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evenly matched cold wars tanks?
phil2015
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 10:55 AM UTC

I've been looking at builds of Cold Wars tanks. I'm not sure exactly why but the British built tanks have kind of captured my imagination. I particularly like the Chieftain but the Centurion is very cool also.

But I really know nothing about armored warfare post WW2 and reading free stuff online I don't feel like I'm getting a better understanding of it.

So are there kind of equal matches in the Cold Wars? If your opponent had a Chieftain, what contemporary tank would you want to be in, for example? Other matchups welcomed also....
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 11:03 AM UTC
The Chieftain was one of the meanest tanks of the 60's and 70's. The British army learned from WW2, where they were generally outgunned and out armoured by the Germans.

The book 'Tank War - Central Front NATO vs. Warsaw Pact' by Steve Zaloga is a really good book. I have a link to a pdf. copy but I don't know if I can post it here.
GazzaS
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 11:15 AM UTC
The Six war T-55's vs. the Centurion. Because of superior optics, the Centurions could fire and hit from a greater distance, littering the field with t-55 and older model Soviet designed hulks.

The T-34/85 didn't fare very well against the Pershing in Korea. The 90mm gun on the Pershing sliced through t'34/85's with ease.

It seems that despite the losses in WWII, the Soviets continued supplying tanks with inferior optics.
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 11:24 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The Six war T-55's vs. the Centurion. Because of superior optics, the Centurions could fire and hit from a greater distance, littering the field with t-55 and older model Soviet designed hulks.

The T-34/85 didn't fare very well against the Pershing in Korea. The 90mm gun on the Pershing sliced through t'34/85's with ease.

It seems that despite the losses in WWII, the Soviets continued supplying tanks with inferior optics.



A related problem on the T-55/62/72 was rudimentary gun stabilization, which meant firing accurately at speed was difficult.
RLlockie
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 07:05 PM UTC
Crew training and ability has a lot to do with it. The Cents in the IDF had a poor reputation until training was improved.

There are several books in the Osprey Duel series on contemporary opponents which address the relative merits of each type and their users but as Chieftain gun tanks were only used in action by Iran and Kuwait, I donít think a lot of data has become available on those actions.
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 07:29 PM UTC
I don't think that 'even match-up' was ever a goal in itself, for any side in any war/conflict.
As soon as the other side gets something new your own side will have to start thinking about matching, or rather over-matching.
Nobody wants to have a tank that is an even match for the opponent, everyone wants something better. It is called arms race.
As soon as the first tank rumbled into battle the other side started thinking about ways to counter and defeat the new threat.
In times of peace the development slows down, when your existing equipment meets new/improved threats you start thinking about upgrading/replacing. If the war lasts long enough the new weapons get fielded, otherwise they only become the baseline for the next conflict.
Finding out about new developments by your opponents or likely opponents also triggers changes.
Everybody wants to match their opponents by having something better and so the race continues ....
phil2015
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 02:24 AM UTC

No doubt superiorirty at every level is the goal, Robin, and when someone leap frogs you, you try to find field improvements to leap frog them before your next design comes to fruition and is in production.

I guess I'm wondering whether there were tanks in the period that were roughly equivalent or was it just never the case that there was rough parity in equipment?
TopSmith
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 03:14 AM UTC
Would I be assuming a one to one comparison verses a one to many?
An M46/47 verses a T54/55.
T62 verses an M48, M60 or a Leo 1
T64/72 verses M60a1/a3 or Leo 1a4/5
T80/90a verses M1a1 early or Leo 2 early
T90M/ T14 verses M1a1AIM
? verses M1a2 or Leo 2a 5,6,7
These were about even match ups. The British armor I know less detail about so I can't sort the even match other than on a timeline which does not represent an "even" match.
Your milage may vary.
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 03:28 AM UTC

Quoted Text


No doubt superiorirty at every level is the goal, Robin, and when someone leap frogs you, you try to find field improvements to leap frog them before your next design comes to fruition and is in production.

I guess I'm wondering whether there were tanks in the period that were roughly equivalent or was it just never the case that there was rough parity in equipment?



What is an even match? Same armour, same armour penetration, same sights, same ballistic performance, same level of crew skills, same mobility, same crew endurance (people get tired from being rattled around),
manual loader vs autoloader (one less in the crew means more work for the others), same mechanical reliability, same tactics, same supporting weapon systems, same operation mode (attacking vs defending, the Strv S was lethal in defence because the only things that peaked out from behind terrain cover was the sights and the gun, it was less capable in the offensive role, top attack missiles negated this advantage). Weapons have an advantage in the defense since they are not moving targets out in the open.

Different "owners" prioritise different properties, gun vs armour vs speed/mobility. Some may prioritise speed and hitting power over armour since they plan on rolling forward in large numbers and overwhelm the defenses. Others prioritise protection since they can't hope to achieve numerical superiority (Tiger vs Sherman, the Tiger usually won but they were too few).

For every armour expert out there in the world there is probably a different evaluation focusing on different aspects. The only true answer is given by who won the war (it appears that Germany, according to various so called experts, won almost every single battle but for some reason they still managed to lose the war ...)


Over and out / Robin
DanEgan
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 03:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Crew training and ability has a lot to do with it. The Cents in the IDF had a poor reputation until training was improved.



Absolutely right.
DanEgan
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 03:55 AM UTC

Quoted Text

If your opponent had a Chieftain, what contemporary tank would you want to be in, for example?



Well, if the other guy has a Chieftain, all I need is any vehicle that can actually move under its own power.
SdAufKla
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 04:12 AM UTC
The tank battles between India and Pakistan help to put the respective merits of the British, US and Soviet tanks into better perspective.

The Israeli-Arab wars are really skewed by the vast differences in the capabilities of the crews and other supporting arms. However, the Indians and Pakis were more evenly matched in this regard, so the results of their tank battles are not quite so one-sided.

Unfortunately, these battles were fairly small scale, so the results are also often more influenced by leadership and planning than the technical characteristics of the tanks used.

The problem would seem that in most cases, the users of the Soviet tanks (in almost all historical examples) were more uniformly less well trained and capable than the opposite. However, the Indo-Paki wars do offer a few examples of Western designs going up against other Western designs, but again, the influences of crew competence would seem to the major deciding factors.
18Bravo
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 04:46 AM UTC
During the Indo-Paki war Centurions would fire three rounds in rapid succession at different ranges, often getting two hits on M-48s one right on top of another. Definitely a case of modified TTP's getting the job done.
Johnnych01
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 04:55 AM UTC
From a personal perspective, during the mid 80s cold war I would of only wanted to be in my Chieftain. The wagon really didn't have many issue's and gun for gun, the 120mm would be the winner.
Yes, they had oil leaks on occasion, and by the time the we were in the Mk10s and 11s with TOGs fitted they were sound wpn platforms.
Also, another massive factor for NATO and particularly British was crew training and ethos. Ours was and I will happily stand by this as being second to none.
The other big winner with Chieftain was once they retro fitted the fleet with IFCS on the gun system that was a real battlefield winner, you cannot beat stabalized main firing on the move,I would say with that, the IFCS and ballistic computer which improved target acquisition we had a 99.9 first round kill probability with a APFSDS round.
The major show stopper which I think Robin highlighted, was tank to tank numbers ... In our battle positions, in our type 57 regiment, we would of been facing one of several Soviet Army groups, of between 600 to 800 tanks per army group...not very good odds really
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 06:32 AM UTC

Quoted Text


...
...
The major show stopper which I think Robin highlighted, was tank to tank numbers ... In our battle positions, in our type 57 regiment, we would of been facing one of several Soviet Army groups, of between 600 to 800 tanks per army group...not very good odds really



Saturating the defenses ... how many tanks in the defensive line, how many rounds carried by each tank, hit probability, my own hit probability and after some number juggling I know how many tanks I need to start with to be able to get x number of vehicles through the defenses
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 06:35 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

If your opponent had a Chieftain, what contemporary tank would you want to be in, for example?



Well, if the other guy has a Chieftain, all I need is any vehicle that can actually move under its own power.



T-72 could run rings around a Chieftain but would be blown to smithereens nevertheless.
TopSmith
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 07:12 AM UTC
Having the first hit is a major advantage. That can be from crew training or better equipment such as stabilization, better gunner sight, better range finder, thermal sight, ballistic computer, etc... Two similar tanks can have can have a large disparity due to some technical improvements. An example of that would be the M60a3s ability to dominate T72's of that era. Automotively and gun wise it was a heads up but when the fire controls are factored in, it was no contest.
UpperCanadian
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 07:29 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Having the first hit is a major advantage. That can be from crew training or better equipment such as stabilization, better gunner sight, better range finder, thermal sight, ballistic computer, etc... Two similar tanks can have can have a large disparity due to some technical improvements. An example of that would be the M60a3s ability to dominate T72's of that era. Automotively and gun wise it was a heads up but when the fire controls are factored in, it was no contest.



Yeah everything I've read has said that Soviet tanks had fairly crude fire control systems. Part of it was technological, part of it was the need for simplicity due to conscript crews.
Johnnych01
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 07:35 AM UTC
And also the auto loader had a habit of ripping the gunners arm off.... That would fill you with confidence lol
phil2015
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 07:35 AM UTC

This is all new to me. Am I correct in thinking that at some point in time it became the case that if you could see your target you would hit it?

And at another point it became the case that you could pretty much see anything that wasn't behind something solid day or night?
TopSmith
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 07:49 AM UTC
A problem that is slowly emerging is the skill level it takes to operate and maintain the more modern equipment and the cost to buy and maintain a new system. The Russians are still working with T72"s and haven't gone full tilt into the T14 and the Marines are moving away from tanks and that may be the path others take in the future.

Phil, yes and yes.
Bravo1102
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 07:53 AM UTC
Fire control systems are not infallible. We may like to say "what can be seen will be engaged and what is engaged will be killed "

Wrong numbers can be entered, wrong ammo indexed, there can be a false return on a laser. There's drift, bad boresight, a misalignment in the sights and gun tube that no amount of boresighting can fix--

And crews are fallible. We would laughingly refer to "the loose screw in the gunners seat" simply because the gunner just wasn't with it.

Soviet FCS usually ran a generation behind the west. But then in gunnery competitions you'd have well drilled crews in an older generation tank outshoot the brand new state of the art tank. Like any skill there are tricks and shortcuts and sometimes experience will beat tech.