Tank Abrams: the legend and reality

Vulnerability analysis of the tank M1A1/A2 in the process of implementing in Iraq in 2003

Second Iraq war revealed a feeble place of American tanks M1A1 "Abrams" and quite dispelled the myth of the invincibility of his painstakingly implanting in the last decade.

The frontal armor turret and hull "Abrams" still provide good protection against anti-tank weapons are in service with the Iraqi Army. But the side and aft projections remain vulnerable even grenade launchers developed in the 60s of the last century.

Also, there were cases of disabling tanks fire from astern as the 25-mm guns, "their" BMP "Bradley", and 30-mm guns, BMP-2. It is no secret and what is not keeping within the allotted weight limitations South American designers had to sacrifice the booking of the hull sides, which provides protection against armor piercing projectiles 30mm gun only at course angle + — 30 degrees, which features side skirts width of 70 mm. Other areas of the board — from 5 mm myagenkoy were followed by a 30 mm armored steel hull. This barrier is affected guns of 30 mm cannons BMP-2 to 2000 m (when using armor-piercing shells) using ordinary armor-piercing projectiles, this distance is slightly lower.

According to foreign experts propelled grenades PG-7V n with probability 55% hit "Abrams" in the side of the tower and the hull sides above the rollers. With the possibility of 70% — to the roof of the tower.

It was also found that the "Abrams" in the field criteria "burn" more fuel than they are entitled to the norm. There were difficulties with the delivery of spare parts for the failed machine, resulting in many warped tanks neudovalos repaired and they were cannibalized for spare parts to repair their own more fortunate brothers.

According to official sources, disk imaging-based action 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division United States can make the following conclusions about the vulnerability of tanks "Abrams":
-Missiles "Cornet" in Iraq found
-The top, sides, and rear armor is susceptible to defeat.
-Reported cases where the 30 mm armor-piercing projectiles penetrated the tank in the rear.
-The left and right side of the side skirts breaks RPG.
-Cosmetic damage in the defeat anti shots to RPGs.
-No cases, the destruction of tanks anti-tank mines (as opposed to 1991).
-Knock-out panels on the tower were working normally, documented cases of getting into combat pack to death the crew did not lead.
-The engine showed very low reliability and the highest fire risk.
-For the complete destruction of the tank rather one thermite grenades (inside), 2 missiles "Mayverik" or shot BPS (to combat pack)
-To derive the tank out of action rather from the 1st shot an RPG at the side of the hull.

Many destroyed "Abrams" affected by fire antitank grenade launchers RPG-7 type in the board, protivokumulyativnymi screens the way even the PG-7V grenade (this is one of the more types of old times grenades, RPG-7), and its cumulative jet was pretty, that after Screen punch and side armor. There have been cases of bad losses due to inflammation of auxiliary power units (APUs), and / or ignition of containers with supplies fuel to get into the engine-transmission compartment and that ignited engine. So one burned "Abrams" ("due to the secondary effects") which was fired from a 12.7-mm DShK. The bullet hit the left rear of the tower, where just posted MAT, broke box, put out of action setting, burning fuel and oil from it rushed down to the MTO. Timeout fire power plant, which is absolutely burnt, tank can not be restored. Speaking of the APU tanks "Abrams". According to the materials of the U.S. Army Armor Management (TACOM) and the center of research expertise of the U.S. Army (CALL) 3rd Mechanized Division within 21 day of the operation by enemy fire or as a result of friendly fire was struck just 23 tanks M1A1 «Abrams' and M2/M3 BMP "Bradley". Fifteen of them (including nine "Abrams" and 6 "Bradley") were struck by an RPG-7. One tank of this division as a result of small arms fire guns and, as a consequence, the uncertain actions of the driver, fell from a bridge into the Tigris River, the crew died.

After the official end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" loss of armored coalition not only did not decrease, but rather increased. The main opponent for the tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are currently the antitank grenade launchers and land mines that set Iraqi guerrillas on the patrol routes of U.S. troops.

Thus, for example, 27. 10. 2003, 40 km from Baghdad to the north-east of the town of Ballads was undermined a new version of the tank, "Abrams' M1A2 SEP (System Enhanced Package) from the 4th Mechanized Division of the United States. The tank was blown up by an improvised roadside bomb, which consisted of several artillery shells. As a result, undermining tower tank flew 30 meters.

Nor confirmed reliability own fuel tanks of the tank located at the front of the tank on both sides of the driver in both for the case of contact with them led to the destruction of the tank. Apart from the problems as a result of enemy fire M1A1 tank also showed low reliability and a very huge fire hazard.

The large number of complex and prone to failure of systems and sub-systems led to the fact that many of the machines simply were not able to do set tasks. These systems, in the views of American professionals are fire control system, radio and other electrical systems, which often have cross-checked and reconciled after their exposure to vibration and heavy shocks during the battle.


Tank firepower was more than enough to destroy outdated Russian and Chinese tanks. BPS M829 penetrated the frontal armor of Iraqi tanks at all ranges of fire.
Cumulative M830A1 used to bombard the bunkers and armored vehicles.
A more effective instrument of tanks "Abrams" in urban combat was a 12.7-mm machine gun mounted on the tower. Typically, the Iraqi resistance groups, disguised, kept off tanks and infantry fighting vehicles at a distance of least 100 m, and then opened fire salvo of mnogokalibernyh machine guns and RPGs. In such situations, a 12.7-mm (50 caliber) machine gun mounted on a tower, was more effective in hitting the enemy of all light type shelters. When was conducted fire of the 120-mm tank gun, then used, priemuschestvenno, cumulative (HEAT) or caliber armor piercing (MPAT) rounds. Once received reports on the effectiveness of the use of guns in close combat in urban criteria on the towers began to install the second, and from time to time and a third machine gun 7.62 mm.

Back in 2003, a case destruction, "Abrams" is not something completely understandable. Hills on the bigler.ru concluded that it was spetspulya released by ATR, maybe uranium and / or active-reactive. Well, it was necessary to get to the right place …

Data used in the preparation of the Federation of American Scientists (www.fas.org) and other public sources.

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