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Mailing List Logs for ShadowRN

Message no. 1
From: "Legion, now in syndication!" <legion@**************.ARMY.MIL>
Subject: Re: Ballistics 101 -- Listen up!
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1993 09:53:19 MDT
The Stainless Steel Rat writes:
>Can you say 'hot knife through butter'? I knew you could.

Thank you, Rat, for enlightening our young friend. But let me just add
a few words...

A 120mm DU round travels faster than 1 mile per second. While this is fast,
it is not fast enough to melt the depleted uranium penetrator. The DU used
in 120mm Sabot (APFSDS-T) rounds is _extremely_ dense. Just like the chobam
armor layered around the turret and on the ballistic skirts on the sides.
When the penetrator hits a vehicle it does indeed become "hot" and begin
to melt the vehicle. But by this time the round has gone completely through
the vehicle (both sides) and sucked everything out through the exit hole.
We're talking people, radios, tools... you get the picture. A good hit
usually rewards the crew who fired the round with a beautiful sight; that
of a turret spinning lazily through the air about 50 feet off of the ground.

When Justin first described what he thought was a sabot round he was actually
halfway correct about a HEAT round. This nasty jobby is shaped roughly like
a coffee can with a stick coming out the front. When this round impacts the
target it detonates its load of plastique behind an empty copper cone. The
ensuing explosion results in a plasma-jet which burns it's way through the
target. While it is burning through the armor, the melted armor, called
spall, is sprayed into the interior of the vehicle. A test of the service
HEAT round on a Warsaw Pact BMP-1 gave the following results: the temperature
inside the vehicle reached over 20,000 degrees fahrenheit, the flash was 20
times brighter than Sol (our sun), and the BMP burned to slag in less than
an hour. Granted, a BMP is not an impressive adversary by itself, but this
type of vehicle is the primary target-type for the HEAT round. Bunkers, too.

Can't say much on the rifled v. smoothbore argument, though. Except that
smoothbores are easier to clean!

"Good, bad... I'm the guy with the gun." -- Ash, Army of Darkness

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading about Ballistics 101 -- Listen up!, you may also be interested in:


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