Can you destroy an enemy tank by opening the hatch and dropping a grenade inside? by Ido Rabin
Answer by Ido Rabin:
Image: Merkava turret (sorry for the mess, end of exercise), my scrawny gunner shoved into the hatch and photoshopped in is a welcome home mat. You know, so that visitors feel welcome.
Recognizing this is not a movie nor a computer game is the first step in understanding this is a high-risk feat to be accomplished:
First you need to get close enough to the tank to mount it without being discovered. If you are discovered by the tank or other forces, well, your friends will miss you dearly.
Then you have to mount the tank – beware – it's quite tall and most places and angles don't accommodate for easy climbing. Oh, and the tank might abruptly drive over you. If that happens, your friends will miss you dearly.
Now that you mounted the tank be sure to bring all your limbs up onto the turret from the hull’s deck before the turret rotates – it may rapidly rotate at any moment with great mechanical force either intentionally to get that pesky climber off the tank, or by chance. If you're lucky you'll be thrown off the tank. If you're less lucky, you'll be leaving some parts of yourself behind, or get squashed in a novel way. Your friends will miss you dearly.
Ok, now your “riding the bull” and holding for dear life on the turret. Try to open the hatch. Good luck with that! What makes you so sure a hatch can be opened from the outside? And if so, that you’d know how to open it? The “welcome: pull this ➚ lever and then turn to open” sign will not be there. And can the hatch be locked from the inside? I guess you’ll have to find out.
Another thing – tanks usually don’t hang out alone – exactly because of initiatives such as yours, tanks keep friends chilling in the vicinity for mutual protection – the friendlies may be other tanks, and/or other forces. If your’e spotted at any stage, another tank is more than ok to fire 7.62 / 0.5″ rounds at the tank being mounted. The soft mammalians on the tank will be made into a sieve, yet the tank itself will only get a few scratches. Your friends will miss you dearly.
So pretending the tank has no friendly-friendlies about to help it, assuming you know how to open the hatch and are sunbathing in the cool breeze on the top of the turret, you are left with actually opening the hatch and throwing in a grenade: Taking a pin out of a grenade requires two hands (breaking your teeth is a-movie-only option). Most if not all hatches require two hands to open as well. You choose what to do first – first open, than take pin out, or first take pin out, secure the unsafe grenade in one hand as you open the hatch – this is a major dilemma, come prepared with a solution. Inside there are a few soldiers – hi crew! They just might shoot at you if they had a second to prepare, you exposed yourself and they have their wits and any kind gun inside with them (making your friends miss you dearly).
So lastly – if you managed to dunk the grenade in, AND not get shot AND move away from the hatch opening, you’ll be spending the next 3 seconds – probably the longest three seconds of your life – praying the crew doesn’t manage to toss the grenade outside (the chances are that they won’t manage this – almost impossible) then hear a thump, followed by losing some of your hearing, and voila: grenade dunking hero: 1 tank:0.
Which brings us to the original question: Destroy the tank? If the tank rounds inside manage to catch fire and light each other, yeah, the tank will light up like a matchbox (don’t stand near the hatches when this happens, better yet, dismount ASAP). But, on a modern tank such a fireworks show is less likely to happen. Incapacitate the tank? sure: the crew will almost certainly be dead / badly wounded (Their friends will miss them dearly) and most soft mechanics and electronics lining the inside of the turret ruined, rendering the tank useless.