Who will win this time: the AT-ST walker, or the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank?
In today’s episode of Crossover Battles, let’s do something a bit more…unconventional. Today, we’ll be pitting a fictional vehicle against a real one.
But before the actual battle can begin, we need to look at the contestants’ stats:
Contestant 1: AT-ST
In this corner, we have the All Terrain-Scout Transport, or more commonly: the AT-ST!
The AT-ST is a walker used by the Galactic Empire, and later by the First Order in an upgraded version. It was used as a light tank and recon vehicle by both factions. Its most famous, or rather infamous, role was during the Battle of Endor, where several of these walkers were defeated by a ragtag bunch of rebels and their primitive native allies. One AT-ST tripped on a log trap, and another was hijacked and used to kill other AT-STs. Another AT-ST even had its cockpit crushed by a mere pair of swinging logs.
That was truly an abysmal embarrassment for this otherwise great walker.
The AT-ST measures 4.5 m/14.8 ft wide, and stands at 9.04 m/29.6 ft tall. It has a crew of 2: a driver, and a gunner. It can also accommodate 1 passenger, if said passenger doesn’t mind doing their best impression of a canned sardine for the entire time. Surprisingly, the AT-ST is also capable of a top speed of 90 kph/56 mph on flat terrain, like roads. That means the AT-ST can outrun a Humvee carrying its max gross weight, though only just barely.
As for armament, the AT-ST in its standard loadout carries 4 weapons. It has a pair of Taim & Bak MS-4 blaster cannons mounted in its chin, a pair of Yaove Gunsmiths 88i light blaster cannons with an attached missile launcher mounted on the left cheek, and a Dymek DW-3 concussion grenade launcher with 3 rounds per magazine mounted on the right cheek.
It terms of weaponry, the AT-ST is basically the equivalent of a light tank armed with an autocannon, a coaxial machine gun, an automatic grenade launcher, and a antitank guided missile launcher.
Contestant 2: M1A2 Abrams
In the other corner, we have the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank!
The M1A2 is the latest production version of the M1 Abrams main battle tank. It’s used mostly by the USA, but many have been sold to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Australia. Production started in 1979, and since then about 10,288 have been built so far. The tank is named after Creighton Abrams: a US Army General who served mostly in Vietnam.
The M1 Abrams’ most famous role was during the Persian Gulf War, where it saw live combat for the first time. During that war, it crushed hordes of Iraqi T-55s, T-62s, and T-72s with ease, often killing them in ranges in excess of 2,500 meters. In fact, only 9 M1 Abrams would be destroyed throughout the entire conflict. 7 of them died to friendly fire. Friendly Abrams purposefully shot the remaining 2 to prevent their capture.
The M1A2 Abrams has a crew of 4: a driver, a gunner, a loader, and a commander who pulls double duty as a machine gunner. It measures 9.77 m/32 ft long with the gun forward, 3.66 m/12 ft wide, and 2.44 m/8 ft tall. It has a top speed of 67 kph/42 mph on roads, but can go a bit faster with its governor removed. Off-road, it can do 40 kph/25 mph. The M1A2, in its latest configuration, weighs a grand total of 73.6 tons/66.8 metric tons. Coincidentally, it’s now about the same weight as Halo‘s M808 Scorpion tank.
M1A2 Abrams Weapons
The tank’s main weapon is the 120mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun. The gun can fire the M829 APFSDS depleted uranium round, the M830 HEAT round, the M1028 canister round, and the M908 obstacle destruction round. Other weapons include a 7.62mm M240 coaxial machine gun, another M240 mounted in front of the loader’s hatch on a skate mount, and a 12.7mm M2 Browning heavy machine gun mounted in front of the commander’s hatch. In addition, another M2 Browning HMG could be mounted coaxially on top of the barrel. Current versions of the TUSK upgrade also add transparent gun shields to the commander’s MG.
As always, in the immortal words of Michael Buffer:
As always, both crews must be of equal skill, or else we have an unfair fight.
But before the battle can begin, we must determine the battlefield. After all, location can mean victory or defeat for either contestant.
The 2 locations for this battle with be: A) a flat, open area like a desert and B) an urban environment like a ruined city. Let’s say for the latter: Mos Eisley.
Scenario 1: Desert
On a flat, open desert, there’s very little to hide either contestant. The dunes only rise so far before falling, and visibility can be in kilometers/miles in all directions.
Thus, the vehicle with the highest profile is at an immediate disadvantage. The AT-ST’s height makes it readily visible over long distances. This means that it’s much more likely that the M1A2 Abrams will spot the AT-ST first, and that’s pretty much game, set, match for the tank.
The M1A2’s accuracy combined with its ability to accurate hit targets even when moving at full speed means that it will be able to land shot after shot on the AT-ST every 3 seconds. It’d basically be impossible to miss the AT-ST’s head, and even its vulnerable gyros in its hips could be hit. And since a simple pair of logs were able to crumple the AT-ST’s armor, a 120mm depleted uranium “Silver Bullet” round would almost certainly penetrate the AT-ST’s armor up to its maximum range.
Even on the rare occasions that the AT-ST spots the M1A2 Abrams first, there’s not a whole lot it can do to the tank. The twin chin-mounted blaster cannons would likely not be able to penetrate the tank’s armor on the first shot, and it’s dubious if the AT-ST can even hit the tank when it’s moving at full speed. After all, we’ve seen the AT-ST miss fleeing Ewoks before.
The AT-ST’s best option would be to fire its ATGM at the Abrams, and there’s a chance the tank’s active protection systems would be able to intercept the missile before it hits. Even if the missile hits though, it’s almost certain that the Abrams would return fire before the missile can reach the tank, thus giving the Abrams a “It’s Just a Flesh Wound” award as it kills the AT-ST in its last moments.
Thus, I give this round to the M1A2 Abrams pretty much 95-99% of the time, because ‘Murica.
Scenario 2: Mos Eisley
In contrast to the desert, Mos Eisley has all the cover. The random buildings, walls, and other city features blocks line of sight everywhere. Only the roads provides any clear view.
In here, the AT-ST’s disadvantage in the desert is now working in its favor. Its height now allows it to peer over walls and even low buildings. The M1A2 Abram’s low height, once an advantage, now prevents it from seeing over even the walls. Only the commander on their high perch could see with any kind of clarity, and it’d still be an inferior view to what the AT-ST’s crew could see.
Thus, the AT-ST would almost certainly see the M1A2 Abrams first and get off a shot. An ATGM could knock out the Abrams in one shot, and sustained blaster cannon fire will eventually melt through the tank’s armor. And even if the AT-ST misses, it could use the buildings to block line of sight and hide from the tank commander’s gaze.
The one disadvantage is that most of the buildings would be concealment for the AT-ST, not cover. Unlike blaster bolts, a 120mm APFSDS round would be able to punch through even relatively large buildings as if they weren’t there, and hit the AT-ST on the other side without even being slowed down. Unless the AT-ST finds something substantial to hide behind, it’s possible that the Abrams could get a shot off before being killed by either the ATGM or blaster fire.
Thus, I’d give the AT-ST a 60-70% chance of winning. Not as much chance as the Abrams had against the AT-ST in the desert, but still better than the practically no chance the latter had in the desert.
As much as I want to play this:
It’d only apply to the desert match. In Mos Eisley, “America F**k Yeah” gets cut off in the middle by “Imperial March”:
More often than not.