The Female Tankers in Somalia

Foreign Policy.com has posted an article on the rather interesting story of the Ugandan female tankers serving as peace-keepers in Somalia.  Hats off to these brave women.

Excerpt:

ARABISKA FORWARD OPERATING BASE, Somalia — It was 9:30 a.m., in a desolate corner of Somalia, and Lt. Cpl. Juliet Uwimana was taking her tank for a test drive. She and the rest of Uganda’s Battle Group 18 had been in the war-torn Lower Shabelle region for only a week, but already the Battle Group was on high alert.

rsz_pc4a5402Al-Shabab militants had overrun three similar forward-operating bases in the last year, killing more than 100 soldiers. They had also attacked dozens of other bases, including one just six miles from their post in Arabiska. But this morning was a quiet one — hence Uwimana’s test drive in the T-55 tank. She stood on a metal seat as the machine jerked forward, spewing smoke from its massive treads and rolling through sand so deep it threatened to swallow the vehicle whole.

Uwimana is one of roughly 500 women in the Ugandan contingent of AMISOM, the 17,000-strong African Union force tasked with battling al-Shabab and securing the troubled Horn of Africa nation so that a political process can take root. They serve as drivers, gunners, and technicians in the motorized infantry division — roles that women were barred from in the U.S. military until as recently as last year. But in Somalia, female peacekeepers have been serving in these positions for years.

Read the full article here.

Video: SU-76M Test Run

Not much in the news today.  Here is some video from Yuri Pasholok of a restored SU-76M being test run.

Video: ISIS ATGM strikes Iraqi Abrams tank

Over the past couple days some dramatic footage of ISIS forces firing an ATGM at an Iraqi Army M1 Abrams tank near Mosul has been circulating the internet.  The footage appears to show the missile striking the rear of the turret, setting off a catastrophic explosion.  Little other information is available at this point concerning the incident.

Photo of the Day: House versus Tank

This picture comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  It shows an unsuccessful attempt to drive a tank through a house belonging to celebrity Penn Jillette as part of an independent film project.  Oddly, the news article refers to the tank as a “T-90”, which it obviously is not.

web1_web_trank-6_1024_7260337

From the Editor: War is Boring blog on Russian tank history

In the last couple weeks, a couple articles on Soviet tank history have appeared on the War is Boring blog.  One is a somewhat critical look at the WWII era KV tank while the other is a brief examination of post war Soviet heavy tank development.  By themselves, we didn’t really feel they merited posting about, but since they keep showing up in our daily searches for tank related articles, we did want to raise one point concerning them.

It seems both articles are based in part on an old ARMOR magazine article by Stephen “Cookie” Sewell titled Red Star – White Elephant.  As part of our “From the Vault” series of posts, we posted that particular article, as well as another ARMOR article by Sewell called Why Three Tanks?  in 2015.  Sewell is a well known figure in the AFV model building community, being the founder and first president of the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society.  He is also known for his model kit and book reviews which have appeared in Fine Scale Modeler magazine or online at the missing-lynx.com forum.

It is worth noting that Amazon has listed for release next summer a new book by Sewell on the Soviet T-10 Heavy Tank and Variants.  All we know about the book at this point is that it will be published by Osprey and will be a 144 page hardcover.

 

Female Soldiers To Crew UK Tanks In 2017

According to an article from Forces TV, female soldiers will be allowed to join British Army tank crews starting in January 2017.

a_british_royal_scots_dragon_guards_challenger_2_mbt-editFemale soldiers are to be allowed to join British Army tank crews for the first time.

Starting in January 2017, the King’s Royal Hussars, Queen’s Royal Hussars, and the Royal Tank Regiment will permit female recruits to begin tank training, with around 70 interested.

It follows a decision in July to allow women to serve in combat roles.

The rest of the Army is due to follow suit in 2018, according to the Sun.

The Royal Navy and RAF already allow women to be fighter pilots and submariners. The Army, meanwhile, aims to increase the number of female soldiers to 15%, double its current figure, by 2020.

Although all female tank drivers will have to pass through 14-weeks of basic training, critics have still claimed that frontline female soldiers could damage ‘unit cohesion’.

Read the full article here.

Below The Turret Ring: Chinese Armor at Zhuhai

The blog Below The Turret Ring posted recently about Chinese armor on display at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition 2016 in Zhuhai, China.  As usual, this is a rather detailed post with plenty of images.  This blog is quickly become one of our favorites for reading on modern armor.

Excerpt:

At the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) 2016 in Zhuhai, the Chinese military and the state-owned defence company Nornico, which manufactures pretty much all Chinese armored fighting vehicles, have presented a number of current and new vehicles.

vt-5-light-tank

VT-5 tank fitted with ERA and slat armor

Among the vehicles is a new tank, which has supposedly been designated VT-5. This appears to be an export designation, it seems to be very unlikely to be the final designation for the Chinese Army version, if it chooses to adopt the VT-5. Supposedly the VT-5 is the export version of the Chinese light tank currently only known as the ZTQ light tank. Usually a tow-digit number should be added behind the na,e- The ZTQ has been operational with the Chinese Army in Tibet for an unknown amount of time. First photographs of the ZTQ started to appear beginning in 2011, but the existence of the tank was first officially confirmed in 2016 – the exact name is still unknown to Western media. The new Chinese light tanks are supposedly weighing only 35 metric tons – about as much as a fully loaded Boxer A1 – and are claimed to be optimized for fighting in mountainous terrain.

Read the full post here.