The autopsy showed: M60A1 in Kubinka

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The autopsy showed: M60A1 in Kubinka


In Focus


The main testing ground for armored vehicles in Soviet times and now is the military unit in Kubinka near Moscow. During times of total secrecy, it was known under the number 68054. Of course, foreign samples of military equipment were of greatest interest to local engineers. In one of previous articles we were talking about the British tank Chieftain Mk5R, which came to the Soviet Union during the Iran-Iraq War. But it was quite an exotic car for its time, and in many respects it did not reach the world’s best representatives. Today we will talk about the M-60A1 tank, which arrived in the USSR from the Yom Kippur War in the fall of 1973. The American was of interest to domestic engineers primarily because it was the most popular foreign tank for its time. In the event of the outbreak of world war, Soviet tankers would have encountered precisely this vehicle, and only then the Leopard or Chieftain. Therefore, the weaknesses and strengths of the tank had to be probed and documented. And, as they wrote then, materials



“can be used by specialists in the field of armored vehicles when modernizing serial vehicles and designing new types of vehicles.”

M-60A1 was studied in Kubinka from November 1973 to June 1975. The vehicle was dissected in great detail, involving specialists from “mailbox A-7701” - that was the name of the head armored tank VNIITransmash of the 12th Main Directorate of the Defense Industry. A detailed report was published in two issues of the specialized and secret scientific and technical collection “Issues of Defense Technology” in 1976. By the way, it was declassified only eight years ago.

A 1972 tank fell into the hands of Soviet engineers, differing from later vehicles in the absence of a stabilizer, a heat-protective gun casing and less durable tracks. As is usually the case with vehicles coming from war, the M-60A1 arrived "partially restored and not fully completed" Currently, this tank can be admired at the exhibition of the Patriot Park in Kubinka. It makes no sense to dwell in detail on the design of the American car - there is enough information on this matter on the Internet. Much more interesting is the assessment given by domestic researchers of the tank in their detailed reports. No less than fifty engineers took part in the study of the M-60A1, and they worked the foreigner very thoroughly. Suffice it to say that a separate work was devoted to the maintainability of the tank, which took into account the time to replace the power unit and even the tightening torques of the bolted connections of the chassis.

In the field of layout solutions for the M-60A1, the tank's leakage attracted special attention from engineers. The report states that

“The habitable compartment is sealed when overcoming water obstacles, but the engine-transmission compartment is not, since the units in the MTO are sealed and remain operational when immersed in water.”

Among the advantages, units and blocks also stood out, most of which were easily removable, which made it possible to quickly and easily dismantle and replace them. The equipment was attached through damping devices, which increased the survivability of the tank during shell fire. Especially when the armor was not hit through.

American gun


The strength of NATO equipment has always been its guns, and the M-60A1 tank was no exception. The 105-mm M-68 gun was distinguished by high bending rigidity - 470 kgf/cm. But, despite this, thermal protective devices have been introduced for gun barrels since 1975, reducing the influence of external factors (sun, wind, precipitation) on the thermal bending of the barrel. In addition, the design features of the gun made it insensitive to the effects of its own shot and, as a result, ensured high accuracy and accuracy of fire. In addition to the cannon of the M-60A1 tank, by the mid-70s the Soviet Union had a sample of the 105-mm French L-51 cannon, which was installed on the Super Sherman tank. The American cannon was compared with this weapon, and at the same time some ammunition was used for field testing. Firing in Kubinka was carried out with several types of shells:

- sub-caliber projectiles L-28A1 made in England and M-392A2 made in the USA with carbide tungsten carbide cores;
- English-made L-52A2 and L-52A3B1 sub-caliber projectiles with heavy alloy cores;
- cumulative American M-456A1 with floating driving belts and caliber empennage, as well as the French-made Obus G model F1 product with a rotating cumulative unit;
- British armor-piercing high-explosive shells L-35A2;
- Israeli armor-piercing high-explosive and high-explosive fragmentation L-35.

The armor-piercing effect of sub-caliber and cumulative ammunition was assessed under the given conditions - by firing at a range of 100 m at cards of monolithic steel armor of medium hardness. The required reduction in projectile speed was achieved by changing the mass of the powder charge.


Below is the text of the report:

“The L-52A2 and L-52A3B1 sub-caliber projectiles with a heavy alloy core have a slightly greater armor-piercing effect at an angle of 60 degrees from the normal to the armor, and at angles of 0 and 30 degrees they are significantly inferior to the L-28A1 and M-392A2 sub-caliber projectiles with a carbide core. The armor-piercing effect of cumulative projectiles at an angle of 60 degrees from the normal to the armor, reduced to a range of 2000 m, can be characterized as follows:

- when firing from the M-68 cannon with American M-456A1 feathered projectiles, the maximum penetration depth of the cumulative jet is 434 mm, the minimum is 355 mm;
- when firing from the L-51 cannon with French Obus G model F1 shells with a rotating cumulative unit, the maximum penetration depth of the jet is 423 mm, the minimum is 350 mm.

The armor-piercing effect of armor-piercing high-explosive projectiles was assessed by the presence of rear spalling on cards of monolithic steel armor of medium hardness when fired both from an estimated range of 100 m and from real distances of 600 and 1000 m.

Research has shown that L-35A2 armor-piercing high-explosive shells for the English 105-mm L-7A1 cannon, like shells for the French L-51 cannon, spalled on an armor plate 120 mm thick at an angle of 60 degrees and on a plate 80 mm thick at an angle of 70 degrees. angle 75 degrees. At an impact angle of XNUMX degrees, the projectile ricocheted.”

Tests of 105-mm armor-piercing high-explosive and cumulative shells showed that the products are weak in the fragmentation field. Most of the fragments are large (from 1x1 to 5x5 cm), and the number of lethal fragments that hit the target was 15-25 for armor-piercing high-explosive shells, and 20-30 for cumulative shells. For example, the L-35A2 armor-piercing high-explosive projectile left a crater up to half a meter deep and up to 1,8 meters in diameter. The performance of high-explosive fragmentation shells could not be fully assessed due to their small number. But they were clearly inferior in high-explosive action to other types of tested projectiles.

Based on the results of the research and firing, the engineers spoke very flatteringly about the characteristics of the M-60A1 tank’s gun, especially its high accuracy. And the use of new materials (plastics and alloys) makes it possible to obtain a fairly high level of action of armor-piercing projectiles in the weights and dimensions used. We were talking, in particular, about the leading obturating belt of a sub-caliber projectile made of plastic. This improved the conditions for the passage of the projectile along the barrel and reduced mechanical wear.

Armor and stuff


While the M-60A1 was more or less good with its main caliber, the Americans let us down with its armor. Firstly, the tank was not even equipped with anti-cumulative shields. Although already in those days, NATO vehicles were actively adopting such equipment - in particular, the German Leopard-1A4 and the British Chieftain. Secondly, the developed rear part increases the internal volume of the tower and gives it an oblong shape. According to domestic engineers, this forms a large “zaman” in the stern, which weakens protection against high-explosive fragmentation and armor-piercing high-explosive shells. Further in the text:

“A weak point in protection is also the area where the tower and the hull meet, where the possibility of flying fragments can cause the tower to jam. A significant weakening of armor protection is created by the commander’s cupola, protected from 20-mm shells.”

Traditionally, the Americans got it for the large frontal projection area of ​​the M-60A1 - such a target is easier to hit than the T-64. The trophy differed unfavorably in its massiveness even from other foreign tanks. But at the same time, the huge reserved volume of the tank (18 cubic meters) freely accommodated four crew members and created comfortable working conditions for them.


To sum up, we can say that the Americans’ car turned out to be quite good, but it clearly did not live up to Soviet-style tanks. Among the variety of technical solutions of the M-60A1, only seven interesting solutions for their time attracted attention:

- a gun with low curvature and varying thickness of the barrel, installed in a massive cradle mask;
- symmetrical recoil devices;
- a system for duplicating the gunner's firing by the commander;
- a method for determining range using a rangefinder sight;
- block design of the engine-transmission unit using quick-release valve connections of oil and fuel lines;
- additional transmission pump for towing mode.
24 comments
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  1. 0
    10 July 2024 05: 41
    In general, the Americans, as usual, took it due to high technology and production culture, and not due to the “flight of design thought”. This is neither good nor bad.
    1. +5
      10 July 2024 06: 27
      Following the results of the Second World War, we followed similar roads in the development of tank building. The demarcation begins with our abandonment of heavy tanks in favor of MBTs based on the T-64. Like it or not, the latter was a masterpiece of design thought.
      1. +4
        10 July 2024 06: 36
        Quote: Kote pane Kohanka
        T-64 Like it or not, the latter was a masterpiece of design thought.

        Revolutionary, yes, but a masterpiece... Sorry. Especially the T-64 with 115 graph paper was not a masterpiece.

        Quote: Kote pane Kohanka
        The disengagement begins with our abandonment of heavy tanks in favor of MBTs based on the T-64
        Many consider it a mistake to develop an MBT based on a medium tank rather than a heavy one. But as things went, so they went, the Kharkovites had too much weight at that time.
        1. +4
          10 July 2024 06: 44
          The question is not for the people of Kharkov, but in relation to the Ukrainian lobby under Khrushchev. Ten years later, Comrade. Ustinov, without blinking an eye, crushed the Kharkov and Tagil residents for the sake of the Leningrad T-80.
          The tail is in the wind, however.
          1. 0
            10 July 2024 06: 47
            Quote: Kote pane Kohanka
            Ten years later, Comrade. Ustinov, without blinking an eye, crushed the Kharkov and Tagil residents for the sake of the Leningrad T-80.

            It’s good that the T-72 was not crushed, it’s a pity that the T-64 was not that... However, the 80 showed itself well.
            1. +7
              10 July 2024 10: 44
              Quote: Vladimir_2U
              It’s good that the T-72 wasn’t crushed

              T-72 will add horseradish. Suffice it to remember that it was accepted into service and put into production, despite the decree of the USSR Council of Ministers of August 15, 1967 “On equipping the Soviet Army with new T-64 medium tanks and developing capacities for their production,” according to which UVZ was supposed to make a Kharkov product . In any System such things do not happen so easily.
              1. +4
                10 July 2024 10: 51
                Quote: Alexey RA
                “On equipping the Soviet Army with new T-64 medium tanks and developing capacities for their production,” according to which UVZ was supposed to make a Kharkov product

                If I’m not confused, then UVZ did not export the T-64 technologically.
                1. +2
                  10 July 2024 11: 24
                  Quote: Vladimir_2U
                  If I’m not confused, then UVZ did not export the T-64 technologically.

                  No obstacles for patriots. © Remember how at STZ, with its stillborn tank production of light T-26 tanks, in a year and a half they re-equipped the workshops for the production of medium-sized T-34s - having purchased a third of the machines in the Reich. wink
                  EMNIP, uv. M. Svirin wrote that the factory workers, as part of the struggle for their T-72, even rolled out an estimate for re-equipping the plant for the T-64 - minus two years in time and almost half of the new plant in money. So, theoretically, it was possible to implement the Resolution in the USSR.
                2. +5
                  10 July 2024 11: 46
                  If I’m not confused, then UVZ did not export the T-64 technologically.

                  A little more complicated!
                  For 7 years, the Kharkov woman could not bring the engine to life and for 3 years they used the loading mechanism. Which, by the way, was not liked by the military because of the division of the turret space into two isolated parts.
                  So UVZ was initially set to make a mobilization “under T-64” with an engine based on the V-2. Tests have shown that a standard four-stroke diesel engine does not fit into the engine compartment, so we had to make some adjustments. The customization led to an increase in the weight of the tank - the T-64 suspension began to crumble. We changed the suspension and harp - added weight, made it impossible to carry diesel. I had to change the filters and use the engine together with the Chelyabinsk residents. Before they sculpted the engine to perfection, they stupidly threw out the normally not working MZ, replaced it with a more reliable AZ, and scandalously sold it to the military. In the end, not a modernized tank was born, but a new tank, conceptually less revolutionary, but more technologically advanced, and therefore cheaper.
              2. +5
                10 July 2024 12: 05
                according to which UVZ was supposed to make a Kharkov product

                They would if the T-64 was brought to mind. The resolution was stillborn, since there were no engines for the Nizhny Tagil tanks. Do you think that the Omsk plant riveted the T-89 from the good life until the mid-55s? Even in the future, a “plug” arose with high-quality oils for two-stroke engines of Kharkov residents. The equipment for the production of high-quality fuels and lubricants was exactly for the capacity of the T-64, not a bit on the side. By the way, Chelyabinsk residents, having tested fuel and lubricants for the T-62 diesel engine, immediately raised the warranty on their 4-stroke classic to 500 engine hours versus 300 for Kharkov residents.
                But they were told...
          2. +4
            10 July 2024 10: 41
            This is just an example of a lobby, because the 80 had virtually no advantages over the 64 and 72, especially if the latter had been immediately equipped with a normal control system
            1. +1
              10 July 2024 11: 19
              This is just an example of a lobby, because the 80 had virtually no advantages over the 64 and 72, especially if the latter had been immediately equipped with a normal control system

              This is how the T-72 was made as a mobilization tank... They saved money on the control system. Yes, it was painfully successful that 72 entered the army and was exported!
        2. Owl
          +5
          10 July 2024 15: 54
          At the school, from 86 to 90, teachers from the “iron department” (tankers in service), all who served on the T-64, spat: the capricious 5TDF engine, with which mechanical drivers from the southern republics could not work, praised the T-72, they said that the gun and sights were the same, but the reliability of the entire vehicle was much higher.
    2. The comment was deleted.
      1. 0
        11 July 2024 04: 24
        Quote: mongol44
        apparently we put different meanings into these words - since the mega-reliable AKM according to GOST was made in the USSR, and in the USA they made the unreliable M16 on snot and luminosity, which did not meet the standard - where is the production culture and manufacturability here?

        Just to understand, what is more reliable - a gramophone with a crank, or a laser disc player? What is more technologically advanced and requires greater production culture?
        Don't confuse technology and production culture with design genius, that's all.
        1. +1
          11 July 2024 05: 10
          If your M16 constantly jams, jams, and fails, it is not possible to return it to a working state in combat conditions, this is not a genius design - because the artifact does not perform its function normally, but why? But because there is no manufacturability and production culture - that is, the technology is not optimal for obtaining the properties specified on the standard, and someone is doing something not as it should be in the instructions and someone who should monitor this does not comply? This is not a production culture, but carelessness that you want to pass off as something brilliant? A defective product due to an incomprehensible American genius? The M16 appeared after the AKM and there weren’t enough stars in the sky.

          American products are more likely to be associated with innovation and convenience, rather than with technology and production culture. By the way, the design of a product is closely related to the technology of its production, and one cannot be separated from the other.

          Just to understand, what is more reliable - a gramophone with a crank, or a laser disc player? What is more technologically advanced and requires greater production culture?


          I don’t know what is more reliable, but I remember that the United States in Vietnam against North Vietnam lost 9500 planes and helicopters of mega-reliable and ingenious designs fighting against “gramophones with a pen” and ran away with their tails between their legs, throwing away “laser disc players.” Techno show-off does not mean more effective - was the Pz-3 more complex and expensive than the T-34? But he was worse on the battlefield, why such show-off? Leopard 1 is also probably more difficult than the T-64A? Is it worse on the battlefield? The meaning of techno show-off? Simplicity and efficiency are at a much higher level for an engineer than making a product head-on, as was done in the USA, Britain or Germany. During the war, the T-34’s scale was not removed and some of the burrs were not processed, but that’s not why. that the engineers and workers did not know about it, that it was better, or they did not want to do it.
          1. 0
            11 July 2024 05: 53
            I have the disadvantage, among others, of trying to prove something to a fool, but I fight this disadvantage to the best of my ability.
            1. The comment was deleted.
  2. +4
    10 July 2024 10: 42
    What about the OMS? This is precisely what makes the M60 interesting. They constantly say that in terms of awareness and fire control, they were head and shoulders above Soviet tanks.
    1. +5
      10 July 2024 11: 28
      What about the OMS? This is precisely what makes the M60 interesting. They constantly say that in terms of awareness and fire control they were head and shoulders above Soviet tanks

      If we compare peers, it was not the M60 that had superiority in situational awareness, but the M60A3.
      The M60A1 was equipped with a duplicate sight with the ability for the commander or gunner to direct fire. Our domestic MBTs received this function almost simultaneously with the appearance of the modernized M60A3. Let me remind you that, unlike the T-55 and T-62, the M60A1 did not have vertical stabilizers.
  3. +4
    10 July 2024 11: 21
    In my opinion, the article is biased and superficial. As for the security of the American M-60A1, it was approximately equivalent to the Soviet T-55.
    This one is especially touching:
    The Americans let us down with the armor. Firstly, the tank was not even equipped with anti-cumulative shields.
    When did anti-cumulative screens and emergency protection appear on Soviet tanks?
    1. 0
      11 July 2024 04: 33
      Are we talking about 1973-1975? And are you comparing that the M60 tank, which appeared in the 60s, is almost equal in armor to the T-55? But at the same time, the T-55 is 10 tons lighter and has a smaller silhouette? Not to mention the fact that the USSR already had a T-62 tank with a more powerful smoothbore gun than 105 mm? And the T-64 and T-64A with a 125 mm gun and combined armor have already appeared? Does Vilariba still produce the M60 with a 105 mm gun and an air-cooled diesel engine? wassat Didn’t they lag behind the USSR by any chance? Do they have M60 46 tons? And is it inferior in all performance characteristics to the lighter T-64A? The height of the M60 is 3,2 meters, and the T-55 is 2,3 meters - a whole meter higher? belay Easier to aim.
  4. 0
    10 July 2024 11: 26
    Quote: Vladimir_2U
    Quote: Alexey RA
    “On equipping the Soviet Army with new T-64 medium tanks and developing capacities for their production,” according to which UVZ was supposed to make a Kharkov product

    If I’m not confused, then UVZ did not export the T-64 technologically.

    UVZ “didn’t want to”, not “couldn’t” technologically.
    The result is three MBTs in service at the same time.
    Apart from the engine and the Suo, the T-64 was not fundamentally different from the T-72.
    1. +4
      10 July 2024 18: 38
      Apart from the engine and suo, the T-64 was not fundamentally different from the T-72

      You are not right.
      Below is a drawing.
      In addition to the engine, the T-72 had a different chassis with larger diameter rollers and a caterpillar, increased mechanical support, with air purification filters, an AZ instead of an MZ, an open machine gun mount instead of a closed one. The battery was placed differently. There were different approaches to booking. For example, the T-72 never had an aluminum-filled turret. I could go on for a long time.
      1. +1
        10 July 2024 22: 14
        The most important significant difference between 64 and 72 is the 1A33 fire control system. Stabilization of the gunner's field of view, bringing the gun to the aiming mark, and not vice versa, as in 72. And a quantum rangefinder.
        The engine and chassis are secondary and maintenance)
  5. kig
    +1
    11 July 2024 03: 16
    Where can I read/download this magazine? The Herald of armored vehicles has been found, but this Herald is escaping.