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Post-WW2 tank design

Discussion in 'Post-World War 2 Armour' started by Ricky, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    In an effort to get a bit of debate going in the actual tank section of this forum ( :wink: ) I thought that I would launch one of my controversial topics.

    It seems to me, when I look at American tanks in service since WW2 (basically everything since the M-26) that, when compared to Britain, the following is true.

    In armament and armour, they lagged behind (up until the M1A1 and M1, respectively).

    In performance (and, at certain times, reliability - remember the early multi-fuel engines :roll: ), they were ahead, being generally faster.

    Being as the expected enemy post-WW2 was the CCCP, and to a smaller extent China, both countries who could produce large numbers of fairly decent tanks, was the stress on speed over gun & armour sensible?

    Who had it right, Britain or America?
     
  2. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    One of the wars between India and Pakistan resulted in head on smashes between contempory British and US tanks. I think in that war the British tanks came out on top.
     
  3. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    Just a few points but my knowledge is limited.

    I've been given the impression that british chieftan was also a very unreliable tank?

    As for speed, I've always felt that flat speed/accelaration and firing when moving accuracy is always better than a big gun and armour. It seems to me that from the 60's onwards and the advent of missiles, tanks were always vulnrable and there best defense was going to be speed and mobility rather than inches think armour.

    The days of build me an invulrable tank and damm it's speed (Matilda?) are long gone.

    FNG
     
  4. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Before we can analyze if these approaches are the best ones we would first need to determine if your impressions are accurate.
    I'm not convinced that they necessarily are.
    Can you provide some specifics regarding this hypothesis?

    Need more specifics. The Pakistanis did have a fair amount of US made armor but AFAIK the Indian army inventory consisted mainly of Russian equipment.
     
  5. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    The idea came when looking through my various tank books. I drew up a rough comparison, which formed the basis of this. I'll look it out tonight & post (hopefully) tomorrow.

    A bit of rather simple web-searching actually seems to indicate that I may have been slightly wrong...
    with the exception of the early Centurions and after the introduction of the M1, British tanks have been as fleet of track as their American counterparts.
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    AFAIK the Indians use (anad have used) a mixture of Russian and Indian MBTs - the limit of British AFVs in Indian service is armoured cars (Daimlers, then Ferrets) and the odd bit of equipment such as engines, guns, etc.

    I'll check this out though.
     
  7. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Ahem. My mistake. :oops:

    The Vijayanta MBT (1,000+ in service, 1,000+ in storage) is actually the Vickers Main Battle Tank, a tank designed for the export market by Vikers cheifly using componants of the Centurian & Cheiftain.

    So they do use British tanks, but not quite the same ones as the British use.
     
  8. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Everthing I have read regarding confrontations between American( export version) tanks versus British and Soviet tanks (presumably export versions also) during the cold war period indicates that the outcome was determined by superior doctrine and tactics rather than by any superiority of one tank over another. The India-Pakistan war, the Arab- Israeli war etc. It is usually said that the Pakistanis lost to the Indians in spite of their superior armor due to their poor doctrine and tactics. The Israelis in one battle IIRC using Shermans defeated the Jordanians who were using Pattons due to better use of the AFVs despite the fact that technologically the Pattons were superior to the Shermans.

    On another note I have read at least one comment regarding the demonstrated superiority of the Centurian in Korea over the US and Soviet armor however I can find very little information on tank versus tank encounters in Korea and nothing to substantiate that idea.
    I think the largest armor confrontation was at the Inchon landings as the US was expanding it's beachead and Pershings (with help from Corsairs) defeated a North Korean armored thrust.
    Anybody else have any sources regarding tank performance in Korea?
     
  9. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    I have seen the Korean Centurion thing in full as 'the Centurion performed better than the Russian T-34 and American Sherman tanks.

    Basically, it performed better than older tanks. :wink:
     
  10. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Ok, here it is.

    An admittedly simplistic comparison of British & American post-war tanks, from 1945 (M26 & Centurion) onwards.

    It was actually surprisingly difficult to get any info on the British tanks. Most books dealing with the Centurion tend to 'compress' the history and leave out detailed info about the individual marks.
    From the Cheiftain (and M60) up you start seeing 'classified' creep into the stats. :roll:
    Where you see 2 different stats (like '300 miles / 400 miles') this means that I got two different answers.

    If anybody has any corrections or additions, let me know. I will update this copy, keeping just one definative list. (edited several times already)

    All speeds and ranges are 'on road' unless otherwise stated.

    American:

    M26
    Introduced: 1945
    Speed: 30 mph / 20 mph
    Off-road: 5.2 mph (can this be right?)
    Gun: 90mm M3 gun
    Armour: 13 – 102mm
    Range: 92 / 100 miles

    M46 Patton (a stop-gap between the M26 & M47)
    Introduced: 1949
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 90mm M3A1 gun
    Armour: 13 – 102mm
    Range: 80 miles

    M47 Patton
    Introduced: 1953/ 1952
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 90mm gun M36
    Armour: 12.7 – 112mm
    Range: 80miles

    M48 Patton 2
    Introduced: 1954 / 1953
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 90mm gun M41
    Armour: 12.7 – 120mm
    Range: 70 miles ,135 miles with jettison tanks

    M48A2C
    Introduced: 1956
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 90mm gun M41
    Armour: 12.7 – 120mm
    Range: 160 miles

    M60
    Introduced: 1960 / 1959
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 105mm gun
    Armour: 25 - 180mm
    Range: 295 miles

    M60A1
    Introduced: 1961 / 1962
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 105mm gun M68
    Armour: 25 - 250mm
    Range: 312 miles

    M48A3
    Introduced: 1963
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 90mm gun Model M41
    Armour: 12.7 – 120mm
    Range: 309 miles

    M60A2
    Introduced: 1972, but only 592 built, and withdrawn from service
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 152mm gun/launcher
    Armour: 25 - 180mm
    Range: 312 miles

    M48A5
    Introduced: 1975
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 105mm M68 rifled gun
    Armour: 12.7 – 120mm
    Range: 310 miles

    M60A3
    Introduced: 1978
    Speed: 30 mph
    Gun: 105mm M68 rifled gun
    Armour: 25 - 250mm
    Range: 298 miles

    M1
    Introduced: 1978 / 1980?
    Speed: 45 mph (Governed)
    off-road: 30 mph
    Gun: 105mm M68A1 rifled gun
    Armour:???
    Range: 300 miles / 275 miles?

    M1A1
    Introduced: 1985
    Speed: 42 mph (Governed)
    off-road: 30 mph
    Gun: 120mm smooth bore cannon M256
    Armour:???
    Range: 289 miles / 275 miles

    M1A2
    Introduced: 1999
    Speed: 42 mph (Governed)
    off-road: 30 mph
    Gun: 120mm M256 smoothbore gun
    Armour:???
    Range: 300 miles / 265 miles


    British:

    A41 Centurion Mk I
    Introduced: 1945 (only relatively few made, in an attempt to get it into WW2)
    Speed: 21.4 mph
    off-road: 15 mph
    Gun: 17pdr (76.2mm)
    Armour: 17-152mm
    Range: 60 miles

    A41 Centurion Mk II
    Introduced: 1949 (this was the first proper production run of the Centurion)
    Speed: 21.4 mph
    off-road: 15mph
    Gun: 17 pdr (76.2mm)
    Armour: 17-152mm
    Range: 60 miles

    A41 Centurion Mk III
    Introduced: 1953
    Speed: 22 mph
    Gun: 20pdr (83.4mm)
    Armour: 17-152mm
    Range:???

    A41 Centurion Mk V - X
    Introduced: 1959
    Speed: 21.5 mph / 22 mph
    Gun: 105mm L7 gun
    Armour: 17-152mm
    Range: 118 miles

    Chieftain Mk I
    Introduced: 1967
    Speed: 30 mph
    off-road: 19 mph
    Gun: 120mm L11 rifled tank gun
    Armour: I have seen all kinds of figures, some admitting to be guesswork, others stating that they are ‘equivalence’ figures for flat RHA armour, and they range between 150mm – 1000mm! I reckon that somewhere around 150mm as a maximum is quite likely.
    Range: 310 miles / 280 miles

    Challenger 1
    Introduced: 1983
    Speed: 37 mph / 34 mph
    Gun: 120mm L11A5 rifled tank gun
    Armour:???
    Range: 279 miles

    Challenger 2
    Introduced: 1991
    Speed: 37 mph / 44 mph
    off-road: 25 mph / ???
    Gun: 120mm L30A1 rifled gun
    Armour:???
    Range: 280 miles / 341 miles

    You will notice that I have focussed only on ‘MBT’-type tanks, and left out light tanks (M41, etc) and Heavy tanks (M103, Conqueror, etc)

    Both America & Britain brought out heavy tanks in the late 1950s, to counter the Soviet IS / T- series. Both were remarkably comparable in all things, from gun (120mm) to armour (178mm max) to speed (21mph) to reliability (not too hot). Britain introduced the Conqueror in 1956 and retired it in 1966. America introduced the M103 in 1957/8 and retired it in 1972/3.

    Gun comparisons:

    17pdr (76.2mm)
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,204 m/s
    APDS, 35g

    20pdr (83.4mm)
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,463 m/s
    APDS, 69g

    90mm M3
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,021 m/s
    APCR, 52.62g

    90mm M36
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,167 m/s
    APCR, 52.5g

    90mm M41
    Muzzle Velocity: ???

    105mm L7 / M68
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,470 m/s
    APDS, 51g

    Quotes found:

    “American M833 round is capable of penetrating 420mm of RHA inclined at 60° at 2,000 meters”

    120mm L11
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,370 m/s

    Quotes found:
    ‘can penetrate 400mm of armour’
    “APDS L15 can penetrate 355 mm of armour at 1,000 m.”

    120mm L30
    Muzzle Velocity: ???

    120mm M256
    Muzzle Velocity: 1,676 m/s – 1,776 m/s

    Quotes found:

    “Estimated penetration performance (M829A1): 610 mm at 2000 meters.”
    “Estimated penetration performance (M829A2): 750 mm at 2,000 meters.”
    “Estimated penetration performance (M829E3): 960mm at 2,000 meters.”



    Obviously this is as simplistic a comparison as those of the tanks themselves, and fails to take the ammo into account (also fails to take account of the differing muzzle velocity for different ammo types). For example, the fact that 20pdr and 105mm L7 use APDS is probably more telling - HVAP (AFAIK it's the US term for APCR - correct me if I'm wrong) means that
    A) the US round degrades in velocity more rapidly
    B) the impact energy loading (ie impact energy divided by shot area) is worse due to the extra diameter of the APCR - full calibre as opposed to sub-calibre.
    All else being equal penetration equates roughly to impact energy loading

    Sources:

    Collected from a variety of places and people…

    Internet:
    British Army website - http://www.army.mod.uk/
    (American Army website - www.army.mil/ - was down)
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/index.html
    http://www.battletanks.com/
    http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/main.html
    http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/index.html

    (I have only included the more useful / credible links here)

    Plus, of course, this Forum. Much gratitude to Oli especially, as I got most of the gun stats from his posts, and my final paragraph on guns is a limited re-write of his words!

    Books:
    "Tanks of the World", David Miller
    "British & American Tanks of WW2", Camberlain & Ellis
     
  11. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Now a possible conclusion based on an incomplete & unchecked set of data!

    British tanks were better armed & armoured (and slower) up to 1960, when the M60 came out, which was equal in arms, roughly equal in armour and faster than its contemopary Centurion. Then in 1967 Britain went ahead again in arms & armour... and now with equal speed.

    In 1980, the M1 gave the US a faster & better armoured tank, but then in 1983 the Challenger 1 equalled or excelled the armour gap.

    Since then, arms & armour are pretty even, and speed has mostly been an American advantage, though the Challenger 2's top speed is possibly not far off (although I'm prepared to bet that many M1 series tanks have had their engines ungoverned).
     
  12. nuvolari

    nuvolari Member

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    Centurions in Korea

    Without checking I cannot recall what gun most of the Centurions that served in Korea were fitted with ( I think it was the L1A71 20 pdr. ?), but I do know that this gun and its successors went on to achieve phenomenal export sales based on its unrivalled accuracy for the time. Additionally the Centurion had a hill climbing ability that left all other tanks in Korea both US and Russian standing. As we know it also had a good turn of speed and was (for a British tank, at least) pretty well protected by its armour thickness. All these qualities,plus a reputation for reliability formed over 40 years would have easily made the Centurion by far and away the best tank in the Korean War.
    Marlin.
     
  13. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    So much for promoting debate! :wink:

    I know that we have members here who served in the M60 - can anybody help with the stats?
     
  14. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Nobody thinks any of my stats are wrong?

    Nobody has any comment on my origional question?
     
  15. nuvolari

    nuvolari Member

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    I'm done.
    Marlin
     
  16. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    I thought I'd bring this one back from the dead, as it covers a topic that is being discussed again. I'll try and get stats for the Soviet tanks also...
     
  17. Oli

    Oli New Member

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    I just noticed some of the figures you posted Ricky, viz:

    17pdr (76.2mm) APDS, 35g

    20pdr (83.4mm) APDS, 69g

    90mm M3 APCR, 52.62g

    90mm M36 APCR, 52.5g

    105mm L7 / M68 APDS, 51g


    Err, surely a mistake? From memory a 7.62mm bullet weighs ~11 grammes and I can't believe that a tungsten penetrator for, say, 17 pr (which is 38 mm diameter) weighs only three times as much... Unfortunately I'm away from home at the moment, but I'll dig out my notes and post some numbers later in the week.
     
  18. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Well, like I said, they were lifted direct from a guy called Oli...
     
  19. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    The Indo-Pakistani War of '65 pitted Indian Centurians against the Pakistanis' M-47 Pattons. The Pattons gave as good as they took. (See my post under M-47 Patton.)
    I think these two were fairly matched, but the Centurian is one of my favorite tanks of all-time. (Especially in the hands of the Israelis.)
    I think the tactics and deployment is in question as much or more than the actual hardware. This is certainly true in the Indo-Pakistani War of '65 aas well as Jordanian use of the M-47 against the Israelis in '67 war.
     
  20. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Again, it is odd, as on paper the tanks weigh up like this:

    Centurian has better armour and gun
    Patton (M47 and M48) has better speed

    Which brings us back to the purpose of this topic! :grin:
     

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