I needed to extract what I said about Tanks from my piece on the 2021 Defence White Paper as it took a lot of space on a peripheral issue. What I captured was the leaks before publication which suggested that the Tanks were going to be chopped, and then comments on the white paper’s outcome. I have also found a youtube video that examines if infantry anti-tank weapons have led to an end of the age of the tank citing the Ukraine war as evidence.

In April 2024, I was pointed by Paul Mason at the Defence pledge, which has some obvious absences, and obliquely the MOD 10 Year Plan, which identifies a £17bn gap. 3rd April 2024

One of the rumours preceding the 2021 review was that they planned to scrap the Tanks, here is a rebuttal; The case for armour

“It is true that some modern conflicts differ from those in the past, there is no evidence that the character of war has fundamentally changed to the point where armoured warfare is certain never to return.”

Here’s a video on dropping the Armour, by Matsimus, he’s good on the intellectual threats to armour, talks of sunset/sunrise weapons, which seems to be key. Technologies change; there is a technology arms race.

I went to visit the tank museum in 2021.


Based on a press statement from MOD that the UK would not be reducing the number of Tanks, and a summary of the review by Defence News, which on Tanks says,

The Army is upgrading the Challenger 2 tank fleet at a cost of £1.3 billion, but only 148 vehicles will be improved.

The BBC reports on this denouement? i.e. we upgraded some. Further reading makes me wonder if we should buy the Leopard tank from Germany. A few months later, I found this, “Is the Challenger III any good?” The author is unclear, he feels it’s electronics & IT is world class, it’s engine is underpowered, but it is now using a standard NATO gun; it is also arguably under armoured  and lacks active defence technology. Here is a video comparing  the Challenger vs Leopard on youtube, and on quora, and for completeness, the Abrams vs T-14, which talks briefly about the T14’s defensive technology. Time to learn again from the Navy?

A video arguing that there is a technology race, current state anti-tank weapons are a serious, maybe fatal threat to older tanks. Partly because of the cheap cost. Modern tanks have point defence capability and better armour; but they are expensive and hard to use. One point made in the video is that (as ever) tanks alone cannot beat infantry, what needs to be considered is combined arms warfare doctrine; the author also recognises that there is as yet no functional replacement for the tank. The MoD have had this argument before when it was felt that helicopter gun ships could replace the tank and supplement anti-tank weapons. The video above has some rock-paper-scissor models, infantry, anti-tank, tank & air-craft, artillery & SAM capabilities.

Basel Liddel Hart, the first tank strategist argued that tanks were cavalry and that cavalry, unaided, can never beat well prepared infantry. He foresaw, between the wars, combined arms doctrines, although this itself maybe a reinvention of Napoleon’s battlefield tactics (Column, line & square) . Nicholas Moran aka the Chieftain, replies that the tank is not dead due to its fire rate and survivability and importantly, short range active protection weapons run out of ammo very quickly. He also illustrates a tank’s defence in depth using a series of concentric circles.

Dave Politics , ,

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