Military Review

Tracked military vehicles or wheeled vehicles: an unresolved controversy of our time

40

Throughout the entire existence of armored military equipment, discussions continue on the benefits of tracked and wheeled vehicles. After all, one and the other have their own unique technical and combat characteristics and show themselves well in combat conditions. The debate about which option is better is still not resolved.


The main advantage of tracked armored vehicles (tanks) - high firepower. On the caterpillar track are heavy armored platforms with excellent impact characteristics. But wheeled vehicles are easier to maintain and, more importantly, have greater mobility and the ability to quickly move along highways. Given that in modern local conflicts mobility and maneuverability are very significant, the interest of the armies of the world in wheeled vehicles is only growing.

The American army during the Cold War preferred tracked armored vehicles, which were considered as the optimal opponent of Soviet heavy equipment. At the same time, many European countries paid special attention to wheeled combat vehicles, which were suitable for use in the Asian and African colonies against a lightly armed enemy in the form of armies of developing countries and rebel groups.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, the cessation of the existence of the socialist camp in Europe and the shift of military priorities towards local conflicts contributed to a change in the approach of the American command to armored vehicles. Wheeled armored vehicles were considered more profitable when used in urban conditions, in street battles.

As a result, the U.S. Army preferred LAV III Stryker armored vehicles manufactured by the American company General Dynamics Land Systems. This armored vehicle became the main one in the mechanized units of the U.S. Army, occupying an intermediate position between heavy tank brigades on M1 Abrams tracked vehicles and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and light infantry brigades on Humvee SUVs.


Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria - the military operations of the American army in these countries are difficult to imagine without the Stryker wheeled armored vehicles. The undoubted advantages of wheeled armored vehicles include ease of maintenance, high mobility, and the ability to cover up to 530 km without refueling. However, Stryker also faced criticism, especially after the campaign in Iraq. The main complaint is the lack of power of the armor, which made the Stryker and similar vehicles an easy target for the enemy.

As a result, armored vehicles began to be strengthened by wheeled armored vehicles, which immediately increased their weight from 23 tons to 30 tons. But experts consider the weight of 35 tons to be the boundary between wheeled and tracked vehicles. Heavier vehicles should already be on a tracked platform that can withstand such a load. In addition, wheeled armored vehicles cannot successfully operate against units armed with heavy equipment - tanks and tracked infantry fighting vehicles.

The command of the American army tried to solve the contradiction between the pros and cons of both wheeled and tracked vehicles, turning to the use of mixed brigades, including Stryker and Abrams. However, in the course of the exercises it turned out that such units could not act synchronously. The officers of the British Army, who also tried to create mixed units, came to similar conclusions.

Therefore, at present, a number of states are considering such a compromise option as the use of rubber tracks instead of steel ones. One of the most famous vehicles for such a solution is BAE Systems. So the rubber tracks appeared on the CV90 infantry fighting vehicles.


The adherents of the rubber tracks are their significant fuel economy (30%), reduced noise and vibration, and ease of maintenance. Rubber tracks are also used on M113 armored personnel carriers and Bronco infantry fighting vehicles.

The first to switch to such tracks were the ground forces of Norway and the Netherlands. The Norwegian army tested the CV90 combat vehicles during their participation in the campaign in Afghanistan, and then the Norwegians decided to follow the best practices in the Netherlands armed forces, which also operate the CV90s.

Given that now the US and NATO are again talking about the risks associated with the possibility of Russia using tanks in Eastern Europe, we can assume that the tracked vehicles will gain more popularity than before. The heavier the machines become, the more they are protected from weapons enemy, the more relevant the use of tracks - and new - rubber, and traditional - steel. But this, of course, does not negate the need to own wheeled combat vehicles, especially for use in reconnaissance and police operations.
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  1. The comment was deleted.
    1. svp67
      svp67 April 13 2020 16: 26 New
      +6
      Quote: Mytholog
      Yes, there is no conflict in this.
      For different TVDs, for different soils - a different technique is needed.
      Wheeled and tracked vehicles complement each other, not conflict

      I agree 100%. The better the roads, the stronger the soil and the more developed the road network, the more "wheels", and where there are problems with this, there are "caterpillars"
  2. Yrec
    Yrec April 13 2020 16: 41 New
    13
    With a weight of more than 25 tons, maintenance of the KBT due to wear of the wheels (and primarily rubber) is comparable to the maintenance of the chassis in the GBT. On wheels and "rubber" tracks, you can drive in peacetime on clean roads. During the war, there are no "clean" roads, especially in settlements after / during the battle. Broken brick / concrete, protruding reinforcement / pipes / corner will very quickly tear any "rubber" and immobilize the equipment at the most inopportune moment. For "police" operations against the "Papuans", a KBT under 35t and a height under 4m is suitable - for fear of catching up. Against a prepared, equipped and motivated enemy - definitely not.
    1. Zaurbek
      Zaurbek April 14 2020 11: 11 New
      +1
      There is still a need to make an adjustment for the range of the weapon. On some systems, tracks or amphibious qualities were previously needed ... range has increased and the wheel chassis is enough.
  3. SVD68
    SVD68 April 13 2020 16: 57 New
    +5
    It seems like there is a clear separation. Tracked vehicles for battle. Wheel equipment for delivery to the battlefield.
    1. illi
      illi April 13 2020 20: 42 New
      +1
      Yes, there was no such separation even in the WWII, and now even more so. Now wheeled more to control the territory. What is more important in the current, mostly anti-partisan wars.
  4. Jarserge
    Jarserge April 13 2020 16: 57 New
    +7
    Why is the dispute not resolved? Nonsense. Wheeled, tracked is a different tool for different work. Profi works as a specialized tool, accordingly there should be reasonable sufficiency. That's all. If the means do not allow, then the wheels are cheaper, but in certain conditions do not expect a result.
  5. Vadim237
    Vadim237 April 13 2020 17: 32 New
    +3
    Tracked platform is many times more expensive than a wheeled one.
    1. Alf
      Alf April 13 2020 18: 29 New
      +1
      Quote: Vadim237
      Tracked platform is many times more expensive than a wheeled one.

      Who knows ... You can immediately see an economist, but not a military man.
      1. Lopatov
        Lopatov April 13 2020 20: 32 New
        +2
        Quote: Alf
        Who knows ... You can immediately see an economist, but not a military man.

        Well .... in the USSR they abandoned tracked armored personnel carriers, leaving the MT-LB "station wagons" for special conditions.
        So also the desire to save is visible.
        1. Alf
          Alf April 13 2020 21: 03 New
          +5
          Quote: Spade
          Quote: Alf
          Who knows ... You can immediately see an economist, but not a military man.

          Well .... in the USSR they abandoned tracked armored personnel carriers, leaving the MT-LB "station wagons" for special conditions.
          So also the desire to save is visible.

          It’s not a matter of saving, but the fact that in Russia the summer is only 4 months, and then the dirt goes ... knee-deep.
      2. Grigory_45
        Grigory_45 April 14 2020 01: 05 New
        -1
        Quote: Alf
        Tracked platform is many times more expensive than a wheeled one.

        To whom ... You can immediately see the economist, but not the military

        counting money is normal. Why are army trucks not caterpillar? Probably because they mainly move on roads, and putting them on the goose is very expensive, and it is not necessary, in order to avoid problems with movement on asphalt roads. For some TVDs, wheels are preferable, as well as for some functions, such as patrolling.
        Why do even rich countries prefer to modernize equipment rather than update it every 10 years to a completely new one? It all comes down to finance.
        1. Alf
          Alf April 14 2020 19: 12 New
          +3
          Quote: Gregory_45
          counting money is normal.

          Am I against it? Only "counting" money and "saving on the army" are completely different things.
          Quote: Gregory_45
          Why are army trucks not caterpillar? Probably because they mainly move on roads, and putting them on the goose is very expensive, and it is not necessary, in order to avoid problems with movement on asphalt roads.

          A military truck is driving along the road, and a wheeled armored personnel carrier is where it is ordered.
          Quote: Gregory_45
          Why do even rich countries prefer to modernize equipment rather than update it every 10 years to a completely new one?

          And then this? Here there is a debate about what is more necessary for the army, and not about what you said.
          1. Grigory_45
            Grigory_45 April 14 2020 19: 31 New
            -2
            Quote: Alf
            "counting" money and "saving on the army" are completely different things.

            various. Therefore, it is worth approaching the needs of various branches of the armed forces and various formations in each of them individually. It makes no sense, for example, to give the PGRK support forces equipment on a tracked chassis, or a floating technique. Because the missile system itself can neither climb through the mud. nor swim water barriers

            Quote: Alf
            Quote: Gregory_45
            Why do even rich countries prefer to modernize equipment rather than update it every 10 years to a completely new one?

            And then this?

            despite the fact that a lot of money does not happen. Even in rich countries. In any case, you will have to look for compromises between desires and opportunities.
    2. Doccor18
      Doccor18 April 13 2020 22: 58 New
      +2
      The army is generally a very expensive pleasure. However, time obliges to maintain and develop an army.
      And as for the "shoes" of armored vehicles, then I am for the tracks. In peacetime, it is good for an armored personnel carrier dashing on the highway.
      And try the ruins of the city on a wheeled car ...
      Tracked vehicles for war have no alternative.
    3. Jarserge
      Jarserge April 17 2020 17: 25 New
      0
      I doubt that "wheels" are more expensive than tracks. First of all, I'm talking about the most massive armored personnel carriers. Compared to infantry fighting vehicles, tracked armored personnel carriers, they are cheaper both in production and in operation. As for the newfangled imitations of hummers and other typhoons, I don't know the situation and I consider it sheer self-indulgence. But that's my personal opinion
  6. knn54
    knn54 April 13 2020 17: 50 New
    0
    I wonder how to ride rubber tracks on ice. Or is there a "studded" one?
    For more than half a century, they have been producing a caterpillar with a rubber-metal hinge (RMSh)., Which now stands on the T-80. The resource is up to 10000 km. Mine resistance is increased by 1,5 times.
    1. Eug
      Eug April 13 2020 17: 59 New
      +3
      For each Churchill there is his own Yakubovsky (an old story about how the Lend-Lease tanks "Churchill" were "shod" in the brigade at that time in the brigade, making them "walkers" just on ice).
  7. Operator
    Operator April 13 2020 19: 06 New
    +1
    There is no problem of choice - only a caterpillar propulsion system is suitable for MBT, BMP, self-propelled guns and IRMs (operating in the same system), for all other armored vehicles, only a wheeled propulsion device.

    To reduce costs and ensure the safety of roads in peacetime, rubber-metal tracks are quite suitable, for resistance against light radiation from a nuclear explosion in wartime, steel tracks without rubber joints are required.

    That's all.
  8. bar
    bar April 13 2020 19: 12 New
    +1
    wheeled armored vehicles began to strengthen the armor, which immediately increased their weight

    That's right. Stripes at one time had big problems with their hammers in Afghanistan. An attempt to hang armor on them led to such an increase in weight that the tires could not withstand. And so massive that the resource was barely enough for the delivery of replacement sets of these tires from the airport to the location of the unit.
  9. Petrol cutter
    Petrol cutter April 13 2020 19: 36 New
    +1
    And the holivor began!
    Not so long ago there was a battle on the topic of wheels / not wheels.
    I generally moved the idea behind a tank / hovercraft. As long as I remember... recourse
  10. V.I.P.
    V.I.P. April 13 2020 19: 57 New
    0
    Where there is sand, wheeled vehicles are much more convenient. There is no dirt there and never will be. There is no sense in caterpillar equipment, except for tanks .. Dimensions do not matter. Now everywhere and everywhere they use ATGMs, and normal sights are installed on them (even barefoot Husits ​​shoot them at everything in a row). Getting to any target is not a problem. And the Hussites are towing ATGMs, including pickups. So, wheels are better for one region, tracks for another ..
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov April 13 2020 20: 29 New
      +4
      Quote: V.I.P.
      Where there is sand, wheeled vehicles are much more convenient. There is no dirt there and never will be.

      The only problem is that even the Americans do not have money for this. Create your own technology for each of the natural areas.

      Quote: V.I.P.
      Dimensions do not matter.

      Until they canceled the theory of probability, they have.
    2. Alf
      Alf April 13 2020 21: 09 New
      +4
      Quote: V.I.P.
      There is no sense in tracked vehicles except tanks ..

      There is. Wheeled vehicles have already reached the final stage in terms of such parameter as "axle load", but it is not possible to radically increase the level of protection. And the peak loads of the wheel on the ground have not yet been canceled.
      1. Peter is not the first
        Peter is not the first April 13 2020 21: 43 New
        +2
        The USSR unambiguously decided on the games of choosing a caterpillar wheel for armored vehicles in the late thirties and early forties of the last century during the evolution of BT tanks, as well as in prototypes of the T-34 tank, when caterpillars were better for tanks, in our realities of climate and off-road, including in specific pressure on soil.
    3. hohol95
      hohol95 April 13 2020 21: 38 New
      +3
      Where there is sand, wheeled vehicles are much more convenient. There is no dirt there and never will be.

      And in the sands of wheeled vehicles does not get stuck?
      Last year (if my memory serves me) everyone laughed at the Humvees stuck on the sandy beach! You see, they were unloaded from the landing ship to seize the territory of a potential enemy, and they "vile" took and sat on all four of their bridges!
      1. Alf
        Alf April 13 2020 21: 56 New
        +1
        Quote: hohol95
        and they "vile" took and sat on all four of their bridges!

        As I understand it, these hammers were not armored and so sat down, but what if they are difficult options?
        1. hohol95
          hohol95 April 13 2020 23: 15 New
          0
          Oh, and failed memory. It was in 2015 on the beach in Portugal "Trident Junction 2015" ...
          Both armored and simple.
          There are online videos and photos.
      2. V.I.P.
        V.I.P. April 14 2020 19: 52 New
        0
        Look for pictures of T-72/90/80 tanks stuck in the mud .. There are a lot of them. Well, and what tanks will be removed from this? Have Humvee been bogged down? See how the Tigers are bogged down in Syria .....
        1. hohol95
          hohol95 April 14 2020 20: 18 New
          0
          Where there is sand, wheeled vehicles are much more convenient. There is no dirt there and never will be. There is no sense in caterpillar equipment, except for tanks .. Dimensions do not matter.

          These are your words - I answered them!
    4. Grigory_45
      Grigory_45 April 14 2020 01: 11 New
      -2
      Quote: V.I.P.
      Where there is sand, wheeled vehicles are much more convenient. There is no dirt there and never will be.

      even the tanks get stuck in the sand. What took place in 1991 in Iraq
  11. Grigory_45
    Grigory_45 April 14 2020 00: 52 New
    -3
    Throughout the entire existence of armored military equipment, discussions continue on the benefits of tracked and wheeled vehicles. After all, one and the other have their own unique technical and combat characteristics and show themselves well in combat conditions. The debate about which option is better is still not resolved.
    there is no dispute. Each mover has its own niche. If cross-country ability and loading capacity are important - definitely goose-bumps, if mobility and cheapness are more important - wheels. But the main factor is still the characteristics of the theater, on which the use of armored vehicles is supposed. Dofiga roads, hard soils - wheels, if the conditions are not met - then the tracks

    wheeled armored vehicles cannot successfully operate against units armed with heavy equipment - tanks and tracked infantry fighting vehicles.
    rather controversial statement. Wheel tanks can have guns comparable in power to those installed on MBTs, and also ATGMs. Armor, of course, is so-so, but a hammer in an egg shell is able to fight off even with modern enemy tanks.

    The command of the American army tried to resolve the contradiction between the pros and cons of both wheeled and tracked vehicles, turning to the use of mixed brigades, including Stryker and Abrams. However, during the exercise it became clear
    and it turned out quite naturally that nothing good will come of it. Jointly operating parts must have similar mobility characteristics.
    1. Alf
      Alf April 14 2020 19: 18 New
      +1
      Quote: Gregory_45
      Armor, of course, is so-so, but a hammer in an egg shell is able to fight off even with modern enemy tanks.
      Until the first shot from that side. Something tells me that both Sprut and Stryker will have enough not only for the sub-caliber, but also for the OFS of the 2A46 or 120-mm Abrams projectile.
      1. Grigory_45
        Grigory_45 April 14 2020 19: 24 New
        -2
        Quote: Alf
        Until the first shot from that side

        and tank armor does not guarantee protection against modern BOPS and ATGMs. The one who first discovered the enemy and fired is in a better position
        1. Alf
          Alf April 14 2020 19: 30 New
          +1
          Quote: Gregory_45
          Quote: Alf
          Until the first shot from that side

          and tank armor does not guarantee protection against modern BOPS and ATGMs. The one who first discovered the enemy and fired is in a better position

          Right. But the armor of the tank will stand, will not stand, but for an APC, the first hit in any case will be the last, as they say, from head to ... stern.
          1. Grigory_45
            Grigory_45 April 14 2020 20: 16 New
            -2
            Quote: Alf
            But the armor of the tank will stand, will not stand, but for an APC, the first hit in any case will be the last, as they say, from head to ... stern.

            light skillers can have PTKR and potentially shoot a tank from a long distance, if the terrain allows, In addition, they have higher mobility.
            But in the city with their cardboard armor, where from each window you can wait for a grenade or ATGM, there is nothing to do.
            In general, to each his own
            1. Alf
              Alf April 14 2020 20: 21 New
              +2
              Quote: Gregory_45
              light skillers can have PTKR and potentially shoot a tank from a long distance, if the terrain allows,

              So tanks bullet Reflexes.
              Here, as I think, equipping with large-caliber guns is not a question of solving the problem of VET, but rather, getting a powerful HE shell.
              Quote: Gregory_45
              In addition, they have higher mobility.

              Only when moving as part of a reconnaissance group, but not as part of a convoy. And I don’t think that in a battle in a field the mobility of a wheeled armored personnel carrier is much higher than the mobility of a tank.
  12. Viktor Sergeev
    Viktor Sergeev April 15 2020 13: 19 New
    0
    It’s like arguing that a gun or a machine gun is better. The ability to apply is important.
  13. Alexander Samoilov
    Alexander Samoilov April 18 2020 10: 17 New
    0
    Toyota war clearly showed that the wheels drive. Anyone who excels in mobility can (with competent tactics) seize the initiative and impose their conditions on the enemy.
  14. grumbler
    grumbler April 19 2020 12: 26 New
    0
    As correctly written above Jarserge April 13, 2020:
    Wheeled, tracked is a different tool for different work. Profi works as a specialized tool, accordingly there should be reasonable sufficiency
    ;
    Gregory_45 April 14, 2020:
    Each mover has its own niche. If cross-country ability and loading capacity are important - definitely goose-bumps, if mobility and cheapness are more important - wheels. But the main factor is still the characteristics of the theater of operations, on which the use of armored vehicles is supposed. Dofiga roads, solid soils - wheels, if the conditions are not met - then the tracks
    .
    For "police" operations in most cases, wheels are suitable. The tanks themselves are transferred over long distances along the highway not under their own power, but on wheeled tractors on platforms.
    Strong soils? (at least for the time of active actions, when you need to seize the initiative) - wheeled vehicles. But do you know that you will get off-road? - plan ahead change to caterpillars. Draw up your reserves on them and move on. The sad experience of the Germans in the Second World War showed it very eloquently: "on wheels" pulled ahead, ahead of the reserves, and then autumn ... and the khan! - trucks, carts, cannons and light tanks on narrow tracks got bogged down. We arrived ... "My Fuhrer, we have no ammunition, fuel, warm greatcoats and food. Exhausted by overwork, people drop out from colds and dysentery no less than from attacks by Russians ..."
    And in other places the tank will get bogged down: in the swamps of northeastern Europe, during the rainy season in the soggy "wadis" of Arabia, in the river deltas of southeast Asia or equatorial Africa, or in the thawing Arctic.
    There, at the time of the hovercraft and "augers" to use (not for nothing in the search and evacuation complex "Blue Bird" for the evacuation of astronauts included the miracle "auger snow and swamp-going vehicle", see https://topwar.ru/137925-poiskovo-evakuacionnye- vezdehody-semeystva-zil-4906-sinyaya-ptica.html).

    Those. the point is not in the dispute "wheels vs caterpillars", but in the art of war - the systematic use of available means and military logistics.
  15. kplayer
    kplayer 1 May 2020 20: 26 New
    0
    Yes, everything is simple, who can turn around on the spot (cramped street, mountain road), behind those BMs and priority on tracked ones. Only in this way is their maneuverability understood.