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Old 08-15-2006, 04:19 PM   #1
Skybird
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Default 1973 revisited: tough lesson for Israeli armour

This is about the matter of facts of Israel's commitment of heavy armour in it's latest battle in Lebanon -where it apparently suffered serious losses.

Don't let it turn into a political debate.



Quote:

Tough lessons for Israeli armour

By Jonathan Marcus
BBC diplomatic correspondent


Tank crews have provided a significant number of casualties


One of the major military surprises of the fighting in Lebanon has been the apparent vulnerability of Israeli armour to Hezbollah anti-tank rockets.
No detailed figures are available and it is clear that many more tanks may have been hit than actually destroyed.
But a significant proportion of Israeli casualties have been among tank crews.
Hezbollah has also used its anti-armour weapons to bring down buildings around sheltering Israeli troops, again causing multiple casualties.
Hezbollah has fielded some of the most modern Russian-made anti-tank weapons, which the Israelis insist have come via the Syrians.

Wire-guided
The potency of infantry anti-armour weapons is nothing new for the Israelis.

One journalist reported seeing the sophisticated Kornet


In 1973, after Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal, Israel tank units learned the hard way about what Russian-made missiles could do.

The Egyptians put across the canal large numbers of soldiers armed with wire-guided Sagger missiles.
As long as the operator kept the target tank in his sights, signals sent along the unreeling wire would guide the missile to its target.
As counter-attacking Israeli tanks raced towards the canal, they were met by barrages of these missiles.


You can be sure Israeli Defence Forces planners... will be studying these engagements in detail



Commanders spoke of vehicles emerging from the fighting festooned with wires from the missiles, and many tanks were destroyed.
Since then a complex design battle has been underway between the tank and the infantry anti-armour weapon.
For the foot-soldier the key is penetration but also weight: What can easily be carried into battle?
Tandem charge
For the tank, too, there are weight considerations as more and more armour places heavier strains on engines and running gear and also potentially limits the areas in which a tank can operate.
In Lebanon Israel has come up against some of Russia's most modern anti-tank weapons.

Crew protection was a key element in the Merkava tank's design


The AT-13 Metis or Saxhorn is a modern tube-launched successor to the Sagger.
Its tandem-shaped warhead can punch through armour of up to 46cm (18 inches) thick.
The tandem warhead is designed to counter reactive armour as used on many Israeli vehicles.
Reactive armour is essentially made up of explosive pads or bricks on the outside of the tank which explode outwards when hit by an incoming missile.
This disrupts the effect of the missile warhead, which needs to impact upon the surface of the tank to achieve its penetrative effect.
A twin or tandem charge is designed to get around this.
The first warhead triggers the reactive armour and the second penetrates the tank.
Hezbollah is also reported to have used the RPG-29; a shoulder-fired weapon, again with a tandem charge.

Infantry carriers
And a journalist from the London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper reports also seeing abandoned Kornet missiles in Lebanon.
The Kornet was first shown by the Russians in 1994 and represents state-of-the-art technology.
It has either an optical or a thermal sight - effectively "riding" a laser beam to its target. It again has a tandem warhead.
It has a range of up to 5km (three miles) and is said to be able to penetrate armour up to 1,200mm thick.

Hezbollah has fielded some of the most modern weaponry


The Kornet has been exported by the Russians to only a few countries, including Syria.
And all the evidence suggests that the Syrians have passed them on to Hezbollah.
Israel is so concerned that it has despatched a team of officials to Moscow to show the Russians the evidence of what they say can only be Syrian weapons transfers.
In the longer term, the experiences of 1973 played an important part in shaping the philosophy behind Israel's Merkava battle tank.
The Merkava or Chariot is among the most modern in the world, but its unique feature is the extent to which crew protection figured in its design.
Quite apart from carrying highly sophisticated armour, it is almost unique in having the engine in the front, affording additional protection to its crew.
The need for well-armoured infantry carriers that can keep pace with the tanks has led Israel to convert a large number of older tanks to carry troops.
The Achzarit is a good example. It is based on the Russian T54/T55 tank which Israel captured in large numbers during the 1973 war.
Its turret and main gun have been removed and various other changes made to allow it to accommodate a crew of three along with seven infantrymen.

New armour
But all of these enhancements have not proved sufficiently effective against the most modern anti-tank systems operated by determined fighters on the ground.
You can be sure Israeli Defence Forces planners and indeed military observers from around the world will be studying these engagements in detail. Part of the answer may be to adopt new kinds of armour. But, as ever, part of the answer will be tactical - changes to the way tanks are employed and the way they operate in concert with other elements of ground-power, like infantry and artillery.
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Last edited by Skybird; 08-15-2006 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:33 PM   #2
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Tanks = Death traps.

Tanks vs Tanks in SB Pro is all fun. But only a retarded opponent would fail to employ this kind of AT weapon effectively on the scenario at hand.

I would ride your Leo 1 into battle against T-90's anyday, but I wouldn't venture into Lebanon in any kind of tank at all. It's a sea of AT Infantry, sneaking, hiding, ambushing. Unless you send the troopers far ahead to fall in the traps for me, die and take out the missiles along the way.

The answer is: unmanned radio-guided MBTs.

Either that, or ED-209 - shoot first, ask questions later.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:46 PM   #3
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Perhaps what is needed, is not a revolution of technology but a change in tactics.

What is done now by Israel is to send in the tanks either with a handful of troops or air support.

What needs to be done is the "Russian Rush." In where artillery shells a position while tanks and infantry advance under the cover of artillery bombardment. With tanks on the vanguard they take the most hits, infantry is just as vulnerable. This way, the enemy is suppressed until the ground forces are ontop of the enemy position, thereby destroying the AT units first and then proceeding on with shock troops/armor and pin-point airstrikes as needed.

So the question becomes of who to sacrifice? The tank or the footsoldier?

Although this is a pointless question for Israel (the tank goes first, and I kid you not when I say this) I'd rather sacrifice a couple soldiers and take out an AT obstacle than let the tank get hit and have no real firepower or moving cover for the footsoldiers.
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahoshua
Perhaps what is needed, is not a revolution of technology but a change in tactics.

What is done now by Israel is to send in the tanks either with a handful of troops or air support.

What needs to be done is the "Russian Rush." In where artillery shells a position while tanks and infantry advance under the cover of artillery bombardment. With tanks on the vanguard they take the most hits, infantry is just as vulnerable. This way, the enemy is suppressed until the ground forces are ontop of the enemy position, thereby destroying the AT units first and then proceeding on with shock troops/armor and pin-point airstrikes as needed.

So the question becomes of who to sacrifice? The tank or the footsoldier?

Although this is a pointless question for Israel (the tank goes first, and I kid you not when I say this) I'd rather sacrifice a couple soldiers and take out an AT obstacle than let the tank get hit and have no real firepower or moving cover for the footsoldiers.
These are nice tactics when engaging a regular army, but Hezbollah is not a regular army; it operates more guerilla-style......you unleash hell over their suspected positions and then rush with all your armour and infantry, only to find that there is nobody left to fight with....!

History has enough examples how difficult it is for regular armies to defeat an opponent that uses guerilla tactics (Vietnam, Afghanistan - Russian and US occupation- , present day Iraq). You can add the latest Israeli incursion into Lebanon to this list.....it was not the quick fix the Israelis expected, nor the victory that Hezbollah claims....

There is definately a role for the MBT on the battle field; in this case the MBT was just not well-used....
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:12 AM   #5
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First the Guerilla-argument that speaks against the "Russian rush". Second, what Western army has the "Roman spirit" to accept self-sacrifice, and high losses like the Russians, to overcome an enemy? I think the tactics being used were wrong from the beginning, deriving from very bad intel (not informed on how strong an army Hezbollah could field, and what kind of sophisticated weapons they have), being too hesitent to mobilize full reserves, waiting too long to go in on the ground, in strength, and then switching the thing on and off and on and off. Israel designs it's MBT's to be troop carriers at the same time, so that infantry can travel the battlefield in what probably is the best-protected troop carrier in the world - they like personnell losses even less than American and european armies (especially this may be the core problem and weakness there is no remedy to, even more so against an enemy who believes in finding death on the battlefield is a divine mercy and honour). I would have used ground forces exclusively to find out about enemy fighters, than fix them in place, but not fighting them on the ground - instead, let artillery and air force bury them with overkill capacity. For tanks - I wouldn't have seen so much use. Maybe in a role of a most immediate mini-artillery, but as leader of attacks - a no go for me.
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Last edited by Skybird; 08-16-2006 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 08-16-2006, 11:14 AM   #6
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I'd just drop a few dozen mother of all bombs (MOABS) on them. If the explosions don't kill them the sound will by will blowing out their hearing. Then they wouldn't be able to hear a tank if it rolled up on top of them.


First, send in the jets with precision guided bombs to take out their power and fuel infastructure.

Second, MOAB them several times in various locations, especially around food producing infastrucuture (farms, ports, towns, etc)

Third, send in Tanks, Artillery, and Troops and go house to house with no mercy on life. Kill EVERYONE!! Take NO prisoners!
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