New feature...Heavy Metal Mondays...I pair a piece of military hardware with some classic metal or hard rock from my life...
Today, the M1 Abrams Tank and Quiet Riots Metal Health...
The M1 first took shape in the late 60's and Early 70's as NATO looked to standardize their MBT force against the massive Soviet armored might peering over the iron curtain at them. The project was a joint effort between the major powers in NATO, The US, Great Britain and (West at the time) Germany. Britain dropped out early and Germany after the US cancelled the project in 1971. While the Brits went on with their Chieftan and the Germans with the Leopard family of MBT..the US went on to develop what is arguably the most lethal tank of it time...
Replacing the aging M-60 and M-48 tanks in service the, M1 drew upon lessons learned in WW2, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere around the world in its design. Facing a numerically superior threat from the Soviets operating on their own continent, and the US projecting force from across the Atlantic, the American design borrowed a page from the German playbook in WW2 and sacrificed numbers for quality of features in its design.
Powerplant: The M1 did away with the old diesel engines of previous designs and incorporated a 1,500 hp turbo engine with a six speed (4 forward, 2 reverse) automatic transmission to obtain a max governed speed of 45mph...with that pesky governor removed speeds in excess of 60mph are possible. This power is linked to a "fly by wire" control system to ease both the training and fatigue of the driver in operating the vehicle. The engine will consume quite a bit of fuel (as will most tanks) but is capable of using diesel, Kerosene, MO Gas (regular gas) or JP4/JP8 aviation fuel if need be to help in replenishing its tanks in a drawn out logistical chain. Also the "power pack" itself on the tank is designed to be replaced in the field (by maintenance troops).
Armor: The M1 uses advanced Chobham armor to provide excellent protection to the crew. The front of the vehicle and turret get the most armor of course, but the sides and rear are also well protected for a tank of its class. The engine exhaust is not at the rear of the tank as on some designs, but on the rear deck, so there is no "sweet spot" on the vehicle for a quick engine kill by dismounted infantry with LAW type weapons. There are other no so readily observable measures to... The turret has an ammo storage system that separates the crew compartment from the ammo stores except when loading, its also equipped with blow out panels so if rounds in storage do get hit and explode the force is directed outside of the vehicle and not directly against the crew. All tanks are primarily designed to fight in open terrain against other tanks, urban or low intensity conflicts (such as in Iraq) present an distinct challenge to the tank as it allows all sorts of folks to get close enough to it and at high enough angles to bring fire down on the thinner top and side armor from close range. To combat this the Army has fielded both slat and reactive armor kits to give our troops a better chance against these threats.
Firepower: Oh Yeah...how does a 120mm smooth bore cannon, .50 M2 MB, a coax 7.62 and another in a turret mount sound to you? Pretty damn good, now lets pair that main gun and coax with a laser ranging and targeting system that gives the ability to shoot on the move that is second to none, a electronic communication package that gives up to the minute intel on enemy locations and the ability to see in the day, night, fog, smoke and anything else you can think of...yeah, you get the point.
The Crew: Probably the most lethal part of the tank. The US tanker is among the best in the world and receives outstanding training both inside and outside of his tank. The team that comprises the crew of the M1 consists of the following members.
- Tank Commander: Responsible for the overall performance of the vehicle and its crew. Navigates and communicates with other friendly forces. Directs the driver. Observes and identifies threats and assigns targets to the crew. He can override the gunner and engage targets if need be. He has a .50 M2 MG at the top of the tank from his hatch. He is the "brains" of the tank...
- Gunner: Targets the main gun and coax 7.62 and engages targets as directed by the TC. Calculates lead on targets using laser range systems. Performs maintenance on the main gun and systems.
- Loader: Loads the main gun, manages ammo. Mans 7.62 MG from his hatch against dismounted targets if needed. This position was eliminated from some Soviet designs in favor of an automatic loader. We kept it as the loading of rounds my a skilled loader can be as quick as an automatic loader and gives another crewman to aid in maintenance of the vehicle.
- Driver: Drives the tank from a position in the front slope of the armor, when buttoned up he almost reclines on his back in the chair.
All of the members of this team must work in unison in order for the tank to "come alive" on the battlefield.
I was never a tread head in an M1..tracks yes, tanks no...but man, who hasn't thought at least once in their life about firing that damn gun!!
And I would like to pair that up with Metal Health from Quiet Riot...why? Why not!! This is from the ,83 "US" festival..great performance, catches all of the over the top spandex madness that was 80's hair band goodness!