Mamba main battle tank

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Panserestridkruper «Mamba»
Tiperyn Mamba Tank 1957.png
The first production variant of the Psk. Mamba, the Mamba A.
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  Tiperyn
Service history
In service 1957–1997 (Tiperyn)
Used by Tiperyn Realm Defence
(See Operators)
Wars Great Kesh War
Nasiri Civil War
Perses Crisis
Osorra-Tilenno War
Production history
Manufacturer Ambrosia Tankworks
Oermakt Motorverken
Specifications (Chassis)
Weight 40.2 tonnes (Mamba A)
43.6 tonnes (Mamba B)
Length 11.05 meters (36 feet 3 inches) (gun forward)
7.27 meters (23 feet 10 inches) (chassis)
Width 3.44 meters (11 feet 3 inches)
Height 2.75 meters (9 feet 0 inches)
Crew 3 (commander/radio operator, driver, gunner)

Armor Glass-reinforced plastic sandwiched between layers of steel
Turret: 50-422 mm against APFSDS
Upper Glacis: 50 mm @ 81°
Lower Glacis: 50 mm @ 44°
Hull Sides: 40 mm @ 81°
1 × Stk. 56(4t) 4-inch (102mm) L/54 rifled tank gun (16 ready rounds, 22 reserve rounds)
1 × Mgv. 4 6.5 mm coaxial medium machine gun
1 × Mgv. 39 15 mm heavy machine gun (commander's hatch)
Engine V12 Diesel
1200 bhp (895 kW)
Power/weight 27.1 bhp/ton (22.3 kW/tonne)
Suspension Hydropneumatic
450 km (280 mi) on road
350 km (217 mi) cross country
Speed 68 km/h (42.3 mph) forward on road
30 km/h (18.6 mph) in reverse on road
The Mamba, officially the "Mamba" Armored Battle Crawler (Tipsprek: Panserestridkruper «Mamba») abbreviated as Psk. Mamba, was a Tiperyn first-generation main battle tank first introduced in 1957 during the Great Kesh War and fielded as the Tiperyn Realm Defence's primary main battle tank until 1997. The Mamba was Tiperyn's second main battle tank design, developed shortly after the King Cobra main battle tank had seen first seen combat on the western front of the Kesh War. The Mamba was first fielded en masse during the redeployment of Tiperyn forces to the eastern front of the Kesh War where they'd faced Kodeshi-manned Modrovian tanks with armor and firepower superior to what they had faced fighting the Mihranis.

Experience against the Modrovia-produced and Kodeshi-fielded main battle tanks proved that Tiperyn armored forces were ineffective at the beginning of the war to deal with modern threats. The King Cobra was introduced as a stopgap solution in 1954 to counter these threats and replace the Cobra medium tank which was unable to penetrate Kodeshia's and Goetia's most heavily protected tanks from the front. However, while the King Cobra was able to penetrate newer main battle tanks with its 89mm gun, it proved to be flawed, unreliable, and outgunned with a limited range of action. Concurrent with King Cobra development, the Secretariat of War and Crisis had issued directives to the nation's major tank factories to put forward designs specifically to counter first-generation main battle tanks. The Ambrosia Tankworks — later a division of Oermakt Motorverken — proposed an entirely new design that would eventually lead to the Mamba. This tank would replace all previous medium and main battle tank stopgaps, and eventually phase out the rest of Tiperyn's armored car force which were not deployed to Kesh.

Prototype variants of the Mamba was first field tested by the Tiperyn Realm Guard in late 1956 in eastern Asharistan to counter a small contingent of Kodeshi tank forces. Selengeria received their first shipments of Mambas shortly after in early 1957 to aid in armored operations on its front with Kodeshia. When the western front was won for the Crown Coalition, Tiperyn redeployed to Selengeria. At that time, about 30% of its tank forces sent there were Mamba-equipped units while the remainder were a mix of King Cobras and Rattlesnake light tanks. Following the end of the Kesh War, Tiperyn and Kaya continued to field the Mamba as their primary main battle tanks in Nasiria until their replacement or modernization in the 1970s.

Design[edit | edit source]

A Selengerian Mamba B main battle tank in the early 2000s.
The design of the original Mamba A was the result of a specific doctrinal expectation of how Tiperyn would wage future armored warfare. Unlike the King Cobra — which had more attention paid to the asymmetric environment of South Nasiria and, as a result, protection on all aspects — the Mamba was envisioned for a more conventional maneuver war against a peer opponent. In such a conflict, Tiperyn did not consider it viable for its forces to remain stagnant. Aside from sharing no land borders with another nation, Tiperyn's Zuidema doctrine prized high tempo, deep maneuver warfare as a means to decisively defeat the enemy. This meant that mobility was the highest priority, with firepower also needing to be top notch to defeat modern main battle tanks already in production in Modrovia and anticipated to enter service in other rival states. Armor protection was less of a concern, because during the high speed maneuver war, it was projected that the risk of being targetted by anti-armor weapons or shrapnelling artillery would be mitigated by staying mobile. However, it was acknowledged that in some tactical situations, Tiperyn tanks would have to halt their advance to engage dug-in enemies or prepare ambushes for enemies on the move. In this state, it was believed that the Mamba would still need enough protection from certain aspects to survive impacts from other tanks. But again, the area that would need protecting could be decreased through the intelligent use of mobility and terrain.

Thus, the Mamba was intended to be a very mobile tank with a powerful armament and high protection in some aspects that would necessarily be exposed when fighting from a hull-down position. However, in most areas — including the hull from all aspects — the Mamba's protection was far lighter than in other comparable contemporary designs. Later requirements which dictated that as few armored fighting vehicle platforms should be used as possible to facilitate more efficient shipping and maintenance practices led to the Mamba replacing all medium, light, and main battle tanks in active duty service by the late 1960s (although the King Cobra remained in reserve service until 1986).

Armament[edit | edit source]

The main armament of the Mamba was the Stk. 56(4t) 4-inch (102mm) L/54 smoothbore tank gun introduced in 1956 and specifically designed for the Mamba platform. Other than the 89mm gun-howitzer first implemented on the Cobra medium tank in the 1940s, the Mamba was the first Tiperyn tank where HEAT-FS was intended to be the primary tank round — although APFSDS rounds would supplant it later in life with the proliferation of composite and reactive armors.

At the time of its adoption in 1957, the main tank round of the Mamba was the high-explosive anti-tank fin-stabilized Granaat 56(4t). From the Stk. 56(4t), this round could reportedly penetrate up to 400mm of RHA equivalent at all ranges with a greater than 50% success rate. An APDS-T round, the Kogel 56(4t), was introduced at the same time, capable of penetrating up to 260mm of RHA equivalent out to 2,000 metres. The last tank round developed for the 102mm gun (before its replacement by the 127mm) was the Kogel 76(4t) in 1976, an APFSDS-T round that could penetrate up to 420mm of RHA equivalent out to 3,000 metres.

The main gun is loaded via a autoloader directly behind the gun feeding from two 8-round casette magazines (16 ready rounds in total) on either side of the turret bustle. This autoloader allows for very fast follow-on shots and reduces the crew-count to 3 as there wasn't a need for a dedicated loader under normal combat conditions. However, a flaw of this autoloading system is that once the ready magazines were depleted, reserve rounds (of which there were 20 in the hull near the commander's station and 2 stored in the sides of the turret adjacent to the commander's and gunner's stations) could not be manually loaded into the gun itself. Thus, the commander would have to manually load the magazine closest to them, which when inside the tank took a significant amount of time. It was preferable to reload the magazine when outside of combat with the help of the gunner. This was judged as a non-issue at the time by the Tiperyn military establishment as they did not believe it likely that more than 16 rounds would be expended during any one engagement. However, this issue would be rectified on later Tiperyn tanks — including the Black Mamba modernization and Python main battle tank of the early 1980s — by increasing the size of the ready mag.

Protection[edit | edit source]

The armor layout of the Mamba A.
Mobility being the chief concern during Mamba development, its armor profile was kept relatively light compared to other main battle tanks of the era. The expectation of high tempo maneuver warfare in the future — perhaps aspirational in its outlook and not based on Great Kesh War experiences — meant that armor could be sacrificed, particularly in areas not likely to be hit, to afford the Mamba better speed, cross country performance, and an overall ability to achieve better positioning — thusly further reducing the likelihood of being hit. Maintaining momentum, surprise, and intelligently using terrain, reconnaissance, and mounted riflist infantry support would mitigate the risk of being targetted by heavy infantry weapons, such as anti-tank guns, or infantry with light anti-tank weapons. However, combat experience gained against Kodeshi main battle tanks in Eastern Asharistan and reports from Selengerian forces during the war reinvigorated some in the Heavy Ruitery Branch of the Realm Guard to consider better protection in exposed areas. It was determined that the turret face was the most likely to be targetted during tank combat, where Tiperyn theorists believed Mamba tank crews would be able to use their superior mobility to enter hull-down positions where only the turret would be exposed. Thus, the Mamba featured among the strongest turret face armor profiles at the time, despite its hull being very lightly armored. At its thickest point on the turret mantlet, the mantlet itself and cast turret armor totaled up to 422mm with an air gap. This made for an effective thickness of 528mm at its thickest point accounting for the angled mantlet and turret armor. However, outside the mantlet, the turret face had an effective thickness of about 338mm. Later production models starting with the Mamba C would replace the cast steel turret armor with a hollow cavity where different combinations of armor plating could be swapped in and out. This would increase protection significantly towards the end of the Mamba's life, before its Black Mamba modernization. Various applications of composite armor sandwiching were fielded with the Mamba, including glass-fibre reinforced armor, steel embedded with tungsten balls, depleted uranium, and other materials being implemented after the Great Kesh War.

Depending on the angle of a shot, the Mamba could be effective or ineffective at defeating the armor piercing shells of its contemporaries. The uppermost part of the Mamba's upper glacis was constructed out of a 50mm rolled homogenous steel plate. However, it was set at an angle of 81°, making for an effective thickness of 319mm. While still susceptible to later HEAT rounds, the Mamba was capable of defeating most armor piercing rounds at the time it was adopted. Further, because of the upper glacis' extreme angle, later armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot rounds would still struggle penetrating it as the angle would often make them shatter. The nose and lower glacis of the Mamba, however, was less impressive. The nose was a 70mm thick steel plate set at a 45° angle, making for an effective thickness of 98mm. The lower glacis meanwhile was 50mm thick set at a 44° angle, making for an effective thickness of 70mm. This meant that even outdated tank and anti-tank guns, including 2.25-inch (57mm) guns, could penetrate the lower glacis of the Mamba.

Following experiences at the tail end of the Great Kesh War, when Mambas were targetted from the side on offensives by modern anti-tank guns and infantry AT weapons, relatively ad hoc armor upgrades were adopted. The Mamba B variant featured additional accomodation for applique armor. This included cage armor on the sides and turret to aid in defeating HEAT warheads from light anti-tank weapons and attachment points for steel side skirts and applique steel plates on the lower glacis. The later Mamba C introduced modular armor upgrades within the turret face, as well as accomodation for new side skirts, slat armor, and explosive reactive armor (ERA).

Operational history[edit | edit source]

Tiperyn[edit | edit source]

Pre-production variants of the Mamba first saw combat in 1956 against Kodeshi forces in what is now Eastern Asharistan. There, elements of the № 70 Light Ruitery Regiment equipped with Mambas engaged rebels with Kodeshi-supplied main battle tanks and destroyed several. Although gains during the battle were limited due to lackluster infantry support from accompanying Ashari infantry, the battle was a key validating experience in favor of the Mamba concept's efficacy. The first deployment of operational mass produced Mambas was in Selengeria after Tiperyn's redeployment there in 1957. The Tiperyn Fleet Marines fielded five battalions of Mamba-equipped tank units there in the fight against Kodeshia where they performed well.

Following the Great Kesh War, the Mamba saw more limited combat service. It served during policing operations in Southern Nasiria, acting mainly as a well-protected "show of force" instrument of Tiperyn forces during the early, low-intensity stages of the Nasiri Civil War. Ten Mambas, or two platoons worth, were employed during the 1974 Perses Crisis where they were amphibious landed on a Modrovian-controlled island in the Perses Island Chain and engaged in combat with Modrovian infantry. Two Mambas were lost to aerial bombardment and the remainder were ultimately evacuated during the Tiperyn withdrawal. Fleet Marine Mambas were later employed as part of the North-South Concordant intervention during the Osorra-Tilenno War where they saw combat against Osorran infantry and tank forces.

Variants[edit | edit source]

Main battle tanks[edit | edit source]

  • Psk. Mamba A - Produced 1957-1959. Initial production variant.
  • Psk. Mamba B - Produced 1959-1963. Included upgraded add-on armor and an enlarged engine and engine compartment to deal with the additional 3 tonnes of weight. Included steel side skirt armor that covered the entirety of the sides of the chassis and the sides and rear of the turret, wire mesh cage armor add-ons, upgraded optics, and upgraded communications equipment.
  • Psk. Mamba C - Produced 1963-1972. Included upgraded turret armor, upgraded fire control system, gun stabilization system, upgraded autoloader, laser ranger finder, and internalized infrared systems. Provisions for the mounting of composite plates and rubber side skirts replaced the steel side skirting of the Mamba B, and provisions were made for the mounting of new explosive reactive armor.

Other variants[edit | edit source]

  • Ptk. Mamba A - Produced 1963-1972. Military engineering vehicle with a bulldozer blade to clear obstacles and equipment for vehicle recovery. The Mamba's turret removed and replaced with a flat superstructure.

Operators[edit | edit source]

Current[edit | edit source]

Former[edit | edit source]

  •  Selengeria - Imported in 1957 from Tiperyn as the first foreign nation to field the Mamba. All Mambas have been upgraded to the Black Mamba standard.
  •  Kaya - Imported in 1959 from Tiperyn. Fielded as a medium tank just after the end of the Great Kesh War in 1959 until replacement by an indigenous Kayan main battle tank in 1974.
  •  Tiperyn - Fielded as its primary main battle tank from 1957 until the introduced of the Psk. Black Mamba and Psk. Python in 1982. Conversions of Mambas into Black Mambas completed in 1997.
  •  Veikan Kingdom - Imported starting in 1960 from Tiperyn. After the fall of the Veikan Kingdom during the Veikan Civil War, the majority of their Mambas fell into the hands of the Council Republic of Veikaia.
  •  SiWallqanqa - 500+ imported in the 1960s, primarily in the B and C types. All converted to Black Mambas
  •  Sinaya - 387 imported in the 1960s, primarily in the B and C types. All converted to Black Mambas
  •  Arum Republic - 200 imported in the 1960s, primarily in the B and C types. All converted to Black Mambas

See also[edit | edit source]

Tanks of comparable role, performance and era[edit | edit source]