From the Vault: Sherman gun camera

Here is another article found in a 1944 issues of Army Ordnance magazine.  This piece describes a gun mounted camera system used to test the effectiveness of the Sherman gun stabilizer.

Camera gun tests tank stability

“Mad Money” Host criticized by Poland for propagating myth of Polish cavalry attacking German Panzers

0_5fdf6_6072963c_LIt’s probably been a while since the Battle of Krojanty in 1939 made the news, but that is what recently happened according to a blog post on the website of FP (Foreign Policy) magazine.  The post states that Mad Money host Jim Cramer used the myth of Polish Cavalry attacking German Panzers as a metaphor for the struggling department store Macy’s.  This prompted a response from the Polish Embassy in Washington that he apologize for the comments, which they regard as “unnecessary, inaccurate, and insensitive.”

The notion of Polish Cavalry charging German tanks during the 1939 campaign is a rather enduring one in the popular consciousness, despite having been debunked repeatedly by military historians.  Nazi propagandists created the story of the Polish Army deploying cavalry against German tanks as part of their attempt to effort to present the WWII Wehrmacht as an ultra-modern, mechanized force.  The reality was that much like the Polish Army, the majority of the Wehrmacht relied on horses for transport.

Article Excerpt:

On May 11, Mad Money host Jim Cramer compared the struggling department store Macy’s to Poland’s early efforts against the German Wehrmacht in World War II. “Macy’s is like the Polish Army in WWII — it tried to field cavalry against German tanks and it did not end well,” he said.

The Polish Embassy in Washington issued a fiery response to Cramer, demanding he apologize for comments that were “unnecessary, inaccurate, and insensitive.”

Cramer was recycling an oft-cited tale of Polish lancers who supposedly charged German tanks at the outset of World War II — making it the very epitome of blinkered futility.

The problem is that never actually happened, and it’s become a huge sore spot for Poland ever since.

Read the full post here.

For more information on the Polish Cavalry vs Panzer myth, check out this article from a 1984 issue of ARMOR authored by Steven Zaloga.

From the Vault: Drilling Holes with the M4 Medium Tank

We recently came across this article in a 1944 issue of Army Ordnance magazine.  It relates an interesting story of how a M4 Medium was used to shoot holes in the ground, helping a group of Sea-bees break up volcanic ash for use in road building.

Digging holes with the M4 Medium Tank 1Digging holes with the M4 Medium Tank 2

Book Alert: Panzerkampfwagen IV: The Backbone of Germany’s WWII Tank Forces

A new entry in the Legend of Warfare: Ground Forces series on the German Panzer IV tank has been released.  Written by David Doyle, Panzerkampfwagen IV: The Backbone of Germany’s WWII Tank Forces (Legends of Warfare: Ground Forces) is published by Schiffer Military History and is a 112 page hardcover.

Publishers Description:

The Panzerkampfwagen IV, or Panzer IV as it is more popularly known, formed the backbone of Germany’s tank formations during WWII. With production totaling more than 8,500, the Panzer IV was the most plentiful German tank of the war, and the only German tank that remained in production for the duration of the conflict. Through more than 180 photos, this volume chronicles the design, development, and operational deployment of this ubiquitous German tank. This material is arranged in nine chapters, each focusing on a specific production model (Ausführung) of the tank. Comprehensive tables reveal the details of the performance and technical specifications of each variant. A concise, easy to read text, and detailed photographic captions expose the secrets of this iconic tank.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Strv 103C part 3

The third and final installment in the Chieftain’s series on the Swedish S-Tank.

From the Vault: Wartime ads featuring Sherman Tanks (and other AFVs)

Here are a few examples of WWII wartime ads featuring US tanks or tracked vehicles that we found while digging around the internet.  Click on an image to enlarge.

Book Alert: The History of the Panzerwaffe: Volume 2: 1942–45

Osprey Publishing has released a follow-up book to Thomas Anderson’s History of the Panzerwaffe.  This new book, The History of the Panzerwaffe: Volume 2: 1942–45 covers the later half of the Second World War.  Unlike the slender softcover series books that they are mainly known for, this Osprey offering is a 304 page hardcover.  Thomas Anderson is a German researcher of armored vehicle history, having written several Osprey titles on German WWII armor.

Publishers Description:

The final years of World War II saw the legendary Panzerwaffe face its most difficult challenges, with Allied troops landing at Normandy and storming across the continent, and the Russians gaining the upper hand on the Eastern Front. As Germany fought fiercely to hold on to the advantages gained in the early years, they relied heavily on the Panzer IV, the Panzer V Panther, and the StuG III–the backbone of their infamous armored divisions–to hold back their advancing opponents. This second volume on the Panzerwaffe offers a comprehensive guide to the final years of Germany’s most famous fighting force, covering the further use of the Panzer IV, the role played by the StuG III assault gun, and the battlefield debut of the formidable Panther. Explosive combat reports and rare archive photographs help uncover the final years of the Panzers, from their defense against the D-Day landings and the role they played in the Ardennes Offensive, to their valiant last stand in Berlin.

Photo of the Day: Revolving Turret Armored Motor Car

Today’s POTD is borrowed from the facebook page of Steven Zaloga.  Here is his description of the vehicle.

Aside from finding obscure Russian half-track armored car drawings, I located a lot of stuff on early US AFVs at NARA over the past few days. Most of it amplifies information on well-known types, but there is an occasional surprise. Here’s the “Revolving Turret Armored Motor Car” offered by Consolidated Motor Corp. to the Army. This seems to be the same vehicle attributed to Federal Motor Truck Co., which should not be a surprise as the individual behind these ventures was the same: C. K. Thomas. One of these was donated to the Armored Motor Battery of the NY National Guard, the first significant armored unit in the US Army which took part in the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916.

18517994_1945455972358449_706112608747940648_o

Top Five Tanks: Lindybeige at the Tank Museum

Youtube personality “Lindybeige” takes a trip through the Bovington tank museum to show off his five favorite tanks.  Actually, only three of the vehicles in his list are technically tanks since the Jagdpanther is a tank destroyer and the Universal Carrier is a….universal carrier.  Of the three actual tanks he picked, the WWI era Mark IV, the Churchill, and the S-tank, only one of them has a turret.  Does Lindybeige hate turrets?  Inquiring minds want to know….

Below the Turret Ring

The blog Below the Turret Ring has been busy lately, having made several new posts.  Let’s take a look at what they have been up to.  Click on the title to read the full post.

 

Austria won the Strong Europe Tank Challenge 2017

18422782_1464958883554178_2139708021828222996_oTwo days ago the Strong Europe Tank Challenge (SETC) 2017 ended. The winning platoon comes from Austria, one of the first time participants. The soldiers of the Austrian Bundesheer deployed the 1980s’ Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (MBT), beating last year’s winner Germany. In the challenge held from 8th to 11th of May, teams from Austria, France, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine and the United States tried to show their skill in a number of different disciplines. These included offensive actions, defensive actions, target recognition/identification of thirty allied and enemy targets, estimating the range to a target without using the laser rangefinder, accurately reporting targets in a simulated urban area and firing crew weapons (pistols or submachine guns). Also part of the SETC was to recover a tank with simulated damage from an NBC attack, evacuating and treating wounded, calling for fire support by artillery/aircraft and precision driving along a pre-defined track. Crews also had to endure a physical fitness test. In comparison to last year the scoring was changed.

 

New Turkish combat vehicles presented at IDEF 2017

fnss-tracked-armored-vehiclesThe thirteenth International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF 2017) has been held in Turkey. While not extremely popular with foreign companies – despite having “international” in the name, not many international AFV manufacturers were present – this exposition serves as an opportunity for all Turkish defence companies to present their latest and greatest developments.  The company FNSS Defence Systems, a joint-venture of the Nurol Holding and BAE Systems, has presented a number of vehicles from the wheeled PARS family of vehicles (FoV) and the tracked Kaplan-20 and Kaplan-30 armored fighting vehicles (AFVs).

 

Leopard 2: Poland wants more; Germany and Turkey opt for upgrades

WIT_MSPO_2016_leopard_okAccording to a news report from Defence24.com, the Polish Army is interested in buying more Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs). Poland originally received 128 Leopard 2A4s for an extremely low price, a decision made in Germany in order to build up better political relationships between the two countries, which previously due to the second World War and previous conflicts had been terrible. A further 119 Leopard 2 tanks (including 105 relatively modern Leopard 2A5s) were ordered in 2013, after Germany (falsely) decided to downsize it’s tank force. These second-hand tanks also were extremely cheap, costing only €180 million.

 

Russian T-72B3 receive armor upgrades

4cv5YThe Russian Army has decided to upgrade the current T-72B3 to a new configuration, which was first seen in the middle of last month. The exact number tanks upgraded has not been disclosed yet. The tank has been called “T-72B3M” or “T-72B4” by different websites, suggesting that the new designation may also not have been revealed yet. It might be known as “T-72B3 mod. 2016” rather than receiving a completely new designation.   The upgrade is aimed to improve the survivability of the tank by installing explosive reactive armor (ERA) at the flanks of turret and hull. This armor is apparently identical to that used on the current version of T-90MS “premium” export tank. This reactive armor is not known to provide protection against kinetic energy ammunition such as APFSDS rounds nor against anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) or rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) with tandem shaped charge warhead.