The M1 Streetbrawler

Tank Crews Want Better Streetfighting Gear

Here’s a great article on ideas to improve the already-formidable urban capabilities of the M1 tank.

Among them: slat armor similar to that on the Stryker to protect the rear of the tank, which is vulnerable to RPGs due to the turbine exhaust.

I find it incredibly ironic that the tankers want the same “bird cage” add-on armor that the anti-Stryker folks derided as proof that the Stryker was a death trap.

Also discussed are the commander’s and loader’s machine guns, which are often more useful in an urban setting than the main 120mm gun. These weapons are incredibly handy, but the soldiers must stand in the turret to operate them. The article notes that some crews have rigged armor protection from scrounged materials, but that

Another suggestion is to install a RWS (Remote Weapons Station) for the commanders .50 caliber gun (like the RWS used with great success by the Stryker), so the commander can operate the weapon from inside the tank. The .50 caliber is a very useful weapon in city fighting, but the RWS adds another bit of complex gear to the tank, and is only really useful in urban warfare, where the tank is likely to be taking a lot of small arms fire.

First of all, I’m curious to know whether the RWS has been truly “used with great success”. There’s no doubt that it has been effective, but I’d like to know if the lack of stabilization has been a detriment to Stryker crews. If so, there’s an alternative that’s similar to the RWS but is motion-stabilized: the CROWS.

Murdoc wonders if a heavily-armored “light gun” tank with a 25mm chain gun main turret and four or five remote operated machine guns might be something worth looking at. Well, I guess that’s sort of a Bradley with extra machine guns. And that 120mm sure comes in handy some times, I’m sure. But it still might be worth looking into a specialized urban tank, possibly a modified M1 or M2 Bradley, that incorporates all the latest lessons learned and requests from the boots on the streets.


  1. Murdoc, Or, instead of an updated Bradley as a streetfighter, consider the old CEV. CEVs are basically a M60 tank chassis with a snub-nosed, artillery-sized gun used for breaching/breaking. Sounds like just the thing for knocking down walls in dense urban fighting. You can cage it up like the Strykers, and still have plenty of deck room for the coax, the .50, and whatever else you care to mount there…Mk 19 maybe?

  2. I’ve trained with a National Guard Unit with the old M-1 (not the A1 or A2). Four comments: 1) The Commander in the M-1 can fire his .50 Cal using internal controls while the tank is sealed (I assume it is the same on the newer models). I have no idea how much he can see from in there (I’m a radio operator). The Gunner’s 7.62 coaxial machine gun is also internally operated but he has to traverse the whole turret to aim, which can be tough in a tight urban environment. 2) The mounts for the Commander’s and Loader’s machine guns do not fit the MK-19. They should be modified to fit – the 19 can be used to kill or flush out people hiding in buildings, etc– 3) The Army to the best of my knowledge currently only issues 2 tyoes of rounds for the M-1 and M-1A1; Sabot and HEAT. Sabot is useless against anything except armor. HEAT is designed to penetrate APCs and explode inside which means it may work well against people inside a building but is not much use against troops in a trench for instance. We used to have canister rounds for use against infantry. It is essentially a giant shotgun round that explodes at a set distance and sends a cone of metal balls downrange. It is devastating against troops in the open. Bring it back. 4) Also, as an Infantry Marine in the first Gulf War, I had nightmares about facing the ZSU 23-4 ( The four 23mm auto cannons can be depressed to fire against ground troops – very very scary when your armor consists of a flak vest. There must be a few of them in Iraq that were not destroyed – run them through the insurgent hot spots and see who wants to play.