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"Mystery Projectile" Penetrates M1A1

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posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 02:03 PM
Here are the pictures from this "Mystery Projectile".....maybe 'we' can come up with just "what" did this or caused this, eh?

Picture 1:
The white piece of paper in the photo above covers where the tanks armor was penetrated.

Picture 2:
The red circle in the photo above marks where the side armor of the M1A1 tank was penetrated.

Picture 3:
A close-up view of the penetration of the side armor (in the turret well).

Picture 4:
Whatever penetrated the hull, continued inside the tank, going through a hose behind the gunners seat.

Picture 5:
The projectile continued through the back of the gunners seat. The gunner was in the seat at the time and his flak jacket was damaged, and he reported that it felt like someone had hit him in the back with a hammer.

Picture 6:
The mystery projectile continued under the breech of the main gun and damaged a safety guard.

Picture 7:
The mystery projectile then came out the other side of the safety guard.

Picture 8:
The mystery projectile then went through the turret networks box.

Picture 9:
The mystery projectile round then went through the breaker panel. The mystery projectile (or stream of hot plasma) finally hit the opposite side of the tank, making a hole some 45mm deep.

And the link to the article:
"ARMORED WARFARE: Mystery Projectile Penetrates M-1

"October 31, 2003: The U.S. Army is not saying much about the "mystery projectile" that went through the side skirts and side armor of an M-1A1 tank last August 28th. Whatever it was just barely missed the tanks gunner (it went through the back of his seat and grazed part of his flak jacket) and put a pencil size hole nearly 50mm deep into the four inch thick armor on the other side of the tank. The damage may have been done by a projectile, not a shaped charge (which uses a jet of super-hot plasma to burn a hole in armor and put a quantity of plasma and molten metal inside the tank.) No known RPG would do that kind of damage. But some Western anti-tank rockets generate a different kind of plasma jet that might create the kind of damage done. A U.S. 25mm armor piercing shell (fired from the gun mounted on the M-2 Bradley armored vehicle) uses a small penetrator, but that penetrator is of depleted uranium, which burns like a flare once it is inside its target. One major unknown is the large number of portable anti-tank weapons (especially Russian and Chinese models) that have not been tested against the M-1 tank. It's not unusual for new weapons to have unpredictable effects once they are first used in combat. Until the army releases more information, if they have any, the mystery lingers."

I'm thinking a SABOT 'blue' round or a SABOT shelled munition fired from a fairly high-caliber rifle of such. From my readings on this and digging a bit...I have read that a DU round will do the same. Also, it seems that the "mystery projectile" entered in/at the 'center of mass' of the M1, indicating a long distant shot.
What do you guys and gals think....any information on this would be nice, as would opinions.


[Edited on 31-10-2003 by Seekerof]

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 02:15 PM
Man... It pierced an M-1? That's madness... Whatever it was it was friggen powerful. I doubt it was an anti-tank weapon or any kind of bullet, but what does that leave? Besides, the Bradley excuse doesn't work here. There's no way a 25 mm shot would go through an M-1's armor.

Whatever this was, the military needs to conduct a full-scale investigation. This could put a huge dent in the US's efforts in Iraq.

It looks like it split apart at some point. But what would do that?

Signing off,

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 02:25 PM
A SABOT round would have sucked out all available oxygen from the tank and created a vacuum inside the tank, killing the crew. From the gunners statement about his back hurting, there were survivors. Whatever hit it started breaking up midway throught the tank.
The armor itself is made up of steel encased DU. I wouldn't feel safe in that thing. Even if those guys survived...they will face health problems years from now because of inhaling DU fragments.

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 02:28 PM
Ill say a 50 caliber DE round from a high powered rifle.

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 02:35 PM
The "fracturing" or "spliting"of the round is probable but I'm thinking there was a tumbling effect that also may have caused a possible "split apart".

Many possible answers or conclusions to the round are possible:

1) rail gun?
2) JPL's hypervelocity ballistics lab has been has been toying with "plasma projectiles" that have a "plasma spray" effect along the lines of that shown in Picture 6.
3) it has been mentioned that the "mystery projectile" had a low temperature, relatively, and had a very high velocity rate....maybe the signature of a Kinetic round, maybe?

Something to note here is that the inside pictures almost everything but the inside surfaces of the armor, which is normally lined with Kevlar matting to absorb what is termed as spall, or fragmentery dispersal.

The SABOT rod/fin is roughly this size and is DU:
"APFSDS-T (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot Tracer)"

Maybe this "mystery projectile" was a or the broken tip from one such round that happened to hit this M1A1....I dunno...just guessing and throwing ideas around.


posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 03:53 PM
ALso found this article talking about the same thing but refering to some other possibilities:
".....Mystery behind Aug. 28 incident puzzles Army officials"

Comes from the "ArmyTimes."


posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 04:01 PM
A DU round against DU armour is not going to be that effective I think.

Thus the size would be an issue but this was a small projectile.

Velocity would help to increase energy but it would not be any conventional armament.

Looking at the pictures and seeing melting or similar effect from the round bolsters the case for a plasma type round.

Not mentioned here is the idea of a laser?

Could this be a Russian experimental weapon tested during the war?

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 04:25 PM
Could this just be friendly fire?

One of our own weapons systems?

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 04:37 PM

good point, quite possible.

maybe we test new weapons on ourselves as hitting anyone else would be a waste of time due to inability to repel it.

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 04:43 PM
Speculation was that it was as with the first Gulf War.... an errand 23-25mm DU round from a Bradley fighting vehicle. If it was a 23-25mm DU round....we/US got some problems..........
I am and don't think it was a "friendly fire" situation but it is a standing possiblility. What does seem apparent it that it was done by a highly advanced weapons munition that could suggest friendly fire or field testing implications.....
I am also doubtful of a 30mm DU errand round from a A-10 would have done this also....the hole would be much larger than appears.
Laser is a possibility but I highly doubt it being that in the pictures, a high powered laser would leave a cleaner impression and effects.

Also found this picture:
Picture 10:
The mysterious projectile finally buried itself in the hull of the M1A1 Abrams tank on the opposite side from where it entered. The hole is 1 to 2 inches deep.

Thanks for the information and thoughts folks....keepem' coming. This is a very interesting situation that seems no one, including the military, has suffeciently found 'an' answer for.


[Edited on 31-10-2003 by Seekerof]

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 07:37 PM
Found another picture.....

Picture 11:

Also a photo of a M919 25mm APFSDS round from a Bradley AFV:

and article:
"M919 Cartridge 25mm, Armor Piercing, Fin Stabilized, Discarding Sabot, with Tracer (APFSDS-T)"

Maybe this.....?


posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 08:05 PM
from my knowledge of DPUs and other non-conventional weaponry, cause of the fragmentation i find it to be extremly unlikely that it was DPU.

i think that a rail-gun type weapon is a better guess.

and websuspect, "Ill say a 50 caliber DE round from a high powered rifle." i dont mean to be an asshole, but what you are refering to '50 caliber DE round' i think you mean AE. AE=action express. this is a handgun round. secondly a 50 cal round from a 'high powered rifle' would make little more than a dent in an abrams armor.

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 08:10 PM
Well if you notice from the series of photos, that the munition didn't fragment untill after penatrating a series of objects. I would think that would be normal

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 08:24 PM
One point that makes me think "friendly fire" is that only 1 "shot" was fired.

Why only one? Surely if they were trying to take a tank out they would have at least done another one.

Why only one - ever?

If it was a sniper shot and moved away, then they would take shots at other tanks eventually.

The "punch" comment by the gunner rules out plasma weapons as said in the article. So I think its some sort of misfired "black tech". Someone made an "oops".

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 08:25 PM
I was thinking likewise LoggOff, my only contention with a "rail-gun" theory is I don't think we nor anyone else is to the point of fielding a usable 'rail-gun' in a weapons package small enough to fit into tha back or on a 40-foot semi-truck or container.

I do contend though that whether it was an electromagnetically accelerated projectile, an hypervelocity kinetic energy round, or an advanced small caliber chemical energy HEAT round, it's bad news for the crews in the Abrams...and worse news for those in Strykers.

Something did this and I'm speculating that despite US Army reports to the contrary, that they do know what this was that penetrated the M1A1.

Here's something else to think on....seems a British semi-auto cannon with SABOT round, the L21 30mm Rarden, can leave signs/patterns such as these given in the photos. Also, the Russian copy of the M72A2 LAW as their RPG-18 Mukha comes to mind. Whatever the "mysterious projectile" was, it had to have a very high velocity rate.....I'm gauging and speculating here.

*EDIT* to address NetChicken.....I'm thinking the same way Net......thanks for the comment.


[Edited on 31-10-2003 by Seekerof]

posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 08:29 PM
And since Netchicken mentioned it in relation to 'reports', here's a picture of the gunners flak jacket:

Picture 12:
The round pierced the left kidney area of the gunners flak jacket. According to the damage report, The gunner said it felt like someone hit him in the back with a hammer.


posted on Oct, 31 2003 @ 08:32 PM
Funny you should mention rail gun

EM Gun, in development by Lockheed Martin

That was the first thing I found..

A message board thread containing railgun talk

[Edited on 31-10-2003 by MrRadicalEd]

posted on Nov, 1 2003 @ 12:22 PM
The folks at TankNet Forums have been discussing this and think it was some sort of RPG round.....:
"What Killed A U.S. Tank?"

I do wish we had a 'ping' system here at ATS cause I would like to get further imput from certain other members: Advisor, Byrd, DR, Fulcrum, SectorGaza, etc, etc, etc, etc.....
ANY imput from anyone is appreciated though.

I will continue to update this as I find information.


posted on Nov, 1 2003 @ 12:38 PM
25mm DU rounds have destroyed M1A3 in FF incedent..

And RPG make hole like that and sure the hell will tear trough the skirt.
(Even the most basic RPG-7 round has penetration of 300mm thats something like 12in..)

Why do you make a big deal out of this seeker?

M1 series isnt 'bulletproof' it can be blow up as easily as any T-72..

If tartgeted, attacked and HIT BY by same weapons..

The main reason for M1 having a rep. as a 'good' tank is beacause they have been rarely attacked..

Cause opposition has been wiped out by air-strikes or the the combat has been in flat desert where M1 has over 1km advantage on EFFECTIVE GUN RANGE against T-72!!!

Or like in the battle for the 'MEDINA RIDGE' in 1991..

When the Iraqi tankers had no idea that 'enemy' was closing in and were all at sleep or eating..

Surprice, AirPower against weak enemy and flat desert is what make M1 'good', other than those factors.. it isnt that special!

Leopard 2s, LeLercs and Challengers are much better at any range and in closer range (1,5-2km) combat against 1980s T-72s tank which has quicker gunner will win!

posted on Nov, 1 2003 @ 12:48 PM
See the burn marks around the white piece of paper?

It was a RPG that hit it..

Or HEAT round from 73mm Recoiless rifle or 100mm T-12 Anti-Tank gun..

Or even a HEAT round from another tanks main gun..
(100, 115 or 125mm..)

And the reason i say that it was a RPG or GUN (CANNON) HEAT round is because:

HEAT rounds make SMALL and CLEAN holes!

And what hit the gunner must be a piece of the tanks own armor that was thrown off by the HEAT round impact.

As the is this round called HESH that makes that happen..
(HESH doesnt penetrate the armor but has a massive blast effect, whichs only purpose is to kill tank crew by exploding off some of the tanks own 'inner armor'..)

The way that HESH rounds function!

And i would think that non penetrating HEAT round has the same effect..

*edited for typos*

[Edited on 1-11-2003 by FULCRUM]

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