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Found 8 results

  1. Collimatrix

    Tank Layout

    Walter dug up these diagrams, I know not where from: Very interesting, and you can see how much space the Soviet trick of turning the engine sideways saves.
  2. Sooooo...after doing a site-wide search and perusing Google, I'm surprised not to have found anything about tank suspension, other than a somewhat doubtful thread on the WoT forums. Would my learned colleagues of SH be able to assist me in understanding and identifying the different types of tank suspension? I think I've got leaf-spring more or less mastered, as well as both VVSS and HVSS (thanks, JGT!) but was somewhat embarrassed not to be able to differentiate between the suspension of a Type 97 Chi-Ha and an FV4201 Chieftain. UPDATE: I think I understand tank suspension better now. Thanks, everyone!
  3. Shortly after Jeeps_Guns_Tanks started his substantial foray into documenting the development and variants of the M4, I joked on teamspeak with Wargaming's The_Warhawk that the next thing he ought to do was a similar post on the T-72. Haha. I joke. I am funny man. The production history of the T-72 is enormously complicated. Tens of thousands were produced; it is probably the fourth most produced tank ever after the T-54/55, T-34 and M4 sherman. For being such an ubiquitous vehicle, it's frustrating to find information in English-language sources on the T-72. Part of this is residual bad information from the Cold War era when all NATO had to go on were blurry photos from May Day parades: As with Soviet aircraft, NATO could only assign designations to obviously externally different versions of the vehicle. However, they were not necessarily aware of internal changes, nor were they aware which changes were post-production modifications and which ones were new factory variants of the vehicle. The NATO designations do not, therefore, necessarily line up with the Soviet designations. Between different models of T-72 there are large differences in armor protection and fire control systems. This is why anyone arguing T-72 vs. X has completely missed the point; you need to specify which variant of T-72. There are large differences between them! Another issue, and one which remains contentious to this day, is the relation between the T-64, T-72 and T-80 in the Soviet Army lineup. This article helps explain the political wrangling which led to the logistically bizarre situation of three very similar tanks being in frontline service simultaneously, but the article is extremely biased as it comes from a high-ranking member of the Ural plant that designed and built the T-72. Soviet tank experts still disagree on this; read this if you have some popcorn handy. Talking points from the Kharkov side seem to be that T-64 was a more refined, advanced design and that T-72 was cheap filler, while Ural fans tend to hold that T-64 was an unreliable mechanical prima donna and T-72 a mechanically sound, mass-producible design. So, if anyone would like to help make sense of this vehicle, feel free to post away. I am particularly interested in: -What armor arrays the different T-72 variants use. Diagrams, dates of introduction, and whether the array is factory-produced or a field upgrade of existing armor are pertinent questions. -Details of the fire control system. One of the Kharkov talking points is that for most of the time in service, T-64 had a more advanced fire control system than contemporary T-72 variants. Is this true? What were the various fire control systems in the T-64 and T-72, and what were there dates of introduction? I am particularly curious when Soviet tanks got gun-follows-sight FCS. -Export variants and variants produced outside the Soviet Union. How do they stack up? Exactly what variant(s) of T-72 were the Iraqis using in 1991? -WTF is up with the T-72's transmission? How does it steer and why is its reverse speed so pathetically low?
  4. Collimatrix

    Top Speed in Tanks

    Tank design is often conceptualized as a balance between mobility, protection and firepower. This is, at best, a messy and imprecise conceptualization. It is messy because these three traits cannot be completely separated from each other. An APC, for example, that provides basic protection against small arms fire and shell fragments is effectively more mobile than an open-topped vehicle because the APC can traverse areas swept by artillery fires that are closed off entirely to the open-topped vehicle. It is an imprecise conceptualization because broad ideas like "mobility" are very complex in practice. The M1 Abrams burns more fuel than the Leo 2, but the Leo 2 requires diesel fuel, while the omnivorous AGT-1500 will run happily on anything liquid and flammable. Which has better strategic mobility? Soviet rail gauge was slightly wider than Western European standard; 3.32 vs 3.15 meters. But Soviet tanks in the Cold War were generally kept lighter and smaller, and had to be in order to be moved in large numbers on a rail and road network that was not as robust as that further west. So if NATO and the Warsaw Pact had switched tanks in the late 1950s, they would both have downgraded the strategic mobility of their forces, as the Soviet tanks would be slightly too wide for unrestricted movement on rails in the free world, and the NATO tanks would have demanded more logistical support per tank than evil atheist commie formations were designed to provide. So instead of wading into a deep and subtle subject, I am going to write about something that is extremely simple and easy to describe in mathematical terms; the top speed of a tank moving in a straight line. Because it is so simple and straightforward to understand, it is also nearly meaningless in terms of the combat performance of a tank. In short, the top speed of a tank is limited by three things; the gear ratio limit, the power limit and the suspension limit. The tank's maximum speed will be whichever of these limits is the lowest on a given terrain. The top speed of a tank is of limited significance, even from a tactical perspective, because the tank's ability to exploit its top speed is constrained by other factors. A high top speed, however, looks great on sales brochures, and there are examples of tanks that were designed with pointlessly high top speeds in order to overawe people who needed impressing. When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're going to see some serious shit. The Gear Ratio Limit Every engine has a maximum speed at which it can turn. Often, the engine is artificially governed to a maximum speed slightly less than what it is mechanically capable of in order to reduce wear. Additionally, most piston engines develop their maximum power at slightly less than their maximum speed due to valve timing issues: A typical power/speed relationship for an Otto Cycle engine. Otto Cycle engines are primitive devices that are only used when the Brayton Cycle Master Race is unavailable. Most tanks have predominantly or purely mechanical drivetrains, which exchange rotational speed for torque by easily measurable ratios. The maximum rotational speed of the engine, multiplied by the gear ratio of the highest gear in the transmission multiplied by the gear ratio of the final drives multiplied by the circumference of the drive sprocket will equal the gear ratio limit of the tank. The tank is unable to achieve higher speeds than the gear ratio limit because it physically cannot spin its tracks around any faster. Most spec sheets don't actually give out the transmission ratios in different gears, but such excessively detailed specification sheets are provided in Germany's Tiger Tanks by Hilary Doyle and Thomas Jentz. The gear ratios, final drive ratios, and maximum engine RPM of the Tiger II are all provided, along with a handy table of the vehicle's maximum speed in each gear. In eighth gear, the top speed is given as 41.5 KPH, but that is at an engine speed of 3000 RPM, and in reality the German tank engines were governed to less than that in order to conserve their service life. At a more realistic 2500 RPM, the mighty Tiger II would have managed 34.6 KPH. In principle there are analogous limits for electrical and hydraulic drive components based on free speeds and stall torques, but they are a little more complicated to actually calculate. Part of the transmission from an M4 Sherman, picture from Jeeps_Guns_Tanks' great Sherman website The Power Limit So a Tiger II could totally go 34.6 KPH in combat, right? Well, perhaps. And by "perhaps," I mean "lolololololol, fuck no." I defy you to find me a test report where anybody manages to get a Tiger II over 33 KPH. While the meticulous engineers of Henschel did accurately transcribe the gear ratios of the transmission and final drive accurately, and did manage to use their tape measures correctly when measuring the drive sprockets, their rosy projections of the top speed did not account for the power limit. As a tank moves, power from the engine is wasted in various ways and so is unavailable to accelerate the tank. As the tank goes faster and faster, the magnitude of these power-wasting phenomena grows, until there is no surplus power to accelerate the tank any more. The system reaches equilibrium, and the tank maxes out at some top speed where it hits its power limit (unless, of course, the tank hits its gear ratio limit first). The actual power available to a tank is not the same as the gross power of the motor. Some of the gross horsepower of the motor has to be directed to fans to cool the engine (except, of course, in the case of the Brayton Cycle Master Race, whose engines are almost completely self-cooling). The transmission and final drives are not perfectly efficient either, and waste a significant amount of the power flowing through them as heat. As a result of this, the actual power available at the sprocket is typically between 61% and 74% of the engine's quoted gross power. Once the power does hit the drive sprocket, it is wasted in overcoming the friction of the tank's tracks, in churning up the ground the tank is on, and in aerodynamic drag. I have helpfully listed these in the order of decreasing importance. The drag coefficient of a cube (which is a sufficiently accurate physical representation of a Tiger II) is .8. This, multiplied by half the fluid density of air (1.2 kg/m^3) times the velocity (9.4 m/s) squared times a rough frontal area of 3.8 by 3 meters gives a force of 483 newtons of drag. This multiplied by the velocity of the tiger II gives 4.5 kilowatts, or about six horsepower lost to drag. With the governor installed, the HL 230 could put out about 580 horsepower, which would be four hundred something horses at the sprocket, so the aerodynamic drag would be 1.5% of the total available power. Negligible. Tanks are just too slow to lose much power to aerodynamic effects. Losses to the soil can be important, depending on the surface the tank is operating on. On a nice, hard surface like a paved road there will be minimal losses between the tank's tracks and the surface. Off-road, however, the tank's tracks will start to sink into soil or mud, and more power will be wasted in churning up the soil. If the soil is loose or boggy enough, the tank will simply sink in and be immobilized. Tanks that spread their weight out over a larger area will lose less power, and be able to traverse soft soils at higher speed. This paper from the UK shows the relationship between mean maximum pressure (MMP), and the increase in rolling resistance on various soils and sands in excruciating detail. In general, tanks with more track area, with more and bigger road wheels, and with longer track pitch will have lower MMP, and will sink into soft soils less and therefore lose less top speed. The largest loss of power usually comes from friction within the tracks themselves. This is sometimes called rolling resistance, but this term is also used to mean other, subtly different things, so it pays to be precise. Compared to wheeled vehicles, tracked vehicles have extremely high rolling resistance, and lose a lot of power just keeping the tracks turning. Rolling resistance is generally expressed as a dimensionless coefficient, CR, which multiplied against vehicle weight gives the force of friction. This chart from R.M. Ogorkiewicz' Technology of Tanks shows experimentally determined rolling resistance coefficients for various tracked vehicles: The rolling resistance coefficients given here show that a tracked vehicle going on ideal testing ground conditions is about as efficient as a car driving over loose gravel. It also shows that the rolling resistance increases with vehicle speed. A rough approximation of this increase in CR is given by the equation CR=A+BV, where A and B are constants and V is vehicle speed. Ogorkiewicz explains: It should be noted that the lubricated needle bearing track joints of which he speaks were only ever used by the Germans in WWII because they were insanely complicated. Band tracks have lower rolling resistance than metal link tracks, but they really aren't practical for vehicles much above thirty tonnes. Other ways of reducing rolling resistance include using larger road wheels, omitting return rollers, and reducing track tension. Obviously, there are practical limits to these approaches. To calculate power losses due to rolling resistance, multiply vehicle weight by CR by vehicle velocity to get power lost. The velocity at which the power lost to rolling resistance equals the power available at the sprocket is the power limit on the speed of the tank. The Suspension Limit The suspension limit on speed is starting to get dangerously far away from the world of spherical, frictionless horses where everything is easy to calculate using simple algebra, so I will be brief. In addition to the continents of the world not being completely comprised of paved surfaces that minimize rolling resistance, the continents of the world are also not perfectly flat. This means that in order to travel at high speed off road, tanks require some sort of suspension or else they would shake their crews into jelly. If the crew is being shaken too much to operate effectively, then it doesn't really matter if a tank has a high enough gear ratio limit or power limit to go faster. This is also particularly obnoxious because suspension performance is difficult to quantify, as it involves resonance frequencies, damping coefficients, and a bunch of other complicated shit. Suffice it to say, then, that a very rough estimate of the ride-smoothing qualities of a tank's suspension can be made from the total travel of its road wheels: This chart from Technology of Tanks is helpful. A more detailed discussion of the subject of tank suspension can be found here. The Real World Rudely Intrudes So, how useful is high top speed in a tank in messy, hard-to-mathematically-express reality? The answer might surprise you! A Wehrmacht M.A.N. combustotron Ausf G We'll take some whacks at everyone's favorite whipping boy; the Panther. A US report on a captured Panther Ausf G gives its top speed on roads as an absolutely blistering 60 KPH on roads. The Soviets could only get their captured Ausf D to do 50 KPH, but compared to a Sherman, which is generally only credited with 40 KPH on roads, that's alarmingly fast. So, would this mean that the Panther enjoyed a mobility advantage over the Sherman? Would this mean that it was better able to make quick advances and daring flanking maneuvers during a battle? No. In field tests the British found the panther to have lower off-road speed than a Churchill VII (the panther had a slightly busted transmission though). In the same American report that credits the Panther Ausf G with a 60 KPH top speed on roads, it was found that off road the panther was almost exactly as fast as an M4A376W, with individual Shermans slightly outpacing the big cat or lagging behind it slightly. Another US report from January 1945 states that over courses with many turns and curves, the Sherman would pull out ahead because the Sherman lost less speed negotiating corners. Clearly, the Panther's advantage in straight line speed did not translate into better mobility in any combat scenario that did not involve drag racing. So what was going on with the Panther? How could it leave everything but light tanks in the dust on a straight highway, but be outpaced by the ponderous Churchill heavy tank in actual field tests? Panther Ausf A tanks captured by the Soviets A British report from 1946 on the Panther's transmission explains what's going on. The Panther's transmission had seven forward gears, but off-road it really couldn't make it out of fifth. In other words, the Panther had an extremely high gear ratio limit that allowed it exceptional speed on roads. However, the Panther's mediocre power to weight ratio (nominally 13 hp/ton for the RPM limited HL 230) meant that once the tank was off road and fighting mud, it only had a mediocre power limit. Indeed, it is a testament to the efficiency of the Panther's running gear that it could keep up with Shermans at all, since the Panther's power to weight ratio was about 20% lower than that particular variant of Sherman. There were other factors limiting the Panther's speed in practical circumstances. The geared steering system used in the Panther had different steering radii based on what gear the Panther was in. The higher the gear, the wider the turn. In theory this was excellent, but in practice the designers chose too wide a turn radius for each gear, which meant that for any but the gentlest turns the Panther's drive would need to slow down and downshift in order to complete the turn, thus sacrificing any speed advantage his tank enjoyed. So why would a tank be designed in such a strange fashion? The British thought that the Panther was originally designed to be much lighter, and that the transmission had never been re-designed in order to compensate. Given the weight gain that the Panther experienced early in development, this explanation seems like it may be partially true. However, when interrogated, Ernst Kniepkamp, a senior engineer in Germany's wartime tank development bureaucracy, stated that the additional gears were there simply to give the Panther a high speed on roads, because it looked good to senior generals. So, this is the danger in evaluating tanks based on extremely simplistic performance metrics that look good on paper. They may be simple to digest and simple to calculate, but in the messy real world, they may mean simply nothing.
  5. You've seen them before; poorly edited videos with an alternating loop of John Phillips Sousa and Weird Al, purporting to tell you about the various design mistakes armored fighting vehicle designers have made over the years: But does the maker of these videos one Blacktail Defense, know shit about AFV design himself? Haha, no, no he does not. Because of Sturgeon's House strict hate-speech enforcement laws, I am compelled to mention that Blacktail Defense is a furry. So know that should you click any of the links to his material, you will need to decontaminate yourself per protocol DG-12-23A with bleach. Blacktail Defense is a military reformer, a storied and interesting political movement in the United States that has gone from being a force of some consequence to being a ragtag group of scoundrels. I'm not going to say that they weren't idiots and scoundrels when they were of consequence, n.b. Military reformers are at they're strongest when they're on the attack. They're a lot like creationists that way; when they can hurl invective at (mostly imaginary) weaknesses within whatever it is they hate, they can look like concerned citizens campaigning for the taxpayer's right to have their money spent wisely and the soldier's right to have the best practical equipment. But give a military reformer some lined paper and a slide rule and tell them to come up with a design, rather than tear down an existing one, and you will quickly see that these people have no idea what they're talking about. Ready? This is taken directly from Blacktail's furaffinity page. Careful analysis shows that, no, this man has no idea what the everliving fuck he's talking about. Are you ready? No, you're not, but let's go ahead anyway. "The Tigerwolf may look vaguely similar to contemporary MBTs, such as the ubiquitous M1-series Abrams, but is in fact wrapped around a lot of design features and technology that are comlpetely alien to today's tanks." Blacktail is going to prove to you that he's a better tank designer than all those idiots at Chrysler by designing a tank using technologies that didn't exist at the time of the design of the Abrams. "For starters the crew is quite large, with a Commander, Driver, Gunner, TWO loaders, and an Engineer. Many designers favor a smaller crew, usually adding an autoloader to eliminate the Loader from the crew (like in the Russian T-64 through 90, the French Leclerc, and the Chinese Type 85 through 99)." ... What? "However, there are a lot of problems with a smaller crew. First, autoloaders work at a painfully slow pace (14 seconds to reload in a T-72), which gives manual-loading tanks a huge rate-of-fire advantage (just 4 seconds in the M1A1 Abrams)." "There's no autoloader either, as that only slows the ROF, requires smaller, less powerful and versitile ammo to be used, adds another complex, delicate set of moving parts to break, and only serves to expand the guantlet of things that can hurt you inside the vehicle.In fact, the Tigerwolf's main gun ammo is extremely large and heavy, and probably would break an autoloader --- it's would be an incredible feat of strength for a single Loader crewman to load in under 10 seconds." The Leclerc uses the same ammunition as the Abrams and Leopard 2. As for his 145mm smoothbore howitzer ammunition breaking an autoloader, does he not know that the Pz 2000 SPG has an autoloader for its 155mm gun? Of course he doesn't know that; Blacktail doesn't know what he's talking about. "The engineer is useful as well, because the large size of the Tigerwolf --- coupled with it's simple drivetrain (most modern tracked vehicles have a deceptively simple drivetrain) and small, flat engine (compred to a "Vee" or gas turbine) make for easy engine maintnance[sic] and repairs from inside the tank --- there's no need to abandon it if you lose a sparkplug while under small arms fire." Simple drivetrains, eh? Note that per the graphic, the Tigerwolf has a diesel wankel. Does Blacktail not know that diesel engines don't have spark plugs? Of course he doesn't know that; Blacktail doesn't know what he's talking about. (Diesel wankels don't exist. Three companies have tried making them; Rolls Royce, John Deere and some Japanese company I CBA to look up. None of the three ever got them to mass production. I'm not sure what the problem was.) "As for the armor, instead of using a large amount of steel and other metals, most of the Tigerwolf's armor is made up of thick panels and blocks of woven fabric Carbon 60 and 70 --- which are genarically[sic] known as "Fullerine". [sic] Fullerine has ove 100 times the tensile strength of steel, it's 10's of times lighter, and theoretically could be manufactured quickly and inexpensively. Essentially, the Tigerwolf has a sort of "Super Kevlar" armor, but unlike current Kevlars (which are made of polimers[sic] or composites), fullerine does not have a molecular structure that distorts or melts under heat or pressure --- a single piece of this new type of armor can withstand MANY direct hits from rounds with tank-killing power, KE and CE alike." Ah yes, fullerenes; every hack futurist's favorite crutch. Fullerenes have many interesting and useful properties, but their large-scale bulk mechanical properties may not be that amazing. Many materials have amazing strength at small scales, but disappointing strength at macro scales. Sapphire whiskers are an example. Moreover, high tensile strength (which is what fullerenes have going for them), does not necessarily imply that a material will make good armor. The properties that make materials effective against high-velocity threats are somewhat esoteric. Aluminum alloys, for instance, have a better strength to weight ratio than does steel, and while several of them do protect better on a weight basis than steel against lower velocity threats like artillery fragments and small arms fire, suffer badly against high-velocity penetrators and HEAT threats due to sheer failure modes that only exist at those higher velocity ranges. Also, why the fuck does Blacktail think that "Kevlars" melt under pressure? Aramids don't melt. "Even though it's much larger than an M1A1 Abrams, the Mk.75 Tigerwolf is over 30% lighter, and can swim over water obstacles, rather than slog though on the bottom. And because it floats, there are no depths that it cannot cross." This is how big a 40 tonne boat is. "Also important is it's low ground pressure, stemming from it's low 40-ton weight, super-wide tracks, low height, and enourmous horizontal size --- it has the ground pessure of a "Light Track" vehicle, like the M113 Gavin. This is important because almost half the world's surface is closed to heavy tracks (again, the M1A1 Abrams), due to thier height, ground pressure, and high centers of gravity. The Tigerwolf can directly cut across many areas that no existing or projected MBT will ever be able to --- not to mention traverse certain terrain features, such as bridges and paved roads, without damaging them." Is Blacktail under the impression that it's ground pressure that damages bridges? Jesus, if that were true the last thing you'd want to get anywhere near a bridge is a car. "As the Tigerwolf has 40% more power and torque than the M1, and weighs 30% less, it is 40% faster and could probably accelerate as quickly as a Humvee. This would make contemporary tanks very hard-pressed to cut-off a Tigerwolf, and no current or projected tanks could ever hope to pursue a Tigerwolf. Other advantages offered by the powerpack include a small number of moving parts, extremely low vibration and ocillation (inherent to Wankel Rotaries; not in piston engines), low heat emissions (less than in 700+ degree piston engines, or 1500+ degrees in Gas Turbines), a very small, flat, light engine block, and stonger individual components than in any current or projected tank engine, and a 5-speed AT, to take advantage of the high engine output. " Uh huh... So this is a magical wank(el) engine that has equal SFC to a diesel, rather than falling between a diesel and a turbine as existing ones do. "Other advantages offered by the powerpack include a small number of moving parts, extremely low vibration and ocillation (inherent to Wankel Rotaries; not in piston engines), low heat emissions (less than in 700+ degree piston engines, or 1500+ degrees in Gas Turbines), a very small, flat, light engine block, and stonger individual components than in any current or projected tank engine, and a 5-speed AT, to take advantage of the high engine output." WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF TURBINE REJECTS HEAT AT 1,500 DEGREES?! The highest turbine inlet temperature on record is 1,600C! Per Honeywell, AGT-1500's exhaust temperature is 500 C, but it's unclear if that is before or after it enters the recuperator. And if he's using bullshit Imperial units he's still wrong. If you don't know the difference between heat rejection temperature and turbine inlet temperature, you have no business discussing turbines. "All tanks require high firepower, and the Mk.75 Tigerwolf has plenty of it. The large size of the Tigerwolf's hull and turret enables a heavier-caliber howitzer to be used than on any tank currently in service --- a 145mm Smooth-Bore Howitzer. Because the German-designed M256 120mm smoothbore (M1A1, M1A2, Leopard 2, etc.) has a 40% larger punch than the British-designed M67 105mm Rifled-bore (the standard to which ALL other tank guns are judged --- used on too many tanks to list), the Tigerwolf's gun probaly has at least 20% more punch than the M256 --- enough to outrange any of today's tank guns, with enough penetration to destroy an M1A1 from well beyond it's maximum gun range." Any fictional Main Battle Wank needs to have a smitey, terrifying weapon... I'm not sure why Blacktail has saddled his design with a howitzer. Also, how many places on Earth are there where you can even see further than the engagement range of an M1's armament? "The Co-Axial MachineGun (COAX) fires 7x50mm rifle rounds, which combine the low cost and recoil of the 5.56x45mm NATO round, with the accuracy and penetration of the 7.62x51mm NATO round. 7mm rounds would also have a smaller casing daimeter than a 7.62mm round, which when coupled with significantly larger magazines and canisters, means the Tigerwolf totes one hell of a lot of MG ammo. As such, it is unlikely that a Tigerwolf will have to resupply MG ammo during a battle, and may even have thousands of rounds to spare --- if it is supporting friendly troops, the Tigerwolf may be able to spare a few thousand rounds for them." Someone doesn't know the difference between case head diameter and caliber. "A smooth ride and steady aim are achieved through hydropneumatic suspension and stabilization (versus the comparatively rougher torsion and hydraulics used in current and projected tanks) . The gun, turret, and hull each have thier own stabilization. While each of these are mechanically independant, they are balanced and co-ordinated via computer (which also feeds stability data to the gunnery computer, adjusting the GPS crosshairs in real time). This is unlike current tanks, whose ballistics comuters only react indirectly to the actual stability of the vehicle." I don't know what any of this means, except that Blacktail doesn't know how suspension and stabilization work. That's all I can stand. I'm done. Go read it if you want to, or not, whatever.
  6. Collimatrix

    Main Battle Wank

    I thought this deserves its own thread. Where do you see tank design going in the next few decades? Where do you think it should go? Here is where I think things will go: -Western tank development will be depressing. Every country will want their own indigenous tank design, and upon learning that they are lolnotevenclose to competent to actually make a first-rate MBT, they'll ask someone who is and end up making something that is practically identical to a Leo 2 or Leclerc, only without parts interchangeability. -Except for the tracks, ammo and engine, because all new Western MBTs will have the same Diehl tracks, MTU powerpack and Rheinmetall 120mm cannon. -Anyone who deviates from this formula will soon learn that all the engineers who actually design tanks hung up their hats in the early 1990s, and that re-building that knowledge base is hard. Being unwilling to put actual work into the problem, any tank designed that isn't based around these proven components will be a gigantic shitshow, and having wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, the country in question will throw up their hands and quietly buy T-90s or T-14s. -The vast majority of tank armor will be increasingly refined NERA, possibly with perforated stand off screens or those wedge thingies from Leo 2A5 to improve performance against LRPs. This fact, abundantly evinced by pictures of damaged tanks and tanks undergoing repair and overhaul, will continue to baffle and elude journalists. -The USA, Turkey, Franco-German consortium, South Korea and Japan will be the only "Western" countries still able to produce MBTs, and all will heavily lean on German-designed tracks, engines and guns. Turkish MBTs and other AFVs will be materially designed by South Korean firms to Turkish specifications. Italy and the UK will both lose their ability to design MBTs, the UK will actually lose their ability to make them, which will be rationalized by saying that MBTs are obsolete. Crystal ball cloudy for Poland, Czech Republic, and whatever tank production capability remains in Romania and former Yugoslavia. -The Russians will re-acquire the lead they had in tank design throughout most of the Cold War, with the Chinese playing second fiddle. Chinese first-line tanks will be quite good, but they will sell hilarious, hot-rodded type 59s to export customers (alongside hilarious hot-rodded J-7s) instead of their good stuff. Russia will sell the good stuff, and once they manage to replicate the parts they needed to source from abroad, it will be really good. The Ukrainian tank industry will remain gutted, and the glorious Kharkiv tank design lineage will fade into obscurity.
  7. Since we've got the new AFV design competition going and not everyone has solidworks, I thought I would share this information from Technology of Tanks so those who do not have CAD/CAM programs could come up with a reasonable accounting of what a tank ought to weigh: -Armor usually contribute between 35% and 51% of the total mass of the vehicle. The lower figure is typical for light tanks, the higher for MBTs. If the armor were reduced to the minimum necessary for structural purposes it would still be about 20% of the total mass. The highest figure on record is 57% for the armor of the IS-3. -The tracks contribute about 8% to 10% of the mass of the vehicle in the case of steel link tracks. On a fast track-laying combat vehicle the tracks are getting slung around over all sorts of rocks and whatnot, so they need to be tough, which means that they're heavy. Band tracks weigh 25%-50% less than steel link tracks, but band tracks can only be used on lighter vehicles. The heaviest vehicle I know of that uses band tracks is the Turkish Tulpar IFV at 32 tonnes. -Suspensions contribute about 8% to 10% of the total mass of the vehicle. Hydropneumatic suspensions are the lightest, but not by an enormous margin. Higher performance suspensions weigh more. -The power pack, that is the engine and the transmission together, account for about 12% of the vehicle's mass. -Guns typically contribute 3% to 7% of the total mass of the vehicle, although cramming the very largest gun possible into the very smallest tank possible can bring this up to about 10%. -Ammo generally weighs less than the gun. Fuel weighs about the same as ammo. On any fictional or notional tank design, I'll be looking to see if the weight of the components are within these bounds. If they're not there had better be a damned good explanation.
  8. EnsignExpendable

    An Effortpost on Tank Suspensions

    The mean goons over on SA roped me into writing an effortpost, so I figured it's only fair that you freeloaders get to enjoy it too. So, suspensions. I'm going to introduce the book as well because it's probably the most Soviet book that ever existed. It is called TANK. What makes this book so Soviet? Well, here's the first paragraph of the introduction: "Under the guidance of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, our people built socialism, achieved a historical victory in the Great Patriotic War, and in launched an enormous campaign for the creation of a Communist society." The next paragraph talks about the 19th Assembly of the CPSU, then a bit about how in the Soviet Union man no longer exploits man (now it's the other way around :haw:), then a little bit about the war again, then spends another three pages stroking the party's dick about production and growth. The word "tank" does not appear in the introduction. The historical prelude section is written by someone who is a little closer to tanks and might be a little less politically reliable, since they actually give Tsarists credit for things. I guess they have to, since foreigners are only mentioned in this section when they are amazed by Russian progress. The next chapter is a Wikipedia-grade summary of various tank designs that gives WWI designs a pretty fair evaluation, then a huge section on Soviet tank development, then a tiny section on foreign tanks in WWII mostly consisting of listing all the mistakes their designers made. The party must have recuperated since the intro since we're in for another three pages of fellatio. Having read so far, you might think that there is very little value in this sort of book, but then the writing style does a complete 180 and the rest of the book is 100% apolitical and mostly looks like this. Which is what we care about, so let's begin. Bonus points to anyone who can identify what the diagram above is about. Sorry in advance if my terminology isn't 100% correct, there aren't exactly a lot of tank dictionaries lying around. The book skips over primitive unsprung suspensions of WWI and starts off with describing the difference between independent suspensions and road-arm suspensions. In the former, every wheel is independently sprung. In the latter, two or more wheels are joined together by a spring. Some suspensions have a mix of these designs. For example, here's a simple road-arm suspension used in some Vickers designs and their derivatives. The two road wheels are connected by a spring and to the hull by a lever. A weight pushing down on top of the pair of wheels is going to compress the spring that's perpendicular to the ground, bringing the wheels closer together. Here's a more complex road-arm suspension, with four wheels per unit instead of one, also AFAIK first used by Vickers and then migrating to an enormous amount of designs from there. This suspension provides springiness through a leaf spring that you can see above the four road wheels. The two pairs of wheels don't have their own springs. The black circles in the image show where the suspension elements can turn, keeping the tank flat while hugging the terrain. Here's another road-arm suspension, similar to the first one. In this case, the spring is made of rubber instead of metal. Otherwise, the design is very similar. Two rubber bungs on the bottom of the axles prevent the wheels from slamming into each other too hard. This design was used by French tanks and nobody else. For some reason, volute spring suspensions are completely absent from this section. This is the best image of a Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (early Shermans) that I could find. It's kind of similar to the first image, except the spring is a volute spring, and it's vertical instead of horizontal. Later Shermans used horizontal volute springs. Of course, as the book points out, these suspension elements are very easy to damage externally and knocking out one part of the suspension will typically take out the rest of the assembly, so independent suspensions are the way to go. The best way to do this are torsion bars. The bar is attached to a lever that holds your road wheel. As pressure is applied to the road wheel, the bar subtly twists, remaining elastic enough to reset once the pressure is off. This image is kind of weird, but the part in the center is the part on the far left, zoomed in, showing you where the lever and the opposite side's torsion bar are attached. As you can see, road wheels in a torsion bar suspension are going to be a little off on one side, unlike what you're used to on cars and such. Now, since torsion bars are metal bars on the floor, they are going to make your tank taller. If you want a tank that's as short as possible at the expense of width, you may want to consider a Christie like suspension. Here, much like in torsion bars, the pressure is transferred inside the tank, but instead of a bar to absorb it, it's a spring in a vertical (or angled) tube. In most tanks with this kind of suspension, the springs are on the inside, but if you want to make the tank roomier on the inside, you can have them on the outside too. If you're really fancy, you can put a spring within the spring like in this diagram. Since this is a Soviet tank book, you gotta have a huge T-34 diagram. Here it is. The T-34 uses Christie springs, which you can see in the diagram. The road wheel configuration is a mix of the externally dampened and internally dampened "Stalingrad type" road wheels. The former have more rubber for absorbing hits from terrain, but the latter use less rubber. When you're in Stalingrad and you have to make tanks with a rubber deficit, that's the kind you want. When road wheels from other factories were available, they would go in the front and then the back to absorb most of the impact from harsh terrain features, and the steel-rimmed wheels went in the middle. The diagram shows how both types of wheels work. Rubber can't really take too much punishment, so the KV, being a heavy tank, went with internally dampened road wheels from the very beginning, with a ring of rubber on the inside around the axle. And finally, idlers. If you don't have big Christie type wheels, you gotta have idlers so your saggy track doesn't fall off. This diagram shows the rubber coating on an idler, and also how the rear idler can adjust to tighten the track. A loose track makes more noise, gets worn more, and is liable to slip off. Keep those tracks tight, and you'll be zooming towards glorious victory in no time flat! Now, the book ends and my own stuff begins. I mentioned rubber, but not what a headache it was to tank designers. In hot weather, the rubber in your tracks and wheels tends to fall apart. If you go fast enough, tires that don't have proper ventilation are going to melt too. There was a lot of pre-war panic in the USSR about the German PzIII being able to do 70 kph on tracks, but once the Soviets started building SU-76Is on the PzIII chassis they found out that the speed had to be limited to a whopping 25 kph to keep the wear to a reasonable level.
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