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Tank Troops

Ground Combat Systems

Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov stated 30 July 2018 that now there is no need to equip the Armed Forces of Russia with a large number of such equipment as Armata or Bumerang, since the latest versions of the T-72 tanks are highly efficient. "Why" flood "with" Armats "or" Boomerangs "all the Armed Forces? We have a tank T-72 is in great demand in the market, it takes everything. Compared with the "Abrams", "Leclercs" and "Leopards" in terms of price, efficiency and quality, it significantly exceeds them," Borisov told reporters.

"Armata and Boomerang are quite expensive models in relation to existing ones. These models are the prospect of armored vehicles," Borisov said. "If the existing equipment, in particular, the upgraded T-72, BMP-4 or BTR-82 tanks were inferior in terms of their capabilities to the likely enemy, we would now be forcing and buying new models," the Deputy Prime Minister said. He added that Russia manages, having a budget of 10 times less than NATO countries, to accomplish the tasks "at the expense of such effective solutions, when we look at the modernization potential of old models."

A prototype of the T-14 Armata tank was unveiled publicly at a military parade in Moscow in 2015. Russian officials said at the time of the presentation that 2,300 of the vehicles would be in use in Russia's armed forces in 2020. They said the first battle-ready units should be sent to the 1st Guards Tank Regiment, which is part of the 2nd Guards of the Motorized Taman Division based in the Moscow region.

The Soviet Ground Forces viewed the tank as their primary weapon. In 1989 the Tank Troops had five types of main battle tanks, including the T-54/55, T-62, T-64, T-72, and T-80. The greater part of the total tank inventory of 53,000 consisted of older, although still highly potent, T-54/55 and T-62 tanks.

The technical progress in the art of war made in the early part of the 20th century brought about new kind of combat systems - battle tanks. These fighting vehicles embodied the firepower of artillery, armor protection against enemy's fire, and high mobility during cross-country movement. The combination of all these capabilities made it possible to plan and carry out military operations on a qualitatively new level, and, hence, caused rapid rise in the quantity and quality of tank fleets.

The outcome of the world wars and local conflicts became directly depended on wide use of tank troops - the main striking force of land armies. Nowadays the battle tank is one of the most complex machines. Its design ensures its reliability and operability under extreme conditions, under the influence of climatic, operational and combat factors. This is achieved by strenuous efforts of designers, researchers and manufacturers.

A Tank is a heavily armored vehicle (up to the equivalent of 1,000 mm of armor), mounting a large caliber cannon (90mm or above) in a large, fully enclosed, heavily armored turret. It must have tracks. It has excellent cross-country mobility, armor protection, firepower, and the capability of producing a shock effect on the enemy. A tank is an offensive weapon designed to fire and maneuver and assault through an objective. Remember, all tanks are armored vehicles, but not all armored vehicles are tanks.

Germany is good tank country. Germany is good tank country. The North German Plains is characterized as being relatively flat and open terrain. Rivers and valleys do not canalize cross-country movement as is the situation further south. Such conditions as are present make the area ideally suited to armor operations and provide Warsaw Pact forces with the best terrain to conduct high-speed offensives across Western Europe to the major port facilities along the coast. The meeting engagement is the form of the offensive which best supports the high-speed attack.

The specter of thousands of Soviet tanks rolling westward across the north German plain no longer haunts the United States. During the Cold War, however, it was possible, with perhaps only slight exaggeration, to fear a Soviet breakthrough along the inter-German border. Tens of thousands of Soviet tanks could be envisioned racing West to the Channel and in the process capturing the heart of European industrial capacity. NATO was an alliance that was meant to contain the Soviet Union, to face off against the Warsaw Pact, to face off at a moment's notice against vast swarms Soviet tanks rolling through the Fulda Gap in Division strength.

The "Fulda Gap Syndrome" was the tendency among military planners during the Cold War to build future war scenarios entirely on the assumption that the next war would occur on the European plain, with the Soviet Union launching its primary attack through the Fulda Gap on the former East German border. The Russian 8th Guards Army was on one side of the line, and the Americans on the other side of the line believed that if they won at the Fulda Gap, western Europe and North America would be safe. Soviet tanks will never roll through the Fulda Gap.

The Commander-in-Chief of Land Forces has as one of his subordinates the Commander of Tank Forces. But in Soviet times tens of thousands of tanks were spread throughout the world, from Cuba to Sakhalin. Every Russian reconnaissance battalion has a tank platoon, every motor-rifle regiment has a tank battalion, every motor-rifle division has a tank regiment, and every Soviet Army had a tank division, every Front had a Tank Army, and each Strategic Direction had a Group of Tank Armies. Decisions on the use of all these tanks in combat are taken by the combat commanders as the situation develops. The Commander of Tank Forces is in no position to play any part in the control of each tank unit, and any such intervention would be a violation of the principle of sole responsibility for the conduct and results of combat operations. The Commander of Tank Forces is forbidden to intervene in combat planning and in questions of the use of tanks in combat.

The responsibilities of the Commander of Tank Forces cover the development of new types of tank and their testing, the supervision of the quality of production of tank factories, ensuring that all tank detachments are supplied with the necessary spare parts and the training of specialists in the Tank Force Academies, in the Tank Higher Schools and in training divisions. He is also responsible for the technical condition of tanks in all the armed forces and acts as the inspector of all tank personnel.

Because ground weapons technology had advanced steadily since World War II, the Soviets replenished their huge tank force constantly with new tank models to keep it from becoming obsolescent. This requirement led to a major research and development program and the construction of an extensive production establishment that has supported a high annual tank production rate - an estimated average of about 3,000 vehicles a year for the last 10 years of the Cold War. This high rate of production enabled the Soviets to keep their tank force opposite NATO equipped largely with modern, highly capable vehicles.

The Soviet planning cycle worked in 5-year increments. The procedure is to tool up a factory and let it run until the tooling starts to wear out, which took 12 to 17 years. The replacement decision is usually at the end of the third 5-year plan after the one during which the factory started production. In some major systems such as tank production, the Soviets simply have three large plants and retool one during each 5-year plan.

Under this system, once a plant was retooled, it continued in uninterrupted production on the same item until its time in the planning sequence rolled around again. Toward the end of the life cycle, these plants turned out obsolete, but still serviceable, equipment that was used primarily for export to the Soviet Union's clients and allies, and maintain a supply and spare-parts base for Soviet units still equipped with the product. A plant at the lower end of its life cycle often had an attached facility to rebuild worn-out equipment.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:24:02 ZULU