Video: Abrams rolls over car bomb

This video showed up on youtube today.  We have no idea when this footage was taken or if it has appeared online before.

War is Boring article on T-55

imagesThe 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.

Excerpt:

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.

Read full article here.

Satire: Patton translated into modern business/military speak

hqdefaultEvery once in a while we like to take a break from our usual content and present something humorous.  Recently in an online forum, we were discussing the latest issue of ARMOR and how much the style of writing has changed over the years.  In our opinion, military writing has become far too laden with buzz words and business-speak, resulting in articles that are far more effective as sleeping aids than as ways of transmitting useful information.  I issued a challenge to the other forum members to rewrite Patton’s famous Blood and Guts speech in the style of modern officer-speak.   A forum participant by the name of xthetenth rose to the challenge, providing the following rendition.  We present it here in a paragraph by paragraph comparison with the original.  We hope you find it as amusing we we did.

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Video: Norwegian Telemark Battalion live fire exercise

From War News Today comes this video showing Norwegian ground forces conducting exercises.

Article declares that T-14 Armata is “Pretty Stale”

download (1)An article from ISH ETH Zurich by Joseph Trevithick attempts to deflate some of the hype surrounding the new Russian T-14 Armada tank, declaring it to be pretty “stale.”  The author of the piece seems to be basing his conclusions on some comments made by noted tank expert Steven Zaloga, who is quoted as saying “A lot of this stuff is really stale” in regards to the new family of Russian armored vehicles displayed during the May Victory Parade.  Zaloga is also quoted as saying that in the end “the Russians are not leaping ahead” and that “this is an attempt to catch up.”  Considering the amount of media hype and nationalistic pride that the Armata has attracted, these comments from one of the worlds foremost tank and AFV researchers are bound to grab some attention.

Article excerpt:

But despite these and other boasts, the Russia’s new fleet is much less impressive when compared to many Western designs, even some that are decades old at this point. The T-14 is lighter and not necessarily any better armed or armored than the American M1A2 Abrams, the British Challenger 2 or the German Leopard 2, according to an infographic originally specifications sheet made up by the Russian TASS news service. The specifications were later translated into English by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Of course, both Moscow and Washington are generally tight-lipped about the exact details.
In terms of armor protection specifically, the T-14 is probably no more impressive than the tanks Washington and Berlin have had in service for two decades now, based on educated estimates. And while Western engineers have generally focused on passive armor, the Pentagon and others continue to experiment with their own active protection systems. The Armata’s Afghanit system is also just the latest development in a series countermeasures the Russian Army has been using since the fighting in Afghanistan – an experience the new device’s moniker clearly references. Soviet commanders – like their counterparts around the world – have found active protection systems and explosive reactive armor can be very dangerous to ground troops near vehicles equipped with these protective measures too.
As for armament, the range estimates for the T-14 seem generous. However, Leopard 2s can already hit targets at similar distances with the help of Israeli LAHAT missiles. Armata crews would probably have to fall back on gun-launched guided weapons when trying knock out enemies beyond some 5,000 to 6,000 meters too. Not that much of this matters, since the Russian sensors can’t necessarily find the mark much farther away. The “target detection range” is only vaguely “greater than 5,000 meters,” the TASS-provided specs said.

Read the full article here.

Guardian article on British collector Kevin Wheatcroft

The Guardian published an article this week on British collector of armored vehicles and Nazi memorabilia Kevin Wheatcroft.  The article deals primarily with Wheatcroft’s Nazi memorabilia collection rather than with his collection of Tanks and AFVs.  That said, tank and AFV aficionados will still find it interesting, if for no other reason than to learn a bit about the rather media shy man behind the largest private AFV collection in the UK.

Article excerpt:

wheatcroftWe stood beside the muscular bulk of a Panzer IV tank, patched with rust and freckled with bullet holes, its tracks trailing barbed wire. Wheatcroft scratched at the palimpsest of paintwork to reveal layers of colour beneath: its current livery, the duck-egg blue of the Christian Phalangists from the Lebanese civil war, flaking away to the green of the Czech army who used the vehicles in the 1960s and 70s, and finally the original German taupe. The tank was abandoned in the Sinai desert until Wheatcroft arrived on one of his regular shopping trips to the region and shipped it home to Leicestershire.

Wheatcroft owns a fleet of 88 tanks – more than the Danish and Belgian armies combined. The majority of the tanks are German, and Wheatcroft recently acted as an adviser to David Ayer, the director of Fury (in which Brad Pitt played the commander of a German-based US Sherman tank in the final days of the war). “They still got a lot of things wrong,” he told me. “I was sitting in the cinema with my daughter saying, ‘That wouldn’t have happened’ and ‘That isn’t right.’ Good film, though.”

Around the tanks sat a number of strange hybrid vehicles with caterpillar tracks at the back, lorry wheels at the front. Wheatcroft explained to me that these were half-tracks, deliberately designed by the Nazis so as not to flout the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which stipulated that the Germans could not build tanks. Wheatcroft owns more of these than anyone else in the world, as well as having the largest collection of Kettenkrads, which are half-motorbike, half-tank, and were built to be dropped out of gliders. “They just look very cool,” he said with a grin.

Alongside the machines’ stories of wartime escapades and the sometimes dangerous lengths that Wheatcroft had gone to in order to secure them were the dazzling facts of their value. “The Panzer IV cost me $25,000. I’ve been offered two and a half million for it now. It’s the same with the half-tracks. They regularly go for over a million each. Even the Kettenkrads, which I’ve picked up for as little as £1,000, go for £150,000.” I tried to work out the total value of the machines around me, and gave up somewhere north of £50m. Wheatcroft had made himself a fortune, almost without realising it.

To read the entire article, go here.

To go to the website for the Wheatcroft Collection, go here.

Book Alert: Huns on Wheels

10999361_1580549845526448_6657401214891285569_oFor those wanting to learn more about Hungarian mobile forces in WWII, a new hardcover book on the topic was released earlier this month.  Titled “Huns on Wheels: Hungarian Mobile Forces in WWII”, this is a self-published work by author Peter Mujzer.  The book is described as A4 hardbound format, with 264 pages containing 385 black and white original photos, AFV scale drawings, 14 maps, 34 Order of Battle lists, and 16 pages of colour references for armored vehicles’ profiles and uniforms drawings.  The book is available directly from the author who has a facebook page for the book, or he can be contacted at hunsonwheels@yahoo.com.