Saturday, December 24, 2016

Top tanks. New list!

There has been a raging debate on the blog about the rankings of the top tanks in the world.  Where did it come from?  The performance of Turkish Leopard 2's in Syria.  To be honest they've been getting their asses handed to them.  Why is this alarming when we've seen the Saudi's getting the same treatment in Yemen?  Because Turkey is a member of NATO, they're a quasi-European nation (some debate this but they're pushing for membership in the EU...and its still under consideration, not rejected outright...and in the past the US has supported its inclusion so they're Europe right?) and it can be assumed that they would get the same standard of tank that was sold to other European countries.

That means what we're seeing armor/protection wise is the real deal, not some detuned export model.

With that being said this is the new top tank list biased toward crew protection...

M1 Abrams.

This is the king of the beasts, undisputed champion and the tank that will most likely get its crew back alive.  No gimmicks here just good engineering that's been proven in the heat of battle.

T14 Armata.

Some will question its inclusion on the list and also its high ranking.  I feel it deserves it.  Encapsulating its crew in an armored bathtub?  Not exactly original thinking but they're the first to get the deed done.  Additionally we haven't seen a tank scare like this one since the old CIA reports on the USSR and how everyone was worried about the T-64.  Armor protection, massive main gun planned and a ground breaking potential on future battlefields justify this ranking.

Challenger 2.

This warhorse has seemingly been around forever (although its no older than the Abrams) but its like a former UFC champion.  It might be a bit long in the tooth but its still extremely dangerous.  The Brits have finally gotten around to doing upgrades on this beast which should serve it well.  Additionally when it has been under fire its performed at the top of the game, protecting its crews and bringing them back alive.

Merkava 4.

The entire Merkava program was built with crew protection in mind.  I have not been impressed with its recent performance though.  Its heavily armored with the added protection of having the engine in front but again its performance (and the way the Israeli's have used it) leaves alot to be desired.  Additionally they appear to embrace armored warfare and having alot of ready rounds to engage enemy tanks instead of placing a premium on crew protection if the worst happens.  Its a balancing act and tradeoffs are to be expected but I think the Merkava 4 emphasizes fighting in the Golan and in the plains against armored formations instead of the up close knife fights that it finds itself involved in on an almost daily basis.

Leopard 2A7.

Everyone is amazed by Teutonic engineering.  Everyone has looked at the Leopard family and thought that its what a tank should look like.  A big gun, fast, highly mobile, able to traverse broken ground at what if its armor isn't quite as thick as the others.  But armor does matter and its part of the iron triangle.  Leopard fanboys have a bit of glamorization of German military might in WW2.  Specifically its technical achievements.  I only wonder how much of that carried over into the design of the Leopard...especially the models up to 2A5?  I mean think about it!  The tank is almost perfect for a blitzkrieg but not really for a defense from the USSR's tank horde everyone feared in the past.  Its not a bad tank, just not a top tank.

Honorable Mentions?

Basically every other tank out there.  Lets face it.  Excellent crews and proper tactics are the real deciding factor on the battlefield.  We are seeing something new though.  We must increase our tech to keep the tank viable. We're seeing what a battlefield full of anti-tank missiles do to tanks acting without proper support.

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