Infantry Anti-Armor Tactics

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[ This guest post was written by Charles Gaines ]

The last ten years of the US Army’s history has seen a refocus on the infantry and Special Operations communities as the main arms of warfare that hasn’t been seen since Vietnam. This is due to the asymetric nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and our increasing use of Special Forces diplomacy across the globe.

That being said, the Army has over the last forty years been developing increasingly robust infantry-centric antiarmour warfare capability. Whilst not intended to attack enemy armoured forces on their own, they do provide massive defensive firepower when employed with proper tactics and planning.

Below is a spreadsheet of US antiarmour-capable weapons and their effects against probable enemy armoured vehicles. I have focused on principally Russian vehicles, as there is still a lot of them floating around the globe and they will likely be familiar to readers.

Part I: Available weapons

1. M82A1 / M107

This is a weapon everyone is familiar with. Its antiarmour penetration is fairly marginal due to its inability to be fully compatible with the .50-cal Saboted Light Armour Penetrator round because of its muzzle brake. The muzzle brake on the M107 can be removed, but then you’re decreasing weapon accuracy and increasing recoil. The rifle is highly capable against civilian vehicles and BTRs (Soviet APCs).

2. M2/M2A1 heavy machine gun.

This is a highly capable weapon and a mainstay of the US Army. While the API round (Armor-Piercing Incendiary) only offers 16mm of penetration at 1200 meters, the SLAP round (Saboted Light Armor Penetrator) doubles that, with 34mm of penetration at the M2’s maximum effective range of about eighteen hundred meters. This is just enough to penetrate a BMP-2; the full-automatic fire capacity makes a kill very likely. There is also a special optics adapter for the M2 that maximizes effective range:

My old infantry battalion, 3-15 INF at Ft. Stewart GA, used these with the 6x ACOG and a PEQ-2 infrared laser.

3. Mk 19 grenade machine gun

The Mark 19 grenade machine gun is commonly found in the US Army’s light infantry battalions, along with the M2. It is significantly more capable against enemy armor than the latter, sporting a maximum effective range of 2200 meters and armor penetration of 50mm with its HEDP ammunition (High Explosive Dual Purpose). This renders it lethal against any Russian-produced armoured vehicle, including the BMP-2 and BMP-3, which sports a maximum of 35mm of armor. It is almost always either vehicle-mounted or placed in a prepared defensive position. The weapon and tripod weigh over a hundred pounds when assembled, making it a lethal but vehicle-dependent anti-armour weapon.

4. Mk 47 Grenade Machine Gun

The Mark 47 is a newer fully automatic grenade launcher. It is much lighter than the Mark 19, weighing 39 pounds as opposed to 77. It also has a capacity for airburst rounds, and the antiarmor round is the same HEDP as the Mk 19, offering the same 2200m range and 50mm armor penetration.

5. XM25

The XM25 is famous primarily for it’s High-Explosive Airburst Round which has been discussed on this blog before. The rest of the 25mm family of cartridges has not been similarly publicized however, and includes the XM1049 HEAT cartridge, which sports 50mm of armor penetration between 300 and 500m. This is a major game-changer. While it lacks the exceptional range of the M2, Mk19, and Mk47, it is a rifle that a single soldier can carry and utilize. When used in an ambushing role, the XM1049 round can defeat any of the listed infantry carrier vehicles, offering a multishot capability that the LAW and AT4 do not have, while weighing in the same category of fourteen or so pounds, and also possessing easily interchanged ammunition. The XM-25 has not been issued to the whole Army yet, but that will be changing. And when it does, IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) tactics are going to be in need of serious modification.

6. M72 LAW

The M72 LAW is the oldest and least capable antitank rocket currently employed by the US Army. Its chief benefit is light weight; one or more LAWs can be fairly easily carried by a single soldier. It is capable of defeating most infantry vehicles’ armor, but is marginal against moving or obscured targets due to being unguided. It has seen a rebirth in recent years with newer generation warheads such as the blast/fragmentation warhead to be used against enemy infantry.

7. AT/M136

The AT4 was selected in the 1980s to replace the LAW as it possessed a far superior armor penetrator than the M72. With between 420-600mm of armor penetration it can destroy anything short of the tanks on the above list. It might even defeat tanks if a top-attack angle is available, such as from a multi-storey building to a tank on the street below. Like the LAW it has limited ability against moving or obscured targets. While it is capable of having optics mounted, as seen in the picture above, it is intended to be disposable, which means you’ll be wasting time recovering the expensive optic from your disposable antitank weapon upon use. The AT-4 has a maximum effective range of 300m for a point target, or 500 meters for an area target.

8. Javelin

The Javelin ATGM is a ground-breaking weapon. It’s first use in combat was probably in 2003 at the Battle of Debecka Pass, where US Special Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga guerrilla engaged a force of eight armoured personnel carriers and four T-55 tanks. At least four of the APCs were destroyed by Javelin missiles. The Javelin was the first man-portable fire and forget antitank weapon. It uses an imaging infrared seeker to track the selected target. The Command Launch Unit and missile tube weigh just under 40 pounds.

The Command Launch Unit includes a daytime 12x scope and a nighttime/bad weather infrared optic. It can be used independently of the missile/tube; which is disposable upon firing. The Javelin has a maximum effective range of approximately 2,000 meters.

9. TOW

The BGM-71 TOW is the heaviest antiarmor missile operated by ground forces in the US Army. It is always vehicle-mounted, and can be found on the M2/3 Bradley, Stryker ATGM vehicle and selected uparmored Humvees, as seen above, and below:

M2 Bradley installation
M1134 Stryker installation

There are no fewer than nine TOW missile variants. The most recent variant is the TOW-RF, which unlike older models is not wire-guided and so has its range boosted to 4,500 metres as a result, as opposed to the A through H models’ range of 3,750 metres. It is not a true fire-and-forget weapon, however it’s exceptional range compensates for that quite well. A properly camouflaged Stryker or Humvee with these on board is a potent threat to enemy armor.

Part II: Maximizing effects

All of the above weapons can be found in a US Army infantry battalion. They offer complimentary effects, and a “system of systems” allowing engagement from point blank range to 4.5 kilometers:

Clearly, engaging with just your heaviest (and therefore least numerous) weapons at the maximum achievable range is not advisable. Infantry tactics rely on shock effect and using terrain and maneuver to achieve advantage.

This might look like an ideal environment for antitank warfare, it most definitely is not. Tanks and other armoured vehicles typically have excellent long-range optical sensors; this is why they are well-suited to plains and deserts. Engaging armoured units in this kind of environment is extremely hazardous, and given the relatively limited firepower available, a bad idea. Ideal terrain for an antiarmor ambush limits the vehicle’s mobility, situational awareness, and firepower. An example would be:

Here, we have an almost perfect example of terrain ideal to killing armoured vehicles. The vehicles will be going slowly do to driving uphill to begin with, and also can’t directly see around the loop; the loop itself is going to require them to go even more slowly. They are also trapped on the road; the grades are probably too high for them to go offroad. In contrast, infantry with Javelin ATGMs can occupy the high ground and see for miles; when they attack, it will be from very close range, where a tank’s situational awareness is poorest, and lethality of their weapons will be at its greatest. A competent tank commander would do his utmost to keep his vehicles out of places like this unless he has helicopters and infantry supporting him.

The best place for infantry to confront armored vehicles is this:

There is tons of cover. Vehicle situational awareness is extremely poor, and their firepower advantages are largely nullified. More importantly, unlike terrain, cities cannot be bypassed-they ultimately must be taken. Urban centers offer other advantages to infantry, such as the easy creation of chokepoints to force vehicles into ambush zones, and ready-made structures to maneuver from or fall back to; there is literally nothing advantageous about cities for armoured vehicles.

Ideally, an infantry company with attached heavy weapons platoon could set up an ambush like so:

  • All ambush teams have both interlocking fields of fire, and additional buildings to fall back to.

  • Obstacles are used, but are out of sight to enemy vehicle crews.

  • Area is built-up to minimize vehicle speed and situational awareness.

These are the basics to a successful ambush of enemy armour in urban terrain. Other considerations could include bait-a bridge or similar high-value object that the enemy needs to take, or combining your long-range weapons on the edge of the city to both score kills and lure the enemy inside your ambush.

I don’t really have much else to say about this; other topics of interest for readers might be the Line Of Sight Antitank missile program, or the Compact Kinetic Energy Missile program.

Related

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Reverend Clint

    this will come in handy next time i spot a BTR or Prius at costco

  • 15yroldgunman

    Lovin the sight on the m2

    • Nick

      Yep, it took us years to catch up to what the Russians have been doing with their NSV and KORD heavy machine guns with their scopes mounted on the weapons.

  • Nick

    I still do not get why no one bothers to think about why we are using Strykers and armor armed with pricey AT missiles instead of things like a M8 Buford with it’s 105mm cannon with HE rounds. However that is the Army for us.

    • Nick

      With their heads still wrapped around fighting tanks and not insurgents.

    • W

      because certain people have their heads far up their fucking asses thats why.

      there is a time and place for missiles. missiles, however, cannot always replace a low-cost 105mm round, especially in the case of counter insurgency and even airborne operations during a conventional war.

      There’s a weapon missing here: The M3 recoilless rifle :D

    • HX87

      Even better: bring back the Sheridan and 152 millimeters of BOOM.

      • charles222

        You mean “bring back the Sheridan and frickin aluminum armor”, right? A vehicle’s weapon is worthless unless the vehicle itself can take a hit.

      • Nick

        The M8 Buford is generally superior to the Sheridan in most aspects.

    • charles222

      CKEM, if the Army ever decides to adopt it, is going to make any 105mm-toting light armored vehicle obsolete.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Kinetic_Energy_Missile

  • DW

    Illegal parking will be TOWed.

  • PCP

    Wouldn’t a self propelled heavy mortar like the AMOS and a few scout teams prove to be an efficient countermeasure against both enemy armor and anti-armour infantry. It would have a much greater range, fire power and volume with the ability to simply ignore or destroy buildings and to also provide direct fire if necessary.

    • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

      There’s a quite inexplicable fascination to those heavy turreted mortars despite the unnecessary cost, weight and size. Lots of people get caught in this fascination.

      Fact is that there’s no decent indirect AT capability in a 120 mm mortar unless the tank commander is stupid and doesn’t move in plain sight. Even the guided mortar bombs are practically useless against mobile tanks. Their footprint is so small that even if there was no FO-mortar team communication lag, the target tank would still easily leave the PGM footprint area with its normal off-road speed even under difficult soft soil conditions.

      Another fact is that no known 120 mm mortar vehicle has the protection to be a good choice for voluntary direct fire engagements against capable opposition (such as a mechanized one).

      Finally, there’s effectively no line of sight AT ammunition for 120 mm mortars that would give such a mortar carrier even the semblance of a fair fight (ceteris paribus).

  • bbmg

    The Italians and South Africans seem to be pretty happy with the Centauro and Rooikat respectively when it comes to wheeled tank destroyers.

    http://www.tanknutdave.com/component/content/article/295

    http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/row/rooikat.htm

    • W

      everybody and their fucking POS 8×8 wheeled carriers. :D

      the funny part is that all of the customers of these products have been duped into thinking they’re cheaper and more simply to operate when they are not.

      I do not doubt, however, that these systems are a fraction of the cost of a Stryker.

      • Nick

        At least they work compared to the stupidly expensive and mediocre Stryker that we have. We had to water down the charges to use full recoil force weapons while they use low force full powered guns. We have been left in the Dark about the Stryker. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbs4-vMSctA&feature=plcp

        I just wish we could just get some CV-9040′s instead.

      • W

        LOL the stryker is not air droppable, cannot accurate fire and move, is too lightly armed, cannot adequately integrate with 120mm mortar and 105mm gun systems, is astronomically expensive (over 4 million a unit!!!), has a hideously complex power train compared to the M113, is not even american manufactured (which is a blatant violation of the barry amendment), has a high ground pressure (which interferes with its cross country mobility), and has abysmal crew ergonomics.

        i cannot believe it outperformed the much superior improved M113 platform (the M113A4 MTLV i think its called). http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/alerts/national-security/ns-siav-20050331.html

        we could have adopted a better interim combat vehicle, instead, the scheduled replacement, the GCV, is supposed to be even more heavy and expensive. so much for highly mobile airborne capabilities :(

  • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

    The M136A1 has a confined spaces capability that is a game changer for the M136:
    http://www.pica.army.mil/pmccs/CombatMunitions/ShoulderLaunched/AT4-CS.html

    CKEM :
    “Despite the successful completion of numerous flight tests and program milestones, Lockheed Martin was notified of the termination-for-convenience of the Compact Kinetic Energy Missile (CKEM) by its U.S. Army customer in 2006.”

    “Tanks and other armoured vehicles typically have excellent long-range optical sensors; this is why they are well-suited to plains and deserts.”

    It depends. Open terrain does not necessarily favour armoured attacks, as tanks face the full firepower of ATGMs there. Meanwhile their protection and their ability to mass in a small area provide advantages on rather closed terrains where the ATGMs are less likely to defend and often impractical due to minimum range requirements and low mobility.
    The historical rule of thumb has been that open terrain favours the defence and closed terrain favours offence. Admittedly, there’s a widespread confusion about tanks in the latter.

    Yet think about this: you have 50 AT weapons capable of 2 km range and killing a tank. What would your rather want to defend? An open field of 10 km width or a hedgehog landscape of 100 fields of 100 m width each with high hedgehog rows between them?

    • charles222

      It depends, have the fourteen-plus tanks in your typical company spotted you and your handful of TOWs from 4 klicks out, or not? :p

      Built-up terrain is almost always better because the tanks are going to have virtually nil situational awareness. Yours might be decreased as well, but dismounted infantryman are going to have a vastly better picture of the tactical situation than anybody inside a buttoned-up tank is going to have.

      • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

        The argument (beefed up by mil history and operational research) is really that the attacker can benefit from the effects of superior force concentration in terrain with shortened lines of sight (yet not too small bottlenecks).
        Streets in a city are an extreme, but in general armour attacks better on terrain with lots of concealment every couple hundred metres than on wide open plains.

        The reason is simply that a concentrated (“massed”) attack will push through whatever weak resistance OPFOR was able to spare for the chosen route (one of many). A handful of TOW launchers may be able to hit a few tanks on the small field, but an entire armour battalion would overrun them in a minute.
        That’s different on open plains, where the battalion would face not a handful, but one or two dozen launchers, be unable to break LOS temporarily other than with smoke and be exposed for a longer time.

        Basic tactics are about small units, but advanced tactics include effects such as massing of troops (for a short period) and often lead to different conclusions than basic tactics maxims. Some advanced tactics appear to be outright counter-intuitive, yet are based on solid combat experiences, experiments and research.

  • Nater

    I assume that the API .50BMG round is the Mk 211 and not some other, earlier API round?

  • lex

    Are those penetration stats in RHA/RHA equivalent?

    • charles222

      Yes.

  • Wolf

    I’d like to see more articles like this one. Really enjoyed it.

    I’m amazed that the XM25 can match 40mm grenade launchers in armor penetration. Also, only 8-16mm’s for the m82? That’s disappointing.

    • charles222

      I’m guessing the XM-25′s muzzle velocity and flat trajectory are why it can=a 40mm grenade launcher for penetration.

      • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

        No, the 25 mm employs a shaped charge (that does not depend on projectile velocity) as well.
        It was/is a gold-plated round. You can squeeze some more performance out of shaped charges with a more expensive liner (tantalum instead of copper et cetera) and a more exotic (faster expansion) explosive.

        The 25 mm calibre uses rather specialised AP and AT ammo, while a 40 mm grenade with shaped charge is AFAIK always HEDP, a “dual purpose” compromise. 40 mm ammo is furthermore hugely quantity production stuff unlike the rarely needed 25 mm AT round.

    • charles222

      S O: Thanks! It was a giant struggle just to learn the XM25′s AP round’s nomenclature, much less anything about it.

  • alannon

    I have a buddy that’s worked around (but not with) the XM25, and his opinion of it was basically that they needed to deploy as many as possible, as fast as possible.

    And he’s usually pretty conservative when it comes to changing what he carries.

  • bbmg

    Given the apparent limitations of the M82, I wonder if there is a gap to be filled by an improved anti-material rifle like the Steyr AMR: http://www.steyr-aug.com/amr.htm

    The above is not in production, probably because of difficulties with accuracy, but the claimed penetration of over 1.5 inches of RHA at 1000 metres is impressive to say the least. If the accuracy problem with smoothbores on tanks was solved, surely similar levels of precision can be achieved with smaller rounds.

    Aside from dart type rounds for armour penetration, heavier rounds with an explosive payload could also be developed (as was done for tank 120mm guns with the M830 series of ammunition). The high muzzle velocity combined with good ballistic coefficient would ensure a flat trajectory out to long ranges.

    Also, surely it is not beyond the capabilities of modern engineering to manufacture a muzzle brake that is compatible with the SLAP round? Perhaps boring small holes in the last couple of inches of the barrel that would not interfere with the sabot?

  • WhatsHisFace

    I’d say that a well place AC-130 would make a pretty good tank defense. Should you have one laying around.

    • charles222

      And you’re in a highly permissive environment.

  • fred

    I would like to see fewer articles like this..

    “Special Forces diplomacy”?

    Many of the weapons listed are not “anti-armor” in the sense that the army uses the term..

    Huge post.. small relevance to …

    “The firearm blog”

    • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

      Sometimes there’s a deeper meaning to metal stuff that says “bang”.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      Hi Fred,

      We have always covered all manner of military small arms, including anti-tank systems. We occasionally cover big guns (artillery and naval guns).

    • John Woo

      Please, Fred, let us all in what you believe is appropriate content for this site. We’re all dying to know.

  • Lautlos

    I like the timing of this article because as an Infantryman I’ve been thinking about this very topic for the last few months.

    Every time I see video of the rebels in Syria fighting against buttoned up APC and MBTs in the built up areas over there I think that they have this but it just hasn’t worked out that well for them.

    They need a primer like this to point them in the right direction. This plus some study of how the Chechens did it at Grozny in 94-95 would put them in a pretty good position.

  • http://www.madogre.com Ogre

    Take a look at the old Dragon II Anti Tank missile system. That was my original MOS – 11BC2. “Dragon Gunner”. Sounds cool huh? It wasn’t. The Dragon was a useless weapon system. Oh, it could knock a tank if the Tankers were drunk or otherwise not alert. If they were awake and sober, it was suicidal to fire the Dragon. Slow missile. You had to stay on target during the flight. 60% – 80% hit rate. Huge launch signature.
    11 second missile flight time.
    4 seconds to traverse a turret to machinegun the Dragon Gunner to death.
    We opted instead of packing the Dragons, to pack a bunch of LAW’s. Our tactics went from Killing Tanks, to “Man, I just hope we can Disable it.”
    Luckily the AT-4 came out, and then TOW went mainstream and rode in Humvees. Most of us Dragon Gunners just got folded into regular infantry, and the Army started dropping the BC2 and just used B’s on forms. BC2′s are almost totally forgotten.
    Thank goodness.

    • W

      ive handled a dragon when i first enlisted in the army. I think the javelin that replaced it is lightyears ahead of time.

      Supposedly if it were ever to be used against Soviet tanks, Dragon AT teams would have sustained a disproportionately higher casualty count.

      • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

        IIRC the Dragon’s reputation of uselessness approached the one of the Chauchat light machinegun of WWI and many American army NCOs expected Dragons to be thrown away on day one of WW3.

        The Dragon launchers still in the inventory during Desert Shield (poor 82nd!) were only supposed to weed out the BMPs and to ignore the T-72s.

      • joe

        What soviet tanks are you talking about? The eighties is over and so is the jesuit fourth reich 14th amendment american empire. Different ballgame going on now pal.

        Decrepit U.S. puts hypocritical sanctions on russia yet relies on russia to launch space vehicles??? Bankrupt america will fight no more large scale wars.

  • El Duderino

    “the TOW is always vehicle mounted”

    Funny, all of the TOW systems I’ve seen come with a tripod and batteries to be ground mounted. All USMC TOW gunners in the ’90s learned how to operate it in ground mount mode first.

    It’s definitely preferable to vehicle mount a TOW launcher, you can shoot and scoot. At 60lbs apiece the missiles are only man portable over short distances, let’s not talk about the weight and bulk of the launcher components. But you CAN ground mount a TOW, and in the ’80s the mujis in Afghanistan did just that against the Soviets — they would emplace TOWs high on the hills above the max elevation angle of a T-55 or T-62 and blast em while Stingers provided cover vs. Hinds. About the only danger was the 30mm cannon on the BMP-2 which could elevate over 70 degrees.

    • charles222

      Yeah, I know the TOW *can* be ground-mounted. I definitely wouldn’t describe it as optimal, though; vehicle-mounted is obviously superior.

  • charles222

    @Steve, could you please amend the title to “Infantry anti-armor tactics”? The title as it is is kind of misleading.

  • Lance

    Got to love the AT-6 and LAW. but the M-2 holds its own

    If all else fails a F-15E with GBU-15 LGB beats this scale on armor buster scale.

    • charles222

      Infantrymen sadly don’t get F-15Es. :p

      • CrustyOlTanker

        Actually, they do. Nifty little thing called a “radio” that puts them at your disposal. Also, concerning the remarks about the venerable AC-130 kinship- I was in iraq both during the invasion, and again 06-07- we had Spooky on call every night. As well as Apache Longbows, Warthogs, and the usual assortment of fast movers. Not to mention indirect. The Copperhead round for the 155mm cannon is a thing of beauty. As a M1A2 SEP tank commander, I can tell you that no time during the Iraq war did we worry about anti-armor weapons. They finally figured out how to make IED’s big enough to stop a tank, and i got the scars to prove it, but they never came close to shooting holes in our panzers.

  • Tony

    More articles like this, please…

  • Gaston

    Interesting to see a return of the Anti-Tank Rifle – a product born in WW1 and which went off the market in 1941.

    • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

      The Soviets kept producing AT rifles till late in the war.
      After all, they were not only facing medium and heavy tanks, but also thin half-tracks ans well as various tank destroyers and older type tanks (StuG III for example) which had side armour in the 6-30 mm range.

      AT gunners were also expected to shoot various ballistic weakspots of mediums and heavies and thy were quite fearsome to you if you as an infantryman took cover behind a tree trunk, wall or gun shield.

  • Pietro

    I’d be curious to know how many visits (if any) of this article are from Syria!

  • Jean Luc Picard

    I wonder why no one make multiple shots rocket launchers, I mean something like the M202 FLASH with heat rockets, if you compare with the smaw (11.82 with the lightest rocket) or panzerfaust 3 (12.8 with its lightest rocket) you have a similar weight (the FLASH weights 12kg loaded with a clip of 4 rockets) and have multishot capability.

  • Nicks87

    Great article, It definately gives us some good insight to what the Egypt/Libya/Syrian rebel’s may be using to fight tyrannical Govt forces over-seas.

  • Ian Easterly

    There was the LOSAT (Line Of Sight Anti Tank) There were four of these at Bragg around 2005 but the project was cancelled for budget reasons. http://www.break.com/index/losat.html. Everything about the platformed worked even better than projected it was tested by Alpha company 511th PIR at Ft. Bragg.

    • Charles222

      I think LOSAT and CKEM got shelved not so much for budget (after all, the defense budget in 2005 was “how much money would you like?) as lack of a mission. You don’t need a hyper velocity missile to demolish poorly constructed buildings. My guess is that the Army got them developed to maturity and then shelved them for future adoption.

  • charles222

    Thanks for the title fix steve.

  • Dave

    Seems like the US Army and Special Forces prefer “The Goose” these days.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Gustav_recoilless_rifle

  • John Doe

    Those TOW missiles are pickup-mountable, right? I hate soccer moms and their Escalades.

  • Mike Knox

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read an article like this somewhere else..

    • charles222

      …Please tell me you’re not accusing me of plagiarizing?

      • Mike Knox

        I read one around 1998, but it was a more intricate four part presentation. It included more wepons, equipment, tactics and scenarios. Source was MoD though..

    • charles222

      Yeah, I didn’t plagiarize a MoD presentation from 14 years ago, thanks. :p

      • Mike Knox

        Wow, it’s easy to forget that the 90s were more than a decade ago already..

      • charles222

        lol, Mike. Sorry for getting testy with you.

  • Tony

    In my old INF BN we humped the TOW plenty of times using a 3-man team. Not my favorite thing to do, but it has definitely been done.

  • Brick

    Interesting article, but those 40 mm grenades cannot penetrate the front of a BMP-2. 34 mm of armor does NOT mean, that the path of the jet through the armor will be 34 mm. The front is rather angled therefore the actual armor distance to penetrate will be at least 34 mm/cos(45°)= 48 mm meaning in the best of cases it will just barely penetrate and therefore not do anything inside. On the other hand catching it on the side guarantees penetration even with the M2 since there the armor (18 mm) is not angled whatsoever.
    http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/inf/BMP-2.html
    This only goes for the basic vehicle though. For all russian LAVs there is ERA (Explosive reactive armor) available.
    http://www.be-and-co.com/oaf_pdf/oaf01103338.pdf
    This armor will defeat ANY single charge HEAT warhead. The only AT-4 version with a tandem warhead would have been the AT12-T, which was cancelled. A uparmored BMP-2 can therefore only be defeated by TOW and Javelin missiles (of the weapons mentioned). How about buying our Panzerfaust 3 with tandem warhead and 900 mm RHA(arbitrary number pretending to say something about armor) penetration (able to take out a M1 frontally [which probably not a good place to be for an infantry-man] . One of few such weapons, that can be used in urban warfare since it has soft launch capability, just like the javelin, meaning it can be fired from the inside of buildings.
    Well, there is a cheap way to defeat any incoming rocket:: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stryker_vehicle_from_the_56th_SBCT.jpg
    This can render all HEAT type ammunitions ineffective. If applied to the top this also goes for Javelins.

    tl;dr: This whole armor vs. HEAT thing is rather complex one should really be careful with numbers such as penetration vs. RHA value.

    Oh almost forgot: I call bullshit on those XM 25 penetration values.

    • Nater

      Won’t API and SLAP .50 BMG ammunition detonate ERA panels? You’d obviously have to score hits to the same general area on a moving vehicle, but it seems like a pretty big weakness to me.

      • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2012/04/crazy-gun-related-stuff.html S O

        ERA is not easily exploded.
        Its explosive is relatively insensitive. A mere bullet (even incendiary bullet) is not going to fuze it. The removal of ERA requires either detonating it, punching through it (some HEAT warheads employ a non-detonating first stage that just pushes through the old-style ERA mechanically) or blowing it away with blast.

    • CrustyOlTanker

      Every HEAT round that i ever fired into a BMP, BTR, or BRDM-ever, burned them to the ground. ‘Course, it was 120mm…..

  • JJD

    What happened to this article? Why is it no longer on the front page?

  • http://www.modernselfprotection.com Ben Branam

    The TOW can be carried. I know because I’ve done it, and it sucks. It takes a squad to do it.

    Also, the Marine Corps was starting to look at bringing back Hunter-Killer teams. A four-man fire team moves to the target and splits. They split into a machinegun and an anti-armor team. The machinegun opens up on the armor to get people to get down and the tank to button up. This gives time for the anti-armor team to make a good shot.

    My suggestion, don’t carry a TOW… ever!

  • Eric Haines

    4-120mm artillery rounds, about 200 lbs of HMA, and topped with a tripple stack of ant-tank mines of Russian origin. A friend of mine was killed, along with his driver, by a dudded 500 lb bomb that was buried under the road, and remote detonated. It blew the turret off, setting it on the front slope. My tank was the first Abrams to be penetrated by an RPG, effectively reducing our combat effectiveness by hitting my gun tube just behind the MRS(muzzle reference sensor). Until it was fixed I pretty much had a Magna Ported gun tube. My platoon sergeant’s tank was the second to be penetrated, getting hit at about the #5 skirt, and penetrating through to the hydraulic resevoir. Neither shot resulted in injuries, and were easily repaired. As for heavy armors use in urban areas, we wrote the book on those TTP’s for US forces. We were using hunter/killer teams back in ’03, with a pairing of a tank, and a Bradley with an eight man dismount team. It was wildly effective, with the Brad sweeping across whatever sector we were patrolling with both their vehicle and dismounts, inviting an ambush, with a tank orbiting the sector- waiting for the grunts call us with an enemy force in contact, or catch any squirters that try to run. This worked so well that it was adopted all across the theatre of operations. Our biggest threat was haji throwing a.grenade on top of the vehicle from the top of a building. They never shot an AT weapon down on top of us for very simple reason- we had great overwatch set up, and the shooter would be instantly identified, and eliminated. During the invasion all of the enemy we made contact with were either in defensive positions, or in a full retreat. Not one Abrams was destroyed by enemy fire. Not. One. There was one tank that was disabled by multiple RPG shots to the track and exhaust grills. The vehicle was not recoverable at that time due to mission pace, and was destroyed in place by the crew. That was 3rd ID, during the sweep through Baghdad. The bottom line is this- the M1A2 was the most feared ground vehicle in theatre, whether it was facing regular Iraqi army, or insurgent terrorists.

  • Eric Haines

    Sorry about that- for some reason the first part of that post wasn’t published. I’ll paraphrase- As a twenty year veteran tanker, I can tell you with absolute certainty that not one of our tanks was ever- EVER!!- destroyed by any shoulder fired AT weapon. The only way they ever did that was with huge IED’s, usually remotely detonated. My vehicle was hit multiple times by various RPG’s, with no affect other than that noted in the rest of my post. F’d my paint up. Bastards. The IED that my tank was destroyed by was composed of 4-155mm artillery rounds…..(continued above)