The US stuck with breechloaders because auto-loaders were more dangerous in operation and would leave the ammunition too exposed causing a personnel risk, that is the same for US Artillery.
RPG-7's may have had a lucky hit now and then disabiling an Abrams or 2 but they would never penetrate the glacis or frontal armor, I also am starting to doubt that EFP actually did penetrate Abrams tanks but that has been the word.
According to an unclassified Army report, the mystery projectile punched through the vehicle’s skirt and drilled a pencil-sized hole through the hull. The hole was so small that “my little finger will not go into it,” the report’s author noted.
The “something” continued into the crew compartment, where it passed through the gunner’s seatback, grazed the kidney area of the gunner’s flak jacket and finally came to rest after boring a hole 1½ to 2 inches deep in the hull on the far side of the tank.
As it passed through the interior, it hit enough critical components to knock the tank out of action. That made the tank one of only two Abrams disabled by enemy fire during the Iraq war and one of only a handful of “mobility kills” since they first rumbled onto the scene 20 years ago. The other Abrams knocked out this year in Iraq was hit by an RPG-7, a rocket-propelled grenade.
Experts believe whatever it is that knocked out the tank in August was not an RPG-7 but most likely something new — and that worries tank drivers.
US Armor in Operation “Iraqi Freedom”
The Abrams tank armor system was not really put to the test during military operations in Iraq. There were virtually no reported hits on the highly protected frontal arc or on the “heavy” ballistic skirts; all tank losses to enemy fire were defeated from the top, side and rear. Iraqi soldiers had clearly familiarized themselves with the capabilities of American tanks during operation Desert Storm and avoided engaging them in direct battle. For example, there were no reported cases of anti-tank guide missiles (ATGM) being fired at any US army vehicle. At the same time, Iraqi resistance fighters, whose ranks were bolstered by scores of trained Iraqi soldiers, have clearly learned to exploit the vulnerabilities of the US systems. They managed to destroy up to 20 enemy tanks even with their antiquated light anti-tank weapons, mostly Soviet rocket-propelled grenades such as the RPG-7 or its Chinese and Egyptian variants, with rounds developed in the 1970s-early 1980s. The results of combat operations show that the side armor of the Abrams tank is completely inadequate to fire from light anti-tank weapons, including older generation weapons, making these tanks unsuitable for operations in built-up areas.
For example, in a widely-discussed incident, an M1 tank from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Division was hit and disabled during a routine patrol on 28 August 2003. The American press, deluded by its own reports of the “invulnerability” of the Abrams, claimed that some kind of “secret weapon” was responsible for the damage. In fact, published photographs clearly show that the offending weapon was none other than a simple RPG. The hollow-charged jet penetrated the side skirt and turret ring and continued into the crew compartment as it disintegrated before finally coming to rest after boring a cluster of craters 30-50 mm deep in the hull on the far side of the tank. The crew was lucky to have suffered only minor shrapnel wounds as the projectile passed through the gunner’s seatback and grazed his flak jacket. On April 2, 2003 an RPG attack from the side disabled another tank by penetrating the turret’s hydraulic drive.
The side protection of the M1 turret is also inadequate. On 7 April 2004 an anti-tank RPG penetrated the side of the turret resulting in serious wounds to two crew members. The top of the tank is equally vulnerable, and even the glacis was easily defeated by anti-tank weapons. For example, on April 10, 2004 a tank was hit on the right side of the glacis by an RPG fired from an overpass and destroyed. Additional measures designed to increase protection for the Abrams tank have showed mixed results. Halon firefighting gear has proven largely ineffective. Practically all secondary fires resulting from enemy fire, engine breakdown or overheating destroyed the tank completely. For example, the 7 April attack noted above ignited the tanker’s personal effects attached to the outside of the turret, and since the crew had abandoned the vehicle, the fire was left unchecked, while on 10 April, fuel leaked out of a damaged fuel tank and ignited. Externally stored items, including on one occasion an external auxiliary power unit (EAPU), caught fire on several occasions and led to catastrophic losses. On the other hand, the vulnerability caused by externally stored items only underlined the wisdom of storing ammunition in a separate compartment protected by blast doors, which contained fires and saved the crew when the main rounds ignited.
The Leopard 2A6 is still the world's most sophisticated tank being closely followed by the Challenger II and the M1A2 SEP.
I'd like to see your sources about RPG-7's punching through the Abrams' armor, I could only see a AP round punch through maybe the top but other than that I highly doubt it, IEDS (double stacked AT mines) and EFP (Explosively formed penetrators) have been more dangerous to modern MBT's in asymetric warfare of today's battlefield.
Iskander the idea that an RPG-7 warhead went through the armor of an Abrams is just stupid.
That report is ridiculous. The warhead itself disintegrates during impact and its the shaped charge that penetrates.
As to the report that hundreds of Abrams tanks have been damaged or disabled during the war - no big deal. Why? Break a tread and the tank's disabled (and damaged). But it gets recovered and repaired. So yeah - probably thousands of Abrams have been damaged or disabled during the way, if you look at it that way.
Yeah MBTs are massive and logistics hogs. But there's still nothing better so far for ground assault, so they're here for now.
As for the loader, they're still important and handy. For one, you can unload or exchange types of loads. For two, a fourth man comes in handy on tank maintenance.
And now you ask what's so big about tank maintenance. Well drive an Abrams for a day and then you have half a day of fixing # - and all of it's stupid heavy. Oh yes one section of track weighs 180 pounds and that entire track must be tightened every freaking day and just pray it doesn't come off.
And # gets heavier at the end of the day, too. And it's not hard to handle ammo. And as for high speed, well, all that high speed # is great for the driver but for the turret crew it's intolerable anyway even if they're not loading. It's not like tanks drive into battle at 42 mph - ever. Anyway, peace.
That report's from some Russian source - so I doubt it's true. If an RPG7 could penetrate into the turret through the side armor, um... no - pretty much impossible.
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As far as the tank not doing well in urban combat, well um this is really surprising probably but uh - MBTs aren't designed for urban combat. So, uh - no #.
Well we'll see how good those other MBTs fare next to Abrams next time one of those countries invades Iraq. Then we can compare notes.
As far as I can tell Abrams drove to Baghdad in under three weeks and took care of the job. Let's compare that to the Japanese tanks... Oh wait - we can't.
Can't argue with success, either.
There has been alot of discussion about the RPG-7 and RPG-29 ; and i am firmly of the belief the chally 2 hit was an RPG-29 , but both myself and sikander disagree on this
Back on Topic: the hulls looks like a modified Abrams, the rear of the tank totally looks like an Abram as do the screens inside.
Originally posted by iskander
reply to post by Harlequin
Picture tells a thousand words, and every single picture I've posted above show classic RPG-7 hits, and NOT tandem warhead RPG-29.
The Abrams is protected by Chobham armor, a further development of British "Burlington" armor. Chobham is a composite armor formed by spacing multiple layers of various alloys of steel, ceramics, plastic composites, and kevlar, giving an estimated maximum (frontal turret) 1320-1620 millimeters of RHAe versus HEAT (and other chemical energy rounds) and 940-960 mm versus kinetic energy penetrators.
Originally posted by iskander
IMHO this will be one the best Western tank, with Leclerc catching up soon.
Tanks with out an autoloader are not tank on the modern battlefield.
Trying to manually reload and fire the weapon while the tank is cross country is a deadly hazard, it’s as simple as that.