View Full Version : Stopping a tank with a rifle?

January 17, 2000, 09:55 PM
Thia turned into an argument the other day and I would like some input from somebody out there in the know. A buddy of mine claims it is possible to cause a tanks cannon to blow up by firing several .30 caliber rounds (he said a Garand 30-06) down the barrel of the main gun. He claims this will cause an obstruction in the barrel and blow the gun when it is fired. I do not believe him and don't think it is possible to even hit a target that small. The last time I watched a program on t.v. about military tanks this did not seem to be a problem they were worried about and I don't think a few .30 cal. ropunds would obstruct the bore enough to matter. It may sound like a stupid question but I would appreciate some input. Thanks, Jake.

January 17, 2000, 10:14 PM
I would think you would have a better chance of shooting up the gunner's, driver's and commander's view ports. Any Army armor types on the list with suggestions?

January 17, 2000, 11:16 PM
Hmm a 7.62mm chunk of metal in a 120 mm barrel would be like a 0.57 mm chunk of metal in a 9mm barrel. Tank optics are pretty good. I doubt the main gun would even be used to deal with you. Maybe some .50 BMG or 7.62mm machinegun fire?

Tanks require fuel, ammo, and tank crews require food and water. Preventing resupply is much more effective.

January 17, 2000, 11:46 PM
That is correct Prib. Restrict them was is needed to run a tank is ideal strategically. And anyways you are not going to waste ammo on something that is armored like a tank, unless you have a A-10 thunderbolt warplane (Tankbuster used in persian gulf war) with maverick missiles and rounds made of acid that eat through armored metal. My .02 cents. Later people. :D

January 17, 2000, 11:47 PM
It's a known fact that putting some sand
in the cannon's barrel will cause it to
blow up. Mechanically speaking, .30 cal
bullet inside the tank's cannon will
probably do the same trick...

January 18, 2000, 12:03 AM
It is possible to damage or destroy a tank's gun barrel with gunfire. Usually, however a tank travels with it's muzzle plugged, which is then pulled off immediately before action, in order to prevent grit and grime. However, for a bullet to be effective, it must travel most of the way down the tube, which means having the tube pointed at you. This is not a healthy method of dealing with a tank, if for no other reason than they also have thier coaxial machinegun pointed at you. It's really not a good idea to take on a tank from the front, no matter how you're armed. Even a Russian tank main gun round, sabot type, will just stick into the Chobham armor on a modern tank like an arrow into a haybale. From the rear, however, all sorts of nice things can be done. The best weapon for this sort of thing is a repeating .50 BMG sniper rifle. One can severly damage tracks (shooting the links of a stopped tank), jam the turret (shoot into the rim where the turret and hull meet, preventing turret rotation), and possibly cause all their main gun rounds to cook off. The latter would not disable a modern tank, however, merely make it incabable of using the main gun. THe best way is a TOW missile to the rear of the tank. Maybe use a sniper "buddy" as a diversion to get mr. Tank Commander to present his rear to the missile men. A more practical use of rifles is against soft vehicals, such as trucks. A round of .50 BMG AP will shatter an engine block, a tracer will do a hell of a job on a fuel tank, etc.


Jeff White
January 18, 2000, 12:08 AM
Big Game hunting or ....how to kill tanks in one easy lesson.

It may be possible to obstruct the bore of a tank main gun enough to cause it to blow up, but I don't think that is a viable tactic.

If you are armed with rifles and you need to stop tanks you will have to trap them rather then hunt them. Ditches, landslides, abattis etc. The problem with this is that tanks don't often fight pure (only armor). If they are in restricted terrain, they will most likely be accompanied by Infantry whose job it is to protect them from people with bad intentions and rifles. :)

If you succeed in immobilizing the tank, keep the crew buttoned up and build a fire under it (supposedly this was used against the Soviets to good effect in the Afgan war). Set a good fire on the rear deck with molotov cocktails. When the fire extinguishers go off the crew usuall has to bail out then tyou have them.


January 18, 2000, 01:37 PM
Ive posted on this subject before but it bears stating again:

In my lifetime I saw a man stop a tank armed with nothing more than a shopping bag. Little old ladies disarmed trucks full of troops. School teachers scolded commandos. without a shot being fired.

What is STEEL to the hand that wields it??

Talk about courage, symbolism and sacrifice.

my 2¢


January 18, 2000, 02:18 PM
CHECHNYA - THE BATTLE OF GROZNYY - - - - Russian generals are
re-learning the lessons of their first effort (in 1995) to take Groznyy,
the capital of Chechnya. The following observations provide a better
overview of the situation and the problem than many other reports
available in the public media, most of which contain slants that
decrease credibility. It is uncertain how many times the Russians will
need to re-learn the lessons, but by the same token, some of these
observations have validity for fighting local wars by other than

1. The general's found that you need to culturally orient your forces
so you don't end up being your own worst enemy simply out of cultural
ignorance. Many times, Russian soldiers made serious cultural errors in
dealing with the Chechen civilians. Once insulted or mistreated, they
(the Chechens) either became active fighters or began to support the
active fighters. Russians also admit they underestimated the importance
of religion (Islam) on the conflict.

2. Chechens were brutish, especially with prisoners. The battle
degenerated quickly to one of "no quarter asked, none given." Russian
wounded and dead were hung upside down in windows of Chechen positions.
Russians had to shoot at the bodies to engage the Chechens. Russian
prisoners were decapitated and at night their heads were placed on
stakes beside roads leading into the city, over which Russian
replacements and reinforcements had to travel. Both Russian and Chechen
dead were routinely booby-trapped. The Russians were not surprised by
the ferocity and brutality of the Chechens, they expected them to be
"criminals and animal brutes." But they were surprised by the
sophistication of the Chechen use of booby-traps and mines. Chechens
mined and booby-trapped everything, showing excellent insight into the
actions and reactions of the average Russian soldier. The Russians found
that mine and booby-trap- awareness discipline was hard to maintain.

3. You need some way of sorting out combatants from non-combatants. The
days of uniformed and organized units are past - soldiers and civilians
meld together . To find the combatants, Russians had to resort to
searching the pockets of civilians and examining them for shoulder
bruises and flashburns, and to sniffing them for the smell of gunpowder
and gun oil. Trained sniffer dogs were used, but were not always
effective. Nevertheless, dogs probably are the best way to determine if
a person has been using explosives or firing a weapon recently.

4. Both the physical and mental health of the Russian units began to
decline almost immediately upon initiation of high intensity combat. In
less than a month, almost 20% of the Russian soldiers were suffering
from viral hepatitis (very serious, very debilitating, slow recovery).
Most had chronic diarrhea and upper respiratory infections that turned
to pneumonia easily. This was blamed on the breakdown of logistical
support that resulted in units having to drink contaminated water. In
many instances unit sanitary discipline broke down almost completely.
The psychological impact of high intensity urban combat is so intense
that units must maintain a large reserve that will allow them to rotate
units in and out of combat. If you do this, you can preserve a unit for
a fairly long time. If you don't, once it gets used up, it can't be
rebuilt. (NOTE - a lesson from the first world war!)

5. Training and discipline are paramount. You can accomplish nothing
without them. If necessary, you need to do the training in the combat
zone. Discipline must be demanded. Once it begins to slip, the results
are disastrous.

6. The Russians were surprised and embarrassed at the degree to which
the Chechens exploited the use of cell phones, Motorola radios,
improvised TV stations, lightweight video cameras and the internet, to
win the information war. The Russians admitted that they lost control of
the information coming out of Grozny early in the operation and never
regained it.

7. The proliferation of rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launchers
surprised them, as well as the diversity of uses to which they were
put. RPGs were shot at everything that moved. They were fired at high
angle over low buildings and from around buildings with little or no
attempt made to aim. They were sometimes fired in very disciplined
volleys and were the weapon of choice for the Chechens, along with the
sniper rifle. Not only were the Russians faced with well-trained, well
equipped Chechen military snipers, there were also large numbers of
designated marksmen who were very good shots using standard military
rifles. These were very hard to deal with and usually required massive
firepower to overcome.

8. As expected, the Russians rediscovered the need for large numbers of
well-trained infantrymen. They said that some tasks, such as conducting
logpack operations, could only be conducted by infantrymen, but that
many of the poorly trained draftee soldiers and units, including
logistics troops, were hopelessly inept at basic military skills, such
as perimeter defense, establishing security overwatch, etc. and thereby
fell easy prey to the Chechens.

9. They found that boundaries between units were still tactical weak
points, but that it wasn't just horizontal boundaries they had to worry
about. In Grozny, in some cases, the Chechens held the third floor and
above, while the Russians held the first two floors and sometimes the
roof. If a unit holding the second floor evacuated parts of it without
telling the unit on the ground floor, the Chechens would move troops in
and attack the ground floor unit through the ceiling. Often this
resulted in fratricide as the ground floor unit responded with
uncontrolled fire through all of the ceilings, including the ones below
that section of the building still occupied by Russians. Entire battles
were fought through floors, ceilings, and walls without visual contact.

10. The most common response by the Chechens to the increasingly
powerful Russian indirect and aerial firepower was" hugging" a Russian
unit. If the hugging tactics caused the Russians to cease artillery and
air fires, it became a man-to-man fight and the Chechens were well
equipped to fight it. If they didn't cease the supporting fires, the
Russian units suffered just as much as the Chechen fighters did,
sometimes even more, and the morale effect was much worse on the

11. Chechens developed tactics to deal with tanks and BMPs. They
assigned groups of RPG gunners to fire volleys at the lead and trail
vehicles. Once they were destroyed, the others were picked off,
one-by-one. The Russian forces lost 20 of 26 tanks, 102 of 120 BMPs,
and 6 of 6 ZSU-23s in the first three days of fighting in Grozny.
Chechens chose firing positions high enough or low enough stay out of
the fields of fire of the tank and BMP weapons. Russian conscript
infantry simply refused to dismount and often died in their BMP without
ever firing a shot. Russian elite infantry did much better, but didn't
coordinate well with armored vehicles initially.

12. The Russians were satisfied with the combat performance of most of
their infantry weapons. The T-72 tank, however, was dead meat. Too
vulnerable, too awkward, not agile, no visibility, poor weapons
coverage at close ranges. The Russians removed them from the battle and
replaced them with smaller numbers of older tanks and more
self-propelled artillery, more ADA weapons, and more BMPs. Precision
guided weapons and UAVs were very useful. There was some need for
non-lethal weapons, but mostly riot gas and tranquilizer gas, not stuff
like sticky foam. The Russian equivalent of the M202 Flash flame
projector and the Mk 19 grenade launcher were very useful weapons.
Ultimately, a strong combined arms team and flexible command and
control meant more than the individual weapons used by each side.

January 18, 2000, 02:30 PM
"A Marine cannot kill the enemy tank with his M-16A2, but he can surely kill the tank commander who pops his head out of the hatch." -unknown Marine

There is the 20mm Lahti anti-tank rifle, pretty nasty round. The best a rifle man could hope for when engaging a tank with one of these was to place a round in the tank magazine or fuel tank. The secondary's would terminate the crew and tank.

January 18, 2000, 10:35 PM
Okay, I'll pipe up and relay my experiences. My primary MOS when I first enlisted in the Army was 19K-Armor Crewman. I later became a TC on the M1A1. I was attached to Infantry, Armored Cavalry, and Heavy Armor units. I never mobilized with any kind of "plug" over the muzzle of the main gun. The only time I ever saw a "plug" was on a show company in Berlin. Those tanks were black with a red stripe. Very cool! Anyway, if you happen to have the skill to get a .30 caliber bullet into the main gun, I don't think that it would do any significant damage. The sabot(pronounced say-bo) projectile is encased in plastic, just like rifle round. The casing and projectile start to separate at approximately 50 feet from the muzzle. I would think that the bullet would end up in the plastic somewhere. Jeff White is right on about using the environment to stop or trap a tank. Disguised ditches and herding via artillery/mortar fire are extremely effective. A few rounds of 50 cal. in the pack(turbine engine) may stop engine power, but remember that there are 2 backup hydraulic systems to keep the turret moving along with the manual crank. One of the first things I learned about defense against Eastern Bloc countries, at the time, was to neutralize the Soviet built SU-23's first. These sport 4-23mm cannons that can literally eat through the armor and get inside. Two are attached to a Battalion. Next are any type of aircraft, heavy armor, light armor, and infantries. In that order. All crew members are highly aware that the lifespan of a tank in battle is said to be 20 seconds or so, depending on the enemy and their resources. The only thing I didn't like where those Bradley "fighting" POS's. They were always in the way. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Well, I hope this info helped, Jake. Ask away. I'll try to remember to check this thread.


Jeff White
January 18, 2000, 11:52 PM
Unless you are facing WWI or early WWII tanks, the Lahti antitank rifle will do you no good. It takes a shaped charge or very high velocity kinetic energy type round to punch throuh modern armor. Most modern tanks are only vulnerable on the top and rear to shaped charges now anyway. That is why handheld antitank weapons are fired in volleys. The newest American hand held anti armor weapon, the Javelin, flies above the target and dives into the top of it. It weighs almost 50 pounds.


Marko Kloos
January 19, 2000, 12:48 AM
Ed Chavez,

sorry, but I just have to stick in my $0.02. The GAU-8 cannon used in the A-10 does not fire "acid" rounds. It fires a 30mm round with a depleted uranium core, which is a fair armor piercing projectile. Even so, we saw a lot of Iraqi tanks that had a lot of spall at the bottom of the turret, with little to no penetration of the round. The spall (armor chips knocked loose off the inside of the armor) flitzing around the inside of the turret did the crew in rather than the round penetrating.

Bear in mind that even the 25mm Bushmaster on the LAV/Bradley can do nasty things to a modern MBT. The round itself may not penetrate the tank's hide, but you are going to knock out computers, shoot off optics and antennae, and give the crew a nice headache. Imagine having a metal pot over your head and having somebody bang a bat on it repeatedly.

[This message has been edited by lendringser (edited January 19, 2000).]

January 19, 2000, 01:36 PM
lendringser-Were you an M1A1 crewman? What unit? I left 1/34 Armor C Co. out of Ft. Riley about a year before they were deployed to Kuwait.


James K
January 19, 2000, 04:13 PM
Except for a couple of folks who know what they are talking about, I get the feeling that most of the people on this one have never seen a tank. A few rifle bullets down the bore of the main gun won't matter a bit, nor will a few grains of sand. (Of course, if you hung from the end of the gun with one hand and poured 10 pounds of wet sand down the barrel, that is a different story. Assuming that no one bothers you.) The 20mm anti-tank gun can't even penetrate today's "light armor", let alone an MBT.


January 19, 2000, 05:06 PM
I think it is odd that no one has mentioned the fact that tanks also have machineguns. The m1 has three: coax next the main gun 7.62mm, commanders weapon .50 caliber, and the loaders 7.62mm. So if it is possible which I highly doubt you are not going to survive the attempt if I am on the crew

January 19, 2000, 05:23 PM
Stopping a Tank with a rifle?

Not even GySgt Carlos Hathcock would try a stunt like that.
And in my book he was the best!


January 19, 2000, 07:12 PM
Thanks guys,
I was beginning to think I would have to apologize to my buddy. It just didn't seem possible to do what he said. I'm not even sure how the subject came up while we were talking but he was adamant that a good rifleman could put enough rounds down the bore to cause the main gun to blow.. My question for him was what did he think the tank was going to do, just sit there?. Jake.

Edmund Rowe
January 19, 2000, 07:56 PM
Some definitions first:

"Tank": I assume we're talking about Main Battle Tank types. (MBT) These are the big monsters with a crew of 3-4, a single BIG turret with a BIG cannon and a few machine guns. MBTs are not normally designed to carry more than their crew inside (Israeli Merkava a notable exception).

OK, rifleman vs. tank: I'm not sure if the original question is if a rifle shot can ruin the main gun by denting the inside of the bore or by exploding the loaded ammunition, or by ricocheting bullets inside the tank while the breech block is open. Talking about all 3:
1) Denting the inside of a main gun barrel enough to ruin the gun is very iffy. This is a .30 caliber bullet vs. a 105mm, 115mm, or 120mm high velocity cannon. Maybe denting the bore WILL cause problems such that it bursts on firing. Problems: The tank will get off at least one shot, and the crew may not realize the cannon bore is damaged. OK, so maybe you hit it just right. Picture the cartoon: KABOOM! "Boris, I think there is something wrong with the main gun." "Da, comrade." Meanwhile, in the background a smoking crater is all that's left of the rifleman.

For all we know a dinged bore is like shooting from a rifle barrel that's been pitted by rust. Might burst someday, but still a lotta life left in it.

2) Exploding the loaded ammunition: OK, let's just say our hero put a bullet right down the bore. If it's slightly offline it will carom off the sides and probably won't hit the fuse on the nose of the shell dead-on. This is just me, but I think you'll be shooting a LOT trying to hit the fuse. If somebody thinks this is easy bring him to the range and get him to hit the bulls-eye at 75 yards. Tell him he's got 4-5 shots or 15 seconds (I'm being generous) before the tank blasts him to pieces.

OK, say you DO hit the fuse on the nose? Most large cannon ammunition have safety features such that the detonator isn't armed until the round is fired. I think some linkages internally get sprung by the spinning action of the shell and don't get armed until they are some distance downrange. I'm half guessing here. Maybe they don't have such safeties but if not then any bump on the nose would make the ammo go KABOOM!!

The above assumes an explosive round like HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) or something. One of the solid shot ones like APFSDSDU-T (Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot Depleted Uranium - Tracer) (mouthful, isn't it??) has a solid dart in the middle and nothing to blow up.

Side note: just because it's not explosive doesn't mean it's not dangerous to personnel. Imagine something weighing about 10-20 lb goes by you at 4 times the speed of sound. The sonic boom might blow out your eardrums or cause internal injuries. I dunno for sure and I sure don't want to find out the hard way.

3) Ricocheting rounds through the open breech inside the tank: Simple response: close the breech block. Maybe you'll zing one of the crew, and maybe they'll be upset for a minute or two, but then they'll again blow you into a smoking crater or chop you in half with one of the MGs.

OK, more problems with fighting tanks:

-Unlike the movies, tanks don't travel alone. They travel in groups with infantry.
-Supposedly it takes a 20mm at the least to break a track.
-Vision blocks can be shot and maybe cracked, but there are a lot of them on each tank and you haven't got all day to ping them all.
-Tanks usually don't oblige you by standing still. They move, sometimes very quickly. Also, the turrets can traverse pretty fast, so trying to lead that periscope block with your .308 is going to be tough.

I've heard of soldiers in WW2 sometimes ruining tank gun barrels by wrapping a big block of explosives around it and detonating it. Obviously, if you can get right on top of the tank many options appear, but like I mentioned above, Ivan brought a lot of foot soldiers to the party, and they don't like Amerikanski grunts climbing on their tankski. Also, tank barrels today are a lot tougher.

Generally, if the enemy force is alerted, or you cannot separate the tanks from the infantry, and you haven't got modern anti-tank weapons or some BIG explosives (like 50 lbs of military grade stuff just to blow the track off) when you engage tanks, YOU LOSE.

Best way to take out a tank is kill the crew when they're outside working maintenance or eating dinner or something, then drop something down the hatch that ruins the tank. (thermite?)

Jake, hope this helps.


[This message has been edited by Edmund Rowe (edited January 19, 2000).]

January 19, 2000, 10:44 PM

I am only human. Sorry for not being a rocket scientist. Acid or uranium it is all the same to me, it is all science crap. All I know to stop a tank, Is to dig a big hole in the dirt and camo the dirt and let the tank roll over-it and drop right in. :) ;) :D :p :sarcastic: Just like the cavemen just to do it to big animals back in the time of dinosaurs. HA ;)

Long Path
January 21, 2000, 04:19 AM
I printed this out to bring to work and show a couple of guys who fought in infantry and encountered tanks in the middle and far east. Their response was: bring the right tools to do the job, and it's easy. Otherwise, don't do the job. The right tools, they said, included a high vantage point (well-hidden), a compass, a good map/chart, and a radio... to call in airstrikes/artillary. Infantry's best role against tanks, they agreed, was as spotters.

January 21, 2000, 07:01 AM
aztec777 is on the money with this scenario. I was a 19 Kilo M1 Abrams Crewman in the beginning years of this new tank system. 1983-87. Never had the chance to get on the A1. My wife seen to that. Ha! Ha!

George Hill
January 21, 2000, 08:00 AM
Rifleman vs Tank:
This former rifleman would use a AT-4 that he carried straped to his ruck for just such an occasion.
Mind you - the AT-4 may not be the best choice... Against an M1A - it wount do much but piss off the crew - but against the T72 and down Sans reactive armour... it will do pretty well. The LAW Rocket - you would hope to at least hit the track to throw them and slow the beast down.
Better than the AT-4 is the Dragon II - one of my favorite toys but one I would not want to actually use in a fight. Best hit the target tank in the rear, where he cant see you. If not rear, at least sides. The multiple warhead gives the Dragon II a fair chance of defeating reactive armour - but not a sure thing - aim for a smooth spot.
The Best is a TOW missile. Bigger, Heavier missile that packs a huge warhead that will smack down a T-80 with full reactive plating.
The main problem with the Dragon - its slow. from launcher to 1100 meter target... it takes 11 seconds to hit. It only takes 4 to whirl the turret and machine gun the operator of the missile... which is easy as the Dragon produces a huge cloud of smoke at the launcher! OUCH!
The TOW is less visible and is much longer range.

Now if your taking Dude with an AR VS the M1... or any other Main Battle Tank =
Thats a different story. The best thing the rifleman can do then is to stalk and wait. Wait for a clean shot at the Commander, then the Driver. If you have a squad with a SAW - you can try to "Button Up" the tank...
but I would rather hit it with a missile or lay a mine for it. Molatov Cocktails can do more than a Rifle. I would try that if I didnt have the heavy hardware on hand. Fill the Mol 1/2 way with Quaker Instant oatmeal then fill the rest of the way with high octaine. The oats will help the gas stick to the target and give you a good burn.

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." - Sigmund Freud

Matt VDW
January 21, 2000, 09:18 AM
In regards to the use of instant oats in Molotov cocktails:

The thought of Wilford Brimley hurling oat-enhanced Molotovs at a T-72 has me ROTFLMAO.

"It's the right thing to do, you commie [email protected]!"


Glenn E. Meyer
January 21, 2000, 09:53 AM
On TLC (learning channel), I surfed into a show about smart weapons. One part was about a guy at Auburn University who was developing smart bullets with laser sensors. At part of a future wars scenario, they showed a team with a 50 BMG rifle that fired at a laser spot
at the junction of turret and chasis. The
MBT blew up. This was a simulation but it might be an indication of some thought in the area.

James K
January 21, 2000, 12:34 PM
Hi, Edmund,

You are right about all but one thing. In WWII, Ivanski wasn't shooting at Amerikanskis. We were on the same side.

Ed's idea of digging a hole is great. Now you either have to 1) persuade the tank driver to run into it or 2) pick up the hole and move it in front of the tank or 3) put it where the tank can't miss it so the tank falls in the hole and the second tank blows the hell out of you.



James K
January 21, 2000, 12:41 PM
A little off topic.

When I was in the service, one of our guys was driving along a secondary road in Louisiana just after dark on a September evening when he saw a car approaching, weaving around on the road. In spite of our guy's best efforts to avoid a collision, the car driver, drunk and apparently trying to play chicken, and going well over 60 mph, collided head on with our driver.

This brought out one of the Rules of the Road to Remember.

In a head on collision between a 1939 Chevrolet and an M60A1 main battle tank, the Chevy loses.


Alan B
January 21, 2000, 01:43 PM
I can tell you how to stop a tank.
Anyone who has driven a tracked vehicle knows this too (Stay out of the F&**$% wire).

Lay down a mat of woven wire and let the tank run over it, the cleats of the tracks will pick it up and reel it in to the tracks, enough wire will turn a tank into a pill box. It can create something that resembles a cable. And wire that is laid flat on the ground is damn hard to see through a periscope.

I saw a M113 get in to concertina once, and it took 4 guys with wire cutters all day to get it out.

The second way is soft ground. At Ft Hunter Ligget one year, I saw Marine M-60s buried up to their turrets in soft sand, Chaparrals and M113s buried halfway up their sides. The top of the ground was hard but the soil underneath it had the consistency of wet cement. The drivers did not know they were in to it until they felt the tank start to break through, (the soft spots were every where too) then the only thing you could do was floor it and hope you had enough power and speed to ride the wave out to solid ground. It didn’t work much. I’ve also seen an M88 retriever and two D-9 cats trying to pull the tank out. It took all day plus a real intrusting block and tackle setup from a 5 ton wrecker to get it done.
Saw a M113 buried 5 ft deep. It was really a lot of fun to watch. There was a bunch of city slicker officers running the show, (they didn’t have a clue) while a couple of us NCOs who grew up on farms and grew up pulling big pieces of stuck farm equipment out of the mud stood back and commented. We made one mistake though, the CW4 motor officer over heard us, he ran the officers off and put us work, but I digress.

If you put the two together it could be more effective, all you need is enough wire to cause a tank on soft ground to slip a little and the cleats will dig it in, in nothing flat. I know I’ve seen it.
Also a good chunk of hard wood, or a piece of railroad rail shoved between the road wheels can stop a tread real quick. If not break or throw it. I have also seen thrown treads from turning too short (Using the pivot steering) on hot asphalt or in deep/soft sand or gravel. The Tread balls it up under the road wheels then pushes the track off. Saw a M748 ammo carrier (M113 hull that looks like a pickup on treads) throw both treads in soft sand at the same time. No that is going some, we never could figure out how the driver did it since after loosing the first one, the thing was immobile.

But with a rifle Not unless its a rifle like they used in the Robocop Movie

Marko Kloos
January 21, 2000, 01:45 PM
aztec--I wasn't a M1A1 crewman, although I am quite familiar with them. I was in a LRRP company, what's now called LRSD (Long Range Scouting Detachment). Different service, too. Let's just say that tankers aren't the only ones that can work a laser rangefinder or designator.

Tank vs. car: most car drivers don't realize that the tank needs a lot less spce to come to a top from 50 mph than a car. When I was in Germany, we heard of numerous instances where a tank would stop short, and the (tailgating) civilian car would run itself under the back end of the MBT just as it was coming back down after the emergency brake. It is not difficult to imagine what a sixty-ton MBT will do to a civilian sedan and its occupants.

January 21, 2000, 09:06 PM
Ok, so I'll stick with popping the ignorant tank commander who sticks his head out of the hatch. Can we agree that an M-16 will negotiate this task?

George Hill
January 22, 2000, 06:59 AM
Pete - that depends on the Range to Target and the shooter. I'ld rather pop him offf with an Apache rather than a M16, but some times we just gotta work with what we got... Right?

Of course a Molatov into the open hatch would pretty much be a OSS. Oh wait - not for an M1A though - freakin Halon systems and stuff. Man, those M1's are tough nuts to crack.

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." - Sigmund Freud

January 22, 2000, 08:01 AM
Sure am glad we're only discussing a hypothetical situation here...
Tho it was very real to the Afgans, I suppose.
Here's hoping that it remains a 'what-if' discussion, only....

...save the 2nd., for it saves us all.
No fate but what we make...

Tony III
January 22, 2000, 12:41 PM
In mountainous aeras it might be possible to undercut a road enough that light vehicles could pass but the road would colapse under the weight of a tank. What would it do to the crew if a tank started tumbling down the side of a mountain?

C:0 Homer says DOH!

"Know the stillness of freedom,
Where there is no more striving"
- The Dhamapadah
- Buddha 563-483 B.C.


January 22, 2000, 12:45 PM
There are a few ways to deal with tanks. One of them isnt standing around like a dumbass trying to fire rounds down the bore. That will only get you splattered by the mg's on the tank. What you can do if youre not equipped with any kind of AT weapons are allow the terrain to be your helper. Make roads impassable, channelize the tanks into soft or uneven ground. That could cause them to be stuck. Then hang around and wait for someone to stick their heads out. Or if you're in an urban environment, lure the tanks into narrow streets where they cant traverse their gun and bring the majority of their weapons to bear on you. The from above the vehicles you can throw improvised explosives, molotovs, etc. down on the vehicles. You can also go for mobility kills by jamming things between the road wheels and cause them to throw a track. All of these things require alot of planning and coordination. And if all this stuff fails, run screaming and yelling away and live to fight another day.

Edmund Rowe
January 22, 2000, 01:41 PM
Jim Keenan: Whoops, I didn't mean to imply that US were fighting Russian tanks in WW2 :o
I think the Finns did the explosives-wrapped-around-the-main-gun trick.

Shooting exposed crew members: I think the USMC pioneered a new way to bring grief to exposed tankers (This isn't an immediate tank kill, but it's one way to really hamper a tank with rifle fire): First, shoot the DRIVER. On a good day with 1 shot, 1 kill, Boris the commanderski and Chekov the gunnerski may not have heard the shot over the noise of the engines, and maybe think Yuri the driverski is just sloppy and slipped the clutch. Meanwhile, Jimmy the Gyrene sniper might get another shot at another driverski or his buddy Johnny the Jarhead might shoot Boris the commanderski.

Getting the driver out of his seat is tough on most tanks. The crew might have to get out and pull the driver's body through his hatch. heh heh :D of course now Jimmy and Johnny have more targets :D

Also, the Russian T-72 (and maybe the T-80?) series only has a crew of 3 (driver, gunner, commander) so taking out one of them really hampers operations.

...but planning to run like mad when tanks roll up is always a good plan!


January 23, 2000, 12:11 AM
When I went through Army OCS at Ft Benning in the early 70's we were trained in stopping tanks. We were told that once the tank is "buttoned up" the crew cannot see grunts very well and it is possible to place charges on the tank to disable it. I believed this until I was assigned to a tank Bn in Germany. When I discussed this with an old grizzled sgt in the Bn he laughed. It seems that tanks have grenade launchers on the side of the turret to fire smoke grenades to provide cover. In combat tankers would load White Phosporus grenades instead. Great anti infantry weapon as the WP grenade had a killing radius quite large and there are eight launchers on the tank. I don't think anyone is going to be hanging on the gun barrel with WP going off. I don't know the range of the grenade launchers but the old Sgt claimed it worked very well in Viet Nam.

By the way, the M1 Abrams has thermal sights that can pick up body heat from humans through smoke and dust. So much for tankers being blind when buttoned up.

Geoff Ross

Keith Rogan
January 23, 2000, 01:48 PM
I won't comment on the rounds down the barrel approach to stopping tanks. Nor do I claim to be any kind of armor expert, but I do know that the Afghans killed hundreds if not thousands of Russian tanks without artillery and sometimes without even handheld anti-tank devices.
The basic tactic was to separate the tank from its accompanying infantry and then to immobilize it.
The way they immobilized tanks was to jam stuff into the treads, wire, rebarr, pipes,rocks, whatever. A tank without infantry around it can be approached (if you know what you're doing and are quick enough) with diversion or just experience in knowing the blind spots.
Once the tank was stopped, they'd stick explosive made from "recycled" Russian duds to the underside or just smother the outside of the tank with molotovs until the crew ran out of oxygen and bailed. Russian tanks, or at least some models of tank are not airtight and external fire will quickly deplete the crews air supply. Most Russians chose to shoot themselves inside the tank rather than jump out be captured by the Afghans.
I got this stuff from a former Russian soldier on a fish factory ship in the Bering sea - another story entirely.

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan (http://members.xoom.com/keithrogan)

January 23, 2000, 02:14 PM
Time for part 2

Gunny, FYI (as per our disc)...this had 100K on the button prior to my post...to help ya get a "feeling", since you use a crummy browser :P

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