ARM: Review - Osprey Duel 30 - "M60 vs T-62"

Book Review: Osprey =93Duel=94 Series No. 30: M60 vs. T-62; Cold War
Combatants 1956-1992 by Lon Nordeen and David Isby, artwork by Richard
Chasemore; Osprey Publishing 2010; 80 pp. with illustrations and color
drawings; price US$17.95 (ISBN 978-1-84603-694-1)
Advantages: concise history of the combat between these two tanks,
coverage of their basic development and history
Disadvantages: probably not enough photos or markings for modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all fans of the Cold War and their armored
vehicles
When Soviet Ground Forces commander Marshal Valeriy Chuykov found out
that the British were going to install the 105mm L7 gun in an improved
variant of the Centurion tank, and the Americans and Germans planned
to use the same gun in their new medium tanks, he really did go
ballistic. Demanding that the Soviets had to have a bigger tank in the
field even if =93you have to strap it on the back of a pig=94 his demand
to the military industrial complex set in motion one of the great
parings of the cold war =96 what emerged as the Soviet T-62 in the hands
of its client states versus the US and its allies armed with the M60
main battle tank.
Neither one was a very original design =96 both evolved from proven
designs. The T-62 was a modified T-55 tank that was reworked to fit
the big 115mm U-5TS gun onto a medium tank chassis; the M60 combined
the best ideas of the day with design improvements to the M48A2 medium
tank to come up with a diesel powered and 105mm armed tank.
Both tanks evolved due to continual failures to develop breakthrough
tank designs. The T-62 came about due to massive problems with the
radical Article 430 and Article 432 tank design (later to become the
T-64 series tanks) but using the same 115mm gun the evolved Article
432 was mounting. Chuykov=92s demand for the big gun could not be
fulfilled in a reasonable amount of time due to the teething troubles
the new tank had =96 this was the late 1950s and the T-64 did not become
viable until 1969. Leonid Kartsev said that his design bureau at
Nizhniy Tagil could get the gun on a tank in less than a year. But the
Ministry of Defense refused to put two tanks with identical guns into
service at once, so when the T-62 was accepted for service in 1961 it
was as a =93tank destroyer=94 and not a tank. (20,000 tanks later, this
little definition deviation was clearly ignored.)
Ditto the M60. The future US tank program at the time was the T95
with a totally new chassis, new turret, new gun and new features all
around. But with the failure of the T95 program a new design had to be
created in a hurry. Design features like the new glacis design, the
105mm M68 (license built L7) and a big AVDS-1790 series diesel engine
were used to create the new interim tank that became the M60.
Both tanks evolved as well. By 1965 the M60 had received a new turret
with a thinner front profile and wide bustle to become the M60A1; in
1972 the T-62 gave up the pretense of being a =93tank destroyer=94 and
added a 12.7mm AA machine gun.
Incidentally both tanks had an outlier tank destroyer variant armed
with missiles: the IT-1 with the =93Drakon=94 missile and the M60A2
=93Starship=94 with the Shillelagh. Neither one was very popular and both
were only seen as short term solutions.
While thousands of these tanks were soon populating divisions
stationed in East and West Germany, the first actual clash between
them came during the Yom Kippur war in 1973. The IDF fought with both
the Egyptians at the Battle of Chinese Farm and with the Syrians and
Iraqis on the Golan Heights. However, while the T-62 fought in both
areas the M60s were only used against the Egyptians (upgunned
Centurions with that same L7 gun were able to stop and destroy most of
the Syrian and Iraqi T-62s at the =93Vale of Tears=94.)
The results of the Chinese Farm battle were very one-sided. The M60A1
tanks used by the IDF had no problems dealing with the T-62s whereas
the Egyptians had little real success against the Israelis. Part of
the problem =96 other than training =96 was the unfortunate problem that
the T-62 had with its weapons system. Upon firing, the gun would then
turn and elevate so that the automated casing ejector could grab the
casing, open a hatch in the rear of the turret, eject the casing, and
wait for the loader to feed in the next round. When the breech block
closed, the gun would then return to its last position. Fine, if you
hit your target; but if you missed, the gun went right back to where
it missed. The time required for this was 15 seconds, during which an
M60A1 would get off two to three rounds. (There was a T-62 Model 1966
in USAREUR which showed two hits from Israeli 105mm APDS rounds, each
about 10" apart and either one fatal; this was a victim of the Chinese
Farm battle.)
However, the IDF did note that whereas 2/3rds of Centurions knocked
out were returned to service only 20% of the M48 and M60 series tanks
were as fortunate.
The last gasp to date between the T-62 and the M60 took place during
Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Here USMC M60A1 RISE tanks with
explosive reactive armor fitted to them clashed with tanks from the
Iraqi 5th Mechanized Division and 3rd Armored Division during the
ground war. The results were not close, but both sides basically
admitted it was due to the poor training levels of the Iraqi crews
more than a failing of their equipment to stand up. While Iraqi fairy
tales abound (one of the best involves a company of T-62s from the
16th Infantry Division that lulled a company of M1A1 tanks into point
blank range, destroyed five and damaged nine while escaping with no
losses) the actual results were that their forces were ineffectual.
The book covers these two episodes in great detail and does note
where claims are not substantiated. There are a number of good photos
and color drawings to illustrate the authors=92 text. Both Lon and David
are excellent authors and historians, and the book is a good read on
these Cold Warriors and their fates.
Thanks to David Isby for the review copy.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
Loading thread data ...

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.