The WW1 German M3 Lee Moving Fortress Tank.

Honestly, how many facts can one internet article get wrong in just one entry?  In our quest to bring you all the news related to tanks and AFVs, we are sometimes forced to wade through some awful stuff.  This however may take the cake.  

letter 1

From the Vault: The Secret Testing of Israeli M111 “Hetz” Ammunition

Today we present an article from the Sep-Oct 2006 issue of ARMOR by Jim Warford titled “The Secret Testing of Israeli M111 “Hetz” Ammunition: A Model of Failed Commander’s Responsibility.”  This article looks at the capture of an Israeli Magach-4 (M48) along with its brand new M111 Hetz ammunition by the Syrians during the 1982 “Operation Peace for Galilee” incursion. This tank and its ammunition eventually made there way to the Soviet Union were the M111 ammunition was evaluated, an event which contributed to the development of the T-72M1 variant.  This particular Magach-4 is now on display at the Kubinka tank museum outside of Moscow.

After this article was published, ARMOR published a letter in response to the piece which was also followed by a letter in answer by Jim Warford.  They may be read below.

Jim Warford was kind enough to provide us with some additional information and images relating to this article:

When I was visiting Kubinka in 2012, I had a tour guide arranged by my Russian travel agent who met me upon my arrival at the collection. He vaguely said that he worked for various governmental agencies and that he was happy to guide me through the collection. After awhile, I started to sense that he was there as much to keep an eye on me, as he was there to be my guide. Everything was going along very well (I was literally thrilled to be there), when we got to the captured Israeli Magach tank (that provided the M111 Hetz APFSDS ammunition to the Russians). I was looking forward to asking some questions about this tank, but before I could say a word, he quickly went into a speech about how they got the tank and that any reports that the tank arrived from Syria with the personal belongings and even the remains of the Israeli crew members on board, were completely untrue. While I suppose it’s possible that he gave that same speech to all his tours, I think it’s equally possible that he knew who I was and was aware of my 2001 ARMOR Magazine article “The Secret Museum at Kubinka,” where I reported the following:
“…a “victory parade” was held in Damascus, Syria, that included a captured Israeli Magach 4 flying Syrian and Palestinian flags. Several sources reported that the tank’s Israeli crew was also on display during the parade. Three of these crewmen are now listed as MIA by the Israeli government. According to the International Coalition for Missing Israeli Soldiers (ICMIS), there is reason to believe that this captured tank and the Magach 4 at Kubinka are one in the same. In January 2001, the ICMIS asked Israeli officials to request that an upcoming trip by the Israeli President to Russia include an examination of the Magach 4 at the museum. Reportedly, the Israeli tank (with turret serial number 94866 and hull serial number 817581) arrived at Kubinka still containing human remains, personal belongings, and documents belonging to the tank’s crew.”
Magach_Captured from IDF_Driving in Russia_1

Captured Magach 4 driving in Russia

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Magach 4 on display at Kubinka

Tank factories gallery

Every day more and more tanks are rumbling off production lines from factories throughout the United States. Once geared to the high speed production of cars; automotive works have shelved their tools for the duration and installed machinery for making heavy tanks.  The top picture shows the iron war horses rolling down production lines; under it is illustrated an American tank transporter; used to prevent wear and tear on tank treads. Fully loaded; the tank transporter weighs over 30 tons; and is powered by a 130 h.p. motor.

Mashable has posted an article titled “Tank factories  1910-1946.”  The piece has some interesting pictures, although we are slightly confused by the “1910” in the article title.  Astute readers may be confused by the picture of British WWI era tanks labeled “c.1916 A factory for the repair of German tanks.”  This picture is indeed of a German facility, although the date should be 1917.  The photo is of a German repair facility for captured British tanks in Charleroi, Belgium.

The article and photos are available here.

From the Vault: Edwin M. Wheelock and the Skeleton Tank

Today we present a four page article from the Jan-Feb 2002 issue of ARMOR on “Edwin M. Wheelock and the Skeleton Tank” by Major Dennis Gaare.  Readers with an interest in early tank development history may find this article worthwhile.  The Skeleton tank was an experimental prototype tank built in 1918 by the Pioneer Tractor Company of Winona Minnesota.  Only one prototype was built, and for many years it was housed at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Book Review: Steel Steeds Christie

31AdPdFN25L._SL500_BO1,204,203,200_A couple weeks ago we had posted some reviews of the book “Steel Steeds Christie” by Edward Christie in the 1986 issues of ARMOR.  Steel Steeds Christie is a rare and largely forgotten book and it generated an overwhelming negative reaction from knowledgeable AFV historians at the time of it’s publication.  However, it remains one of the few books dedicated exclusively to the topic of Walter J. Christie, one of the most important figures in post WWI tank development.  Shortly after posting the old ARMOR reviews of the book, friend of the site “Volketten” informed us that he had recently purchased a copy of this hard to find volume.  He wrote up a description of book which we have posted below.

Steel Steeds Christie by J.Edward Christie

a book review by Vollketten

This is a difficult book to review because I really wanted it to be good. The designs of Walter Christie have interested me for quite some time so I got hold of a copy of this rather hard to find and far too expensive book with an inbuilt bias to want to like it. And that bias continued despite reading the rather unpleasant reviews of it in old editions of Armor Magazine which failed to dissuade me from getting a copy. This continued right until I opened it and started reading.

[Read more…]

Ukraine accepts modernized T-80

20150717060241_1Jane’s is reporting that the Ukrainian military has received a batch of eight modernized T-80 MBTs from the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB).  The article notes that the T-80 tanks will soon be committed to combat operations in east Ukraine.  Specifically, the T-80s will be delivered to a mobile armored unit of the Ukrainian airborne forces.  The modernization work is stated to have included changes to the vehicle’s turrets, hulls, and the installation of Kontakt explosive reactive armour (ERA).

Full article here.

Israeli “Pereh” tank officially revealed.

Earlier this week the Israeli Defense Forces officially declassified the “Pereh”  (Wild) anti tank guided missile launcher vehicle. Based on the hull of the M48 tank, the Pereh features a sizable turret  with a fake gun barrel intended to hid its true mission of launching Tamuz ATGMs (also known as the Spike.)  The large bustle on the back of the turret pops up to reveal the launcher tubes, of which there are twelve.  According to Israel Defense, the Pereh has been in service for 30 years (!).  Much speculation has been made in various online forums over the past few years as pictures of these vehicles have been leaked.  Thus far it does not appear that any articles have been published in English on this vehicle.  However, for those that are curious, Israel Defense has an article that is relatively readable using Google translate.  Below is a gallery of some of the pictures of the Pereh that have surfaced on the internet, mostly drawn from this Israeli forum.

US Army to move toward “pure-fleet” of M88A2 Hercules ARVs

m88-herculesArmy-Technology.com is reporting that BAE has received a contract from the US Army worth $110 million to upgrade 36 M88A1 recovery vehicles to the M88A2 Hercules standard.  BAE Systems Recovery Program director John Tile said: “The HERCULES is an integral part of the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) and essential to its recovery missions as the fleet becomes heavier.  This award continues the Army’s stated objective to pure-fleet its M88s to the more capable HERCULES configuration.”  According to a BAE press release, work on the contract is expected to begin immediately and will take place primarily at the company’s York, Pennsylvania, and Aiken, South Carolina, facilities. Deliveries will begin in January 2017 and continue through October 2017.

War is Boring blog on Soviet Laser Tanks

The blog War is Boring has posted an article title “The Kremlin Hints at Reviving Cold War Laser Tanks” by Joseph Trevithick.  We admit this particular topic is one we know little about so we present this article without comment as to it’s accuracy or quality.

Excerpt:

laser tankLaser tanks are a staple of Hollywood blockbusters, video games and children’s cartoons. During the closing years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union tried to make that science fiction a reality.

It worked … but not well.

Now Moscow is reportedly dusting off those old Soviet plans. But these scifi designs probably won’t make a return. The weapons were too expensive, too fragile and served a limited purpose on the battlefield.

Before the Iron Curtain fell, the Kremlin’s weaponeers cooked up at least three different beam-toting armored vehicles. Since 1991, the survivors — such as they are — have either languished in museums or scrapyards.

“There are a handful of areas … where, theoretically, Soviet-era engineering remains competitive on today’s battlefield,” retired U.S. Army Maj. Ray Finch — an analyst at the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office — wrote in the June 2015 edition of OE Watch.

Full article available here.

France privatizes Nexter, maker of AMX Leclerc

Defense News is reporting that the French Government has voted to privatize the state owned land weapons manufacturer Nexter.  Nexter is the producer of the AMX:Leclerc MBT.  This move is seen as one of the steps in forging a partnership between Nexter and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.  This new joint holding company would be named KMW And Nexter Together, or KANT, and it would be a European leader in land armaments with annual sales of almost US $2.2 billion.  At the July 9 board meeting of Giat, the state-owned holding company of Nexter, 12 out of 18 board members voted in favor of the link-up, while three trade union representatives abstained and three voted against.  It has been reported that one of the goals of this partnership will be to create the next generation of European MBT.

Article link here.