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Old 10-05-2020, 02:33 PM   #21
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I'd love to see you dig into the AK-47.

While not the most accurate weapon in the world it is the most abundant (with all it's variants) weapon in the world.

I struggle to think of a rifle that has had such a significant impact on the world.

Hell it is on Mozambique's flag FFS.

The Eastern Bloc weapons intrigue me, there is zero concern for anything other than the mass production of them, things such as soldier comfort are out the window.

I was thinking a combined story around the 47 and the 16, they really do have a intertwined history.


I have a bunch of books on Eastern Bloc weapons, especially around their air force and their navy.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:36 PM   #22
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While not a weapon per se, I am intrigued by the Legion.

Again I can't think of a unit such as them, the longevity, the crazy campaigns (being left in Spain and having to walk home).

I would have no problem seeing you beef this out to include certain units.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:50 PM   #23
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That's an interesting topic, I watched a really good documentary on not only their history and traditions, but their key battles, their training and their life after the legion. It was pretty cool.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:09 PM   #24
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While not a weapon per se, I am intrigued by the Legion.

Again I can't think of a unit such as them, the longevity, the crazy campaigns (being left in Spain and having to walk home).

I would have no problem seeing you beef this out to include certain units.
How about one on the Legion at Dien Bien Phu?
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Old 10-06-2020, 04:49 AM   #25
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Probably just me and my love for aviation but I was always fascinated with the 72 kills by Canadian ace Billy Bishop with the French built Nieuport 17, this aircraft probably isn't even in the top 10 for fighters during WW1 but Bishop sure was as a pilot,they claim his eyesight was almost superhuman and his air battles are legionary including the one with Manfred von Richthofen(the Red Baron) where he shot down two of four in the Barons entourage that day where afterwards he was nicknamed "hell's handmaiden" by the Germans.
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Old 10-06-2020, 08:44 AM   #26
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An other story that I want to eventually tackle is the Devils Brigade.
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:53 AM   #27
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An other story that I want to eventually tackle is the Devils Brigade.
It is sad that with the disbandment of the Airborne Regiment living history of that First Special Service Force died.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:15 AM   #28
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You should do one on Roland Garros. Why one of the world's premier tennis tournaments is named after a fighter pilot? And kind of a fraudulent one at that, not the person but the story behind it.
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Old 10-07-2020, 10:13 AM   #29
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It is sad that with the disbandment of the Airborne Regiment living history of that First Special Service Force died.
It is sad that members of the Airborne Regiment tortured and murdered a Somali teenager while taunting him with racist slurs and recording their crime on video, not that their unit was disbanded.

Also, CSOR is considered a modern descendent unit of the First Special Service Force, so some CF personnel can still trace their unit's heritage to the Devil's Brigade.
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Old 10-07-2020, 10:39 AM   #30
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It is ####ing appallingthat members of the Airborne Regiment tortured and murdered a Somali teenager while taunting him with racist slurs and recording their crime on video, not that their unit was disbanded.

Also, CSOR is considered a modern descendent unit of the First Special Service Force, so some CF personnel can still trace their unit's heritage to the Devil's Brigade.
I fixed your post.

It is also ####ing appalling that the government sent a unit over to a war zone hopped up on mefloquine.

It is also ####ing appalling that the senior leadership of that regiment didn't suffer the same fate as the regiment it self or those directly involved in the incident.

Disbanding the regiment wasn't correct. Cleaning it the #### up and installing proper accountable leadership was what should have been done.

Senior military leadership and Canadian politics response was also ####ing appalling.

I will say I didn't know that CSOR perpetuated FSSF, thank you.
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Old 10-07-2020, 11:19 AM   #31
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Nobody is excusing the actions of the Airborne Regiment, but there are factors far beyond that which contributed to the tragedy, and the conduct during the investigation was fairly despicable.


There are veterans that are still debilitated and destroyed by that f$$$$$$ drug, I'm glad that I seemed to have escaped the more serious after effects of it.


The shutting down of the Airborne Regiment wasn't necessary, Instead the Cover your a$$ actions of the leaders and officers and their lack of leadership and the governments handling of the investigation instead of fixing it and passing those lessons on to the rest of the Canadian Forces was stupid. Instead we ended up with a demoralized military that had bad junior and senior leadership for a long time.
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Old 10-09-2020, 09:37 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by MarchHare View Post
It is sad that members of the Airborne Regiment tortured and murdered a Somali teenager while taunting him with racist slurs and recording their crime on video, not that their unit was disbanded.

Also, CSOR is considered a modern descendent unit of the First Special Service Force, so some CF personnel can still trace their unit's heritage to the Devil's Brigade.
You should also remember things like this from that tour:



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Old 10-10-2020, 04:02 PM   #33
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nm
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:04 PM   #34
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The T-34 Tank – Stalin’s Hammer
It could be argued that Tanks hit their zenith in WW2. The first World War introduced Tanks as the ultimate infantry support concept, however the tanks of that age were slow, unreliable, and inefficient. But between WW1 and WW2, German Generals came to the realization that the slow trench based pace of WW2 would give way to high speed combined arms strategies built around the concept of seizing the initiative, and in the words of Civil War General William T. Sherman keep the Skeer on them.

Because of this Tanks became the per-dominant expression of lightning War fare in WW2, and lead to a German reliance on Tanks as fulcrum busters, and the Russians, Americans and British to eventually follow suite.

This led to the development and deployment of some of the most easily recognizable Tanks in military history. From the American M3 Sherman to M26 Pershing, to the British Churchill, and the German Panzer and Tiger tanks. One tank though stands as the most infamous and well known tank of WW2 and continues to serve today. The T-34 was the tank that saved the Soviet Army, a especially innovated tanks which is considered to be the paternal grandfather of today's main battle tank.

Development

The Soviet Union was somewhat late to the game when it came to tank development. To most infantry generals the tank was a supplement to artillery and infantry but not a true game changing ground-based weapon. Leading up to WW2 the Soviets were reliant on two different tanks. The T-26 infantry tank which was one of the more well known tanks in the Spanish Civil War was a slow, small gunned tank that was designed to act as fire support for charging infantry. The BT tank was a high speed cavalry tank designed to scout ahead, and shoot holes in defensive line and then pour through into an enemies rear to raise chaos. The BT tank was designed to be infantry independent. The most important thing to note with the BT tank was that it was based on a design by American J. Walter Christie and American race car mechanic who failed to convince the American Army to adopt his suspension and convertible tank design. Soviet Agents convinced the Americans to sell them plans and specification and two M1931 prototype tanks without turrets, labeled them as agriculture machines and sent them to the Soviet Union for study.

In 1937 the Red Army looked at their current tank designs and began to work on a replacement for the BT tank. They came up with several designs including the A20 tank which was the father of the T-34 and could run on treads or wheels. However Soviet Tank design was found wanting in 1938 when several design flaws including the use of petro engine were exploited by the Japanese during the Battle of Lake Khasan.

After this failure Stalin allowed Soviet Engineer Mikhail Koshkin to go back to the drawing board and the Soviets decided that they would take the lessons learned from Khasan as well as a desire to create a truly universal tank, which would become the T-34.

A lot of key factors came into being with the T-34 as the Soviets dramatically improved their understanding of armor and gunnery technology, as well as quality control and married it to the Christie design to create a relatively fast, well protected and heavily armed medium tank that outclassed the German Panzer and to an extent the Tiger Tanks. They also created a tank uniquely suited to its environment.

Once this design was approved and refined, Soviet production moved into high gear. The T-34 was not an easy tank to build to its armor requirements and difficulty in manufacturing its 76 mm main tank gun. However the Soviets built these tanks in massive numbers, between the start of their production role out to the end of WW2 around 60,000 T-34 were rolled out of their factories.
What makes their production interesting and amazing was that during Operation Barbarossa the Soviets had to move their factories from cities like Leningrad and Gorky to the Ural Mountains to keep them away from German invasion, also there are several instances where tanks were rolled off of the assembly line right into the theater of action.

So, what made the T-34 special?

There were a lot of interesting technical innovations, that represented a leap forward in tank technology and left the German Tanks behind.

The Drive System and Suspension

First and foremost, the T-34 had a relatively powerful V-2-34 V-12 diesel engine. One of the major failings of WW2 tank design was that most of them were under powered compared to the weight of the chassis, armor, crew, and stores. Because of that most tanks were slow. The T-34 was fairly quick being able to travel at 33 MPH. The engine design also gave a fairly significant operational range of about 330 KMs. On top of that the T-34 also used wider and more easily replaceable treads which worked well in the harsh Soviet Winter and muddy spring and fall.

On top of this the T-34 was built around the Christie suspension which replaced the traditional leaf spring system of original tanks with a coil spring individual wheeled system. This allowed for heavier tanks to travel faster and have longer range due to the use of bell cranks which allowed the motion to be absorbed horizontally instead of vertically which reduced wear and tear and allowed tanks to more easily travel over obstacles at high speed.



Armor

The T-34 represented a huge departure from tanks of the time, by using sloped armor on the front the T-34 could be made lighter through the use of less armor while the slope gave greater protection then most German Tanks which relied on heavy slabs of vertical armor. As well the T-34 welded their armor together as opposed to the use of rivets in German and American tanks, this increased the strength of the T-34 tank as kinetic rounds would tend to break rivets lose and lead to an uneven distribution of force, while the slopped welded armor would dissipate force across the whole armor plate.

However, there were some problems with the T-34 and that was mainly based around production. The Soviets had trouble with the quality of control and pure metallurgy while building the plates and welding them together. This led to some catastrophic failures as well as leaking during rain storms.

Armament

The original T-34 featured the F34 76.2 mm gun which could fire armor piercing and high explosive rounds. The F34 could pierce nearly 100 mm of flat armor which meant that most Panzer tanks up until about 1943 were vulnerable to a one shot kill by the T-34. However again as great as the gun was, the Soviets didn’t have a good fire control system, the Commanders who also fired the gun had poor visibility when they were buttoned in and the T-34 was a poor performer at long ranges. Because of these issues in the time that a well-trained Panzer or American tank crew could fire 3 shots the T-34 would fire one. This was caused by poor coordination, storage and loading procedures in the T-34 design. It was also caused by the incredibly cramped operating spaces in the T-34 which was later somewhat solved in the T-34/85 which featured a larger turret.

Driving the Tank

The Soviet soldier was usually poorly educated, and the navigating portion of the T-34 was relatively easy with a 2 gear system that would allow the driver to either be in forward gear or reverse. The T-34 also used the two bar system for driving as well.

Maintenance and things like gun cleaning and tread replacement was relatively simple and could be handled by a two man crew.

Issues with the T-34

Beyond the quality control systems of the armor and welding. There were some other significant issues with the T-34.


Command and Control


The Commander and Loader both occupied the Turret in incredibly cramped conditions. Because of this there was a shortage of room for tactical radios. To over come this usually only command tanks would have radios and the squad commander would then open the top, stand up and coordinate the other tanks of his command using signal flags. This was one of the main reasons why Soviet tank officers had a relatively short but glorious life. As well the Commander had to also act as a gunner which meant that there were significant coordination not only between tanks but also inside of the tanks themselves. The Ammunition storage was clunky as well, as there were under turret baskets with hatchs that the Loader had to retrieve rounds from and then turn and jam them into the breach. There was also no turret basket that is featured in most tanks of WW2 which allowed for quick access to rounds. This created long loading times.



Later in the war the German’s also added more armor to their tanks to counter the T-34, so the T-34/85 moved to a 85 mm gun, but this was a longer gun and usually when the Russians navigated down a steep slope, they’d jam the gun into the ground.

Seeing Action

The T-34 was first tested in battle during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa. To put things into perspective, the Soviets were heavily outnumbered in every major way, especially in terms of tanks. The Soviets had up until that point manufactured 967 T-34’s, the Soviets also had about 500 of the heavy KV tanks, the rest of the Soviets 11,000 tanks were made up of older BT tanks and other models. Meanwhile the Germans bought in 4000 of their state-of-the-art Panzers. However, to the shock of the German army they learned quickly that their tanks were outclassed by the T-34 which were nearly impossible to destroy due to their armor.

However, the German’s had the edge in tactics, training, air power and artillery. Because of that the opening weeks of Barbarossa represented a devastating loss of 7 Soviet tanks to every 1 German Tank lost. The Soviet losses were grievous with the Soviets losing 20,000 tanks including 2300 T-34’s in the opening year.

However, the long supply line of the German’s combined with Soviet manufacturing and a short supply line turned the battle as well, the Russians eventually improved their leadership and tactics as they went along. With the help of the T-34 the Soviets blunted the German offensive and began to roll back the German Army.

At the same time the Soviets improved on the T-34 in 1942 increasing its armor, range and ammunition carrying ability. They also increased the size of the turret to allow the two man turret crew to operate better.

1942 also saw the roll out of the infamous T-34-85. This was a vastly improved T-34 with a heavier 85 mm gun, thicker armor on the front of the T34 with 90mm of armor as opposed to the original 80mm of armor. It also added a gunners position so the commander could be just a commander. They improved visibility and gun sites. Installed a less clunky transmission and improved on the suspension system. However, these changes came at a cost as the T-34-85 wasn’t quite as fast and had a smaller 300 km range.

While the T-34-85 was being deployed. The T-34 was taking part in operation Citadel which was part of the battle of Kursk. Citadel was really the last German Offensive of the war, a massed armor attack designed to blunt the Soviet counter attack and allow the German’s to retake the initiative. This battle featured the debut of the German Panther medium tank with 100 mm armor as well as the excellent Panther III and IV which had mimicked many of the T-34’s design capabilities.

By this point the T-34 was starting to struggle against the new German Tanks. It struggled at long range and its guns couldn’t penetrate the thick frontal armor of the newer German Tanks. However the Germans didn’t have enough of these new weapons, and also fell victim to Soviet anti-armor tanks, and superior artillery.

With the Soviets rolling back the Germans’ the T-34-85 entered the battlefield and showed it was an even match up with the late generation Nazi tanks. The T-34-85 also spearheaded the invasion of Manchuria easily handling the Japanese forces that were left.

Post WW2

The T-34-85 took part in the Korean War as the Soviets sold about 120 tanks to the North Korean army, and it proved to be invulnerable to American anti-tank weapons and the light guns of the American tanks in theater. However the T-34-85 met its match against Pershing and Patton tanks with larger guns, when the Americans pushed the North Korean’s back over the lines most of the T-34’s had been lost or abandoned.

However the T-34 continued to be built by the Soviets and sold to their alliances. The last major use of the T-34’s was in the Angolan civil war where they were used in support of Cuba’s actions there.

Shockingly some retired T-34-85 found their way into battles in the Balkans and the Middle East. Today there are 9 countries that still have some T-34’s in their inventory. Cuba, The Congo, Yemen ,North Korea and Vietnam still have T-34-85’s in their active inventory.

The Soviets and latter the Russians never recaptured the brilliance of the T-34, though they designed and built some exceptional tanks like the T-72, T-80 and T-90’s they never had a tank that would have been thought of as the standard bearer of tanks again as Soviet designers couldn’t be as precise as Western Tank builders, nor could they get a hold of or build the same level of tech or advanced materials to do so.

The T-34 literally saved Russia and played a huge role in blunting the German Offensive. At its height it was a fast indestructible ill tempered heavily gunned marauder that owned the battle field and held dominance over the vaunted German Army. Left to its own devices it had a life span of nearly 80 years, something unheard of since. All based on a combination of American expertise, Soviet Stealth, and determination. The T-34 goes down in history as one of the greatest battle tanks ever created.
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Old 10-10-2020, 10:03 PM   #35
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Next week Dien Bien Phu.



After doing a bit of research, I think this is definitely at least a two parter.


I hope you guys are enjoying these.
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:14 PM   #36
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The T-34 Tank Ė Stalinís Hammer
It could be argued that Tanks hit their zenith in WW2. The first World War introduced Tanks as the ultimate infantry support concept, however the tanks of that age were slow, unreliable, and inefficient. But between WW1 and WW2, German Generals came to the realization that the slow trench based pace of WW2 would give way to high speed combined arms strategies built around the concept of seizing the initiative, and in the words of Civil War General William T. Sherman keep the Skeer on them.

Because of this Tanks became the per-dominant expression of lightning War fare in WW2, and lead to a German reliance on Tanks as fulcrum busters, and the Russians, Americans and British to eventually follow suite.

This led to the development and deployment of some of the most easily recognizable Tanks in military history. From the American M3 Sherman to M26 Pershing, to the British Churchill, and the German Panzer and Tiger tanks. One tank though stands as the most infamous and well known tank of WW2 and continues to serve today. The T-34 was the tank that saved the Soviet Army, a especially innovated tanks which is considered to be the paternal grandfather of today's main battle tank.

Development

The Soviet Union was somewhat late to the game when it came to tank development. To most infantry generals the tank was a supplement to artillery and infantry but not a true game changing ground-based weapon. Leading up to WW2 the Soviets were reliant on two different tanks. The T-26 infantry tank which was one of the more well known tanks in the Spanish Civil War was a slow, small gunned tank that was designed to act as fire support for charging infantry. The BT tank was a high speed cavalry tank designed to scout ahead, and shoot holes in defensive line and then pour through into an enemies rear to raise chaos. The BT tank was designed to be infantry independent. The most important thing to note with the BT tank was that it was based on a design by American J. Walter Christie and American race car mechanic who failed to convince the American Army to adopt his suspension and convertible tank design. Soviet Agents convinced the Americans to sell them plans and specification and two M1931 prototype tanks without turrets, labeled them as agriculture machines and sent them to the Soviet Union for study.

In 1937 the Red Army looked at their current tank designs and began to work on a replacement for the BT tank. They came up with several designs including the A20 tank which was the father of the T-34 and could run on treads or wheels. However Soviet Tank design was found wanting in 1938 when several design flaws including the use of petro engine were exploited by the Japanese during the Battle of Lake Khasan.

After this failure Stalin allowed Soviet Engineer Mikhail Koshkin to go back to the drawing board and the Soviets decided that they would take the lessons learned from Khasan as well as a desire to create a truly universal tank, which would become the T-34.

A lot of key factors came into being with the T-34 as the Soviets dramatically improved their understanding of armor and gunnery technology, as well as quality control and married it to the Christie design to create a relatively fast, well protected and heavily armed medium tank that outclassed the German Panzer and to an extent the Tiger Tanks. They also created a tank uniquely suited to its environment.

Once this design was approved and refined, Soviet production moved into high gear. The T-34 was not an easy tank to build to its armor requirements and difficulty in manufacturing its 76 mm main tank gun. However the Soviets built these tanks in massive numbers, between the start of their production role out to the end of WW2 around 60,000 T-34 were rolled out of their factories.
What makes their production interesting and amazing was that during Operation Barbarossa the Soviets had to move their factories from cities like Leningrad and Gorky to the Ural Mountains to keep them away from German invasion, also there are several instances where tanks were rolled off of the assembly line right into the theater of action.

So, what made the T-34 special?

There were a lot of interesting technical innovations, that represented a leap forward in tank technology and left the German Tanks behind.

The Drive System and Suspension

First and foremost, the T-34 had a relatively powerful V-2-34 V-12 diesel engine. One of the major failings of WW2 tank design was that most of them were under powered compared to the weight of the chassis, armor, crew, and stores. Because of that most tanks were slow. The T-34 was fairly quick being able to travel at 33 MPH. The engine design also gave a fairly significant operational range of about 330 KMs. On top of that the T-34 also used wider and more easily replaceable treads which worked well in the harsh Soviet Winter and muddy spring and fall.

On top of this the T-34 was built around the Christie suspension which replaced the traditional leaf spring system of original tanks with a coil spring individual wheeled system. This allowed for heavier tanks to travel faster and have longer range due to the use of bell cranks which allowed the motion to be absorbed horizontally instead of vertically which reduced wear and tear and allowed tanks to more easily travel over obstacles at high speed.



Armor

The T-34 represented a huge departure from tanks of the time, by using sloped armor on the front the T-34 could be made lighter through the use of less armor while the slope gave greater protection then most German Tanks which relied on heavy slabs of vertical armor. As well the T-34 welded their armor together as opposed to the use of rivets in German and American tanks, this increased the strength of the T-34 tank as kinetic rounds would tend to break rivets lose and lead to an uneven distribution of force, while the slopped welded armor would dissipate force across the whole armor plate.

However, there were some problems with the T-34 and that was mainly based around production. The Soviets had trouble with the quality of control and pure metallurgy while building the plates and welding them together. This led to some catastrophic failures as well as leaking during rain storms.

Armament

The original T-34 featured the F34 76.2 mm gun which could fire armor piercing and high explosive rounds. The F34 could pierce nearly 100 mm of flat armor which meant that most Panzer tanks up until about 1943 were vulnerable to a one shot kill by the T-34. However again as great as the gun was, the Soviets didnít have a good fire control system, the Commanders who also fired the gun had poor visibility when they were buttoned in and the T-34 was a poor performer at long ranges. Because of these issues in the time that a well-trained Panzer or American tank crew could fire 3 shots the T-34 would fire one. This was caused by poor coordination, storage and loading procedures in the T-34 design. It was also caused by the incredibly cramped operating spaces in the T-34 which was later somewhat solved in the T-34/85 which featured a larger turret.

Driving the Tank

The Soviet soldier was usually poorly educated, and the navigating portion of the T-34 was relatively easy with a 2 gear system that would allow the driver to either be in forward gear or reverse. The T-34 also used the two bar system for driving as well.

Maintenance and things like gun cleaning and tread replacement was relatively simple and could be handled by a two man crew.

Issues with the T-34

Beyond the quality control systems of the armor and welding. There were some other significant issues with the T-34.


Command and Control


The Commander and Loader both occupied the Turret in incredibly cramped conditions. Because of this there was a shortage of room for tactical radios. To over come this usually only command tanks would have radios and the squad commander would then open the top, stand up and coordinate the other tanks of his command using signal flags. This was one of the main reasons why Soviet tank officers had a relatively short but glorious life. As well the Commander had to also act as a gunner which meant that there were significant coordination not only between tanks but also inside of the tanks themselves. The Ammunition storage was clunky as well, as there were under turret baskets with hatchs that the Loader had to retrieve rounds from and then turn and jam them into the breach. There was also no turret basket that is featured in most tanks of WW2 which allowed for quick access to rounds. This created long loading times.



Later in the war the Germanís also added more armor to their tanks to counter the T-34, so the T-34/85 moved to a 85 mm gun, but this was a longer gun and usually when the Russians navigated down a steep slope, theyíd jam the gun into the ground.

Seeing Action

The T-34 was first tested in battle during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa. To put things into perspective, the Soviets were heavily outnumbered in every major way, especially in terms of tanks. The Soviets had up until that point manufactured 967 T-34ís, the Soviets also had about 500 of the heavy KV tanks, the rest of the Soviets 11,000 tanks were made up of older BT tanks and other models. Meanwhile the Germans bought in 4000 of their state-of-the-art Panzers. However, to the shock of the German army they learned quickly that their tanks were outclassed by the T-34 which were nearly impossible to destroy due to their armor.

However, the Germanís had the edge in tactics, training, air power and artillery. Because of that the opening weeks of Barbarossa represented a devastating loss of 7 Soviet tanks to every 1 German Tank lost. The Soviet losses were grievous with the Soviets losing 20,000 tanks including 2300 T-34ís in the opening year.

However, the long supply line of the Germanís combined with Soviet manufacturing and a short supply line turned the battle as well, the Russians eventually improved their leadership and tactics as they went along. With the help of the T-34 the Soviets blunted the German offensive and began to roll back the German Army.

At the same time the Soviets improved on the T-34 in 1942 increasing its armor, range and ammunition carrying ability. They also increased the size of the turret to allow the two man turret crew to operate better.

1942 also saw the roll out of the infamous T-34-85. This was a vastly improved T-34 with a heavier 85 mm gun, thicker armor on the front of the T34 with 90mm of armor as opposed to the original 80mm of armor. It also added a gunners position so the commander could be just a commander. They improved visibility and gun sites. Installed a less clunky transmission and improved on the suspension system. However, these changes came at a cost as the T-34-85 wasnít quite as fast and had a smaller 300 km range.

While the T-34-85 was being deployed. The T-34 was taking part in operation Citadel which was part of the battle of Kursk. Citadel was really the last German Offensive of the war, a massed armor attack designed to blunt the Soviet counter attack and allow the Germanís to retake the initiative. This battle featured the debut of the German Panther medium tank with 100 mm armor as well as the excellent Panther III and IV which had mimicked many of the T-34ís design capabilities.

By this point the T-34 was starting to struggle against the new German Tanks. It struggled at long range and its guns couldnít penetrate the thick frontal armor of the newer German Tanks. However the Germans didnít have enough of these new weapons, and also fell victim to Soviet anti-armor tanks, and superior artillery.

With the Soviets rolling back the Germansí the T-34-85 entered the battlefield and showed it was an even match up with the late generation Nazi tanks. The T-34-85 also spearheaded the invasion of Manchuria easily handling the Japanese forces that were left.

Post WW2

The T-34-85 took part in the Korean War as the Soviets sold about 120 tanks to the North Korean army, and it proved to be invulnerable to American anti-tank weapons and the light guns of the American tanks in theater. However the T-34-85 met its match against Pershing and Patton tanks with larger guns, when the Americans pushed the North Koreanís back over the lines most of the T-34ís had been lost or abandoned.

However the T-34 continued to be built by the Soviets and sold to their alliances. The last major use of the T-34ís was in the Angolan civil war where they were used in support of Cubaís actions there.

Shockingly some retired T-34-85 found their way into battles in the Balkans and the Middle East. Today there are 9 countries that still have some T-34ís in their inventory. Cuba, The Congo, Yemen ,North Korea and Vietnam still have T-34-85ís in their active inventory.

The Soviets and latter the Russians never recaptured the brilliance of the T-34, though they designed and built some exceptional tanks like the T-72, T-80 and T-90ís they never had a tank that would have been thought of as the standard bearer of tanks again as Soviet designers couldnít be as precise as Western Tank builders, nor could they get a hold of or build the same level of tech or advanced materials to do so.

The T-34 literally saved Russia and played a huge role in blunting the German Offensive. At its height it was a fast indestructible ill tempered heavily gunned marauder that owned the battle field and held dominance over the vaunted German Army. Left to its own devices it had a life span of nearly 80 years, something unheard of since. All based on a combination of American expertise, Soviet Stealth, and determination. The T-34 goes down in history as one of the greatest battle tanks ever created.

Great write up Captain. The T-34 was a game changer. One small quibble....the Panzer mkIII and mkIV predated the T-34 and it was the panther that copied some of the T-34 features (and is the other candidate for best overall tank in WW2). I believe the mkIV was upgunned to a longer 75mm gun in response to the T-34 but the mkIII with its 50mm gun was rendered obsolete, though was useful when turned into a low profile StuG III assault gun/tank destroyer.

Interesting fact about the German panzers is that they werenít that powerful until after the T-34 showed up. The majority of the tanks used in Poland and France were lightly armed (20mm guns) and many were obsolete. On balance the panzer forces were inferior to the French and Russians but they made up for it with tactics, communication and audacity. Only later with the Tiger, Panther and others did they have truly powerful tanks.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:00 AM   #37
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The T-34 Tank – Stalin’s Hammer
It could be argued that Tanks hit their zenith in WW2. The first World War introduced Tanks as the ultimate infantry support concept, however the tanks of that age were slow, unreliable, and inefficient. But between WW1 and WW2, German Generals came to the realization that the slow trench based pace of WW2 would give way to high speed combined arms strategies built around the concept of seizing the initiative, and in the words of Civil War General William T. Sherman keep the Skeer on them.

Because of this Tanks became the per-dominant expression of lightning War fare in WW2, and lead to a German reliance on Tanks as fulcrum busters, and the Russians, Americans and British to eventually follow suite.

This led to the development and deployment of some of the most easily recognizable Tanks in military history. From the American M3 Sherman to M26 Pershing, to the British Churchill, and the German Panzer and Tiger tanks. One tank though stands as the most infamous and well known tank of WW2 and continues to serve today. The T-34 was the tank that saved the Soviet Army, a especially innovated tanks which is considered to be the paternal grandfather of today's main battle tank.

Development

The Soviet Union was somewhat late to the game when it came to tank development. To most infantry generals the tank was a supplement to artillery and infantry but not a true game changing ground-based weapon. Leading up to WW2 the Soviets were reliant on two different tanks. The T-26 infantry tank which was one of the more well known tanks in the Spanish Civil War was a slow, small gunned tank that was designed to act as fire support for charging infantry. The BT tank was a high speed cavalry tank designed to scout ahead, and shoot holes in defensive line and then pour through into an enemies rear to raise chaos. The BT tank was designed to be infantry independent. The most important thing to note with the BT tank was that it was based on a design by American J. Walter Christie and American race car mechanic who failed to convince the American Army to adopt his suspension and convertible tank design. Soviet Agents convinced the Americans to sell them plans and specification and two M1931 prototype tanks without turrets, labeled them as agriculture machines and sent them to the Soviet Union for study.

In 1937 the Red Army looked at their current tank designs and began to work on a replacement for the BT tank. They came up with several designs including the A20 tank which was the father of the T-34 and could run on treads or wheels. However Soviet Tank design was found wanting in 1938 when several design flaws including the use of petro engine were exploited by the Japanese during the Battle of Lake Khasan.

After this failure Stalin allowed Soviet Engineer Mikhail Koshkin to go back to the drawing board and the Soviets decided that they would take the lessons learned from Khasan as well as a desire to create a truly universal tank, which would become the T-34.

A lot of key factors came into being with the T-34 as the Soviets dramatically improved their understanding of armor and gunnery technology, as well as quality control and married it to the Christie design to create a relatively fast, well protected and heavily armed medium tank that outclassed the German Panzer and to an extent the Tiger Tanks. They also created a tank uniquely suited to its environment.

Once this design was approved and refined, Soviet production moved into high gear. The T-34 was not an easy tank to build to its armor requirements and difficulty in manufacturing its 76 mm main tank gun. However the Soviets built these tanks in massive numbers, between the start of their production role out to the end of WW2 around 60,000 T-34 were rolled out of their factories.
What makes their production interesting and amazing was that during Operation Barbarossa the Soviets had to move their factories from cities like Leningrad and Gorky to the Ural Mountains to keep them away from German invasion, also there are several instances where tanks were rolled off of the assembly line right into the theater of action.

So, what made the T-34 special?

There were a lot of interesting technical innovations, that represented a leap forward in tank technology and left the German Tanks behind.

The Drive System and Suspension

First and foremost, the T-34 had a relatively powerful V-2-34 V-12 diesel engine. One of the major failings of WW2 tank design was that most of them were under powered compared to the weight of the chassis, armor, crew, and stores. Because of that most tanks were slow. The T-34 was fairly quick being able to travel at 33 MPH. The engine design also gave a fairly significant operational range of about 330 KMs. On top of that the T-34 also used wider and more easily replaceable treads which worked well in the harsh Soviet Winter and muddy spring and fall.

On top of this the T-34 was built around the Christie suspension which replaced the traditional leaf spring system of original tanks with a coil spring individual wheeled system. This allowed for heavier tanks to travel faster and have longer range due to the use of bell cranks which allowed the motion to be absorbed horizontally instead of vertically which reduced wear and tear and allowed tanks to more easily travel over obstacles at high speed.



Armor

The T-34 represented a huge departure from tanks of the time, by using sloped armor on the front the T-34 could be made lighter through the use of less armor while the slope gave greater protection then most German Tanks which relied on heavy slabs of vertical armor. As well the T-34 welded their armor together as opposed to the use of rivets in German and American tanks, this increased the strength of the T-34 tank as kinetic rounds would tend to break rivets lose and lead to an uneven distribution of force, while the slopped welded armor would dissipate force across the whole armor plate.

However, there were some problems with the T-34 and that was mainly based around production. The Soviets had trouble with the quality of control and pure metallurgy while building the plates and welding them together. This led to some catastrophic failures as well as leaking during rain storms.

Armament

The original T-34 featured the F34 76.2 mm gun which could fire armor piercing and high explosive rounds. The F34 could pierce nearly 100 mm of flat armor which meant that most Panzer tanks up until about 1943 were vulnerable to a one shot kill by the T-34. However again as great as the gun was, the Soviets didn’t have a good fire control system, the Commanders who also fired the gun had poor visibility when they were buttoned in and the T-34 was a poor performer at long ranges. Because of these issues in the time that a well-trained Panzer or American tank crew could fire 3 shots the T-34 would fire one. This was caused by poor coordination, storage and loading procedures in the T-34 design. It was also caused by the incredibly cramped operating spaces in the T-34 which was later somewhat solved in the T-34/85 which featured a larger turret.

Driving the Tank

The Soviet soldier was usually poorly educated, and the navigating portion of the T-34 was relatively easy with a 2 gear system that would allow the driver to either be in forward gear or reverse. The T-34 also used the two bar system for driving as well.

Maintenance and things like gun cleaning and tread replacement was relatively simple and could be handled by a two man crew.

Issues with the T-34

Beyond the quality control systems of the armor and welding. There were some other significant issues with the T-34.


Command and Control


The Commander and Loader both occupied the Turret in incredibly cramped conditions. Because of this there was a shortage of room for tactical radios. To over come this usually only command tanks would have radios and the squad commander would then open the top, stand up and coordinate the other tanks of his command using signal flags. This was one of the main reasons why Soviet tank officers had a relatively short but glorious life. As well the Commander had to also act as a gunner which meant that there were significant coordination not only between tanks but also inside of the tanks themselves. The Ammunition storage was clunky as well, as there were under turret baskets with hatchs that the Loader had to retrieve rounds from and then turn and jam them into the breach. There was also no turret basket that is featured in most tanks of WW2 which allowed for quick access to rounds. This created long loading times.



Later in the war the German’s also added more armor to their tanks to counter the T-34, so the T-34/85 moved to a 85 mm gun, but this was a longer gun and usually when the Russians navigated down a steep slope, they’d jam the gun into the ground.

Seeing Action

The T-34 was first tested in battle during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa. To put things into perspective, the Soviets were heavily outnumbered in every major way, especially in terms of tanks. The Soviets had up until that point manufactured 967 T-34’s, the Soviets also had about 500 of the heavy KV tanks, the rest of the Soviets 11,000 tanks were made up of older BT tanks and other models. Meanwhile the Germans bought in 4000 of their state-of-the-art Panzers. However, to the shock of the German army they learned quickly that their tanks were outclassed by the T-34 which were nearly impossible to destroy due to their armor.

However, the German’s had the edge in tactics, training, air power and artillery. Because of that the opening weeks of Barbarossa represented a devastating loss of 7 Soviet tanks to every 1 German Tank lost. The Soviet losses were grievous with the Soviets losing 20,000 tanks including 2300 T-34’s in the opening year.

However, the long supply line of the German’s combined with Soviet manufacturing and a short supply line turned the battle as well, the Russians eventually improved their leadership and tactics as they went along. With the help of the T-34 the Soviets blunted the German offensive and began to roll back the German Army.

At the same time the Soviets improved on the T-34 in 1942 increasing its armor, range and ammunition carrying ability. They also increased the size of the turret to allow the two man turret crew to operate better.

1942 also saw the roll out of the infamous T-34-85. This was a vastly improved T-34 with a heavier 85 mm gun, thicker armor on the front of the T34 with 90mm of armor as opposed to the original 80mm of armor. It also added a gunners position so the commander could be just a commander. They improved visibility and gun sites. Installed a less clunky transmission and improved on the suspension system. However, these changes came at a cost as the T-34-85 wasn’t quite as fast and had a smaller 300 km range.

While the T-34-85 was being deployed. The T-34 was taking part in operation Citadel which was part of the battle of Kursk. Citadel was really the last German Offensive of the war, a massed armor attack designed to blunt the Soviet counter attack and allow the German’s to retake the initiative. This battle featured the debut of the German Panther medium tank with 100 mm armor as well as the excellent Panther III and IV which had mimicked many of the T-34’s design capabilities.

By this point the T-34 was starting to struggle against the new German Tanks. It struggled at long range and its guns couldn’t penetrate the thick frontal armor of the newer German Tanks. However the Germans didn’t have enough of these new weapons, and also fell victim to Soviet anti-armor tanks, and superior artillery.

With the Soviets rolling back the Germans’ the T-34-85 entered the battlefield and showed it was an even match up with the late generation Nazi tanks. The T-34-85 also spearheaded the invasion of Manchuria easily handling the Japanese forces that were left.

Post WW2

The T-34-85 took part in the Korean War as the Soviets sold about 120 tanks to the North Korean army, and it proved to be invulnerable to American anti-tank weapons and the light guns of the American tanks in theater. However the T-34-85 met its match against Pershing and Patton tanks with larger guns, when the Americans pushed the North Korean’s back over the lines most of the T-34’s had been lost or abandoned.

However the T-34 continued to be built by the Soviets and sold to their alliances. The last major use of the T-34’s was in the Angolan civil war where they were used in support of Cuba’s actions there.

Shockingly some retired T-34-85 found their way into battles in the Balkans and the Middle East. Today there are 9 countries that still have some T-34’s in their inventory. Cuba, The Congo, Yemen ,North Korea and Vietnam still have T-34-85’s in their active inventory.

The Soviets and latter the Russians never recaptured the brilliance of the T-34, though they designed and built some exceptional tanks like the T-72, T-80 and T-90’s they never had a tank that would have been thought of as the standard bearer of tanks again as Soviet designers couldn’t be as precise as Western Tank builders, nor could they get a hold of or build the same level of tech or advanced materials to do so.

The T-34 literally saved Russia and played a huge role in blunting the German Offensive. At its height it was a fast indestructible ill tempered heavily gunned marauder that owned the battle field and held dominance over the vaunted German Army. Left to its own devices it had a life span of nearly 80 years, something unheard of since. All based on a combination of American expertise, Soviet Stealth, and determination. The T-34 goes down in history as one of the greatest battle tanks ever created.

Excellent write up.

I really enjoy this fella's reviews:






He covers off a wide array of tanks for anyone that is interested.


He also has his own channel

https://www.youtube.com/c/TheChieftainsHatch/videos
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:25 AM   #38
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Its funny because one of the best changes between the T-34 and the T-34-85 besides the larger turret and addition of a dedicated gunner was that they changed the top hatch from a single hatch to a double hatch.


Also interesting to note that Soviet Tank Commanders were trained to fight in their other tanks with their head out, it gave them better visability. The T-34 was designed with the idea of the commander being buttoned up inside, but the optics of the T-34 weren't very good and aiming was difficult.


The Soviets designed some really exceptional tanks with some really poor design decisions. In the T-72 they introduced an auto loader but it was clunky and slow but saved room by removing a crew member. Also the fuel line for the tank went around the ring where the turret connected with the body which created the spectacular launches of the turret when the tank was hit.



Also because of their desire to build a low profile tank, crew members were under a height restriction.
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:01 PM   #39
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I've always loved The Tank Museum's YouTube channel as well.

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Old 10-13-2020, 06:42 PM   #40
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Hey Captain?
If you'll entertain the idea of of a co-contributor?
I'd be interested in writing a piece on the (Canadair) CL-90/CF-111/...ultimately CF-104.
As I'm sure you know, I lived these days as a bystander in the 1970's.
It's your thread so I'm not going to dump content onto it without your opinion.
Thoughts?
All for now, Ron
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