Czechs in the Desert

As usual – a photo for you.

egyptian T-34-85 1967

There are Czechoslovak-made T-34/85 in Egyptian service, knocked out by the Israelis in 1967. If you see a middle-eastern T-34, T-54 or T-55, chances are it was made in Czechoslovakia (for the T-34, the chance is nearly 100 percent). Interested in more info? Once, very long time ago, I wrote about the T-34s from Czechoslovakia. And now one of them is in World of Tanks :)

Ah, simpler times those were.

Straight outta Warhammer

Hello everyone!

The post-war German military industry is not only known for its biggest achievement in the tank field (the Leopard 2 MBT that effectively became the standard NATO tank in Europe), but also for a large number of innovative and quite frankly absolutely amazing solutions that are sometimes so radical that they beat even some truly outlandish sci-fi book designs.

German armor development after the war reflected the nature of the entire Bundeswehr. A decade after the horrors of the Second World War, the West-German military (much like the Japanese one) was re-established with the help of the American forces located in Europe as a purely defensive force with its sole task being protecting the Federal Republic of Germany from outside threats (mainly from the east). The armored fist of the Bundeswehr, the Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank, was designed with many crew-protecting features – it was essentially envisaged as a defensive measure, staying in hull-down position and taking out enemy tanks at long distances before retreating to another pre-prepared location.


The abovementioned innovative solutions were a part of this mindset as well. Check this out.

This is one of the experimental designs from the 1970s, developed as a potential replacement for the Leopard 1 (Leopard 2 was NOT developed as a Leopard 1 replacement but as a M48 replacement – essentially, if produced, this design and the Leopard 2 would be active in parallel). It’s a tank destroyer based on a heavily modified Leopard 1 chassis, the model was made by Madestcat. It has several rather outlandish features. First, it has lifting guns. As you can see, the guns lift high up (90 degrees) – the mount can rotate with limited traverse. That way, the hull (with the crew) can stay hidden behind an obstacle while the guns (linked to an advanced fire control system) fire at the enemy with impunity. Both guns are 105mm (can be upgraded to 120mm), attached to a 4 round automatic loader each. Another interesting feature is the retractable armored plate – when stationary, the hydraulics can lower the plate from the transport position, providing an extra layer of spaced armor.


Note that the vehicle is rather small and light by itself – a major advantage of not having a turret.Why two guns? It’s not really that much about the rate of fire but about the early hit chance. Two projectiles can hit with greater accuracy than one, something that’s really important for a relatively light vehicle engaging MBTs at distance. The German armor requirements put a lot of emphasis on first hit chance in general.

The model is based on a more advanced version of this design:


This image is public (Rolf Hilmes – Kampfpanzer Heute) but unfortunately the design documents cannot be shared. Still, it’s something that I’d love to see in one game or another.

Te-Ke in China

That awkward feeling when you realize that most of the really cool stuff you have (exact Chieftain armor thickness, various modern armor schematics etc.) you can’t share for whatever reason :(

Type 97 Te-Ke China 1941

Alright, something I can share then. A color photo of Japanese Type 97 Te-Ke tankette in China, 1941. For Chinese service, Japanese tanks were perfectly suitable – you don’t need a big gun or super thick armor to defeat a bunch of demoralized guys with obsolete rifles. Once they started running into western tanks, however, their situation changed rapidly.

Notice the burning house. The Sino-Japanese war that lasted from 1937 to 1945 is not talked about much, but the Chinese losses were staggering – estimates vary wildly but they may reach up to 10 million soldiers and 20 million civilians. Just think about it… 30 million people. Japan lost over a million men in China and Burma alone.

Hybrids… Hybrids everywhere!

Alright guys, something more amusing for you. Picture courtesy of Ed Francis

T-72 Leopard 1 hybrd

Is this a fake? No sir, it’s a render of a project that actually really existed – a Leopard 1 hull with T-72 turret. Why? For the glory of Satan of course!

Okay, not really. Basically, what happened was that after the German re-unification in 1990, the former East-German Nationale Volksarmee (National People’s Army) was absorbed into Bundeswehr. One of the issues the Germans faced was a large number of incompatible Russian equipment (well, technically a lot of the East German stuff was made in Czechoslovakia and Poland but you get the drift). Some older vehicles were sold to third parties, some were scrapped. One idea, however, was to utilize old Leopard 1 hull along with T-72 turrets to produce such a hybrid for export. Needless to say, it’s an odd idea that never really happened – the hybrid was never built and all attempts to market it failed fairly quickly.

ISU-122 in Berlin

Hello everyone,

I am (partially) back, been sick whole week and only now it got a bit better (the day basically consisted of work and sleep) :) So, sorry for the delay. Here’s a nice photo (not sure where I got it from, maybe Yuri posted it somewhere) of an ISU-122 in Berlin from May 1945. The was just ended.

ISU-122 Berlin May 1945

As you can see, the photo is digitally colorized (the author of the colorization is listed in the lower right corner). Decent work I must say.

Personally, I think that it’s the fact that the vast majority of photos and films from the era are black and white makes us to dismiss the war as something far away or even fictional – no, not denying it existed of course, just not realizing it completely that these things happened and that some people who lived and even fought through it are still alive. This in turn makes us dismiss war in Europe as something impossibe. After all, in the age of internet memes, “trolling” and “social justice warriors”, it can’t happen again, right?

Well, I am pretty sure that the German Jews were telling themselves the same thing right before the Second World War. It can happen – probably not if you’re an American, but the safety of Baltic states is another matter entirely.

What I mean by this short text is – we should not dismiss the role and strength of European militaries in the 21st century, if only as a deterrent. A modern army needs to be well trained and well equipped. So, next time your politicians are planning to purchase large amounts of expensive toys for the boys in green, don’t ask whether they need them. Ask “are these toys good enough” instead.

This rant was inspired by the IMI offer for the Czech Republic to replace one of the best T-72 upgrades in the world, the T-72M4CZ, with Sabras. They can keep that junk to themselves.


This time something from the WW2 era.


This is “Wurlitzer”, a modified Churchill Gun Carrier. It has no gun as you can see, but what it does have are 50 Bangalore torpedo launch tubes. Bangalore torpedos are basically pipes with exposives in them, used to clear various obstacles from minefield over barbed wire to smaller fortifications. They were invented as early as 1912 and are used in situations where the engineers cannot safely approach their target to this day.

The launchers on this vehicle fired these 90cm long torpedos at the distance of 50 to 90 meters. The accuracy is obviously pretty abysmal, but you don’t need it that much at such short distance. The explosion effects were allegedly absolutely deadly. The Wurlitzer was a prototype vehicle only and was never deployed or mass produced.

When people on drugs design armored vehicles…

Hello everyone,

it’s not 1st of April yet so I think I can leave this actually serious French project here.

Panhard AML with MARS turret II

This is a Panhard AML armored car with MARS turret by Hispano Suiza. A single prototype was built in the 1980s. The vehicle itself is not very remarkable, but the turret is.

You see, despite its oscillating turret look, the gun is manually loaded. Let that sink in. If you are wondering how the fuck did that work there is a small hatch in the roof of the vehicle. For each shot, a crewmember has to pick up a shell from inside the vehicle (the rack was on the left side), remove it from rack, squeeze it through the roof hatch also on the left side, somehow squeeze himself along with it and load the shell into the automatic loading mechanism while half of his body is exposed.

In effect the vehicle could only fire when stationary and if it came under fire, the gun turned into a single shot weapon.


Needless to say, this design did not gain any customers.