Ex-WWII tanks still used as paddock bashers on Australian farms

From ABC (Australia) comes an article on ex-WWII tanks still in use as paddock bashers on Australian farms.

8018074-3x2-700x467The cows do not seem too perturbed but they make sure they get out of the way whenever the members of the Busted Arse Tank Repairs and Co roll by on an armoured vehicle.

These giant machines may seem out of place on the otherwise quiet, rural property near Oberon in central-west New South Wales.

But their owner said in the years following World War II, ex-military vehicles played an important role on many Australian farms and he and his band of tank tinkerers want to pay tribute to that history.

Many sheds on farms across Australia are jam-packed full of dusty collections of tools, equipment and junk.

But the shed owned by Matt McMahon, a cattle producer in the Oberon district, contains some massive rusty specimens that speak of a little-known part of Australia’s farming history.

8023238-3x2-700x467It is a collection of tanks and other ex-military vehicles which was originally started by his father, John McMahon, in the decades following World War II.

In the great tradition of farmers making do with what was to hand, many snapped up cheap ex-military vehicles at auction.

“I’ve read stories of people getting a whole row of them for 50 quid.”

Mr McMahon said tanks helped shape many Australian properties including his, where his father cleared land…….

Read the full article here, including video clip.

Book Alert: Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944

Osprey books has released a new entry in their Duel Series, this one titled Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 (Duel) by Steven Zaloga. As the title implies, this book looks at the contest between German armor and US infantry equipped with the M1 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher, aka, the Bazooka during the December 1944 German offensive. Like the other books in this series, it is a softcover volume of 80 pages with color and black and white photos and illustrations.

Publishers Description:

World War II saw tanks assume a dominant role in warfare, capable of tearing through the enemy lines if left unchecked. To combat the threat posed by these armored behemoths, the United States developed the M1 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher, better known as the Bazooka. First employed in combat during 1942, the weapon required a great deal of skill and courage to use effectively. By late 1944 it was a mainstay of the US infantry’s anti-tank capabilities, alongside towed weapons, anti-tank grenades, and other longer-established measures.

Focusing on the savage close-quarters fighting between Germany’s armored divisions and the US infantry during the Battle of the Bulge, Steven Zaloga’s absorbing study compares and assesses the strengths and limitations of the cutting-edge technology used by both sides. Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork and explosive battle reports, this volume casts a new light on the evolving nature of infantry-versus-tank combat in the closing months of World War II.

Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 is available from Amazon here.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Bigger Turret, Less Room

hatchlogoOver at the World of Tanks website, tank researcher Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted an article on Sherman tank turrets and guns.  Specifically, he found some archival materials about an attempt to put a 75mm gun into the T23 turret (this is basically the same turret as the 76mm armed Sherman tanks).  Oddly enough, they found that the 75mm gun did not fit.  While this may seem counter-intuitive since the T23 turret was larger than the 75mm gun turret, the answer lies in the shape of the turret and the placement of the trunnions.  The Chieftain uses this example to make the larger point that up gunning a tank turret is more than just a simple case of  making sure the turret ring is big enough and jamming in a new gun.

Excerpt:

One of the problems with Firefly was that the turret was a little cramped.

The 17pr is not a small gun to cram into a turret bustle measured in inches. US Army Ordnance had a crack at putting the somewhat smaller and lighter 76mm into the same turret, and Armored Force found it unsatisfactorily cramped and rejected it.

Another lesser-known issue for Firefly is that in order to be converted, the tank had to be the 75mm one with the smaller turret. This is partly why the 75mm Sherman remained on the production lines even after the US Army decided to switch to the 76mm. But it raises the question: why did they mandate use of the 75mm tank? Surely the 76mm turret, bigger as it was, would have been a better match, and reduce the limitations the Firefly was under. How could the British miss this?

Read the full piece here.

Photo of the Day: M60 with add-on armor

We found this photo in a forum a few days ago and while we hate to admit it, we don’t know what this is. Obviously these are US built M60 tanks. Since there is only a slot in the add on armor on the right side of the turret, we assume this is an M60A3 (the A3 has the laser range finder in the right side of the turret, whereas the earlier versions use both left and right blisters for the stereoscopic range finder). Other than that, we have to admit we have no idea what this M60 variant may be. Anyone know the answer?

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Video: RedCarUSSR on T-55

This video about the Soviet T-55 showed up recently on youtube.  The video is part of a new channel by “RedCarUSSR.”  A tour of the exterior and interior of the vehicle is provided, accompanied by an English translation of the Russian language audio. The translation is a little rough but still understandable.

This channel also has videos on the T-62…

..and the Self-propelled gun Object 268

Washington Post asks how Hezbollah got the M113

Here is an article from the Washington Times about US M113 Armored Personnel Carriers in service with Hezbollah. Given the age and capabilities of the M113, I don’t think anyone is losing much sleep over Hezbollah possessing these vehicles, but it’s still and interesting read.

cxkkgb1wgaa62ibOver the weekend images surfaced online of a Hezbollah parade in Qusair, Syria, featuring U.S. armored personnel carriers affixed with antiaircraft guns. The images prompted a flurry of speculation about the vehicles’ origin and whether the group had pilfered the stocks of the U.S.-supplied Lebanese military.

The armored personnel carrier, known as the M113, is one of the United States’ most ubiquitous armored vehicles and has been in service since the 1960s. The tracked semi-rhombus-shaped vehicle comes in numerous variants and can be outfitted to carry troops and artillery; its chassis was even used as the basis for a nuclear-missile carrier. It has appeared in every major U.S. conflict since the Vietnam War and is used by U.S. police departments and dozens of others countries’ militaries around the world.

Read the full article here.

AFV News from around the Net

Here is another installment of AFV News from around the Net.  Click on the headline to read the full article.

 

Below The Turret Ring – Light/medium tanks gain popularity

2w6g50pAt the Airshow China event, a few new details on the Chinese tank VT-5 were released. The combat weight of the tank is claimed to be between 33 and 36 metric tons, depending on fitted armor package. Two different armor configurations for the VT-5 are currently being offered by Norinco, one optimized for conventional combat and one fitted with enhanced side armor protection.  The armament is confirmed to be a conventional 105 mm rifled gun, which is fitted with a thermal sleeve, a fume extractor and a bustle-mounted autoloader. Together with the computerized fire control system, the effective combat range is claimed to be 3,000 metres or more. The stabilized gun can be used stationary or fired from the move without affecting the accuracy of the VT-5. A remotely controlled weapon station (RWS) serves as secondary armament.
 
 

Jane’s IHS – Challenger 2 LEP contracts due in December

1682579_-_mainBAE Systems Land (UK), teamed with General Dynamics Land Systems UK and Rheinmetall Defence, have been downselected for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP) Assessment Phase (AP) with contract award due in December 2016.  The aim of the Challenger 2 LEP is to replace obsolete sub-systems in the turret area including the commander’s and gunner’s stabilised sighting systems and control handles, gun control equipment, and fire-control computer, and then to fit new commander’s, gunner’s and loader’s displays.  Also bidding for the LEP were CMI Defence (Belgium), teamed with Ricardo (UK); Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (Germany), teamed with Pearson Engineering (UK); Lockheed Martin UK, teamed with Elbit UK; and RUAG Defence (Switzerland), with all of these having additional team members.
 
 

Warrior – The Army’s More Lethal M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams Tank Variant Will Start Testing in the 2020s

m1a2-abrams-battle-tank-02The Army is now engineering a far-superior M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams tank variant for the 2020s and beyond –designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter weight, better protected, equipped with new sensors and armed with upgraded, more effective weapons, service officials said.   Advanced networking technology with next-generation sights, sensors, targeting systems and digital networking technology — are all key elements of an ongoing upgrade to position the platform to successfully engage in combat against rapidly emerging threats, such as the prospect of confronting a Russian T-14 Armata or Chinese 3rd generation Type 99 tank.
 
 

The Times of Israel – Female soldiers in tanks? IDF says maybe after Armored Corps chief says no

7140112313_e0458f78c6_o-e1479253846435-635x357The Israel Defense Forces is reviewing the possibility of female soldiers serving in tank brigades, a brigadier general told a Knesset committee, though the head of the army’s Armored Corps has voiced hesitation, if not outright opposition, to the notion.  Speaking before the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday about the prospect of shortening the required service time for male soldiers, Brig. Gen. Eran Shani mentioned the army was also conducting research to see if positions for women could be expanded, including in the Armored Corps and elite 669 rescue unit.
 
 

The National Interest – Britain’s Centurion: The Best Cold War Tank?

centurionWhen someone mentions a list of the best tanks in history, the names are always the same: Tiger, T-34, M-1 Abrams. And always from the same nations: Germany, Russia, America.  But great tanks from Great Britain? Though the British were the ones to develop armored fighting vehicles in World War I, British tanks of the Second World War can generally be described in one word: awful.  There were tanks that could barely move without breaking down. Tanks that were fast but too thinly armored, or heavily armored but too slow. Tanks with radios that didn’t work. Tanks with guns that could shoot armor-piercing shells at other tanks, but not high-explosive rounds at infantry and antitank guns.
 
 

Sensha – Type5 Ho-Ri : The Japanese Ferdinand

1bbeec0faa7d6d76750486005944c5ab8377cd878d0a2ea6dfpimgpsh_fullsize_distrAs of recently, I’ve gone through the Japanese National Archive files, looking through to find documents that relate to my studies. While I was there, I stumbled across something that caught my interest. Of said documents, the one of most importance was a file called “Military Secrets No.1”. The reports were held by the Ministry of Defense, Army records section, Munitions Mobilization district. Contained in these files were a 3-page production chart of late war tracked vehicles of the Japanese army. Located within the chart I found a number besides the Type 5 Ho-Ri tank destroyer. A vehicle that until recently was only known to have made it to wooden mockup stages. In this lengthy article I will cover my findings on the tank project. Unfortunately visual representations of the tank are still being looked at. So I will use existing found sources for this.

 

 

Photo of the Day: BMP with Pipe Armor

While we realize that today’s POTD is not a very high quality picture, it’s such an odd example of homemade armor we felt it worth posting.  We are not certain what happens when the crew try to rotate the turret to the side.  The current conflict in Syria has produced many such oddball improvisations.

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Video from Polish Military Museum

Nicholas Moran posted this video advertisement for the Polish Military Museum over on his facebook page.  Frankly, it’s so damn strange that we felt compelled to share it here.  In case anyone is wondering, the Panther tank in the video appears to be a rather well made vismod based on a T-54/55.

Book News: Egyptian Shermans by Christopher Weeks

8055122-f23c188bac0ddbf18752541e7f906d47When the topic of Sherman tanks in the Middle East comes up, most people generally think about the Israeli “Super Shermans.”  However, Egypt also operated a number of Sherman tanks in the period of 1949 – 1973.  For those wanting to learn about these Egyptian Sherman tank, author Christopher Weeks has put together a short new book titled “Egyptian Shermans: A Photographic History of the M4 Sherman Tank in Egyptian Service 1949-1973.”  This 38 page book includes a variety of photos showing Egyptian Sherman tanks, including the unmodified M4A4 tanks that made up the early 1950’s Egyptian tank force to the M4/FL10 hybrid (AMX-13 style turret) used in the 1967 and 73 wars.  This book is available through the self-publishing service Blurb.  As such, it’s a bit pricey compared to books from established publishers.  That said, this is the only book on the topic and will most likely provide some fresh reading material for even the most well read of Sherman tank fans.  The book is available here.

Authors Description:

The M4 Sherman tank is one of the world’s most famous tanks, with a long and storied career with foreign armies well into the post-World War II era. One of the least-well known users was Egypt, which used the tank in combat during its 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars with Israel, including its own unique variation with a French 75mm gun turret.

“Egyptian Shermans” is the most comprehensive work in the English language covering the M4 medium tank in Egyptian Army use. Over 45 photographs are featured, the vast majority of which have never before appeared in an English-language publication, including details of vehicle insignia, and rare photographs of Sexton self-propelled guns and a bridging tank used in the 1973 war.