From the Editor: War is Boring blog on Russian tank history

In the last couple weeks, a couple articles on Soviet tank history have appeared on the War is Boring blog.  One is a somewhat critical look at the WWII era KV tank while the other is a brief examination of post war Soviet heavy tank development.  By themselves, we didn’t really feel they merited posting about, but since they keep showing up in our daily searches for tank related articles, we did want to raise one point concerning them.

It seems both articles are based in part on an old ARMOR magazine article by Stephen “Cookie” Sewell titled Red Star – White Elephant.  As part of our “From the Vault” series of posts, we posted that particular article, as well as another ARMOR article by Sewell called Why Three Tanks?  in 2015.  Sewell is a well known figure in the AFV model building community, being the founder and first president of the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society.  He is also known for his model kit and book reviews which have appeared in Fine Scale Modeler magazine or online at the missing-lynx.com forum.

It is worth noting that Amazon has listed for release next summer a new book by Sewell on the Soviet T-10 Heavy Tank and Variants.  All we know about the book at this point is that it will be published by Osprey and will be a 144 page hardcover.

 

Tank Destroyer article from War is Boring blog

A few days ago we posted about a new video by World of Tanks Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran talking about US WW2 tank destroyers.  For those looking for some written background on the Tank Destroyer story, the blog War is Boring has posted a competent write up of the history of this US Army Branch during WW2.  The information in this piece will probably be familiar to anyone with a decent knowledge of US Armor history.

Excerpt:

1-ebbwRiXRR5CdPI9JNr5_pwThe tank-destroyer force was the Army’s response to the wild successes of German armor in Poland and France in 1939 and 1940. Panzer divisions would concentrate more than a hundred tanks on a narrow front, overwhelming the local anti-tank weapons of defending troops and rolling deep into enemy lines.

In 1941, the Army concluded that it needed mobile anti-tank units to intercept and defeat German armored spearheads. Towed anti-tank guns took too long to deploy on the move and it was difficult to guess where the enemy would concentrate for an attack. Instead, self-propelled anti-tank battalions would wait behind friendly lines.

When the German armor inevitably broke through the infantry, the battalions would deploy en masse to ambush the advancing tank columns.

Read the full article here.

T-72B3 tanks in Ukraine

The blog “War is Boring” has released a new article about the Russian built T-72B3 tanks being used in the conflict in Ukraine.

Excerpt:

In any war, certain weapons come symbolize one side in the fighting, specific tactics or political factors. In that spirit, a specific tank has become the icon of Russia’s secret war in Ukraine.

On June 3, 2016, Ukrainian blogger “sled_vzayt” posted a batch of evidence showing advanced T-72B3 tanks  —  as well as other armored vehicles and heavy weapons  —  and their Russian crews in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region and right across the border in Russia.

T-72B3_-_TankBiathlon2013-10

While the post uses numerous photographs to identify specific tanks, the vehicles themselves offer some of the clearest proof that the Kremlin’s troops are actively supporting rebel forces in Ukraine.

“In the Ukraine conflict, many have scoured the military equipment sightings on social media to find evidence of Russian involvement,” Veli-Pekka Kivimäki, a Finnish doctoral student and open-source intelligence expert, wrote in a piece for the investigative Website Bellingcat on May 28, 2016.

“The modernized T-72B3 main battle tank has been an example of military equipment that is out of place in a conflict where Russian government actively denies military involvement.”

Read the full article here.

War is Boring blog declares T-80 overrated

T80FrontView_thumbThe blog War is Boring has posted an article declaring the T-80 to be Russia’s most overrated tank.  For those interested in reading their analysis, you may do so here.  The article has also appeared on the National Interest website with the even more inflammatory headline ” This is Why Russia’s T-80 Tank is a Total Disaster.”  The article seems to basing it’s conclusions on the fact that the T-80 did not perform well during the 1994 Chechen war and that the T-80 was relatively expensive an suffered from high fuel consumption.  Do these factors justify calling the vehicle a “total disaster?”  In our opinion probably not.

War is Boring blog on Soviet Laser Tanks

The blog War is Boring has posted an article title “The Kremlin Hints at Reviving Cold War Laser Tanks” by Joseph Trevithick.  We admit this particular topic is one we know little about so we present this article without comment as to it’s accuracy or quality.

Excerpt:

laser tankLaser tanks are a staple of Hollywood blockbusters, video games and children’s cartoons. During the closing years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union tried to make that science fiction a reality.

It worked … but not well.

Now Moscow is reportedly dusting off those old Soviet plans. But these scifi designs probably won’t make a return. The weapons were too expensive, too fragile and served a limited purpose on the battlefield.

Before the Iron Curtain fell, the Kremlin’s weaponeers cooked up at least three different beam-toting armored vehicles. Since 1991, the survivors — such as they are — have either languished in museums or scrapyards.

“There are a handful of areas … where, theoretically, Soviet-era engineering remains competitive on today’s battlefield,” retired U.S. Army Maj. Ray Finch — an analyst at the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office — wrote in the June 2015 edition of OE Watch.

Full article available here.

War is Boring article on T-55

imagesThe blog War is Boring has a new article on the history of the T-54/55.  Like most articles on War is Boring, this is not an in-depth article nor does it delve much into technical matters concerning the tank.  However, people may find it an entertaining quick read.  We did take the liberty of posting in the comment section of the article pointing out the authors error in referring to the T-34 suspension as a “leaf spring” system.

Excerpt:

Like the AK-47 but for tanks, T-54 and T-55s endure on battlefields around the world. Simple to operate and maintain, these decades-old Soviet armored beasts are still popular in small nations and with non-state irregular forces — a true “people’s tank.”

If a coup or fratricidal civil war breaks out in one of Moscow’s current or former beneficiaries, there’s good chances T-54 or T-55s are taking part.

When Afghanistan collapsed in the 1990s, the Taliban and Northern Alliance coalition both inherited T-55s formerly belonging to the communist government. The tanks served in Yugoslavia’s multi-sided civil war during the same decade.

Today, captured Iraqi and Syrian T-55s serve under the black flag of Islamic State and other rebel groups fighting in the region. For these insurgent armies, the 60-year old tanks are just as useful as far more modern designs such as the M1 Abrams.

Read full article here.

US Army comic book on “How to destroy a tank”

tank hunting comicThe War is Boring blog has posted an article presenting a comic book printed by the US Army from 1972 on infantry anti-tank tactic.  War is Boring state that they obtained the comic through the Freedom of Information Act and have posted the comic, titled “To Catch a Tank – “Big Game” Hunting Made Easy” in PDF format.  The comic was originally published by the Army’s Infantry School.  Of course, this is not the only example of the US Army using the comic book format as a training aid.  For over 60 years the US Army has published PS magazine, a comic about equipment maintenance featuring some of the most well known comic book artists in the field.