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.

Picture of the Day – 16.2.2017

Here’s another interesting picture I collected. This time from Syria, 2016.

100mm KS-19 on Kvadrat chassis

This is something pretty strange. What you have here is 100mm KS-19 AA gun on Kvadrat chassis. Never heard of either? I am not surprised – it’s a really strange combination. KS-19 is an ancient Soviet 100mm anti aircraft gun. Built between 1947 and 1957, around ten thousand of these things were built and later exported all over the world, specifically to Soviet-friendly third world countries such as Syria. It can fire HE and AP-T rounds with with performance roughly equal to D-10T. The ammunition is, however, not compatible and I have no idea where the Syrians got theirs.

Kvadrat chassis is even more interesting. 2K12E “Kvadrat” is the export variant of the 2K12 “Kub” anti-aircraft missile system. Syria operated around 200 “Kvadrats” before the civil war. In this case, the Syrians removed the guided missile weapon system and somehow installed the AA gun on top of it. The Kvadrat chassis (designation GM-568/578) is light (weighs some 15 tons), lightly armored against small armos only and can (in intended configuration) drive as fast as 50 km/h. However, the center of gravity shift and the weight of the gun (around 10 tons) assure that the performance of the vehicle will be abysmal and reliability very low. It’s a typical example of war-time rigging.

85mm KS-1 gun on ZRU Kvadrat chassis

Another interesting vehicle – the same Kvadrat chassis but with even weirder gun, the 85mm KS-1 AA gun. As the caliber suggests, this is actually a WW2 gun (in Soviet nomenclature it’s called “85mm anti-aircraft gun model 1944 KS-1″) and I have no idea how it got to Syria or where do they take the ammunition for it. This strange vehicle doesn’t belong to Syrian units or rebels, but to the Hezbollah Lebanese militia supporting the government.

Ironically, both vehicles (built in 2016) would be completely fine in World of Tanks – they are very low tech.

Picture of the Day – 15.2.2017

SMK

This is the SMK experimental multi-turret heavy tank, captured by the Finns during the Winter War in Karelia. The SMK designation stands for “Sergey Mironovich Kirov” – the tank (as well as for example the famous Kirov tank factory in Leningrad) was named after one of the prominent Bolshevik leaders. A single prototype was built and was sent to take part in the Winter War as a part of a Special Tank Company of the 90th Battalion of the 20th Heavy Tank Brigade of the Red Army (along with another experimental heavy tank – the T-100 – and a KV-1).

Its first (and only) battle took place on 17.12.1939 in the Hottinen fortified area where it – leading a column of Soviet armor – ran on an improvized explosive mine. The explosion heavily damaged its suspension, blowing the idler wheel and track off. The T-100 that followed it pulled next to it and the crew spent several hours trying to fix the tank. This is the T-100:

T-100

Their efforts were unsuccessful and the SMK had to be abandoned. The crew was evacuated but the tank itself was stuck. General Dmitry Pavlov was furious at the loss of a precious prototype and on 20.12.1939 an issue was ordered to recover it at all costs. A task force consisting of two infantry companies (one of them combat engineers), seven guns and two T-28 tanks was created for that task. They managed to advance approximately 100-150 meters behind Finnish anti-tank obstacles but got pinned down by heavy machinegun and artillery fire – the force had to retreat with 47 soldiers dead or wounded.

The tank was only recovered two months later, on 26.2.1940, when the Soviet forces finally broke through the Mannerheim line. Six T-28 tanks had to be deployed to tow it away to a Red Army depot at Perk-Jarvi where it was dismantled and sent back to Leningrad. The tank was supposed to be repaired but the war interfered and it never happend. Its wreck stayed at the outskirts of the Kirov plant until the 1950s when it was scrapped. Ironically, it outlived its “savior” General Pavlov, who was executed in 1941 after receiving the blame (along with other commanders) for the early catastrophic losses of the Red Army.

Picture of the Day – 14.2.2017

Hello everyone,

during the last two years, I collected a bunch of interesting and/or rare pictures from various sources (usually Yuri Pasholok blog, the LJ pages I am following and several other places) for the purpose of Armored Warfare articles. Since I didn’t get to use most of them, I might as well share them with you along with a short commentary.

Firefly argentina buenos aires 1976 coup

This is a Firefly used during the 1976 coup in Argentina (photo from Buenos Aires), during which a military junta led by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti overthrew Isabel Perón, the president of Argentina and the wife of late Juan Perón.

The Fireflies got to Argentina between 1946 and 1947 when Argentina (relatively reasonably) argued that developing its own tank (known as Nahuel) further is pretty pointless when there was war surplus everywhere and available for low, low price. According to some sources, Argentina bought approximately 400 Shermans of which 250 were Fireflies from Belgium. They served until 1974 – a large part was converted to the Repotenciado variant (with 105mm cannon), the rest were likely phased out and scrapped.