Motherboard has posted an article about an old tractor factory in Ukraine occupied by the Azov Battalion. The article provides pictures and descriptions of the efforts by Azov at this facility to build their own armored vehicles. Particular attention is paid to the homemade vehicle “Azovette”, a heavily armored T-64 chassis:
Zvarych invited us inside the workshop, where a small team of student welders, engineers, and guys who worked here back when the factory made tractors, are finishing off their latest creation, “Azovette.”
Zvarych walks us around the metal beast, pointing out the layers of armor, each 7cm thick and lined with explosives intended to disperse the impact of any strike. Most projectiles capable of penetrating the 7cm of armor will be shaped-charged missiles, consisting of a hollow cone that lays concave to the tip of the projectile and is backed by explosives. When detonated, the explosives hit the apex of the cone and propel it forward, effectively turning the cone inside out and forming a focused jet of explosive energy that drives the projectile forward for maximum impact. The explosives in Azovette’s armor are intended to counteract the shaped-charge by driving energy in the opposite direction so the cone can’t turn inside out to focus the blast.
The armor is spaced out in layers, creating chambers that keep any damage contained to that layer of armor. There are seven chambers of this reactive armor up front and three on the sides.
“Usually a tank has 10 or 20cm of armor (in the front) but we put in 1.4m. This tank can take anything, even a big missile from a plane. It can take all the modern equipment of all the armies,” says Zvarych.
He says Azovette is the perfect tank and compares the 50 tonne 5-seater to Nazi Germany’s super-tank, Panzer VIII Maus, a fully enclosed, 188 tonne goliath of mythological proportions that never passed the prototype stage.
The article only devotes two sentences to pointing out the obvious Nazi imagery used by the Azov Battalion and their association with far-right and white supremacist ideology. Given this history, perhaps it is not surprising that they would compare their homemade tank to that most ridiculous and grandiose AFV of the Third Reich, the Maus.