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Author Topic: Armored Fighting Vehicles version M4 - are we going with that? Sure, man.  (Read 89258 times)

CDAT

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Well, the problem is if your magazine capacity is so small you can't afforf to shoot the APC because there might be MBTs around...

40 rounds doesn't sound that bad, but some of the proposals with 140+ mm guns and 20-30 rounds might really have needed a backup.

40 may not sound bad, tell you stop to realize that is only 17 in the ready rack, 17 in the semi-ready, and 6 in hull storage. Only the 17 in the ready rack was really ready to be used in combat after running out of them the rest are used to refill the ready rack in breaks of combat.

Re: arming tanks with smaller caliber automatic cannons.

Keep in mind that at least in the US your M1s are going to be operating alongside M2s/M3s that have that 25mm cannon. So in a defensive orientation, you'll have the Brads to hose down the IFVs/APCs while the M1s dedicate to killing tanks. So arming them with a 25mm coaxial just means another weapon system to support, possibly reducing the number of main rounds you carry, & creating a situation where the 25mm is overpowered for anti-infantry/suppressive roles. Let the Brads handle the light armor.

Damon.
There is some truth (and my guess why they did not go with it) to what you say, however at least when I was in during full scale combat a Armor Battalion was to become a Armor Task Force by combining it with Infantry. A and C Team's would be tank heavy, with B team being infantry heavy, D Company would remain tank pure to be the unit hammer. So you would not always have the brads around in defensive or offensive operations, and as for just another weapon system, it was the same as the Bradley gun for that reason.

Um. No no no.

*THIS* Chain gun; 7.62N Neat weapon; forward ejecting in some versions.

https://modernfirearms.net/en/machineguns/u-s-a-machineguns/ex-34-chain-gun-eng/

I have never heard of this gun before in any connection to the M1, everything I have ever seen/heard/read whatever has been they went from the 25mm to the M240 but who knows what planes were talked about before the first prototypes were built.

Garrand

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There is some truth (and my guess why they did not go with it) to what you say, however at least when I was in during full scale combat a Armor Battalion was to become a Armor Task Force by combining it with Infantry. A and C Team's would be tank heavy, with B team being infantry heavy, D Company would remain tank pure to be the unit hammer. So you would not always have the brads around in defensive or offensive operations, and as for just another weapon system, it was the same as the Bradley gun for that reason.

Sure, but that hammer force is still going to be able to kill IFVs with HEAT rounds, saving the Sabots for actual tanks, etc. So while using the main gun to engage IFVs is not ideal, it's still good enough, such that having to support a fourth weapon system on-board the tank still doesn't make sense.

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Fat Guy

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The chain gun was dropped from consideration for the M1 after Israel's bad experience on the receiving end of the AT-3 Sagger.


Since the BMP-1 mounted the Sagger, it was decided that M1's would be engaging it at the greatest range possible with main gun rounds, totally defeating the purpose of mounting the chain gun in the first place.
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CDAT

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Sure, but that hammer force is still going to be able to kill IFVs with HEAT rounds, saving the Sabots for actual tanks, etc. So while using the main gun to engage IFVs is not ideal, it's still good enough, such that having to support a fourth weapon system on-board the tank still doesn't make sense.

Damon.

True, but with only 17 rounds ready (this is a mix of Sabot, and HEAT) every one used on a MICV is not able to be used on a tank. And you already had four weapons mounted on the tank, yes two of them are the same most of the time, sometimes it does have four weapon systems. Now only two of those are built in to the tank, the other two are pintal mounted at least at the time we are talking about.

The chain gun was dropped from consideration for the M1 after Israel's bad experience on the receiving end of the AT-3 Sagger.


Since the BMP-1 mounted the Sagger, it was decided that M1's would be engaging it at the greatest range possible with main gun rounds, totally defeating the purpose of mounting the chain gun in the first place.
This is my understanding as well, I am just not sure that I 100% agree with the thinking. Now I was not there (with the Israel's) and was not part of the committee who got the information that they used to make the decision, but the Israel's did not have a autocannon on there tanks. As I have said in other posts with only 17 ready rounds I think having the 25mm as back up is worth the increased risk. A trained crew (nothing special just meeting basic standards) can load and fire one round every eight seconds so it takes them about 2 min 16 seconds (1 min 8 sec for a good crew, and 51 sec for the best crew I ever saw) of combat to run out of ready ammo. After this you are looking at a rate of fire of about 1 round per min give or take a bit. Seeing as the USSR also planed to run tanks and infantry together we could expect to run in to the BMP's with the tanks. This would have given us a target rich environment, so running out of ready ammo I would think would be likely, also seeing as how we were trained to use the main gun for any anti-armor threat. That means a RPG team gets a HEAT round. So now you are running out in no time flat, so having the 25mm would let you use it for RPG teams, light armor including the BMP's, saving the main gun for things that only it can kill. But, it did not happen and so what would have been we will never know.

BairdEC

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If you can find engagement reports for BMP 3's, you may be able to get an idea of how well the large-caliber coax works.  100mm main gun, AT-10 ATGM, 30mm coax, 7.62mm coax.  Granted, it's not nearly heavy enough to be an MBT, but the armament array is close enough.

ANS Kamas P81

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That's arguably an MBT's gunload in the 60s, just not so much today.  Still effective, though.

beachhead1985

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I have never heard of this gun before in any connection to the M1, everything I have ever seen/heard/read whatever has been they went from the 25mm to the M240 but who knows what planes were talked about before the first prototypes were built.

Funny. Sure enough; when I look it up; you are right; M240 Coax.

But I know the FN MAG/M240 and I can't see how it fits/why it needs that funny jacket
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DoctorMonkey

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If you can find engagement reports for BMP 3's, you may be able to get an idea of how well the large-caliber coax works.  100mm main gun, AT-10 ATGM, 30mm coax, 7.62mm coax.  Granted, it's not nearly heavy enough to be an MBT, but the armament array is close enough.


Actually, that armament mix reminds me of the M3 Lee/Grant - the 100mm gun is low velocity but can also act as a missile launcher (shades of the Shillelagh system?!) while the 30mm autocannon is high velocity and so can take on anything short of an MBT really for armour penetration or can be used with HE for suppression fire if there isn't something to attract the fire of the 100mm gun.


Used in a Soviet-style frontal assault, I can see these suppressing everything short of the NATO MBTs and then being very useful in "mopping up" operations but fundamentally the BMP-3 is an auxiliary to the MBTs.
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CDAT

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Funny. Sure enough; when I look it up; you are right; M240 Coax.

But I know the FN MAG/M240 and I can't see how it fits/why it needs that funny jacket

As for how it fits, it has no stock, handle, or sights. It has a charging cable in place of the handle and I am sure a few other modifications from the M240B/FN MAG that you are probably familiar with. What funny jacket are you talking about?

beachhead1985

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As for how it fits, it has no stock, handle, or sights. It has a charging cable in place of the handle and I am sure a few other modifications from the M240B/FN MAG that you are probably familiar with. What funny jacket are you talking about?

The tube sticking out next to the main gun.

The MAG has a gas tube under the barrel and it isn't remotely THAT long either. Most people using MAGs for coax guns have the muzzles flush with the mantlet or just protruding a bit.
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chanman

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I think the Brits are the only ones using rifle-calibre chain guns. Wiki claims there's less gas vented back into the vehicle vs. gas operated. I do recall a Warrior driver in a no-longer-active forum I was on who wasn't a fan of the Warrior installation. Something about the turret dimensions forcing the co-ax to be mounted in an odd orientation and the electric drive motor being very marginal for the job of pulling the ammo belt through those contortions.

One thing that occurs to me is that for AFV use, the chain gun installation might be more complex with the need for the drive motor and operating chain, vs. a more self-contained GPMG installation.


DoctorMonkey

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I think the Brits are the only ones using rifle-calibre chain guns. Wiki claims there's less gas vented back into the vehicle vs. gas operated. I do recall a Warrior driver in a no-longer-active forum I was on who wasn't a fan of the Warrior installation. Something about the turret dimensions forcing the co-ax to be mounted in an odd orientation and the electric drive motor being very marginal for the job of pulling the ammo belt through those contortions.

One thing that occurs to me is that for AFV use, the chain gun installation might be more complex with the need for the drive motor and operating chain, vs. a more self-contained GPMG installation.



The "quote" I heard was something like:


Commander: co-ax, engage
Gunner: co-ax engaging
pulls trigger
Gunner: co-ax jam
Both: [expletive laden stream of invective directed at Hughes, the parentage of the makers at Hughes, the parentage of the ammunition manufacturers etc]


https://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Warrior





On a less sweary level, a quick flick through my Haynes Manual on the Challenger 2 reports that the problems were mainly due to poor quality of the disintegrating metal links of the ammunition belts
« Last Edit: 18 August 2019, 16:46:05 by DoctorMonkey »
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CDAT

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The tube sticking out next to the main gun.

The MAG has a gas tube under the barrel and it isn't remotely THAT long either. Most people using MAGs for coax guns have the muzzles flush with the mantlet or just protruding a bit.
I am not sure what it is for, as the barrel does not stick into it, I have never really thought about it before and may have to ask around.

...

One thing that occurs to me is that for AFV use, the chain gun installation might be more complex with the need for the drive motor and operating chain, vs. a more self-contained GPMG installation.


One other advantage of not using the chain gun, is in the unlikely event that your tank is taken out and you are sill alive, you can pull the gun, put the issued stock kit on it and have a GPMG (with no sights) to use, and as much ammo as you want to carry (or that you had left).

kato

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The tube is for muzzle flash suppression from the coax MG.

The intention is to prevent the muzzle flash from whitening out the gunner's sight at night (i.e. when using image intensification). It was added with the production M1, the original XM1 didn't have it.

ANS Kamas P81

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Hey armor guys - question on the M60A2.  Outside of the Shillelagh missile system and the 152mm, what else was really wrong with the thing?  I know the MGs get replaced with the M2 and M240 for cupola and coax respectively because of constant problems, but I count those as solved.  Would it have been historically possible to keep that turret design, but instead of the 152mm use the standard 105mm gun and skip the missile plan altogether?  What else was there in the tank that made it such an overcomplicated technological failure?

Failure16

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Not much, seeing as most were rebuilt to M60A3 standard or the hulls used as AVLBs or CEVs.
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kato

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The M60A1E2 / M60A2 turret had a built-in stabilization system which had serious reliability and performance issues with both stabilization and turret control. They were working on fixing just this single problem since about 1967 until it entered production in 1972/73.

In addition in the opinion of those who decided on this the MBT-70 was pretty much on the horizon edging closer and closer, and thus the considerably more costly M60A1E2 turret was to be procured in limited numbers at best anyway. In 1970, on congressional hearings on the matter, they still considered the MBT-70 to come into production by 1975, by then a mere 4 years after planned begin of production for the M60A2.

Also, there was ongoing planning for upgrading the M60A1 to similar technological standard as the M60A2 - though with its 105mm gun - going on in parallel anyway since about 1968. The main part of this was the "add-on stabilization" for the M60A1 - pretty much the one benefit that the M60A2 had other than the gun, being able to fire on the move; AOS was introduced in 1972, the same year the M60A2 commenced production, thus making the A2 economically unviable.
« Last Edit: 24 August 2019, 12:13:58 by kato »

ANS Kamas P81

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That would be a big killer for the A2 then.  Not just the missile system and its (potentially loss-of-vehicle destructive) problems, but if the gun stabilizer never worked that'd be another big axe in the project.  Height was probably another consideration, even if it was only 4 inches taller than the A1/A3 tanks; I like the hunter-killer system in the A2 and I see the Brits did something similar with Conqueror.

It's a shame they never got the stabilizer working properly, even if they were able to do it for the A3 as an add-on pack.  That could be a gun issue, though; maybe the 152mm was just too physically large and weirdly balanced as short as it was?  The 105 worked fine, so...alternatively it could have been the shape of the turret; the wider A3 turret having enough room for whatever worked that didn't in the A2.  It can't be gun stabilizer technology in general, we had that with the M4!

I suppose an A2 with the 105mm gun makes some sense, though had MBT-70 not been a thing I wonder if that might have been a potential future. 

Now why the hell didn't the French put a gun stabilizer in the AMX-30...

Cannonshop

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That would be a big killer for the A2 then.  Not just the missile system and its (potentially loss-of-vehicle destructive) problems, but if the gun stabilizer never worked that'd be another big axe in the project.  Height was probably another consideration, even if it was only 4 inches taller than the A1/A3 tanks; I like the hunter-killer system in the A2 and I see the Brits did something similar with Conqueror.

It's a shame they never got the stabilizer working properly, even if they were able to do it for the A3 as an add-on pack.  That could be a gun issue, though; maybe the 152mm was just too physically large and weirdly balanced as short as it was?  The 105 worked fine, so...alternatively it could have been the shape of the turret; the wider A3 turret having enough room for whatever worked that didn't in the A2.  It can't be gun stabilizer technology in general, we had that with the M4!

I suppose an A2 with the 105mm gun makes some sense, though had MBT-70 not been a thing I wonder if that might have been a potential future. 

Now why the hell didn't the French put a gun stabilizer in the AMX-30...

according to one source, the Turret in the A2 was pretty much everything you didn't want in a tank turret.  The crewmen were isolated from one another (though they all had their own hatch), the main gun wasn't the only problematic weapon, as it was also saddled with a rather unpopular .50 caliber installation (the M-85) that had to be replaced by the ww2 era Ma Deuce, and a coaxial gun (m-73) that had to be replaced as well.  It was notoriously complicated (in the turret) and as mentioned before, the crew were ISOLATED from one another, this makes intra-crewman communication kinda tricky if, say, the electrics were to have (Predictable) problems in the field.  (Dirt, mud, and moisture are teh bane of electronics, right up there with dust.  especially 1970s era electronics, and the A-2 was chock full of them, while dirt, mud and moisture are more "Default conditions" for military vehicles operating outside of a nice, clean motorpool.)

In a way, it was reaching to the edge of what was available technologically-and with that reaching, the flaws would be inevitable when examined logically, particularly for the time it was in service (the 1970s), where the Army was at a low point in morale and cutbacks resulted in legends of units having to steal their parts from one another or scrounge from 'other sources' to remain operational. (particularly bad in the post-1976 to 1981 period.)  The M-60A2's major problem, then, was that it was not soldier proof and didn't work very well to begin with, and that it needed more upkeep and maintenance than it was likely to get due to budget, manpower, and personnel issues-it was too delicate for the world, and so it was phased out.

On the bright side, lessons learned included that a good cannon works better than a combination gun/missile system, and no small amount of the technologies it demonstratd were refined along with lessons from the MBT-70 program, to give us the Abrams. but if it had dropped in the pot in 1975, the A2's wouldn't have been much of an obstacle in the Fulda Gap had the Soviet hordes actually been serious about bringing about world communism directly and evangelizing the western europeans with the same zeal they had people in central europe during the sixties.  (YOu know, conversion by the sword and all that.)

Not that ANYONE on either side would have lived particularly long had that happened (or had the NATO allies decided to achieve one-germany solutions via bullets and bombs on their side!)

You can measure the 'success' of M-60A2 by the simple expedient of how many were purchased by export partners in places like Iran (under the Shah) or Israel, or Jordan.  (The sum total is zero, by the way.  The U.S. could not find buyers even in Taiwan for this turkey, even Turkey wouldn't buy it...before someone brings up that most customers were blocked by export regs, I remind you that we were happily selling F-14s to Iran-brand new ones, with all the goodies, in the same time period.)



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ANS Kamas P81

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I've read comments (on the internet, face value and buckets of salt) from folks who claimed to run the A2 in the late 70s that the 'isolated' thing wasn't as bad as it seemed, mostly that it was the missile ammo and that could be moved out of the way.  The TC's certainly back a ways, but photos show that he's got at least some access into the turret itself, so they're not completely cut off from each other.  That said, they're also not right in close where they can just yell at each other over the sound of a high-rev diesel and a cannon round, so there's definitely something to having your crew close.

Totally agreed on the rest of it - that 152mm gun was atrocious with actual cannon ammo and apparently could only reach out to about 1500m.  Comparing ammo between the M68 gun's 105mm shells and the 152mm, the bigger shells are actually shorter by what looks like about 6 to 8 inches.  Almost looks like 105mm howitzer shells instead of antitank shells, which says you lose a lot in velocity and thus range as well.  (It was the era of HEAT, penetration was its own category)

And we had a lot of countries that were buying M48s, and eventually M60 series anyway, so it's not like export regs were that big an impediment.  Like you said, zero foreign sales, though that's also partly because the only A2s made were converted to A3s and various other CEVs.

I do wonder what electronics (outside of the aforementioned Shillelagh and whatnot) were problematic.  It was one of the first tanks to use laser rangefinding, but what little bit I saw said that worked fine.  I guess it was the reliance on electronics at all, plus the difficulties of crew communication?

Wish I'd saved the pic of the interior turret, alas.  Have what turned out to be a much better version of the M60 anyway.

Cannonshop

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I've read comments (on the internet, face value and buckets of salt) from folks who claimed to run the A2 in the late 70s that the 'isolated' thing wasn't as bad as it seemed, mostly that it was the missile ammo and that could be moved out of the way.  The TC's certainly back a ways, but photos show that he's got at least some access into the turret itself, so they're not completely cut off from each other.  That said, they're also not right in close where they can just yell at each other over the sound of a high-rev diesel and a cannon round, so there's definitely something to having your crew close.

Totally agreed on the rest of it - that 152mm gun was atrocious with actual cannon ammo and apparently could only reach out to about 1500m.  Comparing ammo between the M68 gun's 105mm shells and the 152mm, the bigger shells are actually shorter by what looks like about 6 to 8 inches.  Almost looks like 105mm howitzer shells instead of antitank shells, which says you lose a lot in velocity and thus range as well.  (It was the era of HEAT, penetration was its own category)

And we had a lot of countries that were buying M48s, and eventually M60 series anyway, so it's not like export regs were that big an impediment.  Like you said, zero foreign sales, though that's also partly because the only A2s made were converted to A3s and various other CEVs.

I do wonder what electronics (outside of the aforementioned Shillelagh and whatnot) were problematic.  It was one of the first tanks to use laser rangefinding, but what little bit I saw said that worked fine.  I guess it was the reliance on electronics at all, plus the difficulties of crew communication?

Wish I'd saved the pic of the interior turret, alas.  Have what turned out to be a much better version of the M60 anyway.

My own guess (and it's only a guess) is that reliance on intercom-for-everything was a major problem when NOT doing peaceful parade runs.  Think about it, a lot of human communication is NON VERBAL, even inside a tank.  Touches, gestures, looks.  kicking the back of the gunner's seat to get his attention,etc. Here you have a situation where the ammo is in the way of the gunner seeing the loader, and the commander is just a voice on a headset.   not such a big deal for the driver, I guess, but he's only got ONE set of complicated things to be doing and he's effectively in some control over how the view lurches and bounces.

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My guess is that it was an attempt at crew survivability. Even today separate armoured crew compartments are a part of theorised future tank designs.

Cannonshop

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My guess is that it was an attempt at crew survivability. Even today separate armoured crew compartments are a part of theorised future tank designs.

generally 'crew survival' is better enhanced by "Shoots (accurately) first", which is more influenced by a combination of technologies and reducing crew fatigue via ergonomics, and having superior intracrew communication.  (aka teamwork.)  isolation kind of reduces that by a lot.

When you look at the outcomes of actual live engagements post WWII, where you've got tanks with great tech but poor ergonomics vs. tanks with average tech but relatively good ergonomics,  (Say, look at the Israeli conflicts 1967 through 1980), the tanks whose crew can communicate easily and read off one another do better than the tanks that isolate their crewmen from one another, and this happens even when the paper stats say that the tank with the more 'advanced' design should be better.  (T-72 vs. M-48, M-60 in the middle east, etc.)

communication INSIDE the tank is important, possibly too important to leave to a voice on headphones.  crew coordination is worth years of formal training, inches (or maybe even feet) of armor, and inches of main gun diameter because it facilitates using all of those to better effect.

kind of think of it as a 'survivability multiplier', while compartmentalizing your crewmen from one another for survival is merely an additive function, but eliminates that multiplier the same way that putting a group of elite trained solos with advanced weapons up against a less well equipped team in infantry operations. the solos might be better armed, and technically better trained, but the side with the teamwork is more likely to win.



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Kidd

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WW2 tank performance needs re-examination in context especially logistics. For example, no one would dispute an M1A2 is probably one of if not the best tank in existence, but how much fuel would it need to operate as the Germans were operating their tanks?

And on the Arab wars side, it's not like their performance really changes significantly whether they're equipped with NATO or Soviet equipment.

Anyway I just posited it as a design theory. There have been other theories as well, some very widespread such as the "speed is life" and "low profile is life" schools of thought.

Cannonshop

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WW2 tank performance needs re-examination in context especially logistics. For example, no one would dispute an M1A2 is probably one of if not the best tank in existence, but how much fuel would it need to operate as the Germans were operating their tanks?

And on the Arab wars side, it's not like their performance really changes significantly whether they're equipped with NATO or Soviet equipment.

Anyway I just posited it as a design theory. There have been other theories as well, some very widespread such as the "speed is life" and "low profile is life" schools of thought.

we could fill several pages of thread with all the problems with German logistical logic in World War 2, ranging from dissimilar rifle ammunition (many different chamberings of 8mm alone) to dissimilar parts, to being unable to support units in the field because the supply trains were being used to haul political prisoners to death camps instead of ammo, food, clothes and fuel to the front lines.  They literally did everything logistics-wise wrong from about 1941 onward, to include making designs that were inherently hard to maintain with insufficient spare parts right out of the factory.

Gear wrt the arab armies kind of highlights it, though-they had technically superior equipment in every war against Israel up to about 1980, but they lacked the focus on communication and teamwork, which is why they lost every war from 1948 onward against the Israelis-individually it's arguable that they were adequately trained and equipped, but that inbuilt lack of teamwork and cooperation killed their flexibility and rendered their equipment and numerical advantage a non-factor.

simply put, a team will beat outstanding individuals more often than not, regardless of era, even when that team is outnumbered as well as outgunned.  The M-60A2 turret wasn't designed very well, which is why it was dumped and they went on to make the A3's instead of just refitting the gun-tube with a 105mm L70.  The 155 soldiered on with the M-551 Sheridan until 1996.



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Fat Guy

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Longer than 1996. The 82nd Airborne used theirs in the first Gulf War.
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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That was in 1990.
Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

"I think I've just had another near-Rincewind experience," Death, The Color of Magic

"When in doubt, C4." Jamie Hyneman

Ursus Maior

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And ended in 1991.
liber et infractus

Fat Guy

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Never mind. I got the two Gulf Wars confused for some reason. :-[ 
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Everybody makes mistakes sometimes.
Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

"I think I've just had another near-Rincewind experience," Death, The Color of Magic

"When in doubt, C4." Jamie Hyneman

 

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