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Maj.Hans

What are your favorite evolutionary "dead ends" in tank design?

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For myself, personally, I always thought that the 105mm armed MBTs were an interesting evolutionary branch on the tree, so to speak.

 

For example, I really like the M1IP Abrams.  I recognize that it trades off a great deal in penetration performance, although this is less of a concern when M900 is available, but it gains some extra ready rounds, and a significantly larger total ammunition capacity.  For quite some time I've thought that my favorite "what if" tank would be An M1IP/HA or some similar nonsense.

 

The 105mm armed Leopard 2 prototypes also struck me as quite odd, especially since we all know the Leo2 as being a 120mm armed beast from day one.

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Well, they were prototypes, after all. Intended to test a very specific subset of features (while the gun was still in development/early stages of production).

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10 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Well, they were prototypes, after all. Intended to test a very specific subset of features (while the gun was still in development/early stages of production).

 

There was also the Leopard2AV, which was requested with a 105mm well after the 120 was available.

 

Back when somebody in America thought you could tackle a T-80 head on with M774 or whatever and live to tell about it.

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The 2AV is a special story. The German team was under the illusion that they could successfully pitch a Leo 2 license production in the US, so the AV was tailored to US desires. The downgrades of the AV were then used by interested parties as leverage in the PR battle against the Leo 2. Anyway, the AV was never considered an option for the Bundeswehr, wasn't designed to be anything but a sales pitch which, in restrospect, would never have worked out anyway.

 

At the time US Congress wasn't inclined to approve the 120mm gun caliber, probably because of at least the competing British rifled gun design and unclear performance data. The initial 120mm DM13 didn't perform any better than the contemporary 105mm rounds. But of course the growth potential of the 120mm smoothbore gun was much higher (as is amply evident by now). So the M1 was supposed to be introduced with 105mm, but of course designed to take the 120mm gun at any time it would become available. (And literally a few weeks after the contract was signed for the license production of the Rheinmetall gun in the US, Israel announced a sudden breaktrough in gun manufacturing processes, allowing for an indigeneous 120mm gun production...)

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You touch on a few good topics...

 

It's obvious that the 2AV was a sales pitch to the US.  Things like the Commander's MG3 rigged up to be fired while buttoned, ETC, seem distinctly American...After all most European tank users don't bother giving the TC a weapon at all...If I were commanding a Leopard, the loader's MG would wind up on my TC's hatch...But that's another story.

 

What I didn't understand about the 2AV is why they would cheap out on things like the fire control system.  The fact that it was "Not invented here" meant it was doomed from the start, but even if it wasn't, why do you try selling the US the 'crappy version'?

 

The early 120mm rounds (DM13, DM13A1, DM23) are sort of interesting, though.  Looking at their performance in ProPE, they might not perform any better than the American 105mm offerings, but they do seem to perform quite a bit better than the equivalent German 105mm offering...So it seems that some technology wasn't being shared or fully utilized...

 

DM13A1 is something that seems kinda odd to me.  I assume the date in ProPE is just a wild guess, because I don't see why it would be produced in 1983 alongside DM23.  While we're talking about it, we have DM12A1, but what happened to plain old DM12?

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7 hours ago, Maj.Hans said:

What I didn't understand about the 2AV is why they would cheap out on things like the fire control system.  The fact that it was "Not invented here" meant it was doomed from the start, but even if it wasn't, why do you try selling the US the 'crappy version'?

 

It's been a while since I read the "Leo 2 bible" by Paul-Werner Krapke, who described the development process from his point of view as the project leader on the Bundeswehr side. But from what I remember the argument essentially was that they wanted to show that even "dumbed down" the Leo 2 was on par with the XM1 prototypes, conformed to the exact specifications as set down by the US Army. Maybe the underlying assumption was that if the 2AV proved to offer "the same" performance as the XM1 at its then current stage, the prospect of upgrades to bring it up the the "non-austere" version would give the Leo 2 the advantage in the final assessment.

At the time there was the (probably illusionary) concept of "a" NATO standard tank ... since it had already worked out so well with the AMX-30/Leo 1, and the MBT-70.

 

 

Quote

DM13A1 is something that seems kinda odd to me.  I assume the date in ProPE is just a wild guess, because I don't see why it would be produced in 1983 alongside DM23.  While we're talking about it, we have DM12A1, but what happened to plain old DM12?

 

Keep in mind that we (=eSim) only have limited information about either round. We implemented a "best guess" within the constraints of our ballistic and the damage models. So it may well be that that DM23 was more expensive to manufacture, so that the DM13 production kept chugging along for a while. More likely, a certain order for DM13A1 rounds to be delivered had been placed and the order was completed, but the DM23 became available sooner than expected.

DM12 vs DM12A1, I think it was "just" a fuze update/improvement, so it was merely a change in the manufacturing process that phased out the DM12 (which, I think, was never fielded in meaningful numbers). The Jane's Ammunition Handbook of 2009 makes no mention of the original DM12.

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The thing is Leopard 2AV or standard Heer version would never meet US Army protection/crew survivability requirements due to it's design. Also we know today that when Germans received data on UK/US Burlington/Starflower special armor development, they rushed redesign of Leopard 2 to make it accept special armor technology, thus there was also no time to redesign gunner primary sight, thus turret front have non uniform protection and weak zones. During Chieftain/Challenger 1 replacement program, UK Army tested Leopard 2 and their conclusion was that vehicle protection was unacceptable due to how they called it "low armor integrity" which most likely refers to that exact problem with primary sight area.

 

When it comes to M1 and M1IP these can be considered as interim initial versions rushed in to production because new tank was needed "yesterday" and US Army could not afford to wait longer till tank would receive it's intended larger calliber armament.

 

Besides it was decided that it will be cheaper to upgrade tanks in so called Blocks. So the basic M1 was Block 0 with Type 1 Hull and Type 1 turret using BRL-1 special armor, M1IP was interim upgrade with Type 1 hull and Interim Type 2 turret (same structure as Type 1 turret but with increased frontal armor thickness) and with BRL-2 special armor, Block 1 is M1A1 with 120mm smoothbore gun, final Type 2 hull and Type 3 turret that have new structure + BRL-2 special armor was used. All other improvements were periodic, for example replacement of BRL-1/2 special armor with new HAP special armor (1st generation in 1988, 2nd generation in 1990 and 3rd generation in 1999/2000 + some possible unspecified upgrades in 2010+). This actually inspired me, I might start "History of US Tanks" thread besides my "History of Soviet Tanks" thread. :P

 

BTW indeed Israeli MG251 and MG253 120mm smoothbore guns are based on M256 technology, tough not identical, also M256 is only based on Rh120 technology, both guns are different and not interchangeable.

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It has a gun launcher!

It launchers guns!

 

 

...wait, what?

Quote

When the gun is fired, the gun's trunnion mount shifts position to some degree due to the violent recoil action. This gun jump reaction creates a characteristic aiming error for successive firing.

It will provide the combat crew with quick firing preparation time and increase their first-round hit accuracy.

 

That logic escapes me. But OK, I guess it's true that a gun that is fired always accurately hits ...something... on the first round. But that applies to every gun. :P

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29 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

It has a gun launcher!

It launchers guns!

 

 

...wait, what?

 

That logic escapes me. But OK, I guess it's true that a gun that is fired always accurately hits ...something... on the first round. But that applies to every gun. :P

 

There was a bad jump cut there.

 

The gun jump reaction creates aiming error for successive firing.

 

Something else that was edited out provides the crew a way to increase accuracy.

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Correction, a 152mm gun launcher, I don't care if it launches guns accurately, I like it anyways lol. :D

 

Edited by Invader ZIM

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I find the idea of a post-WW2 turretless tank rather interesting. While there were attempts at turretless tank destroyers, like the MOWAG Taifun for example, the Strv 103 is the most well known actual turretless tank.

 

The turretless design is not as appealing as it once was due to dramatically improved fire control systems, and the ability to shoot on the move with a high degree of accurately. Still, having a low-profile, low weight tank would be quite an advantage in the past, and the Strv 103 was evaluated by the US Army with positive results.

 

 

 

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