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Autoloaders and Increased Maintenace Burden on Crews


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AKA_The_Titan #1 Posted Jan 24 2016 - 23:47

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One of the commonly cited disadvantages of using an autoloader versus a human loader is that reducing the crew to three means less people to work on maintaining the tank, which would increase fatigue and reduce efficiency. However, in practice, wouldn't tanks be working alongside other armored vehicles and infantry units? Thus, couldn't you just find an extra person to help out with the maintenance tasks, or split the maintenance duties between the crews of multiple vehicles? For example, have the crews of two tanks take care of one tank first, then the other? I was wondering if anyone who has experience with tank maintenance would know if sharing the duties like this would help compensate for the reduced crew count, or if it would do the opposite.

 

 

 

 



macshimi #2 Posted Jan 25 2016 - 00:22

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my experience in the armored cav. was that a vehicle's crew are very proud of their tank and really don't want others to take care of their ride. Basically if you take care of your own equipment inside and out. You know how it starts on a cold morning, you know what parts are worn and need replacement. if you have some one else pull your maintenance then you will possibly get a [edited]job and a potentially unreliable system. with that said, it is not unheard of to lend a hand to anouther crew if they were late for some reason, but always under the direction of the vehicle's crew.

thandiflight #3 Posted Jan 25 2016 - 00:48

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Why train an infantryman to maintain his rifle? The point of it is so that he can remain combat-effective in most circumstances. Tanks are bigger and more complex. More people are required to maintain the effectiveness of the weapon system - it can be a matter of life or death. Support for more complex tasks is needed but you would not expect to have personnel to maintain an infantryman's rifle on a day-to-day basis, and a tank is no different.

Blackhorse_Six_ #4 Posted Jan 25 2016 - 01:17

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View Postmacshimi, on Jan 24 2016 - 18:22, said:

my experience in the armored cav. was that a vehicle's crew are very proud of their tank and really don't want others to take care of their ride. Basically if you take care of your own equipment inside and out. You know how it starts on a cold morning, you know what parts are worn and need replacement. if you have some one else pull your maintenance then you will possibly get a [edited]job and a potentially unreliable system. with that said, it is not unheard of to lend a hand to anouther crew if they were late for some reason, but always under the direction of the vehicle's crew.

 

This ^^^

 

Each branch has it's own mission - you just don't bring-in a bunch of guys from the local water purification unit to do track maintenance ...

 

And they have their own mission to do ...

 

Tank platoons often spread the help within their own platoons.

 

Autoloaders are used for two reasons: tireless reliability / predictability, and manpower utilization.

 

If, in a four-man crew, the loader is replaced by an autoloader, a whole 'nother vehicle can be manned for every three loaders replaced by the machinery, but this is a matter of national policy, not local practice.

 

Autoloaders can place a greater load on a tank battalion's maintenance platoon and higher levels of maintenance support, but that demand is deemed to be worth the price and those maintenance units are manned & equipped accordingly.



AKA_The_Titan #5 Posted Jan 25 2016 - 02:19

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View PostBlackhorse_Six, on Jan 24 2016 - 19:17, said:

 

This ^^^

 

Each branch has it's own mission - you just don't bring-in a bunch of guys from the local water purification unit to do track maintenance ...

 

And they have their own mission to do ...

 

Tank platoons often spread the help within their own platoons.

 

Autoloaders can place a greater load on a tank battalion's maintenance platoon and higher levels of maintenance support, but that demand is deemed to be worth the price and those maintenance units are manned & equipped accordingly.

 

That's what I'm trying to get at though - if the platoon spreads the maintenance workload amongst all of its tankers, would it not reduce how severe the overall workload is? Rather than have 3 groups of 3 working on the tanks, have, for example, 1 group of 9 or a group of 5 and 4.

 

I hear the VBL crews in French tank platoons can help with maintenance on the Leclercs as needed. I guess that's what I was thinking of.



Blackhorse_Six_ #6 Posted Jan 25 2016 - 03:50

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Individual crews are responsible for their own operator-level maintenance first.

 

When they are finished with theirs, or when the platoon sergeant can see that some crews will finish sooner, he usually sends crewmen over to the slower tanks.

 

Too many men on the same task can get in each-other's way and some tasks are sequential.

 

Major drag-out roll-off track change in the motor pool, yes, but just changing a shoe here & there, no.

 

In US forces, the TC does not usually do the labor in most maintenance tasks - he supervises or delegates working-charge to the next lower stripe.

 

Battalion M88s frequently help with things like tube changes and power-packs.



cavscout_19D #7 Posted Jan 25 2016 - 21:27

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This:

"Major drag-out roll-off track change in the motor pool, yes, but just changing a shoe here & there, no."

Otherwise, go fix your own shite and leave mine alone.


 



The_Chieftain #8 Posted Jan 26 2016 - 04:24

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I may be wrong, but to my understanding, a French tank company consists of the standard number of personnel for four man crews, but the extra men effectively form a partial platoon transported in a couple of VABa per company. As a result, they have the extra man available for maintenance, security duties, and so on, and also a bit of attrition replacement, without having to keep the tank big enough for four, or putting the four man at risk.

Zinegata #9 Posted Jan 26 2016 - 04:46

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The other thing to remember about autoloaders is that they don't suffer from fatigue. If a tank is expected to survive to the point it can fire 20 shots in an engagement then it's superior to a human loader.

 

Modern fire-control currently tends to end most engagements in a few shots however, which is why there is currently a primacy of manual loaders.



Blackhorse_Six_ #10 Posted Jan 26 2016 - 09:43

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jan 25 2016 - 22:24, said:

I may be wrong, but to my understanding, a French tank company consists of the standard number of personnel for four man crews, but the extra men effectively form a partial platoon transported in a couple of VABa per company. As a result, they have the extra man available for maintenance, security duties, and so on, and also a bit of attrition replacement, without having to keep the tank big enough for four, or putting the four man at risk.

 

I think you've written about this in the past, but I haven't taken the time here to pin it down.

 

What you've said here makes sense, and probably addresses the OP's question most directly.

 

At the same time, I have to wonder to what level of proficiency those crewmen are trained, and how they might be rotated to sustain that proficiency ...



Shrapnel_7372 #11 Posted Jan 26 2016 - 17:11

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normally it is not the crews responsibility to maintain the vehicle beyond normal various tasks such as fluid level checks, proper track tension levels, lubrication etc. The attached maint units will take care of the beyond normal stuff. It is the crews responsibility to check the overall systems and notify maint if it is something they are not trained or equipped to do so that it may be corrected. If it is a turret issue then a turret mech works on it, if it is engine or suspension then a track vehicle mech works on it. This is what I remember from my mechanic days of being attached to infantry and artillery units.

Edited by Shrapnel_7372, Jan 26 2016 - 17:13.


AKA_The_Titan #12 Posted Jan 27 2016 - 07:21

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jan 25 2016 - 22:24, said:

I may be wrong, but to my understanding, a French tank company consists of the standard number of personnel for four man crews, but the extra men effectively form a partial platoon transported in a couple of VABa per company. As a result, they have the extra man available for maintenance, security duties, and so on, and also a bit of attrition replacement, without having to keep the tank big enough for four, or putting the four man at risk.

 

I see. I heard VBLs, but I suppose that's an irrelevant detail, the concept behind it is the same.

 

So what I take from this is the argument that autoloaders translate into increased physical burdens on the crew from maintenance/security/etc. is not nearly as serious as some people make it out to be, as there are ways to circumvent this, i.e. having additional trained personnel attached to the platoon in other AFVs.  



wylleEcoyote #13 Posted Jan 28 2016 - 22:06

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Correct! 

 

And I will restate the biggest lesson here:

 

Its Your Tank.  Its where you work. Its where you live. Its your home. It Will Save Your Life Someday... But only if you show it Love.

And how do you show it love?  Blessed Maintenance!

 

Would you let some random yutz who has to walk everywhere mess with your ride?  Of course not.



AKA_The_Titan #14 Posted Jan 29 2016 - 07:51

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View PostwylleEcoyote, on Jan 28 2016 - 16:06, said:

Correct! 

 

And I will restate the biggest lesson here:

 

Its Your Tank.  Its where you work. Its where you live. Its your home. It Will Save Your Life Someday... But only if you show it Love.

And how do you show it love?  Blessed Maintenance!

 

Would you let some random yutz who has to walk everywhere mess with your ride?  Of course not.

 

Expecting some random grunt to be adjusting track tension or some other technical aspect is entirely unreasonable. However, there are still tasks that are pure manual labor or not even directly related to the tank itself (such as security) that could be helped with if the crews really needed it.




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