Unit History: Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is a military vehicle, protected by armour and armed with weapons. Most AFVs are equipped for driving in rugged terrain.
Armoured fighting vehicles are classified according to their intended role on the battlefield and characteristics. This classification is not absolute; at different times different countries will classify the same vehicle in different roles. For example, armoured personnel carriers were generally replaced by infantry fighting vehicles in a very similar role, but the latter has some capabilities lacking in the former.
Successful general-purpose armoured fighting vehicles often also serve as the base of a whole family of specialised vehicles, for example, the M113 and MT-LB tracked carriers, and the Mowag Piranha wheeled AFV.
The tank is an all terrain, armoured fighting vehicle, designed primarily to engage enemy forces by the use of direct fire in the frontal assault role. Though several configurations have been tried, particularly in the early experimental days of tank development, a standard, mature design configuration has since emerged to a generally accepted pattern. This features a main artillery gun, mounted in a fully rotating turret atop a tracked automotive hull, with various additional machine guns throughout.
Philosophically, the tank is, by its very nature, a purely offensive weapon. Being a protective encasement with at least one gun position, it is essentially a pill box or small fortress, (though these are static fortifications of a purely defensive nature) that can move toward the enemy - hence its offensive utility.
Historically, tanks are divided into 3 categories: Light Tanks (small, thinly armored, weakly gunned, but highly mobile tanks intended for the armored reconnaissance role) Medium Tanks (mid-sized, adequately armored, respectably gunned, fairly mobile tanks intended to provide an optimum balance of characteristics for manoeuver combat, primarily against other tanks) Heavy Tanks (large, thickly armored, powerfully gunned, but barely mobile tanks intended for the breakthrough role against fortified lines, particularly in support of infantry formations) Other designations (such as Cavalry Tank, Cruiser Tank, Infantry Tank) have been used by various countries to denote similar roles.
A modern main battle tank incorporates advances in automotive, artillery, and armor technology to combine the best characteristics of all three historic taypes into a single, all around type. It is distinguished by its high level of firepower, mobility and armour protection relative to other vehicles of its era. It can cross comparatively rough terrain at high speeds, but is fuel, maintenance, and ammunition-hungry which makes it logistically demanding. It has the heaviest armour of any vehicle on the battlefield, and carries a powerful weapon that may be able to engage a wide variety of ground targets. It is among the most versatile and fearsome weapons on the battlefield, valued for its shock action against other troops and high survivability.
Armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carriers (APCs) are light armoured fighting vehicles for the transport of infantry. They usually have only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), or mortars. They are not really designed to take part in a direct-fire battle, but to carry the troops to the battlefield safe from shrapnel and ambush. They may have wheels, tracks, or both as in the half-track. Examples include the American M113 (tracked), the British FV 432 (tracked), the German Boxer MRAV (wheeled), the French VAB (wheeled), the Soviet BTR (wheeled), and the American M3 (half-tracked).
The first attempt to carry troops in an armoured tracked vehicle was made by the British in the First World War, a lengthened Mark V* tank that could house a squad of infantry while still armed as a tank. Post-war, the idea was largely dropped in favour of