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Old 06-26-2009, 08:21 PM
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Default AT Guns

I find it odd that the Soviet and WARPACT armies developed and deployed conventional anti-tank guns while NATO did not. I find it especially odd since Soviet-bloc armies were built for offense while NATO was preparing to fight largely defensively (on the ground, at least).

Why didn't NATO invest in an AT gun? I figure that it's due to the West's love affair with hi-tech weapons. It seems like they made a conscious decision to go the missile route and forego the more old fashioned gun. On a more practical note, I figure that a large caliber AT gun (in keeping with NATO tank guns, 105mm minimum, 120mm max) would need a larger crew than, say, a TOW launcher, and it would probably need a prime mover more powerful than a Humvee. AT guns are also larger and harder to conceal than most missile systems.

On the pro side, AT guns have a relatively high rate of fire (around 10 rounds per minute) and kinetic energy weapons (ie standard AP rounds) have a better tank kill ratio than HEAT rounds, especially against newer types or types fitted with ERA. Most ATGMs take quite a while to reload. For example, the M113 ITV can fire two TOWs but then takes several minutes to reload.

In many ways, the Soviets ushered in the age of ATGMs with the AT-2 Sagger. They still kept the AT gun, though.

Any other reasons the west skipped on the AT gun? Any significant NATO AT gun systems I might me missing here.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:44 PM
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This seems reasonable

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The direct-fire anti-tank [AT] gun was once thought, again, to be an anachronism, dead as the proverbial dodo. Until relatively recently, was still a TO&E item for the Russian motorized rifle division. An entire battalion of eighteen T-12 guns [100 mm] was a standard item within each Soviet/Russian division.

Long-range, direct-fire anti-tank “artillery” used to counter enemy tank assault!

Anti-tank guns available to the Russian divisional combat commander. To be used in the role of:

* Guarding the "shoulders" of a breakthrough while the division is on THE OFFENSIVE!

* Guarding that avenue of approach into the divisional area of operations felt to be most vulnerable from enemy attack - - while on THE DEFENSIVE!

With regard to the wheeled version of the AT gun, NOT self-propelled, let us refresh our memory and recall that particular chapter from the Suvorov work, “Inside the Red Army” entitled, "Why are Anti-tank Guns not Self-propelled?"

"1. A towed anti-tank gun is many times easier to manufacture and to use than one that is self-propelled."

"2. A towed gun has a very low silhouette, at least half that of a tank."

"3. Anti-tank guns are used in two situations. In defense, when the enemy has broken-through, is advancing fast and must be stopped at any price. And in an offensive when one's own troops have broken through and are advancing rapidly, and the enemy tries to cut through the spearhead at its base, with a flank attack."
http://militaryanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/01/sprut.html



I think the disposable Nature of the Soviet soldier explains why NATO abandoned guns. ATGMs can shoot and scoot quite a bit better. That option while more expensive does offer more survivability.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:27 AM
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Can I assume you are excluding recoilless rifles like the 106mm M40A1 and 120mm WOMBAT because they were out of NATO service by 1996?
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by copeab
Can I assume you are excluding recoilless rifles like the 106mm M40A1 and 120mm WOMBAT because they were out of NATO service by 1996?
Correct. IIRC, the U.S. also fielded a tracked 90mm AT gun, designed for support of airborne forces, back in the '50s and early '60s. It was replaced by the Sheridan. The West Germans also had a tracked 90mm AT gun which was fielded through most of the '80s, I believe. But, as you noted, most, if not all, of these systems were out of circulation by '96. The Soviets, on the other hand, had developed a 125mm AT gun to start replacing the 100mm Rapira during the late eighties.

Another track taken by the Soviets which NATO did not follow is the idea of the gun-launched AT missile. I guess the rationale behind this weapon was to give their tanks and AT guns the ability to engage NATO tanks first, beyond their maximum effective gun range.
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Old 06-27-2009, 03:23 PM
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When one looks at the Soviet/Russia defensive postures. The AT-Gun would be forward of their Tank formation in the defensive belts. Thus freeing the Tank Regiment of MRD to be a mobile reserve.

On the offensive they could be used to guard flank freeing up assets that could be poured in to exploit other situation on the battle field of the Division.
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus
Another track taken by the Soviets which NATO did not follow is the idea of the gun-launched AT missile. I guess the rationale behind this weapon was to give their tanks and AT guns the ability to engage NATO tanks first, beyond their maximum effective gun range.
This us likely because of the terrible experience the US had with the 152mm gun/launcher in the Sheridan and M60A2. Fire the gun and you knock the missile guidance out of alignment, fire the missile and you badly foul the barrel for firing the gun.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:16 PM
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I think the greatest problem with the 152mm gun is it was just too damn big! The amount of propellant required to push a 152mm projectile is always going to cause problems with a small, light vehicle such as the Sheridan was designed to be.
If they'd stuck with around 100mm they might have avoided some of those problems with recoil, however that (obviously) requires a reduction in warhead diameter and coresponding reduction in penetration performance.
Overall though, it was a system too far ahead of it's time - great in concept, but the technology of the day just wasn't up to scratch.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:40 PM
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The main reason the Russians used the gun-launched AT missile is that their chance of hitting a target at long range were so small that NATO tank gunners had such a huge advantage over them and they need something to try to level the playing field.

What is strange is the Russians kept on going with the gun-launched AT missile system after close to 30 years instead on trying to up-grade their tank sights for their main guns.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:21 AM
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I don't see the need for AT guns when there are more portable systems like the Swedish Carl Gustav, RPG-7/9 or the US one shot disposal series like the M-72 or the Dragoon. These systems are easier to conceal use a two man crew versus three for four AT Gun not mention that the crew and easy shoot and scoot on foot or with small vehicle.

On other not I’m an ex tow crewman and it takes one or two minutes to change a missile not several, and I’m sure if you under fire it would less.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcaf_777
I don't see the need for AT guns when there are more portable systems like the Swedish Carl Gustav, RPG-7/9 or the US one shot disposal series like the M-72 or the Dragoon. These systems are easier to conceal use a two man crew versus three for four AT Gun not mention that the crew and easy shoot and scoot on foot or with small vehicle.

On other not I’m an ex tow crewman and it takes one or two minutes to change a missile not several, and I’m sure if you under fire it would less.
I can see several good reasons. I'm not sure about this but I would expect AT gun round to be easier to manufacture than HOT, TOW, SS-4 Spandrell... AT round would be in short supply but missiles would have become a memory. RPG and carl gustav rounds will certainly be still available but I don't see how the US army would get replacement for their disposable M-72 (I'll rather be in the Marines).

Moreover, you need less training to fire an AT gun than to use a guided missile (IMO, correct me if I'm wrong). Again RPG and Carl Gustav are a different matter. In addition, an AT gun needs less maintenance.

Then, AT guns are great on well prepared defensive position and they can be used at much longer range or for other purpose such as regular artillery. In a cantonment organization they have their place. By the way trained AT gun crew in WWII were known to fire 4-6 round in a minute. I remember seeing a report on an M1 Abrams disabled (not destroyed) by an S-60 57mm gun used in AT role at Baghdad (2003).
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohoender
I can see several good reasons. I'm not sure about this but I would expect AT gun round to be easier to manufacture than HOT, TOW, SS-4 Spandrell... AT round would be in short supply but missiles would have become a memory. RPG and carl gustav rounds will certainly be still available but I don't see how the US army would get replacement for their disposable M-72 (I'll rather be in the Marines).

Moreover, you need less training to fire an AT gun than to use a guided missile (IMO, correct me if I'm wrong). Again RPG and Carl Gustav are a different matter. In addition, an AT gun needs less maintenance.

Then, AT guns are great on well prepared defensive position and they can be used at much longer range or for other purpose such as regular artillery. In a cantonment organization they have their place. By the way trained AT gun crew in WWII were known to fire 4-6 round in a minute. I remember seeing a report on an M1 Abrams disabled (not destroyed) by an S-60 57mm gun used in AT role at Baghdad (2003).
I think you have hit the nail on the head. The Soviets realize that they will never be able to keep up with AT missiles demands in a fighting war. Everyone does realize that most Infantrymen are too willing to use LAWs which were compact and light compared to such missiles as the Dragon, on any obstacle that needs to removed in their way. In Vietnam more than a few were used as bunker busters.

Where as the AT guns are basically the same guns that they had been in their tanks. So in theory they would get resupplied.

Yes, even the Soviet/Russia RPG-7/9s have been known to make M1 disabled for all practical purposes. Once you take away a Tanks ability to move, they are that much less of threat. Just a immobile pillbox with 4 soldiers who know all to well sitting ducks.
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramjam
The main reason the Russians used the gun-launched AT missile is that their chance of hitting a target at long range were so small that NATO tank gunners had such a huge advantage over them and they need something to try to level the playing field.
Although I don't disagree that by most accounts NATO tank gunnery was superior, I believe the rationale behind the Soviet's gun-launched missile is that it can flat-out outrange tank guns, giving the user, in theory, a first shot/kill ability. I think that the Soviets also intended for the missile to have a secondary role- anti-helicopter weapon.

I'm not a fan, per se, but it would be nice to have the missile option.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcaf_777
I don't see the need for AT guns when there are more portable systems like the Swedish Carl Gustav, RPG-7/9 or the US one shot disposal series like the M-72 or the Dragoon. These systems are easier to conceal use a two man crew versus three for four AT Gun not mention that the crew and easy shoot and scoot on foot or with small vehicle.

On other not I’m an ex tow crewman and it takes one or two minutes to change a missile not several, and I’m sure if you under fire it would less.
Light, man-portable AT systems (pre-Javelin/Tankbreaker), especially unguided ones like the LAW, have limited range and relatively modest armor penetration capabilities, especially against newer composite and reactive armors. An M-72 LAW might be able to take out a T-55, but its not likely to do much to a T-72 with ERA (apart from a mobility kill).

As for reload times, in combat, with people shooting at you, do you move faster or slower? It seems that rushing it would be a recipe for error.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbott Shaull
Where as the AT guns are basically the same guns that they had been in their tanks. So in theory they would get resupplied.
I wonder how many of the wrecked tanks (and there are plenty in T2K) have had their guns pulled and installed as either a static defensive weapon or with an improvised towed carriage. Of course, an M256 is going to have a big kick and will be a lot for it's crew to manhandle ...
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus
Light, man-portable AT systems (pre-Javelin/Tankbreaker), especially unguided ones like the LAW, have limited range and relatively modest armor penetration capabilities, especially against newer composite and reactive armors. An M-72 LAW might be able to take out a T-55, but its not likely to do much to a T-72 with ERA (apart from a mobility kill).
Although in 2000 I think you are more likely to face a T-55 than a T-72.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:51 PM
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I would think that the biggest reason armies might go back to AT guns is that the ammunition is easier to make than trying to manufacture an ATGM missile. I don't know that anyone in the world in T2K would be able to make even a first-generation ATGM missile (like an AT-1 Swatter or a Bantam). Making a round for an AT gun may be quite hard, but that's better than virtually impossible.
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:56 PM
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There is an excellent article in Jane's Military Review, 1987 (Sixth Year of Issue), ed. Ian V. Hogg. Entitled A Return to the Gun? by Owen Carrow, it chronicles the numerous efforts to develop light direct-fire guns during the mid-1980s. The article focuses on western designs such as the Austrian Noricum N105 which was a towed L7 105mm tank gun. One of the more interesting guns described was a 75mm weapon based on the ARES 75mm canon, as seen on the LAV-75, which could be tele-operated. There were other guns ranging from a Belgian 25mm canon to a French 90mm anti-tank gun and a 60mm Israeli weapon.

Any of these designs could be thrown into the Twilight War with little modification. It's likely that if the Soviets had remained a viable threat at least some of these weapons would have seen wide spread use. As has been said earlier ammo for these weapons would be relatively easy to manufacture and some of these weapons could even be refitted to operate almost automatically. Combined with minefields and artillery fire they could prove to be vital in defensive operations in Southern Germany.

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Old 06-28-2009, 03:20 PM
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The US Marines are still using stand-alone howitzers. With the size of their heavy-lift helicopter force, they're just easier to move around that way.
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Old 06-28-2009, 07:13 PM
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Towed AT systems have some important drawbacks vis-a-vis SACLOS ATGM. The first is that the unarmored AT system leaves its operators vulnerable to suppressive artillery fire. ATGM crews are somewhat less vulnerable because they (and their weapon) can get under cover quickly ande more easily than an AT gun crew and their weapon can. The second is that the trajectory of the ATGM can be corrected in-flight. Against the fast-moving tanks of the modern battlefield, this ability is a deal-maker. In order to compensate for the high mobility of the enemy AFV, an AT gun probably would require some sort of targeting system. Such a system probably would be expensive and would in turn serve to justify turning a towed AT gun into an SP AT gun. The third is that it is much easier to make a TOW crew mobile while protecting them against shell fragments and small arms than is the case with an AT gun. ATGM crews have more flexibility than AT gun crews in that a TOW team can be loaded into a very modest vehicle and stay in the fight. The same is not true of the AT gun.

In order to make the AT gun fit with the highly mobile Western concept of war, the gun would have to be self-propelled for the same reasons that the artillery of mechanized formations is self-propelled and ATGM-equipped anti-tank vehicles are self-propelled. A self-propelled AT gun is a light tank or tank destroyer, depending on how one wants to use the label.

Mind, I'm not saying there isn't a place for an AT gun in the Western arsenals. Sited in a properly prepared fighting position, an AT gun of suitable caliber and range could do good service when covering a minefield or other obstacle with direct fire. I strongly suspect that the relative flexibility of the ATGM and the understandable desire of armies to standardize as much as possible led to the adoption of the ATGM over the AT gun. Still, by 2000 captured 100mm AT guns would be prized additions to NATO defenses.

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Old 06-28-2009, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webstral
ATGM crews are somewhat less vulnerable because they (and their weapon) can get under cover quickly ande more easily than an AT gun crew and their weapon can.
Yes, the ATGM weapon system itself is usually smaller and easier to get under cover, but a hole is a hole - crew of either system can get in as easily as each other provided they don't mind leaving the gun exposed.
A properly prepared postion negates this issue and the AT gun may even be the better weapon from a prepared defensive - no backblast to worry about!
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The second is that the trajectory of the ATGM can be corrected in-flight. Against the fast-moving tanks of the modern battlefield, this ability is a deal-maker.
So why aren't tanks armed with missiles then? A gun projectile travels MUCH faster than a missile, much faster than a tank can move - don't see too many 40+ tonne monsters dodging an incoming AP or HEAT round...
The ATGM usually has a significant firing signature - backblast isn't something you can hide very easily (although some rare systems are designed to minimise it as much as possible, the Armbrust being one).
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In order to compensate for the high mobility of the enemy AFV, an AT gun probably would require some sort of targeting system.
Why? As stated above, tanks don't dodge supersonic projectiles very well. As long as the gunner knows what they're doing and leads the target, there shouldn't be any need for high tech electronic sighting systems, although they would certainly reduce the burden on the crew.
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Originally Posted by Webstral
Such a system probably would be expensive and would in turn serve to justify turning a towed AT gun into an SP AT gun.
Negating the very idea of a cheap defensive weapon system.
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The third is that it is much easier to make a TOW crew mobile while protecting them against shell fragments and small arms than is the case with an AT gun. ATGM crews have more flexibility than AT gun crews in that a TOW team can be loaded into a very modest vehicle and stay in the fight. The same is not true of the AT gun.
But mobility is not the role of the AT gun. They are intended for a prepared defensive position protecting the flanks and shoulders of the attack, and in Soviet doctrine, are a divisional asset (or at least brigade).
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In order to make the AT gun fit with the highly mobile Western concept of war...
As you state, it doesn't fit the Western concept all that well. On the other hand, the Soviet model makes great use of them, even though they've primarily an offensive mindset.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:59 PM
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Well, IRL, the AT gun has a lot of drawbacks, but it's worst drawback is the lack of mobility. Modern conventional warfare (as opposed to counterinsurgent warfare as we are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan -- think the original invasion of Iraq or Desert Storm) is fluid and fast moving; an AT-gun crew has to be sort of close to get any kind of penetration and accuracy out of its rounds, and they can be quickly overwhelmed by attacking vehicles, helicopters, and aircraft.

But in a T2K world, the aircraft and helicopters are absent, there are few vehicles, and most troops are foot or horse-mobile. The technology to build new ATGM missiles and maintain CLUs is virtually nonexistent. The AT gun would, in a T2K world, become much more important.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:49 PM
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It's true that an AT gun lacks the distinctive firing signature of the ATGM. It’s not true that there is no muzzle flash. (I realize you didn’t say so, but I feel it worthwhile to point out that we’re not talking about a choice between a highly revealing weapon and a stealthy weapon. A large caliber gun firing near the surface of the earth will reveal itself.) Also, it’s a lot easier to prepare a fighting position for a TOW team than it is for a large-caliber gun. Neither crew can operate their weapon completely under cover, but given comparable amounts of man hours and equipment to prepare a fighting position, the TOW has significantly lesser requirements.

For better or for worse, the Western powers decided that on a fast-moving battlefield on which they would be on the defensive against much superior numbers of Soviet tanks, time and manpower would be commodities in short supply. As Paul pointed out, mobility becomes an issue. Compounding the problem are issues like crew survivability, the length of time required to prepare a proper fighting position, the number of shots on can expect to fire from the time the enemy tanks enter the defenders’ effective range, the percentage of shots one can expect to hit, and the percentage of hits one can expect to cause a kill.

Compared to an AT gun, a TOW crew can be put in place by an APC, light wheeled vehicle, light helicopter, or just about any form of transport with a fair amount of ease. An AT gun requires a prime mover of some sort to have any sort of tactical mobility. Either the AT gun has a dedicated prime mover, the cost of which begs the question of why the gun wasn’t simply mounted on a light armored chassis and turned into an assault gun or tank destroyer, or the AT gun relies on a mover which is tasked between a number of guns. If the AT gun needs to be moved while the prime mover is moving another gun (perhaps with another unit), the gun loses a great deal of its utility. The TOW team at least can move their system some distance through restrictive terrain.

The TOW team has only a fraction of the reloads normally moved with the AT gun. Ammunition supply is one of the biggest drawbacks of the ATGM vis-Ã*-vis the AT gun. However, it is possible at least to move a TOW team with a handful of reloads into a new position far more easily than it would be to move an AT gun with a similar number of rounds.

TOW can be operated by two men, although I wouldn’t care to be one of them lugging it long distances. AT guns require larger crews. Crews cost money. Although the cost of the crew is not the only consideration in the West (note that the US hasn’t adopted an autoloader for the M1 series, despite the potential cost savings), the number of crew a system requires certainly does go into the equation.

An AT gun has a dramatically higher rate of fire than TOW. Theoretically, the most common Soviet-manufactured AT guns can fire 14 rounds per minute. Realistically, the number is between 6 and 10. Still, this is a big advantage over TOW, which can manage 2-4 rounds depending on range, etc.

TOW has a range of over 3500 meters. Soviet AT guns don’t have that kind of range. When comparing these two systems as defensive weapons, range is a crucial factor. For one thing, a TOW crew can start engaging a Soviet attacker long before that attacker can engage the TOW crew. Ergo, although the AT gun has a much greater rate of fire, the TOW team has a much longer opportunity to engage the attacking tanks. More importantly, if the TOW is defending an obstacle, it can engage the enemy tanks with relative impunity (provided the TOW team is well-sited).

Preparing a fighting position for a TOW team is much easier than preparing a fighting position for an AT gun and crew. On the battlefield of North Central Europe, time and manpower were expected to be of the essence.

Killing power also matters. An AT gun is essentially a dismounted tank main gun. A 115mm gun simply lacks the killing power of even the early models of TOW. Scoring any hit on an enemy tank is better than scoring no hit. Any hit can cause damage to systems the crew would rather have operational. But a hit that does not result in armor penetration is not of much utility. All things being equal, TOW has better killing power than even the largest-caliber AT gun in use today.

Taken together, the relative advantages of ATGM like TOW (or HOT) were seen to outweigh the advantages of the AT gun for the war NATO expected to fight in Europe. Due to the Soviet numerical superiority, it was deemed critical to be able to shift anti-tank systems rapidly to counter developing threats. TOW (and HOT and Milan) promised this better than any towed AT system. Due to the highly mechanized nature of the Soviet attack, it was deemed necessary to use long-range anti-tank systems operating from difficult terrain (such as wooded hills or built-up areas along an MSR). Although a towed AT gun can be used this way, a TOW team is more responsive and offers more options in a more timely fashion. Air mobility was another deciding factor. Any utility helicopter can transport a TOW crew who can in turn expect to kill a T-72 at long range from wherever they set up. The same cannot be (completely) said of an AT gun and crew. Also, the development of FASCAM further supported the high degree of mobility that could be imparted to the TOW crew. A FASCAM minefield can be laid literally in minutes. A handful of TOW teams can be moved in to defend the minefield from beyond the main gun range of the Soviets the minefield was established to canalize or block. If necessary, these teams can be dug in fairly easily to give them some protection against the weight of Soviet artillery. A TOW team can take its weapon under cover during the enemy’s preparatory bombardment, then emerge when it comes time to fire. The same amount of survivability effort will not yield comparable results with an AT gun and crew. Time and manpower being of the essence, NATO opted for weapons that were highly mobile, possessed of long range, and possessed of a high degree of accuracy and killing power. An AT gun that possesses all of these qualities is not an AT gun—it’s a light tank, tank destroyer, or assault gun.

In answer to your question about why tanks aren’t armed with missiles, Legbreaker, some tanks indeed are armed with missiles. The problem is that no one has worked out the bugs of combining a missile launcher with a main tank gun, although the Russians have been working on it diligently. They may yet come up with a solution.

“Why? As stated above, tanks don't dodge supersonic projectiles very well. As long as the gunner knows what they're doing and leads the target, there shouldn't be any need for high tech electronic sighting systems, although they would certainly reduce the burden on the crew.”

If this were anything like as easily done as said, there would be no need for computers in the turrets of main battle tanks. Unfortunately, very few crews can engage fast-moving tanks at ranges of 3000+ meters using only optical sights. By referring to fast-moving tanks, I’m not suggesting that the tanks actually dodge incoming rounds. I’m suggesting that hitting a moving target is difficult. If anybody could do it, SACLOS and the targeting systems of Western tanks never would have been invented.

As far as the utility of an AT gun goes, I think it would have a value on a different battlefield than the one NATO anticipated for Germany. Properly sited and dug-in, an AT gun can be a superb system. In WW2, the exchange rate of tanks to AT guns sometimes was as high as 6-to-1 in favor of the AT guns. However, increasing numbers of tanks (and their supporting fighting vehicles) and the firepower, mobility, and survivability of tanks have changed the equation. I still believe AT guns have their uses, but they are out of their element on a fast-moving battlefield.

One more note: I do believe the Soviets made extensive use of AT guns in Poland in 1997. They had several months to prepare obstacles and fighting positions. Under these conditions, AT guns almost certainly took a fearful toll of NATO IFV and APC, as well as poorly-handled or unlucky MBT.


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Last edited by Webstral; 06-29-2009 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:21 AM
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So why aren't tanks armed with missiles then? A gun projectile travels MUCH faster than a missile, much faster than a tank can move - don't see too many 40+ tonne monsters dodging an incoming AP or HEAT round...
Just to be contrary, a lot of Russian-designed tanks do in fact fire ATGMs -- but that's primarily because accuracy with their conventional main gun rounds at long ranges suck.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b
Just to be contrary, a lot of Russian-designed tanks do in fact fire ATGMs -- but that's primarily because accuracy with their conventional main gun rounds at long ranges suck.
I don't think that was Web's quote He got overloaded with multiple quotes from Leg I think. One of the few weaknesses in this forum system, but I have not seen a better way to do it.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:29 AM
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True, however I don't believe missiles are their main ammunition, just something reserved for particularly tough (or long range) targets.
Ordinary AFVs such as APCs, IFVs, recce vehicles and light tanks simply wouldn't require the power of a missile to destroy - a much cheaper HEAT or AP round should usually be sufficient.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by copeab
I wonder how many of the wrecked tanks (and there are plenty in T2K) have had their guns pulled and installed as either a static defensive weapon or with an improvised towed carriage. Of course, an M256 is going to have a big kick and will be a lot for it's crew to manhandle ...
In my campaign the PCs' group found a fortified village that had bolted an Apache gunship's chain gun to the platform of a 'cherry picker' and supplied it with power from a generator. They would raise the platform from behind their 'town wall' in the event of a maurauder attack. They had been helped in this task by the badly injured pilot of an Apache who had survived for four or five months after the crash and had wanted to repay the kindness of the townsfolk by helping them to create a deterrant weapon system.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:44 AM
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Good idea that. I'm a little dubious that the pilot might actually know enough of the mechanics to be of much help though - my understanding is that it's not a topic covered during pilot training....

With regard to stripping the weapon from the tank (or other AFV) turret, I'd be inclined to leave it in if possible and take advantage of the turret armour. Slap it on a concrete box, add a bit of power (or at worst hand crank) and you've got yourself a VERY scary looking pillbox.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:08 AM
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I have read a lot of interesting point in all your posts but I wanted to point out a few points in the defense of the AT gun (in a T2K setting).

A well concealed AT gun is not that easy to spot especially when you don't have all these nice technological gears. And you won't have that much of them in T2K. During WW2 AT crew had been known to destroy tanks at point blank (sometimes less than 50 meters away).

Yes they lack mobility but the twilight war in 2000 has nothing in common with Iraq or Afghanistan and mobility (except for limited mobile offensive) is only memory.

In addition, they have proved to be very efficient on several occasions (Tobruk, Kursk...). To get back on Iraq, I have the impression that Bassora resisted for some times at the beginning of the conflict, using static positions. Moreover, we don't know what would have happened if the Iraqi units had defended Baghdad. Hopefully, Saddam had been among the worse military leaders of the post WW2 era (and that doesn't take anything out of the US troops qualities).

Air power is a great threat to AT gun but that won't be an issue anymore.

I love the insight from all of those among you who have a military experience as you changed many of my views and improved my understanding but I have sometimes the feeling that you forget one point about T2K: You are on your own!!

You have not been on your own for hours or days but for weeks or even month. Your supply lines are long gone, your technological stuffs are falling appart, your vehicles are damaged and already sustained several hits, you lived of the land and every bullet count (not to talk about an RPG round).

IMO the twilight war compare more to the Russian revolution or Chinese revolution (may be American Indian wars) than to any other modern conflict (you just have a number of slightly more modern equipments). Your unit has been reorganized to live off the land and the opponents is making the best use he can of its own equipments. Sure AT guns lack mobility but you don't have the mobility to turn that position anyway. As a result, a single AT gun in a well prepared position can definitely stop you (IMO of course). At least, it will slow you for a long time and it has a good chance to destroy your last survivng M1 Abrams (which is in bad shape already).
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:59 AM
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Nice post, Web.

Clearly, the ATGM won out over the AT gun in NATO circles for good reason. Apart from rate of fire, the AT gun has no discernable advantages over the ATGM at the outset of the Twilight War.

As Mo and Paul and others have pointed out, though, after the TDM, when the hi-tech supply tap has been shut off to most armies in the field, a conventional AT gun firing standard tank gun ammo is going to become a much more valuable commodity. ATGM rounds are going to become scarce fast with unguided AT rounds close behind. Tank rounds would become scarce too but, as Paul mentioned, armies would stand a much better chance of being able to manufacture tank rounds after the TDM than they would ATGMs.

On a side note, I've always wondered how a TOW (or Milan or whatever) crew would be able to operate their systems effectively during a full-scale attack. Accurate artillery fire, especially, would be a serious threat to the crew, if not an insurmountable distraction as they attempt to hold the missile on target for the few long seconds between firing and impact. Shrapnel and blast from artillery (especially airburst rounds) could also cut guidance wires. I don't know, but trying to imagine a crew under fire trying to hit a moving Soviet tank (especially firing back) coming at them across a smoke-filled battlefield... it just seems incredibly difficult. That said, I don't know if things would be much better for an AT gun crew under the same battlefield conditions.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus
On a side note, I've always wondered how a TOW (or Milan or whatever) crew would be able to operate their systems effectively during a full-scale attack. Accurate artillery fire, especially, would be a serious threat to the crew, if not an insurmountable distraction as they attempt to hold the missile on target for the few long seconds between firing and impact. Shrapnel and blast from artillery (especially airburst rounds) could also cut guidance wires. I don't know, but trying to imagine a crew under fire trying to hit a moving Soviet tank (especially firing back) coming at them across a smoke-filled battlefield... it just seems incredibly difficult. That said, I don't know if things would be much better for an AT gun crew under the same battlefield conditions.
Well, you need to be patient and lucky...
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