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T 14 Tank, Object 148

The Russian T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank (Object 148)

The T-14 is a Russian 5th generation main battle tank (MBT), first seen in 2015 during rehearsals for the Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow, Russia. The T-14, industrial designation Object 148, is currently in production for the Russian military. The T-14 utilizes the Armata Universal Combat Platform; a cross AFV platform intended to promote a selection of powerful modular systems for AFVs including the chassis. There are roughly 2 dozen T-14s built to date and plans to acquire over 2300 through 2020.

As with any new weapon system, even upon introduction it is important to maintain secrecy regarding on board systems. In spite of this we do know some things and can infer other things about the T-14. As a member of the Armata Universal Combat Platform, the T-14 benefits from a modular design; this provides benefits including lower costs, ease with regards to production and maintenance. Existing information suggests the T-14 is light weight and fast compared to other modern MBTs. This provides benefits on and off the battlefield. A lighter vehicle means less stress on systems such as the hull, engine, road wheels, et al.. A lighter vehicle will be able to traverse bridges other comparable MBTs would not; and transporting such a vehicle by rail or road will be easier. It is believed that the T-14 marks a notable departure from pre-existing Russian/Soviet tank design. The final vehicle is comparable in size to the German Leopard 2. Given the size of the T-14, it is likely the vehicle weighs more than the weight reported in numerous articles of 45 tonnes; however this could be accounted for with a design focusing on a lower weight. A light armouring design could account for this; however modern tank armour is proprietary and generally is a closely guarded secret. Also, it is reported the vehicle has no gunner, and a fully automated loading system and as such would see less weight from these changes. The turret itself is unmanned, a first in an MBT, with the crew in an enclosed compartment.

A mock-up of what would be the T-14 was shown to military officials in 2013. Trials began on prototype(s) in 2014. The public reveal of the T-14 occurred in 2015. By March of 2016, the T-14 was in full production.

Comparing the T-14 to contemporary MBTs:

Tank: T-14
Main Armament: 125 mm smoothbore tank cannon
Secondary Armament: a 12.7 mm machine gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun
Weight: 45 tonnes (ostensibly)
Speed: 70 to 90 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 3
Tank: Leopard 2A6
Main Armament: 120 mm smoothbore tank cannon
Secondary Armament: two 7.62 mm machine guns
Weight: 62.3 tonnes
Speed: 72 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 4
Tank: M1A2 Abrams
Main Armament: 105 mm rifled tank cannon
Secondary Armament: 1 .50-caliber machine gun and two 7.62 mm machine guns
Weight: 65.3 tonnes
Speed: 67 km/h on-road (ostensibly)
Crew: 4

Works Cited:

  • “T-14 Armata.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 9 July 2016. Web. 26 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-14_Armata>
  • “Russia’s Armata T-14 Main Battle Tank: A Preliminary Assessment.” Pakistan Defence. N.p., 3 June 2015. Web. 26 July 2016. <http://defence.pk/threads/russias-armata-t-14-main-battle-tank-a-preliminary-assessment.379058/>
  • “Leopard 2.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 24 July 2016. Web. 26 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_2>
  • “M1 Abrams.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 19 July 2016. Web. 26 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1_Abrams>
  • “Armata Main Battle Tank.” Military Today: Everything About Modern Warfare. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://www.military-today.com/tanks/armata.htm>
  • Lockie, Alex. “Russia Claims Its Deadly T-14 Armata Tank Is in Full Production.”Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 17 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-claims-t14-armata-tank-is-in-production-2016-3?r=UK&IR=T>

Armoured Units of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL depending on the context) has coalesced into a nation state, it has acquired a diverse selection of military hardware. This includes armoured units.  Among the various pieces of equipment deployed by ISIS are the Badger MRAP, Humvees, T-54/55, T-62, and T-72 main battle tanks (MBT), as well as M1117 armoured cars, MT-LB, BMP-1, and M113 APCs. The tanks, MT-LB and BMP-1 are Soviet Stock, and the Humvee, M1117, and M113 are all native to the United States. Depending on the sophistication of ISIS armoured vehicle recovery and repair, possible additions include the US native M1 Abrams MBT. ISIS armoured stock are spoils of war; possibly captured from a variety of places including the Iraqi Military, the Military of Syria, and other militant groups, as well as Iran. On the ground ISIS is currently fighting against a multitude of opponents; this could include any of the following,

  • Other militant groups
  • Kurdish forces
  • The Military of Syria
  • The Military of Iraq
  • The Military of Iran

Given the nature of the acquisition of ISIS’s military equipment and the highly fluid nature of the conflict in which she is fighting, her inventory of Armoured Fighting Vehicles has the potential to change rapidly. Future acquisitions could easily include more of the above as well as: M1 Abrams MBT, BMP-2, et al..

The actual size of ISIS’s armoured units is difficult to estimate given ongoing acquisitions and attrition; although it had been noted as being approximately 40 strong for two of the MBTs: 30 T-54/55 and roughly 10 T-72 tanks. Although these estimates were from earlier in the year regarding the T-54/55 and T-72. ISIS employs a strong collection of Technicals; pick-up Trucks with mounted weapons (and possibly armour as well); ISIS’s limit for these vehicles realistically is limited to her desire as pick-up trucks and supporting mountable weapons should be in ample supply. In a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article it was estimated that ISIS employs approximately 30 M1 Abrams already. Given the state of the war, it is not a question of if, but rather when ISIS will expand it’s inventory of US military hardware. However despite this fact the M1 Abrams is an iconic weapon system; given ISIS’s documented interest in lauding its perceived attacks on the West, including the murder recently of US journalists, it would seem logical that an M1 Abrams would prove an excellent backdrop for an ISIS propaganda video.  As such I do not believe ISIS currently has any M1 Abrams.

Based on my own research (with an emphasis on visual evidence) I estimate the following numbers for ISIS’s AFV inventory,

  • T-54/55 MBT – 10 to 20; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military. Likely from the Syrian civil war including all combatants.
  • T-72 MBT – 3 to 5; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military. Likely from the Syrian civil war including all combatants.
  • T-62 MBT – 20 to 30; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military. A large stock of these were captured from the Iraqi military however the Syrian Civil War would have also fostered an environment to acquire these.
  • MT-LB – 3; seized from the Iraqi military; also possibly in use by Syrians.
  • M113 – 3 to 5; including two captured from the Iraqi military.
  • BMP-1 – 3 to 5; stock from the Syrian military from the Syrian civil war including all combatants.
  • M1117 – 3 to 5; several seized from the Iraqi military
  • Badger MRAP – 3 or less; seized from the Iraqi military.
  • 2S1 Gvozdika Self Propelled Artillery – 3 or less; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military.
  • 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) SAM missile systems – 3 captured in Iraq from the Iraqi military.
  • Humvees – perhaps 10 to 20 acquired from the Iraqi military.

I estimate ISIS total inventory at approximately 80 vehicles at most; this does not include Technicals and related vehicles such as Humvees. Technicals by far represent the majority of AFVs employed by ISIS; with the above representing a small fraction: perhaps as little as 1 to 3% although likely 1% or less. Given ISIS’s resources, she is well equiped to use and maintain these systems; the exception being the 2K12 Kub system’s main armament. There are claims that the US weapons systems will prove difficult to maintain; with a lack of spare parts and technical expertise. This is false; ISIS’s arrary of Technicals includes many illustrating a high degree of inginuity and resourcefulness. It is hubris to think that ISIS is incapable of maintaining its inventory of AFVs; her real limits will be with missiles of any size including captured ballistic missiles and aircraft. Further, ISIS is well equipped with mobile man operated anti-aircraft systems such as shoulder fired manpad systems. These systems provide a degree of secuirty for ISIS’s AFVs; while not absolute, they are a major factor for consideration in any airstrike targeting ISIS AFVs.

A video showing captured T-62 MBTs in a field; ISIS captured these from the Iraqi Military. They sit with a few APCs, possibly Soviet MT-LB APCs. I estimate in this video 10 T-62 and 3 MT-LB AFVs along with possibly 2 more MT-LB and 3 more T-62 in the far background.

Another video showing a parade of armour including T-62 MBTs and a BMP-1.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjvxHCY26rk

A video showing ISIS Technicals and an M113 APC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zilUAVsx_40

Works Cited

Bender, Jeremy. “As ISIS Routs The Iraqi Army, Here’s A Look At What The Jihadists Have In Their Arsenal.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 8 July 2014. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-military-equipment-breakdown-2014-7>.

Parrish, Brent. “The Growing ISIS Arsenal, Pt. 1.” The Right Planet. 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. <http://www.therightplanet.com/2014/08/the-growing-isis-arsenal-pt-1/>.

Firik, Mehmet Kemal. “ISIS’s Weapon Inventory Grows.” Daily Sabah. 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2014/07/03/isiss-weapon-inventory-grows>.

“ISIS Ambushes Iraqi Army in Anbar Province.” HubPages. 15 July 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://perrya.hubpages.com/hub/ISIS-Ambushes-Iraqi-Army-in-Anbar-Province>.

PREGENT, MICHAEL, and MICHAEL WEISS. “Exploiting the ISIS Vulnerabilities in Iraq: The Terrorists’ Heavy Military Equipment Is Hard to Maintain, Easy to Target from the Air.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://online.wsj.com/articles/michael-pregent-and-michael-weiss-exploiting-the-isis-vulnerabilities-in-iraq-1407884145>.

The M65 Atomic Cannon 280mm Towed Artillery

The M65 Atomic Cannon 280mm Towed Artillery.

The M65 Atomic Cannon 280mm Towed Artillery; circa 1952 and capable of firing a nuclear device, this artillery piece was nicknamed Atomic Annie.

Circa 1952, the US M65 Atomic Cannon, was a towed artillery piece capable of firing a nuclear device. It would be deployed starting in 1953 in Europe and Korea; and retired in 1963. In 1949 Robert Schwartz was tasked with the project intended to create a weapon to form a portion of the deterrent to the perceived threat of the Soviet Union at the time. Schwartz was sequestered under guard watch in a room for 15 days at the Pentagon while he designed what would become the M65. Not long after development began, the project was transferred to the Picatinny Arsenal; which was given the task of designing the payload for the M65. The initial design created by Schwartz used the German K5 railroad gun as a basis; the design was scaled to use a 240 mm shell which was the maximum size available to arsenal. Again Schwartz was sequestered to finalize the design including the method of transportation for the M65. The project was approved by the Pentagon after the intervention of Samuel Feltman, Chief of the Ballistics Section of the Ordnance Department’s Research and Development Division. After a three-year development process led by Feltman, the project was finished by 1952. Although Feltman led the team he did not see it to fruition, passing away in late 1951. The Technical Division Laboratory at the Picatinny Arsenal would be renamed the Samuel Feltman Laboratories. 20 M65 artillery pieces were made at a cost of $800,000 each; one of these M65 artillery pieces was nicknamed Able Annie. Able Annie was fired during tests at Knothole with a backup present nicknamed Sad Sack. The test took place on May 25, 1953 at 8:30am. Codenamed Grable, the test and others where part of the Upshot-Knothole series of nuclear tests that took place in Nevada at Frenchman Flat. Able Annie would end up later earning the nickname  Atomic Annie. The names Able Annie and Atomic Annie likely stem from the vehicles design heritage from the German K5 railroad gun which would end up being nicknamed Anzio Annie after it’s employment against US forces during their landings in Italy. A demonstration model was available to be used in Dwight Eisenhower’s inaugural parade in January 1953.

Samuel Feltman with the ENIAC team.

Samuel Feltman had worked prior on the ENIAC team; pictured here third from left.

The M65 was transported by two tractors, one at both ends, each with an engine generating 375 hp. The tractors were capable of communicating by a phone system and could travel at 35 mph. The M65 was 80 feet long and could travel down a paved or gravel road with a width of 28 feet. The vehicle took 15 minutes to setup for use.  The vehicle was capable of a full 360 degree traverse as it sat on a 9 foot circular base plate with jacks. The vehicle had a hydraulic rammer with a back up system using gears; the shells weighed 600 lbs.

Enjoy the following video on this artillery piece:

Works Cited:
1. “M65 Atomic Cannon.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 26 Jul 2013. Web. 5 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M65_Atomic_Cannon>.

2. Potts, JR. “M65 Atomic Cannon 280mm Towed Artillery (1952).” Military Factory. N.p., 5 May 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=288>.

3. Crawley, Jeff. “Atomic Annie on the move.” www.army.mil The Official Homepage of the United States Army. N.p., 16 Sep 2010. Web. 31 Oct 2013. <http://www.army.mil/article/45311/atomic-annie-on-the-move>.

4.”Samuel Feltman.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 26 Jul 2013. Web. 31 Oct 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Feltman>.

Tanks On TV: Hogan’s Heroes: Hold That Tiger

In this episode of Hogan’s Heroes circa September 24 1965 we see an M7 Priest used as a prop. The episode is entitled “Hold That Tiger” and in it Hogan and his men learn of a new German Tiger tank and they plan to capture and reverse engineer it so they can provide the blue-prints to the Allies; the M7 is used as the new German Tiger.

 

Tanks On TV: CONAN: Zero Dark Thirty: The Squeakquel

A vehicle which by appearance looks like a mock-up of a Bradley Fighting vehicle or similar style appeared on the April 11, 2013 episode of CONAN: episode 400, “Zero Dark Thirty: The Squeakquel”. Actor Charlie Sheen emerges from the vehicle on his entrance; see the clip below:

The TV-8, Chrysler’s Medium Tank Concept

Chrysler's TV-8 Medium Tank Concept.

Chrysler’s TV-8 Medium Tank Concept.

Today’s post is on Chrysler’s wonderful TV-8 medium tank concept from the 1950s. The vehicle’s unique design placed the entire crew, the main armament, and engine in a bubble shaped superstructure; often referred to as a turret. The main gun was fixed in the turret, this and a lack of information to suggest the turret moved makes me think this vehicle was closer in design to an Assault gun than a conventional medium tank. The approximate weight of the vehicle was to be 25 tons with 15 being in the superstructure. The superstructure was planned to be separable for transport by air. The main armament was to have been a 90mm gun T208 with an autoloader. Secondary armaments were to include a .50 caliber machine gun on the turret and two .30 caliber machine mounted co-axially. The vehicle was designed with WMDs in mind and this was reflected in several design considerations including placing a closed circuit TV system inside the tank.

Works Cited:

1. “The Chrysler TV-8 Concept Tank.” Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah’s Military Guys… N.p., 18 Dec 2008 . Web. 17 Sep 2013. <http://thedonovan.com/archives/2008/12/the_chrysler_tv.html>.

The T1 Cunningham

The T1 Cunningham  prototype circa 1925.

The T1 Cunningham prototype circa 1925.

Recently I’ve enjoyed editing the Wiki; I’ve been focusing on Tanks from the United States. One of the first tanks I’ve focused on is the T1 Cunningham and the variants thereof as developed in the mid to late 1920s by James Cunningham. There were six notable variants of the original T1 design; they are the: T1E1, T1E2, T1E3, T1E4, T1E5, & T1E6. None of these vehicles would leave the prototype stage.

Stolen AFV Rampage

As a continuation of my Doing Stupid Things With Tanks post, comes the following post on stolen AFV rampage. On May 18, 1995, Shawn Nelson stole an M60A3 Patton tank from the military and went on a rampage through San Diego California before being shot and killed by police (“Shawn Nelson.”). In 2007, John Paterson went on a rampage in Sydney Australia in a AFV destroying nine cellular towers he believed were causing health problems (“John Patterson: From Loony Tank-Weilder to Anti-Radiation Crusader?.”). The following video covers both incidents; it has Swedish subtitles and the narrator mistakenly refers to the tank as an M6:

Works Cited:
1. “Shawn Nelson.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 3 Jun 2013. Web. 22 Jun 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Nelson>.
2. “John Patterson: From Loony Tank-Weilder to Anti-Radiation Crusader?.” Depleted Cranium: The Bad Science Blog. N.p., 20 Mar 2012. Web. 22 Jun 2013. <http://depletedcranium.com/john-patterson-from-loony-tank-weilder-to-anti-radiation-crusader/>.

Treasures From the Deep

Uncommon sight? You might think it would be uncommon to see an AFV pulled from a lake or other body of water, a bog, or even a muddy area; but it is fairly common. The following videos reflect just that; tanks that were lost but are now found again:

A Soviet BT-5:

A German Stug III:

A German Stug 40:

A British Valentine used by the Soviets through the Lend-Lease program:

A Soviet T-34:

Another Soviet T-34, this one with German markings:

A Soviet T-70:

A German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer:

A Soviet KV-1:

Another Soviet KV-1:

A Soviet T-60:

A German Panzer III:

A US Sherman M4A2; I believe a Soviet copy given under the terms of the Lend-Lease program:

A Soviet BT-7:

M60s On Avalanche Duty

This video shows two M60 tanks which are used by the Washington State Department of Transportation to cause Avalanches as a preventativce measure. Very interesting indead!

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