AFV videos from 2015 AUSA

Here are a few videos of ADVs on display at the recent AUSA 2015 exhibition in Washington D.C.   First video is from the General Dynamics Land Systems display and it features the newest version of the M1 Abrams tank, the M1A2 SEP V3.

Next video is from the BAE Systems display and is of the M8 armored gun system.

From the Vault: The Gas Turbine and the S-Tank

When most people think of a gas turbine in a tank, they probably think of the M1 Abrams or maybe the Soviet T-80.  However, the first MBT to utilize a gas turbine was the rather unusual Swedish “S-Tank” STRV 103.   The S-Tank was the most unusual design of its day and its engine layout was unusual as well.  Rather than have a single engine, the S-Tank had two, a 490 HP gas turbine and a 240 HP diesel.  The tank could be run on just the diesel engine when stationary or moving at low speed, when moving at full speed both engines were engaged for a maximum power of 730 HP.  This article from the March-April 1973 issue of ARMOR details the design of the S-Tank layout.  The article author is Sven Berge, the Swedish engineer chiefly responsible for the S-Tank design.

From the Vault: Japanese Armor circa 1968

Here is an article from the July-Aug issue of ARMOR by Tomio Hara on the Development of Modern Japanese Armor.  The focus of the article is on the Japanese Type 61 tank, a vehicle that does not get much attention in English language sources.  The author of this article, Tomio Hara, was one of the leading tank experts in Japan, having commanded a tank regiment during WWII and later holding the position of commandant of the Japanese Army Combat Vehicle Research Laboratory.  The article describes the rationale used in the design of the Type 61.  Unfortunately, the article does not explain the most peculiar design element of the Type 61 which is the front mounted transmission and drive sprockets with the engine in the rear.  Although this layout was common in WW2 era tanks, the Type 61 is the only post war tank to retain this layout (other than vehicles with front mounted engines.)

From the Vault: Comparison of Performance of 75mm and 76mm tank gun ammo

image for siteToday we present a British report from 1944 comparing the performance of 75mm and 76mm ammunition used by the different variants of M4 Sherman tanks and British vehicles equipped with the QF 75mm gun (Cromwell, Churchill.)  This report was photographed by a friend of the site who was doing some archive digging over in the UK.  The armor penetration figures are not particularly interesting since these figures are quite well known.  Of more interest is the data on the H.E. rounds.  While it is generally stated in most sources that the 75mm gun had a superior H.E. round compared to the 76mm gun, few books give actual data as to how these H.E. rounds differed. For your reading convenience, we have provided a transcript of the report as well as images of the original photos.

Army Operational Research Group Memorandum No. 415

Comparison of the Performance of 75mm.  and

76 mm. Tank Gun Ammunition

[Read more…]

Iraqi forces add Russian gun to Abrams tank

Defense News is reporting that at least one M1 Abrams tank supplied to the Iraqi armed forces has shown up in the hands of Shia militiamen with a Russian built heavy machine gun mounted on the vehicle.  The vehicle, one of 146 tanks the US sold to Baghdad, was brought to a US-supported Iraqi service facility at al-Muthanna.  This particular vehicle could constitute a twin violation of Iraq’s FMS (foreign military sales)  agreements with Washington, due to unauthorized use by Shiite militias and the unsanctioned addition of the Russian gun and Iranian ammo.

The tank was equipped with a Russian .50-caliber machine gun and Iranian-stamped 12.75-mm ammunition, according to a source at the facility.

“They brought it in through Iraqi checkpoints, back-rolled it off the trailer and then drove away,” recounted the source.

“Once all the ammo was removed, as per procedure, by Iraqi personnel, we noticed Iranian markings on the back of the shell casings. Seems they put a Russian machine gun with Iranian ammunition on an Abrams tank.”

As Washington scrambles to adapt to the myriad, Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting alongside its US-trained and -supplied partners in Iraq, new manifestations of shifting alliances may threaten the relevance of US end-use monitoring in that war-torn country.

After US-led coalition airstrikes were forced to destroy about 10 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) seized from the Iraqi Army by the Islamic State group, often called ISIL or ISIS, Washington is now grappling with the phenomenon of their voluntary transfer to Shiite forces battling in concert with Baghdad against the fanatical Sunni Caliphate.

Full article here.

Oddball tank news from the UK

The Mirror is reporting that families in the UK have the option of seeing their loved ones taken to their final resting spot in a FV432 Armored Personnel Carrier converted into a hearse.

Nick Mead spent six months converting the shell of a FV432 armoured personnel carrier into a funeral car in order to give deceased servicemen the perfect send-off.

The 54-year-old splashed out £3,000 on the tank hull, refurbishing the vehicle with armoured glass and installing the interior of a Ford Granada Cardinal hearse.

He has now teamed up with a funeral directors to offer war veterans families the opportunity for their loved-one’s final journey to be in fitting style.

In other news, CNN is reporting that a British man recently purchased a Scorpion light tank for $14,000 on an online auction, despite the fact that he lived in an apartment.  The purchaser of the ex-Canadian vehicle, Jeff Woolmer, bought a house after realizing that he could not store the tank in the parking system of his flat near Bristol.

“Right now my tank is in real need of some love and care. The battery needs to be replaced and the inside is a bit grimy and greasy.” he said.

“But I’m hoping to get it up and running in the next few weeks and there’s even the potential to get it road legal.”

Tank chats #10 Crossley Chevrolet Armored Car

The Tank Museum presents another installment in their series of Tank Chat videos starring David Fletcher.  This episode takes a look at the Crossley Chevrolet Armored Car.

Armoured cars had proved so successful in India during the First World War, that shortly after its end the Indian Government ordered 16 Rolls-Royce cars. However, these proved so expensive that subsequent orders were placed with Crossley Motors in Manchester who made a tough but cheap 50hp IAG1 chassis. Substantial numbers of these cars were supplied between 1923 and 1925.

The car shown in this film was presented to The Tank Museum by the Government of Pakistan in 1951.

From the Vault: Robert Icks on the best Tanks books circa 1972

Today we present a two part series written by tank expert and author Robert Icks originally published in ARMOR magazine in 1972.  The subject of the article is simply “books about armor.”  Obviously, many of the books mentioned in this article are out of print and forgotten, although a good number of them are still available through used book sellers online.  Good stuff for the serious tank book nerd.

“Grizzly” tank sells for $155,000

7498According to several articles circulating the internet, a Canadian “Grizzly” M4 tank recently sold at auction for $155,000.  Known as the M4A5, the Grizzly was a Canadian variant of the US M4 Sherman tank.  Production of the Grizzly only proceeded to 188 copies before it was realized that US manufacturing capacity would suffice for US and Commonwealth needs.  Grizzly production lines were then switched over to specialized vehicles based on the Grizzly hull such as the Sexton SPG.

According to an article from livescience.com:

The recent sale of the Canadian tank took place online via the New York-based auction platform Bidsquare. The tank was sold Wednesday (Oct. 14) by H&H Classics, an auction house that specializes in the sale of cars and motorcycles. Other Sherman tanks have been auctioned off in the U.S. in recent years. In 2014, several different variants of the Sherman tank were sold at auction. The largest of these, an M4A3E2 “Jumbo” Sherman assault tank, sold for more than $1 million.

The Grizzly, which sold for much less than the oversized assault tank, needs a bit of work to its electrical system and hydraulic cables to get it up and running, according to Bidsquare. In other words, a Canadian army tank could soon be rolling toward a town near you.

An article from the Ottawa Citizen provides more detail and photos of this particular Grizzly tank:

Reportedly used for training on both sides of the Atlantic rather than frontline combat, it is nonetheless thought that a few were deployed to Italy. Better preserved than their US contemporaries, some fifty-odd Grizzlies were sold to Portugal during the 1950s as part of the NATO military assistance programme. Demobbed three decades later several were brought back to the UK and have formed part of private and museum collections ever since.

Notable as the very first of the 188 made, CT160194 has been in the current ownership since 1984. Understood to have been used for training purposes during World War Two, the Grizzly I later saw service with the Portuguese Army. Despite reputedly participating in the Angolan War of Independence, the Sherman’s remarkable state of preservation suggests that it has never come under heavy fire. Loaned to various museums over the past thirty-one years including its present circa two decade stint at IWM Duxford, the tank is said to require minor recommissioning prior to use.

Noting that work is needed to various electric and hydraulic cables, the vendor variously rates the Grizzly as ‘excellent’ (engine, manual transmission, body), ‘excellent / good’ (paintwork) or ‘good / fair’ (interior). More complete and original than many of the Shermans that have come to market in recent years, CT160194 – a.k.a. Grizzly No.1 – has its own place in history.

grizzly-tank-nowOne thing not mentioned in the article is that the vehicle shown in the photographs has been given a paint job which includes the name “Akilla” and the number T146929 on the side of the hull.  These markings are identical to those of a Sherman tank belonging to WWII British Tank Ace George Dring.  Why someone chose to put those markings on a Grizzly tanks is not entirely clear.  The tank has spent the last two decades at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

From the Vault: 1967 article on Gas Turbine engine for Tanks

AGT 1500Today we present an article from the May-June 1967 issue of ARMOR titled “A New Concept in Land-Vehicle Propulsion” by Captain David Noake.  This piece is about the AGT-1500 gas turbine engine that would go on to power the M1 Abrams MBT.  It’s an interesting look at what was expected of gas turbine technology back when the concept was new.  It is also worth noting that the author of the article makes the quite correct observation that fuel consumption of a gas turbine is generally inferior to a diesel when running at low load, a statement which garners an editors note claiming that, according to AVCO Lycoming, this is not true for the AGT-1500.  It’s probably fair to say that AVCO Lycoming was being a bit optimistic with their fuel consumption figures.  In service, the AGT-1500 would prove to be rather “thirsty.”

The article also points out that “the turbine engine presently is not capable of sustained operations in extremely dusty areas.”  Ironically, the Abrams would go on to see combat almost exclusively in “extremely dusty areas.” Of course, dust inhalation was a serious issue for early model Abrams tanks, but those issues were sorted out many years ago. By the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Abrams proved it could operate in a desert environment quite successfully. It may surprise some of the young men that operate the current generation of Abrams tanks that the engine powering their steel behemoth is quickly approaching it’s 50th anniversary!