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Is the age of the tank over?

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  • Is the age of the tank over?

    Tank warfare in europe never happened, thousands of tanks were scrapped. Germany has hardly any operational leopards left. Nobody seems interested in rebuilding the huge armored force that existed in the 1980s.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    No.

    So long as the most cost-efficient method of knocking out MBTs is other MBTs, the age is still on. Russia and the USA are still deploying heavy divisions.

    Germany appears to be systematically disarming itself. Using it as an example would bring up the question, 'does an army really need a rifle for each soldier?'

    Politicians are betting their nation's future on the chance that there won't be a war in their term of office.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      It's the same as hugely costly fighters - so long as somebody else has them, everybody does.

      European politicians are expecting that future wars will be fought by the superpowers, leaving them conveniently out of it.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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      • #4
        Tank warfare in Europe is doing on today.
        There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

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        • #5
          We are not going to know this until there is a significant engagement, possibly a large battle, in which one side fields MBTs and the other mostly or entirely doesn't. If latest-generation ATGMs (and/or aircraft) get rid of the tanks - and some evidence about the Kornet, for instance, seems to exist that they just might - then we will know the era is over. If tanks survive and achieve their objectives, we'll know the opposite to be true.

          After all, there were military theorists who insisted air power was nothing to battleships - up until 1941. And others who insisted that cavalry still had a role on the battlefield in its classic maneuver, the charge - up until 1914... and so on. The proof will always be in the pudding.
          Michele

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            We are not going to know this until there is a significant engagement, possibly a large battle, in which one side fields MBTs and the other mostly or entirely doesn't. If latest-generation ATGMs (and/or aircraft) get rid of the tanks - and some evidence about the Kornet, for instance, seems to exist that they just might - then we will know the era is over. If tanks survive and achieve their objectives, we'll know the opposite to be true.

            After all, there were military theorists who insisted air power was nothing to battleships - up until 1941. And others who insisted that cavalry still had a role on the battlefield in its classic maneuver, the charge - up until 1914... and so on. The proof will always be in the pudding.
            Nonsense. The bottom line is cost, and the weakness if every anti-MBT system is the cost of training and skill parity.

            ATGM crew will likely never fire a live round in their peacetime service, and at best a couple practice rounds, because of the per-round expense.

            Whereas tank gunners will fire scores of sub-caliber munitions and dozens of training rounds each year.

            And as we learned in Desert Storm and Cobra II, gunnery is key; the 7th Cav fought, and won, a battalion engagement in a blinding sandstorm, fought entirely with thermal sighting, in both weather conditions and ranges which precluded the employment of ATGMs.

            The IDF also pitted combined arms against infantry-only forces armed with RPGs and AGTMs, and won.

            The concept that ATGMs can defeat MBTs unilaterally has the same vale as the belief that unescorted bombers will always get through, or that fighters don't need guns (a hard lesson learned in the early days of Vietnam).

            And lastly, the value of modern MBTs in urban fighting was well-established by the IDF, and US forces in Iraq.

            Keep in mind that although no longer undisputed champions of the sea, BBs in WW2 were essential for fire support, and crucial in defending the operations on Guadalcanal.
            Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

              Nonsense. The bottom line is cost, and the weakness if every anti-MBT system is the cost of training and skill parity.

              ATGM crew will likely never fire a live round in their peacetime service, and at best a couple practice rounds, because of the per-round expense.

              Whereas tank gunners will fire scores of sub-caliber munitions and dozens of training rounds each year.

              And as we learned in Desert Storm and Cobra II, gunnery is key; the 7th Cav fought, and won, a battalion engagement in a blinding sandstorm, fought entirely with thermal sighting, in both weather conditions and ranges which precluded the employment of ATGMs.

              The IDF also pitted combined arms against infantry-only forces armed with RPGs and AGTMs, and won.

              The concept that ATGMs can defeat MBTs unilaterally has the same vale as the belief that unescorted bombers will always get through, or that fighters don't need guns (a hard lesson learned in the early days of Vietnam).

              And lastly, the value of modern MBTs in urban fighting was well-established by the IDF, and US forces in Iraq.

              Keep in mind that although no longer undisputed champions of the sea, BBs in WW2 were essential for fire support, and crucial in defending the operations on Guadalcanal.
              And how much does it cost to train and maintain an MBT crew and all its support personnel in the workshops? As Jones, Rarey and Icks said as early as 1931 a tank is the most expensive way to kill another tank
              Last edited by MarkV; 07 Dec 18, 13:28.
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
                Tank warfare in europe never happened, thousands of tanks were scrapped. Germany has hardly any operational leopards left. Nobody seems interested in rebuilding the huge armored force that existed in the 1980s.
                Quick glance at wiki about the amount of operational MBTs suggests otherwise, where did you get this information from?
                "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                Ernest Hemingway.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

                  Nonsense. The bottom line is cost, and the weakness if every anti-MBT system is the cost of training and skill parity.

                  ATGM crew will likely never fire a live round in their peacetime service, and at best a couple practice rounds, because of the per-round expense.

                  Whereas tank gunners will fire scores of sub-caliber munitions and dozens of training rounds each year.
                  Naturally, if cost is the bottom line, you should look not just at the bottom line of the rounds, but also at the bottom line of the weapon platform. Should be obvious.


                  And as we learned in Desert Storm and Cobra II, gunnery is key; the 7th Cav fought, and won, a battalion engagement in a blinding sandstorm, fought entirely with thermal sighting, in both weather conditions and ranges which precluded the employment of ATGMs.
                  Sure! And Japanese bombers would not have sunk the Prince of Wales in bad weather. The problem was, in WWII, that some time or other, there was good weather.
                  And that's not the end of it. Once upon a time, ATGMs did need good weather, like bombers of WWII vintage. Today, there are all-weather bombers - are you sure ATGMs have not seen the same evolution? Things change.



                  The IDF also pitted combined arms against infantry-only forces armed with RPGs and AGTMs, and won.
                  Save when they didn't, for instance in 2006 in Lebanon. No Israeli strategic objective was achieved, the Israeli withdrew, they inflicted casualties on an enemy that could shrug them off, and... took damage and casualties to their tanks, inflicted by IEDs and ATGMs.

                  Then, naturally, they upgraded tank protection, enhancing their Merkava marks, and reviewed the tankers' training and doctrine. Those facts, by the way, are the best reply in case anybody not well informed should argue that the Israeli actually won in 2006.
                  So, if the IDF had to deploy tanks to Lebanon today, they'd be better armored and better used than in 2006... but, naturally, the ATGMs of today, and tomorrow, also aren't those of 2006.


                  The concept that ATGMs can defeat MBTs unilaterally has the same vale as the belief that unescorted bombers will always get through, or that fighters don't need guns (a hard lesson learned in the early days of Vietnam).
                  Note that I did not claim "the ATGMs will always win". I said, we'll see with the next round. You on the other hand are claiming "the tanks will always get through". So who's closer to the bombers-will-always-get-through claim?
                  Michele

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michele View Post

                    Naturally, if cost is the bottom line, you should look not just at the bottom line of the rounds, but also at the bottom line of the weapon platform. Should be obvious.


                    Sure! And Japanese bombers would not have sunk the Prince of Wales in bad weather. The problem was, in WWII, that some time or other, there was good weather.
                    And that's not the end of it. Once upon a time, ATGMs did need good weather, like bombers of WWII vintage. Today, there are all-weather bombers - are you sure ATGMs have not seen the same evolution? Things change.


                    Save when they didn't, for instance in 2006 in Lebanon. No Israeli strategic objective was achieved, the Israeli withdrew, they inflicted casualties on an enemy that could shrug them off, and... took damage and casualties to their tanks, inflicted by IEDs and ATGMs.

                    Then, naturally, they upgraded tank protection, enhancing their Merkava marks, and reviewed the tankers' training and doctrine. Those facts, by the way, are the best reply in case anybody not well informed should argue that the Israeli actually won in 2006.
                    So, if the IDF had to deploy tanks to Lebanon today, they'd be better armored and better used than in 2006... but, naturally, the ATGMs of today, and tomorrow, also aren't those of 2006

                    Note that I did not claim "the ATGMs will always win". I said, we'll see with the next round. You on the other hand are claiming "the tanks will always get through". So who's closer to the bombers-will-always-get-through claim?
                    Please note where I said MBTs will always get through.

                    The core principle is this: ATGMs are limited by range, weather, and cost.

                    So again: so long as the most cost-effective means of stopping MBTs is MBTs, the MBT is not obsolete.

                    Someday ATGMs may be more versatile, inexpensive, survivable, and all-weather than the MBT, but that day is not today.

                    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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                    • #11
                      Another interesting take on the issue is that it's not as if anti-tank weapons that are not MBTs are just the poor man's weapons against tanks. The USA still have in service, I reckon, the TOW, the Hellfire and the Javelin. There are US anti-tank aircraft and US mounts of the aforementioned ATGMs for lightly armored vehicles. There are US anti-vehicle land mines, and so on. The Russians, and anyone else having MBTs, also have all of these other measures.
                      Maybe they all think they might occasionally work?
                      Michele

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                      • #12
                        Simple question--If you were an infantryman and there were enemy tanks coming towards you, would you rather have a TOW or a Abrams next to you?

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                        • #13
                          If your tank has Arena or Trophy then ATGMs will be less effective.
                          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                          Ernest Hemingway.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                            Simple question--If you were an infantryman and there were enemy tanks coming towards you, would you rather have a TOW or a Abrams next to you?
                            Or why not a vehicle such as the BMPT-72 "" Terminator 3" ?
                            "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                            Samuel Johnson.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                              Simple question--If you were an infantryman and there were enemy tanks coming towards you, would you rather have a TOW or a Abrams next to you?
                              Well, if in the open and not having had the time to dig a foxhole, a tank - I can always hide behind it, and it can actually be there.
                              If in a built-up area, then a tank might just not fit in it, while a TOW will almost always be able to actually be deployed there. Also, a TOW and its crew in a built-up area will almost certainly see the enemy tank first.

                              Naturally, many armored warfare theorists would say that conceiving the tank as a defensive weapon for the infantry is misunderstanding the tank.
                              Michele

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