T-72 Ammo Storage is problematical

When it first appeared, the Soviet T-72 was quite impressive to our own US Army, still primarily equipped with the M60A1 tank. It had a larger main gun, lower profile, better weight-to-horsepower ration, and an innovative autoloader for the main gun.

But that last feature was also one of its weak points. The 125mm main gun of the T-72 uses a semi-combustible propellant case for its ammunition. That is, when the round is fired, most of the case burns during the shot, and only a small stub at the base is ejected. That’s not bad, in and of itself. The 120mm main gun of the M1A1 does the same thing. But because of the way the autoloader on the T-72 was designed, this combustible ammunition was arrayed on a carousel at the bottom of the turret basket, and exposed. That’s bad for the ammo, and really bad for the crew if there is any explosion aboard.

Watch this video of a Syrian Army T-72 being hit by an RPG. Soon after impact, the propellant ignites, and what should have been a damaged vehicle instead becomes a catastrophic loss.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2TLS1sqMl8]

9 thoughts on “T-72 Ammo Storage is problematical”

  1. Saw this on another forum and there were a couple of things that people noted:

    A. The RPG shot and the tank blowing up appear to be two different vids spliced together.

    2. Why do retard Third World cameramen always stand right behind the rocketeer?

    d. Did the guy on fire come from behind the tank or out from the hero-hole? No real consensus on that point.

    1. 1. Yeah, probably two different episodes, but still illustrative.

      2. I had that same thought.

      3. I think the TC was blown out of the hatch by the initial explosion, but it’s inconclusive.

  2. I don’t have a problem with it being the same event; they film everything so that they can propagandize it so makes sense that they set one in place to film the strike. The second video never pans or tilts; it was just set there to capture the BDA. Regardless, I love watching a T72 burn up like that, and find it ironic that they are doing it to themselves. What would bother me, if I was the on-scene commander, was the almost complete lack of response, less some haphazard scanning from the commanders’ cupolas, as well as the very slow decision to drive away. I think this is highly illustrative of a complete lack of training or proficiency on the part of the targeted platoon, as the other alternative is that it indicates a highly disciplined organization that was unwilling to respond based on an unwillingness to cause civilian casualties.
    I didn’t see any indicators of a TC leaving the hatch by force, and am amazed that the guy who did come out seemed to pause to finish dressing while fleeing from the flaming tank.

    1. Were I one of the other TC’s I’d have been spraying every rooftop and alleyway with the 12.7, while yelling at the driver to move out. But then, I’m not a tanker so I don’t really know what the proper response is.

    2. Brad, I think your response would be the right one. If I’m teh TC, I ain’t sticking around. I’m a bit taken aback by the other two tracks just sitting, more or less, in place after the other one just got screwed.

    3. the other alternative is that it indicates a highly disciplined organization that was unwilling to respond based on an unwillingness to cause civilian casualties.

      Given the nature of the Assad regime, I doubt that. 🙂

  3. iPods, they didn’t hear it go off and waited for official word.

    Praise allah, you should be moving quickly insallah and the oilz been changed. The mashing gunz, you may shoot them in a random fashion as befits our raider society. Bless you and your offspring.

    Big Mo at the Tent.

  4. Did it look like the main gun cooked off in the initial hit to anyone? But hell yeah, I would spray the roofs down. The only reason I can think that they don’t immediately start moving is that they’re sitting without motors cranked, but that would be so horribly irresponsable in a combat area.

  5. If I may weigh in, a) yes, what is it with people filming within the back blast cone? b) if plan A goes to hell at first contact wouldn’t IMMEDIATE implementation of plan B be appropos? c) is it me, or could anyone else hear the TC on far T-72 yelling over the IC “….no g _ _ da _ _ it Mamoud, YOUR left (as they are trying to back away), and finally d) yes, much fire suppression (considering friendly’s location), is called for to break contact.

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