Why Tanks Just Rock

While I think most of my regulars out there are more or less aware that I’m in the Army, I suspect fewer – a subset if you like Venn diagrams – know what my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is. Ok, wait for it…  wait… ok: I am a 19A. How cool was that opening of the heavens with all the light effects and shit? No? You’re a fucking heathen.

Tanker!

Tanker!

Anyway, in the vernacular, I’m a Tanker. That means I’m trained to go on tanks, to operate them, fix them, drive them, be in charge of big groups of them, and most importantly, shoot them. Shoot them as in fire them, not shoot at them, since that would be suicide. We’re a special breed apart. You may wonder why this is awesome. Let me put your doubts to rest and introduce the M1 Abrams…

Conceived in the 1970’s and finally produced after a false start or two in the 80’s, the Army’s Main Battle Tank may well be one of the finest killing machines ever created by humankind. Defense Department thinkers were intimidated by the Soviet T-72, and the Abrams was intended to replace the venerable M-60 series of tanks, which were dependable defensive systems, with a more capable and offense-oriented land warfare vehicle. More capable indeed. Most were built in Lima, Ohio (gratuitous plug for my Ohio RantArmy members).

The Abrams, now on the A2 version, weighs in with full combat load of fuel and ammunition at 70 tons. This results from the massive frame that supports a classified type of armor that includes depleted uranium for protection. Current variants are equipped with a turbine engine (English: jet engine) that can propel the tank up to 50 mph on smooth terrain. It sucks up three gallons per mile of anything from jet fuel to gasoline, and can run on alcohol. I’ll vouch also that it will dry you completely in ten minutes standing at the exhaust vents, if you’re manly. It carries forty rounds of main gun ammunition, and three “in the hull” but nobody really bothers with that. The main weapon system is the 120mm smoothbore cannon that deals death with a wide variety of different shells. It also has a 7.62 coaxially-mounted machine gun, a 7.62 manual loader’s weapon, and a .50cal manually or automatically-fired machine gun on the turret as the tank commander’s personal weapon. The main gun and coax can be fired while moving and traversing the turret at once on a gyroscopically-stabilized trunnion. The most lethal weapons are the four Americans manning each tank.

This tank can fire high explosive ammo, sabot (pron.: “say-bow”), multipurpose types that can also take down helicopters, and the new and wicked canister round (1098 3/8″ tungsten balls, effectively a shotgun shell). The service (wartime) sabot rounds feature a 39″ long-rod penetrator made of depleted uranium. This is, in essence, a three-foot death dart that travels at hypersonic velocity and will pass through an enemy tank made of steel like a knife through butter… also igniting the air inside the bad guy’s tank. Ouch. Behind the ammo is a fire-control ballistic computer that calculates the round’s trajectory based on temperature, ammo lot number, wind speed, vehicle speed, spin of the earth and lunar gravity among other factors. There are verified accounts of gunners hitting and killing at a range of five kilometers (over two miles away). Targeting is assisted by a thermal/IR sensor and a laser rangefinder.

Now in service for close to thirty years, the Abrams is only now seeing potential systems capable of overmatching it’s armor protection. An A3 variant is in the works now. The A2 system has an upgraded digital support system linking it to other command systems. It also can target an enemy vehicle independently of firing at another. Other tankers I know have estimated (using maths with boots removed) that a four-tank Abrams A2 platoon could disassemble an enemy tank battalion in five minutes under ideal conditions. The good news is, we have young gunners in the turrets who are that good.

All of this is great technical information. Personally, it gets even more impressive when you’re in one and operating it with your three other crewmembers. The ride is as smooth as a Cadillac even over difficult ground. When they fire, the entire tank rocks backward on its track from the force of the recoil, and dust jumps six feet into the air around the tank. I’ve stood exposed in the tank commander’s hatch when firing, and the backblast will effectively open your sinuses if you’re congested.

Not to mention leave you with a potentially embarrassing erection…

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43 Responses to “Why Tanks Just Rock”

  1. !!!&h&@h! When I saw the title I was all like ‘ There’s the one I was waiting for ‘ …. also a little puzzled that you think that the title should even be a question .

    As for the last part , I think I may have one now . To be honest , Imma a big tech geek , also a big fan of COD and any other ffps there ever was. Naturally follow defendetech.org . THEREFoRE , thank you for that version . Positively orgasmic. Ok …..
    I think I’ve said too much :S .

  2. Oh yeah? Well I drive a school bus filled with TEENAGERS. That makes me just like you, only badass.

  3. You can thank me for them too :p Aren’t us English people brilliant ahaha … But you did invent Tupperware, which is very handy ahaha !

  4. mkultra76 Says:

    Damn. That’s cool. And here I don’t even have a riding lawnmower. Don’t I feel just a tad insignificant this morning. 😉

  5. I find it humorous that you just tried to explain WHY driving a tank is awesome. An explanation is really quite unnecessary. As you say, tanks are awesome.

  6. “gyroscopically-stabilized trunnion”….I dont’ know what any of this means, but it sounds awesome…I think I’ll borrow that phrase for the next time I want to impress someone. Thanks, eh.

  7. That’s all pretty cool and stuff, but is there a wet bar inside?

  8. With all that automation, why do we need people in them at all? Why dont they make the guns auto-loading, and drive themselves? Or at least remote control?

    • savorthefolly Says:

      Because then Brainrants wouldn’t get to make things go BOOM.

    • They’ve tried that. The autoloaders tend to jam, and remote driving still needs someone who can see what the tank is doing.

      • Hmm. Well, if thats it, then i think automatic tanks are just a few tests away.
        I mean, monitoring camera feeds and driving can be done anywhere. And the autoloading just needs the kinks worked out. Maybe we can have one field tech in a tank also just in case something goes really wrong, but I dont see why we have to risk our soldiers lives, when the tchnology exists.

        • I hear you, but experience shows crews are better than otherwise.

        • John Erickson Says:

          The problem is in reliability, Itchy. Other countries do have autoloaders (the French LeClerq, if I recall), but the inside of a tank is a noisy, dirty, bumpy place where Murphy’s Laws hold sway. And if your loader gets wounded, you can substitute with the commander or gunner. If your autoloader breaks, you’re screwed BIG time! So the US tends to run conservative on that kind of technology, because if a drone fails, you put up another drone. If a tank fails, you have a hole in your defensive line or a weak point in your offense, and that spells big-time trouble.
          (Hope I didn’t sound patronising, not sure how much military tech you know. And pardon me, ‘Rants, if I stepped on your bailiwick! 😀 )

      • Well, I’ll grant you might know a little more than me, so I’ll leave the final decision to you.

  9. Tankers are sexy and full of awesome!

  10. Very cool, I wasn’t sure what your specialty was, but a tanker makes sense.

  11. Hahaha! Tha’ts totally what I was thinking! I bet he gets a massive hard-on when he’s in that thing.

  12. My brother was a tanker for the army. Until it hurt his back and hand. But he lived it as well. Thanks for doing the difficult task of blowing shit up!!!

  13. John Erickson Says:

    I was gonna ask about the autoloaders, but see you’ve mentioned them. I know we’ve also covered the power plant. So – some of the newer tanks like the French LeClerq have an option for a 140mm smoothbore. Any news on that? (Not like the 120 ain’t effective enough, when you can shoot a sabot through an earth berm AND a T-72 and have it come out the backside of both….)

  14. All the rest is awesome enough but….Railguns?! Ooh! Aah! From a sci-fi fan who has a 1960s reprint of the 1919 original Buck Rogers novel. The book, the Buster Crabbe movie serial and two different TV series, and every time he gets a different first name.

  15. What kind of gas mileage do those babies get? Three gallons to the mile?

    Not a good family vehicle, eh? 😛

  16. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    You’re a 19A…pretty cool..I was waiting for one of your lady friends to zing you with a – Well..I gotcha beat I’m a 36C or something…haha – just being a heathen..sounds like you have a cool job and sounds like your pretty good at it.

    • I’m sure Savor or H.E. have some sabot battle-carried for me because they enjoy watching me squirm. Wire system installer, huh? Any interesting units or deployments?

  17. Hey everybody, go read KaiJay’s blog for today. She invited me along to a get-together at Rants’ compound, as her escort.

    Escort??? Hmm! Ah well, it’s always a compliment to be featured in KJ’s fantasies.

  18. […] Bradleys Rock Back in November I provided you a post about why tanks rock. Tanks are, in my humble opinion, completely awesome. No surprise there, me being a Tanker of […]

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