From the Editor: Sherman Tanks of Northern Ohio

On our drive back from the MVPA convention in Cleveland this weekend, we had a chance to check out some of the armored vehicles on display in various towns along the way.  Our stops included three examples of Sherman tanks, all M4A3 models.  These tanks are located at Port Clinton, Parma Heights, and Walbridge Ohio.  We snapped a few pictures of each tank with our Samsung phone, the photos are included in some galleries below.  All three tanks are “small hatch” M4A3 tanks with the narrow gun mantlet.  The Walbridge tank is interesting in that it is a M4A3E9.  This particular Sherman variant had a suspension and drive sprocket that was spaced out from the hull to allow for duckbill extenders to be used on both sides of the track.

According to the US AFV Registry, there are two other Sherman tanks in Northern Ohio that we did not have the time to visit. One is housed at a veterans home facility in Sandusky that requires registration in order to gain access to the grounds.  The other is at a National Guard Armory in Cleveland.

M4A3

American Legion Post 703 Parma Heights OH

 

M4A3E9

Ohio Army National Guard Armory, Walbridge OH

 

M4A3

Camp Perry Military Reservation, Port Clinton OH

 

From the Editor: Off to Cleveland

Tomorrow morning we will be making the trek to Cleveland to attend the MVPA Homecoming Military Show and Swap Meet at the Cleveland Tank Plant (I-X Center).  We plan to be there Friday afternoon and evening.  If any of our regular readers plans to be there, shoot us a message at tanksonthebrain@gmail.com.

Cleveland-Tank-Plant-Homecoming-Military-Show-and-Swap-Meet-logo

 

From the Editor: Tank Pogs!

Remember the Pog (milk caps) collecting fad of the early 1990’s?  If not, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. That said, the fad was popular enough that even some defense contractors apparently got in on the game.  We recently gained possession of these Teledyne Continental Motors “pogs” depicting the AVDS-1790 tank engine, their hydro-pneumatic suspension for tanks, a generic “combat vehicles” graphic and a military fire truck.  The beer cap is included for scale.  While we think these are pretty cool, we doubt many kids were clamoring for a Pog of the AVDS-1790.

Teledyne POGs

Message from the Editor

Regular readers may have noticed that April has seen a sharp decrease in the number of posts here.  Don’t worry, this is a temporary slow-down.  Recent events have conspired to limit the time and energy I have to put into the site right now.  These include a heavy schedule at work and dealing with an ailing parent.  I am hoping that by next week things here at Tank and AFV News will return to normal.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of some tank related objects that have recently come into my possession:

Pictured below are a couple of desktop models of US tank engines from Teledyne Continental Motors.  The one one the left should be familiar to most readers, it is the AVDS-1790-2C, the engine powering the US M-60 tank.  The engine on the right is a bit more obscure, it’s the AVCR-1360-2.  This engine was developed for the MBT-70 program and later was used to power General Motors XM-1 prototype which lost to the Chrysler Defense gas turbine powered XM-1 entry.  engine models

Speaking of the AVDS-1790, here is piece of one!  This is the cylinder head cover to one of the twelve air-cooled cylinders of an AVDS-1790.  Not sure how old this item is, but it has to have been manufactured prior to 1996 since it still has the “Continental” logo on it.

Cylinder head

Here is a drawing showing where this item fits on the cylinder.

diagram

 

From Russia I now have this wooden cutout from Uraltransmash corporation.

uraltransmesh

The last item in this post is this little clear plastic decorative item from General Dynamics in 1987 celebrating the first chips cut on their Abrams Recovery Vehicle.  The block has embedded inside it two metal chips and a graphic showing an image of the vehicle and text announcing that the Abrams Recovery Vehicle “meets user needs.”  Unfortunately for General Dynamics, it did not meet the US Army’s needs as well as the M88A2 Hercules and the Abrams Recovery Vehicle never went into production.

first chips cut

Happy “Tanksgiving”

tanksgiving_special

To all our readers in the USA, we hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.  To our readers outside the USA, have a great weekend.  While our goal here is to post new material on a daily basis, several events have conspired to make that impossible this month.  However, we are hopeful that moving forward we can get back to our regular schedule.  Thank you for reading!

From the Editor: The Next-Gen Combat Vehicle of the US Army

Defense News has posted a new article titled “What is the Next-Gen Combat Vehicle?” which reports on recent statements from US Army officials concerning future AFV development.  The article can be read here, but for those in a hurry, allow us to summarize.

The Army has no idea what the NGCV (Next-Gen Combat Vehicle) will look like and will need four years of analysis before any ideas “begin to take shape.”  This analysis will include “conceptualizing the NGCV” through the “prism” of the movement and maneuver functional concept for the brigade combat teams.  According to the article, there is a “roadmap to show where potential decision-making points could exist to bring a NGCV to life.”  However, this roadmap is in no way “set in stone.”  Don’t worry, the Army does not intend to repeat the mistakes it made in the FCS (Future Combat Systems) program.  In fact, the Army “will make conscious decisions about what NGCV will or will not be and what capabilities and technologies it will have based on our assessments of technology and where it is.”

Or to summarize even further:

The Army wants something better than what it has right now but they have no idea what it might be.

From the Editor: Media Reaction to Iraqi Abrams missile strike video

Last week we made a post about a video of an Iraqi Army M1 Abrams tank being struck by an ISIS anti-tank missile.  The video is rather dramatic, showing a huge stream of fire erupting from the tank following the missile impact.  As can be expected, the video has resulted in a number of news stories, some better than others.  Most of the articles seem to based off a National Interest piece by Dan Goure titled “Are Tanks Obsolete? : YouTube Video Makes the Case for Active Protection Systems.”  Aside from the rather cliche question in the beginning of the article title (we say the answer is “no”), the article is well written and makes a good case for the authors central argument; that the US Army needs to speed up development and/or acquisition of active defense systems for its armored vehicle fleet.  Of course, as Mr. Goure’s article gets re-interpreted by various media entities, the hyperbole starts to increase.  Business Insider picks up the story in an article that casts the video in far more ominous terms, declaring that:

Such an attack represents a big win for ISIS, a loss for the Iraqi people trying to reclaim the city of Mosul, and a glaring warning to US soldiers and Marines: Next time it could be you.

But the true champions of hype are across the pond at the Daily Mail.  In this stunning piece of overstatement, they declare that “US made tanks are all but obsolete” and that this is “the video that will chill the blood of every American Tank Crew” as “ISIS obliterates M1 Abrams tank with handheld Russian missile.”  Nothing like a little bit of hyperbole to sell some extra copies (or get a few extra clicks.)

One thing we have not seen any article mention is that part of the reason for the dramatic fire coming from the Abrams tank is due to the location of the missile hit.  The missile strikes the turret rear where the ammunition is stowed.  That part of the vehicle is equipped with blow-out panels that are intended to direct the blast upward and away from the crew in the event of a detonation.  How effective were the blow-out panels in protecting the crew in this particular instance?  We can’t really say without more evidence, but we certainly do not envy any crewman who happened to be in that tank.  What we can say though, is that if the ISIS missile crew were looking for the most sensational video possible, they hit the Abrams in the exact perfect spot to achieve their goal.

One other question not addressed in the articles concerns tactics and training.  While these articles treat the question of tank vs missile as primarily a technical one, how much of the fault for the destruction of this tank rests on the training and tactics of the Iraqi soldiers?  Certainly, we don’t see any fire being directed toward the launchers of the missile after the Iraqi tank is stuck, which does not seem to speak well of the other soldiers accompanying the targeted tank.  While we don’t know much about the exact tactical situation in this particular incident, it seems that it does merit some serious questions regarding how the Iraqi Army is conducting its operations if their valuable Main Battle Tanks are being left easy targets to enemy ATGMs.