TANKS for the Memories (my days of 60-ton off-roading) with VIDEOS

Next weekend is Father’s Day. I plan to enjoy it. My son is in the Army, and has served two tours in Iraq. I am very proud of him, and I thank God that he was not hurt. I served my time as an Armor officer in Germany, during the Cold War. I joke with my son that even though I never saw combat, we still won my war, without having to fight, but Iraq is still up for grabs, even after all the fighting we have done there. For Father’s Day, I am asking him for a computer game called “Steel Beasts Pro Personal Edition”, which is based on the software that was developed for the Army to train their tank crews. I hope he grants my request. This game will bring back some memories. I was never in combat, but we trained heavily for it, and I am sure there is no other experience like putting steel on an enemy tank that was trying to kill you, but you got them first. Even in training, putting steel on target was an awesome experience, slamming a tungsten steel SABOT round, traveling a mile a second, into the hull of an obsolete tank that is 1500 meters downrange. There is a blinding flash as the round impacts, penetrates and melts a few pounds of steel armor into a hot plasma. Then you hear the sharp report of the impact. There is nothing else like it.

I was once gassed with tear gas while on a platoon command moving gun run with 5 tanks on a gunnery range. I was maneuvering 5 tanks, and we were firing live ammo at pop-up targets. The tear gas grenade was thrown by the Air Force officer evaluating us. I had no idea that he would do such a thing. He was behind my tank, and the first I knew of the gas was when the first tendrils of the gas cloud wrapped around me, and I breathed it in. It made me gag. I keyed the radio, gave the gas alert, and passed command of the platoon to my platoon sergeant, while my crew and I put on our gas masks, and while I cursed the Air Force captain. I don’t know if he heard me. But I handled it correctly, my tanks hit their targets, and he passed me and my platoon. That is the closest to combat I ever got.

Once in a REFORGER war game, I discovered and “destroyed” an enemy helicopter refueling station in a valley below me, with a fuel truck and 2 attack helicopters on the ground. Those choppers had been harassing us for days.  I had a platoon of 5 tanks, and we all crested the ridge and “opened fire” simultaneously. I don’t think those choppers would have gotten away.  That would have been quite a fireball, in real combat.  Another time I qualified my tank in night-fire gunnery practice by taking out a squad of infantry targets at about 400 meters with the commander’s 50 caliber machine gun. I was arcing the rounds in by observing the tracer rounds, and I wasn’t sure I was hitting anything until the tower announced “TARGET, CEASE FIRE”. That brought some cheers inside my tank.  My gunner’s previous performance on the main gun had been a little off, but my machine gun engagement qualified the entire crew and gave us some down-time.

I am hoping that this game is realistic enough to bring back some of those memories. But the muzzle flashes should be twice as big and twice as loud. Here is a video of the game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbYIkhLMZb4&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Here is a video of the real thing, with some real combat footage thrown in:

Here is a real engagement in Iraq, with no music and no BS, where a M1 Abrams sends some terrorists (er… I mean insurgents) to meet Allah, after verifying the house that they are firing from:

Here is a video of the most famous tank battle in modern history (Iraq 1991), which is now studied in the US Army Armor Officer’s School. In this battle, an advance Cavalry troop with just 9 M1 Abrams tanks and 12 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles ran into an Iraqi armor/infantry BRIGADE that was dug-in in a defensive position. A brigade should have well over 100 tanks. I don’t know how many this brigade had. The Americans destroyed 28 tanks, 16 armored personnel carriers, and 39 trucks in 23 minutes, with NO AMERICAN LOSSES. From the Captain’s interview, it sounds like the first dozen Iraqi tanks were destroyed in the first dozen seconds of the battle. The Captain’s tank hit 3 tanks in 9 or 10 seconds, then his other 8 tanks crested the ridge, and 8 more Iraqi tanks were hit. So much for an elite Iraqi brigade with Russian tanks :

Here is an awesome clip of tanks softening an enemy position (try your RPG on this, Mohammed), probably killing several, for the Infantry to go in and secure, rounding up some survivors who probably wisely surrendered:

Here is a video showing the 2 main types of tank ammo- – – SABOT (penetrator rod) and HEAT (shaped charge technology) – – – and what they do to a target:

Here is a typical gunnery session, shooting at targets probably close to a mile away. It shows the full extent of the incredible muzzle flash… you should try to freeze the video on one of them (try at .03, .08, .11). This is more realistic sound, but it would probably bust your ear drums if you were standing here with no ear protection. My ears still ring because of sessions like this:

In Iraq, tankers ran over abandoned cars for fun, even cars with bombs in them…..

And this is more like what my tanking was like in Germany….. of course, I NEVER got stuck like this….. but I pulled out other idiots who did:

In the next video, the latest version of the M1 Abrams (M1A2SEP) gets up some speed, and actually gets some air over the jumps…..

Sadly, I have no pictures of my most memorable tanking experiences, like crunching the fender of an old German lady’s VW beetle, sliding a tank down a frozen road, on a snow-covered hill, about 2-3 hundred yards long, or watching another tank break through the ice of a hidden pond….. it took 2 other tanks to pull it out….. hey, I do have a photo of that, but finding it would be  a chore.

And finally, here is proof that soldiers have a great sense of humor………. they need it!!  HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

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About goldenmeantx
Truth seeker, fact finder, amateur philosopher, amateur historian, ex-soldier, ex-motorcycle racer, world traveler, rancher, hunter, gun owner, dirt bike rider, mountain bicycle rider, husband, father, grandfather, hard worker, good friend to all who put up with me, and even some who don't.

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