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The Devil's Due


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The_Chieftain #1 Posted Feb 16 2012 - 22:07

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Several weeks ago, I engaged in conversation with some folks who arguably have one of the coolest hobbies going. They fly Mi-24Ds around the US. Amusingly, their callsign has nothing indicating what they fly, so although I report to Air Traffic Control as “Cessna One Two Alpha” (or whatever), they’re just “Helicopter 1234X, so ATC gets a bit confused when they see a general aviation helicopter tootling around at near 200kts. They live for the ATC request “Say type.” They’re former US attack helo pilots, so obviously changing over to Hinds was a bit of a culture shock.

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Captian_Wolfenstein #2 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 00:40

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Makes sense, The Russians were famed for their crappy tanks. Course, when you have a bazillion tanks, who needs quality?.

ToothDecay #3 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 00:42

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From the article:

  Find an old soldier who was stationed in the Fulda Gap in the 70s or 80s. Ask them what they expected their life expectancy to be in the event of Warsaw Pact attack. Invariably, the answer will be something along the lines of “short.”


  We were told our life expectancy (Armored Cav) was 29 minutes "from when the bell goes off".

  Gave one pause.......

  Outstanding work as usual, Chieftain.  Thank you.

Tishr #4 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 00:46

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Everyone always forgets that for NATO we mostly have to rely on the few blokes who joined up willingly to to win the war or at least hold the front for several weeks that at least to me seems to have driven a lot of our armor design over the past 2-3 decades.

Ashigaru1 #5 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 00:56

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Yeah design dint work too well in the 73 war at the Golan heights.

Dunewarrior #6 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 00:57

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Can't wait for Part 2! I could hear more about russian helos too :)
There's such a lack of documentaries on russian equipment here in the west...

Dungbeetles #7 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 00:59

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All very true, but IMO if the Germans in WW2 had the same resources the russians did and poured all that into Panthers, It'd beat all the T34s the russians had even if they could make more of them with the same amount of money.

ForcestormX #8 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:02

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You make a very good point.

Unsurprisingly though, ymmv regarding how important that point is to one particular person - which is in itself you point I guess.

the_moidart #9 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:08

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Ashigaru1, on Feb 17 2012 - 00:56, said:

Yeah design dint work too well in the 73 war at the Golan heights.
Except those tanks were designed to operate under a Russian doctrine with Russian standards of training in a European battlefield. I'd more fault the operators and the environment in which they were used.

jpw66001 #10 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:09

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I was with the CSC 1-36 inf. 3 Armor Division. 1978 to 1980. Spent a lot of time in the fold. We were told we were not expected to be around long. I was a tow gunner, I would have had some shooting. :-)

Appletree #11 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:11

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Korean Army imported some Russian Tanks, T-80U, back in 1991. They didn't expect much from the Russian tank because they thought that US designed tank is much superior to Russian built one. These T-80U were imported to study and get feeling of similar tank that North Korean Army have. But, to their surprise, T-80U was absolute marvel, proved to be much superior tank than they thought and tanks that they had then. So impressed with excellent performance of the T-80U, Korean Army imported more of T-80's and deployed them as regular equipment for some Korean armored division.
Relatively light weight (46 ton) but agile and fast (70 km/h) with big gun (125 mm smooth bore) and powerful and responsive engine (1250 HP gas turbine). It can cross river submerged under 5.5 meters underwater. It is also equipped with fast auto loader and protection against nuclear/chemical/biological warfare. Against common perception, it has excellent reliability record, too. It has been remained as the best tank that Korean Army have until recently when they started to deploy newly designed 4th generation Korean K-2 Black Panther tank.

Zarcon3 #12 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:15

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Thanks for another great article.

RollinHeads #13 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:32

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I'm not an expert on tanks - but love history and came across this game quite by accident via word of mouth from a friend.  Keep the stories coming - for me they are little history lessons to absorb and enjoy, not a platform to heckle you on your accuracy.  Great job!

Zepheris #14 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:35

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Appletree, on Feb 17 2012 - 01:11, said:

Korean Army imported some Russian Tanks, T-80U, back in 1991. They didn't expected much from the Russian tank because they thought that US designed tank is much superior to Russian built one. These T-80U were imported to study and get feeling of similar tank that North Korean Army have. But, to their surprise, T-80U was absolute marvel, proved to be much superior tank than they thought and tanks that they had then. So impressed with excellent performance of the T-80U, Korean Army imported more of T-80's and deployed them as regular equipment for some Korean armored division. Relative light weight (46 ton) but agile and fast (70 km/h) with big gun (125 mm smooth bore) and powerful and responsive engine (1250 HP gas turbine) and it can cross river submerged under 5.5 meter underwater. Equipped with fast auto loader and protection against nuclear/chemical/biological warfare. Against common perception, it has excellent reliability record, too. It has been remained as best tank that Korean Army have until recently when they start to deploy newly designed 4th generation Korean K-2 Black Panther tank.
ironically, Russia's own armed forces are not as well equipped...

the last war in South Ossetia showed the poor state of their equipment... which is most unfortunate because most of the failing shown during the war can be avoided had they use the proper equipment for it, which they do have but never put into wide service or sometimes never put into service at all either because the plan was never put forward or the budget just don't exist.

In every arms show they put forward an impressive array of equipment for sale, but it seems they themselves don't exactly have the resource to field said equipment.

So they most certainly are capable of producing impressive hardware when they want to. But not necessarily using them.

Scolopax #15 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:48

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Great article.

I think part of the reason people say that post ww2 Russian tanks suck is due to the fact that they have never really fought anything on their technological level.

So most Ex-Soviet bloc tanks you see used now in the middle east are cheap, non-russian driven T-55s. If one of these went up against, say, a modern Challenger II, that isn't comparable.  Even the older Chieftan (you see what I did there?) would probably be more than a match.  Something like a centurion would be more appropriately comparable in my mindset.  But we don't use those anymore, and haven't for quite awhile.  If we wanted to match the Challenger with something, we'd need a t-90ms, or something like that.  The tanks that the Russians use now in their own armored corps have yet to test even their mettle against their western counterparts, so we still can't accurately compare.  However, I think the results of an engagement would be much more closely matched than that of our first scenario.  Please note though that the crew of each tank is non-specified, and could futher influence the battle.

A point I think was illustrated very well in this writing is the fact that each faction's tanks were suited to different enviroments and tactical roles.  This is can be a huge difference on top of physical statistics, and generally is excluded from debates.

IronIrv #16 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 01:49

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The first photo in the article looks like check point "Charlie" in Berlin. I was station in Berlin as part of the occupation which was on going till 1990 more less.
It was strange to live in U.S. Government housing and be about a quarter mile from the Berlin Wall.

Zepheris #17 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:07

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Scolopax, on Feb 17 2012 - 01:48, said:

Great article.

I think part of the reason people say that post ww2 Russian tanks suck is due to the fact that they have never really fought anything on their technological level.

So most Ex-Soviet bloc tanks you see used now in the middle east are cheap, non-russian driven T-55s. If one of these went up against, say, a modern Challenger II, that isn't comparable.  Even the older Chieftan (you see what I did there?) would probably be more than a match.  Something like a centurion would be more appropriately comparable in my mindset.  But we don't use those anymore, and haven't for quite awhile.  If we wanted to match the Challenger with something, we'd need a t-90ms, or something like that.  The tanks that the Russians use now in their own armored corps have yet to test even their mettle against their western counterparts, so we still can't accurately compare.  However, I think the results of an engagement would be much more closely matched than that of our first scenario.  Please note though that the crew of each tank is non-specified, and could futher influence the battle.

A point I think was illustrated very well in this writing is the fact that each faction's tanks were suited to different enviroments and tactical roles.  This is can be a huge difference on top of physical statistics, and generally is excluded from debates.
not really, israel conflict for instance had centurions pitted directly against T-62s back during the war in golan height...

Syrian tankers and planning was decidedly poor of course but the ferocious fight where israel centurions were outnumbered sometimes 10 to 1 and held them off inflicting massive casualties (till their centurions ran out of shells) showed the relative strength of both tanks involved as well. (and showed as well that you can't just roll tanks in without ample air support and artillery even if you have numerical advantage)

Indo pakistan conflict also gives a good showcase of their abilities, this time on better limelight where russian tanks meet french, and american tanks as well.. and both sides took casualties but in a much more comparable situation unlike Israel cases where their armored forces in general have decisively better performance.

I mean anyone with half of a brain should know that T-55/62 are not meant to engage 3rd generation MBTs and perform well, so those engagement should not be considered a gauge of the tank's design, but back during the time when they were top of the line design they fought other western tanks as well of the era (M48s, Pattons, centurions, etc), and these CAN be analysed and used as a gauge of their performance.

Soviet_Union #18 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:12

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if anything was terrible it was the american tanks

Zergling #19 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:13

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Good article Chief.

The thing that annoys me when comparing tanks is people that think one tank or the other is top shit, and conveniently ignore the bad points for their favourite, and good points for its rivals.

The 'All Russian tech is crap' argument is just another example of ignorance... Chief deserves credit for working to debunk these sorts of myths.

Dominatus #20 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:22

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Interesting that you start off with the Hind though, because the Hind seems to me to be one of the few pieces of Cold War era Russian hardware that has a good reputation, and is respected by the West.




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