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M60 Patton Tank: Can It Still Fight
JPTRR
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RAILROAD MODELING
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Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - 05:51 PM UTC
Hi Tread Heads,

I rely on those of you who have served in these beasts to tell me if this article is worth the hype. It is interesting to me, all the same.



America's M60 Patton Tank: Can It Still Fight the World's Best (At Over 50 Years Old)?
SWATdoc
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Posted: Friday, November 04, 2016 - 12:26 PM UTC
Hello Frederick,

I found this article very interesting as well. As I wax nostalgic, my answer to your question is, yes, she can still fight. Actually, it is currently involved in combat, as the article noted.

As I am sure that you are well aware, there are so many variables that could be factored in concerning combat effectiveness and survivability that the equation is almost endless: crew training, morale or essentially, METT-TC.

Perhaps, straight up tank to tank combat between a squadron of the most up to date M60's vs an equal number of T-90MS's on the Russian steppes would have an unfavorable result for the 60's. But, if the 60's were being used as an integrated part of a combined arms team with all available assets, they might not get a scratch on them. Who knows?

Improved Sherman tanks reportedly gave a good account of themselves against more modern enemy tanks in the Middle East wars of 1967 and 1973.

Now, if one of my children were going to war in a tank and I was allowed to make the choice for them, the M60 would not be on the list.

I will look forward to reading other comments on this most interesting and relevant topic.

Thanks for posting, Frederick.

Respectfully,
Allen

Bravo1102
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Posted: Friday, November 04, 2016 - 01:24 PM UTC
All due respect to the author but he doesn't know tanks. His bio doesn't say Master Gunner or retired armor officer, but an academic who was in the Peace Corps. As George Patton said, "... don't know any more about real battle than they do about fornicating"


Really. Somehow thinking that the T-72 is a better tank than the M60? I thought that had been put to rest in the Middle East. How many T-72 crew has he interviewed? How many T-72 wrecks has he surveyed? It's the amazing flying turret tank. One hit and off the turret flies. Or has he ever read the story of the T-72 at the Patton museum "the tank that knocked itself out"? That goes past faulty crew training and into the realm of a severely flawed weapons system. As Moriarty said "It's a piece of junk!"

And then the whole thing about the hydraulic fluid. That hasn't been an issue for years. He does know that the M1 uses the same fluid? What powers a hydraulic system doesn't matter, the fluid would still there for the moving parts. Makes me doubt that he was ever inside the turret of an M60.

And funny that nowhere does he mention the fact that the most common tank in the world is the older T-54/55 series and how they're still getting updates and overhauls. And how some clients reportedly turned in T-72s to get updated T-55s because it is a more dependable tank.

Maybe someone more knowledgeable will chime in as after all I was only a tank crewman, evaluator and instructor. I don't know much about how tanks work. Though there was that time the hydraulic fluid line on an M1 blew up in my lap. That's where the reservoir was on an M1, at the gunner's feet. It blows up, he gets a bath in FRH fluid. Pretty lethal carcinogen maybe it damaged my brain, or that could have been all diesel exhaust and knocking my head on the inside of the tank all the time...


SWATdoc
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Posted: Friday, November 04, 2016 - 10:30 PM UTC
Hello Stephen,

Interesting observations. One thing that I have noticed over the years, much to my chagrin, is the number of M48 and M60 turrets that were displaced during the Yom Kippur War. The first times that I saw this or a Centurion turret sitting on the ground, I was a bit dismayed.

I was just as surprised to see what seemed to be so many photos of the T-62 with it's turret lifted, much like we have seen photos of the T-72. It was as if that was it's natural state.

In reality, I think my impressions as a youth were influenced by photos that I was allowed to see on this side of the ocean. Maybe the Eastern Bloc showed nothing but dismembered M60's to their folks and only favorable shots of their own armor in battle...I don't know...but, I do wonder.

Respectfully,
Allen

Bravo1102
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Posted: Friday, November 04, 2016 - 10:49 PM UTC
There were after action studies that indicated that a center of mass hit on a T-72 by a 120mm SABOT would knock off the turret more than 60% of the time. For a 105mm it dropped to 30%. M60s it was below 20% for the equivalent 125mm round.

However, a killing hit that set off the stowed ammunition could and would blow off the turret. Hence the blow off panels on the M1 turrets. There were even instances of it actually working precisely as designed. Ammo goes off, panels go up and turret crew survives.

The experts were talking about the M60 being past it's sell by date twenty years ago. Similar articles were printed back in the 1990s and were one reason the Army was so quick to retire the M60 fleet once the force draw down released enough M1s to equip all the remaining armored units.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, November 04, 2016 - 11:55 PM UTC
Fred,
I think the M60 definitely has a new lease on life in this up-gunned and up-armored version. It's a great vehicle, reliable, accurate at long ranges and survivable. but frankly I think the writer of the article doesn't know what he's talking about-- the T-72 was a piece of junk compare to the M60A1 or M60A3, and never could hope to compete. I've had the privilege of riding in both the T-72 and the M60, and the difference is like riding in a Cadillac vs. a Ford Pinto. It wasn't until the Russians developed the T-80 with its autoloader, improved sighting and suspension that they came closer to the M60 standard, and even it would have a difficult time competing across the board against an experienced crew. So, I think if a country can't afford the price of an M1, this upgraded M60 is the next best thing. Old doesn't necessarily mean it can't be used-- how long has the B-52 been operational now?
VR, Russ
mmeier
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Posted: Saturday, November 05, 2016 - 05:21 PM UTC
As with the late models of the Leopard 1A5 (ie the Canadian C2 upgrade) it will depend on the situation, terrotory and enemy. A modern ATGM in the hand of professional soldiers is a different thread from a Vietnam era RPG in the hands of a barely trained fanatic. And moving battles at longish ranges are different from close encounters with one enemy hull down and waiting.

Same for T72s. There are so many variants of the beast with various levels of armor and electronics that "THE T72" does not exist. A T72M and a late model T72B are more like a Panzer IV and a Panther in terms of armor and mobility. Add in quality of crew (High in the T72s shooting enemies, lower in the T72s crews in those conflicts) and the picture of "who will win" gets even more muddled.

Electric turret drives are "in vogue" with some militaries these days (Leopard IIA5 and above have them for example as does the Challenger II). As is add on armor against mines and sometimes HEAT (Passiv and active) even for current generation tanks. So the militaries of the world consider even a 1980s "first line" tank like the Leo2A4 oder M1A1 "underarmored" for some 2010s dangers.
casailor
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Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 01:19 AM UTC
One thing to remember is that on the T72, T80 and T90, there is always an armed round sitting on the loader arm in the turret. That's almost always going to be detonated by any round that penetrates the turret. It's a weakness that American and western tanks don't have.
kevinekstrom
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Posted: Monday, March 19, 2018 - 01:04 AM UTC
In all fairness to the article it states America's M60 Patton Tank: Can It Still Fight the World's Best (At Over 50 Years Old)? The emphasis of the article is on the M60, (not other tanks of the era) and if it could still fight. It's a speculation piece and nothing more. We can make more of this article than what it is, but remember it's just an opinion piece and nothing more.
Scarred
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Posted: Monday, March 19, 2018 - 02:48 AM UTC

Quoted Text

There were after action studies that indicated that a center of mass hit on a T-72 by a 120mm SABOT would knock off the turret more than 60% of the time. For a 105mm it dropped to 30%. M60s it was below 20% for the equivalent 125mm round.

However, a killing hit that set off the stowed ammunition could and would blow off the turret. Hence the blow off panels on the M1 turrets. There were even instances of it actually working precisely as designed. Ammo goes off, panels go up and turret crew survives.

The experts were talking about the M60 being past it's sell by date twenty years ago. Similar articles were printed back in the 1990s and were one reason the Army was so quick to retire the M60 fleet once the force draw down released enough M1s to equip all the remaining armored units.



So if the M60 was obsolete 20 years ago at 30 years of age how about the Abrams? Over 30 year old design shouldn't it be getting a bit long in the tooth? Or is it because of the constant upgrading that keeps it relevant? The M60 still has some fight left in it, because like the Abrams can be upgraded to survive in todays world. I wonder what an M60 would look like with a bar armor kit like seen on russian tanks in syria?
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Monday, March 19, 2018 - 03:17 AM UTC
A weapons system (or any object produced by humans) become "old" and obsolete as soon as there is something better to replace it.
In WW II there were tanks that became obsolete after a few years of service. The Abrams is still relevant (has been upgraded and improved) since there is nothing that makes it obsolete (yet).
When a potential adversary fields a tank or system that can punch through an Abrams like a hot knife through butter then the Abrams will become obsolete overnight.
The T-34 taught the Germans that some of their tanks were obsolete. The saw and then the chainsaw has replaced the axe when it comes to cutting down trees, ok maybe except very small ones, but the axe is still relevant for splitting firewood and lots of other uses. There are log-splitters but the axe is cheaper and less hassle to use.
/ Robin
sgtreef
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Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 12:52 AM UTC
I was reading the other day that they were thinking about replacing the MIA2's, as getting a little long in the tooth, but with all the updates might not be needed, at least what Breaking Defense said. Time will tell , not many tanks can take on Artillery, nor aircraft. As long as one controls the airspace , one wins the war.Let's hope so, and good job to that Navy Women pilot that landed that plane.