Editors Note: Heading to Virginia to see some Tanks!

Tomorrow I am heading out to Nokesville VA to attend the Americans in Wartime 2017 Openhouse put on by the NMAW and VMMV.  I plan to be there for both days, Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th.  For those that are attending and want to say hi, look for the guy wearing a blue baseball cap that says “LST 393 Muskegon MI.”  I will most likely also be lugging around a video camera, tripod and microphone.  Assuming I get some good footage, I am aiming create the first original video by Tank and AFV News.com.  I’ll be checking email throughout the day, so feel free to contact me at the event at tanksonthebrain@gmail.com

US Tanks damaged in Polish railway mishap

Russian news sources RT and Sputnik International have published articles describing a rail accident in Poland that has left several US armored vehicles damaged.  The articles describe ten “tanks” as damaged, although the photos of the incident show Bradley IFVs.  Apparently they hit a metal awning that overhangs the tracks at the station near the city of Torun while being transported from Gdansk to a military range in Zagan.  These vehicles were being transported as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO exercise intended to boost the Alliances presence in Eastern Europe.  Below are some photos of the accident.




Book Alert: Pershing vs Tiger: Germany 1945

Osprey Publishing has released a new entry in their Duel series,Pershing vs Tiger: Germany 1945 (Duel) by Steven Zaloga.  This book follows the pattern set out in other Osprey Duel books, and is a softcover of 80 pages.  Next week we will be posting a more detailed review of this new book.

Publisher’s Description:

During the final battles on World War II’s Western Front, the legendary German Tiger I heavy tank clashed with the brand-new M26 Pershing fielded by the United States. The Tiger I had earned a formidable reputation by the end of 1944, although its non-sloped armour and poor mobility meant it was being superseded by the Tiger II or ‘King Tiger’. While the Tiger I had been in the front lines since 1942, the US Pershing first entered combat in late February 1945, and more than 20 Pershings would see action before war’s end.

This book examines the dramatic Tiger/Pershing duel at Elsdorf in Germany, and also assesses the clashes between German armour and the sole ‘Super Pershing’ deployed to Europe. Featuring full-colour artwork, carefully chosen photographs and specially commissioned maps, this is the story of the first US heavy tanks in combat with the fearsome Tiger I during the last months of World War II in Europe.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Range Maths

Over at the World of Tanks website, North American researcher Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted a new article based on some of his archive digging.  Beware, this one features mathmatical formulas.

Article excerpt:

chieftains_hatch_furyThere is an important distinction to be made between data, analysis and information. In the military, it is particularly the case when referring to intelligence. Information coming into the intel office is data. Information being put out by the intel office is intelligence.

This sort of distinction can be applied to anything from operational estimates to mechanical design. In this case, a paper from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds’ Ballistics Research Lab in December 1951 used mathematical principles in order to assess the situations and likelihoods involved in a tank meeting an AP shell. BLUF: If you don’t like maths, just scroll down to the charts starting about half-way down.

The paper was called “The Range and Angular Distribution of AP Hits on Tanks.” Exciting, I know.

It said….

Read the full article here.

Book Review: Dubno 1941: The Greatest Tank Battle of the Second World War

Dubno 1941: The Greatest Tank Battle of the Second World War

By Aleksei Isaev

Helion & Company

The first thing potential readers may notice about this book is the subtitle, which proclaims the 1941 battle of Dubno to be the greatest tank battle of WWII.  To those familiar with the history of the Second World War, this might cause some confusion.  Ask the average WWII fan to name a tank battle and you will probably get replies such as Kursk, Alamein, or The Bulge.  But Dubno?  It’s probably fair to say most casual readers haven’t even heard of this battle, let alone know that it was one of the largest tank battles of the war.  Fortunately, Russian historian Aleksai Isaev tries to correct this situation in his new book, Dubno 1941: The Greatest Tank Battle of the Second World War.

Before we get into the content of the book, let’s start with a description of the book itself.  This is a 244 page hardcover volume.  The book is surprisingly heavy due to the dense, high quality paper used.  The paper texture is very smooth to the touch and provides good photo reproduction quality for the several image galleries found in the book.  The galleries consist primarily of images of tanks and also pictures of some of the commanders who play a part in the battle.  The book uses footnotes rather than endnotes and contains a rather useful series of appendices, a bibliography and an index.

This book was originally written in Russian and translated into English by Kevin Bridge.  The translation reads fairly well, although every so often a sentence will come off a bit clunky.  Whether this is due to the original text or to the translation is hard to say.  One translation error that jumped out at us was the mention of Western researcher “Thomas Yentz.”  Those well read on German armor will of course recognize this person as Thomas Jentz.  The publisher provides a disclaimer at the start of the book noting that the translation has kept partisan statements such as “our tanks” and “our aircraft” in the text.  This is a Russian book written by a Russian author and as such, it focuses much more on the Russian perspective of the battle than the German.

The text of the book is relatively straight forward, starting with a description of forces on both sides of the battle forces at the onset of Operation Barbarossa.  The chain of events from the launch of the German invasion on June 22 up to the Dubno battle a week later are explained with a good deal of detail.  A few maps are provided in the text, although readers may want to get a more detailed map of their own to prevent getting lost in the various details of unit movements and dispositions.  For those looking for individual accounts of combat or Steven Ambrose style history, this book will be quite dry and unrewarding.  For those looking for a detailed operational level description of events with analysis, this book should prove enjoyable.

The book ends with a conclusion offering an overview of the events and some analysis explaining why things turned out the way they did.  Isaev provides several reasons for why the Soviets lost this battle, primarily lack of experience and training, poor communication and poor unit organization compared to their German adversary.  One other factor that seems to crop up continuously in the description of the fighting is a lack of proper artillery support for Soviet armored units due to a lack of suitable prime movers.

Throughout the text the author regularly emphasizes certain points that he sees as important for having been misinterpreted or left out of Soviet era histories.  However, since most Western readers will not be familiar with these older histories, these points by the author may seem a bit confusing.  One thing not addressed in great detail in this book is the issue of why this battle, as large as it was, is so little known.  For the answer to that question, one needs to take a dive into the world of post war Soviet historiography.  And while this book avoids that topic, the next book in our review pile fearlessly plunges into it. (The Battle of Kursk: Controversial and Neglected Aspects by Valeriy Zamulin by Valeriy Zamulin – expect the review later next week.)

For those interested in learning more about this battle, we would easily give this book a recommendation, provided people understand this is a pretty information dense book.  Those looking for some light reading should go elsewhere.  This volume is one of several Russian language WWII histories that Helion & Company have brought over to the English reading public.  We commend them for doing so and hope the keep it up.

Forces Network: AVRE versus quad bike

Here is a fun story and video from www.forces.net showing a British Army AVRE destroying a quad bike left by by riders illegally trespassing on Salisbury Plain.  Oddly, the title of the piece refers to the new British Army Terrier, although the vehicle in the video is a Trojan ARVE.  Click on the image below to go to the http://www.forces.net page and view the video.


Forces Network: British Army Terrier Rips Up Quad Bike!

The MoD found a quad bike left by illegal off-roaders on Salisbury Plain, and reacted in the best possible way; by crushing it with a terrier.

Operation Aston, in partnership with Wiltshire Council, will show no mercy when dealing with trespassers on the military training ground.

The 147 square mile area has been described as a ‘hotspot’ for off-road activity

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) tweeted that it had “exercised” its “right to crush it”.

The operation was organised after the MoD said there had been a “massive increase in off-roaders on motorcycles and 4X4 vehicles” intruding on MoD land “which was both dangerous and illegal”.

The area is restricted to the public, with some areas completely cordoned off due to the nature of the activities the army practice there.

To make sure that this was a complete write-off, it gets crushed several times, ensuring it is reduced to scrap.

Perhaps the off-roaders will now think twice before taking a ride on Salisbury Plain!

Book Alert: New Issue of ARMOR available

Armor summer 2017The Summer issue of ARMOR magazine is available for download at the eArmor website. According to the cover, the theme of this issue is “Operationalizing Cross-Domain Maneuver” (is “operationalizing” a real word?)  Anyhow, those interested in tank hardware may find the article Cordoba Cats: Ejercito de Tierra’s Leopard 2E Main Battle Tank, which looks at the Leopard 2 tanks of Spain, to be worth checking out.

Download the Summer 2017 issue of ARMOR here.