Soviet T-10: Q&A with Stephen “Cookie” Sewell

Stephen Sewell croppedTank and AFV News corresponded recently with Stephen “Cookie” Sewell, co-author of the new book Soviet T-10 Heavy Tank and Variants published by Osprey.  Mr. Sewell was born in New York and is a retired US Army chief warrant officer and Department of the Army intelligence analyst.  Trained in both the Vietnamese and Russian languages, Mr. Sewell has written numerous intelligence articles as well as many pieces on American and Russian armor.  He is an enthusiastic scale model builder and the founder of the Armor Model Preservation Society in 1992.  He is also a prolific reviewer of model kits and books.

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Can you give us a description of your career in the US Army and US government?

I entered the Army in September 1968 and was trained as a Vietnamese linguist. After a short tour in Vietnam and then at NSA was retrained as a Russian linguist in 1973. Spent a total of nine years on strategic intelligence assignments and nine years tactical ones. Retired in 1990 as a Chief Warrant officer. Due to expertise hired back three months later into same job I retired from and arrived two weeks before Desert Shield/Desert Storm started. Changed to the National Ground Intelligence Center predecessor in 1991 and then to that organization when created in 1994. Retired from there in 2011

How did you get the nickname Cookie?

I came back from Vietnam in 1971 and my brother wanted me to see a new kids’ show on PBS called “Sesame Street”. First Muppet I saw was the Cookie Monster, who in the space of two minutes ate an entire box of cookies, the box, and a telephone. My kind of guy! When I got to NSA I started drawing him doing stuff like eating MiG-21s and people in my office started referring to me as “Cookie Monster”. Stuffed my desk with chocolate [Read more…]

World War I: Archaeological dig at the Somme turns up ‘missing’ British tank that fled due to ‘cowardice’

The Daily Telegraph has posted a new article about an archaeological dig that has turned up a WWI era British tank.

Article excerpt:

8046a3e42ee4a541e24901049c0de9ffThe first major archaeological dig in 100 years at the site of one of Australia’s biggest military defeats has turned up a “missing” British tank that Aussies long thought had fled the Bullecourt battleground due to cowardice.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) backed team of British and Australian archaeologists and volunteers have just unearthed tank armour plates with original racing green paint work, bits of track, its six pounder shells and other metal objects belonging to “Tank 796”.

The French Government had issued an extraordinary permit for the first dig of an Anzac battlefield in the Somme since the end of the Great War, to solve the mystery of the fate of a dozen British tanks that were deployed to Bullecourt to support the 1917 assault of the German line by the Australian 4thDivision but “disappeared” leading to the slaughter of 10,000 Diggers.

Read the full article here.

Book Alert: Dubno 1941: The Greatest Tank Battle of the Second World War

According to Amazon, today marks the North American release of the new book Dubno 1941: The Greatest Tank Battle of the Second World War by Aleksei Isaev.  This is a 224 page hardcover published by Helion and Company.  Mr. Isaev has written numerous books on the Eastern Front during WWII, primarily in Russian.

Publisher’s Description:

In June 1941 – during the first week of the Nazi invasion in the Soviet Union – the quiet cornfields and towns of Western Ukraine were awakened by the clanking of steel and thunder of explosions; this was the greatest tank battle of the Second World War. About 3,000 tanks from the Red Army Kiev Special Military District clashed with about 800 German tanks of Heeresgruppe South. Why did the numerically superior Soviets fail? Hundreds of heavy KV-1 and KV-2 tanks, the five-turret giant T-35 and famous T-34 failed to stop the Germans. Based on recently available archival sources, A. Isaev describes the battle from a new point of view: that in fact it’s not the tanks, but armored units, which win or lose battles. The Germans during the Blitzkrieg era had superior T&OE for their tank forces. The German Panzer Division could defeat their opponents not by using tanks, but by using artillery, which included heavy artillery, motorized infantry and engineers. The Red Army’s armored unit – the Mechanized Corps – had a lot of teething troubles, as all of them lacked accompanying infantry and artillery. In 1941 the Soviet Armored Forces had to learn the difficult science – and mostly ‘art’ – of combined warfare. Isaev traces the role of these factors in a huge battle around the small Ukrainian town of Dubno. Popular myths about impregnable KV and T-34 tanks are laid to rest. In reality, the Germans in 1941 had the necessary tools to combat them. The author also defines the real achievements on the Soviet side: the Blitzkrieg in the Ukraine had been slowed down. For the Soviet Union, the military situation in June 1941 was much worse than it was for France and Britain during the Western Campaign in 1940. The Red Army wasn’t ready to fight as a whole and the border district’s armies lacked infantry units, as they were just arriving from the internal regions of the USSR. In this case, the Red Army tanks became the ‘Iron Shield’ of the Soviet Union; they even operated as fire brigades. In many cases, the German infantry – not tanks – became the main enemy of Soviet armored units in the Dubno battle. Poorly organized, but fierce, tank-based counterattacks slowed down the German infantry – and while the Soviet tanks lost the battle, they won the war.

Video: Military Museum under Construction

This video showed up last month on Youtube showing a small boy running around a military museum under construction.  According to the description, the boy is the son of the museum architect.  Little other information is given in the video description, although it would appear that this facility will house quite a few tanks and armored vehicles.  The location of this museum is not provided.  Obviously, it’s somewhere in the Middle East (perhaps Egypt?)  If anyone knows the answer, please say so in the comments.  Also, beware the bad pop-music soundtrack to the video.

AFV News from Around the Web

Another installment of AFV news from around the web. Click in the headline to go to the full article.

 

IHS Jane’s – Israel unveils Namer turret upgrade

1706884_-_mainThe Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) has unveiled a prototype of an upgraded version of its Namer heavy armoured personnel carrier (APC) fitted with a turret that is armed with a 30 mm gun.  In a statement released on 31 July, the MoD said the prototype was developed by its Merkava Tank Administration together with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Forces and will begin a series of trials in the coming days.

 

IHS Jane’s – First Polish Army unit receives full complement of Krab SPHs

1706908_-_mainDeliveries of Krab 155 mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) to the Masurian Artillery Regiment (11 MPA) will be completed this month, marked by a ceremony on 31 August in the presence of officials from the ministry of defence, the unit said on its website. Fourteen Krabs were delivered to the regiment by tank transporters on 31 July.

 

Defense News – Turkey goes ahead with armored amphibious vehicle program

3GHEUMX3TVHMZALWDMH7RSCNKQANKARA — Turkey’s procurement authorities have decided to go ahead with a draft program for the local production of scores of armored amphibious assault vehicles. Turkey’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and FNSS, the company that has been tasked to design, develop and manufacture the vehicles, held a “successful” review meeting over the program mid July.

 

Defense News – Ukraine in talks to sell Pakistan 100 tanks

NCIR4RK3LZH5XIE3BG4MVWMVGIWARSAW, Poland — Ukraine is negotiating the sale of 100 T-84 Oplot main battle tanks to Pakistan, and plans to use the funds to modernize the production capacities of its state-owned defense industry and invest in research and development, according to daily Gazeta Wyborcza.  The potential deal, which is to be handed to Ukraine defense group Ukroboronprom, would mark another export contract for the supply of the tanks following a deal signed in 2011 with Thailand. Bangkok is to obtain a total of 49 Oplots.

 

War is Boring – What’s the Democratic Republic of Congo Doing With These Ukrainian Tanks?

T-64BV1-ukrajinski-glavni-bojni-tank--900x350Three years ago, Ukraine announced it would sell 50 of its T-64BV-1 tanks to an unspecified foreign customer, rumored to be the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This became official in 2016 with the delivery of 25 of the tanks to the country, according to information just released by Ukraine to the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms.

 

The National Interest – France Just Showed off a New Tank Sporting a Massive Main Gun

bastille_day_2014_paris_-_motorised_troops_063_1.jpgIn the summer of 2016, a French magazine published some curious photos of a Leclerc main battle tank of the French Army, painted in the jagged new Scorpion camouflage scheme—and sporting a massive 140-millimeter, fifty-five-caliber gun. You can check out pictures here and here and here.  The huge smoothbore gun came from the experimental T4 gun turret built in 1996 by GIAT and the Bourges arsenal.

DoD Buzz – Chief Wants Tanks with Active Protection, New Armor, Driverless Option

161016-A-AP268-131The U.S. Army‘s chief of staff said he wants future versions of its main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, and other ground combat vehicles to feature active protection systems, as-yet-undeveloped lighter armor and a driverless option.  Gen. Mark Milley outline such technologies when speaking Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He was responding to a question about whether he was concerned that Russia plans to field a new tank, the T-14 Armata, in 2020.

 

Herald Sun – Tanks in blast from the future as Defence Force contract up for grabs

20061811276047d826551341de2812afA FINAL series of blast tests have been completed on the two short-listed contenders vying for a multi-billion-dollar Australian Defence Force contract to build its new Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.  The bid — hotly contested between Victoria and Queensland — would be based at the old Holden factory should defence giant BAE Systems be awarded the $5 billion contract to build 225 combat vehicles.

Video: Chi-Ri & Chi-To Tanks Scrapped at Aberdeen

This rather intriguing video showed up on Youtube yesterday and appears to answer the question of what ever happened to the Japanese Type 5 Chi-Ri Heavy tank prototype. Sources generally state that the vehicle was either scrapped at Aberdeen Proving Grounds or lost at sea during shipment. If this video is what it says, we may have proof that it did indeed make it to Aberdeen where it was scrapped. The video is said to be from October 4, 1952 and shows a number of vehicles, including several Japanese tanks. Both a Type 4 Chi-To and the Type 5 Chi-Ri are visible. That these vehicles were scrapped rather than preserved is a rather depressing thought.

 
Here is a screen capture of the Chi-Ri.

Chi Ri aberdeen

Photo of the Day: A Bit of Dirt in the Barrel

From the recent Tank Biathlon in Russia comes this picture of a T-72 landing a bit too aggressively after negotiating an obstacle and burying the gun into the dirt.  Ouch.

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