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Posted: 1/1/2006 2:36:09 PM EDT
I know very little about tanks and the like, but I've always wondered why tanks (ours or others) don't have a semi-automatic mechanism, with say a 3 or 5 shot magazine.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:37:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 2:38:55 PM EDT by ARDOC]
Too complicated and too heavy. Not to mention takes too much room inside a small turret.

Too many parts to break, a loader is much cheaper and easier to get. Not to mention it would encourage wastage of ammo.

Each tank only carries about 40-60 rounds depending on tank and type. Also there are different types of ammo for different purposes. You would not use AP sabot rounds on soft targets.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:38:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 2:39:06 PM EDT by SRM]
I believe the russian designs use a mechanical loader..........and it is much slower than our system.

SRM
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:38:35 PM EDT
Effectively the autoloaders on the Russian tanks are the same thing.

Also the ones on the Le Clerc and Merkava IV
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:38:42 PM EDT
The french also have used autoloaders since the 60's.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:39:11 PM EDT
One more thing to break down.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:39:34 PM EDT
I think it has something to do with a loader crewman being more reliable than a mechanism, and he can help out with other duties on the tank as well as his loading job.

Those guys can reload very quickly and far more safely than a machine could, and they don't break down.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:41:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 2:41:55 PM EDT by Kharn]
From what I read in publically-available sources, the Stryker MGS has an autoloader with two revolving cylinder magazines.
Imagine two revolver cylinders sitting side by side, and to load the desired round, the appropriate cylinder rotates, then pushes the selected round into the breech.

Kharn
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:42:32 PM EDT
A belt fed tank cannon sounds cool!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:43:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:
I think it has something to do with a loader crewman being more reliable than a mechanism, and he can help out with other duties on the tank as well as his loading job.

Those guys can reload very quickly and far more safely than a machine could, and they don't break down.



Cheaper too!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:44:01 PM EDT
... They are made: M242 Bushmaster 25mm Automatic Gun for one, right here in Mesa, AZ




Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:44:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
A belt fed tank cannon sounds cool!



That would be THE badass emplaced defense.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:45:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kharn:
From what I read in publically-available sources, the Stryker MGS has an autoloader with two revolving cylinder magazines.
Imagine two revolver cylinders sitting side by side, and to load the desired round, the appropriate cylinder rotates, then pushes the selected round into the breech.

Kharn



Only because the Stryker hull is too narrow for a conventional turret.

When the 12 rounds are done, it has to go find someplace to hide to reload. From outside the vehicle.

The Merkava IV has BOTH a 10 round rotary autoloader AND a human loader.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:49:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 2:54:11 PM EDT by the_great_snag]
Another consideration is the ammo is stored in an heavily armored compartment in the rear of the tank. An autoloading mechanism would have to either store the ammo ON the gun and thus in the same compartment as the crewmen, or would need a complex mechanism to relay the rounds from storage to the gun's breech. I am almost certain such a system would require the gun to return to a "loading" position between shots. That would take time, and might interfere with effective targeting.

I'm just guessing here, but I don't think an autoloading system is desirable, since as another poster mentioned, most tanks don't carry that many rounds anyway. I believe the doctrine calls for quality of shots over quantity. Sound thinking that is too often overlooked in military circles.

Otherwise explain why in the bolt-action era the number of rounds fired per enemy killed was exponentially fewer than in the automatic rifle era, such as Vietnam??? I think this same thinking applies to armored warfare, and I applaud the Army for staying with a proven system and retaining a valuable thinking crewman over another damn machine to maintain which could fail them when they need it the MOST!

BTW... I should explain something about my first paragraph. The Army considers storing ammo in the same compartment as the crewmen as A BAD THING. Keeping the ammo in armored storage away from the crew vastly improves their survival odds if they take a hit to their crew compartment. Imagine having 40 rounds of tank ammo cooking off inside the crew compartment for a second... OUCH!

In fact I might even venture to theorize that such autoloaders contributed to the spectacular explosions of Soviet tanks in the gulf wars...
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:50:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SRM:
I believe the russian designs use a mechanical loader..........and it is much slower than our system.

SRM



According to some stories, they would also occaisionally tend to try and load the gunner instead of the round.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:54:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By SRM:
I believe the russian designs use a mechanical loader..........and it is much slower than our system.

SRM



According to some stories, they would also occaisionally tend to try and load the gunner instead of the round.



Not quite true since the Gunner is on the opposite side of the turret!

However, the carrosel magazine under the turret floor of the T-72 is in reality far more dangerous to the crew as virtually any penetration results in a enormous fire, and a mine strike or a hit from a top attack weapon ususally results in a turret launching catistrophic kill...
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:55:49 PM EDT
It's awesome the stuff you pick up watching "Mail Call"! OOO rah!!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:57:46 PM EDT
Also it's nice to have the 4th person to do required maintence on the vehicle.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:58:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 2:58:29 PM EDT by metroplex]

Originally Posted By natedog375:
I know very little about tanks and the like, but I've always wondered why tanks (ours or others) don't have a semi-automatic mechanism, with say a 3 or 5 shot magazine.



Reliability and speed.

Tests show the manual loader is much faster and more reliable, so long as he isn't drunk or injured.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:02:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Maggot:
Also it's nice to have the 4th person to do required maintence on the vehicle.



Bingo!
A three-man crew is going to have a hard time PMCS-ing and maintaining a complicated piece of equipment like a modern tank.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:03:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By natedog375:
I know very little about tanks and the like, but I've always wondered why tanks (ours or others) don't have a semi-automatic mechanism, with say a 3 or 5 shot magazine.



Reliability and speed.

Tests show the manual loader is much faster and more reliable, so long as he isn't drunk or injured.



That depends on the design of the autoloader.

The 2x6rnd Revolver magazines used in the various models of the AMX-13 light tank were reliable and could crank off the entire load in 12 seconds.

Their problem was you had to get out of the tank to reload it.

The Merkava IV has a 10 round drum autoloader- and it is apparantly very fast too. But it also has a human loader to keep it topped off from ammo magazines in the lower rear hull AND it apparently can be bypassed and the gun loaded single shot by the loader. Why? I have no idea. Seems to be "gilding the lilly" of a high order.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:04:42 PM EDT
Why do you need semi auto when those things are over 80 percent accurate with the first shot?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:05:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By natedog375:
I know very little about tanks and the like, but I've always wondered why tanks (ours or others) don't have a semi-automatic mechanism, with say a 3 or 5 shot magazine.



Reliability and speed.

Tests show the manual loader is much faster and more reliable, so long as he isn't drunk or injured.




Plus somebody would have to change Magazines. I dont know what the shells on the abrahms(sp) weigh but could you imagine 5 of them.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:06:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By USGI_45:

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By natedog375:
I know very little about tanks and the like, but I've always wondered why tanks (ours or others) don't have a semi-automatic mechanism, with say a 3 or 5 shot magazine.



Reliability and speed.

Tests show the manual loader is much faster and more reliable, so long as he isn't drunk or injured.




Plus somebody would have to change Magazines. I dont know what the shells on the abrahms(sp) weigh but could you imagine 5 of them.



Why not some type of gravity feed device? kinda like what is used in the c-130 gunships?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:11:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By theliberating1:
Why do you need semi auto when those things are over 80 percent accurate with the first shot?



someone who expects to face a very large number of low quality Soviet tanks..
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:18:18 PM EDT
Have you ever seen how fast our guys can fire at multiple targets? They are pretty much semi-automatic! IIRC there was a tank battle in the gulf war and one of our tanks who came over the hill first fired 3 rounds with three hits in less than 10 seconds.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:18:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:

Originally Posted By USGI_45:

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By natedog375:
I know very little about tanks and the like, but I've always wondered why tanks (ours or others) don't have a semi-automatic mechanism, with say a 3 or 5 shot magazine.



Reliability and speed.

Tests show the manual loader is much faster and more reliable, so long as he isn't drunk or injured.




Plus somebody would have to change Magazines. I dont know what the shells on the abrahms(sp) weigh but could you imagine 5 of them.



Why not some type of gravity feed device? kinda like what is used in the c-130 gunships?



Gravity feed is unreliable. Bumpy terrain or high grades/odd angles, like sitting on the side of a hill, will casue bad feeding. Can you imagin stove piping a 120mm round?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:20:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By COZ:
Have you ever seen how fast our guys can fire at multiple targets? They are pretty much semi-automatic! IIRC there was a tank battle in the gulf war and one of our tanks who came over the hill first fired 3 rounds with three hits in less than 10 seconds.



+1... If I was driving a tank, I'd prefer a skilled loader/crewman over an auto-loader, especially if it made my tank and my crew more vulnerable in the event of an enemy hit.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:27:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 3:29:05 PM EDT by CAAAwarfighter]

Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf:
... They are made: M242 Bushmaster 25mm Automatic Gun for one, right here in Mesa, AZ

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/47/M2Bradley-M242.jpg/180px-M2Bradley-M242.jpg





M2 Bradley IFV isnt a Tank unless you work for CNN. Sometimes simple is better, espeically in a cramped tank turret.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:42:01 PM EDT
The Army did put an autoloader in a few M1's back in the 80's (XM1E2 or somthing like that). One of the prototypes is sitting in the Patton Museum vehicle pen on Ft. Knox. I havn't been able to get a good picture of it yet. The advantages, smaller turret profile and one less crew member, did not outweigh the disadvantages, slower shot cycle, more maintenance intensive, no capability if loader becomes non-functional, increased crew responsibilities, etc.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:46:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:47:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 3:48:42 PM EDT by bob-ar15]
The Soviet automatic loader had the disconcerting habit of trying to load crewmen into the mechanism. Once more into the breech...
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:49:57 PM EDT
The T-72 autoloader is way slower than a well trained human. Also, the barrel drops when loading, so you can see who doesn't have a round in the hole.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:01:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By the_great_snag:

Originally Posted By COZ:
Have you ever seen how fast our guys can fire at multiple targets? They are pretty much semi-automatic! IIRC there was a tank battle in the gulf war and one of our tanks who came over the hill first fired 3 rounds with three hits in less than 10 seconds.



+1... If I was driving a tank, I'd prefer a skilled loader/crewman over an auto-loader, especially if it made my tank and my crew more vulnerable in the event of an enemy hit.



+2

In a real SHTF situation, give the loader some speed and watch your M1A2 main cannon adopt mini-gun rate of fire.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:02:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:
The T-72 autoloader is way slower than a well trained human. Also, the barrel drops when loading, so you can see who doesn't have a round in the hole.



+1

I saw a video of the T-72 in action and the gears and all the crap in there made it over-complex and SLOW. The M1 loader would have loaded like 5 rounds in the time it took to load 1 in the T-72.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:52:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 6:55:22 PM EDT by Kharn]

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By Kharn:
From what I read in publically-available sources, the Stryker MGS has an autoloader with two revolving cylinder magazines.
Imagine two revolver cylinders sitting side by side, and to load the desired round, the appropriate cylinder rotates, then pushes the selected round into the breech.

Kharn



Only because the Stryker hull is too narrow for a conventional turret.
When the 12 rounds are done, it has to go find someplace to hide to reload. From outside the vehicle.
The Merkava IV has BOTH a 10 round rotary autoloader AND a human loader.

You sure they have to exit the vehicle? From what I read, they just aligned the turret at the correct angle with the hull (straight ahead), hit the 'Replenish upper magazine' button and the rounds were transfered mechanically.

Kharn
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:57:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 6:59:01 PM EDT by OG10807]
The 40mm cannon on the AC130H/U gunships are autoloaders. It just uses big stripper clips. They're not "that" heavy.


Link Posted: 1/1/2006 6:58:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By theliberating1:
Why do you need semi auto when those things are over 80 percent accurate with the first shot?



someone who expects to face a very large number of low quality Soviet tanks..



Its called the A-10
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:00:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kharn:
From what I read in publically-available sources, the Stryker MGS has an autoloader with two revolving cylinder magazines.
Imagine two revolver cylinders sitting side by side, and to load the desired round, the appropriate cylinder rotates, then pushes the selected round into the breech.

Kharn


Which is probably why the system has a capacity of a revolver.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:02:56 PM EDT
The Swedish "S-Tank" ("Stridsvagn 103") has / had an autoloader. Basically it was semiautomatic (fired as long as the gunner held the trigger down). 50 rounds of 105mm onboard.


The main gun used an autoloader (located in the rear) containing up to 50 rounds . This worked very well and had loading times of about 3 seconds. To change ammunition you simply pressed a button. You could also fire in "automatic" mode (when for example you wanted to fire for effect with HE rounds). Thereby the system "locked" the elevation system giving it quite good precision. 1500 7,62 rounds for the machineguns (500 in each magazine).


Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:03:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By theliberating1:
Why do you need semi auto when those things are over 80 percent accurate with the first shot?



someone who expects to face a very large number of low quality Soviet tanks..


That's why the Brits, Germans and Americans(all nations which never abandoned NATO) all have MBTs with autoloaders.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:07:07 PM EDT
Imagine a chain-gun-belt-fed-150mm-DU-ordinance-hose?

I need to change my pants...
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:11:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
The Swedish "S-Tank" ("Stridsvagn 103") has / had an autoloader. Basically it was semiautomatic (fired as long as the gunner held the trigger down). 50 rounds of 105mm onboard.


The main gun used an autoloader (located in the rear) containing up to 50 rounds . This worked very well and had loading times of about 3 seconds. To change ammunition you simply pressed a button. You could also fire in "automatic" mode (when for example you wanted to fire for effect with HE rounds). Thereby the system "locked" the elevation system giving it quite good precision. 1500 7,62 rounds for the machineguns (500 in each magazine).


web.telia.com/~u50015076/Strv103a.jpg


I wouldn't really call that a tank; at least, not in the modern, ie post WWI, sense. The gun was fixed and it had no turret. It's more an assault gun than tank, IMO.

Still a very interesting read. Sweden, the Saab, the Volvo and the S-tank.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:11:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By theliberating1:
Why do you need semi auto when those things are over 80 percent accurate with the first shot?



someone who expects to face a very large number of low quality Soviet tanks..



Yeah, because we had so many problems destroying low quality tanks in Iraq in the Gulf War.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 7:39:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
The Swedish "S-Tank" ("Stridsvagn 103") has / had an autoloader. Basically it was semiautomatic (fired as long as the gunner held the trigger down). 50 rounds of 105mm onboard.


The main gun used an autoloader (located in the rear) containing up to 50 rounds . This worked very well and had loading times of about 3 seconds. To change ammunition you simply pressed a button. You could also fire in "automatic" mode (when for example you wanted to fire for effect with HE rounds). Thereby the system "locked" the elevation system giving it quite good precision. 1500 7,62 rounds for the machineguns (500 in each magazine).


web.telia.com/~u50015076/Strv103a.jpg



This design worked as an autoloader because of the lack of a turret which limited it capability. It could only shoot forward. You had to traverse the entire vehicle to aim. Although it did give the S tank a significantly lower profile then most tanks. Its obsolete in todays MBT arena.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:48:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Chokey:

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By theliberating1:
Why do you need semi auto when those things are over 80 percent accurate with the first shot?



someone who expects to face a very large number of low quality Soviet tanks..



Yeah, because we had so many problems destroying low quality tanks in Iraq in the Gulf War.



Your missing the point, Isreal for example has a much smaller number of Merkavas than we have M-1s

They expect the odds to be greater than even our reduced army, and they also expect their tanks to have to stay in place longer, since they might not have anyone else to come and replace them so they can refuel and rearm.

All the various marks of Merkava for example carry half again as much ammo as their American counterparts. The Merkava Mks 1 and II that were 105mm armed carried EIGHTY-FIVE rounds compared to the 105mm gun M1's 55.

The 120mm gunned Merkava Mks III and IV are beleved to carry 65 120mm rounds to the M1A1/A2's 40.

The Israelis actually resisted adopting the 120mm smoothbore gun untill after the US and Britain sold M1A1s and Challengers to the Arabs. As long as they were convinced they would only face Soviet tanks they held on to the 105mm and its high ammo capacity. Simply because they wanted higher endurance. They also settled for ridiculeously low top speeds in the early model Merkavas in exchange for being able to use a high fuel efficiency diesel engine instead of the gas guzzling turbine.

Having the autoloader and the human loader seems to be a way to both increase firepower for dealing with mass attacks and also to reduce fatigue on the human loader in long engagements. At least that seems to be the only way such expensive redundancy makes sense. Especally when you consider that the Merkava IV can still be loaded manually- and the autoloader apparently cannot be used to load the LAHAT and EXCALIBER CLGMS.

The IDF apparently has a completely different definition of what a 'long engagement' is compared to the US Army.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:01:48 AM EDT
In the 70's the Army was giving some thought to adding an autoloader to the next new US tank, UNTIL the CIA showed them surveillance photos of Russian tanks in East Germany and Poland.

A high percentage of the photos showed the Russian tanks sitting in fields with the complex autoloader laid out behind the tank being, repaired.



Link Posted: 1/2/2006 4:37:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
The Swedish "S-Tank" ("Stridsvagn 103") has / had an autoloader. Basically it was semiautomatic (fired as long as the gunner held the trigger down). 50 rounds of 105mm onboard.


The main gun used an autoloader (located in the rear) containing up to 50 rounds . This worked very well and had loading times of about 3 seconds. To change ammunition you simply pressed a button. You could also fire in "automatic" mode (when for example you wanted to fire for effect with HE rounds). Thereby the system "locked" the elevation system giving it quite good precision. 1500 7,62 rounds for the machineguns (500 in each magazine).


web.telia.com/~u50015076/Strv103a.jpg


I wouldn't really call that a tank; at least, not in the modern, ie post WWI, sense. The gun was fixed and it had no turret. It's more an assault gun than tank, IMO.

Still a very interesting read. Sweden, the Saab, the Volvo and the S-tank.



The Bradley is considered a tank.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 7:31:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
The Swedish "S-Tank" ("Stridsvagn 103") has / had an autoloader. Basically it was semiautomatic (fired as long as the gunner held the trigger down). 50 rounds of 105mm onboard.


The main gun used an autoloader (located in the rear) containing up to 50 rounds . This worked very well and had loading times of about 3 seconds. To change ammunition you simply pressed a button. You could also fire in "automatic" mode (when for example you wanted to fire for effect with HE rounds). Thereby the system "locked" the elevation system giving it quite good precision. 1500 7,62 rounds for the machineguns (500 in each magazine).


web.telia.com/~u50015076/Strv103a.jpg


I wouldn't really call that a tank; at least, not in the modern, ie post WWI, sense. The gun was fixed and it had no turret. It's more an assault gun than tank, IMO.

Still a very interesting read. Sweden, the Saab, the Volvo and the S-tank.



The Bradley is considered a tank.



No, the Bradley is an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), not a tank. It is intended to support tanks and infantry with the ability to engage tanks, but it is not in the same class as a MBT.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 7:50:02 AM EDT
A machine has no motivation to load faster or slower. "load the next round or we are going to get shot!" is a pretty big motivator for a guy sitting next to a bunch of explosives
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 7:59:11 AM EDT
The loader position adds another enlisted man used for guard duty, KP duty, Mine clearing, pretty much any shit duty you can imagine. The loader also adds an extra crewman to replace casualties. The crew are all cross trained, and the M1 can operate pretty well with just 3 crew. Loader, Driver and Tank Commander.

Sometimes low tech works better.
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