Jump to content

Iraq bombing damages British tank


Recommended Posts

A British Challenger 2 tank has been badly damaged by a roadside bomb in Iraq, leaving the driver seriously injured, the Ministry of Defence said.

A spokesman said the tank had been on routine duties in a western district of Basra when it was hit on 6 April.

It is believed to be the first incident where a Challenger tank has been breached by such an attack.

The driver of the Challenger has now been sent back to the UK for further medical treatment.

An MoD spokesman said the Challenger tank was "well armoured but in an operational theatre it's not the case that you can have absolute protection".

He said: "This was not in any way new technology - the device involved was the same type of shaped charge that we have seen used very regularly.

"No-one has ever said Challenger tanks are invincible.

"We have always said that a big enough bomb will defeat any armour and any vehicle, and the Americans have lost many tanks in Baghdad."

He added that the attack also left one of the other three tank crew with minor injuries.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Adams said the Challenger was generally used on the ground only in situations where the Army felt the need to make "a big statement".

Main tank

The Challenger 2 is the UK's main battle tank, and its key function is to destroy enemy tanks.

It has a good reputation for reliability, although it has experienced significant problems during military exercises in desert conditions.

The UK has almost 400 Challenger 2s, some of which have been used in Bosnia and Kosovo and have a four-man crew.

In addition to its Advanced Armour Technology, the Challenger 2 also has a nuclear, chemical- and biological attack-resistant compartment for the crew.

Professor Michael Clarke, from King's College's Defence Studies centre, said the Challenger 2 tank's armour was usually "inviolable".

He said: "Most of the things on a battlefield are not much of a threat to a tank, usually.

"This is worrying, because if there are many of these sorts of very heavy penetrative improvised explosive devices around in the area then no vehicle is safe."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A soldier has been seriously injured while inside a Challenger 2 tank in Iraq.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams answers questions about the fears that even these heavily armoured vehicles are becoming vulnerable.

CHALLENGER 2

How serious was this attack?

It was serious, inasmuch as it constituted the worst attack of its kind against a heavily armoured Challenger 2 tank operating in Iraq.

It is the first time that a crew member has been seriously wounded inside the tank and will, inevitably, cause the military to look again at how best to protect the crews of armoured vehicles from relatively sophisticated explosive devices.

But it would be wrong to conclude that this comes out of the blue.

The British, like the Americans, have grown all too familiar with "explosively formed projectiles" (EFPs, also known as "shaped charges") over the past two years.

Snatch Land Rovers, Warrior and Scimitar armoured vehicles have been hit and disabled in the past, but there has never been any doubt that, despite the highly sophisticated ceramic and steel Chobham armour, a tank crew can be vulnerable to a large enough EFP, striking with the right amount of force at the Challenger's weakest points.

What does it tell us about insurgent tactics and weaponry?

They are constantly evolving. What appears to have been different about this bomb was not so much the sophistication, but the size. To inflict serious damage on a Challenger is no mean feat.

While EFPs have been used in Iraq for a couple of years, the way they are used - left by the side of a road or buried in the ground - and the methods employed to detonate them - by radio waves, infrared, or wire - have varied.

Each time a new method is used, the British military has to come up with new, more effective counter-measures. It is a race in which you are frequently in danger of being one step behind the insurgents.

How can coalition forces defend themselves?

The coalition is understandably coy about its counter-measures, not wanting to signal to its opponents what it knows and what it is doing to protect itself.

But as with all things in the military, it is not just about keeping pace with evolving technology.

It is also about understanding how the enemy works and adjusting your tactics and procedures accordingly.

Where are these bombs coming from?

The British and US have both, at various times, blamed Iran quite publicly for supplying the technology for EFPs and their detonators, in addition to much other military hardware.

It is believed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah fighters collaborated in coming up with designs in Lebanon during the 1980s and 90s.

Similar devices were used with sometimes devastating effect against Israeli tanks.

Elements of the Revolutionary Guard, notably the elite al-Quds brigade, are alleged to be involved in supplying the know-how and equipment to Iraqi insurgents.

Others say that the technology is now fairly familiar and could be manufactured inside Iraq without much difficulty, and the longer the insurgency goes on, the more credible such claims may become.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

US M1 Tanks damged in Iraq

Tank; cause and effect; location; source; date

M1A1; Armbrust s-side nb-skirt, knocked out; Baghdad; official, pictures; 23/08/03

M1A1; RPG-29 shot through the side, knocked out, sent back to US; ?; US soldier; late 2003

M1A2; IED, 240-mm mortar, catastrophic (first), 3 KIA, driver WIA; Baquba; official; 27/10/03

M1A1; IED, catastrophic (second); ?; official; ?

M1A1; IED, catastrophic (third); ?; official; ?

M1A1; RPG to side, 1 KIA; ?; official, press; 07/04/04

M1A1; RPG to turret front, frag/burns to commander/loader, gunner also WIA (?); Fallujah; press, video; 07/04/04

M1A1; PG-7V s-side glacis, burnt out; Baghdad; press, picture; 10/04/04

M1A1; multiple RPG hits, burnt out; Sadr City; press, pictures; 17/08/04

M1A1; RPG attack, burnt out, 1 KIA; Ramadi; official, press; 10/11/04

M1A1; ambushed on trailer, burnt out; Baghdad; press; 22/11/04

M1A1; RPG s-side second last skirt, mobility killed; Mosul; press, pictures; 12/02/05

M1A1; AT mine, mobility killed; outside Fallujah; press, pictures; 11/03/05

M1A1; AT mine, mobility killed; Fallujah; US soldier; mid-2005

M1A1; IED, burnt out; ?; video; ?

M1A1; IED, burnt out; ?; video; ?

M1A2 SEP; IED, knocked out; Sadr City; US soldier, pictures; ?

M1A2 SEP; RPG s-side rear-skirt, engine killed; US soldier, pictures; ?

M1A2 SEP; RPG s-side turret side, commander/gunner WIA from spall; Sadr City; US soldier, pictures; ?

M1A2 SEP; RPG-29, knocked out; Sadr City; US soldier; ?

M1A2 SEP; RPG-29, knocked out; Sadr City; US soldier; ?

M1A2 SEP; AT IED (#1), loss; Sadr City; US soldier 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; AT IED (#2), loss; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; AT IED (#3), loss; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG (#1); knocked out; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG, heavily damaged; Sadr City; US soldier; 2004-2005

M1A2 SEP; IED or RPG (#10), knocked out; US soldier; Sadr City; 2004-2005

M1A1; IED, ruptured fuel cell, magazine detonation; Anbar Province; US soldier, picture; summer 2005

M1A1; IED, knocked out, unknown # of WIA/KIA; ?; US soldier, video; ?

M1A1; IED, burnt out; Southeast Baghdad; press, pictures; 25/12/05

M1A1; IED, knocked out, burning; Ramadi; video; 16/12/05

M1A1; IED, catastrophic, driver WIA; ?; US soldier; ?

M1A1; IED, burnt out; Eastern Baghdad; press, pictures; 10/03/06

M1##; IED, gunner paralyzed from severe whiplash; ?; US soldier; ?

M1A1; AT mine, mobility killed; ?; US soldier, video; ?

M1A1; IED, mobility killed; ?; video; February 2006

M1A1; IED, mobility killed; ?; video; 11/04/06

M1A1; IED, magazine detonation; ?; video, press; 15/09/06

M1A1; IED, knocked out, unknown # of WIA/KIA; North Baghdad; video; 09/10/06

M1A1; IED, burnt out; ?; video; ?

M1A2 SEP; IED, knocked out “destroyed”; ?; press; mid-2006

M1A1; IED, ruptured fuel cell, magazine detonation; Fallujah; press, video; 05/01/07

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...