German Newspaper challenges German policy of no DU tank ammo

leopard_2a6_2A recent article in German newspaper Die Welt makes the claim that German tungsten based APFSDS 120mm ammunition is ineffective against the armor of Russian T90 MBTs.  The author of the article, Han Ruhle, was the Chief of Policy Planning Staff in the German Department of Defense 1982-1988.  He lays the blame for the lack of effective depleted uranium APFSDS round in the German inventory at the feet of German environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists.  The article states that:

Currently, the Bundeswehr has a limited effective means of anti-tank ammunition with the DM63, an arrow-tungsten-based ammunition. Their penetrating power is indeed improved significantly over the old munitions and corresponds with the enhanced 120-millimeter cannon to just the level of the old uranium core ammunition of the US from the 80s. However, this is not enough to penetrate the newer versions of the T80- and T90 tanks.

The full article can be viewed here (in German).  This article comes at a time when the German military has suffered a number of embarrassments regarding equipment effectiveness, procurement and readiness.  The G36 rifle has come under criticism for inaccuracy at high temperatures, the Puma IFV has suffered a series of delays and cost overruns and earlier this year a German unit on exercises was shown with broomsticks substituted for missing gun barrels.

Not surprisingly, the decidedly pro-Russian news site Sputnik International pounced on this article, declaring “German Army has no Chance against Russian Tanks

From the Vault: History of the Cav Hat

Today we present an article from the Jan-Feb 1996 issue of ARMOR on the history of the Cav Hat.  Written by Major Mark Farrar, this piece looks at this iconic item, detailing its history both in popular culture and in military service.

From the Vault: The Grim Reaper

Another interesting item from ARMOR magazine.  This comes from the May-Jun 1998 issue.  It’s a one page description of the most heavily armed tank in Vietnam, the Grim Reaper.  According to former crewmate Dave Decker, this vehicle was modified by it’s crew to have up to three .50 cal machine guns on the roof.  The article notes that for a short period of time, the crew also mounted the 7.62 Minigun from a Cobra helicopter on the front of the loaders hatch!  The author notes that this gun “was confiscated by an irate high-ranking officer.”

The Grim Reaper

From the Vault: An Israeli view on Soviet tanks

Today we present another article from ARMOR, the official journal of the armor branch.  This piece is an evaluation of Soviet tanks by Lieutenant Colonel David Eshel of the Isaeli Defense Forces and it appeared in the May-Jun 1988 issue.  In this article, the author focuses primarily on the T54/55 and the T62, since both of these vehicles were captured in large numbers by the IDF and pressed into service.  Col. Eshel notes the many modifications that the IDF made to these vehicles as well as listing some of the problems they encountered with the Soviet designs.  While Eshel makes many critical comments about these vehicles, he ends the piece with the following remarks:

In short, Israeli experience in tank combat reveals shortcomings in Soviet tank designs. However, Soviet tanks are, in principle, excellent fighting machines, combat proven and viable under field conditions.  If manned by determined and highly-trained crews, they can be a most dangerous and deadly opponent.

Memorial built near first tank factory

_82548458_82548457The BBC is reporting that a life sized tribute to the world’s first tank has been installed on a traffic roundabout in Lincoln, the city where the first tanks were built.  The memorial, which depicts a Mark I tank, was built to coincide with the 100th anniversary of WWI.  The Tritton Road roundabout is just yards away from the William Foster and Co factory where tanks, including the first prototype “Little Willie”, were made as early as 1915.

Full article here.  Link to Lincoln Tank Mamorial site here.

Audio article on German WW1 tank Mephisto

Tank-Mephisto-Queensland-MuseumThe Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is featuring an hour long audio article on the WW1 German tank Mephisto.  The program is part of the show “Conversations with Richard Fidler.”  The episode can be listened to here.

Episode description:

The first tanks were invented in a desperate attempt to end the agony of trench warfare.  They inspired a new kind of terror on the battlefield – German soldiers called it ‘Panzerschreck’: Tank Terror.  Mephisto was deployed against Australian soldiers in France, but the Australians managed to steal the tank from right under the noses of the German army.  Although brought to Australia with enormous fanfare, Mephisto lay neglected for decades.

Further listening and information

With special thanks to Major General John Cantwell, Jeff Hopkins-Weise, Stephen Dando-Collins and Dr Michael Westaway.  Mephisto is on display at the Workshops Rail Museum, where it will remain until early 2018.  The Queensland Museum’s Anzac Legacy Gallery announced as part of the Anzac Centenary commemorations, will eventually provide a permanent home for Mephisto.

Listen to John Cantwell’s 2012 conversation with Richard.

Explore the ABC’s WW1 Centenary site, Australia Remembers.

Jane’s IHS on New Russian Heavy Armor

Jane’s IHS has released an article1634421_-_main p1634419 showing the various pictures recently released by the Russian Ministry of Defense showcasing their new suite of armored vehicles.  Included in the article are Armata MBT, the Coalition-SV self-propelled gun, Kurganets-25 IFV, Boomarang 8×8 IFV and several other wheeled vehicles.  The vehicles were revealed ahead of their formal debut at the May9 Moscow Victory Day Parade.  In all the pictures the weapons systems of the vehicles are covered by tarps.  The release of these official pictures follows the unofficial leaking of images and footage that happened earlier this month in the lead up to the parade.

Read the Jane’s Article here.

Lockheed Martin demos improved Warrior IFV

Lockheed-Martin-UK-demos-modernized-Warrior-armored-vehicleUPI is reporting that a modernized Warrior infantry fighting vehicle of the British Army successfully demonstrated a new turret and cannon system against moving targets.  The demonstration was part of the country’s Warrior Capability Sustainment Program, in which Lockheed Martin UK is upgrading the Army’s fleet of 380 Warrior vehicles.  In addition to a new turret and the CT40 weapon system, the modernized vehicle features an updated environmental control system, improved all-round awareness cameras and driver’s night vision systems and a modular protection system fitted to the chassis.

Full article here.

M60 on display for 15 years started up and moved

Local News 8 in Idaho is reporting that an M60 tank on static display in a park in St. Anthony was started up and moved under it’s own power in order to receive a paint job.

The longstanding tank at Clyde Keefer park in St. Anthony is no longer there, at least for now.  That’s because city officials, along with a few members of the military, drove the tank to the city garage to clean it, sand blast it, and paint it.  “I get notices from the army once a year asking if we’re taking good care of our tank,” said Mayor Niels Thueson of St. Anthony. “And I write them back and I say, yea we’re taking good care of your tank, but it needs a paint job. Well they wrote back and said, well paint it.”

M60 video

From the Vault: Merkava 2 article from ARMOR magazine

Today we present an article from the Nov-Dec 1985 issue of ARMOR by R. M. Ogorkiewicz titles “Israel’s Merkava Mark 2 Battle Tank.”  The article gives a good description of the Merkava as well as explaining the reasons for the vehicle’s unusual design.  it is worth pointing out that the author is quite clear in stating that the Merkava is not intended to function as a tank/APC hybrid.  This claim still gets made in various online forums from time to time.  Ogorkiewicz states that “the fact that the Merkava can carry infantrymen has been misinterpreted by many people, including several contributors to ARMOR, who have wrongly assumed it to be some kind of tank-cum-infantry carrier.  Those who have done this not only misunderstand the design of the Merkava, but seem to have no idea of the monstrous size of any tank which would carry not only a major caliber gun and a full load of ammunition, but also a squad of infantry.”