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How hard is it to throw a track?


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I've been periodically looking at the issue of track reliability and I'd like some input from the ex-tankers here. A friend of mine indicated that throwing a track is actually really hard, and that artillery would have to land pretty well within a few feet of a track to have any chance of scoring an immobilization on the tank. Likewise, direct fire on track links and rods made of modern steel isn't going to do a heck of a lot either, afaik.

Yet there seems to be this consensus on the internet anyhow, that tanks can be immobilized if they are so much as sneezed at by RPGs, low calibre HE, etc.

What is the truth?

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How about current ones?

Also are you talking about real life or SB Pro PE?

The following relates to real life.

Throwing a track can be the result of poor maintenance, bad driving technique, poor terrain [bog, swamp, rocky, deep sand ...], poor crew commander appreciation (telling the driver to go somewhere he shouldn't), etc. This is even before you get to people shooting at you.

I've crossed ground where three vehicles have been fine and the fourth one has popped a track without even trying.

In my experience "it all depends" but usually they stay on pretty well, but of course when they do come off is when you least want them to.

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Gibsonm nailed it.

I wouldnt say it´s "actually really hard". As he says, there are many factors that plays a role more or less, depending on your situation.

I "threw my track" twice during my service on the Leoprad 2A5S (Strv122), and it wasnt that hard to do, all you need is a tired driver, a stressed commander, some hard packing sand and an execution of a battalion attack during night time... :-D

Its not as simple as "really hard" or "really easy". It all depends, and usually it happens when you least expect it.

My 25 cents...

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like the other guy's say it's down to a lot of things a lot of it luck I'm a Warrior commander and have had a large rock thats been churned up to get po the track off the rear idler.........

There's one thing certain that when you do lose as track its a bitch!!!!! and you know that theres some hard work comin your way.

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I remember reading a report that reported on the results of live fire artillery testing on mixed infantry (simulated) APC and Medium tanks during the 70s/early 80s.

It compared the outcome of the testing to the exercise 'norms' in use.

They found that predicted casualties were slightly low for infantry, were approximately correct for the APCs, but hugely underpredicted neutralisations of the tanks.

Vehicles immobilised or rendered otherwise combat ineffective with repair times exceeding 30 minutes were approximately 50% for both APC and Tank targets, although a high proportion of the damaged APCs were destroyed or suffered very severe.

It was apparently a bit of a shock to the observers - who had expected the tank forces to receive IIRC about 10% ineffectives.

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Yes most of the track throwing is mainly due buildup of rock, dirt or mud on carried back to the sprocket, combined with a very sharp turn that pushes it off of the sprocket. This is also made easier if the crew did not do "track tension" lately so the track could be loose.

At the point when I was a driver it was rather easy to tell when the track was about to be thrown so it was a matter of driver experience to avoid it. When a continuous sharp turn in the dirt, mud or rock was made you could feel the tank start bouncing (for lack of a better word) and a popping sound, and it felt like someone kicking you in the back of your seat. An experienced driver would immediately straighten out the vehicle to keep the track from being thrown and remove all the buildup from the sprocket.

Of course there are other instances of track throwing and rare freak occurances. Another common instance though is having broken or missing end connectors, but this is really called "breaking track" which causes it to become seperated and is primarily due to the crew not "walking the track" periodically. "Walking the track" consists of having the driver drive forward slowly as the crew inspects the condition of each end connector, wedge bolt and center guide to check for end connects that are sliding off, missing or loose wedge bolts and center guides. You would be surprised of the amount of continual track related maintenance that is required to keep the track in good shape. Basically at every spare moment you should be walking the track, pounding back loose end connectors, looking for missing wedge bolts, and conducting track tension to keep the track nice and tight (continual driving gradually loosens it / causes slack).

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Whoops, I just noticed that on the second page the discussion is no longer about throwing track LOL.

Well, to immobilize a tank as an infantryman you would either plant an AT mine, use an AT weapon or have the engineer dig an AT ditch. Or, in a high tempo combat environment, you could deny the enemy to conduct maintenance on their vehicles and gradually they will breakdown mechanically. ;)

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If you have something big enough to cut a track you can just as well attempt to attack the tank laterally. You don't attempt to "immobilize" a tank - you attempt to kill it, and while failing you may occasionally immobilize it. An immobilized tank can still kill you (and so can his wingman), so immobilization is a goal for suicide squads but not for the rationally thinking warrior.

;)

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I remember reading a report that reported on the results of live fire artillery testing on mixed infantry (simulated) APC and Medium tanks during the 70s/early 80s.

It compared the outcome of the testing to the exercise 'norms' in use.

They found that predicted casualties were slightly low for infantry, were approximately correct for the APCs, but hugely underpredicted neutralisations of the tanks.

Vehicles immobilised or rendered otherwise combat ineffective with repair times exceeding 30 minutes were approximately 50% for both APC and Tank targets, although a high proportion of the damaged APCs were destroyed or suffered very severe.

It was apparently a bit of a shock to the observers - who had expected the tank forces to receive IIRC about 10% ineffectives.

Sure but how much of this was related to damaged optics and other issues that don't relate specifically to track?

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For artillery, the tracks are the biggest and most vulnerable part (at least if the hit is pretty close). Against optics you almost inevitably need an air burst in the frontal sector of the turret or a direct hit (in which case the crew has other worries).

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I'm comparing to another game and trying to figure out what is accurate. Also my grandmother shouldn't be driving the T55 in the winter, but she'd be sore if I just came out and told her.

So when an RPG round misses and hits a track it is probably going to blow it? How close does an artillery round need to detonate to the tank? I was informed it was like 3 feet max range.

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Gibson, I think it was probably a fairly high proportion of FCS damage, but the main drive of the report was that the tankers were expecting to suffer at most 10% casualties (neutralised or destroyed) and then the remainder would be able to decisively defeat the red hordes. They were horrified at the prospect of trying to do the same with roughly 50% losses sustained.

As for needing a near-miss to damage a tank... yes, but you must remember that a tank is not a point target like a foxhole is, it has significant length and width already.

If you assume a 'hit' is anything within 1m of the tank for the purposes of neutralisation damage, then the target area is 38.5m^2 (3.5m wide, 5m long plus buffer - actual target size is roughly 17.5m^2, so vulnerable area is just over twice that of the vehicle itself). Of course a direct hit by a large artillery shell is going to ruin your whole day no matter what you are in...

A typical battalion neutralisation fire target would be 6 hectares, for 10-15 minutes at 40 rpg for the fire mission. So a single target described as above would be hit directly about 20% of the time, would suffer a near hit roughly 50% of the time, and would almost certainly be hit be a large number of non-lethal fragments.

The number of destroyed vehicles was calculated (by the Soviet fire-norms) as roughly 10% destruction, which would be consistent with 50% losses if the vehicle suffers a direct hit, with most vehicles hit or near-missed being damaged enough to immobilise them and/or reduce their ability to fight significantly.

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If you assume a 'hit' is anything within 1m of the tank for the purposes of neutralisation damage, then the target area is 38.5m^2 (3.5m wide, 5m long plus buffer - actual target size is roughly 17.5m^2, so vulnerable area is just over twice that of the vehicle itself).

I'm not sure I follow your calculation at this point. 3.5m width, check. Length? 8.5m seems to be more realistic than just five.

I'm agreed with you on all other facts and conclusions (if adjusted for sizes).

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