/80 tanks. Period. 

Actually, all the details we "know" about those tests were based on the recollections of colonel Murakhovskii (he, again) that leaked on internet forums: I'm referring in particular to the Tank-Net forum. The fact that the tank tested was a T-72A, the fact that it was tested at 1500m range, the fact that the Soviet found that the glacis was penetrated and the turret was proof, the fact that also the M735 was tested (actually it was said, generically, it was an "american APFSDS", but, if true, I think it's a safely assumption that we're talking about the M735, not the M774). I'm not stating that these details are false. I only want to point out that, as far as I know, there are no other independent confirmation of them, other than the aforementioned forum anecdotes.

So, I went on and tested the M735 against a T-72A in CMCW, expecting it to be basically proof against that tungsten APSFSD, but.... see below.

In my tests the M735, against a T-72A at 1500m, obtained 46% Superstructure front hull penetrations (!!!), 15% Upper front hull penetrations, 15% weapon mount penetrations, 15% Lower front hull penetrations, 9% Turret hits (no penetrations). That was totally unexpected! Especially considering the results of your tests against the T-64A. I don't know whether I managed to get a string of unlikely results (I "destroyed" only a dozen tanks to get my data - I don't claim any statistical relevance) but, now I presume that the problem might not lie in  "underpowered" US APFSDS (since their results of both the M774 and M735 against T-72s and T-80s are in line with the expectations... even more so) but in some sort of tougher T-64A glacis. Additionally, I think that it would be interesting to know exactly to which glacis areas the "Upper front plate" and "Superstructure hull front" corresponds. Maybe that the "Upper front plate" contains not only the driver's hatch zone but also a significant portion of the glacis.

I don't have time right now to respond to this entirely right now but I want to note something about the test. I also started testing the T-72 and T-72A and it is for some reason far less resistant than the T-64A, despite the fact that the baseline 72 should have the same armor array and the 72A should be more resistant than the 64A. I havent had time to do 100 tests and save the files, but it is obvious from the testing Ive done so far and what you just posted that the T-72 is far weaker for some reason.  This indicates strongly to me that this is a bug of some kind, especially in conjunction with the fact that the hatch weak point appears int he wrong place and for some reason always leaves two overlapping penetration hole decals. I think there might be some swapped armor data entries or something, because the T-64A should be penetrable just like the baseline 72, much less the 72A.

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Perhaps you're right, maybe they accidentally switched the protection levels. Just now, there are some M48s butchering my T-72As with 1960s vintage APDS rounds at a range of 3000m plus! (mainly Lower hull and weapon hits, nonetheless...).

P.S. I don't know how much faith one can put in the hit decals' locations. I mean, I'm not sure they display the exact impact point. I always thought decals were intended mainly to be eye candy,

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2 hours ago, Amedeo said:

I always thought decals were intended mainly to be eye candy,

No, they are displayed wherever the round hits - i.e., they aren't placed in a generic location.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Amedeo said:

 Just now, there are some M48s butchering my T-72As with 1960s vintage APDS rounds at a range of 3000m plus! (mainly Lower hull and weapon hits, nonetheless...).

Yep. If you set-up a shooting range in the editor for 4km and let 20 soviet tanks cautiously advance to 20 M48A5 or M60A1 tanks, everything except T64Bs and T80Bs will get butchered by M48A5s or M60A1s. Mostly at ranges between 3k and 2,5k. The tested T64Bs and T80Bs only survive because their AT-8 Songsters kill most of the M48s or M60s at 4k distance. If you do the test with T64B1s and T80B1s the result is totally different. I guess the devs have to look into this a little closer.

Would reality have been like that, there would have been no need to introduce the 120mm smoothbore to NATO forces back then.

Edited by DesertFox
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Posted (edited)

So I tested the baseline T-72, which should have the same armor array as the T-64A.

 

20 Super Structure Penetrations, 13 Total Failures, 41 Partial penetrations of superstructure, 18 Upper front plate pens, 0 partial pens of ufp.

72% chance of general failure agaisnt superstructure. 17% chance of total failure. 27% chance of total success. 55 percent chance of partial pen.

 

So for some reason the T-72 (baseline) which has the same armor on the glacis as T-64A, has a statically significant decrease in protection. Although I might add that this is still nowhere what would be expected. This test was with M774, which we know for certain could defeat the 80/105/20 array at 3km.

 

 

@Amedeo

I see that you are right about the SB wiki ranges, which appear to max effective range.

 

I am unaware of any claims made by anyone on the tank-net forums. Nor did I read about this from the 2006 Warford article. I did however go back and check it out today and I was not able to find any mention of M735 being claimed to fail. The only mention of 735 is that there were confirmed reports of its presence. Also the warford article and other sources seem to indicate that the suspected captured vehicle was a magach4, or m48. My first source for this was actually tankograd, but Ive seen in mentioned in several places including Zaloga. I very much doubt Zaloga of all people would be reporting it matter of factly if the only source was a forum post. Also there are alot of details in the below quote as well as reference to a separate book not written by the mentioned colonel. That book is in cryillic so I am unable to read it but I digress.

"M111 "Hetz" ammunition was acquired by the Soviet Union and extensively examined and tested after the 1982 war in Lebanon (June 1982 - September 1982). A very popular theory is that the ammunition came on board a captured Israeli Magach 4 tank, which was until recently on display in Kubinka. Having captured M111 "Hetz" rounds in sufficient quantity for live fire testing, it was discovered by Soviet specialists that the upper glacis of the T-72 was vulnerable. As a response, the "Reflection" R&D programme (ОКР «Отражение») was initiated. This programme consisted of the "Reflection-2" research topic on a stopgap solution and the "Reflection-1" research topic on a long-term solution. Work on the "Reflection-2" research topic concluded before the end of 1982. It lead to the development of high hardness appliqué armour plates tailored to each of the Soviet Army's main battle tanks - the T-64, T-72 and T-80.

As part of the "Reflection-2" programme, new-production T-72A tanks received a layer of appliqué armour on the upper glacis during hull construction at the factory and the T-72M1 export variant was created on the basis of this model in the same year. Furthermore, all models of the T-72 series were ordered to have 16mm of appliqué armour welded onto the upper glacis beginning in July 1983. The uparmouring process for existing tanks was authorized to take place during scheduled maintenance at repair facilities across the USSR.


As explained on page 139 of the book "Т-72/Т-90. Опыт создания отечественных основных боевых танков", the appliqué armour was intended to limit the effective range of M111, but no more. It was merely a temporary stopgap measure to keep the Soviet Army's large fleet of T-72 tanks viable against common 105mm APFSDS threats for the next few years. The limitations of the outdated three-layer armour sandwich design were recognized and work on a much more serious upgrade in armour protection was already underway, thanks to prior intelligence on West German plans to install a 120mm gun on the new Leopard 2 tank. Indeed, the 16mm plate was not only intended to immunize the tank from the new 105mm threat, but also to limit the effective range of the 120mm gun threat."

 

Anyhow in many ways this is neither here nor there . The point of mentioning M111 Hetz is that as far was we know, it defeated the T-72A, which had a better armor array on the glacis than the 64A, the subject of this post. Based on the best information available, M111 and M735 seem to be similar performance rounds. Even if we assume 735 to be a bit worse, it should not have issues with the 64A type array. This evidence is listed because it is highly suggestive, if not definitive. Zaloga  quotes from official Russian sources that the 80/105/20 array as being equivalent to 335mm, easily within M735s grasp. This is also consistent with every other bit of evidence I can find on these rounds/armor, including steel beasts, whose values CMCW manual seems to be quoting or has arrived at on its own. But to reiterate my answer I quoted the M111 tests because they are part of a preponderance of evidence both suggestive and estimated.

 

Edited by FinStabilized
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M111 had better perfomance than M735. It was probably due to the slightly revised nose end that avoided M735 problems with bouncing  off angled plates.

I haven't seen the game fire APDS out to 3k. Frankly, I haven't seen the game fire APDS at all, except once when a M60A1 fired on a T62 at 750m and got an 'armor spalling' for its trouble.

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@FinStabilized

Thank you for taking the time to reply in depth.

For what concerns the Kubinka tests, what I'm saying is simply that I wasn't able to trace a source about them that was not in turn traceable to what was reported on the TankNet forums (and other Russian webpages, allegedly). I cannot point out to posts still present in the forums, the discussion started in the early 2000s. I quoted the above post by V. Fofanov, since he was involved in reporting col. Murakhovskii's recollections. Jim Warford is also a top poster at TankNet's and I'm positive that what he wrote in his article regarding the Kubinka trials was collected from the forums. He didn't wrote about the M735 because he (understandably) thinks it was unlikely American APFSDSs were smuggled from West Germany. 

Interestingly enough, if you open War Thunder and test the T-72A against M735 and M111 at 1500 m you'll find exactly the same results I described above (i.e. M735 fails, except at weak spots, M111 easily pierces the glacis but fails against turret cheeks). Not that I'm advocating considering War Thunder as the ultimate simulator (it isn't) but I think it's not a coincidence that that game (developed by a Russian company) reproduces the aforementioned conclusions about the Soviet tests. 

Having said so, I'm basically in agreement with your main thesis. Roughly speaking, I  think that T-72/T-64A level protection (frontal armour excluding weakened zones) should be proof against M728, vulnerable against M735 (hull) and M774 (hull & turret), while T-72A/T-64BT-80B level protection should be proof against M728 and M735 and vulnerable against M774 (hull).

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On 5/5/2021 at 7:56 AM, MikeyD said:

I haven't seen the game fire APDS out to 3k. Frankly, I haven't seen the game fire APDS at all, except once when a M60A1 fired on a T62 at 750m and got an 'armor spalling' for its trouble.

Of course it was a purposely designed QB on a pool-table like map pitting T-72As vs M48A5. The Pattons opened fire at 4000 m and scored a lot of hits with their obsolete APDS rounds, managing also to penetrate their targets on gun mantlets and lower hulls.

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)
On 5/4/2021 at 12:06 AM, Armorgunner said:

I was in the Swedish military from the first half of the 90´s, to the beginning of the 20´s century. And when the Berlin wall fell. We got 5 T-72M1´s from Germany, allmost for free. To test amunition on, and to test the East German amunition, and to share the results to Germany (and other NATO contries). 

The T-72 M1 fired the BM22 and the arrows went straight through the S-Tank. When the S-Tank fired at the T-72 M1, it could not penetrate other than on weakspots! And remember, Sweden as a neutral country. Always bought the best (non DU ammo), if we could not developed it ourselfes (For political reasons, we could not buy DU ammo, nor develpe it ourselfs). And the S-Tank, had a longer barrel than any other 105mm L7 tanks out there at the time. So it compensated with higher muzzle velocity, for not using DU rounds (<10% higer penetration for DU rounds, and much more pyrophoric effects after penetration. Values are for 120mm rounds though). 

The same after we bought the Strv 122 for our armoured brigades, and rented 160 Strv 121 (Leopard 2 A4) for our mechanized brigades from Germany in 1994-95. We wanted the best non DU ammo, and it was not in Germany at the time. So we bought Israeli APFSDS ammunition after comprehensive testing. 

So I think that CM:CW is quite spot on, from my own experience!

 I answer my self, to tell what I missed 🙂

 

The S-Tank and T-72M1 fired at normal combat ranges at eachother, not point blank! The S-Tanks gun is 62 calibres, vs the normal L7´s 52 calibres. That compares roughly to the same penetration at 2000m for the L/62, as at 1500m for the standard L7 L/52!

 

Buy the way, the S-tank still has the world record for a tank in RPM for its 105mm gun, 24rds/min (THATS FAST)

 

The S-Tank only had 40mm upper frontplate armor, but it also had "Rib armor" 40mm high, 30mm deep, that added more protection together with the extreme slope of the ufp. That, together with the worlds first Slat/Cage/Bar armor. Made it basicly imune frontally, to any AT weapons in the 70´ts. But the introduction of APFSDS, made all that useless! Earlier projecitiles Would just bounce of, but APFSDS just went trough!

 

1. A picture, when fired uppon, with non APFSDS ammo

2. A picture of the bar armor, Which to some degree was effective against AP projektiles aswell! And that was mounted on the tank, the T-72M1 fired on!

 

Cmc45dX (1).jpg

strv103d-3web.jpg

Edited by Armorgunner
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  • 2 weeks later...

 

This topic should not die. Here is post I had on the playtesting forum on June 6th. I have been too busy with work to resume tests and make a Mantis report, yet. In my estimation the T-64A/B is better protected and more capable in CMCW than in any board wargame, computer game or simulation I have played, developed or play tested in 30+ years of wargaming. This includes modern armored warfare board games like Assault, MBT (original), MBT 2 (GMT), Lock n' Load, Mech War (SPI) and others. PC games ranging from Tanks, Steel Panthers, Flashpoint Germany & Campaigns, HPS Simulations and Armored Brigade. The only Sim I have used is Steelbeasts.

POST from June 6th------- 

I set up a test range that is approximately 2000m long and flat. It is June 1st, 1982, at 0000 hours and the conditions are hazy, cool and dry. I placed 1x M60A3TTS behind a berm hull down with armored arcs set to 1500m. At the opposite end of the map approached 4x T-64A’s (4x tank platoon). The scenario is set for two player hot seat and the Soviet tanks are given a move order to move toward the M60A3TTS’s. All crews are regular, normal and fit. I played the scenario enough times to get 100 shots of M774 APFSDS rounds at an engagement range of 1500m and less and 30 shots of the M256A2 HEAT round an engagement range of 1500m and less. At only no time during the engagements was a T-64A able to engage a M60A3TTS, this is due to the conditions and the thermal sight of the M60A3TTS. BUT I suspect the T-64A may be underperforming in IR optics.

Here is a summary of my findings:

The distribution of M774 hits which were all from the frontal arc on the T-64A and are as follows:

1.       The turret (top turret, front turret, weapon mount and weapon) was hit a combined 5.0% of the time. I believe this is too low

2.       The lower front hull (Lower, right, left) was hit a combined 17.2% of the time

3.       The upper front hull (front, right, left) was hit 77.8% of the time. I believe this is too high

4.       There were no track hits

The M774 hit 99 out of a 100 shots for 99% accuracy. Perhaps too high.

Overall,  the M774  penetrated the whole of the T-64A, 18.2% of the time. The only areas to be penetrated on the T-64A was the upper right hull and lower front hull.

1.       The upper front hull  was struck 1 time and was penetrated for 100% of the time

2.       The lower front hull was struck 17 times and penetrated 17 times for 100% penetration

 

image.thumb.png.9d1250800439fe19198c7031a69b9867.png

The distribution of M256A2 HEAT hits which were all from the frontal arc on the T-64A and are as follows:

1.       The turret (top turret, front turret, right turret, weapon mount and weapon) was hit a combined 6.6% of the time. I believe this is too low

2.       The lower front hull (lower, right, left) was hit a combined 23.3% of the time

3.       The upper front hull (front, right, left) was hit 70.0% of the time. I believe this is too high

4.       There were no track hits

The M256A2 HEAT hit 30 out of a 30 shots for 100% accuracy. Certainly, too high. Most of the rounds were fired at 400m or less but some were fired at >1000m.

Overall,  the M256A2 HEAT  penetrated the whole of the T-64A, 30.0% of the time. The only areas to be penetrated on the T-64A was the upper front hull and lower front hull.

1.       The upper front hull  was struck 2 times and was penetrated for 100% of the time

2.       The lower front hull was struck 7 times and penetrated 7 times for 100% penetration

image.thumb.png.ee7bbf906b7668ab219dcc4f10490993.png

I may Mantis this concerning the high concentration of upper front hull hits and low concentration of turret front hits.

Pete

 

Edited by dpabrams
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Quote

At only no time during the engagements was a T-64A able to engage a M60A3TTS, this is due to the conditions and the thermal sight of the M60A3TTS. BUT I suspect the T-64A may be underperforming in IR optics.

That might be about what you should really get from tanks trying to hunt down hull-down tanks on the move (from Forcyzk's Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1943-45 Red Steamroller).

Clipboard01.thumb.png.0960b33bc895f736e17cb7bf4310b5e1.png

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3 hours ago, arkhangelsk2021 said:

That might be about what you should really get from tanks trying to hunt down hull-down tanks on the move (from Forcyzk's Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1943-45 Red Steamroller).

 

The hunt is not my point, the suped up T-64A/B is. Interesting exerpt though. Is the author a former M60 or M1 commander writing a book on the EF tank battles?

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