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Driver hatches on modern tanks


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Former 11M Infantryman here, crewed the M2A1 Bradley IFV.  Whenever the driver fully opens his hatch, the gun would automatically elevate to near maximum in order for the driver to get out and for his safety should the weapon(s) go off.  But with tanks?  Seems like the poor sob needs to crawl his unhappy self out the hard way.  

 

The question: how come tanks such as the M1 series doesn't have an automatic gun elevation system so that the driver can get out easier, particularly if the driver needs to vacate the vehicle in a hurry?  

 

Just wondering.  

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Because the gun isn't much in the way; to begin with, the driver's hatch can be opened only if the turret aligns with one of two positions, six o'clock (but then you have to squeeze between hull clacis and turret basket, so in practice you go through the turret/loader's place), or (on the Leopard, where the driver's position is more on the right of the hull) 11:40 h. On the Abrams it might be 11 o' clock or something. In which case the gun is left of the hatch when you go through the driver's hatch.

The next question is, do you WANT to leave through the hatch when there's an enemy MG waiting for you?

On earlier Leopard models there was an emergency escape hatch under the driver's seat. Remove the back rest, then open the lock levers, and the hatch falls under its own weight to the ground (unless your tank is upside down). Since the 2A5 model, the driver is suspended from the ceiling in what's officially called a "harness", but a more precise description would be "sex swing"; whis would make it even easier to get to that emergency hatch

The problem with that concept is that it's a weak spot with anti-tank mines, to they decided to weld it shut with the 2A5 and later models.

 

So, that's why. In practice the driver groes through the turret most of the time, unless you're tactically deployed but inside a secure perimeter.

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Same on the cv9035, cause if the turret is just slightly turned passed 12 o'clock the hatch is blocked by the turret, which makes it hard as hell to get out from. So at this situation you can either crawl under the turret, depending if the infantry in the back has removed the box blocking that way or not. or through the commanders space which is tight as hell :D But duable

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8 hours ago, RedWardancer said:

Former 11M Infantryman here, crewed the M2A1 Bradley IFV.  Whenever the driver fully opens his hatch, the gun would automatically elevate to near maximum in order for the driver to get out and for his safety should the weapon(s) go off.  But with tanks?  Seems like the poor sob needs to crawl his unhappy self out the hard way.  

 

The question: how come tanks such as the M1 series doesn't have an automatic gun elevation system so that the driver can get out easier, particularly if the driver needs to vacate the vehicle in a hurry?  

 

Just wondering.  

With the Abrams, You can easy elevate the Gun when it's over the front for the Driver to get out. Some Drivers can even get out when the Gun is at zero degrees depending on their size. Done it before 😉. The Driver can also get out when the Turret is over the side. You would see this during most maintenance activities and it's also one of the steps for crew evacuation. The default position that the Driver gets out say parking the Tank,is through the swing gate which is part of the Turret Basket which is located in the Loader's station. The Main Gun would set at the 5 clock position just over the latch hook located on the back deck. The Driver then can lower his back rest and rise his Head rest which allows him to crawl through and out when the Hatch is closed. 

Edited by Assassin 7
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Ah, learned something new.  From the professional responses given, a tank driver can get out in a pinch (fire, etc) if they really needed to do so.  Sure, there might be an MG waiting for your exit; but in a fire, I'M OUT!  :P

 

Watched a number of YouTube videos of soldiers entering/exiting the drivers hatch on multiple vehicles.  Comparing to the ease of the M2 series, it looked like a total pain in the rump if the gun barrel was at zero degrees, particularly the Russian made tanks.  The crewman who was really up a creek seems to be the tank gunner, but that's a different topic.  😎

 

The Bradley's driver hatch was roomy as all get out.  In fire drills, I was able to unass the vehicle in 5 to 8 seconds without suffering what is known among us grunts as "Bradley Bites" (elbows and knees painfully wracked by something much harder than the human bone).  Because the driver position was on the left side of the hull, I never had to worry about getting run over should the brake was not locked in during a hasty exit (hey, if the track is on fire, I'M OUT!!).  Thankfully, I nor my buddies never got burned inside a vehicle to know.  

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Bradley bites  to us cavalry soldiers were  only when taking the 25mm down, the cuts and scratches you would receive when you are reaching your hand in to pull out the receiver and  also unlocking the barrel when your helper was ready to pull it and were most common when unlatching the feed and eject chutes.   As you got more experience doing it, the less bradley bites you would get.   As far as the gun elevating automatically, that was more so the barrel didn't hit the hatch as it was so the driver can get out with ease.

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Seemed like we got Bradley bites all the time.  During the Storm, nine of us were crammed inside at all times, causing bites often.  I do not recall breaking down the 25mm, but I did suffer the bites when doing engine maintenance from the driver's seat, changing the batteries (a royal pain I tell you), and reloading the 25mm.  

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