TANKS – METAL FORTESSES. SEBASTIAN BEBLIK MiBM – MB8 Rok akad. 2007/08.
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TANKS – METAL FORTESSES
MiBM – MB8
Rok akad. 2007/08
A tank is a tracked armoured combat vehicle designed for front-line action, combining strong offensive and defensive capabilities. For offense the tank carries a large calibre gun and machine guns while heavy armour and good all-terrain mobility provide protection for the tank and its crew.
Leopard 2A4 in Polish colours
Tank development, originally conducted by the British Navy under the auspices of the Landships Committee was sponsored by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill and proceeded through a number of prototypes culminating in the Mark I tank prototype 'Mother' The first tank to engage in battle was named "D1", a British Mark I, during the Battle of Flers-Courcellette on 15 September 1916.
British World War I Mark IV tank with experimental "Tadpole Tail"
World War II was the first conflict where armoured vehicles were critical to success on the battlefield and during this period the tank developed rapidly as a weapon system. During the Invasion of Poland the Panzer II and the captured Czechoslovakian Panzer 38(t) light tanks predominated. The Somua S35 and Char B1 in the French Army and the Panzer III and Panzer IV medium tanks appeared in numbers during the Battle of France, while the North African Campaign brought the British Crusader and Matilda into combat with the panzers.
The Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) was a Czechoslovakian
tank used by Germany during World War II.
In Operation Barbarossa the Wehrmacht encountered the Russian T-34 and this prompted development so that during the Invasion of Normandy from June 1944 the Germans were fielding the Panther and Tiger tanks against the Allied Sherman. By 1945 and the final stages of the war the Tiger II, Pershing and Iosif Stalin tanks dominated the battlefields where they saw action.
Four tankers and a dog (Czterej pancerni i pies) was a very successful warthemed Polish television series of the 1960s (based on an eponymous novel by a Polish writer Janusz Przymanowski, himself a Red Army volunteer) which made T-34 tank number 102 an icon of Polish popular culture.
The commander and gunner sit on the right of the turret, and the loader on the left. The commander has six periscopes that cover 360°. He also has a x3 sight for the 12.7-mm machine gun, and an optical extension of the gunner's primary sight (GPS). This GPS has dual x10 and x3 day optics or x10 and x3 thermal imaging night vision, a Hughes laser rangefinder, and sight stabilization. The gunner has a x8 auxiliary sight. The loader has a x1 periscope that can traverse 360°.
HISTORY OF TANKS
As of 2005, there were 1,100 M1 Abrams used by the United States army in the course of the Iraq War, and they have proven to have an unexpectedly high level of vulnerability to roadside bombs. A relatively new type of remotely-detonated mine, the explosively formed penetrator has been used with some success against American armoured vehicles (particularly the Bradley fighting vehicle).
M1A1 on a live fire exercise in Iraq, 2003.
The three traditional factors determining a tank's effectiveness in battle are its firepower, protection, and mobility. In practical terms, the cost to manufacture and maintain a given tank design is also important in that it determines how many tanks a nation can afford to field.
Firepower is the ability of a tank to identify, engage, and destroy a target. Protection is the tank's ability to resist being detected, engaged, and disabled or destroyed by enemy fire. Mobility includes tactical (short range) movement over the battlefield including over rough terrain and obstacles, as well as strategic (long range) mobility, the ability of the tank to be transported by road, rail, sea, and/or air, to the battlefield.
The main weapon of all modern tanks is a single, large calibre (105 to 125mm) gun mounted in a fully traversing turret. The typical tank gun is a smoothbore weapon capable of firing armour-piercing kinetic energy penetrators (KEP), also known as armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS), and high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells and/or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) to destroy armoured targets, as well as high explosive (HE) shells for engaging soft targets or fortifications. A modern type of tank ordnance arising from the close range urban combat in Iraq is a 120mm calibre "shotgun" round for the M1 Abrams which will fire 1,100 tungsten pellets.
An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) or anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored tanks and other armored fighting vehicles. ATGMs range in size from shoulder-launched weapons which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod mounted weapons which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.
The Javelin Anti-Armor Missile - M72 LAW rockets
The Leopard 2E - of the Spanish Army - firing the new 120mm L/55 gun.
The Rheinmetall 120mm L44 gun was the most powerful tank gun by the time the Leopard 2 MBT was entering service with the German Army (1979).
A tank's protection is the combination of its ability to avoid detection, to avoid being hit by enemy fire, its armour to resist the effects of enemy fire, and to sustain damage and complete its mission, or at least protect its crew. In common with most unit types, tanks are subject to additional hazards in wooded and urban combat environments which largely negate the advantages of the tank's long-range firepower and mobility, limit the crew's detection capabilities and can restrict turret traverse. Despite these disadvantages, tanks retain high survivability against previous generation RPGs in all combat environments by virtue of their armour. By contrast, tank survivability against newer generation tandem-warhead anti-tank missiles is a concern for military planners.
German Panther illustrating early use of camouflage
To effectively protect the tank and its crew, tank armour must counter a wide variety of anti-tank threats. Protection against kinetic energy penetrators and high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells fired by other tanks is of primary importance, but tank armour must also aim to protect against infantry anti-tank missiles, anti-tank mines, bombs, direct artillery hits, and (less often) nuclear, bacterial and chemical threats, any of which could disable or destroy a tank and/or its crew.
The mobility of a tank is described by its battlefield or tactical mobility and its strategic mobility. Tactical mobility can be broken down firstly into agility, describing the tank's acceleration, braking, speed and rate of turn on various types of terrain, and secondly obstacle clearance: the tank's ability to travel over vertical obstacles like low walls or trenches or through water. Strategic mobility is the relative ease with which a military asset can be transported between theatres of operation and falls within the scope of military logistics.
T-72 Ajeya of the Indian Army with reactive armour