Picture of the Day – 22.2.2017

I like to call this picture “Soon”.

This is the BMD-1 hydraulic suspension that can elevate and lower the vehicle. The Soviet BMD-1 is a paratrooper counterpart to the BMP-1 IFV – it’s smaller, lighter but packs the same punch in the form of a 73mm gun and Malyutka guided missiles. The vehicle is lowered to the lowest position during parachute drops to minimize impact stress on the suspension, but as you can see, the mechanism can be used in an ambush. Parachute deployment is an important aspect of the vehicle, but as you can see, it doesn’t sometimes go as planned…

BMD-1 broken during landing

Picture of the Day – 21.2.2017

TKS-D

This is the Polish TKS-D tankette, the heaviest of the TKS series. Tankettes as a whole were a fad in the 1920s and early 1930s – they were marginally protected (anything heavier than standard rifle bullets would go right through) but they could carry a machine gun and – most importantly – were really cheap to make. Their reliability was usually not great and they couldn’t withstand much punishment. The Polish were not the only ones using this type of vehicles but they did use the armed variants in combat a lot – sometimes quite effectively.

TKS-D 2

Standard Polish TKS tankettes (TKS was – as usual – based on Carden Loyd design) were armed with a machinegun or in some cases a 20mm cannon (sufficient against pretty much any early German armor, including the Panzer IV!), but the TKS-D was something a bit different – a light tank destroyer built on TKS chassis, armed with a 37mm Bofors gun (roughly on par with the German 37mm PaK 36). The vehicle was rather front-heavy, but the upside was that the gun could elevate to +13 and depress to -9 degrees (traverse was 24 degrees to each side). It weighed approximately 3,1 tons and could go as fast as 40 km/h (but anything above 15 km/h was unbearable for the crew). It was powered by a 46hp Polski Fiat 122B engine.

Two prototypes were built in April 1937 and were trialed until 1938 at Modlin proving grounds. Trials discovered a large number of problems with the vehicle, including poor off-road capabilities (the vehicle was REALLY front heavy with poorly placed center of gravity), abysmal crew comfort and poor reliability, which is why the mass production never took off.

In late 1938, both prototypes were atteched to the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade where they remained until 1939. Both prototypes were used against the German invasion in 1939 but their final fate is unknown.

Picture of the Day – 20.2.2017

Ever wondered how Chieftain 800 looks without armor? Thanks to Listy for the picture!

Chieftain 800-900 without armor

Chieftain 800 is an improved version of the Chieftain from the 1980s. They basically kitted a standard Chief with Chobham armor and gave it a more powerful engine. Only prototypes were built. If you are interested, I wrote more about it for the AW portal (you can ignore the AW stuff).

Picture of the Day – 19.2.2017

CV-3-33 captured by Ethiopia 1935-1936

This is an Italian CV-33 tankette, captured by the Ethiopians during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War (1935-1936). The picture is apparently from 1935. Dreaming of a colonial empire like the other European powers had, fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia and annexed after a bloody struggle that left tens of thousands of dead and up to two hundred thousand wounded (sources vary). Italian technological superiority was making a huge difference but the (usually poorly armed) defenders were able to mount stiff resistance and even defeat the Italians on occasion.

For more info, read Listy’s article on the same topic.

Picture of the Day – 18.2.2017

Irish M3 SS11

This is an American M3 Halftrack in Irish service, converted to a tank destroyer by carrying French SS.11 missiles. SS.11 – as its archaic shape suggests – was a first generation ATGM. It was really massive and unwieldy, but it was very effective. It was mostly used in combat by Israel – but it was also widely exported any many western countries operated it at one point or another.

The halftrack, on the other hand, was a rather old piece of equipment, sold to Ireland from the U.S. wartime surplus stock. It was, however, sufficient for countries that were not expecting major combat and served well into the 1970s.

Irish M3 SS11 2

Edit: it was brought to my attention by Life_in_Black that these vehicles are actually Israeli (the license plates).

Picture of the Day – 17.2.2016

Type 62 1979 Vietnam China War

A destroyed Chinese Type 62 with a Vietnamese soldier, Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979. The Type 62 Light Tank was basically a smaller and lighter Type 59. Armed with an 85mm gun, it wasn’t really a match for even old MBTs or LTs, but it could go where MBTs could not, which was especially valuable in the difficult terrain of southern China and northern Vietnam. The vehicle was used during the Vietnam War and the Sino-Vietnamese War and was also exported to Africa, but it wasn’t particularly successful. It was quite vulnerable to pretty much anything bigger than small arms, especially most RPG type weapons.

It was useful when the enemy had only rifles or machineguns but anything heavier would deal with it rather quickly.