Statement from the National Armor and Cavalry Museum on the T28 accident

As a follow-up to our Photo of the Day from yesterday about the T28 heavy tank that slide off a HET during transit, here is a statement from the facebook page of the National Armor and Cavalry Museum regarding the event.

Friends of the National Armor and Cavalry Museum,

16266196_1419707518093515_9051849803821822730_nLast Thursday we were very excited to show off the T28 leaving the yard. It was on its way to begin the first part of a clean-up, re-paint, and partial restoration. Unfortunately things do not always go as planned. During the journey across post to where it was to be painted, the contracted Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) was traveling down a hill when it suffered an unexpected and massive brake failure. In order to keep the HET on the road, the contractor crew was forced to make an extremely sharp turn. This forcefully shifted the T28 (currently weighing about the same as an M1A2 Abrams as it is without its outer track set or engine installed) around the trailer. Despite the large amounts of chain used, the T28 broke completely free. In hindsight, this probably prevented a worse accident since the T28 was not left partially chained, which could have caused the tank to roll over and off. Instead the T28 slid off the trailer and hit the ground with both tracks. It then rolled rear first, into a ditch before stopping.

First and foremost, we are extremely thankful no one was injured in the incident. As for the accident itself, the appropriate departments are conducting their investigations. As for the T28, we are very lucky that it was built very tough! Considering the U.S. Super Heavy was definitely not designed to fly short distances, it landed in the best manner imaginable. The impact of the landing and subsequent stop in the ditch did cause some damage to the suspension, specifically two bogie stations. The good news is everything is repairable and will be incorporated into the painting and cleanup. While she spent a night in the ditch, she was recovered the next day with no issues by two M88A1 Hercules Recovery Vehicles. During this time, we did not put out information until all chains of command could be informed and a proper damage assessment could be completed. While this is an unfortunate setback, it is minor in the long run and the T28 will be back. In closing we’d like to thank everyone for their support during this process and hope you continue to follow our work in preserving and restoring the U.S. Army’s armor collection. Thank you!

Sincerly,

The NACM Staff and Volunteers

Photo of the Day: T28 Accident

These photos were reportedly posted on the facebook page WRECKED N RECOVERED TANKS AND BATTLEFIELD RELICS earlier today.  The photo shows the T28 prototype heavy tank after it fell off a transporter this weekend.  Apparently, the brakes on the HETT which was moving the T28 suffered a failure, resulting in the tank coming loose.  Fortunately, no one was hurt although the tank reportedly suffered some damage to a few bogies.  The tank was being transported to a restoration center, so whatever damage was incurred in this incident will be repaired as part of the restoration of the vehicle.  To see images of the vehicle loaded on the HETT, check out this facebook post from the National Armor and Cavalry Museum.

From the Vault: The Orion Engine

We recently were given a copy of the 1975 book Some Unusual Engines by LJK Seltright.   This is a long out of print and somewhat hard to find book, with used copies going for $125.00 or more on Amazon.  Several tank engines are featured in this book, including the well known A57 Chrysler Multibank and the Mitsubishi 10 ZF ten cylinder engine.  One tank engine mentioned in the book that we were not familiar with at all was the Orion engine designed by General Motors.  This unusual engine never made it past the prototype stage.  Like the Soviet 5TD of the T-64 and the British Leyland L-60 of the Chieftain tank, the Orion utilized an opposed piston, two stroke design.  However, it was a much more unusual design than either of those two engines.  Rather than having the cylinders arraigned in a row, the Orion engine features six cylinders in two rows of three each on top of each other.  Even more unusual was that engine was combined with a turbine and the turbine actually generated the shaft power.  Below is the description from the book as well as an illustration:

orion-engine-descriptionorion-picture

We did our best to find out any other information on this rather interesting engine.  The only thing we found was a brief description in the document Engine Transmission Power Packs for Tactical Vehicles 1967. Interestingly, this report gives more detail on the Orion project, as well as the name “Rigel” for the 600HP version of the engine intended for tanks. This document also gives a date for the project, noting that the program was cancelled in 1955. Oddly, it credits the engine concept to General Electric, rather than General Motors. Below are the pages from the report pertaining to the Orion program. Unfortunately, the PDF these images came from is not of very high image quality.

orion-engine-report-descriptionorion-project-image-1orion-project-image-2

AFV News from around the Net

Here are a handful of articles from the world wide web related to armored vehicles.  Click on the headline to read the full piece.

 

Heraldnet.com – American-made M48 ‘Patton’ tank back home from Jordan

web1_flightpathspattontankm-edh-170118-1200x675The Flying Heritage Collection’s new M48A1 Patton tank has taken the long way around to its final destination.  The tank was built in the United States and then sold to the Kingdom of Jordan in Western Asia. Jordan, an ally of the US, UK, and France, received 197 M48 and 200 M48A1 tanks beginning in the mid-1960s.  Many Jordanian tanks saw combat during the Six Day War with Israel in 1967. It is unknown where this particular tank was assigned at the time. When newer tanks like the M60 became available, Jordan retired many of its M48s. This tank was a gift to the Flying Heritage Collection from the Royal Tank Museum in Aqaba, Jordan.

 

The Diplomat – Cold Start: India to Deploy Massive Tank Army Along Border With Pakistan

thediplomat_2017-01-19_21-30-12-386x257The Indian Army is set to deploy over 460 new T-90SM main battle tanks (MBTs) along India’s border with Pakistan, senior Indian defense officials told IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly on January 19.  The new T-90SM MBT (other designations T-90AM or T-90MS) is the latest and most modern version of the T-90 (which in turn is a modernized variant of the T-72 MBT), and has specifically been designed for export by Russia.  According to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, the newly ordered MBTs will supplement 850-900 license-built T-90S Bhishma tanks, divided into 18 regiments, and currently deployed in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Punjab.

 

The Telegraph – Army tests sending tanks through Channel Tunnel in case of Eastern Europe crisis

c2arj3wuaaexzr0-large_trans_nvbqzqnjv4bqsx7ldi76td85-fiyf7f892-src00rtqj67pz4zv9bbgThe Army has sent a tank and armoured vehicles through the Channel Tunnel for the first time as it looks at ways to dispatch heavy armour quickly to eastern Europe in the event of a crisis with Russia.  Five armoured vehicles loaded on wagons were sent through to France soon after midnight on Wednesday as part of the logistics exercise. They completed the 40 minute return journey a few hours later.  The drill came as the Army looks for new ways to deploy armour from the UK once it closes its bases in Germany. When the bases are closed at the end of the decade, the Army will have to deploy armoured vehicles from the UK if they are needed by Nato’s rapid reaction force to bolster defences in eastern Europe.

 

IHS Jane’s 360 – Turkey’s Altay MBT project hit by engine technology transfer issues

1684899_-_mainTurkey’s plans to build its Altay main battle tank (MBT) have hit a snag after Tümosan, the planned engine provider, cancelled a key technical support contract with Austria’s AVL List GmbH.  The cancellation comes after Austria’s parliament unanimously adopted a non-binding motion that imposed an arms embargo against Turkey in November 2016. As a result conditions were placed on the transfer of technology to Turkey. Austria made the move in response to Turkey’s increasing violation of human rights since the failed military coup attempt in July 2016.

 

TASS – Russia’s new active protection system to shield T-72, T-90 tanks from US TOW missiles

1158962MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. Russia’s new active protection system Arena-M for T-72 and T-90 tanks is capable of protecting armored vehicles from US Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided (TOW) missiles, Chief Designer of the Machine-Building Design Bureau Valery Kashin told TASS.  “According to the information we have on these missiles, the Arena-M will undoubtedly be able to protect a tank from a TOW,” the chief designer said.

 

Video: World of Tanks – Karl-Gerät Mortar

World of Tanks have certainly been busy posting videos the last few days!  Here is another one on the German World War II Karl-Gerät mortar.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: M4A1 Sherman Part 1

The latest episode of “Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch” takes a look at the M4A1 tank. In this first part, Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran will talk about the exterior features of the famous Sherman tank and it’s Continental Motors radial engine.

Document of the Day: Tigers in Syria

Instead of a Photo of the day, today we present a Document of the day.  This one is chosen more for entertainment value than anything else.  Over at the Sturgeon’s House forum, regular contributor Priory_of_Sion found this browsing through the online content at the CIA.gov reading room website.  This unusual memo from 1950 states that the Syrian government had ordered 50 Tiger Tanks and 20-30 Panther tanks from France.  It also notes that “some Tiger tanks were observed being driven in the streets of Damascus.”  We guess the trend of identifying Panzer IV tanks as “Tigers” didn’t end with WWII! (the only former German tanks operated by Syria following WWII were relatively small numbers of Panzer IV and Stug III.)

cia-report

 

 

Video: World of Tanks – Tiger 131 in 360

Wargaming Europe presents this video featuring World of Tanks Richard “The Challenger” Cutland giving a quick tour of Tiger 131.  This video is a special format that allows the viewer to move the camera around, a rather handy feature for looking around the interior of the vehicle.

Video: World of Tanks – Tsar Tank

From the youtube channel of World of Tanks comes this video on one of the strangest armored vehicles ever built, the Russian “Tsar Tank.”

Book Alert: Hunnicutt “Firepower” Reprint Edition

Echo Point books has announced that they are releasing a limited edition reprint of Richard Hunnicutt’s classic book on US heavy tanks, “Firepower.”  This edition of the book differs from the other Echo Point Hunnicutt reprints in that it is done in partnership with World of Tanks.  Nicholas Moran, researcher for Wargaming NA has provided a new forward for this edition as well as providing improved images scanned from the National Archives.  This edition is available for pre-order from the Echo Point website for $52.95.  This is a hardcover edition and is listed to ship in April.

Here is an excerpt from the new edition written by World of Tanks researcher Nicholas Moran.

firepower_cvr_web“It was in the early 2000s that I had the honor of meeting Mr Hunnicutt at a gathering of tank enthusiasts at the then-Littlefield Collection. Had I known then what I know now, I would have paid much more attention to the genial old chap who seemed to have near-celebrity status amongst my companions, and less to the tanks. Over time, as my interest in the history of armoured vehicles developed, I began to understand why he was the focus of such attention. “Hunnicutt” has become synonymous with being the last word of recorded US armored vehicle development, and until now his works have commanded very high prices on the used-book market, with good reason.

It has been only after I have started to do my own research into AFV development, digging in the various archives, that I have truly understood the special nature of his books. To begin with, there is the task of collating all the data, of which there are massive amounts, and, worse, sadly not always well organized in the archives. Part of the credit for preservation of the data goes to folks who violated process and protocol, keeping collections and copies which may otherwise have been destroyed to save space, or remained classified simply because nobody bothered to de-classify old documents. I have personally recently encountered 1950s documents which appear in this volume in the classified section of the National Archives (Since de-classified). Even the mechanics of collecting the data is worthy of a raised eyebrow: I have several hundred rolls of film he used to make copies for his records in the days before good-quality photo-copiers or scanners, which must have taken notable time and expense, all done with no guarantee of repayment. Then, once collected, the data has to be sorted and the information to be published extracted, itself a time-consuming process. And, finally, the book itself has to be written.

Firepower is a book of particular interest. That the United States Army had a significant heavy tank program seems to have been a fact almost lost to history were it not for this book, and perhaps the occasional curiosity of someone in Fort Knox wondering what those big tanks sitting as monuments around post were, or maybe of people driving past the Mile of Tanks at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Firepower thus became in effect the public guardian of the knowledge, and the primary source document for the appropriate vehicles incorporated into World of Tanks.

World of Tanks itself seems to have been the impetus for a renewed public interest in the history of US tank development, with likely millions of people becoming aware of many of these experimental heavy tanks through the game. However the opportunities to learn more about them were limited due to the scarcity and cost of used copies of Firepower. Copies were hoarded like manuscripts at a monastery during the dark ages of tank ignorance, with possession of one being a matter of pride as an indicator of being a serious tank enthusiast. It seems perhaps fitting, then, that we can help repay the service that Mr Hunnicutt gave us at Wargaming with Firepower by helping make Firepower more accessible to those people who want to learn more about the real-world history of the vehicles. After all, the more people who know the real history, the better.”