Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: M47 Part II

Part 2 of  Nicholas Moran’s “Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch” video on the M47 Patton.

Video of the Day: Armata on Parade

This video of Russian Armata T-14 tanks on parade appeared on youtube yesterday.

Latest News from Jane’s IHS

Here is a collection of news stories from Jane’s IHS.  Click on the title to go to the article.

French Army Leclerc upgrade gets under way

0064639_-_mainNexter Systems is moving forward with the upgrade of the French Army Leclerc main battle tanks (MBT) and armoured recovery vehicles (ARV).

In March 2015, the French Procurement Agency, the DGA, awarded Nexter Systems a EUR300 million (USD339.5 million) contract covering 200 Renovated Leclerc MBTs and 18 Renovated Leclerc ARV.


RUAG Defence develops upgraded M109

1486227_-_mainRUAG Defence has developed an enhanced version of the M109 155 mm self-propelled (SP) artillery system aimed at the export market. The company has already upgraded 348 Swiss Army M109sto the Pz Hb 88/95 standard, which represent the only SP artillery deployed by the Swiss Army.  Among the improvements are a modified turret and the use of locally manufactured 155 mm/47 calibre chrome plated ordnance in place of the original 155 mm/39 calibre type. This offers an extended range and has a burst rate of fire of three rounds in 15 seconds due to the installation of a flick rammer.


SAGEM Paseo enters production

1630229_-_mainSAGEM is producing its Paseo modular advanced stabilised sighting (MASS) system for an undisclosed export customer. The Paseo MASS has already been shown fitted to CMI Defence Cockerill’s 3030/40 and 3105 turrets on a General Dynamics European Land Systems MOWAG Desert Piranha 5 8×8 armoured fighting vehicle (AFV).  That fit features two Paseo MASS systems installed on the right side of the turret mounted one above the other, the top unit for the commander and the lower one for the gunner.


Belarus develops Adunok RWS

1642605_-_mainThe Design Office Display of Belarus has developed a new version of its Adunok remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) designated Adunok-W.

While the original Adunok RCWS was armed with a single 7.62 mm PKT machine gun (MG), 12.7 mm Kord (MG), or a 30 mm AG-17A automatic grenade launcher (AGL), the Adunok-W is armed with a Russian 12.7 mm NSVT MG on the right and a 30 mm AG-17A AGL on the left. The 12.7 mm MG is provided with 100 rounds of ready-use ammunition, while the 30 mm AGL has 50 rounds. Ammunition is fed from the right for both weapons.


Vietnam may update Soviet era ASU-85s

1678520_-_mainOfficials from the Minotor-Service Corporation of Belarus attending the Defense Services Asia (DSA) 2016 exhibition told IHS Jane’s that Vietnamese officials had expressed “strong interest” in purchasing Minotor’s upgrade package for their ASU-85 airborne self-propelled anti-tank guns (SPATGs).

Minotor’s upgrade package includes a new more powerful diesel engine powerpack that would increase speed from 45 to 60 km/h and range from 400 km to 450 km.


Russia to develop new BTR-87 APC

Russia is developing the new BTR-87 armoured personnel carrier (APC), the Director General of Military-Industrial Company (VPK), Alexander Krasovitsky, told IHS Jane’sat Defence Services Asia 2016 exhibition at Kuala Lumpur.

“BTR-87 features rear apparel [ramp], new internal layout, and more comfortable seats for the crew and mounted soldiers. The vehicle’s engine is located in the front part. The new APC could hardly be defined as the modification of previously developed BTR-82A APC. It is a new vehicle. A BTR-82A can be converted to a BTR-87, but such conversion is not expedient,” Krasovitsky said. He mentioned that the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has shown keen interest in the new APC, although VPK is developing BTR-87 on its own initiative.


Book Alert: Illustrated History of the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202

April 30 marks the release of a new book on the history of Sturmgeschutz-Abteilung 202 by Norbert Szamveber.  This book, Illustrated History of the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202, is a rather hefty 396 pages along with 108 photos, 40 maps and documents and 9 color plates.   For those with an interest in WW2 German armor, this book should prove very interesting.

Publishers Description:

The Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202 was one of the most successful German assault gun units in the Second World War. It had been deployed exclusively on the Eastern Front against the Red Army between 1941 and 1945. The StuGs of this unit were very effective AFVs on the battlefield in the role of heavy weapons for infantry fire support and also as mobile antitank firepower. Dr. Norbert Számvéber, author of Waffen-SS Armour in Normandy and Days of Battle, presents a detailed combat history of this unit, primarily based on archival sources. The book includes a significant number of rare photographs and several maps.

Amazon page for Illustrated History of the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202

Tank Chats #19 Matilda II

From the Bovington Tank Museum:

The name Matilda means Strength in Battle from the Germanic roots Maht, meaning strong and Hild meaning battle.

The Matilda was regarded as a superb tank in its day and carved a remarkable career for itself. A few served in France in 1940 but in the early stages of the North African campaign, under General Wavell, it virtually ruled the desert. Even when the Afrika Korps arrived it remained a formidable opponent, immune to everything but the notorious 88mm gun. Its main failings were its slow speed and small gun, which could not be improved.

Photo of the Day: M48 with sandbags

Today we present this photo of an M48 in Vietnam with a rather impressive collection of sandbags around the turret.


This photo appears in Armored Combat in Vietnam by General Donn Starry.

Book Review: Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-1945

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45 (New Vanguard) is the latest release in the long running New Vanguard series by Osprey Publishing.   Written by Dr. Bruce Newsome, this volume follows the well-established model of the New Vanguard series.  As with other New Vanguard books, it’s 48 pages and features a combination of photos, drawings and charts to accent the text.  As far as we can tell, this is the first New Vanguard title written by Dr. Newsome, most of the previous New Vanguard titles on WW2 British tanks having been authored by David Fletcher.  In examining the Valentine, Dr. Newsome has picked one of the more challenging vehicles due to the large number of variants and types of Valentine built during the war.

The Valentine was produced in greater numbers by the British Commonwealth than any other model of tank and yet it generally receives little attention, as evidenced by the fact that this book is the 233rd in the series.   Compared to its German and American counterparts, relatively little ink has been devoted to this vehicle, being limited to the old AFV Profile series from the 1970’s, the Museum Ordnance Special from the 1990’s and the more recent  books on the Valentine by Dick Taylor.

Given the large number of Valentine variants and the relatively small page count, this book does not give much in-depth detail to any particular Valentine model.  One deviation from previous New Osprey titles is the use of fairly large charts.  These account for roughly seven pages of the book and are quite useful for providing the details of the various Valentine models in a concise manner.  Also addressed in this book are the Bishop and Archer self-propelled guns as well as the ill-fated Valiant “assault” tank.    Given the small page count of the New Vanguard series, it might have been better to address these other vehicles in a separate volume.  Certainly, there is enough to say about the Valentine to fill two volumes of 48 pages.  That said, Dr. Newsome has packed as much information into the book as the New Vanguard format allows.

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45 (New Vanguard) is available in both softcover and kindle editions at Amazon.

Photo of the Day: M3 Grant with just a bit of damage

This photo shows an M3 Grant that, despite the condition of the hull, has been restored to running order.  This former range wreck was brought back to life by John Gillman (according to the fellows over at


Overlord’s Blog: Cuckoo the Panther Tank

Overlord’s Blog has posted a new article about the 4th Coldstreams Guards armored battalion during the campaign in Western Europe in WW2. In particular, the article looks at “Cuckoo”, a captured German Panther tank used by the unit for a time.


eGl0UcSShe was named Cuckoo. All the vehicles of the command group in the Coldstreams were named after birds, for example the battalion commander’s tank was called “Eagle”, a armoured command vehicle was “Vulture”, and they had scout cars named “Pigeon”, “Wren” and “Owlet”, to name but a few. Keeping with this ornithological theme “Cuckoo” seemed to fit a German tank in a British unit.

Cuckoo’s wartime exploits are difficult to find, she first gets a mention in the reduction of the Geijsteren, a castle in Holland which was surrounded by a moat, flood water and mud, with its bridge blown and the causeway leading to it covered by German guns. The British after seeing the results of a similar attack decided it would be easier to just reduce it with fire-power, and set about this on the 27th of November. Here Cuckoo’s long gun is singled out for praise as it was able to smash shells with unerring accuracy through windows and loopholes. Despite the Coldstreams shooting at it nothing much was achieved, so on the 28th the Allies prepared for a shooting party.

Read the full article here


Video: PT-76 and ASU-85

From the same youtube channel as the T-54/T-55 videos we posted yesterday, here are some new videos containing footage of the Soviet PT-76 light tank and the Soviet ASU-85 self-propelled gun.