Entire PS Magazine archive available online

PS magazine 163 coverWhen people think about great comic book art of the last 60 years, they generally think about publishers like DC Comics, Marvel, or Image. Certainly, they don’t usually think of the US Army or of maintenance journals. That is, unless they are familiar with PS Magazine, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly published by the US Army since 1951. With the US Army involved in the fighting in Korea in the early 50’s, they decided they needed a new tool for teaching soldiers proper maintenance procedures. During WWII the army had had good luck with the instructional publication Army Motors, which featured characters drawn by Corporal Will Eisner, an established comic-book writer-artist-editor. In 1951, the Army hired Eisner to create similar instructional material for its new publication, PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly. Eisner served as the publication’s artistic director from 1951 through the end of 1971. The magazine’s artists have included Eisner, Murphy Anderson, Joe Kubert, Dan Spiegle, Scott Madsen, Malane Newman, Alfredo Alcala, and Mike Ploog. As of 2010, Kubert is the art contractor for the magazine, having begun his PS work in 2001. Kubert is widely known amongst comic book readers for his work on DC war comics such as Sgt. Rock and G.I. Combat.

There is much of interest in these magazines for people interested in post-war US tanks and armored vehicles. In particular, people may enjoy the “Your M48A2” article in issue 91 or the M60 article in issue 163.

The complete archive of PS Magazine is availabe for download in PDF format at The PS Magazine Archive. Issues can also be downloaded at VCU Libraries Digital Collection (this site has downloads of all the index issues, very handy!) For the most recent issues, go to the LOGSA website.

“Brave Tiger” CM11 gets ERA protection.

Jane’s is reporting that recent photographs have confirmed that at the Republic of China Army has upgraded at least part of their fleet of CM11 “Brave Tiger” MBTs with explosive reactive armor.  Jane’s reporter Christopher Foss notes that the exact origin of the ERA on the Tiawanese tanks is not known, but it appears similar to ERA developed by France rather than the Blazer ERA used by the Israel Defense Forces.  The CM11 is one of the stranger variants of the M48/M60 family, consisting of an upgraded M48 turret on a M60 hull.

MRAP vehicles in the News

MRAPSeveral short articles have appeared recently regarding Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Earlier this month, the United States announced that it was donating 250 MRAP vehicles to the Iraqi government to help it fight against the Islamic State group.  This military aid package also includes six M1 Abrams tanks and 50 armored Humvees.  IHS Jane’s is reporting that the US is also donating more than 300 MRAP vehicles to Uzbekistan.  This is believed to be the largest single arms transfer from the US to a Central Asian Republic.  In other news, the Czech Ministry of Defense has announced that they are looking to purchase 62 MRAP vehicles.  Tactical Report is reporting that Kuwaiti Defense Ministry is going ahead with plans to supply the Mechanize Division of the Kuwaiti Land Forces with a new MRAP vehicle.   They also report that the UAE is helping Libya aquire MRAP vehicles for the Libyan army.  Meanwhile, the use of MRAP vehicles by domestic police departments in the US continues to generate controversy.

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.”

Publishers description: [Read more…]

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 – tankandavf.blogspot.com – 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.

[Read more…]