Photo of the Day – 13.3.2017

Norov

This is one of the more interesting and less known Soviet contraptions – the 2S15 “Norov” tank destroyer.

Basically it’s a product of the same school of thought as the 2S14 Zhalo-S – the idea was to put a powerful gun on a mass-produced light chassis to create a cheap and powerful tank destroyer. In this case the chassis is that of the 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled gun (although as you can see, it has been modified) and the gun is a 100mm… something. Type unknown. The gun would be installed in a brand new turret equipped with an automatic radar-controlled fire control system. The main developer was the Yurga Machine Plant, the developer of the FCS was the “Strela” design bureau in Tula. A prototype was supposed to be built by the “Arsenal” plant (not sure which one, there were apparently more facilities of the same name).

The decision to design the vehicle was taken on 17.5.1976. The vehicle was supposed to be produced from 1980 onwards but the plant didn’t meet the deadline. The deadline for prototype construction shifted first to 1981 and then to 1983, when the actual testing started. At that point, however, news reached the Soviets about modern western MBT variants, against which 100mm guns were too weak. The project was declared obsolete and cancelled in 1985.

Not much else is known save for the fact that the armor was likely very light (Gvozdika level – some 15mm to 20mm of steel) and the vehicle was generally quite fast (maximum speed of 60 km/h, 300hp YAMZ-238 engine, weight probably around 15 tons).

Photo of the Day – 10.3.2017

Take an ugly personal car and add a machinegun. Oh, and make it Italian of course. What do you get?

Gorgona 1

The OTO Melara Gorgona. The OTO R 2.5 Gorgona vehicle has been developed as a private venture by OTO Melara and was announced in 1982. Two versions wereoffered; an unarmed police model and a combat model which could be fitted with various types of armament. The vehicle is fully amphibious, being propelled in the water by its wheels with steering being accomplished in a similar manner to that of land operations.

Ugh…

Photo of the Day – 9.3.2017

Another amazing photo from Yuri Pasoholok.

LK II

There are two types tanks on this photo, taken in Hungary in late 1920s – the Italian Fiat 3000 and the German LK II WW1 tank. As Yuri writes, there is a myth going around that the LK II and its Swedish derivative, Strv m/21, were heavily modernized after WW1. It is not so. In 1918 (autumn, that is), the tank continued to evolve – the original 57mm gun proposed for it was too big. In September 1918, Krupp developed a 37mm gun instead, which was supposed to be installed in a casemate superstructure, not a turret. That’s when a decision was taken to make one third of the tanks MG variant only with the MG installed in a fully traversable turret.

At the same time, a serious overhaul of the hull was started. The air intakes in the frontal engine compartment plate were removed and it became sloped forward. The “old” version was not supposed to be mass-produced – or, more specifically, this isn’t an evolution of a production design. This is still the part to the mass-produced variant. In the end, the 37mm gun was not fitted into the tank and the MG version became the only one built.

It’s possible that the Germans actually continued to develop and build LK II even after the armistice because according to the German military plans from 30.9.1919, the German army of the Weimar Republic was supposed to have 100 light tanks. However, on 10.1.1920, the Versailles Treaty came into effect, forbidding Germany to operate any tanks. And so the Germans sold 14 LK II tanks to Hungary in 1920, tanks that looked exactly like those that showed up later in Sweden – the conclusion is that the Germans “upgraded” the tanks themselves, not the Swedish. Compare. The old model:

And the new one.

Photo of the Day – 7.3.2017

Sorry for the delay, had a really busy day :) Anyway, everyone of you know the M113 APC, right? Standard American pre-Bradley armored troop carrier. There were several sub-variants, some rather strange. This M113 has a flamethrower for example. The photo is from the Vietnam War, specifically the village of Ben Suc, Cu Chi region north of Saigon, January 1967.

M113 flamethrower Ben Suc village Cu Chi region north of Saigon January 1967

This is the M113 ACAV. Basically, they mounted some extra machineguns, gunshields and a recoilless rifle. A whole bunch of them was given/sold to Cambodia (where this photo is from).

M113 RCL Cambodia

Another photo from Cambodia, this time showing the recoilless rifle being used against Khmer Rouge. If you are interested, I actually wrote about the history of the vehicle on the AW portal (you can ignore the game parts).

M113 RCL Cambodia 1974 versus Khmer Rouge

This is another kitted M113, this time from Lebanon. The gun on top is the Soviet 23mm AA twin ZU-23-2. Pretty brutal in anti-ground role and one of the favourites of local militias and terrorists alike due to its ability to be carried by a pick-up truck. Uncharacteristically, this version actually has decent shields…

M113 with ZU-23-2 Lebanon

…unlike this one. Two anti-aicraft 14.5mm KPV machineguns on an AA mount, the weapon is known as ZPU-2. Kitbashed, of course.

M113 ZPU

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.

Continue reading

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…