Tanks vs. Aircraft

Prior to the introduction of “smart” weapons, attacking tanks directly with aircraft was, in purely materialistic terms, incredibly difficult and certainly inefficient.

While pilots claimed massive numbers of tank kills, careful examination when the dust settled revealed a different story. In WWII, it was 5-8%, depending on how you fiddle with statistics. By Korea, the 100% confirmed aircraft kills of tanks had risen only modestly, to 12%. Granted, this is a slight lowball figure because a lot of the “unknown” losses were to aircraft napalm. If every single “unknown cause” loss turned out to be due to aircraft, it would rise to 40%, but this is doubtful, and the modest point still stands.

As this video shows, attacking and disrupting the soft-skinned support elements was something air power at the time was far better equipped to handle.

One thing I’m legitimately curious about (and haven’t read that much on, hence my curiosity) is the height to which “dumb” (albeit ballistic computer-assisted) rockets and bombs could reach with postwar technology.

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2 thoughts on “Tanks vs. Aircraft

  1. Mike

    Clusters did decent job before things like the Maverick and Hellfire came onto the scene. They still work well nowadays, matter of fact. Good post!

    Like

  2. How very interesting! I had no idea the kill rate was so low.

    I can offer you another piece of trivia in return. Tanks were first used in WWI, which you probably already knew. But I just recently found out that the Brits called them water tanks in an effort to mislead the Germans as to their importance.

    Like

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