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Photo Information

A Tank with the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, fires an anti-tank round at a target, Dec. 5, at Range SR-10 here. Four tanks with the tank platoon spent three days at the range completing their table 12 qualifications. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kristian Karsten) (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kristian Karsten

2nd Tanks blast through range qualifications

15 Dec 2008 | Cpl. Thomas J. Hermesman

Of all the ground military tactical vehicles U.S. armed services use, tanks are arguably the most iconic. The size and power of the M1A1 Abrams can leave an enemy force feeling overwhelmingly intimidated and can put spectators in awe.

2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, completed Table 12 qualification training exercise here Dec. 2 to 5 using these elite vehicles. Throughout the evolution, these iron-clad warriors sharpened their firing skills in preparation for an upcoming deployment. Elements of the battalion plan to partner with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

After spending time in a simulator, tank units prove their capabilities by firing live rounds on targets at different ranges.

“We did very well, this is our first exercise as a platoon,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Luke, tank platoon commander for BLT 3/2. “In the movement drills, both offensively and defensively, we were able to perform very well and be very efficient.”

An average M1A1 Abrams Tank is equipped with a .50 caliber mounted machine gun, two M-240 medium machine guns and the main gun, which is an M256A1 120 mm gun.  It fires a variety of rounds such as heat, anti-personnel and armor piercing rounds.

The Marines manning the tank practiced with each of these weapon systems during moving and stationary drills.

“We did several timed practice runs using our weapons firing at targets from a position in a defense and attacking style,” said Luke.

While deployed the unit will be working in several different scenarios including combined arms exercises, all of which the unit has practiced and prepared for.