What happens to an Abrams tank if it is hit by a battleship shell


The M1A2 Abrams main battle tank is arguably the best in the world. Yes, Russia is getting some hype for the Armata family of tanks, but the Abrams is battle proven and very hard to kill.

(Public domain photo)

What difficulty? Well, in his 1994 non-fiction book, armored cavalry, Tom Clancy recounted how an M1A1 Abrams got stuck in the mud during the Desert Storm Ground War. It was then attacked by three tanks, Iraqi T-72s in particular. A bullet fired about a thousand yards away bounced off and the Abrams responded by blasting the T-72 that had shot it to pieces. A second shot fired at 700 yards, bounced and the offending T-72 was destroyed. The third T-72, at a distance of about 400 meters, fired a bullet, which left a groove in the Abrams’ armor. She too was destroyed by a shot fired by a sand berm. These were, supposedly, the state-of-the-art Russian tanks.

Then, when help arrived and the tank could not be freed from the mud, a platoon of Abrams tanks attempted to destroy it. After several rounds they detonated the ammunition on board, but the blast panels worked as intended. Then, when the tank was recovered from the mud, they found it was still functional. The only problem ? A sight was not aligned.

So what would it take to reliably destroy an M1 Abrams? Well someone on quora.com asked what would happen if an Abrams was hit by a bullet from a 16 inch pistol on an American Iowaclass battleship.

What happens to an Abrams tank if it is hit by a battleship shell
(US Navy photo)

The 16-inch armor-piercing shells fired from the battleship weigh 2,700 pounds. The 120mm shells fired at that Abrams stuck in the mud? They weigh around 20 pounds. Do a quick calculation and you’ll see that the IowaAbrams main shell is 135 times heavier than an Abrams main shell. The Abrams may be the toughest tank in the world and can take a ton of abuse, but not this level of abuse.

What happens to an Abrams tank if it is hit by a battleship shell
(DoD photo)

To put it simply, a main gun shot from the Iowa-The class battleship will easily destroy the Abrams. In a way, that speaks well for the Abrams – you can’t really imagine anything other than a Iowathe main gun being capable of destroying one.

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