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The role of the tank today ?

Discussion in 'Post-World War 2 Armour' started by Steiner phpbb3, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. Steiner phpbb3

    Steiner phpbb3 New Member

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    The idea of the tank has been by-passed by air-technology since the end of W.W. II. During W.W. II the anti-tank role of the airforce increased considerably and made armoured warfare a hazardous undertaking.

    I think that the helicopter has taken over the role of the tank and APC, because it is much faster and has no difficulty crossing the terrain. It is also important that helicopters can be more easily supplied than tanks.

    Helicopters only need safe havens, but can also operate from vessels, making a landing on a beach more easy, especially on swampy beaches. They also provide immediate heavy fire-support to infantry.

    More speed and less sound are key factors of modern warfare, because of the changes of warfare. A quick, swift and unexpected strike on targets well inland, which cause disruption and chaos will cause more effect.

    I think that in the 21st century frontlines will disappear and war will be limited to hunting groups who will fight for key locations and installations. Maybe war will rage within certain squares/hexes and not along lines.

    This kind of change will need diffirent kind of weapons and means of transportation, notibly from the air. The helicopter has both speed and flexibility which tracked vehicles, which are bound to the ground, have not.
     
  2. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Frontline warfare has disappeared already, to make place for flexible warfare and stronpoint fighting. You could seeit in the Iraq war; even though Basra had not yet been taken and large portions of the desert had been left alone, the Americans were knocking on the gates of Bagdad. This clearly shows no frontline, no coherent front whatsoever. In this type of war tanks are still quite powerful, however. They can be useful for anything on the ground, but their main limitation is uselessness in cities and swamps.
     
  3. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Tanks today are really nothing more than a show of power. The next big war will not be fought with tanks.
     
  4. Danyel Phelps

    Danyel Phelps Active Member

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    If that was the case, countries wouldn't still be developing Tank and anti-tank technology.
     
  5. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Like a said a show of power. Russia builds a new tank, the US builds an anti-tank gun to counter the Russian tank, so the Russians build a tank that is tougher than the anti-tank gun, so it is a never ending process that will amount to jack.
     
  6. Danyel Phelps

    Danyel Phelps Active Member

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    It doesn't quite work that way. If the Tank was useless, we wouldn't build them. Its that simple. If the tank is useless, and we wanted to show our power, we would be making bad ass helecopters or something.
     
  7. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Well, when I think of power, I think of a tank, and I'm sure many other people feel this way also.
     
  8. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    But you are. aren't you? The role of the tank will be made obsolete by this development.
     
  9. Steiner phpbb3

    Steiner phpbb3 New Member

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    Armies are bulwarks of conservatism. Many armies don't change much because of prestige and pride of their arms. For instance, it took a long time before cavalry was removed from a prominent and prestigieous place on the Order of Battle. Until deep into the 20th century many retained their cavalry, a good example are the Poles in 1939, although cavalry was already quite useless during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.
     
  10. Steiner phpbb3

    Steiner phpbb3 New Member

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    By the way, tanks are not necesseraly weapons on the battlefield, they can also be used to intimidate civil population. Think of the usage of tanks right after their development against the demonstrations of W.W. I veterans in the U.S. capital during the early twenties.

    The most significant examples are the Soviet interventions against popular uprising in the Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War in which they extensively made use of tanks, mainly in the cities, where they are very vunrable against anti-tank devices like molotov-cocktails.
     
  11. Steiner phpbb3

    Steiner phpbb3 New Member

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    I think that the role of the tank on the actual battlefield has been diminished since the end of W.W. II. Since then the airforce has been on teh rise and has developed weaponsystems, which in essence make the tank obsolete.
     
  12. SgtBob

    SgtBob New Member

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    I think the reports of the death of the modern tank are far too premature. The toughest helicopters in the world, the Apache and the MI-24 Hind, have proven more succeptible to shoulder-fired SAMs than most people predicted. U.S. Apaches ventured far ahead of the front lines during the Iraq war, and got shot up pretty badly by a mediocre force.
    It is true that a tank is a sitting duck if the enemy controls the air, but this was true in 1944 too. Ask any Panzer Division commander. U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has been trying to phase out the MBT and go almost totally to the Stryker, a lightly armored but heavily armed super APC. This would be excellent for a RDF of maybe 2-3 divisions, but it would be a disaster for the "heavy divisions". I can just see the "Thunder Runs" in Bagdad using thin-skinned armor. The result would have been something Custer could identify with.
    For the foreseeable future the MBT will be crucial, as a part of a combined arms team, to the battlefield. This will be especially true until someone finds a way to defeat Chobham Armor.
     
  13. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Yes tanks are still around, but with every decade you see less and less use. In both Iraq wars, the majority of the campaigns were in the air. Bombing of barracks, command centers, tanks, etc. The tanks are left with little to fight (a tank is designed to take on other tanks), because after all, a tank of today is nothing compared to a company of infantry. The infantry of today have taken over the job of the tanks, with the introduction of highly powerful AT guns like the TOW and Dragon systems.
    So the APC(since it ties in with the infantry) is really the most important of the tracked vehicles today.
     
  14. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Good points. Another thing is the fact that tanks, just like most aircraft of today's armies, become big clods of electronics and thus way too expensive to get many in the field. For example, of the brand-new Leclerc tank perhaps 500 in total will ever be built, because these commercial enterprises cannot afford to produce them and not sell them. This can reduce the use of tanks in the field considerably because they are too costly to lose and too few to actually matter. If you compare these numbers with the 90,000 T34s and 46,000 Shermans that WW2 brought forward, then it is easy to see how small armoured operations in the future will be. And small operations are not the ideal action field of the MBT, but they are the field of the APC.
     
  15. Danyel Phelps

    Danyel Phelps Active Member

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    77,000 T-34s, not 90,000.
     
  16. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    All right, but the exact number is not really relevant here, it serves only to indicate that of the M4 and T34 there were tens of thousands.
     
  17. Castelot

    Castelot New Member

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    The problem with the Leclerc is that this tank was concived in the late 80's and that GIAT Industries planned to sell 1500 of them to the french army.
    But with the end of the cold war, military budget was reduced in France, especially for the army so only 460 of them were ordered.
    So the only way for private defence industries is to export it's products and that mostly into countries that you don't know what use they are gonna make of it.
     
  18. Gatsby phpbb3

    Gatsby phpbb3 New Member

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    Tanks aren't obsolete.

    The reason they got shot up in Iraq was simply because one side was far stronger than the other. If the Iraqis had managed to challenge Coalition air supeority, then all those pretty gunships and ground attack planes would have a way harder time penetrating enemy defenses. In such cases the only feasible way of actually attacking an enemy position would be to send in a ground assault. And tanks are needed for this job. The stryker, irregardless of its armament and speed, cannot possibly generate enough firepower to level an enemy fortification before taking some damage itself. Moreover, in Urban combat the Stryker would be a sitting duck for RPGs and other primitive, low-cost yet effective light anti-tank weapons.

    Secondly, fast-moving aircraft (those who are least vulnerable to modern anti-air defenses) are not effective tank killers. Slow-moving platforms carrying heavy weaponry will never be strong enough to withstand A/A weaponry due to the fact that they are airborne.
     
  19. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    I still agree with Steiner that the helicopter wil gradually overtake the role of the tank, and the fights between gun platforms will move from the ground (between tanks) to the air, between helicopters. This development has not been completed, and planes will always be vulnerable to AA fire, but the same goes for tanks and AT fire. Tanks become more and more vulnerable themselves, from air attack; the Apache X can shoot up tanks from beyond the horizon. There is no threat to it.
    Just look at modern combat weapons in, say, 2024; then we'll see what happened with the tank.
     
  20. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Even if there was no air support (which there is), it would be able to take out the fortification from well out of harms way.

    I serouisly beg to differ. The A-10 is a very effective tank killer and it can withstand tremoundous amounts of damage. The Apache can take out tanks with the Hellfires tens of miles away from the tank itself.
     

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