AFV News from around the Net

We hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend.  Here is a number of articles from the past week or so related to tanks and AFVs Click on the headline to read the full article.


Lincolnshire Live – Dad’s Army’s Private Godfrey was at Lincoln tank’s first battle

godfrey1As the mild-mannered Private Godfrey in the hit TV show and film Dad’s Army, actor William Arnold Ridley won a place in the nation’s hearts.  He actually served in the Home Guard for real in the Second World War after being evacuated from Dunkirk as the Germans pushed the British back across the Channel in May 1940. But even before that time, Ridley has seen action in the trenches during the First World War with the Somerset Light Infantry.


The Washington Post – The Islamic State is now deploying tanks made of wood

imrs-1IRBIL, Iraq — As they battle to hold on to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Islamic State militants have added a new weapon to their arsenal: tanks made of wood.  The life-size replicas are intended to confuse air support from the U.S.-led coalition backing the Iraqi ground offensive for the city, commanders said. Although they may look far from realistic when viewed from close quarters, it’s harder to tell what they are made of from the sky.  Iraqi forces discovered a building used to manufacture the decoys when they retook the village of Sada, north of Mosul, last week. In addition to three fake tanks, they found five wooden Humvees.


Defense News – Romania to Award Armored Vehicles Deal to Germany’s Rheinmetall

download-1WARSAW, Poland — Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos has announced that the country’s Defence Ministry is planning to award a contract for the delivery of armored personnel carriers (APC) to Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence. The company is to team up with a state-run Romanian manufacturer and launch a plant in Romania that will produce the APCs.  “There will be a partnership, a Romanian-German joint venture, which will allow Rheinmetall to obtain the contract from the Ministry of Defence and build an armored personnel carrier that will be first supplied to the Romanian military,” Ciolos told local broadcaster Europa FM in an Nov. 17 interview.


IHS Jane’s – Brazil orders new 6×6 armoured carriers

1484900_-_mainThe Brazilian Army’s Logistics Command (CoLog) will award Iveco Latin America a contract for 1,580 serial production VBTP-MR Guarani 6×6 amphibious armored vehicles on 22 November, the service’s Projects Management Office told IHS Jane’s . The fleet, to be delivered from 2016-35, will comprise troop transport, communications, command post, ambulance, and 120 mm mortar vehicles. CoLog is buying the platforms in batches of 723, 547, 275, and 35 vehicles, as well as associated equipment and services totalling BRL5.9 billion (USD1.76 billion). Several will be armed with manned protected weapon mounts and ARES Aeroespacial & Defesa’s REMAX and UT-30BR remote weapon stations.


IHS Jane’s – Morocco takess delivery of M109A5 howitzers

fbcb764e-21b3-4dc3-8e94-0f61e2de37f5Morocco has taken delivery of a consignment of 155 mm M109A5 self-propelled howitzers, local media reported on 21 November.  The reports were accompanied by photographs showing at least 12 M109s that had been unloaded at Casablanca’s port.  The US Excess Defense Articles database shows that Morocco has requested 70 surplus M109A5 howitzers.  Morocco is already an M109 user, having imported 42 M109A2 howitzers from Germany in 2008, as well as three M109A3s and a single M109A4 from the United States in 2013, according to the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) information.


The Independent – Russia ‘preparing bring to up to 3,000 Soviet-era T-80 tanks back into service’

russia-t-80Russia is reportedly preparing to upgrade its Soviet-era T-80 battle tanks in order to bring them back into service.  Up to 3,000 of the tanks, which entered service in 1976, will be updated to bring their combat power closer to the current T-90 model.  “At present, the preparative works to start the modernisation of the first T-80BV MBTs are at a final stage,” a defence industry source told military magazine Jane’s Defence Weekly.  The “overhaul and modernisation” of the tanks “will be launched next year” the source added. They said the number of tanks to be upgraded will be determined by the military.


IHS Jane’s – Ukraine to provide engines for Pakistan’s improved Al Khalid MBT

563df68f5e330The Pakistani government has signed an agreement with Ukraine for the supply of 200 engines to equip the country’s highly anticipated next-generation main battle tank (MBT), which is commonly referred to as the Al Khalid-Improved (I) MBT, according to Pakistani defence officials.  The deal was signed on 23 November during the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which is held every two years in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.  While the exact type of engine was not revealed, a senior official of Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) told IHS Jane’s that it will be larger than the Ukrainian 6TD-2 engine generating a maximum 1,200 bhp that powers the 420 Al Khalid MBTs operated by the Pakistan Army’s Armoured Corps.


The Jerusalem Post – IDF soldier killed after tank flips during exercise

showimageA 20-year old IDF soldier was killed when his tank overturned during an exercise on the Golan Heights shortly after midnight Wednesday, the IDF announced on Thursday morning.  The accident victim was Sgt. Ido Ben- Ari from Ramat Sharon, a tank commander in the 9th Battalion of the Armored Corps’ 401 Brigade. He was posthumously promoted to staff-sergeant.  Three other soldiers suffered minor injuries in the incident and were discharged from Rambam Medical Center in Haifa after receiving medical treatment.  Ben-Ari’s tank brigade was taking part in a wide-scale training exercise along with the Givati Brigade and its engineering forces when the accident occurred at around 1 a.m. on Mount Shifon on the northern Golan Heights.


Sunday Express – Army cuts to see UK have FEWER tanks than Serbia

challenger-2-tank-737015CUTS being planned by army chiefs would see the country’s defence force lose a third of its frontline tanks, leaving it with fewer than Serbia.    The plan, expected to be revealed in the coming months, would see one of the army’s three tank regiments have all of its 56 Challenger 2s replaced with Ajax fighting vehicles.  If the plan was sanctioned it would leave the country with just 40 more tanks than neutral Switzerland.  The move would see the UK’s tanks drop from 227 to 170, with 112 on frontline duty while the rest would be used for training in the UK and Canada.


Ynet – Former IDF commanders against women in tanks

68605241911086640360noSeveral former IDF commander have come out against a bill proposal that would result in the IDF integrating women in combat roles that are currently not open to them.  MK Merav Michaeli, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, introduced the legislation that would require the IDF to design a model to fill personnel needs regardless of gender.  “What the American armed forces are doing now is what the IDF was recommended to do ten years ago,” said Michaeli. “Every day that goes by without exhausting human resources is a waste of quality manpower and motivation. Instead of giving female soldiers with high motivation every opportunity, the IDF is dragging its feet because of prejudice and pressure from rabbis.”


South China Morning Post – Mainland agents ‘tipped off Hong Kong about Singaporean army vehicles’

1479962864568SL4_DF19E6A750A729CEC457E4B7ABE4435D.jpgMainland agents tipped off Hong Kong customs about nine Singaporean military vehicles after the boat carrying them docked in the mainland port of Xiamen, prompting their seizure and impounding in the city last Wednesday, a report has claimed.  Before the latest twist in the diplomatic row, Singapore stepped up efforts to recover the armoured vehicles, with a delegation arriving in Hong Kong on Friday night to expedite their release and quell the potential political fallout.  Sources said Singapore would need to contact the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the vehicles back, adding that the discovery had been reported to Beijing already and the decision on whether to release them was no longer in Hong Kong hands.


Kurdistan – N. Syria: Kurdish-led forces blow up four Turkish tanks

turkishtankssyriaMANBIJ, Syria (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdish-led military command in the northern Syrian town of Manbij on Thursday announced they destroyed four Turkish army tanks in the western countryside of the township.  In a statement, the Manbij Military Council (MMC), a Syrian Arab-Kurdish coalition allied to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said the Turkish army airstrikes and shelling had changed the course of their battle against the Islamic State (IS) since last week.  The MMC statement said the Turkish airstrikes were supposed to be against IS in al-Bab town in northern Syria, but the Turkish warplanes and artillery were targeting the liberated areas around Manbij.  “Our forces [MMC] blew up four Turkish tanks around the village of Sheikh Naser, west of Manbij,” the statement said.


Video: The Atomic Tank

The youtube channel Plainly Difficult has posted this video about a 1953 test conducted by Great Britain of the effects of an atomic explosion on a Centurion Mark III tank.

Happy “Tanksgiving”


To all our readers in the USA, we hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.  To our readers outside the USA, have a great weekend.  While our goal here is to post new material on a daily basis, several events have conspired to make that impossible this month.  However, we are hopeful that moving forward we can get back to our regular schedule.  Thank you for reading!

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.


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?