Armor: October 30, 2004

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A new generation of tank gun ammunition is proving very useful in Iraq and Israel. The new shells are better at killing infantry, and destroying bunkers and buildings, rather than destroying tanks. In the 1990s, new shells were developed for this, but in the last few years, 19,000 M830A1 multipurpose 120mm tank gun rounds were modified (to become M908 shells), to make them more lethal against bunkers, buildings and unarmored vehicles. In addition, there is the M1028, which is a 120mm shotgun shell (containing 1100 10mm tungsten balls, that can kill or wound at up to 700 meters from the tank), that began production in 2002. This shell, and the M908, are what American M-1 tanks use nearly all the time in Iraq. Israel pioneered both types of tank ammunition, and has been using their versions heavily in Palestinian areas during the last four years. These two shells make tanks much more useful in urban fighting. Hostile gunmen often take cover in buildings, or trees and crops. The M908 can knock down buildings, and the M1028 can clear out anyone sniping at you from lighter structures or vegetation.

 


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