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.