Tanks of World War II – Episode 4: Panzer II

Here is episode four of our video series The Tanks of World War II.  This episode finishes up our look at the Polish Campaign of 1939 and examines the German Panzer II and it’s variants.

Tanks of World War II – Episode 2: Panzerkampfwagen I

Here is the second video in our new series on the Tanks of World War II.  This one looks at the Panzer I.  This episode is a bit longer than the first one and includes more pictures.  We hope you all enjoy it.

If you would like to support this series, you can do so in a couple ways.  We have created a Patreon page for those that want to make a small regular donation.  Or, you can go to our page of recommended books on the Panzer I.  We get a small advertising fee if people shop on Amazon from the links on our site.

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.




“Mad Money” Host criticized by Poland for propagating myth of Polish cavalry attacking German Panzers

0_5fdf6_6072963c_LIt’s probably been a while since the Battle of Krojanty in 1939 made the news, but that is what recently happened according to a blog post on the website of FP (Foreign Policy) magazine.  The post states that Mad Money host Jim Cramer used the myth of Polish Cavalry attacking German Panzers as a metaphor for the struggling department store Macy’s.  This prompted a response from the Polish Embassy in Washington that he apologize for the comments, which they regard as “unnecessary, inaccurate, and insensitive.”

The notion of Polish Cavalry charging German tanks during the 1939 campaign is a rather enduring one in the popular consciousness, despite having been debunked repeatedly by military historians.  Nazi propagandists created the story of the Polish Army deploying cavalry against German tanks as part of their attempt to effort to present the WWII Wehrmacht as an ultra-modern, mechanized force.  The reality was that much like the Polish Army, the majority of the Wehrmacht relied on horses for transport.

Article Excerpt:

On May 11, Mad Money host Jim Cramer compared the struggling department store Macy’s to Poland’s early efforts against the German Wehrmacht in World War II. “Macy’s is like the Polish Army in WWII — it tried to field cavalry against German tanks and it did not end well,” he said.

The Polish Embassy in Washington issued a fiery response to Cramer, demanding he apologize for comments that were “unnecessary, inaccurate, and insensitive.”

Cramer was recycling an oft-cited tale of Polish lancers who supposedly charged German tanks at the outset of World War II — making it the very epitome of blinkered futility.

The problem is that never actually happened, and it’s become a huge sore spot for Poland ever since.

Read the full post here.

For more information on the Polish Cavalry vs Panzer myth, check out this article from a 1984 issue of ARMOR authored by Steven Zaloga.

Rheinmetall upgrading Polish Army’s Leopard 2 tanks

1650356_-_mainJane’s is reporting that Poland has signed a contract with German firm Rheinmetall to modernize 128 Leopard 2 tanks of the Polish Army in cooperation with Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa and ZM Bumar-Łabędy S.A.  Rheinmetall will supply key capabilities for the upgrade. Included will be electronics and weapon technology to bring the tanks to Leopard 2 PL standard, an improvement over the current Leopard 2A4.  The contract is worth $144 million for Rheinmetall.   The Leopard tanks were bought from German Army surplus in 2002.

In total, more than 50% of the programs budget is to be subcontracted for Polish firms, including: WZM (power-pack overhaul); PCO (KLW-1 Asteria and KDN-1 Nyks cameras delivery); ZM Tarnow (EWNA turret drives manufacturing); Rosomak (licenced production of additional turret armament); and OBRUM (modification and repairs of MBT simulators)  The first prototype Leopard 2PL is planned to be completed in Germany in March 2018.


Poland orders Leopard 2PL upgrade

1646417_-_mainJane’s IHS has posted an article providing some details about the upgrade Poland is planning for 128 of their Leopard 2 tanks.  Poland has signed a $605.7 million contract with prime contractor Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and integrator ZM Bumar-Labedy by the Polish Armament Inspectorate to upgrade its 128 Leopard 2A4 tanks to a new standard called Leopard 2PL.  Poland has 128 Leopard 2A4s purchased from Germany in 2002, all of which are intended to receive the 2PL upgrade by the year 2020.   Currently these vehicles are part of the 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade, based in Swietoszow.

According to Janes, the upgrade will include:

  • Turret armor to a level at least that of the Leopard 2A5 variant.
  • Spall liners will  be added in the crew compartment of the turret, while internal storage and stowage capabilities will be extended.
  • L44 120 mm gun and its fire control system will be upgraded for compatibility with the newest DM11 and DM63-type armor-piercing ammunition.
  • New commander and gunner sights incorporating the Polish PCO KLW-1 thermal imager, while the gun and turret stabilizer systems will be changed from hydraulic to electric.

Slovak-Polish Diana Self-propelled Howitzer debuts at MSPO

2382927_originalJane’s is reporting that at Poland’s MSPO defense exhibition in Kielce, the new 155mm Diana tracked SPH was unveiled.  Developed for a requirement by the Indian Army, the Diana SPH is a product of Konstrukta Defense and consists of a Slovakian autonomous 155mm L55 armed turret mounted on a Polish Bumar-Labedy UPG-NG tracked chassis.  This turret was originally developed for use on an 8×8 wheeled chassis.  According to the Jane’s article, the primary reason the Polish tracked chassis was selected was because it shares many common components with the T-72 main battle tank, a vehicle used by many of the potential customers for this artillery system.  The UPG-NG vehicle was initially designed for the Krab SPH, but was dropped in favor of the SOuth Korean K9 chassis.

Jane’s article here.

For those that would like more information on both the Polish Krab SPG and the Diana SPG, and are willing to use google translate, this Polish Language LiveJournal post may be of interest.  Here are the stats for the Diana SPG as provided in the LiveJournal post:

Diana (like Zuzana 2) using the automated loading system is capable of five shots in the first minute of opening fire, or 13 shots during the three minutes. Manual loading is possible if required. SAU Diana has a very impressive ammunition load of 80 rounds and 80 charges, out of which 40 projectiles and 40 charges placed in the automatic loader, and the other 40 projectiles and 40 charges – lie in the aft hull. The combat weight of Diana is 50 tons, length is 11, 8 m, width 3.5 m, height of the tower on the roof of 3.69 m. Engine S12U. The maximum road speed of 60 km / h on the highway cruising range to 650 km.