Schwarzenegger releases another tank themed video for charity

Last year celebrity Arnold Schwarzenegger released a video of himself crushing various objects with his own M47 tank.  This week he has released another tank themed video, this one showing him crushing things with a Centurion tank.  The video is part of the Omaze charity program.  The video does not identify the owner of the Centurion tank used in the filming.

“Panzerwrecks” author William Auerbach passes away

The website for the popular “Panzerwrecks” photo books is displaying a message that series publisher William Auerbach passed away suddenly on April 16.  Mr. Auerbach was known for authoring many books and articles presenting photographs of  WW2 German armor.  He was a frequent contributor to the AFV News bulletin during it’s publication run, his first article there appearing in the March 1978 issues.  Over the years he worked with several other writers on books about German armor, including Thomas Jentz, Lukas Friedli, and his partner on the Panzerwreck series, Lee Archer.  The Panzerwreck series includes 18 volumes published from 2005 to the present, collecting and presenting WW2 era photos of knocked-out German armor.

India’s Arjun MBT face serious technical issues

Arjun_TankThe Economic Times is reporting that the Indian Army is facing major technical issues with it’s home-grown Arjun MBT.  According to the article, a significant proportion of its fleet has become inoperable in recent months and are non-sericeable due to maintenance issues.  The Indian Army reluctantly accepted 124 Arjun tanks into service from 2009 to 2013 after the UPA government insisted that a token number be ordered to keep the tank development program viable.  Sources said that the Army’s opinion is that while a large number of tanks are not operational due to technical defects, the fleet as such is not combat worthy due to reliability issues. “A number of tanks are not operational currently as transfer of technology (ToT) of several imported systems fitted onboard has not been done,” an Army official said. The Army has identified 96 problems, including 18 major ones.

The Arjun has had a longer development cycle than any other tank in history.  The program to design the tank started in 1974 and has gone through several versions.  Attempts to develop homegrown components have met with limited success and have forced the Arjun designers to rely on foreign components.  It is estimated that 60% of the tank is foreign produced and many of these foreign components must be repaired abroad, a significant factor in the vehicles low readiness and reliability rates.

Read the full article here

Other articles on long, sad story of the Arjun program:

Arjun MK 1 – India’s MBT-70 or White Elephant? (Nov 1998)

Sabotage suspected in Arjun tank engine (July 2008)

Global Arjun page

Spotlight on 3rd Armored Division WW2 history

3rd2For those interested in the history of the US 3rd Armored Division in World War 2, the website is worth checking out. is the official website for the 3rd Armored Division Association.  Of particular note are the following sections:

Soldier’s Memoirs – 50 different soldier memoirs in various formats.

Lafayette Pool – A page dedicated to US tank ace Lafayette Pool, containing his own writings as well as various articles about him.

Feature Articles – An index of almost 60 feature articles about the 3rd Armored Division.

General Maurice Rose – A page of information and resources about 3rd AD commander Gen. Maurice Rose, the highest ranking US officer to be killed by enemy forces during the war.

Strykers possibly to be upgunned to 30mm

photo-5Breaking Defense has posted an article stating that the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe wants 81 of its eight-wheel-drive Stryker infantry carrier vehicles fitted with 30 millimeter automatic cannons.  The article notes that the 2nd Cavalry wants the weapons because it’s the Army’s frontline force in Europe. There are only two US combat brigades still based on the continent, the 2nd Cav in Vilseck, Germany and the 173rd Airborne in Vicenza, Italy, a light infantry formation with very few vehicles of any kind and nothing as heavy as a Stryker.  Since Russia seized Crimea, both the 2nd Cavalry and the 173rd Airborne have deployed to the Baltic States. Currently the Stryker is armed with a .50 caliber heavy machine gun.  The Defense Department has been reportedly testing the 30mm “medium caliber remote weapons station” developed by Kongsberg Protech Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems since 2013.

Read the full article from Breaking Defense here.

SU-100 Restoration Video

WarGaming has released a youtube video about a group of Russian tank restorers and their efforts to bring an SU-100 back to life.  The video is in Russian but English subtitles are available.

From the Editor: Lights First Every Time?

(A year ago we had posted an earlier version of this post on our old blog.)

ronson-ad-1944-02Most people familiar with the history for of the M4 Sherman tank have heard the story that the British nick-named them “Ronsons” after the famous cigarette lighter due to the flammability of the Sherman tank.  The story goes that the troops co-opted the Ronson slogan of ” lights first every time” to describe their vehicles.  This story has been reported in many books and TV shows about the Sherman tank.

Certainly, the idea that the Sherman was uniquely susceptible to burning is a bit of a fable.  According to one common version of the myth, the Sherman burned easily due to the fact that it used “high octane” gasoline while its German opponents used diesel (the most famous example of this myth is in the Academy Award winning film “Patton”.)   In reality, the vast majority of German tanks and armored vehicles used gasoline engines and the Sherman ran on the same 80 octane fuel as every other US Army vehicle.  When a tank is penetrated by an armor piercing shell and brews up, ammunition is the most common culprit, not fuel.  The Sherman got a bad reputation in the early stages of the Normandy campaign for catching on fire in part due to improper stowage of ammunition.  Once the US introduced the “wet stowage” system of ammo storage into the M4 Sherman, the rate of tanks that burned when hit decreased significantly.

That troops may have called their tanks a derogatory nickname like Ronson seems pretty plausible.  The only problem with the Ronson nickname is the explanation that this was due to the slogan “lights first every time.”  The issue is that this slogan appears in almost no surviving print ads, and not in any ads from the period right before or during the war.  The most common slogan used in print ads for the Ronson is “The World’s Greatest Lighter.”  To a leaser extent, the slogan “Flip… It’s Lit… Release… It’s Out” or “Press… It’s Lit… Release… It’s Out” appears regularly.  Nowhere does the slogan “lights first every time” appear, except in a single ad from 1929 which states “Lights every time.”The lone

So what does this mean?  Not much really.  Perhaps the “lights every time” slogan was used in a radio jingle and not in print ads.  Or perhaps the troops mistakenly attributed the slogan to the Ronson brand.  However, based on the available print ads its probably fair to question the validity of the “lights every time” myth.

For those wanting to examine a large number of Ronson ads arraigned by date, please consult this page.

Below is a sample of Ronson ads

From the Vault: The External Gun Turret (ARMOR Jan-Feb 1996)

With all the attention focused on the new Russian T14 Armata tank, we thought it was appropriate to post this article from the Jan-Feb 1996 issue of ARMOR on the issues involved with an external gun turret.  According to what is known so far about the Armata, it features all three crewmen seated in the hull with an unmanned turret.  The article addresses some of the advantages and disadvantages of such a layout, although it is primarily critical of the idea.  Of course, the article is almost 20 years old so the author’s concerns about crew visibility and situational awareness do not take into account the huge advances in miniaturized cameras and video devices in the past decade.

BAE integrates “active damping” system to CV90 suspension is reporting that defense contractor BAE has incorporated “Formula One” suspension technology into the CV90 infantry fighting vehicle.  Referred to as an “active damping suspension”, these systems have been used in Formula One race cars since the early 90’s.  The system functions by sensing the speed of the vehicle and lay-out of the terrain ahead and responding by adjusting the suspension to keep the CV90 level, which reduces the wear and tear on the vehicle. Originally operational on carbon-fibre racing cars weighing no more than 700kg, the suspension system has been modified for the first time, to work on heavy tracked vehicles weighing up to 35 tons.  Reportedly, the suspension enables the vehicle to travel up to 40% faster than existing armored vehicles.

The full article can be read here.

Leichttraktor pictures and documents from Swedish Tank Archives blog

leichttracktorRen Hanxue, creator of the Swedish Tank Archives blog, recently posted a PDF of documents and pictures from the Swedish Archives pertaining to the German Leichttraktor.  The documents are of course in German so we are not entirely sure what they contain.  However, the pictures are very interesting, providing shots of not just the vehicle but also of some of the automotive components and subsystems.  The Leichttraktor is a fairly obscure vehicle, being a German post WWI design that never saw mass production.  It is most widely known as the tier one German tank in the World of Tanks video game, where it is commonly referred to as the “Loltraktor.”

The PDF is available here.

We highly recommend Swedish Tank Archives.  People with an interest in Swedish tanks will find it a valuable resource.  The site also contains documents relating to Swedish evaluations of foreign vehicles such as the Chieftain, AMX 13, and T-80U.  Ren Hanxue also maintains a youtube page with some videos if Swedish tank terrain trails including Centurion, Strv 104, T-72 and T-80 tanks.