Since the Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, the West has found flaws in the design of Russian tanks. Because of this flaw, the shells in the tank are prone to exploding when the vehicle is hit by enemy fire.
Several versions of tanks with their turrets blown out have been photographed by international news organizations during the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Hundreds of Russian tanks were destroyed in this fight, according to the British Defense Minister. According to experts, Russian tanks are being damaged as a result of a flaw that Western forces have known about for decades. This is known as the “toy box with springs pop-out” effect.
The issue here is due to the manner in which the tank’s ammunition is stored. Unlike modern Western tanks, Russian tanks have a large number of shells stored inside inside the turret. As a result, the Russian chariots were exposed to even indirect enemy fire. The shot can set off a chain reaction inside the vehicle, causing all of the ammo (approximately 40 shells) to explode at the same time.
The heat wave produced by this simultaneous explosion was powerful enough to raise the tank’s turret to the height of a two-story structure.
Sam Bendett, a consultant with the Center for a New American Security’s Russian Program, believes there is a flaw in the Russian tank’s design.
“When enemy shells penetrate the tank shell, it detonates all the shells within, generating a massive explosion and blowing away the turret.”
According to Nicholas Drummond, a defense industry consultant specialized in ground operations, the flaw exposes the crew (often two in the turret and one driver) to attack. “You’ll burn if you don’t get out of the automobile in the first second.”
The “springy toy box” effect
According to Drummond, a former British Army officer, exploding ammunition in vehicles is an issue for the majority of the armored vehicles used by Russia in Ukraine. He used the BMD-4 infantry fighting vehicle as an example. This vehicle’s crew consists of 3-4 people, and it also transports 5 additional soldiers. The BMD-4, according to Drummond, is a “mobile coffin” that will be entirely incinerated if struck by a rocket.
This tendency was observed by Western military during the First Iraq War (1991) and the Second Iraq War (2003), when a substantial number of Russian-made T-72 tanks met the same fate. After being hit by an anti-tank missile, the turret was torn off the vehicle’s body.
Drummond believes that Russia has failed to learn from the Iraq wars, as evidenced by the fact that many of its tanks in Ukraine still have the same flaws in the design of the automatic loader.
When the T-90 series (the successor to the T-72) entered service in 1992, the armor was strengthened, but the loading system remained comparable to its predecessor, making the vehicle straightforward to handle. Drummond claims that he was harmed as usual. The T-80 tank, which is another Russian version of the tank currently fighting in Ukraine, features a similar loading method.
The Russian loading mechanism described above has some advantages. According to Bendett, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, Russia chose this approach to save room and make the tank small on the outside, making it tough to target in battle.
The fate of the T-72 tank in Iraq has pushed Western forces to seek ways to better.
“Western forces all learnt from the Gulf wars,” Drummond continued. They decided to design a separate compartment for ammo in the tank after observing the tanks being burnt.”
Drummond uses the US Army’s Stryker infantry fighting vehicle, which was created during the First Iraq War, as an example. “That vehicle features a roof turret, and that turret does not encroach into the crew compartment.” It is entirely at the top, and all ammo is kept in the tower. As a result, even if the tower is hit and explodes, the crew below is still safe. This is a clever design.”
Other Western tanks, such as the M1 Abrams used by the US military and several allies, are larger and lack a rotating tower. A fourth member of the Abrams crew retrieves shells from a different compartment and transfers them to the gunner.
A door in this ammunition container allows crew members to open and close it between tank shots. As a result, if the tank is struck by enemy fire, only one tank shell inside the tower is harmed.
“An accurate enemy shot can harm the tank but not necessarily kill the entire crew,” Bendett explained.
Furthermore, according to Drummond, the shells employed in Western tanks occasionally just burn owing to the enormous heat generated by anti-tank missiles and do not explode.
What are the main drawbacks of American tanks with a separate compartment for the crew?
Of fact, Western tanks in general, and American tanks in particular, such as the M1 Abrams, continue to have numerous drawbacks that are difficult to overcome. Creating a separate cabin for the employees comes at a cost.
For starters, the M1 Abrams tanks require adequate roads and ferries to pass. This type of vehicle’s soft footing will be difficult to overcome.
During the occupation of Iraq, for instance –, the infrastructure was weak, making it extremely difficult for American tanks to move towards the opposition. Where there are no roads or bridges, M1 Abrams tanks must wait for engineers to construct roadways, which takes a long time and exposes American tanks to enemy attack.
Furthermore, the tank’s heavy weight results in its bulky size, rendering it vulnerable to blows. Simply noted, the M1 Abrams tank is clearly easier to target at the same range than the Russian tank, simply because it is larger and easier to aim.
Another fatal flaw of the American M1 Abrams tank is that it consumes far more fuel, putting a significant strain on the logistical force. Despite the fact that the United States is a master of military logistics, there are numerous instances where American armored vehicles, particularly main battle tanks, consume excessive amounts of gasoline, lowering their combat effectiveness and negatively impacting their performance. strategy of influence
The M1 Abrams vehicle has a short operating range because to its high fuel consumption, which is only about 400 kilometers on level roads and 300 kilometers on rough roads.