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Odd equilibrium: M60A3 and T-72 Ural

29 posts in this topic

Actually, this,

 

"The T-72 however has a full steel turret, despite having the same composite glacis as the T-64A. Max thickness is not 280mm as you said, it's false. Max thickness is around 350-380mm on the turret "bulges" and that's only if you mesure it perpendicular, pure real thickness. From the face it's equivalent to 450-500mm RHA with angles. So suddenly, it's much stronger than you said. The area around the gun however, yes, it's weak at 300-250mm or so, but good luck hitting that area that's less than 30% of the frontal turret aspect."

 

 

is even better than i thought: it's 350mm at the gun (seems thinner at 280-300 really just around the gun on left side of turret) and more than 400 everywhere else.... Raw thickness. LOS should be 320-360 around gun to 500-600, on most of the turret face.

1451427730-t-72-ural-turret-thicknesss-c

 

It makes the L7 APDS unable to penetrate the T-72 base model, full steel turret (also obviously T-64A, probably all T-80 and even early T-64 too, as well as T-64B and all other T-72 variants) AT ALL even at point blank range! And the M735 will struggle to penetrate that at 500m... omg.

 

You clearly vastly underestimated T-72 armor.

 

I did indeed. It seems I talked about the area closest to the gun mantlet, which is definitely 280mm (actual mantlet is more like 250mm). The difference between a T-72 Ural and a T-64A at this point is that the T-72 Ural can be penetrated with M456A1 HEAT shells, while the T-64A is clearly immune frontally to this round as per its design.

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In regards to the Chieftain in this comparison (circa 1978-1980), the Chieftain was still firing APDS of course. However, L15A3 APDS was still capable of penetrating 150mm/60 degrees at 1600 meters, and 120mm/65 degrees at 2000 meters. Considering the protection of the T-64A/T-72 Ural is about 110-120mm/68 degrees (it's 80+105+20 in a bigass armour sandwich, the fibreglass middle isn't much use against KE), I'd have a guess that the L15A3 APDS could penetrate a T-64A/T-72 out to 1000-1500 meters. Chieftain Mk.5 also had the FCS advantage at that period, with LRS and IFCS giving it a pretty good first hit probability out to 3km in comparison to contemporaries.

From 1978 onwards the Chieftain's engine started seeing serious improvement as well. As part of 'Operation Sundance' the Chieftain's engine saw a series of upgrades that made the engine quite acceptable, along with previous Chieftain models being upgraded through the 'Totem Pole' program, Mk.2, Mk.3 and Mk.5 Chieftain's by that stage were basically all getting more reliable engines producing 720-750bhp, giving 48km/h on road and 30-35km/h, as well as fire control upgrades with LRS (Laser Rangefinding System) and Marconi IFCS (Improved Fire Control System).

So basically, by 1978-1980 the Chieftain was a serious adversary to the T-72's and T-64's, the availability rate was about 80 percent by 1980, with less underpowered engines and FCS giving the Chieftain a good first hit probability for that time. It's armour however wasn't a big factor, 125mm APFSDS could penetrate it out to range, especially BM-15 or even worse (for the Chieftain) BM-22 'Hairpin'. HEAT might fail to fuze on the glacis but the turret is certainly vulnerable, overall it doesn't have effectively better armour than the M60A3 by this stage but it had better crew survivability, with the ammunition layout and wet stowage.

The key time period of Soviet dominance was from around 1971 (when the T-64/64A started to actually get deployed to Germany, and with the T-72) to about 1978, the L7 guns only had APDS which was ineffective and only really the Chieftain could penetrate a T-64A/T-72 with any reliability, but had horrid availability rates. After this 105mm APFSDS appeared, 3rd gen MBT's like the Abrams and Leopard appeared which were superior to Soviet vehicles, and generally they run off from there especially after 1985 where even Soviet technical performance comparisons give the T-72B a value of 1.0, the T-64B a value of 1.1, and the T-80U a value of 1.3, while the Challenger gets a value of like 1.7 and the M1A1 Abrams significantly higher.

Blame Ustinov, he kept the T-64 going which proved a great investment, but then he got all obsessed with gas turbines which proved to not be the best idea.
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