well in my humble opinion i would say that challenger was a great f***ing tank if only it had not been crippled by mileage restrictions i had the pleasure of working on both it and cr2 (not sure it deserves a proper name)(and that creature we all call chieftan) and played with leopard zwei and m1a1 and to be fair apart from the drivers hatch seal i loved it like a child (how many wagons ever looked after you like this one ) so many places to bolt on ferret/chieftan bins and apart from the whole muff coupling thing few major faults well thats my tuppence and i look forward to a heated debate
many thanks for the disturbance this will no doubt cause
The Israeli Merkeva always struck me as an interesting bit of kit, a little slow, but great protection and firepower, it even comes with a 60mm mortar in addition to a 120mm main gun, two .50s and a 7.62. Oh yes, a 4 man infantry compartment. What more could you ask for?
to be fair you have a great arguement for the israeli option , and in an anti warsaw pact enviroment it would have been a great asset (would have been nice to know what my life expectancy in one of those would have been in ww3)but it aint that manouverable and the whole engine in the front is troubling and the infrantry compartment is hearsay (really) and i believe they binned the whole sit on the turret and launch 60mm mortar idea as f***ing stupid(under armour being far cleverer(not sure thats a real word
to be fair you have a great argument for the israeli option , and in an anti warsaw pact enviroment it would have been a great asset (would have been nice to know what my life expectancy in one of those would have been in ww3)but it aint that manouverable and the whole engine in the front is troubling and the infrantry compatment is hearsay (really) and i believe they binned the whole sit on the turret and launch 60mm mortar idea as f***ing stupid(under armour being far cleverer(not sure thats a real word
Fair comment, I'm no armour expert, so its good to have some feedback from someone in the know. Its a shame that they coudnt get the entire package to work though, as it would have been pretty awesome. Another triumph of designer optimism over functionality I guess.
life wouldnt be the same without my memories of how s**t CR2 was all nice and white inside whats wrong with getting out of a tank with your black coveralls covered in silver paint(weve all been there on PRE with a can of spray paint and some bolt heads to stick on with glue)(long live challenger) but it did have nice back decks to sleep on (any comment welcome)
One of the problems here is that we are all probably biased towards the AFV we spent most of our service on. The only way to determine the definitive answer is to have some sort of competition.....CAT was an example, where similar generation MBTs compete on a level playing field. Now to be fair we did not have too much to shout about in this, where as those countries who used Leo 1 and 2 often did?
I know CAT has since long been gone, but its the last real indicator where Western power tanks have been pitted against each other unless you include the recent sale of MBT to Greece. I think Leo won that as well......!
As regards our own MBTs, you cannot compare CR2 with Chieftain etc. CR2 is fantastic, although having just been to BATUS to do some work watching Scots DG BG its reliability is questionable.
Merkava was designed in the light of Israeli experiences in 1967 and 1973 where they tended to roll out of barracks and immediately open up on a rapidly closing enemy - it's a small country and traditionally the opposition comes to them first. Hence it emphasises armour and ammo stowage, has a decent gun and manoeuverability comes last. The front mounted engine etc allows them to take a mobility kill and keep firing. As they transitioned to driving slowly through urban areas the formula remained valid.
The "crew compartment" is also the recoil space for the gun - so you can't fire of you carry extra bods - unless you don't like them.
Isn't this a bit like the age old who is the greatest heavyweight champion argument. all the best in there time but trying to pick one from across the ages is like comparing apples and oranges.
FWIW Centurion has to be the closest to the greatest of all time , great gun (a version of which was fitted to the original M1A1 i believe), great armour, and manouverable, also battle proven against its contemporaries on a variety of battlefields.
As originally designed, this was a tank where the Army got a tank that was not fatally flawed in design (such as the whole "cruiser" versus "Infantry" tank concept). Centurion had a degree of mechanical reliability. The Armour scheme addressed the flaws of the earlier Comet etc, derived from flawed doctrine and production issues to date. Last but not least the 17-Pdr hit harder than the comparable German weapons (even the 88mm I think).
While the Centurion missed full operational service in WWII, this simply allowed the design to mature. The turret arrangement was "fixed" by Korea, and it was up gunned to 20- Pdr. In Korea the Centurion served along with several other types (even Churchills!), gaining a hiigh reputation on all sides.
Through the 1950's the tank Continued to mature in various marks so that by the 1960's its main gun (105mm), sighting systems etc, made it a bench mark MBT, although it was showing signs of having reached the limits of improvement that its basic design imposed.
Perhaps the one weakness it had was the Meteor power pack, which was a petrol one among other faults. The relatively poor power output did effect the Centurion's mobility. A fault that would become more pronounced in its successor type.
The Centurion enjoyed great export success, being supplied to among other countries to Israel. The Israelis employed it in both 1967 and 1973 (later upgrading it to "BenGurion" standard). However the tank had a user able to compare it to many of it contemporaries and rated it highly. Prefering it over early M-60's (supposedly a 'newer" design) and outfighting the Soviet tanks it faced in all respects.
By the 1970's the type was in the twilight of its service, yet it continued to be a viable MBT in NATO, as well as global terms in to the 1980's.
The Centurion was THE tank to beat in global terms from the late 1940's through to the 1970's. Apart from the power pack, Centurion was an almost 'ideal' MBT and deserves consideration.
Yes, this is another British type, not being jongoistic, as I have LOTS of Brit' viechles in mind for the "worst' tank ever built too!
There were two programmes on TV that that clashed earlier in the week- Top ten tanks on Channel 5 and Ultimate ten...Tanks! on Discovery. I can't remeber the full listings but Ch5 had the Abrams as top tank while Dicovery had T-34 at No1 followed by Abrams.
Discovery marked down the Abrams because several had been knocked out by Iraqis thus proving that it's not invulnerable. Cr2 was about no 6, marked down by it low production and the fact that we're the only Army to have bought it.
Both programmes rated the Merkava but made allowances for it's unique deployment area, similarly with the now defunct Swedish S-tank - great in Sweden but you wouldn't want to invade Iraq in one.
Both programmes also left Leclerc and the Japanese and Italian MBTs out of the top ten because none of them had seen combat. Discovery also dismissed Leopard 2 for the same reason while Ch 5 had it about no 8- praised for it's lifetime warranty. I wonder if Krauss-Maffei do factory tours....?