The first test was conducted in 1988. Researchers confirmed that the US 155-mm HE round was a reasonable surrogate for the Soviet 152-mm HE round. An M109 155-mm howitzer battery using Soviet fire direction and gun procedures fired the test. The targets were manikins placed in fighting positions, US trucks, M113 and M557 armored vehicles, and M-48 tanks. Several different computer models were used to predict results. The test was fired three times using 56 HE rounds with point-detonating (PD) and variable-time (VT) fuzes. The resulting effects on the trucks and personnel were close to model predictions. However, the effects on the armored vehicles and tanks were significantly higher than model predictions. The model predicted 30 percent damage to armored vehicles and tanks; however, 67 percent damage was achieved. Fragmentation from the HE rounds penetrated the armored vehicles, destroying critical components and injuring the manikin crews. (See an example of such damage in Figure 1.) In addition, the HE fragmentation damaged tracks, road wheels, and tank main gun sights and set one vehicle on fire. Interestingly enough, none of the damage to the armored vehicles or tanks was the result of direct hits—all the damage was caused by near hits. This test confirmed that US Army models did not accurately portray artillery effectiveness. Direct hits were not required to damage tanks and other armored targets. The second test was conducted over a period of seven months. It was designed to provide updated fragmentation damage data for modern armored fighting vehicles and tanks. An M109 howitzer fired 155-mm HE ammunition with PD and VT fuzes. One round was fired at a time, and a detailed analysis was completed on the effects of a direct or near hit of each round.
A direct hit with an HE round with a PD fuze consistently destroyed the various target vehicles. Near hits damaged or destroyed road wheels, tracks, main gun sights and vision blocks. Aerial bursts of HE rounds with VT fuzes damaged or destroyed gun barrels, vision blocks, antennas, sights and engines and destroyed anything stored on the outside of the vehicle. (See Figure 2.)
The third test was against a simulated US mechanized infantry team in defensive positions. The target area consisted of a forward defense area with a tank ditch 250 meters long, minefields and wire obstacles. The infantry was dismounted and had prepared positions with overhead cover. The fighting vehicles and tanks were in supporting positions, dug in with both “hull down” and “turret down” positions. For this test, a 24-gun 155-mm battalion was used to achieve the Soviet criteria of 50 percent destruction. To accomplish these effects, the fire plan for each of the three iterations of the test required 2,600 HE rounds with a mix of PD and VT fuzes. In each iteration, 50 percent of the infantry fighting positions were destroyed and about 50 percent of the personnel were wounded or killed. The physiological and psychological effects on personnel could not be measured as Army regulations prohibit using humans or animals in this type of testing. However, research conducted in the first phase of the test documented battles of World War I and II where unmotivated or poorly trained soldiers did not stand up to large concentrations of artillery fire. This finding was confirmed during Operation Desert Figure 2: An air burst of HE with a variable time (VT) fuze destroyed the main gun and other components of this vehicle. Figures 3: In a near hit, HE rounds with PD fuzes destroyed the track of this tank. The damage was similar to that of a tank in a hulldown position. Storm in the Gulf in 1990 with the mass surrenders of enemy soldiers. The soldiers’ will to fight was worn down by fire support from multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), cannons and air strikes. In addition, during the third test, 50 percent of the infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and tanks suffered damage that would have prevented them from moving or firing, thus taking them out of the battle (Figure 3). Smoke and dust caused by the HE rounds would have reduced the IFV and tank crews’ ability to engage targets at maximum range. This test demonstrated that an artillery attack using standard HE fragmentation projectiles is much more lethal against tanks and armored vehicles than US effectiveness data estimates had predicted. Based on the data provided in the second test, the modeling predictions were closer to the actual results but remained on the low side of the actual damage and destruction. Artillerymen need to understand that databases used to drive force-on-force models are not always accurate. Many of the models have not been updated, and their databases do not reflect all aspects of lethality. The SAE tests clearly demonstrated that force-on-force models have not been portraying the effects of artillery fires properly. Near and direct hits cause significant damage to armored vehicles and tanks. The test results confirmed the validity of the published Soviet’s report on the lethality of artiller
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... XFmUmj5KUw