WWI Parade “Tanks” Photo Gallery

Yesterday Steven Zaloga posted a series of photos on his facebook account of various imitation tanks built during WWI and used as public displays for promoting war bond sales. He graciously agreed to let us post the photos here in a digital gallery.  These are really quite fun, especially the rather nicely done imitation A7V shown on parade promoting the  U.S. Tank Corps in New York City.

Gallery description from Steven Zaloga:

While working on a book in the Osprey New Vanguard series on early US tanks, I kept running into newspaper accounts of tanks on parade in various US cities in 1918, mostly for Liberty Loan drives. There were a handful of British tanks used for this purpose, but obviously not enough to go around. So a lot of cities built their own. This had led to some confusion, as some of these things were identified as real tank prototypes in various accounts. Obviously not judging from the photos of the Plywood Panzers. Here’s a sampling, courtesy of the files of NARA.

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Photo of the Day: Revolving Turret Armored Motor Car

Today’s POTD is borrowed from the facebook page of Steven Zaloga.  Here is his description of the vehicle.

Aside from finding obscure Russian half-track armored car drawings, I located a lot of stuff on early US AFVs at NARA over the past few days. Most of it amplifies information on well-known types, but there is an occasional surprise. Here’s the “Revolving Turret Armored Motor Car” offered by Consolidated Motor Corp. to the Army. This seems to be the same vehicle attributed to Federal Motor Truck Co., which should not be a surprise as the individual behind these ventures was the same: C. K. Thomas. One of these was donated to the Armored Motor Battery of the NY National Guard, the first significant armored unit in the US Army which took part in the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916.

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Book Alert: Early US Armor: Tanks 1916–40 (New Vanguard)

It’s a double dose of Steven Zaloga today for those that collect Osprey Books titles.  In addition to his new Duel book on the BT-7 and Pz 38, today also saw the release of his new title in the New Vanguard Series: Early US Armor: Tanks 1916–40 (New Vanguard).  This book follows the same format as other New Vanguard titles, being a softcover of 48 pages.  Illustrations for this book are by Felipe Rodríguez Náñez (aka Felipe Rodna).

Publisher’s Description:

Between the two world wars, the United States contributed significantly to the evolution of the tank, a weapon invented by the British and the French seeking to break through the lines of German trenches. From the employment of the French Renault FT and British Mark V during their involvement in World War I, the United States branched out with its own indigenous designs, including the M1 Cavalry Car and the M2 Light and Medium tanks, the precursors to the Stuart and Grant tanks of World War II. Tank designers in this period faced unique challenges, and the story of early American armor is littered with failures among the successes.

Featuring previously unpublished photos and fully illustrated throughout, Early American Armor (1): Tanks 1916–40 is essential reading for anyone interested in American armor, or in the development of tank design.

Early US Armor: Tanks 1916–40 is available from Amazon here.

Book Alert: Panzer 38(t) vs BT-7: Barbarossa 1941 (Duel)

Osprey books has released a new entry in the Duel Series of softcover books. Panzer 38(t) vs BT-7: Barbarossa 1941 (Duel) by Steven Zaloga takes a look at these two iconic tanks of the early WWII period.  Those familiar with the Duel Series will know what to expect.  This book is 80 pages with plenty of color images and black and white photos.

Publisher’s Description:

The tank battles in the Soviet Union during the summer of 1941 were the largest in World War II, exceeding even the more famous Prokhorovka encounter during the Kursk campaign. Indeed, they were the largest tank battles ever fought.

This book examines two evenly matched competitors in this conflict, the German Panzer 38(t) and the Soviet BT-7. Both were of similar size, armed with guns of comparable firepower, and had foreign roots–the Panzer 38(t) was a Czechoslovak design and the BT-7 was an evolution of the American Christie tank. With full-color artwork and archive and present-day photography, this absorbing study assesses the strengths and limitations of these two types against the wider background of armored doctrine in the opening phases of Operation Barbarossa.

Panzer 38(t) vs BT-7: Barbarossa 1941 is available from Amazon here.

Book Alert: Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944

Osprey books has released a new entry in their Duel Series, this one titled Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 (Duel) by Steven Zaloga. As the title implies, this book looks at the contest between German armor and US infantry equipped with the M1 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher, aka, the Bazooka during the December 1944 German offensive. Like the other books in this series, it is a softcover volume of 80 pages with color and black and white photos and illustrations.

Publishers Description:

World War II saw tanks assume a dominant role in warfare, capable of tearing through the enemy lines if left unchecked. To combat the threat posed by these armored behemoths, the United States developed the M1 Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher, better known as the Bazooka. First employed in combat during 1942, the weapon required a great deal of skill and courage to use effectively. By late 1944 it was a mainstay of the US infantry’s anti-tank capabilities, alongside towed weapons, anti-tank grenades, and other longer-established measures.

Focusing on the savage close-quarters fighting between Germany’s armored divisions and the US infantry during the Battle of the Bulge, Steven Zaloga’s absorbing study compares and assesses the strengths and limitations of the cutting-edge technology used by both sides. Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork and explosive battle reports, this volume casts a new light on the evolving nature of infantry-versus-tank combat in the closing months of World War II.

Bazooka vs Panzer: Battle of the Bulge 1944 is available from Amazon here.

Article declares that T-14 Armata is “Pretty Stale”

download (1)An article from ISH ETH Zurich by Joseph Trevithick attempts to deflate some of the hype surrounding the new Russian T-14 Armada tank, declaring it to be pretty “stale.”  The author of the piece seems to be basing his conclusions on some comments made by noted tank expert Steven Zaloga, who is quoted as saying “A lot of this stuff is really stale” in regards to the new family of Russian armored vehicles displayed during the May Victory Parade.  Zaloga is also quoted as saying that in the end “the Russians are not leaping ahead” and that “this is an attempt to catch up.”  Considering the amount of media hype and nationalistic pride that the Armata has attracted, these comments from one of the worlds foremost tank and AFV researchers are bound to grab some attention.

Article excerpt:

But despite these and other boasts, the Russia’s new fleet is much less impressive when compared to many Western designs, even some that are decades old at this point. The T-14 is lighter and not necessarily any better armed or armored than the American M1A2 Abrams, the British Challenger 2 or the German Leopard 2, according to an infographic originally specifications sheet made up by the Russian TASS news service. The specifications were later translated into English by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Of course, both Moscow and Washington are generally tight-lipped about the exact details.
In terms of armor protection specifically, the T-14 is probably no more impressive than the tanks Washington and Berlin have had in service for two decades now, based on educated estimates. And while Western engineers have generally focused on passive armor, the Pentagon and others continue to experiment with their own active protection systems. The Armata’s Afghanit system is also just the latest development in a series countermeasures the Russian Army has been using since the fighting in Afghanistan – an experience the new device’s moniker clearly references. Soviet commanders – like their counterparts around the world – have found active protection systems and explosive reactive armor can be very dangerous to ground troops near vehicles equipped with these protective measures too.
As for armament, the range estimates for the T-14 seem generous. However, Leopard 2s can already hit targets at similar distances with the help of Israeli LAHAT missiles. Armata crews would probably have to fall back on gun-launched guided weapons when trying knock out enemies beyond some 5,000 to 6,000 meters too. Not that much of this matters, since the Russian sensors can’t necessarily find the mark much farther away. The “target detection range” is only vaguely “greater than 5,000 meters,” the TASS-provided specs said.

Read the full article here.