Book Alert: The Tank Factory

tank factoryThe History Press has announced a rather intriguing title to be released on March 2, 2015.  “The Tank Factory” by William Suttie promises to reveal the history of the post war British Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment at Chertsey.  While WW2 tank development has been covered in works by David Fletcher and Peter Beale, there have been few “behind the scenes” looks at post-war British tank development.  Hopefully, newcomer William Suttie can deliver the goods with “The Tank Factory.”

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British Light Tanks for Sale as Surplus

MoDCVRTSamaritan_3179472kThe Telegraph has a rather amusing article about how much various bits of military hardware that the British military are looking to sell are worth.  Need a Scimitar light tank?  39,995 pounds sterling please.  For 55,000 pounds you can get a Samaritan battlefield ambulance.  Only 50 were produced so it’s sure to be a collectors item!  This sale of military equipment is reported to be part of the British Ministry of Defense plans to cut costs and get rid of unnecessary equipment and assets.

M1A1 Abrams Spotted With Iraqi Militia

IHS Jane’s 360 is reporting that a M1A1 Abrams was spotted in a video as part of a convoy of vehicles operated by pro-Iranian Iraqi militia Kataib Hizbullah.  According to the article, “the videos were released on 25 January on YouTube channels that are supportive of Kataib Hizbullah, a Shia militant group that emerged as a major threat to US and British forces during the 2003-11 period and has been fighting alongside the Iraqi Army against the Islamic State militant group in recent months.

From the Editor: Debunking Deathtraps Part 1

(Editors note: this originally appeared in my old blog – – on 2/26/2015.)traps

When it comes to the history of armored warfare in the Second World War, the US M4 Sherman tank is always sure to draw controversy and a good bit of discussion.  Invariably, when this topic is raised in an online forum, someone will bring up the book “Death Traps” by Belton Cooper.  With a forward by popular historian Stephen Ambrose and the backing of a major publisher, Death Traps has become quite well known amongst WW2 history aficionados.  Mr. Cooper has been featured in TV documentary specials as well, including the history channel series “Engineering Disasters“, which has further increased awareness of his book.

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From the Editor: The Forgotten Legacy of Harry Knox

US2093456-0I find it interesting that the names of individual tank designers, or at least the heads of design teams, got much more recognition in the Soviet Union than in the Western world.  Ask the average tank enthusiast to name a western tank designer and you probably won’t get many responses beyond “Walter Christie” or “Ferdinand Porsche.”  However, start reading about Soviet designs and you will run into all sorts of names like Koshkin, Kotin, Morozov or Kartsev.   Of course, part of this has to do with the Western tendency to attribute vehicle design to a corporation while the Soviet system relied on design teams named after the lead designer.   [Read more…]

Book Alert: Stalin’s Favorite Vol. 1

stalins favoriteAmazon is showing a date of March 19, 2015 for the release of  “Stalin’s Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army from Kursk to Berlin: Volume 1: January 1943-June 1944” by Igor Nebolsin published by Helion.  This book claims to be the first detailed combat history  of any Soviet unit available in English.  Stalin’s Favorite details the history of the 2nd Guards Tank Army, one of the most famous and prestigious units in the Red Army.

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US Army Officials call for two new light vehicles

Defense News is reporting that the US Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning GA is seeking approval for a plan to purchase and field 300 light vehicles for 18th Airborne Corps global response force.  The article states that a vendor could be selected and vehicles fielded as early as 2016.  The suggested requirements include a “ultralight combat vehicle (ULCV)” which would be required to carry an infantry squad, weigh 4,500 lbs and be able to be transported by sling load on a UH-60 Blackhawk and also be air-droppable by a C-130 Hercules.  The other suggested vehicle is a “light reconnaissance vehicle (LRV)” which would carry six scouts with gear, provide protection from artillery shrapnel and carry a medium caliber weapon.  This vehicle would be transportable by a CH-47 Chinook.

Brazil police raid warehouse, find two tanks!

brazil tank M41CThe Guardian is reporting that police in Sao Paulo Brazil recovered two tanks while conducting a raid for stolen goods.  The vehicles were found stored in a warehouse in Sacoma, a low-income district in Sao Paulo, along with 500 TV sets, car body parts and a recently stolen semitrailer truck.  Army officers stated that the two tanks did not belong to the army and that the vehicle’s origins would be investigated.  The Guardian article notes that officials did not say what sort of tanks they were or how old they might be, although they do note that the vehicles lacked engines.  The image included with the article clearly shows an M41 Walker Bulldog light tank.  This vehicle, produced by the US in the early 1950s, 300 of which were supplied to Brazil.  Brazil no longer uses the vehicle, and a certain number of them were sold to Uruguay.   The vehicle in the picture may be a M41C, a variant created by the Brazilian military with an upgraded main gun, diesel engine, additional armor and smoke grenade dischargers.

Otto Carius Passed Away


Otto Carius, German WWII Tiger tank commander and author of the popular book “Tigers in the Mud” passed away on Jan. 24, 2015 at age 92.  One of the most highly decorated German tank commanders of the Second World War, Carius had been awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and was officially credited with destroying more than 150 enemy tanks.  Despite suffering multiple wounds during the war, Carius survived and started his own pharmacy shop in post-war West Germany.  He wrote an autobiography about his war experience titled “Tigers in the Mud” which has become of the most popular first hand accounts written by a German tank crewman.  In August of 2014, Carius had given a lengthy interview of his war time experiences, a translation of which can be read here.

Book Alert: Osprey Publishing Announces New Book “Tanks” by Richard Ogorkiewicz

tanks ogorkiewiczOsprey Publishing has announced a publication date of February 20, 2015 for a new book by author Richard Ogorkiewicz titled “Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution.”  Ogorkiewicz is a name very familiar to knowledgeable tank and AFV aficionados,  both for his work as a reporter for International Defense Journal and for his groundbreaking books “Armoured Forces” and “Technology of Tanks.”  The book is available for pre-order at the Osprey website. [Read more…]