Veteran of Battle of 73 Easting appointed National Security Advisor

Military.com has posted an article about Army Lt. Gen H.R. McMaster, the new appointee to the position of National Security Adviser.  Those interested in armored warfare history may remember him as one of the participants of the Battle of 73 Easting during the 1991 Gulf War.

hr-mcmaster-1500-23-feb-2017-ts600It was late afternoon on Feb. 26, 1991, during the Gulf War when then-Capt. H.R. McMaster ran into a superior Iraqi armored force lying in wait to halt the main U.S. advance into occupied Kuwait.

McMaster commanded Eagle Troop of 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The 2nd ACR was providing an offensive covering force for the U.S. Army’s VII Corps.

Advancing through a heavy sandstorm, McMaster’s nine M1 Abrams Tanks and 12 M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles made contact with the large Iraqi defensive belt in the featureless Iraqi desert.

His troop destroyed approximately 50 T72 Tanks and about 25 other armored vehicles in 23 minutes in what would become known as the Battle of 73 Easting of Operation Desert Storm.

McMaster was awarded a Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest valor award, for his actions during that short-lived conflict.

Twenty-six years later, Lt. Gen. McMaster has been selected to serve as national security adviser to the Trump administration.

Read the full Military.com article here.

For more on H.R. McMaster and the Battle of 73 Easting, check out these links:

10 Lessons from the Battle of 73 Easting by H.R. McMaster

Battle of 73 Easting by Captain H.R. McMaster (PDF)

TV Documentary featuring H.R. McMaster

Tank Talk: The M2A1

Somehow we missed this when it was released at the end of last month.  Anyhow, here is another installment of Tank Talk with Len Dyer of the National Armor and Cavalry Restoration Center.

M1917 turret found in woods

The facebook page for the National Armor and Cavalry Museum is reporting that the turret to what looks like a M1917 tank has been found in the woods at Fort Benning.  We have re-posted the content of the post below.

16836144_1449033205160946_1060550707830083650_oWhile the NACM’s armor collection is focused mainly around vehicles, they are but artifacts with which we are able to honor the legacy of the Americans that crewed them. After this past week, we are fortunate enough to be able to connect more to the Tank Corps of World War I.

A team preparing a section of woods to be cleared here at Fort Benning happened upon a tank turret. As per regulation, post agencies were informed of a potential artifact, and in turn the musuem was notified. Photos identified the turret belonging to a French-built Renault FT light tank. At the end of World War I, the Tank Corps brought back approximately 200 of its FTs to use along with the American-built M1917. Many ended up at Fort Benning, which became home to the Tank School starting in 1920. As the FTs were phased out, many were de-militarized by simply removing the turrets and selling for use in agriculture or industry. While the NACM collection currently has two Renault FTs, neither of these served with the American light tank battalions during the war. Though not complete and no other remains of tanks have been found at the location, the historical significance of the turret was obvious.16797243_1449033738494226_1981343575018412575_o

Today, a team consisting of NACM personnel, Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Detachment Fort Benning, and veteran volunteers move quickly to secure the turret. Despite the thick woods, uneven terrain, and rain the turret is now at the restoration shop. It is already being cleaned to prevent further deterioration. It will be preserved in tribute of the early American tankers.

(Photos by NACM Volunteers Mr. David Hobbs and Mr. Jon Potts)

 The facebook page and additional photos may be viewed here.

Book Alert: South African Armour of the Border War 1975-89

A new entry in the Osprey New Vanguard series is scheduled for release on Thursday, Feb 23.  South African Armour of the Border War 1975-89 (New Vanguard) by Kyle Harmse and Simon Dunstan is the first New Vanguard title to explore armor in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As with other books in this series, this is a softcover book of 48 pages with numerous black and white and color photos and plates.  While Kyle Harmse is a new name to us, Simon Dunstan is quite familiar, having written over 50 books on military history as well as appearing in several TV documentaries.

Publisher’s Description:

The Border War saw the biggest armoured battles in Africa since World War II. Starting as a counter-insurgency operation by the South African Defence Force (SADF) against the South West Africa People’s Organisation, South Africa became embroiled in the complex Angolan Civil War, where they came up against enemies well supplied with equipment and armoured vehicles from the Soviet Union.

With the aid of stunning illustrations and photographs, this study details the characteristics, capabilities and performance of the wide variety of armoured vehicles deployed by the SADF, from the Eland armoured car to the Ratel infantry combat vehicle and the Olifant tank. Designed for the unique conditions of the region, South Africa’s armour was distinctive and innovative, and has influenced the design of counterinsurgency armoured vehicles around the world.

Frequently requested by Osprey readers, and written by two renowned experts on armoured vehicles, this will appeal to all those interested in modern armour and the Cold War proxy wars.

AFV News from around the Web (Historic Edition)

Here is a collection of recent article dealing with historic AFVs.  Click on the headlines to go to the full article.  A word of warning, the FOX article is full of errors.  We included it anyway, since it had a few interesting things in it.

 

Daily Echo – Top secret tank project launched in Purbeck – project leaders says ‘send us your photos of the Valentines’

imgid98663825-jpg-galleryDIVERS working on a project to map the wreckage of top secret D-Day tanks sunk in Poole Bay have appealed for help. The Valentine 75 Project was launched in Purbeck, last week, to find out more about the seven amphibious tanks sunk during Operation Smash – the Normandy landings rehearsal that took place off Studland almost three quarters of a century ago.  Project members are now anxious to hear from anyone who may have underwater images, taken in the 1970s and 80s, of any of the Second World War vehicles, which were known as Valentine tanks.

 

Fox News Auto – In military collectibles, supply often falls short of demand

1487364387761When the producers of “Fury” planned to make a technically correct film about an American World War II tank crew’s exploits, they ran into a problem. The type of tank they wanted to use was nowhere to be found, the result of heavy casualties on the battlefield.  So they had to use the wrong tank.  And that’s a problem that a lot of collectors, or rather would-be collectors, of certain World War militaria can encounter. Many of the most desirable collectibles, like early tanks, airplanes and certain armaments, no longer exist except in photographs, old newsreels and the occasional museum.

 

MENAFN.com – Germany’s first tank turns 100

gt_c56b845c-5image_story(MENAFN – Gulf Times) The hulking grey war machine resembles a ship’s upturned hull, with one stumpy barrel protruding above the Iron Cross insignia. It’s a far cry from the Tiger and Panther tanks that ravaged WWII battlefields, but a sombre testimony to the start of a terrifying new chapter in modern warfare.   The first German tank, the A7V, was presented to the top brass for inspection in Berlin in January 1917, only a few months after the British deployed this revolutionary weapon in France in World War I.

 

Daily Mail – ‘Germany’s downfall’: Rare pictures show how the birth of the British tank changed the course of history securing victory for the Allies in the First World War

3d79c38900000578-4244860-image-a-32_1487673763438These are the incredibly rare photographs showing the British ingenuity that brought the dawn of the tank age and changed the Allies fortunes in the First World War.  The images show triumphant British troops atop the world’s first tanks, as well as life from the inside manning the machine guns.   These black-and-white photos are taken from the new book ‘Armoured Warfare in the First World War 1916 – 1918’ by Anthony Tucker-Jones and published by Pen & Sword Military.  Mr Tucker-Jones said: ‘The first tanks came about through the desperate need to break the terrible deadlock in the trenches.

 

 

 

AFV News from around the Net

Here is another installment of “AFV News from around the Net”, a collection of current articles about the latest in AFV development and deployment.  Click on the article headline to read the full piece.

 

IHS Jane’s 360 – IDEX 2017: Iraq takes delivery of Textron Commandos

1650527_-_mainThe Iraqi Federal Police is currently in the process of receiving the Textron Commando Select armoured vehicles that were ordered last year, Jonathan Dalrymple, vice president for business development at Textron’s Marine and Land Systems division, told Jane’s at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi.  “We are delivering tranches of vehicles; the first got there about two months ago and went straight to the front,” he said.  The Iraqi Federal Police has become an increasingly heavily armed force that is playing a major role in the operation to retake the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State militant group. It has been using the earlier Commando Armoured Security Vehicle (ASV) variant since 2004, when it received the first of more than 300 vehicles.

 

IHS Jane’s 360 – IDEX 2017: Hyundai Rotem details new CEV

1703260_-_mainHyundai Rotem has released details of the new combat engineer vehicle (CEV) under development to meet the operational requirements of the Republic of Korea Army.  The company has already developed and manufactured armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) and armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) to support the K1 and K2 main battle tanks in service with the ROK Army.  The new CEV is designed for use in a wide range of battlefield missions, including clearing battlefield obstacles, preparing fire positions for MBTs and artillery, and carrying out breaching operations.

 

UPI – Russia ready to export new T-90 tank variant

russia-ready-to-export-new-t-90-tank-variantFeb. 20 (UPI) — Russia’s Uralvagonzavod scientific-production corporation is ready to export the latest variant of the T-90 main battle tank, Russian news agency Tass reports.  General of the Army Alexei Maslov, the special representative of UVZ for military-technical cooperation, was quoted by the news agency as saying the decision comes as production of the T-90MS is ready to accelerate. “We have established the low-rate initial production of these vehicles,” he said at the IDEX 2017 trade show in Abu Dhabi. “It has been almost mastered, and we are ready to conduct export deliveries.

 

Defense News – Turkish Otokar wins deal with UAE to build amphibious armored vehicles

defense-news-otokarABU DHABI — Turkish company Otokar won a deal worth $661 million to build Arma 8×8 amphibious armored infantry vehicles for the United Arab Emirates land forces. Otokar signed an agreement establishing a joint venture to build the vehicles with UAE company Tawazun Holding at the Abu Dhabi International Defense Exhibition underway. The vehicle — under the joint venture — has been dubbed “Rabdan” and will be built at the Tawazun Industrial Park manufacturing facilities in Abu Dhabi. The vehicle will carry 11 passengers, designed to keep them safe from mines and missile threats, and will be able to easily traverse over rivers and ponds.

 

Defense News – NIMR flexes manufacturing might in UAE; unveils newer, nimbler combat vehicles

defense-news-nimrABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Leadership at the Abu Dhabi International Defense Exhibition announced — among a variety of deals made by the United Arab Emirates on the first day of the show — that NIMR Automotive would manufacture several hundred 8×8 armored vehicles for the country’s armed forces.  The work will be performed at the company’s new manufacturing facility in Ajban, Abu Dhabi — the region’s leading facility for wheeled military vehicles.  The agreement was a part of 4.4 billion AED — roughly $1.2 billion — in total deals announced for a productive first day at IDEX on Sunday.

 

IHS Jane’s 360 – Czech Republic seeks new tracked IFVs

1692868_-_mainThe Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to proceed with a tender worth over CZK50 billion (USD1.9 billion) to fulfil an urgent requirement for over 200 new tracked armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) for the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR).  General Josef Becvar, chief of staff of the ACR, stated on 14 February that the ACR plans to hold industry days in mid-2017 and invite domestic and foreign manufacturers of tracked armoured vehicles to demonstrate their platforms in mobility and live fire modes before an ACR selection team of experts.

 

Scout.com – Army Tanks, Strykers & Bradleys to Get Vehicle-Mounted Active Protection Systems to Detect, Track and Destroy Enemy Fire

abrams_tanks_on_the_way-drills-summer-heat-workout-exerciseThe Army is fast-tracking an emerging technology for Abrams tanks designed to give combat vehicles an opportunity identify, track and destroy approaching enemy rocket-propelled grenades in a matter of milliseconds, service officials said.  Called Active Protection Systems, or APS, the technology uses sensors and radar, computer processing, fire control technology and interceptors to find, target and knock down or intercept incoming enemy fire such as RPGs and Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, or ATGMs. Systems of this kind have been in development for many years, however the rapid technological progress of enemy tank rounds, missiles and RPGs is leading the Army to more rapidly test and develop APS for its fleet of Abrams tanks.

TFB: P-47s, Tiger Tanks, and Bouncing Bullets

Over at The FirearmBlog (TFB), contributor Nathaniel F has written a post examining the peculiar myth of P-47 fighter bombers “bouncing” .50 cal bullets into the bottom hulls of Tiger tanks during the fighting in the ETO in 1944-45.  The piece is in response to this clip from a TV show documentary.

 

 TFB – P-47s, Tiger Tanks, and Bouncing Bullets: The Limitations of Eyewitness Accounts

As a researcher and history enthusiast, one of the issues I often have to wrestle with is that of eyewitness accounts, specifically when to trust them and when not to. That subject itself is one for another time, but today I want to look at a specific example of an eyewitness account as an illustration of how they can be misleading to someone trying to reconstruct historical events.

The account in question is this one, apparently from an unknown television documentary, in which a former P47 pilot describes attacking German tanks by bouncing bullets off the ground and into the underside of the tank’s hull.

Read the full post here.