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Subject: Direct Fire artillery
00_Chem_AJB    2/28/2007 4:12:39 PM
During the Second World War, heavy usage of direct fire artillery units such as the StuG, Sturmpanzers, SU and ISU series occurred, so what is today?s equivalent in the direct artillery fire role?
 
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flamingknives       2/28/2007 4:36:05 PM
MBTs.

Challenger, Abrams, Leopard etc. fulfill this role. They've got guns at least as good for chucking HE as any of the WW2 assault guns, save perhaps the SturmTiger.

IFVs also carry this role, albeit to a lesser extent, and so do shoulder-launched rockets. Finally, the control of fires, along with guided munitions, fulfill the rest of the role. Why have a dedicated vehicle when you can whistle up a GMLRS that packs more punch and is nearly as accurate.
 
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YelliChink       2/28/2007 4:39:40 PM
During WW2, there weren't many AFVs equiped with automatic cannons. The reasons that Germans built so many StuGs, Panzerjaegers and Jagdpanzers are mostly logistical rather than militaristic. Though StuGs were supposely equiped to artillery units and serves as fire support, they eventually became combat troops. Russian SU or ISU series were actually more like mobile artillery rather than fighting vehicles.
 
Today, the role is mostly separate into different platforms. Auto cannons are fitted to AFVs whose roles are supposed to do whatever fighting with infantry. For example, Bradley is equiped with 25mm cannon and TOW missile to engage different targets. The last Panzerjaeger was German Jaguar with 90mm cannon, but they replaced the cannon by HOT missiles for anti-armor purposes. French have some interesting stuff that they've used in the past 50 years. They include ERC-90, AML-90 and AMX-10RC type wheeled gun carriage and AMX-13. French built these thing for rapid global deployment.
 
Now, probably because US Army is field testing Stryker MGS, many other armies are trying the same thing. I call it nuts! Because they just follow what US Army is doing instead of realizing that they don't need to transport 105mm gun carriage anywhere in the globe withing 96 hours.
 
 
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00_Chem_AJB       2/28/2007 4:53:37 PM
I was thinking about MBTs being used for direct support fire, I know the Merkava has been issued with a HE shell, and that the Russian T-60 to T-90 carry around 20 heafty HE-FRAGs for direct fire purposes, however I wasn't sure about NATO MBTs, but I suppose HEAT, HESH, would work.
 
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00_Chem_AJB       2/28/2007 4:54:44 PM
Sorry thats T-64 through T-90
 
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Sabre       2/28/2007 5:27:37 PM
During WWII, initially at least, many tanks had relatively small calibre weapons that simply weren't big enough to have a useful HE shell - I am speaking of weapons that were significantly smaller than the 120mm cannon that tanks are typically armed with today. Even towards the end of the war, when most tanks had a 75 or 76mm main gun, that is still a significantly smaller HE shell than a 120mm fires.
 
I do remember the Marine speaking about the Japanese fortifications encountered in the Pacific. He stated that many required 5-inch (127mm) and in a few cases, even 8-inch (203mm) shells to destroy. So 120mm HE should be effective against most targets.
 
Self-propelled artillery, with the ordinance mounted in a rotating turret, is also much more common these days, and is capable of direct fire, to varying degrees (i.e., most are much more capable than the US Army's M109 series - the Crusader for example, was supposed to be able to use a laser and automated fire control - perhaps not as high quality of a system as the fire control on an M1 tank, but far superior to "range guess-timation" and yelling corrections to the gunner.)
 
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Carl S       3/2/2007 7:56:55 AM
"but far superior to "range guess-timation" and yelling corrections to the gunner.)"

The gunner on the SP had his own telescopic sight for direct fire on the M109 series.  Not much need to shout corrections as he had the best view.  Accuracy depended on the degree of training.  Just a few hours a year was average for the arty units I was associated with, which was enough for the basics.

While training north of Seoul Korea we noticed SP artilery often occupying the tank revetments along the roads.  In one case the cannon were 175mm & a quick look at the map showed they had a max lin of sight up the valley of 2500 meters.  Since there were many positions for indirect fire elsewhere we concluded they were positioned there in a dual role,  the second to fire at the far end north end of the valley as the NK army came over the hills.
 
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Sabre       3/2/2007 9:19:24 AM
Heh, sorry, Carl, there was a little fog in my memory (they say that's the second thing to go, as you age) - the last time we were at the direct fire range, the gunner's pantel was inop... Considering that the general was watching and the targets just weren't that far away, this was not considered a show-stopper. These were M109A6's and we had pluggered the targets out on the range beforehand, so it wasn't dangerous. As a double-check, I got range to target from a melios and map-spotted the elevation, computed the elevation and off we went. Yet another beautiful thing about 155mm - you just have to be "close enough".
 
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Sabre       3/2/2007 11:50:51 AM

In one case the cannon were 175mm & a quick look at the map showed they had a max lin of sight up the valley of 2500 meters.  Since there were many positions for indirect fire elsewhere we concluded they were positioned there in a dual role,  the second to fire at the far end north end of the valley as the NK army came over the hills.
I would pay good money to see a 175mm gun using direct fire!
Especially against antiquated soviet-designed tanks...
 
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00_Chem_AJB       3/2/2007 1:05:53 PM
An M107 direct fire? Nice.
 
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Carl S       3/2/2007 6:34:54 PM
One of my USMC buds got a photo of a M60 tank,  just as it was hit by a 203mm round falling short.  But I've told that story before...
 
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