Video: Cavalry Tank Museum – Ahmednagar, India

This video appeared on youtube today.  It is a fairly low quality video consisting of a walk-around filmed with a handheld camera with no narration.  Despite the low quality, we felt the subject matter was interesting enough to be worth sharing.  Since most of our page views come from North American or Europe, it is fair to assume most readers will not have an opportunity to ever visit the Cavalry Tank Museum in India.

Translated Articles from Archive Awareness

It’s time again to do a round up of the Russian language articles translated to English at the Archive Awareness blog.  Click on the article title to read the full article.

MT-25: The Last Convertible Drive

1-1Difficult battles of the Soviet-German front in 1941-1942 negated the advantages of light tanks. Equipped with relatively weak weapons and mostly bulletproof armour, light tanks as a class were becoming obsolete. The Germans were the first to see the end of the pre-war concept of a light tank, ceasing production in 1942. In the USSR, engineers were still trying to boost the combat performance of the T-70. The result of this work was the T-80 tank, but it came too late.  Meanwhile, proposals for radically new light tanks arrived. A proposal for the MT-25 tank was sent by Chelyabinsk engineers to Stalin on February 24th, 1943. Unlike many proposals, this one contained interesting ideas and was well thought out, and piqued the interest of the Main Armoured Directorate. What were these ideas, and why was the tank never built?


World of Tanks History Section: Battle for Dompaire

karta_dyz86elIn the late summer and early fall of 1944, F. Leclerc’s 2nd Armoured Division was confidently leading the Allied offensive in Lorraine. Colonel Paul de Langlade was the leader among leaders. His decisive actions threatened German units south of Nancy with encirclement.  The Germans decided to deliver a counterattack to correct matters. Now de Langlade, having scorned his enemy, had to deal with the consequences of his success.

Ready for defense: The Germans sent elements of the 112th Tank Brigade into battle, commanded by Horst von Usedom. The brigade was well equipped: 45 of its 109 tanks and SPG were the picky but deadly Panthers. Various sources count 600-800 infantrymen. The artillery department was lacking: von Usedom only had six AT guns and five howitzers at his disposal.


Toldi: The Hungarian Light Knight

2Sometimes fairly good designs of military hardware don’t reach their true potential because they appeared in the wrong time or in the wrong place. Light tanks, widely in use on all theaters of WWII, disappeared rather quickly from the Eastern Front, freeing up the space for their heavier brothers. The Hungarian Toldi tank, the first mass produced tank for the country, was one of them.  The consequences of the First World War were disastrous for Hungary. The Treaty of Trianon of 1920 which cost Hungary 72% of its territory, 64% of its population, and its access to the sea was seen as a national disgrace. The state of mourning declared after the treaty was signed was one of the longest in world history: state flags remained at half mast until 1938 when Hungary returned some of its lost territory after the First Vienna Award. Some schoolchildren begin the day with singing the national anthem, while Hungarian students began with reading a prayer for the reunification of their country.


World of Tanks History Section: Sagopshin Tank Battle, Prokhorovka in the Caucasus

foto_1_stabswache_de_eurosThe Wehrmacht offensive towards the Caucasus in 1942 had two goals. The secondary was to cut the line of Lend-Lease supplies, but the primary goal was to reach the local oil supply. At the time, Caucasian wells accounted for 70% of the USSR’s oil. It’s not hard to imagine what a loss of these wells would mean for the USSR, which was already doing poorly in 1942, or what a godsend it would be for the fuel-starved German army.

On September 2nd, 1942, the Germans crossed the Terek river and wedged themselves into the Soviet defenses. Fierce battles were fought around Malgobek. This village and others nearby cut off the Germans from the Alkhanchurtskaya Valley, from where the precious oil was a stone’s throw away. The Germans picked the Sagopshin settlement (modern day Sagopshi), just south of Malgobek, to deliver their decisive strike. The elite 5th SS Motorized Division “Viking” was chosen to attack here.


L-60: Scandinavian Tank Revolution

8Having fought its last war in 1814, Sweden ended up one of the few European countries that avoided participating in either World War. Nevertheless, the Swedes always paid careful attention to their army’s weapons. Despite its neutrality, Sweden often preferred weapons of German origin. This applied to tanks as well. Even the Strv fm/21, the first Swedish tanks, were really German LK.IIs. Ten of these tanks were built at AB Landsverk in Landskrona, which became the Swedish tank development center for decades to come. The Landsverk L-60 was born here, some elements of which were a real revolution for tank development in the 1930s.  Sweden’s neutral status, its developed industry, and well maintained connections were very useful for the Germans. The Treaty of Versailles prohibited Germany from developing new types of weapons and military vehicles. However, this prohibition did not stop the Germans from secretly re-launching tank development programs in 1925. They also did not miss out on the opportunity to develop tanks in other countries.


World of Tanks History Section: The British Devil and His Brothers

1tankNo one could have guessed on September 15th, 1916 that many military theory books would become obsolete in an instant. The first tank entered its baptism by fire, and an unnamed German’s cry “The devil is coming!” announced the coming of the new god of war.

French and German tanks came after British ones, but the “rhombus” was the first of the first. Nine tanks belonged to this family. Some of them made it in time for the war, others remained prototoypes. Episodes collected in this article will briefly describe the “rhomboid” family.


TACAM T-60: SPG, Transylvanian Style

2-1Romania joined WWII with a very marginal tank force, both in numbers and capability. The first battles on the Eastern front showed that their tanks were incapable of engaging Soviet medium tanks, let along heavy ones. The Romanian army was in desperate need of new more powerful anti-tank means. In a very short amount of time, they could only be built on captured platforms.

Romania only have one tank unit in the summer of 1941: the 1st Tank Division. It consisted of the 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments, reinforced by two regiments of motorized infantry, a motorized artillery regiment, a recon battalion, and a sapper battalion. The 1st Tank Regiment was equipped with Czechoslovakian S-II-aR (an export variant of the LT vz. 35), 126 of which were purchased in 1938-1939. These tanks served in the Romanian army under the index R-2. The 2nd Tank Regiment consisted of French Renault R35 tanks.


World of Tanks History Section: Crushing the Tarnopol Fortress

221091-ebxqje0c1vk04kkw0o0ocwowk-ejcuplo1l0oo0sk8c40s8osc4-thThe main purpose of new IS-2 heavy tanks that appeared in the Red Army in 1944 was the destruction of German pillboxes with their 122 mm guns. Fighting enemy tanks was not a priority. However, plans and forecasts rarely work in war. The IS tanks got a chance to test themselves against enemy armour soon after they arrived on the battlefield.

This happened in the spring of 1944, during the Proskurovo-Chernovtsy operation. In addition to their other objectives, the Soviet forces had to surround the German 1st Tank Army. Colonel-General Chernyakhovskiy’s 60th Army participated in this task. One of the first targets in its path was Tarnopol (modern day Ternopol). Hitler declared it a Festung: a city-fortress that German forces had to hold until the last man. On April 11th, it was time for the defenders to carry out that order.


The Last Soviet Heavy Tank Destroyers

10In the days of the Second World War, heavy self propelled guns played an important part on the battlefield. It is not surprising that after the end of the war, heavy SPGs, including tank destroyers, remained a priority for designers from all nations. It’s surprising that only a handful of these vehicles were ever built in metal, and none were mass produced. The Soviet Union and its Object 268 was no exception.

Weight Limit: As with heavy tanks, prospective Soviet heavy SPGs were well protected vehicles with long 152 mm guns. The first requirements for these vehicles were ready in 1945, but work began only a year later. They were designed on the chassis of the Object 260 (IS-7) and Object 701 (IS-4) tanks.


World of Tanks History Section: Battle for Teploye

ru-a7300-18_3The Germans understood that the summer offensive against the Kursk salient will not be an easy one. German commanders took their time planning Operation Citadel, moving the start date several times. Meanwhile, the Red Army was digging in, wrapping the terrain in barbed wire and sowing mines. The Germans were also preparing, knowing that their units will be warmly received. Their hopes rested on new types of tanks: Tigers and Panthers, Ferdinand tank destroyers and Brummbar assault tanks.


ZIK-20: Assault Alternative

2-2On April 15th, 1942, the plenary assembly of the Artillery Committee of the GAU met to discuss further development of self propelled artillery. The decisions worked out in this meeting became key in wartime development of Soviet SPGs. Among others, requirements were confirmed for a heavy SPG that would replace the 212 bunker buster. Work began on this SPG on the KV-7 chassis at UZTM, headed by L.I. Gorlitskiy. By the fall of 1942, the U-18 project was ready, but by that point, a competitor was developed at Sverdlovsk.

In February of 1942, artillery production from the Ural Heavy Machinebuilding Factory (UZTM) was transferred to factory #8, which was evacuated in the fall of 1941 from Kaliningrad (modern day Korolev) to Sverdlovsk. The factory director was B.A. Fradkin, same as before the evacuation. F.F. Petrov was appointed chief engineer of the new factory.


Czech from Russia

1By the end of the Second World War, T-34-85 tanks became one of the most common type of tank in the Czechoslovakian army. The first tanks of this type were received by the Czechoslovakian corps in early 1945, and up to 130 tanks of this type were received in total. They took part in the liberation of Prague and later became the backbone of the post-war Czechoslovakian army. Shipments continued after the war. Photos show tanks that were clearly made after May 9th, 1945. T-34-85 tanks became the first to receive the famous tricolour insignia.

The T-34-85 was a very modern tank at the end of WWII, but it was no secret that the tank would soon be obsolete. The Czechoslovakian military realized this too. On October 17th, 1945, a meeting of the General Staff was held where its commander, Divisional General Bohumil Boček approved the tactical-technical requirements for the Tank všeobecného použití (TVP), a main battle tank. The requirements were clearly inspired by the T-34-85, but the implementation details varied significantly.

Video: A34 Comet MK1A Celerity Tank restoration

This video recently appeared on youtube showing a series of still images chronicling the restoration of a Comet tank named “Celerity.”  The Restoration was carried out by the Dutch company BAIV B.V.  More photos and video of this vehicle are available on the BAIV BV website here.

Photo of the Day: Modernized Cascavel

Today’s POTD comes from IHS Jane’s 360, which has posted a description of a modernized Brazilian ENGESA EE-9 Cascavel 6×6 armored reconnaissance vehicle.  The Cascavel has been in service since the early 1970’s, and was developed as a replacement for the aging M8 Greyhounds which the Brazilian military were using up to that point.


US Tanker Herbert Hoover Burr

The Kansas City Star has posted a story about US Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Herbert Hoover Burr as part of their “Hometown Heroes” series.  Burr was a tank gunner in the 11th Armored Division who was awarded for bravery on several occasions during the fighting in Europe in 1944-1945.

Article excerpt:

herbert_h-_burrOn March 19, 1945, just outside the German village of Dörrmoschel, an American tank, already ablaze from a rocket strike, rounded a corner and and surprised an enemy anti-tank gun crew in the road.

Point-blank range. Surprised the tank driver, too. All the Germans had to do was pull the lanyard and blast a shell — big enough to blow up a building — into the tank. But they didn’t. Probably because the tank was so badly damaged it didn’t appear to pose much of a threat.

What they didn’t know: The 24-year-old soldier driving the tank was a scrappy Kansas City house painter who liked to drink beer and fight.

No, Herbert Hoover Burr, alone in that tank, did not have a working gun. But at that point in that day and in a war that had gone so long, he didn’t need one. He dropped the hammer and headed straight for the German 88 mm anti-tank gun.

“So unexpected and daring was his assault that he was able to drive his tank completely over the gun, demolishing it and causing its crew to flee in confusion,” said the citation for the Medal of Honor that Burr received for actions that day.

Video: Security on the March for Mechanized Units

This video showed up on youtube yesterday.  It is a 1943 instructional video on “Security on the March: Mechanized Units”.  Some nice footage showing the exterior and interior of early model M4 and M4A1 tanks.

Photo of the Day: M60 Cast Hull at Factory

Here is a cool photo of the hull of a US M60 tank at the factory.  We don’t have any information concerning the details of this photo, but we would guess it was taken inside the Detroit Tank Arsenal operated by Chrysler.



Video: Mbombe6, Boxer and Piranha 5

Here are a few recent video’s from IHS Jane’s reporter Christopher Foss covering a few different armored wheeled combat vehicles.



Israeli war veteran reunited with tank from Yom Kippur War

From CBS NewYork comes this video about Yuval Neria, an Israeli war veteran and professor at Columbia University.   On Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, Dr. Neria was reunited on Long Island with a tank like the one he rode in 43 years ago during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The tank, a 45-ton Israeli Magach 3, is on display at the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration.  Dr. Neria was commanding a tank during the initial attacks by Egyptian forces in 1973.  His unit suffered heavy casualties and he received a leg wound and serious burns.  For his actions he was awarded the Israeli Medal of Valor for bravery in combat.  Dr. Neria was able to drive the tank, which was restored by the museum.  This particular vehicle was originally sold by the US to Jordan, and was captured by the Israeli’s in the 1967 war and incorporated into their own tank inventory.


Video: Lindybeige on one-man tank turrets

Here is a somewhat amusing new video from the Lindybeige youtube channel.