Translated articles from Tank Archives.com

Here are an assortment of Russian language articles covering WWII era armor translated into English by Tank Archives.com.  It’s been a couple months since we last checked in on them so there are quite a few.  Click on the link to go to Tank Archives.com and view the full article.

Medium Tank M3 – by Yuri Pasholok

m3medium01-d71ea925f5cc00c844913c10cdf7485bThe American army had only a handful of medium tanks at the start of WWII. That does not mean that American designers ignored vehicles of this class. In the summer of 1939, the Medium Tank M2 entered production. Only 18 units were built, but it turned out to be the start of a new era for American tank building. The layout of its chassis became the foundation of American medium tanks. In 1940, the superior Medium Tank M2A1 was built, although it was already obsolete at the time.

Light Tank M5: The Peak of Evolution –  by Yuri Pasholok

m5light05-dde23b5bad317050a9ec00440fb8951dRapid advances in armoured vehicles during WWII meant that even very good designs did not stay at the top for long. This was especially noticeable in American tank building. In 1939, the Light Tank M2 and Combat Car M1 were at the top of technical progress, but they were replaced with the Light Tank M3 by the time the USA entered the war in late 1941. In 1942, the Light Tank M3A1 entered production, but it did not last long as America’s main light tank. At the end of 1942, the Light Tank M5 was there to replace it, the last of the descendants of the Light Tank M2.

Through Adversity to the SU-122 – by Yuri Pasholok

u35s15-784c4d20669b29376a985112489949afIt was clear by the spring of 1942 that work on a medium SPG on the T-34 chassis with an 85 mm gun in a rotating turret hit a dead end. The result of this work, which started back in the summer of 1940, was the U-20, which the military considered unsatisfactory. The project didn’t leave the drawing board. Later, development of Soviet SPGs took a different path. A significant influence was the study of a captured StuG III Ausf. B. Later, factory #592 built a Soviet version on its chassis, called SG-122. It was clear, however, that converting foreign vehicles was not the end.

SU-26: Blockade Long-Liver – by Yuri Pasholok

t26sau09-7fe88a7694ebcfd1b92ccc5004f40442The start of the Great Patriotic War in the summer of 1941 forced many changes onto the prospective designs of Soviet SPGs. Many branches were cancelled, and work on the ZIS-30 SPG on the Komsomolets tractor platform was urgently started. Until then, it was not considered as an SPG platform at all. However, one SPG that was designed according to pre-war plans was not only built, but mass produced. This is a vehicle best known under the name SU-26. Its real name, T-26-6, was buried deep in the archives.

Light Paper SPGs (SU-31 and SU-32) – by Yuri Pasholok

zik7s09-174660916cbe3269722286fd12c7f318As with many other Soviet SPGs, the path to the SU-76 was not easy. Initially, the two-turreted T-26 tank would be used as the chassis for an infantry support vehicle. Later, the T-50 joined in the plans. The situation after the start of the war forced the concept of the SPG to change urgently. Instead of a light infantry support SPG, the ZIS-30 appeared, a tank destroyer on the Komsomolets tractor chassis. Designers only returned to the topic of a multipurpose SPG towards the end of 1941. The SU-12, the first production variant of the SU-76, did not come about on the first try. This article tells the story of vehicles that were dead ends, without even being produced in metal.

The Road to SU-76 – by Yuri Pasholok

su32s04-08fc3907c10f0dbcf050f8ce12f46fcdThe T-50 tank was considered the highest priority platform for light SPGs in the pre-war Soviet Union. However, a proposal for an SPG chassis based on the T-40 amphibious reconnaissance tank was made at a meeting on June 9th, 1941. The idea was quickly abandoned, and, a few weeks later, the USSR was too busy for the T-50 SPG. Suddenly, the first wartime light Soviet SPG turned out to be the ZIS-30, which used the chassis of the Komsomolets artillery tractor. Due to the cancellation of artillery tractors, the idea of building an SPG using T-40 components came out of retirement. The result was a small family of experimental vehicles, such as the SU-31 SPAAG and SU-32 SPG.

Big Dreams, Small Chassis (T40) – by Yuri Pasholok

t40spguns01-f18ea71cb513688976f9990fddf50528Despite the difficulty with which the Soviet T-40 amphibious reconnaissance tank entered production, designers considered the platform quite promising. The T-40 chassis would be used to produce the GAZ-22 artillery tractor, which would eventually replace the Komsomolets. The fact that the T-40 was also seen as an SPG platform was less well known. Most of the designs remained on paper, but at least one was produced in a small batch.

Metamorphoses of an Amphibian Scout (T-37 and T-38) – by Yuri Pasholok

t38rearm04-6a7919577b4ec397fd90782dfdfec544An unusual modification of the T-38 can be seen in the outdoor display of the Central Museum of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. This vehicle is distinct from its brothers: instead of one DT machinegun, its turret houses a 20 mm TNSh autocannon and a coaxial DT machinegun. Some Russian historians spread the myth that this tank was experimental. In reality, not only was this not an experimental tank, but these tanks had the chance to fight. This article will cover modifications of T-37 and T-38 amphibious tanks.

Israeli Sandwiches – by Yuri Pasholok

sandswichidf01-7f3b5be80cfc2780353972dd2a3d0b68When Israeli armoured vehicles are mentioned, one often thinks of Merkava tanks first. Without a doubt, these vehicles are a point of pride for Israel. However, the backbone of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) was composed of converted foreign vehicles for a very long time. The Israelis spent several decades fine tuning the art of adapting vehicles to suit their needs. Everything started with improvised armoured cars, which played an important role in the war for Israeli independence.

Marder II: Light Tank Destroyer -by Yuri Pasholok

marder2s02-4afc0abfec61886e130b800c8594673bBy the end of 1941, the Germans began to understand that the time of light tanks was over. This also applied to the PzII tank. By that time, it’s main enemy was medium tanks with shellproof armour, against which the 20 mm autocannon was useless. Production of light tanks ended in Germany in the summer of 1942, but that doesn’t mean that the PzII chassis was done for. Work on light SPGs on its chassis began in the spring. One of them was a tank destroyer that is best known as the Marder II.

An Aryan From Poland – by Yuri Pasholok

pz2cussr02-3cb55f2bc6c28eee12822eeee90ff340The Red Army GABTU had a very vague idea about the armoured vehicles of its potential enemy at the start of World War II. The same could be said about the other members of what would become the Allies. For obvious reasons, there was very little available information about tanks made by Germany and its allies. Mainly, it could be obtained from encyclopedias, which were full of errors. The ability to properly study the foreign tanks was only possible after combat began. In this respect, the USSR was ahead of the rest of the world. The first trophies began arriving from Spain: a captured PzI Ausf. A and an Italian L3/35. In the summer of 1939, a Japanese Ha-Go tank was captured in the Far East. The list of trophies grew with the start of WWII. The German PzII Ausf. C was among them.

Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. F: Third Time’s the Charm – by Yuri Pasholok

pz2f03-c79000eaf8b94c14804881db27290938There are few cases when a tank that is accepted into service is replaced by a modification that is inferior to it. In Soviet tank building, one example of this is the KV-1S, a necessary measure. It was lighter than the KV-1, and had thinner armour, but as a result of its lower mass and improved gearbox, it was a lot more reliable and mobile. The tank itself received a large number of improvements.  With the Germans, the most clear example of such a paradoxical course of action was the PzII Ausf. F. Here, the Germans returned to an older version of the PzII (Ausf. C, albeit with some improvements) than the one that was already accepted into production (Ausf. D).

Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. D-E: Unlucky Torsion Bars – by Yuri Pasholok

pz2d05-21c58c47aba5abd78f9e6bf3d505f5feWorldwide tank building progressed rapidly in the second half of the 1930s. This can definitely be said about Germany’s tank industry, which developed tank suspensions, along with everything else. Various experiments in this area led to widespread use of torsion bars. However, there is a tank in the history of Germany’s tank design that was produced in large numbers, but it is rarely remembered. It ended up in a paradoxical situation where, instead of a technically superior tank, a tank with an old suspension returned into production. This was the PzII Ausf. D: a light tank that fought in its initial configuration for only a month.

 

Below the Turret Ring articles

It’s been a while since we checked in with the blog Below the Turret Ring to see what they have been up to.  Here are some recent posts of theirs from the last couple months.  As always, some nice indepth descriptions of the latest trends in AFV development.  Click on the headline to go to the full blog post.

 

Hardkill APS: US Army buys Trophy, Europe is testing systems

2fOO3KYOn the 29th September 2017, the US Army has decided to purchase an unknown quantity of Trophy systems as urgent material request. General Dynamics Land Systems is responsible for fitting the system to the M1A2 SEP v2 main battle tanks (MBTs) of an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). It was not revealed yet, if all ninety Abrams tanks of the ABCT will receive the Tropy APS – but it seems rather likely. The Jerusalem Post claims that the system has an estimated costs of about $350,000 USD per tank. By March 2019 all of the M1A2 SEP v2 covered by the contract are expected to have received the Trophy APS. The tanks are planned to be deployed to Europe by 2020.

 

Russia upgrades BMP-2 and BMD-2 IFVs

BMP-2 KWS mit Berezhok-Turm für RusslandThe Russian Army has contracted the KPB Tula Instrument Design Burea for the upgrade of 540 old BMP-2 and BMD-2 infanty fighting vehicles (IFVs). The complete scope of the upgrade is not known, but it is confirmed that both vehicles will receive upgraded turrets – or “combat modules” in the official Russian military lingo. The BMP-2 will be fitted with the B05Ya01 Berezhok combat module, while the BMD-2 will receive the lighter Bereg combat module.

 

Czech Army prefers Puma, searches T-72 replacement and miscellaneous

e493481002.jpgIn August an article on the Czech IFV program was published here. A long period of writing and more recent news from the Czech Republic have made the speculation and information on the possible contenders outdated. The Czech government asked a total of nine contenders to participate in the tender for the BMP-2 replacement. Apparently neither the Šakal IFV or the Wolfdog were considered by the army as proper replacement for the BMP-2s. The following IFVs were seen as possible replacement, which is why the manufacturers were invited to participate in the bidding process for the contract:

 

New Polish AFVs revealed at MSPO

74k2xfRAt the currently ongoing MSPO 2017 defence exhibition in Poland, a number of new combat vehicle prototypes were presented for the first time to the public. These vehicles include new main battle tank (MBT) variants, the Borsuk infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), that is currently being developed for the Polish Army, aswell as various wheeled vehicles such as proposed variants of the Rosomak (locally produced Patria AMV).

 

Which new IFV for the Czech Army?

iRuXp9uAccording to Jane’s IHS, the Czech Army is actively looking for a replacement of the aging Soviet-made BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). Therefore a number of companies has been expected to bid for the contract to deliver a total of 200 new vehicles to the Czech Republic. A number of competitors has shown vehicles at the IEDT 2017 exhibition in Brno (also known as Brünn in the German speaking countries), four vehicles were later photographed during Czech Army trials. The decision on which vehicle to adopt might affect other international tenders such as the Australian LAND 400 phase 3 program.

 

More T-90 and BMPT contracts

BMPT-2 mit neuem ERARecently it has been reported that Russia has opted to purchase a small number of BMPT fire support vehicles following the combat experiences in Syria. Previously the BMPT had been rejected by the Russian Army, partly due to the T-15 version of the next-generation Armata family of combat vehicles being considered to handle the same taks while being an IFV with enough space to transport nine dismounts. The BMPT ordered by Russia is an improved model that has been described as the BMPT-2, a name that confusingly has sometimes also used in blogs and forums to describe another variant.

AFV News from Around the Web

We are overdue for an installment of AFV News from Around the Web.  Here is an assortment of recent news articles on armored vehices.  Click on the headline to go to the complete piece.

Scout.com – Army Starts Early Concept Work on New Tank After Abrams – 2040s

6_7719317The Army is now performing concept modeling and early design work for a new mobile, lethal, high-tech future lightweight tank platform able to detect and destroy a wider range of targets from farther distances, cross bridges, incinerate drones with lasers and destroy incoming enemy artillery fire – all for the 2030s and beyond.  The new vehicle, now emerging purely in the concept phase, is based upon the reality that the current M1A2 SEP Abrams main battle tank can only be upgraded to a certain limited extent, senior Army officials explained.

 

Motherboard – The Army’s New Tank Fires ‘Smart’ Cannon Rounds

1507572405034-UJIiLPOThe US Army just got a new tank with the ability to fire deadlier “smart” rounds from its powerful, 120-millimeter-diameter main cannon.  The new fighting vehicle’s unwieldy designation obscures its technological advancements. Officially, the new M-1A2 Systems Enhancement Package Version 3 tank, or M-1A2SEPV3, is a mere upgrade of the Army’s previous main battle tank, the M-1A2SEPV2 that entered service in 2007.  In fact, the tank boasts stronger armor, better electronics, and more efficient propulsion and power systems than on previous tanks, making it, in effect, a brand-new vehicle.

 

www.army.mil – Army rolls out latest version of iconic Abrams Main Battle Tank

size0LIMA, Ohio — On Wednesday, Oct. 4, members of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center workforce celebrated the delivery of the next iteration of the iconic Abrams Main Battle Tank as the Army accepted the first of six M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 initial production vehicles.  Production for the M1A2 SEPv3 is being conducted at JSMC in Lima, Ohio and at the Anniston Army Depot in Anniston, Alabama.

 

Quwa – Indonesia Displays Kaplan MT Medium-weight Tank

Kaplan-MT-02-692x360The Indonesian Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat – TNI-AD) officially displayed the Kaplan MT during a parade commemorating National Armed Forces Day 05 October in Cilegon, Banten Province.  The Kaplan MT was collaboratively developed by Indonesia’s PT Pindad and FNSS Savunma Sistemleri from Turkey under the TNI-AD’s Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT) program. Development began in 2014, with the design work completed in November 2016 and first prototype delivered in September 2017.

 

Jane’s 360 – AUSA 2017: US Army to upgrade some M113s as stop-gap measure

A request for proposals (RFP) to upgrade a limited number of the US Army’s M113 armoured personnel carriers could be released in the next month or so to identify interested parties, according to Colonel Mike Milner, programme manager for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV).  The army could eventually award contracts to two or three vendors to bring prototypes to a demonstration in fiscal year 2019, Col Milner told reporters on 10 October at the annual Association of the US Army’s (AUSA’s) conference.

 

Jane’s 360 – Valhalla Turrets reveals new 57 mm remote gun system development

1703979_-_mainValhalla Turrets of Slovenia have revealed that they have commenced a private-venture project to develop the Hildgard 57 Medium Remote Gun System (MRGS), with a technology demonstrator expected to be completed by the second half of 2018.  The Hildgard MRGS effort leverages from their developed Midgard remote control weapon station (RCWS) and Asgard Light Tactical Turret (LTT) are soon expected to enter trials.

 

Defense News – Giving up on Abrams tank acquisition, Taiwan moves to upgrade its M60A3 tanks

7FD5XIIPKBHNTIFT7CWLBQNRFYMELBOURNE, Australia ― Taiwan appears to have conceded defeat in its quest to acquire surplus M1 Abrams tanks from the United States, with local media reporting that the East Asian country will now look at ways to locally upgrade the M60A3 main battle tanks it has in service.  According to the United Daily News newspaper, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense will allocate approximately $6.57 million dollars to the state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, or NCSIST, to develop an upgrade program for the approximately 450 M60A3 TTS tanks operated by Taiwan’s Army.

 

Defense News – Europe-bound: US Army to urgently field Abrams tanks with Trophy APS

TXRZCYJKVNFY7HHJHAUY3HYAB4WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has decided to equip a brigade’s worth of Abrams tanks with the Trophy Active Protection System and urgently field them to the European theater, Col. Glenn Dean, the program manager for Stryker, who also manages the service’s effort to install APS on combat vehicles, told Defense News.  The service made a decision to buy Trophy for Abrams on Sept. 29, Dean said, and now the Army is moving out to deploy the systems to Europe by 2020.

DSEI videos from Jane’s 360

Here are some videos from the past couple weeks by Jane’s 360 about the armored vehicled technology on display at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI)arms fair held every two years in London.

 

DSEI 2017: Active Defence Systems by Rheinmetall

 

DSEI 2017: T40 CTA Turret – Nexter

 

DSEI 2017: Piranah 5 8×8 – General Dynamics

 

DSEI 2017: Nexter’s combat proven VBCI

 

DSEI 2017: The CV90 infantry fighting vehicle from BAE Systems

 

DSEI 2017: The MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator from Rheinmetall

 

DSEI 2017: General Dynamics’ AJAX Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Book Alert: The Tanks of TOG

A new book on the history of the tanks designed by “The Old Gang” during WWII is available on createspace.com.  Written by Andrew Hill, this is a 462 page trade paperback volume.  Copies may be purchased here.

Publisher’s Description:

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEThe previously untold story of the Special Vehicle Development Committee, better known as ‘The Old Gang’ or by the abbreviation ‘TOG’. These were the men who were mainly responsible for the creation of the British tanks in WW1. Men like Sir Albert Stern, Sir William Tritton, Sir Harry Ricardo, and Major Walter Wilson. At the outbreak of WW2, they were given a new task, that of breaching the heaviest German defences, with a heavily armoured tank able to cross the worst mud soaked ground of Flanders.
The SVDC managed in very short time to design more than one vehicle to accomplish this seemingly impossible task and built tanks bearing their acronym as TOG-1 and TOG-2. This book covers the development of both vehicles as well as several variations and other work such as an underwater tank and connections to the gigantic Cultivator machines of the Naval Land Equipment division.
The work of the SVDC was conducted in secrecy with documents, photographs, and blueprints sent to various companies and people. Places where sadly since the war so much has been lost. This book was the culmination of several years of research by the author. A search which brought together archival information from as far afield as Canada, the USA, Australia, and the UK to tell the story of these incredible men and their incredible machines.