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Category: Museum

The Panzer VIII Maus

Right now World of Tanks bi-monthly “On Track” is focusing on one of my favorite tanks, the Panzer VIII Maus. Not only is World of Tanks running a special on this vehicle, but they’re very own Chieftan has done a video going over the remaining prototype at the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia:

The Maus was a proposed super heavy tank which only made it to the prototype stage in the form of two prototypes; only one of which survives.

The A7V

With the appearance of British tanks on the western front, Germany began a project that would lead to the A7V, Germany’s fist tank. Although the British tanks debuted poorly the psychological effects were considerable on the German forces who encountered them. The Supreme Army Command (Oberste Heeresleitung) confronted with this development successfully lobbied the War Department to create a German tank (Higgins 15). The War Deparment on November 13 1916 would contract the Verkehrstechnischen Prüfungskommission (Traffic Technical Examination Commission or VPK) to develop a 33 ton vehicle (Higgins 16). The VPK would in term delegate this to the Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen (“General War Department, 7th Branch, Transportation”); reserve Captain and engineer Joseph Vollmer was tasked with the creation of Germany’s first tank. The term A7V comes from the name of the group that fielded the vehicle; Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen. In German the vehicle was referred to as  Sturmpanzerwagen or Assualt Armoured Vehicle (“A7V”). The  Infantry Department (A2) of the War Ministry gave the following specifications for the tank design; it was to have a front and rear mounted quick-firing cannon, six machine guns, and an ability to carry a small assault infantry contingent . The initial requirements also called for 30mm of armour all around (Higgins 16).

The chassis used for the A7V would also be used for a transport vehicle, the Uberlandwagen. Although 20 A7Vs would be made, roughly 56 Uberlandwagens would be made (Kempf). A so called “female” variant of the A7V existed; it simply had it’s main gun replaced with two machine guns. Further experimentation was done using the Uberlandwagen and Krupp-converted K-Flak guns to create an Anti-Aircraft platform; one using 2x German 77 mm Sockelflak and two with captured Russian Sockelflak 02s. Some of these experimental vehicles would see service as lightly armoured vehicles such as “Heidi”; an AFV used post-war for internal security purposes (Higgins 21). A design labled A7V-U was worked on; with the goal of the vehicle having the all-terrain qualities of the British counterparts (“A7V”).

The first production model A7V was produced in October 1917 and assigned to Assault Tank Units 1 and 2, founded prior on September 20th  1917; each unit having five officers and 109 NCOs and soldiers.

An A7V tank at Roye in Northern France on March 21st,  1918.

An A7V tank at Roye in Northern France on March 21st, 1918.

The A7V had a crew of 18: a commander, driver, mechanic, mechanic/signaler, twelve infantrymen (six machine gunners, six loaders), and two artillerymen (main gunner and loader).The A7V was 7.34 meters (24.1 ft) long, 3 meters (9.8 ft) wide, with a height was 3.3 meters (11 ft). The tank had 20 mm of steel plate at the sides, 30 mm at the front and 10 mm for the roof. The A7V did not use hardened steel as other tanks of the period did so its armour was not as effective when larger calibers were used. The A7V was powered by two 100HP engines. The main armament was a 5.7cm Cockerill-Nordenfelt (Higgins 15 – 21) cannon mounting in the front; with six 7.92 mm MG08 machine guns as secondary armaments (“A7V”). The main cannon included some captured stock*.

The A7V could carry up to 10 cases of ammunition 250 rounds each for the machine guns; and the vehicle was designed to carry 180 rounds for its main gun however in practice this was often double that number (Higgins 20).

The surviving A7V tank, Mephisto, at Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia.

The surviving A7V tank, Mephisto, at Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia.

The A7V would see action on several instances with limited success during the First World War. The A7V would see combat in actions near the St. Quentin Canal, the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, the Third Battle of the Aisne, and the Second Battle of the Marne.

*One source cites the main cannon as being a Maxim-Nordenfelt (“A7V”); with the cannons used including captured stock this both Maxim-Nordenfelt and Cockerill-Nordenfelt cannons may have been used, however these terms may in fact be interchangeable references to the same manufacturer (it is not clear from the available materials).

Works Cited:

1. “A7V.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 7 May 2013. Web. 18 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A7V>.

2. Higgins, David R. Mark IV Vs A7V Villers-Bretonneux 1918. Osprey Publishing Ltd., 15 – 21. eBook.

3. Kempf, Peter. “A7V Überlandwagen.” Landships II. N.p.. Web. 19 May 2013. <http://www.landships.info/landships/softskin_articles/A7V_Uberlandwagen.html>.

M26 Pershing

There was one example of an M26 Pershing at the Texas Military Forces Museum that I was able to see. The M26 saw service during World War II and the Korean War. The M26 Pershing has a crew of 5 and its main armament is the 90 mm Gun M3.

M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle

I got to see an M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) while at the Texas Military Forces Museum.  This vehicle has a dozer blade and a crane boom on it and is built on the chassis of the M60A1 Patton tank. This type of vehicle is used by Combat Engineers; and this model was used during the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. The M728 CEV was produced between 1965 and 1987 and its main armament is an 165mm M135 gun.

M48 Patton

While I was at the Texas Military Forces Museum I was able to see multiple Patton tanks including an M48 Patton. The vehicle was produced from 1952 to 1959. The main armament for the M48 Patton was the 90 mm T54 and the vehicle had a crew of 4. The M48 Patton saw service in numerous conflicts including the Vietnam War, Six Day War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Yom Kippur War, Lebanese Civil War, Iran–Iraq W

ar, and the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu.

M24 Chaffee Light Tank

While I was at the Texas Military Forces Museum I was able to see an excellent example of the M24 Chaffee Light Tank. The Chaffee was built between 1944 and 1945 although it saw service in numerous wars beyond World War II; including the Korean War, Vietnam War, First Indochina War, Algerian War of Independence, and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The Chaffee has a crew of 5 and its main armament is a 75 mm Gun M6 L / 39. The example at the Texas Military Forces Museum was outside and by appearance pretty good looking compared to the other vehicles outside.

The M56 Scorpion

I recently bought a lot off eBay of tank models. Included was an odd piece I couldn’t identify; and I eventually passed it off as more fantasy and fun than fact. While at the Texas Military Forces Museum I was surprised to stumble onto this vehicle; it was the M56 Scorpion. I have attached to this post pictures of both the actual vehicle and the model I have; the model was in very poor shape when I received it and I was able to reassemble what I have. What threw me off about the model was the scale; but the real vehicle matches and to be clear this vehicle is small compared to the other AFVs on the lot. The M56 is a self-propelled anti-tank gun and it was built through the 1950s. It is armed with a 90mm M54 gun. This vehicle weights 8 tons (7.1 tonnes). The vehicle served during the Vietnam War but not during the Korean War having been first built the year that war ended in an Armistice.

 

The Lone MT-LB

While I was at the Texas Military Forces Museum I came across a Soviet MT-LB. It was the lone Soviet AFV and had what appeared to be a desert color scheme and markings from an Arab nation; I’m curious to know if anyone can identify which as I don’t know myself. The placard for this vehicle had a sub name of MPTV; I’m not sure what that means but I suspect it refers to the variant as the box like structure on the rear end doesn’t appear to be standard; if anyone can help clarify this I would appreciate it. There is a great article on Wikipedia about the MT-LB (www); in short though, the MT-LB was a troop transport from the early 1970s. The MT-LB could carry up to 11 people in its rear compartment or carry 2,000kg of cargo or tow up to 6,500kg. The vehicle has a two man crew; the driver and a commander/gunner.  The vehicle weighs 13.1 tons (11.9 tonnes) and is fully amphibious.  The main armament is a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun in a turret; there are further 4 gun ports on the vehicle.

My Trip To The Texas Military Forces Museum

Today I made a trip to the Texas Military Forces Museum (www) in Austin. I recommend the trip for any tank enthusiast; there is a good selection of US AFVs including a Sherman, Stuart, Chaffee, and Patton to name a few tanks; not to mention other vehicles. I took a number of photos with a professional camera, and more yet with my phone; these initial photos are from my phone so please forgive the quality. You will see below the Sherman with a 105mm cannon, a German Hetzer, an M1 Abrams, some Armoured Personnel Carriers and some Self-Propelled Guns.

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