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Multipurpose 120mm Mayhem
by James Dunnigan
July 2, 2011

The German Army has adopted the German made DM11 multipurpose (effective against infantry and buildings as well as lightly armored vehicles) 120mm tank gun shell. The first customer for the DM11 was the U.S. Marine Corps, where the shell was used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The DM11 is one of a new generation of tank gun ammunition, and it is proving very useful. These new shell designs are better at killing infantry, and destroying bunkers and buildings, rather than tanks. The DM11 works in the German 120mm smooth bore tank gun, which is something of a world standard, and used in the American M-1 tank.

In the 1990s, new multipurpose shells began to appear. But there were still a lot of older shells that were somewhat multipurpose. Thus in the last few years, 19,000 M830A1 multipurpose 120mm tank gun rounds were modified (to become M908 shells), to make them more lethal against bunkers, buildings and unarmored vehicles. In addition, there is the M1028, which is a 120mm shotgun shell (containing 1100 10mm tungsten balls, that can kill or wound at up to 700 meters from the tank), that began production in 2002. This shell, and the M908, are what American M-1 tanks used frequently in Iraq.

Israel pioneered both types of tank ammunition, and has been using their versions heavily in Palestinian areas during the last decade. These multipurpose shells make tanks much more useful in urban fighting. Hostile gunmen often take cover in buildings, or trees and crops. The M908 and DM11 can knock down buildings, and the M1028 can clear out anyone sniping at you from lighter structures or vegetation.

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