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Why do tanks seem increasingly useless?

Recently, Ukraine claimed that they destroyed at least one of the most advanced main battle tanks of the Russian army, the Russian T-90M. This is the most advanced and improved model of the T-90 series of tanks claimed by Russian military enterprises, and is also regarded as the pride of the Russian Army. The T-90M is the latest type of equipment that was only released in 2017. It will only be equipped with the Russian army in 2020. At present, the number of equipment is only about 100. It is regarded as the ultimate improved model of the T-90 series of tanks. The T-90M is equipped with a new power and fire control system, and the turret has been changed from the original cast turret of the T-90 to a more protective composite armor model, and it is equipped with a more protective reactive armor. In order to enhance the situational awareness of tank members, the vehicle is equipped with a 360-degree all-weather driving camera system, and is equipped with a top remote-controlled weapon station to reduce possible casualties of members due to the operation of overhead machine guns. However, it is such a state-of-the-art main battle tank that has just been in existence for five years, but it was easily destroyed by the Ukrainian infantry with anti-tank missiles on the Ukrainian battlefield.

The performance of the tanks in the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict was astounding. Not only was it helpless to deal with various advanced anti-tank weapons, but even the wheeled chariots of the Ukrainian army could be destroyed by side-rear sneak attacks in urban operations. Such a poor performance makes people have to suspect that this former battlefield king is likely to be unable to deal with future wars. There are several arguments for the tank backwardness theory that the tank faction simply cannot refute. First of all, according to the density of anti-tank weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield, not only Russian tanks can’t deal with it, but even advanced main battle tanks in Europe and the United States are not sure to retreat – just because they pay more attention to personnel protection, the casualties of the crew may be small when destroyed. Some. Secondly, the Ukrainian battlefield can be said to be an ideal battlefield for main battle tanks. There is no mountain barrier, coupled with Russia’s rich experience in tank warfare, why is it also beaten to nothing?

Has the tank really become a burden on the battlefield of the future? Or is there still room for development? To answer this question, we first need to review the history of tanks and see what problems humans mainly want to solve when creating tanks.

As we all know, the First World War gave birth to tanks. The British army took the lead in using tanks to break through trenches. Because its armor can resist the attack of machine guns, its mobility is enough to break through the depth of enemy positions, and tanks have become weapons that change the rules of war. In World War II, due to its mobility, high protection capability and powerful firepower, the tank became the breakthrough weapon on the battlefield. This was its most glorious moment. However, if we look back at history carefully, we will find that the reason why tanks were able to be gods in the two world wars was first of all due to their strong protection capabilities. As for their firepower and mobility, they are actually no worse than assault guns with less protection. It is stronger than infantry armored vehicles. If its protection ability is not strong enough, it is just ordinary armored weapons. The so-called high protection of the tank is actually based on the fact that the ordinary infantry company simply cannot threaten its survival beyond the range of the tank’s main gun. However, once the individual weapon evolves to easily destroy it outside the range of the tank gun, the high protection of the tank does not exist.

A woman stands for a photo on a destroyed Russian army tank in the village of Dmytrivka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, April 24, 2022. Figure / People’s Vision

In fact, in several local wars after World War II, such as the Middle East war, it has been found that tanks cannot fight against regular troops with well-established positions and armed with anti-tank missiles. The Russian army also proved in the Chechen war that in street fighting, tank units cannot cope with even light infantry with only anti-tank rockets. In the Iraq War, the performance of the US military’s tanks still makes people believe that it may be that Israel and the Russians lack understanding of modern warfare. If the tanks are used like the Americans, the outcome may be different. Those who hold this view obviously do not understand the facts. The US tank’s outstanding performance in the Fallujah siege in 2004 was considered to be the key to winning the battle, and it was also a model for the correct combat application of tanks in recent years. But if we look back at that battle, we will see that, first of all, the US military was not opposed by a well-equipped and well-trained regular army, but by the Shiite militias in Fallujah. These militias lacked anti-tank weapons and had no means of attacking beyond the range of the main guns of American tanks. To make matters worse, the level of urban construction in Iraq was very primitive, which made it impossible for the militias to maneuver effectively. In addition to ground maneuvers, a modern city can also maneuver troops through underground tunnels, subway lines, and drainage systems during wartime, but Fallujah does not have these modern facilities. Another problem with the primitive level of urban construction is that the local buildings are not strong, and low-rise residential areas with civil structures cannot hinder the movement of tanks. The US military only needs to be equipped with armored bulldozers to open a new passage in the building complex to allow the tanks to maneuver. , thus bypassing the defender’s position and attacking from the rear. The reason why the Battle of Fallujah tank shines is actually still because its protection is sufficient, and the United States has an all-round crushing advantage. As the winner of this battle, the United States clearly knew very well how it won the battle, so instead of developing new tanks after the war, it continued to invest in the development of new unmanned urban warfare robots and drones, and more Advanced digital reconnaissance and sighting equipment to improve soldiers’ situational awareness in urban operations. It can be seen that the tank can only be used to intimidate opponents who are unable to destroy it, and the biggest role is limited to public security warfare.

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