Another Year with Armored Warfare

And so ends my second year working on Armored Warfare. Well, okay, technically it ended on Tuesday when my old contract expired. Yes, My.com offered me an extension with some improvements and yes, I accepted, so there might even be a whole third year, we’ll see.

I actually thought really long about what to write, if anything. Am I disappointed by how it went with Armored Warfare these last couple of months? Yes, of course – nobody in the company is happy about what happened recently. Then again, this gives me the opportunity to introduce some changes to my life and to Armored Warfare itself.

For one, I promised myself that I would treat my job in a more… hmm… professional manner. I will no doubt end up doing some stupid shit at some point, which will get me in trouble, but it’s also the right time to consolidate my life a bit. During the last two years, I spent pretty much every waking moment doing something connected with Armored Warfare and as you can imagine, that’s not exactly sustainable (at least not if you want to stay sane, although my sanity is questionable as it is). In addition to Armored Warfare, I am now working as a content manager on Cloud Pirates, which is also an interesting job (although the game is not exactly my cup of tea, being competitive focused and all that).

So, logically, something’s gotta go and that “something” will be my AW community activities. I didn’t get “fed up” by “forum negativity”. Most of the truly toxic stuff comes from a small pool of toxic players that we simply ignore and/or ban. Armored Warfare still has some pretty amazing dedicated guys supporting it and I think there’s still some hope that AW will in the end get better based on the fact that there are still some options left for improvement (such as Steam). Anyway, just to be clear – this is not a recruitment drive or a call for you to go and spend money on it – absolutely not. You are all (hopefully) legally sane human beings with minds of your own. It’s all up to you. If everyone decides AW is not worth their time and money – oh well, so be it. So far, that’s not the case.

Anyway, I digress. When I wrote on the AW forums that I would be taking a step back from the community, I got a whole bunch of private messages from old FTR readers – I’d just like to thank you guys, the support made me really happy :) If you need anything sorted, feel free to drop me a PM on the forums, I’ll be looking at it from time to time.

Obviously, during the last 12 months, a number of issues arose with AW that made me angry and that I took personally (not something I want to go into). Some I managed to improve myself, some were fixed by others, some weren’t at all, but in the end, what really convinced me (apart from the size of my paycheck :) ) to stay were three things:

- the opportunity to write about tanks (duhhhhhhhhhh…..)
- the opportunity to create the new Armored Warfare lore
- some really awesome members of My.com and Mail.ru team

Some spare time I want to dedicate to a new activity connected with FTR. Basically, I want to start making videos about tanks – hell, everyone’s doing it so why can’t I. At least I know something about tanks, unlike some other Youtubers. I hope you’ll like it (quite frankly, I am a bit worried about my accent, but we’ll see).

Secondly, I want to FINALLY finish my book about Czechoslovak tanks (preliminary ETA – this summer). And, last but not least, I want to get involved in more real life activities (not something I am ready to talk about just yet).

So yeah, that’s my short-term plan anyway. We’ll see what happens.

Photo of the Day – 5.3.2017

Today’s photos of the Day are from Iraq (specifically, from Ramadi) from 2008. Iraq was known to use many interesting or improvised articles that it had to rely on after much of its military power was destroyed during the Gulf War. Its vehicle park included some truly exotic stuff, like this North Korean 170mm “Koksan” artillery.

Koksan Er Ramadi 2008 2

Koksan Er Ramadi 2008 3

Koksan Er Ramadi 2008 4

Koksan Er Ramadi 2008

How it got to Iraq is not exactly documented, but North Korean tech is appearing in the Middle East for decades. The fat pig… excuse me, “glorious leader” is using nork military junk to improve the situation of its country, selling it to anyone desperate enough to buy it. The most recent nork appearance includes MANPADS and some infantry weapons in Syria.

Photo of the Day – Old junk in Middle East

Good morning guys. Something a bit different today.

50mm PaK 38 Israel 1948

This is the German 50mm PaK 38 anti-tank gun. As its name suggests, it’s a pre-war design (developed between 1937 and 1939, fielded since April 1940). They were built until the autumn of 1943, around 9.5 thousand were made in total. Nothing too uncommon. Except for the fact that the photo is from 1948 and the troopers on it are Israeli. During the Independence War, Israeli forces were equipped with practically anything they could get their hands on, from pre-WW1 vintage rifles to a vast assortment of surplus WW2 weaponry – including German stuff.

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Picture of the Day – 2.3.2017

This photo is generally known I think but it doesn’t hurt to remind :)

L-60 Dominican 1965

The general belief is that Swedish tanks (well, apart from the Toldi) were never really used in battle. That is – for the most part – true, but as usual, there are exceptions. Around two dozen of the Landsverk L-60 light tanks were sold to the Dominican Republic after the war, specifically in 1956. At that time they were of course hopelessly obsolete but against a bunch of guys with pre-war rifles, they were more than enough. Or so it was thought. Then came the Dominican Civil War in 1965 and the American intervention (Operation Power Pack) with it. Three of the old Landsverks got into a battle with the Americans and were knocked out – two by tanks (or a M50 Ontos, account vary), one by an infantry recoilless rifle.

This vehicle was most likely taken out by a M48 Patton. As you can see, the 90mm gun did a number on it. If the crewmen survived (which I doubt), they probably learned an important lesson. Sending pre-war tanks to fight an MBT is not exactly a good idea.

That T-72 – so hot right now!

This is a recent footage from Iraq. Before you go like “OMG” – nobody died in it. Thanks to Artem for the video.

We can see a T-72 ammunition burn and explode, but… what happened? The vehicle was not hit by enemy fire, the fire happened on its own. I had a short discussion about this with some of the best tank buffs I know and I think that the explanation offered by Madestcat is the best one.

It’s a widely known fact that Arab vehicles (regardless whether they are Syrian or Iraqi) are poorly maintained. This is partially due to the difficult conditions (it is a desert after all and sand does NOT mix very well with tanks), partially due to the “Arabs suck at warfare” meme but mostly because it’s war. You run out of oil, you don’t get enough time to take care of the tanks properly because you are using them 24/7.

What I think happened was this – the bore evacuator wasn’t working due to poor maintenance and some hot debris stayed in the barrel. As soon as the automatic loader inserted the next piece of ammunition, it caught fire from the smoldering remains in the barrel. The crew saw the breech on fire and immediately bailed out. They wouldn’t be able to if this was a violent combat ammo rack explosion.

I am actually surprised there are any functional T-72s left in Iraq between the massive losses in the war with the Americans and the subsequent constant fighting with various terrorist groups…

Picture of the Day – 28.2.2017

Sorry for the break, had a tough couple of days. So, what else do we have here… a couple of interesting Stuart photos. This is a M3A1 in Burma. The photo wouldn’t be that interesting – after all, the Stuarts were used in that theater of war well until 1945. What makes it interesting is the fact that the photo is apparently from 1965. In a way it’s not that uncommon – in South America, Shermans and even Stuarts survived in service well until the 1960s – after all, why buy latest tech when your neighbor has a bunch of obsolete Stuarts and Shermans as well?

M3A1 Burma 1965

This is a rare variant of the Stuart called M3A1 Satan. The photo was taken in 1944 on the island of Tinian. M3/M3A1 Satan is a self-propelled flamethrower. The main gun was replaced in the field by a Ronson flamethrower by the USMC. Around two dozen tanks were converted like that and survived until 1945.

M3A1 Satan Tinian 1944

This is a post-war Chinese conversion of the Stuart. The United States supplied a number of Stuarts along with other surplus vehicles to the Chinese nationalist forces during the Chinese Civil War. In this case, the turret was cut off and replaced by a low superstructure with some sort of heavy machinegun or light anti-tank gun. Such field conversions weren’t rare and the Chinese Civil War spawned a large number of rather strange vehicles (such as the American LVT with a 57mm AT gun).

M3A3 mashup China

The “45″ from Neva

Video from Yuri Pasholok.

This is a 45mm 7-33 anti-tank gun, developed by the No.7 Plant in Leningrad. It’s based on Model 1927 76mm regimental gun and was locally produced in Leningrad during the siege. It was found and recovered from the Nevsky Pyatachok area, a tiny bridgehead (2km wide, 0.5 to 0.7km deep) that was a place of heavy fighting. During one year and a half, 70 thousand Soviet soldiers and officers lost their lives on that small piece of ground trying to break the siege, many finding their death in the cold waters of the Neva river. They all knew what they were getting into and what their chances were – and they went anyway.

The entire crew of this particular gun was killed there and the gun itself was shot to pieces. After the war, it was recovered and restored to the current condition thanks to the efforts of the staff of the Russian Military History Museum near Moscow, but the battle damage was kept for all the museum visitors to see and understand: such is the price of victory.