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Message 1 in thread
From: MrDelurk (mrdelurk@aol.com)
Subject: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/14
Hello.

I just read this in an amazing book. The Hungarians during the 1956 revolution
destroyed several hundred Russian tanks by tossing gasoline bombs on them.

Does anyone know if this method still works against the following armored
vehicles:
M-84   T-72 -  T-55   T-34/85     BOV-3    Praga
and where does one exactly have to aim with the bomb ?

MrDelurk
Message 2 in thread
From: Wyvern75 (Wyvern75@yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/16
Killing a Tank or any other vehicle with a gasoline bomb (Molotov
Cocktail) has been around for some time.  

The outside of the armor is impervious to the gasoline/flammable liquid.
 What is vulnerable is the hatches or openings from the armor to the
rest of the vehicle.  If a hatch (person size) was open and the bomb
went in and exploded, the occupants would leave the vehicle, vehicle
could catch fire and burn.  But one must assume that the hatches would
be closed if the armor crewmen were expecting flames instead of flowers.
 

The vulnerable part of an armored vehicle is the rubber seals that keep
moisture from entering the vehicle when hatches or other openings are
secured.  These openings could be for radio antennas, weapons sights,
cables to the searchlights or even the rubber seals around the crew
hatches.  If the gasoline/liquid can penetrate those seals, and flame
can enter the crew compartments, the crew will either have to stop the
flow (very difficult), leave or face a very serious problem.  Now
remember the Russians entered Hungary and Czechoslovakia as liberators,
to free the people from an evil government (or at least the Russians
were told that), so one would expect the hatches to be open.  

The next vulnerable area is the engine compartment.  Most Tank Engines
are air cooled or at least helped cooled by air circulation.  There are
large holes/vents on the "back deck" of a tank, and gasoline or other
flammable liquids could enter the engine compartment.  On the
engine/transmission, it could damage fuel or oil cooler lines. 
Electrical connections, fan belts and so on could also be damaged. Given
enough heat (more than a gasoline bomb could provide) the diesel fuel
could heat up and explode. 

The real trick is to panic a crew and cause them to leave the vehicle. 
Then you can do what ever you want to it.   

MrDelurk wrote:
> 
> Hello.
> 
> I just read this in an amazing book. The Hungarians during the 1956 revolution
> destroyed several hundred Russian tanks by tossing gasoline bombs on them.
> 
> Does anyone know if this method still works against the following armored
> vehicles:
> M-84   T-72 -  T-55   T-34/85     BOV-3    Praga
> and where does one exactly have to aim with the bomb ?
> 
> MrDelurk
Message 3 in thread
From: Bob Keeter (bkeeter@netway.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/16
In article <20000913210655.23451.00002738@ng-fi1.aol.com>, MrDelurk
<mrdelurk@aol.com> wrote:

> Hello.
> 
> I just read this in an amazing book. The Hungarians during the 1956 revolution
> destroyed several hundred Russian tanks by tossing gasoline bombs on them.
> 
> Does anyone know if this method still works against the following armored
> vehicles:
> M-84   T-72 -  T-55   T-34/85     BOV-3    Praga
> and where does one exactly have to aim with the bomb ?
> 
> MrDelurk

First off, even Mr. Molotov himself would hardly consider a wine bottle
full of gasoline the ideal anti-armor weapon.  Its a device born of
desparation and a willingness to sacrifice oneself (either when the
bottle spews burning gas all over the aspiring "tank killer", or when
the tank crew or their comrades take offense at seeing burning gas
splatter all over one of their nice clean vehicles!).  

The "best" way, if such is to be imagined, is to toss the Molotov
cocktail down the hatch from an upper story window of an urban
building. (Nice to have the tank commander out watching whats going on
but then. . . . . .  .)  Dont care what kind of tank or APC you care to
consider, a liter of burning gas inside will at least take care of the
crew and most likely start a "brew up" that will leave little doubt.

Barring that, most tanks prior to the "NBC" era had plenty of "leaks". 
Splatter the top with burning gas and some will start leaking in
through ventillation ports, vision ports, bad turret seals, etc.  It
doesnt take much of a fire INSIDE a tank to get the crew OUTSIDE the
tank (reason covered above!).

You can also take a quick look at a standard diesel engine that might
power a tank.  Looks like a big chunk of cast iron and assorted metals,
but there are drive belts, air filters, air intakes, and hoses.  Lots
of things that would not mix well with a heavy dose of burning
gasoline. The gasoline powered tanks were even more "vulnerable" than
the diesels!

All that said, Id suggest that far more often a bottle of burning gas
was splattered all over the side of a tank whereupon the turret slewed
to the side where the bomb was thrown and let loos with a cannister or
HE round to clear out the bushes.  That USUALLY worked.

Regards
bk
Message 4 in thread
From: Michael Emrys (emrys@olypen.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/16
> From: mrdelurk@aol.com (MrDelurk)
> Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com
> Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
> Date: 14 Sep 2000 01:06:55 GMT
> Subject: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
> 
> Hello.
> 
> I just read this in an amazing book. The Hungarians during the 1956 revolution
> destroyed several hundred Russian tanks by tossing gasoline bombs on them.
> 
> Does anyone know if this method still works against the following armored
> vehicles:
> M-84   T-72 -  T-55   T-34/85     BOV-3    Praga
> and where does one exactly have to aim with the bomb ?

Also known as the Molotov Cocktail, the technology goes back at least to the
Winter War between Finland and the USSR, 1939-40.

Probably the best part of the tank to throw it at is the rear deck, as the
engine is usually more vulnerable to catching fire in this way.

As for the vehicles you mention, I suppose they have a certain vulnerability
to a cocktail. The first trick in employing a Molotov Cocktail is getting
close enough to actually toss it onto the tank. The second trick is getting
away afterwards.

Michael
Message 5 in thread
From: billh (williamhudson@sprintmail.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/17
> I just read this in an amazing book. The Hungarians during the 1956 revolution
> destroyed several hundred Russian tanks by tossing gasoline bombs on them.
>
> Does anyone know if this method still works against the following armored
> vehicles:
> M-84   T-72 -  T-55   T-34/85     BOV-3    Praga
> and where does one exactly have to aim with the bomb ?

Fugas, and much of it, into the air intake.
Message 6 in thread
From: noyeshf@my-deja.com (noyeshf@my-deja.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/19
In article <y93x5.6027$ks.162236@newsread1.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,
  "billh" <williamhudson@sprintmail.com> wrote:

   Re: Molotov cocktails...this question is for all who commented on
how Molotovs damage armored vehicles.
   Besides damage to engines, antennas, optics, hatch bushings, etc.,
and leakage into the crew compartment, does anyone know if perhaps
enough heat penetrates the armor by convection to bake the crew and
force it to bale out?
   Some comments: The Russians may have been told they were liberators
in 1956 but the main Soviet force entered AFTER the Hungarians had
crushed the Communist puppet government, and there had been significant
bloodshed already against the local secret police (AVO was the name, I
think) and Russian garrison forces. (However, some of the latter sided
with the rebels against the AVO, leading the Soviet government to use
mainly Mongol troops for their decisive counterattack a week or so into
the revolution). Thus, by the time the Russians got involved, no one
would have been anticipating flowers. As for the risks of using a
Molotov, all fighting is dangerous, of course. However, tanks have few
close-in weapons, a buttoned-up tank has lousy visibility, and tanks
without infantry security are thus very vulnerable to enemy infantry,
especially in close areas such as cities or forests. That's why tank
experts insist on infantry support for tanks. The first rule in
fighting tanks is "strip away their infantry." There was a wonderful
episode in the 1960s "Combat" TV series about Sgt. Saunders killing 2-3
German infantrymen supporting a tank and then spending the rest of the
hour playing games with the tank. He had trouble destroying it, but the
crew could do nothing about him: he crawled all over the tank and
eventually destroyed it (I forget how). This was a very realistic show.
My ex-wife's father -- an interesting guy, now deceased -- was in the
116th Panzer Grenadier Division in Russia (later the 116th PzDiv in
France) and once destroyed a Russian tank (one of the big clumsy
ones...a K something) by jumping on it, laying a Teller mine on the
deck, setting the fuse and running away before the mine went off. I
once read an Army or Marine manual on how infantry can fight tanks: one
way was to stack gasoline cans in front of a claymore mine and set the
mine off as a tank passes. The manual's philosophy: without infantry, a
tank is just a heat-and-serve can of meat.

Harry Noyes


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Before you buy.
Message 7 in thread
From: Bob Keeter (bkeeter@netway.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/20
In article <8q7ucj$l4r$1@nnrp1.deja.com>, <noyeshf@my-deja.com> wrote:

> In article <y93x5.6027$ks.162236@newsread1.prod.itd.earthlink.net>,
>   "billh" <williamhudson@sprintmail.com> wrote:
> 
>    Re: Molotov cocktails...this question is for all who commented on
> how Molotovs damage armored vehicles.
>    Besides damage to engines, antennas, optics, hatch bushings, etc.,
> and leakage into the crew compartment, does anyone know if perhaps
> enough heat penetrates the armor by convection to bake the crew and
> force it to bale out?

Nope. Not a chance, unless you used a VERY large wine bottle, not a
Magnum sort of like a complete vintage!  There is a LOT of steel in a
tanks armor.  It takes a LOT of heat to warm up that steel much less
make it uncomfortable for the guys inside.

Snippage. . . . .
> . . . . . . . . . . . . As for the risks of using a
> Molotov, all fighting is dangerous, of course. However, tanks have few
> close-in weapons, a buttoned-up tank has lousy visibility, and tanks
> without infantry security are thus very vulnerable to enemy infantry,
> especially in close areas such as cities or forests. That's why tank
> experts insist on infantry support for tanks. 

Of course the Israelis learned that lesson in the wide open spaces of
the Sinai when a bunch of Egyptian Sagger-carrying infantry took up
positions on a sand dune.

>                                         The first rule in
> fighting tanks is "strip away their infantry." There was a wonderful
> episode in the 1960s "Combat" TV series about Sgt. Saunders killing 2-3
> German infantrymen supporting a tank and then spending the rest of the
> hour playing games with the tank. He had trouble destroying it, but the
> crew could do nothing about him: he crawled all over the tank and
> eventually destroyed it (I forget how). This was a very realistic show.

Well, it did tell interesting stories, but dont forget they were
stories.  Once an infantryman in on the back of a tank, there are still
things that can be done to shoo him away.  A quick slew of the turret,
maybe even a hatch popped open long enough to slip out a grenade, or
maybe even just motor along and slam on the brakes!  If you wanted to
do it "pretty" just have one of your fellow tankers spray you down with
his 8mm coaxial mg (at least on a lot of WWII German tanks!). Not sure
that I would want to be riding along on the outside of an unfriendly
tank!

> My ex-wife's father -- an interesting guy, now deceased -- was in the
> 116th Panzer Grenadier Division in Russia (later the 116th PzDiv in

Read the rest of this message... (27 more lines)

Message 8 in thread
From: noyeshf@my-deja.com (noyeshf@my-deja.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/21
In article <200920002215515242%bkeeter@netway.com>,
  Bob Keeter <bkeeter@netway.com> wrote:
> >
> Once an infantryman is on the back of a tank, there are things that
can be done to shoo him away. A quick slew of the turret, maybe even a
hatch popped open long enough to slip out a grenade, or just motor
along and slam on the brakes! Or have one of your fellow tankers spray
you down with his coaxial mg....The (how infantry can kill tanks)
manual you refer to is talking about emergency measures that you could
employ if you had nothing better... Personally, Id prefer a Hellfire at
about 7 clicks or a Copperhead at 15!

   Valid points. As I remember, the "Combat" episode showed most of
those methods a tank can use to ward off infantry. But there was just
one tank, so no assistance from a wingman was at issue. In the crowded
streets of a European city or in a narrow forest road, a tank could be
essentially isolated even in a large armored force, since a wingman --
also buttoned up and cramped by buildings/trees -- could not maneuver
freely to place supporting fire on a beleaguered buddy. Of course,
climbing onto a tank is an extreme case, risky and only to be tried in
special conditions. All combat requires alertness and skilled execution
in detail, not just a clever idea. I'd get knocked off a tank on my
rump. But a tough, athletic, experienced light infantrymen could dodge
the slewed gun, jump up on the turret and use the briefly opened hatch
to slam his own grenade home. The point is that competent infantry can
operate with reasonable safety (by combat standards) near enemy armor
and can destroy that armor if the enemy lacks good infantry support of
his own. (And in certain circumstances, such as urban fighting, even
brave and talented amateurs can do this, as many Hungarian freedom
fighters did...though I question whether they destroyed "hundreds" of
Russian tanks.) Re: the "heat-and-serve" manual, clearly you are right
that a Hellfire would be better and claymores-cum-jerrycans are
strictly for emergencies. But emergencies do happen in war, and
schoolboys fighting Russian tanks in Budapest would seem to qualify.

Harry Noyes


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Before you buy.
Message 9 in thread
From: Bob Keeter (bkeeter@netway.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/21
In article <8qd5q1$qda$1@nnrp1.deja.com>, <noyeshf@my-deja.com> wrote:

Snippage. . . . .

>  But a tough, athletic, experienced light infantrymen could dodge
> the slewed gun, jump up on the turret and use the briefly opened hatch
> to slam his own grenade home. The point is that competent infantry can
> operate with reasonable safety (by combat standards) near enemy armor
> and can destroy that armor if the enemy lacks good infantry support of
> his own. (And in certain circumstances, such as urban fighting, even
> brave and talented amateurs can do this, as many Hungarian freedom
> fighters did...though I question whether they destroyed "hundreds" of
> Russian tanks.) Re: the "heat-and-serve" manual, clearly you are right
> that a Hellfire would be better and claymores-cum-jerrycans are
> strictly for emergencies. But emergencies do happen in war, and
> schoolboys fighting Russian tanks in Budapest would seem to qualify.
> 

I would also assume that there were probably quite a few more brave
Hungarian freedom fighters done in by Soviet tanks (and supporting
forces) than Soviet tankers toasted with Molotov cocktails.

Regards
bk
Message 10 in thread
From: noyeshf@my-deja.com (noyeshf@my-deja.com)
Subject: Re: Destroying a tank with gasoline bombs
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
View this article only
Date: 2000/09/25
In article <210920002135418677%bkeeter@netway.com>,
  Bob Keeter <bkeeter@netway.com> wrote:
> >
> I would also assume that there were probably quite a few more brave
> Hungarian freedom fighters done in by Soviet tanks (and supporting
> forces) than Soviet tankers toasted with Molotov cocktails.


   No doubt...we should not lose sight of the fact that the Russians
DID win, after all.

   Harry Noyes