Range target Centurions    (Ver 1)


The photo's in this article were taken at the Holsworthy Australian Army Base, which I am told used to have both armoured (Leopard 1A4's) and cavalry (APC's) units. It now has neither.

It does still have a range and target vehicles on it, which are now used for infantry anti-armour training.


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The picture above is of a Centurion that doesn't look all that bad, the majority of the damage being from shrapnel and confined to the sheet metal portions of the vehicle. I am told this vehicle is a mortar target.


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The damage done to the vehicle in the above picture and the ones below was by shoulder launched weapons. The weapon used is the "Carl Gustav 84mm" it is the modern successor to the famous Bazooka. It uses a recoiless round (an explosive propelled projectile) rather than the rocket propelled projectile that a Bazooka would.


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This side view shows just how badly damaged the vehicle is. Do remember that it has taken hundreds of hits to make so many holes. In combat the result of the first hit would have probably been a catastophic fire along with an explosion of sufficient ferocity to blow the turret off and probably spread the hull all over the counntry side. Due to the lack of combustibles, the vehicle has been steadly "eaten" away by the repeated hits, thus the missing wheels and suspension parts.


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Back to the frontal view of this vehicle. The projectile from a Carl Gustav penetrates the armour of a vehicle by the action of the explosive charge in the projectile being funneled into a stream of plasma about the size of a mans thumb. In the process the metal of the projectile body becomes part of the plasma. Virtually all hits in this set of pictures penetrated the frontal armour with ease. The plasma jet then continues through the vehicle and anything inside, in this case a lot of the hits had gone through the turret basket components and in the case of the side hits had either mostly penetrated the armour on the other side or had actually exited the vehicle.

At the Puckapunyal Tank Museum in Victoria, Australia is a very sobering target. It is made up of lots of steel plates (claimed to be armour grade) from 4" thick down to 1" thick which had been welded with steel straps into one large thick mass (roughly 24" thick). This had then been shot at multiple times with every anti-armour device in Aussie service. It was then retrieved, the straps removed and the plates re-straped this time with 6" gaps: it was then put on display at the entrance to the museum. It is staggering to see that Recoiless Rifle and Carl Gustav hits have penetrated through to the back of the target whilst solid shot from tanks has only made about 8" of penetration. Sobering stuff.


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If you look at the points indicated by the red arrows you will see some small holes, these are caused by a "66mm Light Anti-armour Weapon" called "LAW" for brevity. It is a "use once and throw away" device and is quite small and light and nearly every infantryman is able to carry one as part of his normal equipment. The penetrating capability is much less than that of the Carl Gustav, which is large and heavy and needs someone to carry it and another person to carry the ammunition (also large and heavy).

Both types of weapon mentioned in this article are infantry issue and in the case of the LAW has a practical range of roughly only 300 metres. The Carl Gustav is good for 400 metres, perhaps a bit more in ideal conditions, but is disliked due to its back blast (gives your location away to the enemy) and the concusion suffered by the firer. It takes a brave person to wait until a tank gets to so close a distance before firing.


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