Before and after! Leopard 2SG with Leopard 2A4

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Well, it’s not just a question of how thick or effective your external armour is. Internal crew protection measures are just as important. For instance, the ammunition in the Abrams is stored in armoured compartments with blow off panels. In addition, each individual round is stored in an armoured container. An armoured door operated by a knee switch separates the crew from the ready rack, and is opened only when the loader wishes to load a new round.

This does three things. If a round explodes, containerisation ensures that the rest of the ammunition doesn’t ignite as well. If the ammunition does cook off (this can happen for any reason: hull penetration, spall, etc.), the armoured bulkhead protects the crew from the ensuing explosion. At the same time, the blow-off panels fail โ€“ much like a safety valve โ€“ and direct the energy from the explosion *outside* the tank, away from the crew compartment.

In contrast, with the Leopard-II, only the ammunition in the turret bustle is separated from the crew in this manner. The ammunition stowage [in the hull](http://imgur.com/0o8Fbmm) has no such protection.

Russian tanks (T-72/T-80/T-90) have it worse. There are 22 rounds in the autoloader carousel, which might offer *some* protection by virtue of its placement. The rest of the ammo is clamped on to the turret and hull walls wherever there is space. The exposed ammunition is why you had Iraqi T-72s go up like a firework after taking just one hit.

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