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Wheels vs Tracks ;)

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Lt. Dan
    the gulf war was fought on flat open desert plains. Of course a big tracked vehicle is going to be successful on that kind of battlefield, it's what they were made for. Studies show that most future battlefields will be in urban areas where large tracked vehicles have trouble. I believe it is essential for a modern military to implement faster and more manuverable vehicles many of which have wheels.
    Wheeled vehicles cannot turn in their own length and the tires are very vulnerable to small arms and rpg's. These are serious drawbacks in urban warfare. The army Stryker is under armored and is not manuervable enough for street warfare. The Bradley has aluminum armor and the Army is studying whether it should be modified. Any vehicle is in danger in a city if not properly supported by infantry.

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    • #17
      Tanker: in Chechnya, the MVD troops in their BTRs were more mobile than the Army units in their BMPs - that's not hearsay, that's experience; the BTRs were much better for urban warfare due to faster acceleration and turning capabilties. Add the fact you could provide 3D situational awareness by opening the passenger compartment, adding sandbags and gunshields, it was safer to travel in them.

      Then again Chechnya in my time wasn't an IED environ. However on the tires issue, the Strykers have run-flat inserts, and "solids" - it doesn't stop the tires burning (though there are tires coming into effect now that are in effect self-extinguishing compounds), but it does mean the loss of mobility from a shredded tire is only 5-10% p/wheel.
      Now listening too;
      - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

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      • #18
        That's one thing you can certainly hand to wheeled vehicles is that they would be harder to immobilize, provided that the wheels are toughened and consist of more than four in number. You blow a track on one side, you're pretty well stuck. Blow a tire, and you're still rolling.

        Nice thing about tracks is their banding effect across the length of the vehicle, making it easier to traverse gaps like trenches and so forth. Traction is much less of an issue as well, since the large track surface lays down on the ground staying in the static friction zone. Ground pressure is also another benefit, helping to keep the vehicle from bogging down.

        I had to vote for a balance of both, but if they do re-invent the wheel so to speak, I wonder if it won't take the form of something different. Far-looking, I would expect it to take the form of walking legs or hover capability. It remains to be seen.
        "...patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either my country right or wrong, which is infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile."
        O'Brian, Patrick. Master and Commander, 1970.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Prester John
          I think a mix is the best idea from a unit commanders point of view, but if the bean counters say you must have all vehicle X in the regiment then so be it. Logisticians run the war (when you go out for longer than internal spares holdings allow) so you have to pay attention to them too.
          I think mixing mobility types within a single formation is a commander's nightmare. You get a wheeled lightly armoured recce element that can't recce off-road routes, a tracked heavy armoured element that can't keep up with the wheeled recce unit, a tracked lightly armoured infantry element that can't keep up with the recce element and can't face the same level of threat as the heavy armour, and a towed wheeled artillery unit that can't operate off-road and can't keep up with any of the others.

          You can get away with mixing wheeled supply echelons with tracked combat units to a certain extent but as soon as you operate in country that doesn't have an excellent hard-surface road network you will run into trouble as you either run your tracked vehicles out of supplies, as the log vehicles can't get through to them, or you sacrifice your ability to operate off the major road network in order to maintain the wheeled supply link to your tracked elements. There are of course some compromises to be made here, for example there are heavy lift vehicles with limited off-road capability, which could be married to tracked supply vehicles like the Tilly for making the last leg of the connection to the combat elements forward.

          Having a a mix of formations with different mobility characteristics (e.g. an all-tracked mech bde, an all-wheeled motor inf bde, and an all-helo airmobile brigade) provides the higher commander with a good range of solutions for different problems. Of course it also means that part of your force is usually going to be unable to take part in any given operation - depending on how many of each type you have available, this might or might not be a problem.

          Regards
          33
          Steve 'Golf33' Long
          [/size]Airborne Assault: Highway to the Reich

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          • #20
            Some armored cars, such as the French AMX-10RC, can turn in their own length by the use of skid steering.

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            • #21
              There were wheeled logistical vehicles such as the 'Land Train' with very good cross country mobility, even in soft ground such as the tundra. The secret to their success lay in the very large diameter tires. I believe the idea was abandoned because it was thought they could be replaced by helicopters. I am not so sure, myself.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Ivan Rapkinov
                Tanker: in Chechnya, the MVD troops in their BTRs were more mobile than the Army units in their BMPs - that's not hearsay, that's experience; the BTRs were much better for urban warfare due to faster acceleration and turning capabilties. Add the fact you could provide 3D situational awareness by opening the passenger compartment, adding sandbags and gunshields, it was safer to travel in them.
                I'm going to try and draw you out about this, Ivan. Nothing like having an eyewitness to interrogate.

                When you say that BTRs turned better, can you define "better"? Surely a BTR can't possibly match a BMP's radius, so you must mean some other measure of turning performance. Reaction time, perhaps?

                Acceleration: do you think this was mainly due to the suspension? The BTR-80, by my sources, actually has a lower power-weight ratio than the BMP-2. Perhaps the transmission or driveability issues make a difference? What do you think is the reason?

                Visibility: Why do the BTR's roof hatches work better for this than the BMP's? Is the BMP-2's larger turret a problem?

                Did you see any BMDs or BTR-Ds used in urban fighting by the desantniki? How did they do?

                Poka,

                --- Kevin

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                • #23
                  The current German Wiesel Recon-APC tracked vehicle looks like a good choice for all around duties except toe to toe fights with heavier armour. But then again, in this day and age of the ever improving airpower and smart weapons, who needs to worry about heavy armour. If you do meet some well just call in some smart arty rounds or an airstrike or two. Just like a wheeled vehicle losing a tire, all you have to do is blow a track and your tank becomes just becomes an easier target for a Hellfire or Maverick missle. Quicker to change a tire though.
                  Better to be judged by twelve
                  then carried by six.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by kbluck
                    I'm going to try and draw you out about this, Ivan. Nothing like having an eyewitness to interrogate.

                    When you say that BTRs turned better, can you define "better"? Surely a BTR can't possibly match a BMP's radius, so you must mean some other measure of turning performance. Reaction time, perhaps?
                    pretty much - when BMPs turned, they stayed still and pivot - inherent in tracked vehicles. When the BTRs turned, they were still moving - not so good when firing ATGMs or slewing turrets onto targets, but much better for tryng to drive in wild ways to throw off RPG and PKM gunners.

                    The BMPs were better at turning per se, but not as effective for the environ.

                    Acceleration: do you think this was mainly due to the suspension? The BTR-80, by my sources, actually has a lower power-weight ratio than the BMP-2. Perhaps the transmission or driveability issues make a difference? What do you think is the reason?
                    I only saw the MVD and kontraktniki with BTRs - don't know why they took off faster (standing start), they just did. Maybe less weight onboard? The normal army troops tended to pile on the BMPs, mainly because the BTRs were either driven by MVD troops who'd shoot above them if they tried getting on board, or kontraktniki, who'd shoot at them.

                    Visibility: Why do the BTR's roof hatches work better for this than the BMP's? Is the BMP-2's larger turret a problem?
                    turret, plus the troops were more interested in the firing ports. Honestly I think this had more to do with the expereince levels between the two groups - conscripts in BMPs, and interior special forces and mercenaries in BTRs. The Kontraktniki started riding open top, with emplaced sandbags, and and extra PK or NVSG or two on pintle mounts - with the turret and an another 2-3 HMGs, they'd drive through an area literally firing in 3-4 directions - they had drills for it. But I never spent much time with them, as they were scary, and I was a foreigner who they thought was lower than scum. The MVD boys were much nicer.

                    Did you see any BMDs or BTR-Ds used in urban fighting by the desantniki? How did they do?
                    I only ever really saw the VDV troops once or twice, and both times they were in helos. I did see BMDs, but they were hulks from the first war.
                    [/QUOTE]
                    Now listening too;
                    - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

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                    • #25
                      I voted for a mixture of both types, possibly influenced by the combined weapons theory.

                      IMHO the decision each country should make depends on the specific circumstances regarding possible battlegrounds in which this country's army has possibilities to engage in the near future.

                      an example.
                      Mountainous areas? Tracks
                      Plains? Wheels ( but remember the rain season in WW2 Ukraine! )

                      and so forth.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by autir
                        IMHO the decision each country should make depends on the specific circumstances regarding possible battlegrounds in which this country's army has possibilities to engage in the near future.
                        You mean the Ukraine should prepare itself for Naval operations
                        "A platoon of Chinese tanks viciously attacked a Soviet harvester,
                        which was peacefully working a field near the Soviet-Chinese border.
                        The harvester returned fire and upon destroying the enemy
                        returned to its home base."

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                        • #27
                          If you want to mount heavy armament and heavy armor, you´ve gotta have tracks. Wheeled vehicles cant carry the same amount of weight as tracked vehicles, the ground pressure would become too big. So its not a question of wheels vs tracks, its a question of survivability / destruction power and mobility. If you want to have a peace-keeping force go for wheels, if you want to engage in heavy fighting, go for heavy, tracked armor in the form of MBT´s and IFV´s.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by mr_clark
                            You mean the Ukraine should prepare itself for Naval operations


                            Actually no

                            I was referring to the WWII "Schlammenperiod", the period of the year where rainfall causes the plains of Ukraine to be turned to mud.

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                            • #29
                              Just as we keep different aircraft, different vessels, different personal weapons, we should maintain different armor vehicles, for the range of applications and missions.
                              Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                              (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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                              • #30
                                Some wheels can turn in own length

                                [QUOTE=Tanker]Wheeled vehicles cannot turn in their own length...


                                Some can. Skid steerers such as the AMX-10 RC and the ubiquitous little 'Bobcat' type skiploaders.

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