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  • Russian Armour & Anti-Armour

    I was speaking to a Russian Reserve Officer who is to command a tank repair, um, thingy in the event of mobilisation.

    He mentioned that while Iraq seems to indicate that US tanks & armanents can both take a beating from Russian weapons and subsequently knock the shit out of Russian tanks, the Russians never sold their best gear and have kept it for themselves. He seemed confident Russian vehicles would be a good match for US ones.

    I heard about something called thermobaric weapons and he said they cut through active armour like butter, and there was a next generation which vapourised the crew while leaving the vehicle relatively intact. These are warheads to be attached to the RPGs which seem to belong to pretty much everyone that wants one, and I presume are cheap and cheerful like all Russian weaponry- as compared to the €100k per warshot jobbies which western militaries seem to have.

    When googling this, I saw a post on www.arrse.co.uk where UK servicement were salivating over thermobaric, which seems to have been overtaken by a new AT weapon according to the Russian reservist.

    Russian patriotism & propaganda at work, or does the old dog have some fight left?

    Any takers?
    Take these men and women for your example.
    Like them, remember that posterity can only
    be for the free; that freedom is the sure
    possession of those who have the
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    ***************
    Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.
    ***************
    If you're not ready to die for it, put the word freedom out of your vocabulary.

  • #2
    Most of the Russian Export MBTs were monkey models, they had elderly or butchered Fire Control systems, WW2 armour technology (T-72s had no inserts just steel) and poor quality older model HEAT and APFDS rounds.
    You had to be especially cosy with Moscow to get T-64s or T80s (itself a T-64 development) and most export tanks were coffins waiting for occupants...(Iraqi T-62s and allegedly a T-72 were knocked out by 30mm Rarden fire from a brit Scimitar and a HESH round from from an Iranian Scorpion respectively).

    Theres no doubt that the Warpact Armour that Russia has is superior to what it exported but its still inferior to most Western equivalents.
    As for his claims about being able to kill Western tankies, any explosive force thats big enough will kill a tank crew, regardless of whether it penetrates or not (look at the use of buried Explosives to kill Israeli Merkava III crews), if you hit an MBT with a big enough round you might as well have dropped the Tank off the empire state building.

    Thermobaric weapons aren't strictly anti-armour, they basically burn up all the oxygen in a radius creating a vacuum and killing everything
    "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

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    • #3
      the Russians never sold their best gear
      Its an old argument, with some degree of truth. Generally, the Russians sold 'Monkey models' (their term) of AFVs and aircraft (and missiles) to some export customers. Unfortunately for them, even those that did get Russian spec gear often got their asses kicked. The Russians themselves even suffered at the hands of early model F-16s in the hands of the Pakistani airforce The Syrians with brand new MiG-23s (using contemporary Soviet tactics), in numbers, and supported by a state of the art (then) SAM and radar net, advised by PVO and RuAF officers still got wiped out in 1982.

      Same story for AFVs. Some would have you believe that the T-72s the Iraqis used in 1991 were nowhere near Sov spec. They weren't the same (T-72M1), they'd different armour and ammunition, but its highly debateable as to whether they Sov gear would have done any better in the hands of Iraqis.

      Iraqi T-62s and allegedly a T-72 were knocked out by 30mm Rarden fire from a brit Scimitar
      It wouldn't be at all surprising if full spec Russian T-72s would be vulnerable to 30mm AFDS from some aspects. The M1 and Leopard probably are, for example. T-62, of more or less any spec, are in serious trouble when faced by 30-35mm cannon from any aspect.

      In short, for the most part, by 1990, most Russian gear was 10-15 years behind that of the West. For example, when the Indians and the Chinese were getting their Su27s(and Su-30s) after many lessons learned (the hard way in the case of the Indian MiG-29s), they purchased French and Israeli cockpits and avionics, and went through hell with reliability issues on the engines. Only now are the Su-30s comparable with the F-15E that entered service in the late 1980s, and even then only with non Russian avionics. Go figure.
      Aidan
      Closed Account
      Last edited by Aidan; 6 May 2005, 16:53.

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      • #4
        Working fire control and modern ammo would have been of great benefit to the Iraqi's if they had omanouvred (difficult with enemy air dominance I know), certainly formation might not have disintegrated so quickly if they thought they had a chance of actually harming the enemy.
        "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

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        • #5
          They'd little or no working intel either, which was an issue. Difficult to manouevre when you don't know where the other guy is, or even where he's coming from.

          Other problem was, particularly at incidents like 73 Easting, their sights weren't good enough, their night vision was crud (when they had it) and even if they'd had Russian issue ammo and proper fire control, they would've been outranged by the 120mm on the M1 and Challenger (5km kill anyone?).

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          • #6
            Being outranged wasn't always the problem. On occasion, they fought sensibly with rear-slope ambushes and whatnot, where range isn't an issue, only speed and lethality. They still lost.

            Part of the problem is almost certainly the ammunition they used, which the Russians consider somewhere on the level just underneath training ammunition. Not all M1s had DU armour inserts at that point, they could well have done some damage if then-current generation ammo was in use. However, predominantly it was crew failure. They were evidently scared, and fired before aiming resulting in few hits. Finnish tankers are saying that they regularly get first round hits on moving targets at 2,500m on the range, which is actually about as far as US tankers ever shoot on the range as well.

            For the long-ranged duels, most Russian tanks had ATGM capability. Either in initial production (T-64/80/some 72s) or retrofitted to T-62. This was to rectify the dispersion problems they had with the guns. (The optics and FCS were always good enough, the problem was the gun they were attached to: Hence the missiles were accurate). Could these missiles kill Abrams or Challenger frontally? Probably not, but 'most anything else from M60 to Centurion to Leopard 1 which formed a large bulk of opposition armour would have been vulnerable.

            Finally, the later generation Russian tanks would have been next to frontally invulnerable to a large amount of tank guns faced against them. (105mm on M60, Centurion, Leopard...) Only with the development of the DU ammo, not exported by the US to others, would the T-72 prove vulnerable. Otherwise, it was dependant on the 120mms of Chieftain and Leopard II. There was about a ten-year period in the late 70s/early 80s where tank warfare in Europe would have been very unpleasant for NATO.

            NTM
            California Tanker
            My tank is bigger...
            Last edited by California Tanker; 6 May 2005, 17:43.
            Driver, tracks, troops.... Drive and adjust!!

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            • #7
              think the problem with soviet tanks vs nato is that the soviets were working on a quntity vs quality theory russian tanks are easy to build maintain in the field train concripts on . as in WW2 they could afford to loose more tanks t34 vs tigers werent fair fights but enough t34s and you have a dead tiger.
              Iraq isnt really a fair trial for soviet armour as they had mostly t54 and the chinese version of the t54 imported during iran -iraq , and base model 72s which would probably be in soviet resereve units and were firing locally produced ammo ie crap compared to what the soviets were issuing, in effect a 1970s red army vrs a 1990s nato .
              how would the use of ERA proper russian ammo fire control competent crews have changed the ground war.

              thermobaric weapons kill my producing a massive fire ball and pressure most if not all tanks have an nbc system which would prevent crew loss , they seem to have been developed for anti bunker building work where they are excellent by all accounts .
              "take a look to the sky right before you die, its the last time you will"

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              • #8
                janes
                Bulgaria has recently developed the GTB-7G grenade with a thermobaric warhead, introducing the potential to expand the basic RPG-7 Knut (Knout) portable rocket launcher into a true multipurpose weapon. The thermobaric warhead utilizes an advanced form of the fuel-air explosive concept.

                The contents of the 93mm diameter warhead are scattered in an aerosol form on impact and then ignited to create a rapidly-formed, high-pressure blast wave, equivalent to that produced by the detonation of 2kg of TNT.

                The blast effect is such that significant damage can be inflicted on structures, including field fortifications, and lightly armored vehicles.

                When launched from an RPG-7 the GTB-7G grenade has a maximum direct-fire range of 200m, with an initial velocity of 66m/sec (the maximum possible range is 1,000m). The grenade weighs 4.7kg and is 1.12m long. It can be utilized with any RPG-7 launcher once the necessary sight adjustments have been made.

                Other recently developed alternative warhead grenades for the fin-stabilized rocket have included variations of anti-personnel HE-FRAG.

                The manufacturers are the Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi (Vazov Engineering Plant), based at Sopot.

                The RGP-7 rocket launcher is in worldwide use and the GTB-7G grenade is now on offer for export.
                "take a look to the sky right before you die, its the last time you will"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by California Tanker
                  Finally, the later generation Russian tanks would have been next to frontally invulnerable to a large amount of tank guns faced against them. (105mm on M60, Centurion, Leopard...) Only with the development of the DU ammo, not exported by the US to others, would the T-72 prove vulnerable. Otherwise, it was dependant on the 120mms of Chieftain and Leopard II. There was about a ten-year period in the late 70s/early 80s where tank warfare in Europe would have been very unpleasant for NATO.

                  NTM
                  Is that not why the Apache and Cobras were developed by the yanks?
                  Lifes a bitch, so be her pimp!

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                  • #10
                    Cobra was developed and in action in the mid to late 60s - against the NVA and VC.
                    When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow.
                    All them women gonna make me, teach 'em what they don't know how

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ex pat 007
                      Cobra was developed and in action in the mid to late 60s - against the NVA and VC.
                      Oh right.
                      Lifes a bitch, so be her pimp!

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