The blog War is Boring has a new article on the history of the T-54/55. Like most articles on War is Boring, this is not an in-depth article nor does it delve much into technical matters concerning the tank. However, people may find it an entertaining quick read. We did take the liberty of posting in the comment section of the article pointing out the authors error in referring to the T-34 suspension as a “leaf spring” system.
Like the AK-47 but for tanks, T-54 and T-55s endure on battlefields around the world. Simple to operate and maintain, these decades-old Soviet armored beasts are still popular in small nations and with non-state irregular forces — a true “people’s tank.”
If a coup or fratricidal civil war breaks out in one of Moscow’s current or former beneficiaries, there’s good chances T-54 or T-55s are taking part.
When Afghanistan collapsed in the 1990s, the Taliban and Northern Alliance coalition both inherited T-55s formerly belonging to the communist government. The tanks served in Yugoslavia’s multi-sided civil war during the same decade.
Today, captured Iraqi and Syrian T-55s serve under the black flag of Islamic State and other rebel groups fighting in the region. For these insurgent armies, the 60-year old tanks are just as useful as far more modern designs such as the M1 Abrams.