From the Vault: Ogorkiewicz on Swiss tanks

From the Jan-Feb 1967 issue of ARMOR is this article on Swiss armor by British tank expert Richard Ogorkiewicz.  A good deal of the article focuses on the Swiss Pz.61, a vehicle that was relatively new when the article was published.


From the Vault: Thoughts on Future Tank Design 1968

Today we present an article from the 1968 July-August issue of ARMOR by Richard Ogorkiewicz titled “Thoughts on Future Tank Designs.”  This article gives a pretty good summary of the state of the art in tank design in the late 60’s, illustrating the issues and thoughts that would go into the designs produced in the 1970’s.  Also of interest is the picture on the first page, an artist’s interpretation of an overhead gun system.  Page 2 states that the picture is courtesy of Continental Motors, who would later go on to develop the overhead gun system for the Teledyne Armored Gun System in the 1980’s.

From the Vault: Ogorkiewicz on Tank Test Beds

thumbnail picToday we present an article by noted tank expert Richard Ogorkiewicz from the mar-apr 1984 issue of ARMOR on the topic of tank test beds.  This article includes information on some of the experimental tank concepts being looked at in that time period, including mention of the British COMRES 75, the Krupp-MAK VT-1 and the UDES XX 20.  It is somewhat amusing to note the first sentence of the article, “Although the M1 tank is still in the early stages of its production program, it is not too early to think of its successor.”  Thirty one years since this article was written and a replacement for the Abrams is still far off in the distance.  It’s fair to say that the end of the cold war certainly put a damper on new vehicle development to a degree that writers of the time did not expect.

From the Vault: Ogorkiewicz on self propelled artillery

Today we present an article from the 1951 Nov-Dec issue of ARMOR by Richard Ogorkiewicz on developments and trends in self propelled guns.  The article notes that this is not the first article for ARMOR that Mr. Ogorkiewicz has written, although it does qualify as one of the earlier pieces in a career which stretches all the way to the current day.  While we tend to think of indirect fire weapons when self propelled guns are mentioned these days, this article includes direct fire “assault guns” as well as self propelled anti-tank guns.  These categories of vehicles have fallen out of favor in modern times, but were still considered a viable vehicle type when this article was authored in 1951.

From the Vault: Merkava 2 article from ARMOR magazine

Today we present an article from the Nov-Dec 1985 issue of ARMOR by R. M. Ogorkiewicz titles “Israel’s Merkava Mark 2 Battle Tank.”  The article gives a good description of the Merkava as well as explaining the reasons for the vehicle’s unusual design.  it is worth pointing out that the author is quite clear in stating that the Merkava is not intended to function as a tank/APC hybrid.  This claim still gets made in various online forums from time to time.  Ogorkiewicz states that “the fact that the Merkava can carry infantrymen has been misinterpreted by many people, including several contributors to ARMOR, who have wrongly assumed it to be some kind of tank-cum-infantry carrier.  Those who have done this not only misunderstand the design of the Merkava, but seem to have no idea of the monstrous size of any tank which would carry not only a major caliber gun and a full load of ammunition, but also a squad of infantry.”

From the Vault: Vickers Valiant MBT

Today we present an article on the mostly forgotten Vickers Valiant Main Battle Tank. This article is from the March-April 1983 issue of ARMOR and is authored by noted tank expert Richard Ogorkiewicz.  The Valiant MBT (also knows as the Vickers MBT Mk 4) was designed in 1977 as a follow up to the Vickers MBT developed in the 1960’s as a private venture.  While the original Vickers Mk 1 MBT was relatively successful, being adopted by the armies of India (as the Vijayanta) and Kuwait, and the later Mk 3 version was used by Nigeria and Kenya, the Mk 4 Valiant never made it past the prototype stage.  The primarly selling point of the Mk 4 was the inclusion of Chobham armor and a “universal” turret capable of mounting either the L7 105mm gun, the 120mm rifled gun of the Chieftain MBT, or the Rheinmetall 120mm gun of the Leopard 2.  Unlike most British main battle tanks, the Vickers series used a torsion bar suspension rather than the Horstmann system found on Centurion or Chieftain.  It’s worth pointing out that the Vickers MBT Mk 4 was the second unsuccessful British tank to be named “Valiant.”  The first was a dreadful WW2 era infantry tank prototype (A38) developed by the Ruston & Hornsby company.  This vehicle is preserved at the Tank Museum in Bovington, in part as an example to armor students on how not to design a tank.

New issue of ARMOR released

armor journalThe October-December 2014 issue of ARMOR was posted online on March 20th.  ARMOR is the official magazine of the US Armor Branch and has been published in one form or another for 125 years.  As the Armor Branch’s professional-development bulletin, ARMOR issues will vary in terms of how much they will be of interest to the average person interested in tanks and armored vehicles.  Fortunately, there is a search feature on the eArmor page and select back issues are available for download.  Of particular interest is a series of articles from past issues collected as eArmor Heritage Historical Series.  It is worth noting that this list includes an article by  Richard Ogorkiewicz titled “The Ten Ages of Tank” from the May-June 1952 issue.  Considering that Ogorkiewicz just recently had a book on tanks published by Osprey, it’s fair to say he much hold the record for longest writing career on the topic!

The newest issue of ARMOR may be downloaded here.  Back issues are available here.

Book Review: Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution by Ogorkiewicz

tanks ogorkiewiczIn the first sentence of his new book “Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution” author Richard Ogorkiewicz states that “this book is the outcome of several years of study on the evolution of tanks.”  It’s probably fair to say that the phrase “several years” is a gross understatement.  No one has been studying and writing about tanks and armored warfare for as long as Richard Ogorkiewicz.  His first book “Armor: the Development of Armored Forces” came out in 1960.  This was followed by “Design and Development of Armored Vehicles” in 1968 and by the two volume set “Technology of Tanks” in 1991.  This new book is in some ways a combination of the three previous works, updating and condensing them into a single volume.

The book is approximately 300 pages, with the first half of the book devoted to early tank development and armored forces up through the Second World War.  The second half of the book includes a description of postwar tank development organized by country.  Russia, Germany, the USA, Britain and France get the most coverage, although other countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Israel and the tank producing countries of Asia get attention as well.  [Read more…]

Book Alert: Osprey Publishing Announces New Book “Tanks” by Richard Ogorkiewicz

tanks ogorkiewiczOsprey Publishing has announced a publication date of February 20, 2015 for a new book by author Richard Ogorkiewicz titled “Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution.”  Ogorkiewicz is a name very familiar to knowledgeable tank and AFV aficionados,  both for his work as a reporter for International Defense Journal and for his groundbreaking books “Armoured Forces” and “Technology of Tanks.”  The book is available for pre-order at the Osprey website. [Read more…]