Mercedes versus BTR

A Mercedes sedan came out the worse in a collision with a Russian BTR APC outside of St. Petersburg on Tuesday.  Remember folks, give armored vehicles a wide berth when driving.

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Book Alert: Research Squad Tiger book

The Research Squad has announced that their Tiger tank book is at the printers and available for pre-order.

Tiger1The Research Squad are pleased to announce the upcoming release of Tiger: Modern Study of Fgst. NR. 250031, a complete photo study of the Aberdeen 712 Tiger tank. The Research Squad were given given special permission by the collection and Aberdeen Proving Ground Museum to fully document this important vehicle in order to create a photographic record for any future restoration work. This includes a full exterior walk-around, a complete documentation of the interior and also a detailed study of the engine compartment and engine.

To this end the knowledge and expertise of many contributors were brought together, not least of which were our two technical editors, Liejon Schoot and Rob Veenendaal, without whose massive contribution this book would not have been completed.
208 pages
+/- 690 images.
69 technical diagrams (including 27 selected re-mastered diagrams at A4 size)

This includes:

  • a full exterior walk-around,
  • a complete documentation of the interior
  • a detailed study of the engine compartment.
  • a history of the vehicle from capture to present date
  • a veteran interview with the driver of Maj. Leuder
  • a history of the vehicle from capture to present date
  • a technical article by Liejon Schoot and Rob Veenendaal on the Vorpanzer design

This book is currently at the printers – all copies pre-ordered will ship first during November 2015.

Israel converts Merkava II tanks into APCs

According to ynet news the Israeli Defense Forces have developed an APC based on the chassis of the Merkava II main battle tank.  As the IDF has transitioned to the Merkava IV, older Merkava II tanks have been pulled out of service, making them available for other purposes.  Israel has a long tradition of converting old main battle tanks into heavy armored personnel carriers rather than scraping or retiring them (see Nagmachon, Achzarit.)  The Merkava series is well suited for conversion since its front mounted engine and transmission allows for soldiers to enter and exit the vehicle from the rear in typical APC fashion.  The article notes that this Merkava II conversion includes removing the turret and ammunition storage racks as well as adding a rear ramp and a new air conditioning system.  Currently, the IDF operates the Namer, a heavy APC based on the hull of the newest Merkava IV MBT.  While the Namer will equip front line infantry units, the article states that the converted Merkava II APC vehicles will be issued to specific support forces, including medical, logistical and rescue units.  A prototype of the Merkava II APC was fielded by the 7th Brigade’s command staff in an exercise this past spring in the Jordan River valley.  It is reported that the IDF was pleased with the vehicles performance.


More coverage of M18 Hellcat explosion

More detail has been released concerning the tragic accident in Oregon involving a vintage M18 tank destroyer which killed two men.  Authorities have released the names of the victims, Steven Todd Preston, 51, and Austin Tyler Lee, 22.  Preston was the owner of the M18 and also the board director and convention chairman of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.  The cause of the explosion is not known although it is being investigated by the Oregon State Police and the ATF.  It is being reported that one of the victims was alive when first responders arrived at the scene, but then died shortly after.  Authorities may be helped in their investigation by the fact that a film crew was present at the time of the explosion.  They were capturing video of the tank destroyer firing rounds which was to be used as part of a display of the tank destroyer in a future exhibit.

Israel developing wheeled APC

IDF M113 APC, slated to be replaced by 8x8 Eitan APC

IDF M113 APC, slated to be replaced by 8×8 Eitan APC in 2020’s

Defense News is reporting that Israel’s Tank Production Authority is producing a prototype of an eight-wheeled APC.  Named the Eitan, this 8×8 vehicle will weigh nearly half as much as the Namer heavy APC and replace the aging M113 APCs that are still in service.  Eitan, which means “steadfast” in Hebrew, is described as incorporating “a new generation of active protection, an advanced turret and a full complement of munitions and sensors.”  Serial production of the vehicle is planned for 2020.  According to Maj. Gen Guy Zur, commander of the IDF Ground Forces Command, “It may be less good [than the Namer], but it will be affordable and allow us to equip a large part of our force.”

Full article here.

Two dead in M18 Hellcat accident

According to the KTVZ news in Oregon, two people were killed at a firing range in an explosion involving an M18 Hellcat. The news report footage shows that the vehicle is named “Rachel.”  No names of the victims have been released.  “Rachel” is a well known vehicle, having been used in TV shows and charity events.  The vehicle is owned by Steve Preston, a collector of military hardware and vehicles in the Portland Oregon area.  He and his vehicle “Rachel” were featured in the Wall Street Journal last month.  Photo gallery of Mr. Preston and his collection here.  This is the second incident this year of a fatal accident involving a WWII era AFV.

Update: The Military Vehicle Preservation Association has confirmed that one of the victims was vehicle owner Steve Preston.

Steve Preston
1964 – 2015

It is with great sadness that the MVPA reports the passing of MVPA Board Director and Convention Chairman Steve Preston.  Steve was fatally injured in an accident Tuesday, October 27 while participating in an historic military vehicle demonstration, an event that was among his favorite activities.

The Association will provide further information as it becomes available.  The Board asks all MVPA members to keep Steve’s wife, Rachel, and two daughters in their thoughts and prayers.  We were all touched and enriched by Steve, and will miss our dear friend.

Tank and AFV News offers our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Steve Preston.

Opposing forces VISMOD vehicles photo gallery


Here is a photo gallery of some AFV’s that have been modified to appear as enemy vehicles for training purposes.  Most of these photos came from a couple foreign language live journal pages (1,2).  We have tried to label the photos as best as possible, although some of them are a bit hard to correctly identify.  We have tried to limit this gallery to VISMOD vehicles created and used for military training, not vehicles modified for use in movies or civilian re-enactments. We hope you enjoy these.

Click “Read More” to see gallery.

[Read more…]

Inside the Tanks: The T-54/T-55

Wargaming Europe’s Richard “The Challenger” Cutland takes a look at the Soviet T-54/T-55 tank in the latest of his “Inside the Tanks” video series.

Book Alert: Panzerwrecks 19 Yugoslavia

PW19CoverSpread_CMYK.inddA new installment in the Panzerwrecks series of books is slated to be released in December of this year.  This upcoming book is the 19th in the series and focuses on the Panzers used in Yugoslavia during WW2.  The book authors are Lee Archer and Bojan Dimitrijevic and features 151 rare and unpublished large format photographs sourced from around the world.  Vehicles features in the book include German WW2  vehicles of course, as well as quite a varied list of “Beutepansers” (captured tanks) and German vehicles in post war Yugoslav service.  According to the Panzerwrecks website, this volume will answer the following questions:

  • How did partisans improve the firepower of the Somua S35? And where did it end up?
  • Who was ambushed at Vukov Klanac? What vehicles did they lose?
  • Why did a German Panzer unit pose as Allied tankers?
  • Where did the Yugoslav Army collect and overhaul captured German AFVs?

Pre-orders for the book start on November 5 and the books ships on December 4.

A sample photo gallery can be viewed here.  This photo of a modified French S35 is quite interesting.

Panzerwrecks 19 - Yugoslavia

Chieftain’s Hatch: How Suitable was T29, Part 2

chieftains hatchAt the World of Tanks forum, Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part two of his article on US post-WW2 heavy tanks. This installment of the article looks specifically at concerns expressed by the Armored Board in a report regarding the the T-29 and T-30 heavy tanks. The Armored Board seemed to have a more than a few concerns regarding heavy tanks, particularly one the topics of logistical support and transportation, as well as gun performance and armor.


The US Army wanted a tank which I’m not sure even they believed was entirely possible with the level of technology then available. There was also a level of contradiction: They wanted a gun which was capable of defeating all likely armor possible of being placed onto a tank while, at the same time, wanting sufficient armor to be proof against any gun. The armor team and the gun team must have had some interesting discussions. More importantly, note the amount of emphasis placed on strategic and operational mobility. Getting a tank to move about the battlefield doesn’t seem to have placed anywhere near as many restrictions on the design, or taken as many processing cycles, as being able to get it to the battlefield in the first place. Granted, it was not wartime, but six weeks to collect enough railway rolling stock to move a battalion of medium tanks is a significant amount of time. Getting the rarer heavy capacity flatcars would have taken even longer. There is little surprise that Transportation and Engineering corps usually placed objections to heavy tanks when they came up.

It is interesting to note the comparative value of the T29 to the T30. T30 provided no particular improvement in anti-armor lethality, which seems to have been the driving force behind the heavy-tank criterion, and did better at dealing with bunkers and infantry at the cost of a very reduced rate of fire and ammunition capacity. Did the merits of the one bigger bang outweigh the overall weight-of-shell per minute that the two types of tank could fire? Perhaps T34 would prove to be the compromise blend. After all, when the US finally did decide to build a heavy tank in the M103, they went with the 120mm.

Full article available here.