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Real Tank Stories Thread


iamfritz
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... why not already one here?

 

I had a Sunday School teacher when I was a young teen who had more cool East/West Germany/Iron Curtain/Cold War stories than we obnoxious zit producers would let him tell. But I remember these two stories:

 

Story #1

He had a platoon of M-60s and was ordered to reconnoiter along the East/West German border to check on reports of Soviet tanks in the area. Problem: there was a snow storm blanketing all of Central Europe and visibility was really a few meters. How could they spot enemy tanks a mile away across the border when they could barely see the tanks in their own formation, or roads even?

But orders are orders and the young platoon leader rolled his four M-60s out.

They got there and it was just as bad as they thought it would be. Their 4 tank column had to keep stopping and waiting for the trailer or trailers to catch up and regain sight of the rest of the platoon.

Long story short, this frustration went on for a few hours, when finally there was a break in the weather. And on the Eastern side of the river they was twice as many T-55s in a row, their barrels already locked onto the American platoon, and it was very intimidating.

He dropped "like a brick through a wet paper towel" and buttoned up and ordered his platoon to lock and load as well. So now his four M-60s had their 105mm guns loaded, up and ready to fire as they continued to roll North. He couldn't raise any of his commanders on the radio, and just slowly, deliberately continued north. The T-55s would start following, everyone with guns trained.

Fortunately, the eastern side of the valley had a steep incline the Soviet tanks could not negotiate, so they pulled East and out of sight.

My Sunday School teacher yet to be simply swore at the top of his lungs, and rolled on a little further. Then they all just took a deep breath as they saw their paths would cross again a couple miles ahead. He said, "F$#@ it, we reconnoitered and know they're here. Let's get the hell outta here and report back."

And they did. Alive.

 

Story #2

There was a narrow corridor as many of you know between Western Germany and West Berlin called the Berlin Corridor (or other names). The tankers had a difficult time getting through it because , well, it went through East Germany, and they liked harassing the tankers that way.

Well they still had to transit for some bureaucratic reason or another, and they always hated it. They always got hit by flower pots, rocks, wood slabs, etc. Because everybody there hated them, and they hated everybody there.

But on one occasion things got particularly spicy. As the tanks were passing through one particularly narrow street, their fenders on one side scoring up buildings as they tried to squeeze through, a Volkswagen Bug pulled in front of them at a certain intersection and stopped. The passenger side occupant drew a handgun and started shooting the lead tank.

Again, the TCs dropped down in their hatches and stopped their 4 tank column. The Platoon commander was in the second tank, while the fourth tank had a dozer blade, for, you know, just in case reasons.

They had seen this kind of behavior occasionally, but what happened next was new, and far more dangerous. Molotov cocktails began dropping out of windows above them, their burning liquid splashing around the road, building sides and the tanks' vulnerable engine vents.

For the Lieutenant, there was no need to think: one does not stop a tiny round car in front of a tank column in ambush without realizing something very, very bad could happen. He ordered the lead tank to "Roll that F@#$r over and get us the hell outa here!" And he did. The VW Driver was far too slow as the lead tank lurched forward, up and over crushing the car. As the Platoon commander rolled over it what he thought he saw indicated the occupants might have survived the first crush. And since he couldn't manuever much he might not crush them much more. "There's a small chance they could survive this," he tought. But in a split second after thought, he ordered his tail end charlie with the blade to drop the blade, pick up the car, scoop it up, and throw it. He bragged that the hydraulics were powerful enough to throw a car over and behind their tanks.

But he order came too late and all the dozer tank did, after being rolled over by 3 M-60 tanks, was drop the blade directly on top of the car, flattening out the small bump in the car's middle where the tank tracks did not really crush. Then he, too, rolled over it as they smacked track East to the (relative) safety of West Berlin.

 

Now it's your turn.

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I was a brand new private driving an Abrams at NTC. Was night time just driving along and the tank went sideways. So I stop and the tank commander looks then yelled some nonsense and tells me to back up. 

 

Turns out I ran over a pop up target. Did 8 thousand dollars worth of damage. 

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I was an advisor in Eritrea in 1998. My interpreter was a tank commander in thee long war of occupation between Eritrea and Ethiopia. (The Eritreans had won their independence, but tensions were high and fighting did shortly re-erupt into another full blown border war.) He had many interesting stories of tank combat that I was more than interested to listen to. (There were many destroyed armored vehicles around the AO). He spent most of his time in a T-55. One time at night, (no night vision for any of these guys), they were moving off the front lines to head to the rear and got disoriented, and fell in with a column of BMPs and tanks. They were in the back of the column and it had stopped for some reason, idling for a while as military convoys are apt to do sometimes. He saw this as an opportunity to hop out and go talk to the next guys up the line and find out who they were.

 

As he approached the tank and started to climb up two crewman were having a cigarette and talking with each other as the vehicles idled. He froze in place  catching wind that they were Ethiopians. He retraced his steps, climbed back in the tank and sat there for a bit trying to figure out what to do. They opted to head north off the road for a while and ultimately make for their own lines (this is rough desert). However they opted to create confusion to make their escape. They backed up 20 meters and put a round into the tank in front of them, right through the rear and it went up in flames. They shot up several more tanks and then raced off to the north into the night. Ultimately they made it back to their lines.

 

Los

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