Stars and Stripes: Germany’s Leopard tanks prove vulnerable in Islamic State fight

Stars and Stripes has posted an article on German made Leopard 2 tanks in service with Turkey being destroyed in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria.

c0efwp5wiaao1_zKAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The reputation of Germany’s vaunted Leopard 2 tank, which forms the mainstay of NATO’s armored forces, has taken a pounding in battles with Islamic State militants in Syria.

At least 10 of the 60-ton main battle tanks have been destroyed during a Turkish attempt to recapture the strategically important northern town of al-Bab, located just 15 miles south of the Turkish border, media reports have said.

The Turks have deployed several thousand soldiers in the operation, which began in September. But despite airstrikes by Russian warplanes in support of the advancing troops, they have been unable to take the town in the face of determined opposition.

Several dozen Turkish soldiers and local allies have died in the combat. Germany’s Die Welt newspaper said at least 10 Leopard 2s were destroyed and many others damaged in street fighting on the outskirts of al-Bab. The rebels are said to have used both U.S.-made TOW and Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles in attacks on the tanks.

Read the full article at Stars and Stripes.

Overlord’s Blog: Spank the Tank

From Overlord’s Blog comes this post recounting an action from 1942 by some Royal Engineers versus Axis tanks in North Africa.

mhxwzevIn late November 1942 , twenty sappers of the 1st Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers were picking their way across the Tunisian landscape. Overhead a bright moon bore down, and the peaceful night sky was frosted with stars. Their mission was to emplace mines and set up an anti-armour ambush on a road. This road led to an harbour area with a large number of Axis forces, including tanks. Once these forces were in place two companies of Para’s, covered by a section of three inch mortars and supported by some ex Vichy Senegalese infantry whom had decided to join up with the Paras, would launch a frontal assault on the Axis position. The harbour was on the slopes of a place called Gue Hill.

It was similar to an ambush launched about a week earlier. They had convinced the German forces near Béja that the Paratroop force was actually three times its size, by the simple expedient of marching through the town three times, but switching headgear each time. The Para’s had moved to Mateur where they got word of a large German convoy protected by armoured cars that had moved past. So they mined the road and when the convoy returned they attacked with Gammon bombs and small arms. This resulted in several captured German armoured cars and quite a haul of POW’s.

First World War battle tank commander’s papers published

From the Haslemere Herald comes this article about the papers of a British WWI tank commander that were recently published.

major-allen-holford-walker-c1916-courtesy-of-alan-holford-walker-c-national-army-museumTHE papers of a Somme tank commander who married his sweetheart in Farnham before fighting on the Western Front have been published for the first time by the National Army Museum.

Major Allen Holford-Walker, originally from Essex, married Joan Barrington Moody in Farnham soon after the outbreak of war in 1914.

As a tank commander on the Somme, serving with The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in honour of his mother’s Scottish heritage, he later fought in both the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the Battle of Ancre in late 1916.

His papers, which include photos, diaries and letters, give a first-hand account of the earliest days of tank warfare, as the British struggled to make the most of their new weapon.

Read the full article at the Haslemere Herald.

Photo of the Day: Grow a Stug in your garden

This picture comes from the Live Journal page of Russian researcher Yuri Pasholok.  A rather unusual item to find in a garden!

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Video: How to stop a tank using felled trees

This short video has been posted by a few different online news sources.  A fun little video showing Canadian and US army engineers constructing an anti-tank obstacle in a forest in Lithuania.

AFV News from around the Net

Here is another collection of recent news articles involving armored fighting vehicles.  One quick note about news sources.  In general, we try to avoid linking to RT or Sputnik International since their articles often are rather biased.  These  two news entities are essentially mouthpieces for the Putin regime, and have been criticized as propaganda by many Western journalists and scholars.  The inclusion of at Sputnik article in this list should not be construed as an endorsement by us of Sputnik International.  Simply, we thought it was an interesting news piece and offer it to our readers with a warning to take it with a grain of salt, acknowledging the problematic nature of the news source.

 

Defense News – Japan Unveils Armored Vehicle Prototype for ‘Counter Island Invasion’

download-2MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has unveiled a prototype eight-wheel drive armored personnel carrier (APC) as part of a research project for a new class of modular vehicles.  The project, known for now as the Wheeled Armoured Vehicle (Improved), will eventually lead to a new vehicle type to replace the Type 96 eight-wheel drive armored personnel carrier in use by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).  The new vehicle will feature improved protection against a variety of threats such as improvised explosive devices, versatility and room for future growth in capabilities compared to the Type 96 it is replacing. It will also be fitted with a more powerful engine and a strengthened suspension to cope with the increased weight and payloads.

 

Sputnik International – Thailand Says ‘No Thanks’ to Ukrainian Tanks, Chooses China Instead

1034993205Thailand’s Ministry of Defense has decided to terminate its contract with Ukraine for the purchase of several dozen T-84 Oplot main battle tanks, citing Kiev’s inability to deliver them on time, according to Thai media reports.  In 2011, Thailand signed a $241 million contract with the Kharkiv-based Malyshev Factory on the delivery of 49 T-84 ‘Oplot’ (‘Stronghold’) MBTs. The tanks were meant to become the backbone of Thailand’s tank forces, replacing the army’s 1957-vintage US-made M-41s, which are set to be decommissioned. However, after being plagued by never-ending problems with the delivery of the Ukrainian tanks, the Thai Defense Ministry has apparently decided to cancel the contract.

 

Next Reality – HoloLens Can Give Tank Crews 360-Degree X-Ray Vision on Missions

hololens-can-give-tank-crews-360-degree-x-ray-vision-missions-w1456As a commercial and potentially consumer product, one might assume it very unlikely to see the Microsoft HoloLens in the military marketplace. And that assumption would be completely wrong. One company from the Ukraine is currently working on using the mixed reality head-mounted computer for 360-degree vision inside armored tanks.  If a tank crew could see the entire battlefield there are in, they would likely have a better chance of accomplishing their mission and avoiding damage. Tanks are large, enclosed, metal shells, and visibility is a serious concern since each portal that is made for vision potentially weakens the vehicle and endangers the crew within.

 

UPI – Ukrainian army receives 50 BTR-3 armored vehicles

ukrainian-army-receives-50-btr-3-armored-vehiclesKIEV, Ukraine, Jan. 5 (UPI) — Ukraine’s state-owned defense contractor Ukroboronprom has transferred over 50 BTR-3 armored personnel carriers to the country’s armed forces.  The company completed manufacturing the vehicles in 2016. The products are armed with modernized weapon systems including 30mm guns and additional missile munitions, and were transferred to Ukraine’s army and national guard.  To support the production process, Ukrobornprom established a new manufacturing plant dedicated to BTR-3-related operations.

 

Scout.com – Army JLTV Armed With Lethal 30mm Cannon

oshkosh-jltv-22Army and Marine Corps may add a more-lethal 30mm cannon to its new JLTV to improve lethality for the emerging high-tech platform and better prepare it for large-scale, mechanized force-on-force warfare.  The Army’s new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is a new fast-moving armored vehicle engineered to take bullets, drive over roadside bombs and withstand major enemy attacks; the vehicle was conceived and engineered as a high-tech, more survivable replacement for large portions of its fleet of Humvees.

 

 

 

 

Book Alert: Tigers In Combat: Volume III: Operation, Training, Tactics

Amazon is listing a January 19 release date for Tigers In Combat: Volume III: Operation, Training, Tactics by Wolfgang Schneider.  This book is a follow-up to his popular volumes Tigers in Combat I and Tigers in Combat II.  This is a substantial book, being a hardcover of 520 pages.  For those interested in the big German cats of WWII, this is probably a must have item.

Publisher’s Description:

Tigers in Combat Vol 3 closes the gap between the unit histories of volumes 1 and 2 and the technical descriptions in the Jentz and Spielberger books. For the first time, efforts are described in detail of what was taken to create units and what was required to keep the Tiger tank in action regarding handling and operating the vehicle. Other chapters deal with crew training and specific tactical aspects to employ such a heavy tank under all fighting conditions. Further aspects are covered, such as the protection level of the Tiger and reasons for losses – as well as propaganda work with this famous beast. Due to the usage of more than 1,200 photos and drawings, even complex crew tasks and procedures are illustrated in a way that non-Tiger crewmen will be able to comprehend.

Photo of the Day: New Chinese Tank Destroyer

According to IHS Jane’s, Chinese company NORINCO has introduced a new tank destroyer intended for the expert market.  The ST2 is armed with a 105mm cannon and is believed to be based on the NORINCO YW534 (Type 89) APC.  For more, see the Jane’s article here.

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Photo of the Day: M3 Grant Turret for Sale

Need to find a gift for that hard to please tank nut in your life?  Ebay is listing the turret from an M3 Grant on sale for a paltry $35,000…

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Video: WoT -Object 279: the Warrior of the Apocalypse

Here is another video from the folks over at World of Tanks.  Featuring a number of Russian tank experts, this video looks at the rather unusual Soviet Object 279 heavy tank, one of which still survives on display at the Kubinka tank museum.  The one odd thing in the video it them giving the gun caliber in inches.  We’ve never before heard of a Soviet “5.1 inch gun” before, but we certainly have heard of a 130mm Soviet gun.  Anyhow, a small quibble regarding an otherwise interesting video.