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Subject: Advantages/Disadvantages of a walking tank
theBird    5/22/2007 1:05:43 AM
Similar to a mech, (or mecha for the Japanesse minded), an armoured walking vehicle anywhere from 5 to 15 meters tall and armed with a variety of heavy and light weapons, either with a single pilot or multi-person crew. Alternatively a walking bradley armed with bradley type weapons and able to deliver a squad to the room of shorter buildings.
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theBird       5/22/2007 1:09:18 AM
tanks could be biped or quadruped.
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Herald1234       5/22/2007 2:33:30 AM

Similar to a mech, (or mecha for the Japanesse minded), an armoured walking vehicle anywhere from 5 to 15 meters tall and armed with a variety of heavy and light weapons, either with a single pilot or multi-person crew. Alternatively a walking bradley armed with bradley type weapons and able to deliver a squad to the room of shorter buildings.

1. Mechanical complexity.
2. Ground pressure.
3. Height.
4. Speed.
5. Thin armor.
5. Toppling.
6. Unmaneuverability.
7. Unstable firing base
Do I need to go on?
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doggtag    why towering bipedal mecha won't ever work   5/22/2007 8:18:11 AM
Whether in the form of anthropomorhpic bipeds like those veritech fighters from Macross/Robotech,
or as Gundham-type suits closing to within arm's reach and combatting with laser swords,
or multi-legged walkers as is the realm of Star Wars,
one of the biggest drawbacks of walking tanks is their height:
ask any current MBT crew on that issue: they'd rather be in a hull down defilade position where their adversary has almost no point of their tank to target,
rather than standing out on a battlefield because you're some 10+m tall lumbering monstrosity that anyone and everyone can see quite clearly.
It will be interesting to see if humanity ever masterts mechanical walking systems, that can be used on massive machines, that have the speed, agility, and reliability of wheeled or tracked hulls (plus there's the weight distribution issues on the ground).
Can anyone imagine just how much armor would be needed on a walker to make it proof against any of today's APFSDS sabot rounds, not to mention ERA-defeating tandem charge ATGM warheads and EFPs?
The weight alone would make such a walking mostrosity so cumbersome and inagile (non agile? unagile?).
If someone suggests those walkers would be clad in some as-yet-undiscovered unobtanium that's super strong yet lightweight, wouldn't it also be a safe assumption, as history repeatedly dictates, that anti-armor weapons will evolve to counter them (could a mecha withstand multiple hits from railguns firing tungsten or DU penetrators, or even composed of some element that reacts pyrophorically with elements in the armor, like how DU does with steel) ?
No, multi-leg AFVs will only ever live in the realm of sci fi fantasy, because the practicality of them just isn't there.
Wheels or tracks will always traverse open ground and much other terrain faster.
And wheel- or track systems are more damage resistant, as opposed to having one of your legs shot out from under you
(yeah, sure, a tank with a broken track won't move either, but a tank will for the most part always have its weapons in the general plane (horizontally) of their use, whereas a mecha would be, like a person with a busted limb, struggling to point its weapons to the right area).
If then suddenly suggesting, like veritechs or Gundhams, our mech can suddenly fly too, wouldn't that large, slow flying object be a prime target for numerous ADA/AAA systems?
(is it using rotary wings for flight like helos, or fuel-thirsty jet thrusters, or even gravity manipulation?)
Anyone have any idea how it would handle in flight, being so obviously un-aerodynamic, let alone even have the fuel necessary to power it for any useful battlefield duration? God forbid the notion of using nuclear power cores in tactical battlefield vehicles that can be destroyed or sufficiently damaged by man-portable systems.
And I suspect we'll never see 10+m tall 75+ton fighting robots or battlesuits with the dexterity and maneuverability the cartoonists show us, simply because machine mechanisms just cannot function reliably at those speeds for components that heavy (artifical tendons and muscles, or even hydraulics and their oil lines, will need to be clad in layers of armor that will have to allow for articulation at joints and other pivot points.
Wheels and tracks are already proven.
And creating just such a mecha, with articulating armor and flight ability, if the technology ever is invented, will be prohibitively expensive to the point that a given nation's army could only afford a few of them, at over 1/2 billion dollars a piece (and a bargain at that).
Anyone would be further off equipping with cheaper, more easily replaced, wheeled and tracked AFVs that are much easier (and cheaper) to maintain.
Plus, 50-100 tanks and AFVs equates to more guns at the ready than a pair of battlemechs.
In some instances, technical sophication is no substitute for numerical superiority.
...unless, of course, those mecha are also equipped with some form of stealth generator that not only negates the visual spectrum (yet not create a detectable cloaking shimmer), but also IR (a lot of heat generated by a powerplant sufficient enough to move it around the battlefield), and acoustic & seismic signature reduction as well (if it's walking around stomping big feet, it's going to be noisy as well).
Plus, if it's walking anyway, we still run into the easiest of solutions: triplines,
be it harpoons and tow cables,
 or (by the time we have the tech to build mechs) nearl
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caltrop       5/22/2007 10:09:58 AM
Walking armored vehicles like in Mechwarrior et. al. look really cool but would seem to be easily defeated by real world tactics.  But...
IF the engineering questions could be overcome, I would say that a armored, walking craft would seem to combine the best apects of the mobility of an infantry man with the firepower and armor of a tank.
I recall an early episode of Robotech where some Veritechs in battle-droid mode were engaging enemy mecha in urban Macross City much the same any infantry soldier would.  The Vertitechs need only expose a portion of their torso to engage the enemy and then could withdrawl behind a building for cover.
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Sucari       5/22/2007 9:56:58 PM
All the weight that went into the legs could be sued for more armour, bigger powerplant and more guns on a tank. There fore tanks will be better in a ton for ton rating.
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verong    MECH tonnage   5/22/2007 10:21:27 PM
Hey fellas,
A Mech would way 20,000 to 100,000 tons
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Sucari       5/22/2007 10:51:34 PM
IF it weighted thatm uch, to heavy and to slow to be of use.
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verong       5/23/2007 11:24:20 AM
In that range is the nuke powered US carriers most Ideas about Mechs would include nuke power plant
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buzzard       5/23/2007 12:36:43 PM
The idea of bipedal mech in actual combat is utterly unrealistic (as already mentioned). If any form of walking armored vehicle is likely to be produced, it will be more bug like with multiple legs (six or eight), and a low slung position. A design like this will at least have some advantage over a tracked vehicle in crossing some terrain types. However I doubt that this advantage would be significant enough to justify the development. Also, with enough legs, you get a solid form of redundancy in your motive system, which would be superior to tracks. Blow off a leg, and the system should still be able to work. Blow off a tread, and you're sitting there.


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FJV       5/24/2007 12:31:31 PM
Some disadvantages are:

The weight that has to be carried by the legs increases with volume (to the power of 3) the strength of the legs increases with area (to the power of 2). This results in having disproportionally thicker legs with increasing volume which creates all kinds of design problems.

There's also the problem that with legs you get all kinds of unfavorable corners on the surface of the armored vehicles. These corners would guide/trap an armor piercing bullet into the vehicle. All these "corners" would be weak points. Contrast this with the design of a M1 tank which shape has been designed to have as much sloping as possible which causes bullets to ricochet/bounce off.

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