Tank Chats #41 Sherman Firefly

David Fletcher of the Tank Museum at Bovington takes a look at the British Sherman Firefly.

Photo of the Day: Improvised AFVs

Here is a picture of some rather primitive looking improvised AFVs from Iraq/Syria.



AFV News from Around the Web

Another installment of AFV news from around the web. Click in the headline to go to the full article.


IHS Jane’s – Ukraine to acquire T-72 tanks

p1457899Speaking to the staff at the state-owned Ukroboronprom facility in Lviv, Poroshenko announced that the deal would also include the production of “a new fire engine based on the T-72” in a deal worth up to UAH920 million (USD35.3 million).  Further procurement of T-84 Oplot MBTs is also to be expected, with Poroshenko disclosing that “more than” UAH300 million would be made available.


Defense News – Turkey invites 3 bidders to Altay tank contest

Altay-02-Otokar-692x360ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s procurement authorities have decided to release a request for proposal, to be sent to three local armored vehicles manufacturers, as part of the Altay tank program.  This decision effectively means the three companies will be invited to bid on the program, estimated to reach beyond $10 billion.   The companies that received the RFP from the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, or SSM, are BMC, Otokar and FNSS, all privately owned companies.


Forbes – Why Can’t U.S. Army Tanks Tell When They Are Being Targeted?

M1A2-Abrams-tank-1200x795Ben Franklin offered a parable in Poor Richard’s Almanac (1758) about how a kingdom could be lost for want of a simple nail. Without the nail, a horse lost its shoe; without the shoe, the horse was disabled and a rider could not deliver his message; without the message, a battle was lost; and losing the battle brought down the kingdom .Philadelphia’s favorite son wasn’t the first sage to warn that small failings can lead to huge consequences — especially in wartime — but it seems every generation needs to relearn the lesson. Bridges collapse for want of paint and planes crash because one item was skipped on the pilot’s pre-flight checklist.


Sputnik – Russian Presidential Aide Confirms Deal With Iraq to Sell T-90 Tanks

1040467247MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia’s Uralvagonzavod company said earlier the first shipment of 73 tanks was scheduled for this year.  “A significant contract for a large batch. I cannot name its exact worth but the amount [of tank] is large,” Vladimir Kozhin told the Izvestiya newspaper, adding Kuwait was also interested in this type of hardware.  According to the outlet, more T-90MS shipments would follow. Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, which oversees such deals, declined to comment.


IHS Jane’s – Poland reinforces armour

1706798_-_mainUnder its new strategic defence review, Poland plans to expand its armoured component by purchasing additional Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs), upgrading older T-72 and PT-91 tanks, and increasing the level of protection of other combat vehicles.  The defence review, published in May 2017, sets as the main priority for Poland to prepare to defend its own territory and reinforce deterrence capabilities based on national defence capabilities.


Defense News – Israel to enter era of closed-hatch combat, see-through tanks

LATRUN, Israel — As part of a major, multi-phased upgrade of its armored forces, Israel will soon demonstrate a smart helmet-mounted system — almost identical to that used for the F-35 fighter and other aircraft worldwide — that allows commanders to essentially see through the walls of tanks for safe and effective ground-maneuvering combat.


Defense News – India nominates state-owned enterprises for infantry combat vehicles upgrade program

NEW DELHI — In a sharp departure from its earlier policy to bring in fair and open competition among domestic defence companies, India’s Ministry of Defence on Saturday nominated state-owned enterprises to carry out the midlife update of 693 Russian-made BMP-II infantry combat vehicles.  The decision was made by the Defence Acquisition Council, the apex body on defense procurement decisions, which is headed by Defense Minister Arun Jaitely, a senior MoD official said.


IHS Jane’s – Danish Leopard 2A5s to receive upgrades

Denmark is conducting a mid-life upgrade of 38 of its Leopard 2A5DK main battle tanks, bringing them up to a capability level broadly equivalent to the Leopard 2A7V standard soon to be introduced in Germany.  This is intended to maintain the capability of the tanks to their currently projected out-of-service date of 2035. Of the 38 vehicles, 16 will receive the full upgrade, with the remaining 22 to be given a ‘basic’ package that prepares them for but does not fit them with all upgraded systems.

The Matilda Diaries Part 14

The Tank Museum presents the 14th installment in their series documenting the restoration of a Matilda infantry tank.

Video: Steve Zaloga on the “Five of Hearts”

Here is a new video from the War Stories facebook page featuring Steve Zaloga discussing the story of the WWI era tank “Five of Hearts.”  Click on the image below to view the video.

Edit: Sorry, I forgot to imbed the link into the image.  It is fixed now.

chasing military history


Photo(s) of the Day: The View from Inside a Tiger II

Today’s Photo of the Day feature comes courtesy of author and researcher Ken Estes.  These are some pictures he took while climbing around and inside the Tiger II tank housed at the Musée des Blindés (“Museum of Armoured Vehicles”) in Saumur, France.  These pictures show the view from the various crew positions and give a pretty good idea of just how limited a range of vision WWII era tank crews enjoyed.

Driver’s periscope


Gunner’s sight


Commander’s cupola periscope


Commander’s open hatch position


TFB on Kubinka Tank Museum

Tank-Museum-3-660x440The Firearms Blog has posted a review of the Kubinka Tank Museum outside of Moscow.  This is not a particularly in-depth review, but it does include some nice photos of the museum and some of the vehicles housed there.  The vehicle descriptions are not particularly detailed, something not unexpected given that this is posted on a firearms blog, not an AFV themed blog.  Enjoy it for what it is.

Click here to view the post at TFB: The Russian Kubinka Tank Museum

Audio: Steven Zaloga on War College Podcast

war collegeThis came out in April, but we just came across it today.  Noted tank expert and author Steven Zaloga discusses the history of tanks on the War College podcast.  This podcast is a nice primer on the topic.  War College is a weekly podcast hosted by Matthew Gault of War Is Boring and produced by Bethel Habte, podcast editor at Reuters.com.

Listen to the podcast here.

Episode description:

War nerds love tanks. The battlefield behemoths drove onto the scene in the early days of World War I, replaced the cavalry and became synonymous with war. But which one is the best?

This week on the show, author Steven Zaloga walks us through the ins and outs of armored vehicles. He explains how the French Renault doesn’t get enough credit, how the Sherman came to dominate Europe and how people always forget about the Russians.

It’s everything you ever wanted to know about tanks but were afraid to ask on War College this week. How have wire guided missiles changed the game? What’s reactive armor and why does it explode? And what, if any, is the point of tanks in low intensity warfare?


Forgotten Weapons videos on two unusual Anti-tank Rifles

Over at the Forgotten Weapons youtube channel, host Ian McCollum takes a look at a couple unusual and rare anti-tank rifles.

The first video takes a look at the only surviving prototype of a WWI American .50 cal anti-tank rifle by Winchester.


The second video looks at the Model SS41, a Czech bullpup anti-tank rifle adopted by the Waffen SS.

From the Vault: The Turtle Series of Armored Vehicles

From the January-February 1965 issue of ARMOR come this rather intriguing article by the late Robert Icks concerning a proposed series of vehicles called the Turtle Series by the NDRC.  The NDRC (National Defense Research Committee) was set up during WWII to promote and coordinate scientific research related to defense technology.  Some of the most successful programs they helped fund include the Manhattan Project, the DUKW, the proximity fuze and radar technology.  It seems they also proposed a series of tank designs, none of which ever got beyond the mockup stage.  Click on the page images below to read the full article.