From the Vault: Seek, Strike, and Destroy: US Army Tank Destroyer Doctrine in World War II

Leavenworth papers TDFor those interested in the history of US Tank Destroyers,  check out  Seek, Strike, and Destroy: US Army Tank Destroyer Doctrine in World War II by Dr. Christopher Gabel published in 1985.  This paper takes a critical yet fair look at the tank destroyer branch during WWII, explaining why it was created and how it functioned during the war.  At over 79 pages long, this paper is pretty close to being a book.  And even better than a book, it’s available for free.

The paper may be viewed at the Hathi Trust Digital Library site or a slightly lower quality copy can be downloaded at the  Combined Arms Research Library.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Strv m/42

Not sure how we missed this video which was posted on youtube three weeks ago.  Nicholas Moran from World of Tanks takes a quick look at the Swedish Strv m/42.

From the Vault: Soviet Tank Company Tactics (1976)

For those you wondering what the US military knew about Soviet armor tactics in the 1970’s, this document may prove of interest.  From the Defense Intelligence Agency is this report from 1976 on Soviet Tank Company Tactics.

From the Preface:

This study of Soviet tank company tactics is written as a “how they fight” manual.  Many of the concepts and methods used by the Soviets appear to the US or NATO military reader so alien that there is a temptation to say “This is unworkable.”  The reader should appreciate that the Soviet tank company commander has a vastly different task than his US or NATO equivalent.  His task is to train and lead his company as directed by well established principles set out in field service regulations, and as interpreted by his superiors.  The company fights either as part of a battalion size unit, or with the close support of other tank, motorized rifle, and artillery units.  the battalion is the basic unit of maneuver in the Soviet Ground Forces and a company is best regarded as a fire team.

The entire report can be read at the website for the Hathi Trust Digital Library.  Click on the image below to read the report.

Soviet tank company tactics

 

Readers may be amused at this artists rendition of a Soviet T-72 tank found in this report.  This is a good example of the confusion in the West in this period regarding the new generation of Soviet tanks represented by the T-64 and T-72.

T-72 artists rendition 1976

Book Alert: Flakpanzer

Amazon has listed a June 1, 2016 release date for the new hardcover book “Flakpanzer” by Tim Dinan, Chris Meadows and Sam Olsen.

Publishers Description:


Ever since mankind started to use aircraft to fight their enemies, the enemy found means to fight the aircraft. When armies and warfare turned motorized, so did the Anti-Aircraft artillery (Flak). As modern mechanized warfare was born in Germany, so was the Flakpanzer. This book reveals all the secrets regarding the German Flakpanzers. Also included are all purpose built vehicles carrying flak guns: The halftracks, the artillery tractors, redesigned tanks and prototype vehicles. Complete technical description of all vehicles, guns and operational descriptions of how the vehicles were used are included in the book.* Encyclopedia information on all vehicles converted to flak vehicles or purpose built as them* Complete technical description of them* Many unpublished photos of them* Complete production figures of them* Color artwork by some of the best artists in the world

Flakpanzer is available for pre-order from Amazon.

Ukraine announces 1500HP version of 6TD engine

p1645974According to IHS Jane’s, the State Enterprise Malyshev Plant in Ukraine is marketing a 1500 HP version of the 6TD series of engines.  The 6TD is a liquid cooled, two-stroke multifuel engine with six cylinders and 12 pistons.  According to the Jane’s article, the engines “ejection-type cooling system enables the MBT to operate in high ambient temperatures of up to 55°C without loss of power when using diesel fuel.”  The article also notes that “the highly efficient cassette/cyclone air filter is claimed to ensure air filtration with an efficiency rating of up to 99.8%, which is critical for operating in desert conditions”.

The 6TD was developed from the earlier 5TD engine which originally equipped the Soviet T-64 MBT.  As the names imply, 5TD was a five cylinder engine while 6TD is a six cylinder engine.  The 6TD was introduced in 1979, tanks equipped with the 6TD usually designated with an “M” added to their designation, for example, T-64AM, T-64BM, etc.   The 5TD was rated at 700 HP, the original version of the 6TD (6TD-1)rated at 1000 HP, with later versions of the 6TD (6TD-2) being rated at 1200 HP.

The 6TD is an unusual engine in that it is a two stroke diesel with an opposed piston configuration.  The opposed piston design allows for two pistons per cylinder, leading to a rather compact unit with high power output (not to be confused with a “flat” engine layout such as the Continental AOS 895.)  This style of diesel engine was first pioneered by Germany in the 1930’s with the Junkers Jumo 205, one of the few successful diesel aircraft engines.  In the postwar period, but the USSR and the UK developed tank engines based on the Jumo concept, the USSR creating the 5TD and the UK the Leyland L60 which powered the Chieftain MBT.  Both the L60 and the 5TD suffered a fair number of issues when first put into service, requiring a fairly lengthy period to iron out the “teething” problems.  Since the T-64 and its engine were developed by the Kharkiv based Morozov Design Bureau and the Kharkiv Diesel Factory No. 75, these facilities became part of independent Ukraine following the break up of the USSR in 1991.  Currently, the 6TD engine serves as the powerplant for the Pakistani al-Khalid MBT.

From the Vault: “Crack that Tank” 1943

This video came to our attention when it was posted earlier this month on the Facebook page for The Armor Journal.  It’s a rather entertaining US Army training film for infantry on how to stop enemy tanks.  Whoever was responsible for the M3 Medium tank modified to appear as an enemy vehicle in this film certainly exercised a bit of creative license…

 

 

Botswana to Purchase K2 Black Panther?

IHS Jane’s is reporting that the government of Botswana is planning to purchase a number of new weapons systems, including armored fighting vehicles.  According to the article:

1452807_-_mainBotswana’s The Sunday Standard newspaper reported in February that, in the wake of Khama’s visit to South Korea, the BDF was planning to spend BWP2 billion on eight T-50s and was also expected to buy K2 Black Panther tanks from South Korea.

More recently, on 16 May, the newspaper reported that the country was planning to spend nearly BWP2 billion on 45 Piranha 8×8 armoured vehicles made by General Dynamics Switzerland – presumably a reference to General Dynamics European Land Systems Mowag (GDELS-Mowag) – and turrets armed with 30 mm guns.

The BDF already uses Piranha III vehicles, 45 of which were delivered from 2003 .

Given the cost and complexity of the K2 Black Panther, this seems like a rather ambitious (and somewhat unrealistic) purchase for a country ranked only 118th in terms of GDP.  Currently, the most capable MBT operated by a Central or Southern African country is the South African Olifant MBT, which is a significantly upgraded version of the venerable British Centurion tank.