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Tracks vs Wheels   General Army topics

Started 26/5/22 by graylion; 30338 views.
graylion

From: graylion

13-Feb

all good points. I am just trying to imagine a Jaguar scouting in UA in mud season

EmericD

From: EmericD

13-Feb

graylion said:

all good points. I am just trying to imagine a Jaguar scouting in UA in mud season

I really expect that we will never have a "real world" answer to this question.

graylion

From: graylion

13-Feb

EmericD said:

I really expect that we will never have a "real world" answer to this question.

optimist

EmericD

From: EmericD

13-Feb

graylion said:

optimist

Sir, yes Sir!

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Feb

EmericD said:

One point not adressed in the previous posts, is that it's better to have a wheeled vehicle "where you need it", than tracked vehicles "somewhere between the starting point and where you need them",

The topic of operational mobility is complicated. There is no simple answer.
Yes it might be better to have a ligher wheeled vehicle at some place now but it also just might lead to the demise of said vehicle. It entirely depends on the scenario.
The argument about operational mobility pro wheeles are usually based on the "Race to Pristina" in 1999. Where heavy mechanised NATO forces have been outrun by motorised RU forces. BUT this race has been unopposed! Most people overlook that. No roadblocks, no ambushes and no opforce in defense or delay. The NATO troops could have just hired a couple of taxis or used other civillian cars and would have outrun the RU mot force.
Yes wheeles are fast as long as the road infrastructure is largely intact and existent to a decent degree in the first place PLUS as long as there is no serious opposition.
There are numerous examples of Western forces getting stuck with their wheeled vehicles by rather mundane obstacles during critical situations. There are also several example where heavy tracked vehicles had to be deployed to solve this. But this is usually forgotten.
Wheeled vehicles are also much more predictable. Since they have limites to where they can go. Its much easier to funnel them into a kill zone. This is a major disadvantage.
 

EmericD said:

Yes, wheeled vehicles can be stuck in difficult terrain, but that is also happening to tracked vehicles (you can even find videos of tracked vehicle stucked into difficult ground, to be hauled with a wheeled farm tractor), and in the long way you will probably have less wheeled vehicles stuck into mud, than tracked vehicles stopped due to part breakage.

Its not only about getting stuck. This is specific for soft soil. Yes tracked vehicles can sink in too but they can keep going much much longer than wheeled vehicles under this circumstances. In addition the sinking in is specific for heavy tracked vehicles 40+ t range. Lighter tracked vehickes usually do not sink in. They keep going.
Wheeled vehicles are much more limited in any terrain of the road. Even if they can go usually their speed is greatly reduced. I have driven 4x4 and 6x6 trough the Canadian plains and its a horrible ride. You can barely go 30 km/h without bouncing around so hard it hurts. In addition this is putting a lot of strain onto the vehicles. A tracked vehicles, even light ones like the M113, can go full speed trough this terrain and its a very smooth ride.
The thing is tracked vehicles wear different than wheeled ones. The latter wears almost zero on roads. Which is not true for tracked that have a higher minimum wear. But as soon as it gets rough things usually reverse. Of course it depends on the exact details but wheeled vehicles break down frequently when beeing used in heavy terrain. Tracked vehicles not so much.

EmericD said:

And tracked vehicles are "orders of magnitude" noisier than wheeled vehicles, which is not really what you want for a scout.

This is also not true as such.
Its rather: A wheeled vehicles can go faster while staying quiet under the right circumstances.
It is absolutly possible to sneak a MBT very close to a guarded area. Did so myself on selveral occations. Under favorable conditions its possible to come as close as 200 m befor being notices by sentries.
The German Army used to have heavy and light recon platoons in its armored recon units. The light ones used the 8x8 Luchs scout car and the heavy ones used Leopards. Because somtimes you have to fight for intel.

EmericD said:

It's not unusual to detect a tracked vehicle from a distance of more than 1 km, and at the same time miss a wheeled vehicle at 200 m.

Yes especially if going at high speeds on a road.
But the direction of wind plays a major role. As well as the exact vehicles in question.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Feb

autogun said:

I have read that both Japan and Italy favour wheeled AFVs because they have very long coastlines to defend, and the ability to self-deploy at high speed is valuable.

This is exactly the reason BUT you have missed one very important factor.

The ability to self deploy because of the well developed road network.

Both Japan and Italy do use heavy tracked MBTs as well. The wheeled AFVs are intended as a fist rapid response. They are not the main force or effort.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Feb

EmericD said:

During the French intervention in Mali, it was not unusual for the VBCI to cover 500 km in 10-12 hours (convoy escort, patrols), I don't think that a tracked vehicle could do that on its own.

The VBCI certainly is fast but 500 km in 10 hours... that sound very fishy to me. An average speed of 50 km/h? Under combat conditions? In a third world country? An average speed of 50 km/h is allmost impossible to achieve even for civillian vehicles in central Europe unless they are travelling on a motorway/autobahn.
So unless we talk about long range movements on very good roads unopposed I would really like a source.

You are right tough that most tracked vehicles could not have dones this on their own because they do not even carry enough fuel.
But I am very certain that a modern tracked vehicle developed for souting and long range movement that can achieve this is possible.

EmericD said:

he noise difference between rubber tracked vehicles and wheeled vehicles of the same weight class is still impressive, and you still hear a tracked vehicle several hundred of meters before a wheeled vehicle.

The tracks are not really the problem. Unless we are talking about road movement. The rattling sounds of tracks is typical for movement on roads and hard surfaces. On soft ground its not there. This means on most dirt roads you allready do not hear it.
The problem is noises made by the suspension. For example the squaking noise of torson bars and the engine and exaust. But this is really dependent on terrain and speed. There are lots of wheeled vehicles that are conciderably louder than tracked ones.
For example dirt bikes.

P.S.:
Mali is more or less the ideal theatre for wheeled AFVs. As is most of Africa and other low infrastucture regions. One reason is the terrain and lack of infrastructure the other equally (if not more) important reason is the fact that it is very unlikly to run into competent combined arms opposition that uses heavy AFVs. In Mali a VBCI or a Jaguar is king. Its the toughest, meanest AFV around... in UA for example not so much.

  • Edited 14 February 2023 9:29  by  schnuersi
schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Feb

graylion said:

all good points. I am just trying to imagine a Jaguar scouting in UA in mud season

This is exactly the problem.
In this case the wheeled vehicles have to stay on some form of fortified road that prevents them from sinking in and getting stuck.

While its still possible to use them they are very limited to where they go. Which makes it easy to predict their movement and use this.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Feb

EmericD said:

I really expect that we will never have a "real world" answer to this question.

Not with the Jaguar but the AMX10RC. Just wait two or three month.

Besides the war in UA allready has shown that wheeled vehicles are very limited if the road situation changes.
There is a reason why UA is asking for tracked AFVs and why such make up the vast majosity of the delivered ones.

EmericD

From: EmericD

14-Feb

schnuersi said:

The VBCI certainly is fast but 500 km in 10 hours... that sound very fishy to me. An average speed of 50 km/h? Under combat conditions? In a third world country? An average speed of 50 km/h is allmost impossible to achieve even for civillian vehicles in central Europe unless they are travelling on a motorway/autobahn. So unless we talk about long range movements on very good roads unopposed I would really like a source. You are right tough that most tracked vehicles could not have dones this on their own because they do not even carry enough fuel. But I am very certain that a modern tracked vehicle developed for scouting and long range movement that can achieve this is possible.

It was done by the 1st RIMA, running from Gao to Tessalit in order to support the Special Operation Forces that were air dropped to take the Tessalit airport, and they arrived in proper time.

The road from Gao to Tessalit is not exactly a highway by western standards, and the area around Gao (or Tessalit, and in between) was not very safe.

But I agree that it was a specific action, in a specific context. The war between Ukraine and Russia is much more static now, wheeled vehicles were at their best during the first hours / days of the war, not now.

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