30 January 2023


Once, in another life, I was a dumbass tanker.  A DAT.

I was primarily a 19K, an M1 Abrams tanker.  A CDAT, because we were computerized.

My single enlistment with tanks makes me an expert on tanks compared to an unwashed civilian.

Gaming and doing research to achieve a greater sense of willing suspension of disbelief for Twilight: 2000 makes me better informed on tanks to a point.

My research goals have an end date.  "What would be reasonably fielded by 1997 when the nukes started flying and Lima, Ohio becomes s self lighting parking lot?"

That means I didn't really keep up with all the latest developments.

One place that shows clearly is watching a vid of a loader in an M1A2.

My M1A1(HA) didn't have that little deflector aft of the breech to knock the case-stub into a catch box.

We didn't have that box either.

The stubs came out the back of the gun and hit the floor to burn our ankles.

I also didn't have to lower the deflector to start the loading process.

I understand WHY that deflector and the box are there.  It's a grim story.  1AD at Graf was "vacuum loading."  That's keep the next round in your lap to speed up your engagement.  Everything is timed.

Round 1 was fired, round 2 thrown in the breech and round 3 taken from the rack.

Round 2 hadn't closed the breech, so the loader put round 3 on the floor to seat round 2.

The primer on the stub lit the combustible portion of the 120mm round and it started smouldering.

Loader and TC got out.  TC went back in for the gunner when the round went off on the floor.

TC and Gunner dead.  Driver severely injured.  Loader fine, but in a LOT of trouble.

Because of when I entered service, I learned vacuum loading for the 105mm gun on the M60A3 and we used it a couple of times with the 105 on the M1(IP).  It was a forbidden practice from day one, but it took a while for it to stop happening.

Faster engagements were awarded.  I've got the Arcoms and AAMs to show for it.

As it turned out, I'm faster doing it right than the prohibited way.  Sub 3-second with a 105 and just a whisper faster than 4-seconds with a 120 HEAT round, faster with sabot.

We prided ourselves on engagement times.


Because the Soviet autoloader was slower than we were.  We could get off two rounds to their one consistently and that mean survival when there were COUGH COUGH COUGH more Soviet tanks than ours.

We learned to this standard out of pure pride of accomplishment and not from a real belief that we'd be needing the skills any time soon.

The one-sided engagements like 74 Easting are testimony to the skills of both sides.

Which brings us, in a round about way, to sending modern NATO armor to Ukraine.

First thing we have to remember is Ukraine actively remade their armed forces on the NATO model after losing Crimea.

They're learning to fight like we fight.

It's been questioned if the Ukrainians can learn the NATO tanks and I think it should be easy for them if they're already tankers.

Poland is doing it right now.  Changing from Warsaw Pact doctrine and equipment to NATO.

Polish tankers have reported that everything about crewing an M1 is simpler and easier than the T-72.

That's important.

I think the big problem with sending NATO tanks is that a couple battalions worth isn't meaningful.

I'm confident that a crew trained to the same standards I met in 1988 can mete out a 5-1 kill ratio.

5:1 on the top of the line the Soviets would have thrown at us, not the T-62M we keep seeing in footage.  Those things are meat for the grinder for the old APFSDSDU round I had, and the new rounds are better.

All of that assumes we're going to give them a chance and fight when the sun's out.

NATO armor owns the fucking night.


  1. Tank on tank with decent training, I cannot disagree.

    However, that assumes the Ukrainians have control of the air so Attack choppers will not ruin their day.

    Yes, Ivans attack choppers do quite well at night. Also, the artillery spotting drone are also quite effective at night and the Russians have laser guided artillery that already has been used on Ukranian hard targets hiding in hospital parking lots.

    Ivans top attack anti-tank missiles are quite effective, looking at what happened to Saudi Abrams in Yemen.

    1. Saudi tankers might not be a good example because they, like the Russians actually, appear to be operating them independently. Tanks alone is a good way to get dead.

      I am sure many if not most of my perspective was knowing I'd have 3-16 INF all around me and not be forward of artillery and air support. Support which would be forthcoming should I call.

      That's big assumption, and prolly a mistake to make it.

      From what I've been seeing, most of Ivan's arty is of the dumb HE quick variety and not even much for cargo shells that lay shit like FASCAM. I'm coming to think that they had some state of the art and mostly stuff that would be familiar to WW2 in the inventory rather than changing the entire fire support doctrine and paradigm.

      Then they lack the production capacity to keep up with their expenditure, let alone get it reliably to the front. The push rather than pull log system is hurting them and that's not an easy thing to change.

    2. Russia is having to buy artillery shells from North Korea. So far reports I've seen say the Nork stuff is about equivalent to what the Russkies have stored for 30-40 years.

      And, from reports I've read, Ivan has shot his barrels out. They've done the same thing the Germans did in WWI, fire too long, too often without replacements. Of which, seemingly, the vaunted Russkie artillery has been whittled down like everything else in their inventory. So no modern replacements.

      Ukraine learned precision artillery from NATO. They learned shoot and scoot from NATO. They learned time-on-target and all the other NATO tricks that Ivan just seems to never have learned.

      As to Russian attack helicopters, yes, they do a good job on the front lines firing from a far distance at targets, basically flying artillery. But a small mobile target requires precision targeting. Which is hard to do when it seems about half or more of what's left of Ivan's air fleet is no longer capable of night fighting. Seems they seriously lost the night battle. Unlike the Ukes, who learned NATO and to fight at night.

      I also read a report that the Ukes have done all sorts of tricks, like lighting fires under the engine blocks of disabled and destroyed tanks to make them look 'hot'. Again, Ivan has shot his vast supply of high-tech away and is having to buy from Iran and the Norks. But not Communist China. Guess Ivan learned his lesson from buying tires at Discount Dong's Middle Tire Kingdom. Or the ChiComs are holding back waiting for Ivan to empty out Siberia of all the working stuff (which is my personal theory. right now Western Russia looks easier to take than the Republic of China (in Taiwan.)

      Especially since Commie China is having to up-equip their fishing fleet after some spectacular losses off of Chile and other South American countries, and in the Philippines. Not to mention Vietnam is fighting ChiComs for salt water rights, along with Singapore, Indonesia, and every other South East Asian country that has fishing fleets.

      Weird world. Whodathunk the vast unstoppable Russian supply barrel would indeed have such a shallow depth?

    3. LOL, good thing Ukraine (err USA) is winning. There's getting to be a serious lack of main battle tanks to donate to Ukraine's next victorious assault. After all Ukraine's only asking for two more divisions of armor and artillery, Ya know. Along with an ENDLESS supply of American tax dollars to you know fund the Victory.

      Seriously folks, we are dumping Europe's and now American's tanks and artillery into that "Victorious Ukrainian War".

      Maybe the propaganda is strong in this war?

      I just hope none of us get awakened by an extra sunrise.

    4. I'm on record as saying it's a pity that both sides can't lose here.

      But I'm also very much aware that letting someone expand their borders like Putin is doing isn't good for us in the long run.

      Poland, for one, is VERY freaked out by Putin's moving into Ukraine. Finland doesn't feel very safe either.

      For them it's existential. For us?

      I'm not seeing what we get at the end that's good for us directly.

    5. @Beans,

      Russian arty shooting its barrels out??
      I was assured by the World's Foremost Online Experts that it couldn't be true, when I presented that exact scenario waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back last June, including some great analysis by random YouTuber:

      I ain't holding my breath waiting for the "clarifications" from the soopergeniusii who got it wrong, yet again. But it explains the Uke's lackadaisical attitude towards the vaunted Russian redlegs, who need most of a day, five basic loads of ammo, and a metric f**kton of luck to hit one point target after 100 tries.

  2. Hey Angus;

    The M-1 kicks ass but during Desert Storm, the Bradley killed more tanks than the M-1, which shocked the crap out of me after seeing the stats. I remembered seeing the M-1 at Graf for the first time in early 1987 and I was really impressed, here was a tank that was better than anything that the Soviets had, for a change, we had something better than the "Opposition". I couldn't understand the Soviets fascination with autoloaders, it cuts down on a crew and adds the maintenance load to the rest of the crew, sure Tanks are cool, but they require a lot of maintenance to be happy. I did tracks and they were bad enough and tanks were much more on the maintenance scale.

  3. scouts out Angus....panzer guy...lol...

  4. On a minor note; I wonder if the ruskies are going to have the equivalent of the Allies Tiger fixation, where every Ukrainian vehicle with tracks gets reported as an Abrams or Leopard?


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