Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Battle Tank (Kampfpanzer)

The main battle tank (also Panzer , in the public perception and mostly armored ) is the main type of armored troops . Battle tanks are the most heavily armored and armed the most flexible armor genre and form in the early 21st Century are still the backbone of the land forces .
Typically battle tanks are armored tracked vehicles with a gun as the main weapon in a fully rotating turret . They are the best compromise possible in armor , firepower and mobility represent. Your task is to fight enemy tanks and fortified positions. When fighting in an urban setting, they often also support the infantry by their firepower and their armor protection. Your crew is usually from three to four men in the tub is sitting or lying in general the driver. The tower is usually the commander , the gunner , and - if the tank has no automatic loader for the gun - a loader .

1 Definition of the OSCE
2 History
3 Technology
3.1 Mobility and drive
3.2 Protection devices
4 Weapons
4.1 Primary Weapon
4.2 Secondary Weapon
4.3 Target Recognition
4.4 Types of Ammunition
5 Current Models

Definition of the OSCE

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) defines the term "battle tank" in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) of November 1990, in Article II as follows:

"Tank means an armored combat self-propelled vehicle and high-firepower - primarily from an anti necessary for armored and other targets tank gun with high muzzle velocity for direct fire - which has a large off-road capability and a high degree of self-protection features and the not primarily for the transportation of combat troops is designed and equipped. Such armored vehicles serve as the principal weapon system of tanks and other armored personnel of land forces . Battle tanks are tracked armored combat vehicles whose unladen weight at least 16.5 metric tons and is equipped with a 360 degree swivel side cannon with a minimum size of 75 millimeters. Armored combat vehicles also apply to all that are put into service and meet all the other criteria listed above, as well as a main battle tank.  "

The first tanks that in World War I used were almost exclusively Tank, still completely designed as a weapon for infantry support. More diverse types of tanks took place afterwards. Track drive for the cross-country mobility and armor protection were derived from the experiences of the war developments. Between the wars, another concept is still valid today was erected: the round rotating turret. multi tower armor set not by itself.
Especially in the Second World War, mainly used as the Soviet medium tank T-34 or the German Panther were pioneering battle tanks. The T-34 was about 18 hp per ton with excellent mobility and by inclination of the vehicle favorable walls excellent armor effect in a relatively low weight of about 30 tons. The Panthers had a similar concept, but in line with modern fire control, torsion bar suspension, a three-man turret, etc. have largely post-war models. The mainly by the German Wehrmacht pursued at the height of World War II tactic of using heavy tanks like the Tiger or Tiger II was after bad experiences with their severely limited mobility continued no longer after 1945. An assessment in the 1960 withdrawal of the first ten years previously in service in British Conquerors confirmed the correctness of the rejection of the concept of heavy tanks.
In the Korean War has become visible superiority moderate tank with strong firepower in war movement led to the development of this battle tank. Here, drew particularly the BritishCenturion from which displaced to 1966 the Conqueror in the British Army. He is considered the prototype of the modern Main Battle Tank . The English term was until now not yet in use, it only came up with the success of this type. During this time, put the concept of "modern battle tank" through, thereby also reducing the range of battle tanks models coincided. In English, it is suggested in the expression Main Battle Tank , shortly MBT (literally translated as main battle tanks ) down. The term reflects the fact that the separation between the concepts of light, medium and heavy battle tanks in favor of a universal all-purpose tank no longer required.

In the conflicts in the Middle East, about 1967 on the Egyptian side in the Six Day War against Israel , showed the heavy tanks like the Soviet IS-3 in combat their inadequacies, these tanks were indeed overtaken by this time technically. Likewise the last heavy Soviet tank, the T-10 . This came at the end of the 1960s compared to the lighter and more modern T-64 , both technically and in terms of fire power, more and more into the background and was taken around 1973 from the active duty component. Thus, had the Main Battle Tanks in the wake of the medium tank has finally established itself in two blocs.

The light tanks still remained the role of education in the battlefield. However, they were later armored , armored cars or armored personnel replaced that were even cheaper. They now possess an armament and mobility, which is superior to previous light tanks. After retirement of the U.S. M551 Sheridan is the Stingray one of the last in service light battle tank whose sole user state is Thailand.

In the last 25 years the weight of the armored vehicle has been conditionally increased enormously through ever stronger armor and bigger guns. Various current types weigh about 70 tons, which is roughly the weight class of the original heavy tank from the Second World War equivalent. For this reason, today the modern battle tanks are referred to more often as heavy battle tanks, although they are derived evolutionarily from the medium tanks. They have, however due to the correspondingly advanced propulsion technology and the mechanical reliability is not the shortcomings of the previous heavy tank.

With the end of the Cold War and the transformation of the battlefield of open, armor favorable terrain for operations in rough terrain, the raison d'être is increasingly called into question, and the number of operational units held was significantly reduced. Put states like China, India or South Korea are still strong armor, so to change the requirements of NATO countries to be transported by air, rapid deployment forces with appropriate vehicles. Due to their high impact force, assertiveness, persistence and active ability but they are still an integral part of any country in the armed forces continues valid concept " combined arms combat . " Thus, battle tanks in peacekeeping missions ( Peace Support Operation) and order a print medium in the Show of Force , the show of military strength compared to the warring parties. When fighting in urban areas and the urban warfare it offers through its armor and armament protection and firepower for the infantry and accompanying support units.


Mobility and drive

By the end of World War II was indeed on-road basically emphasis, however, were also introduced armor types with extremely reinforced armor at the expense of mobility. In part this was due to conceptual specifications ( armored infantry ), but often simply because according powerful engines were not available. Up to the present have battle tanks high mobility . The ratio of power and ground in modern tanks over 20 hp / ton. Schalt-/Lenkgetriebe automatic with hydraulic conversion are standard today. The range of a tank in light off today lies mostly at 400 to 500 km, during the Second World War, it was often only 150 km. In some cases, such as the German Leopard 2 , the achievable speed on roads in areas that previously reached only wheeled vehicles (over 70 km / h). The performance figures in the field to achieve this today the limit of physical capacity of the crew for vehicles with torsion bar suspension .
The first tanks were out of gasoline or kerosene engines driven in line, V-or radial engine. During the Second World War showed the superiority of the diesel engine , to the end of World War II dominated but for various reasons have petrol engines. With the advancement of the tank construction is the diesel engine in the 21 Century, the dominant and most advanced type of drive for armored vehicles. Initially in relation to its weight yet powerful enough, he has to charged converted heavy duty diesel. Often it is a multi-fuel enginedesigned to simplify the fuel supply.
Another drive type is the gas turbine as the U.S. M1 Abrams , the Soviet T-80 and as a hybrid mix equipment (diesel and additional gas turbine) when Stridsvagn 103 is used.Unlike the diesel engine is driving this form easier for the same power. Here, however, presents a much higher fuel consumption, which restricts the range of the vehicle and logistical problems in Treibstoffnachführung caused. The disadvantages of the high fuel consumption of the two engine types at idle and the fact that the energy required to maintain the systems of a tank during a longer stay in position or when observing maintenance can be covered by the batteries only have a sufficiently short time, trying with additional generators to solve. The auxiliary engines, thus reducing fuel consumption and the next to the infrared signature and reduce noise.
The engine is housed in many models in the tail, which is the classic form of the tank construction. The advantages of this design are a cheap infrared signature of the front, no heat shimmer from the optics, shorter cooling and exhaust system, free design of the hull front and low stress on the chain by reducing the dynamic traction on the last roller and the final drive wheel. The problem, however, is the pipe overhang at a longer main weapon during the field trip.
Few battle tanks, such as the Israeli Merkava , are front-wheel drive. So the engine is used in this design to provide additional protection for the crew and allows rear hatch like a IFV. Disadvantages of this design, however, a limitation of the gun laying division, higher chain load the entire upper chain, possible damage to the rigidly mounted drive wheel during fast road driving, the need for a page back gear with offset (Stirnradbauweise), an increased infrared signature of the front as well as increased expenses for cooling and exhaust system .
Despite their complexity, the engines can be replaced in part in a short time. Often motor switching steering transmission and cooling system are bundled together to form a block.


Tanks were originally protected by rolled plates or cast elements made ​​of special steel armor. The first tanks during World War I had a 6 ​​to 12 mm thick armor. Beginning of the Second World War, an armor from 30 to 40 mm for the front armor Medium Tank was considered adequate. The heavy Tiger II had. At the end of the Second World War into an armor of up to 185 mm thickness Since the 1970s, battle tanks typically have composite armor made ​​of metal and ceramics, the exact composition is a secret. Some come reactive armor for reinforcement of weak points are used. Newer models some have additional armor elements made ​​of hard metal, such as depleted uranium ( M1 HA ) in order to increase the resistance against kinetic energy projectiles. Increasingly spread is a modular armor aufmontierte, facilitates repairs, maintenance and especially the subsequent adaptation of the Standards by exchanging materials or gain. spacing Active protective measures are used in order to eliminate threats early. Classic battle tanks are mainly on the bow at the front tower heavily armored, while floor, roof and rear armor are relatively weak. With the operations in Chechnya, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan has shown, however, that a sufficient all-round protection is essential. Modern battle tanks have a protection against the explosion of their own ammunition for hits in the ammo bunker. To the ammunition bunker is by armored doors to fight back space foreclosed, the resulting explosion energy is breaking points led outside. In addition, increasingly insensitive ammunition is used which explodes when it hits, but only burns. Automatic fire suppression systems also protect the crews. An important component of modern battle tank is the protection of the crew against the effects of weapons of mass destruction , for the crew compartment is sealed and is put under pressure. The supply of fresh air is compressed by integrated filter systems in the tank.


Main Weapon

The main weapons of battle tanks are cannons . They are usually different than guns of artillery shells not far höhenrichtbar as they usually direct their goals - on view - shoot. In the period leading up to World War II tanks were sometimes equipped with several towers, or with guns. Several special vehicles with flame throwers equipped. In World War II guns were in caliber 37 mm to 88 mm, usually, it has grown with time to 105 mm and more. Originally set up as Zugrohrkanonen designed to come in the 21st Century mostlys moothbore guns with calibers of 120 mm to 125 mm were used. An exception is the Challenger 2 tanks from the UK , which is still equipped with a Zugrohrkanone. In these tanks was originally done a refit, which was canceled due to shortage of funds in the defense budget.
Despite the already high caliber of 120 mm and 125 mm in the tanks of the Soviet bloc still larger caliber guns were developed. In the United States in the mid-1960s a combination M81 rifle was developed in the caliber of 152 mm and built. With the ability to shoot with a conventional tank ammunition beside a missile, should the weapon in battle tanks 70 and M60 are installed. Smoothbore cannon with the technology of the M81 was also outdated. With the appearance of new armor in the 1980s, the development was driven again. In the NATO countries to put on the caliber 140 mm - the ammo weighed but 38 kilograms, which required a loading machines. With the disappearance of the East-West threat in 1993, the development set and uprated smoothbore guns with calibers 105 mm to 120 mm were developed and introduced. For example, here is the Rheinmetall 120-mm smoothbore gun.

Secondary Weapon

As secondary armament, usually referred to as a secondary weapon, battle tanks have one or more weapons. Typically, these are machine guns (MG) ​​in calibers 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm. During the world wars still mostly in the front of the sump and with limited directional range, these weapons later in tank construction coaxially installed in the tower and cannon to be tracked in elevation and the main weapon. More machine guns are mounted on the turret roof and mostly serve the air defense. Long time or externally on the charge or protecting commanders operated, these are the beginning of asymmetric warfare by remote control on the battlefield from within. The main battle tank Merkava , which is optimized for combat in urban areas has, additionally features a 60-mm mortar .
For self-protection the Tank has a smoke grenade that can be generated by fog smoke body to an opponent in the battle to take the view. Moreover reinforced structure systems are also able to use up fragmentation grenades. An example in the western world would be the French galix .

Target Recognition

In the first tanks goals acquired from optically pure shooters, the distance was estimated. Due to the excessive noise in the tanks of the First World War, a fire management and coordination of weapons was hardly possible. By asserts itself concept of tower tank was established and the target by the commander and the equipment with amplifying optical sights. The distances have been using the line formula determined by the scope or the stadiametrischen measuring scale in the field of view of the telescopic sight. Accurate target acquisition was to the end of World War II only possible with sufficient illumination, following up in the 1970s, it took the night is known as a shooting target for headlight illumination. With the development of the postwar era tanks are a variety of tools to large computer-aided target selection and artillery targeting. The commander and gunner have independent optics and night vision devices. The increasing computerization enables the terrain independent shooting from moving to stationary and moving targets at ranges to 3000 m by day, night and limited visibility.
In the early days of the gunner was still dependent on an optical distance measurement, which is usually per -sectional image measurement was mixed or photogrammetry. The room also applied image distance measurement required the ability for spatial vision . Battle tanks like the Leopard 1 possessed both systems, Russian battle tanks like the T72 on the other hand usually have average or composite image rangefinder. Much of the tank still needed a shooting grip to hit the target. With the introduction of electronic distance measurement by a laser after the LIDAR principle and stabilization of the main gun and sight lines in all axes this deficit was significantly reduced. The equipment with analog and digital Feuerleitrechnern later allowed the crew to make the move from a target. The fire control computer takes into account air pressure, air temperature, charge temperature, distance to destination, your speed, target speed and the selected type of ammunition and then performs the lead and elevation for gun and turret. The judging takes place by means of electronic or electro-hydraulic directional drives.


Basically tank guns could use up any type of artillery ammunition. Because of their use Profiles many types of ammunition are carried by tanks but barely. Originally they were only kinetic energy projectiles and explosive shells available. As a special anti-tank ammunition also were shaped charge ammunition, and in the 1940s Quetschkopfgeschosse introduced, the latter, however, requires a mandatory Zugrohrkanone, to be effective.
With the use of bulkhead and composite armor the Quetschkopfmunition was increasingly ineffective. Tank ammunition for the 21st Century is therefore made ​​bullets for smoothbore guns . In large part be armor-piercing, fin-stabilized discarding sabot ( APFSDS ) and fin-stabilized multi-purpose ammunition, usually designed as hollow charge used. Due to the increasing struggle in urban areas, the armed forces of the world also use explosive shells, fitted with programmable fuzes but much more effectively than in the two world wars.Then the ammunition is able to penetrate before the explosion a masonry or, if desired, in the air to detonate with a fixed distance from the target. Additionally, there are missiles (range up to 8 km) and anti-personnel munitions, which can be of firing from smoothbore guns.

Current Models

The following battle tanks comply currently largely the art: The German Leopard 2 , the U.S. M1 Abrams , the Iranian Zulfiquar , the British Challenger 2 , the French Leclerc , the South Korean models K1 and K2 , the Turkish Altay , the Italian Ariete , the Russian T-90 , the Pakistani Al-Khalid , the Israeli Merkava Mk4, the Japanese Type 90 and the Chinese Type 99 .
The world is still the most common main battle tank, the older Soviet / Russian types, such as T-54 , T-55 and T-62 or copies of their Chinese Type 59 , Type 62 and Type 63 .These tanks are models for their only steel existing armor despite the discarding often struggle appreciation against modern vehicles are no longer competitive. In developing countries or the so-called Third World, they lack of better vehicles still the main battle tank in use.
The Western side still represented older Leopard 1 from Germany and the French AMX-30 are t with their 45 or 36 tonnes relative ease and still meet the design philosophy of the modern tank and represent the basis of their not too competitive armor and firepower no longer the main tank and represent their country are scrapped in part in their country of origin already complete (Leopard 1 in 2003).
The Argentine TAM is the attempt to create a lighter armor for the role of main battle tank. This comes close to the benefits of older versions of modern battle tanks, but it can not compete with the larger, more powerful models.