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How Tanks Die?


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jagdcommander #1 Posted 08 November 2014 - 03:21 PM

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I've done some searching, but as it seemed an interesting topic thought there might be some more information out there regarding how tanks actually die and what happens to them in battle.

 

The impression given is that usually a hit on a tank generally blows it up. Is this historically normal or would a decent percentage of hits just disable a tank one way or another so the crew could get a new vehicle or return to make repairs when possible?

 

I'm guessing that generally in any mismatch a smaller tank would look to disable a larger vehicle in any way it could as quickly as possible while the more powerful tank would probably look for a penetration to destroy an opponent.



renhanxue #2 Posted 09 November 2014 - 02:13 AM

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Tanks are actually pretty resilient; catastrophic explosions are rather rare and it's much more common that a hit just disables the tank in some way. Here's a video that has some relevant footage (English subtitles available, click the captions button in the lower right):


Edited by renhanxue, 09 November 2014 - 02:13 AM.


jagdcommander #3 Posted 09 November 2014 - 04:31 PM

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View Postrenhanxue, on 09 November 2014 - 02:13 AM, said:

Tanks are actually pretty resilient; catastrophic explosions are rather rare and it's much more common that a hit just disables the tank in some way. Here's a video that has some relevant footage (English subtitles available, click the captions button in the lower right):

 

Thanks for that. Kind of what I assumed - it's much more 'newsworthy' to show a tank exploding or a turret on the floor than some depressed crew members refitting a track!

 

 

 



UlanovA #4 Posted 03 December 2014 - 12:12 PM

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By world war two document tanks usually could stand under the shelling up to a moment of losing geometrical hull forms, without huge flames or spectacular explosions.

 

But isn't that too boring for an action gameplay where one expects to nuke other player's vehicle to the orbit with successeful hit? Main game design principle is player, seeing result as he get it, not a day later, after an infantry report, like actual tank crews did.



Fishmachine #5 Posted 09 January 2015 - 12:15 PM

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This differs widely with the generations and types of tanks.

Many WW II era tanks suffered from ammunition conflagration at penetration (60-80% for Sherman or Pz IV) before the introduction of wet stowage, yet it was most of the time "just" an intense fire and not an explosion. Fatal placement of fuel tanks on T-34 soviet tank (around the crew compartment) resulted in violent explosion if partially empty fuel tank was penetrated.

And yes, there were many occasions when tanks were disabled/immobilised without fire or even penetration. Broken track, strained engine/transmission, destroyed wheel, broken electrical wires, broken radiator... mostly repairable after the battle, but the tank was counted as destroyed.



avengerczr #6 Posted 19 January 2015 - 01:09 PM

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Fishmachine has it right.

 

The causes of 'knocking-out' a tank are varied.


 

External damage could stop a tank functioning, even though the crew are unharmed.  This could be breaking a track or damaging the gun optics.  Track repair is heavy work and not going to be done under fire.


 

Also the shock of an HE round exploding on the tank would often render the crew incapable of working for some time, even if not actually unconscious.  If penetrated by an AP round, the result would depend on what type of round and where it went (WW2 era).  A smaller calibre round could kill or injure crew members but not destroy the tank. But even small AP rounds will still send armour splinters around the crew compartment so the chances of not putting the crew out of action are low.  Larger calibre rounds are going to cause more shock and damage and will often cause an ammo or fuel fire or explosion, or kill the engine/transmission.

 

Morale of the crew was also a factor; it took a lot of nerve to stay in a tank which has survived a hit but lost a track-  the crew might abandon the vehicle and run for cover.

 

Modern APFSDS rounds are probably going to kill the crew through over-pressure and shock.


 


Edited by avengerczr, 19 January 2015 - 01:10 PM.


TRXnMe #7 Posted 04 February 2015 - 08:33 PM

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In WWII it very much depended on what point in the war, who was shooting what at you, and what tank you were in.

 

The issues with the Sherman, Pz IV and T34 have been mentoned, Tigers were known to have 'issues' with fuel leaks which could cause them to catch fire if hit in the right place, problem being you had to survive the 88 to hit the Tiger...

 

There are pictures about of Shermans that have been 'dismantled' by a single 88mm shot, 88mm hole in the font, BIG hole in the back, where the engine, bits of the crew and 88mm shell exited the tank!

 

For a range of ways tanks 'die' look at the video on youtube off Witman's massacre at Villers Bocage, you'll see tanks with a single hole in them, and tanks that are much more seriously trashed in that video.

 

The Germans were ace at recovering shot up tanks after a battle, repairing them and getting them back into combat, this didn't work so well in 1944 / 45 when they were usually going backwards all the time rather than owning the battle field with time to get the damaged tanks back.

 

I saw a thread on here about a Russian Tank, KV series, that was recorded as destroyed half a dozen times in the regimental log, obviously lost on a battle field that was victorious, recovered, repaired and either returned to its crew, or a new crew assigned to it.



Hedgehog1963 #8 Posted 18 March 2015 - 05:55 PM

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Tanks did burn or blow up when hit but not all that often.

 

Standard way a tank would be knocked out would be for the crew to be killed, incapacitated or otherwise made to bale out of the tank. What you're trying to do when you shoot at a tank is get some penetration into the crew compartment, so injuring the people in there.  Most of the time there'd be only one hole, but the penetrator would have killed, stunned or injured multiple crew members.  The notion of hit points is purely for the game.

 

Of course sometimes a penetration didn't hurt the crew but started (for example) a fire, so the crew would leave.  Sometimes a solid non penetrating hit was enough to make the crew fail in their morale and bale out.  It was also common for a crew to bale if they were immobilised because they'd be sitting ducks.

 

The best actual footage of tank combat I've seen is the "Panther of Cologne"  That beast definitely burns.  Look for it on You Tube.  What happened there was a Pershing  - a rare tank in WWII Europe - was field fitted with a gyrostabiliser (we'd call it a vert stab).  The Panther knocked out a Sherman and had a bead on the Pershing and expected the M26 to stop before firing.  The Panther gunner was going to shoot as the Pershing stopped. The Pershing didn't stop but shot on the move, putting a round into the starboard hull.  A second shot goes in and you can see the crew of the nazi tank desperately trying to get out.  The Panther burns and you can see the light from the blaze through the 90mm hole.

 

The Pershing  gunner's name was Clarence Smoyer.

 

This is an interesting page:

 

http://www.3ad.com/h...bates.index.htm

 



TRXnMe #9 Posted 18 March 2015 - 08:56 PM

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I've been reading some books by Sprech Media, compilations of interviews with SS Tankers.  They report a definite trend for T34s and Shermans blowinng up, spectacularly when the got shot by the 88mm "The T34 doffs it's hat when it meets the Tiger" being a regular comment form different interviewees.

 

An interviewee describes one engagement between a number of Shermans and a JagdPanzer, every Sherman hit, except one exploded and blew the turret off, he describes seeing crewmen's legs hanging out the bottom of one turret as it left the the tank.

 

In other engagements where tanks are hit by less lethal weapons than the 88mm and above the damage is more often injured crewmen and disabled / tracked tanks, or tanks requiring multiple shots to destroy them.



Fishmachine #10 Posted 19 March 2015 - 09:19 AM

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View PostTRXnMe, on 18 March 2015 - 08:56 PM, said:

 

In other engagements where tanks are hit by less lethal weapons than the 88mm and above the damage is more often injured crewmen and disabled / tracked tanks, or tanks requiring multiple shots to destroy them.

 

It's worth to mention, that the JagdPanther's 88mm PaK 43 was a different and way more powerful gun than the Tiger's 88mm KwK 36.

Mad_F #11 Posted 21 October 2017 - 03:17 PM

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According to what the chieftain explains (I think it was in the "tanks 101" video) a tank that's hit is either

 

  •  fine (because the armor was sufficient/the shell's penetration insufficient) => the guys with the too weak gun should retreat (if they don't, they end up in the next case) => this part of the conflict has ended
  •  out (because if the shell penetrates, everyone inside will "have a bad day" ) => this part of the conflict has ended
  • occasionally (when a tank is well-armored but shelled long enough) a shell might wedge between turret and tank body, destroy a scope or something => this is really rare, because you typically don't keep shooting at a tank, which you can't penetrate except this would be mutual (both tanks can't pen each other)

Edited by Mad_F, 21 October 2017 - 03:21 PM.


Red_Dragon_Firkraag #12 Posted 21 October 2017 - 03:30 PM

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View PostFishmachine, on 19 March 2015 - 09:19 AM, said:

 

It's worth to mention, that the JagdPanther's 88mm PaK 43 was a different and way more powerful gun than the Tiger's 88mm KwK 36.

 

View PostMad_F, on 21 October 2017 - 03:17 PM, said:

According to what the chieftain explains (I think it was in the "tanks 101" video) a tank that's hit is either

 

  •  fine (because the armor was sufficient/the shell's penetration insufficient) => the guys with the too weak gun should retreat (if they don't, they end up in the next case) => this part of the conflict has ended
  •  out (because if the shell penetrates, everyone inside will "have a bad day" ) => this part of the conflict has ended
  • occasionally (when a tank is well-armored but shelled long enough) a shell might wedge between turret and tank body, destroy a scope or something => this is really rare, because you typically don't keep shooting at a tank, which you can't penetrate except this would be mutual (both tanks can't pen each other)

 

More than two years...

 

Posted Image

Edited by Red_Dragon_Firkraag, 21 October 2017 - 03:31 PM.





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