The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 7.

The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 7.

My ‘Cold War’ trilogy is complete. I enjoyed writing it and the empty space it has left will be filled with a new set of books, based on the outcome of a strategic nuclear exchange. An Apocalyptic trilogy, survival at its worst.

The Cold War era started very soon after the end of the second world war, when the communist east, led by the Soviet Union, and the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, faced each across what became known as the ‘Iron Curtain’.

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The capital of Germany, Berlin, was divided into four Sectors. The consequence being, that the three Western Allied powers now controlled territory deep within the Soviet Union Zone of Germany.

Over time, the tensions between the four Allied powers increased, eventually resulting in the Berlin blockade in 1948, when the Soviets attempted to starve West Berlin into submission and force the other three Allied powers out. This failed and the Soviets eventually relented, but an ever-increasing number of East Germans fled to the West; between 150,000 and 300,000 a year during 1951-1953. As a consequence restrictions were placed on movement between the divided country. From 1961, the border was closed and Berlin completely encircled, first by barbed wire, then bricks and finally a concrete wall, along with the infamous ‘death strip’.

Access was now restricted between Berlin and the West. A wall, 124 mile miles in length, was placed around the three sectors of West Berlin, cutting off the city from the rest of the world.

The Stasi Prison in East Berlin.  The Cold War truly starts – October 1961.

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Checkpoint  between East and West Berlin – American Sector of West Berlin 1981

I shall cover various aspects of the two opposing forces, providing the backdrop and background information for my trilogy.

In 1984/85, the Warsaw Pact was already a significant force, the Soviet Union in particular. To counter this NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, assembled its own force of arms along the Iron Curtain. Not just as a show force against the communist ideals purported by the East, but because the likelihood of Warsaw Pact troops, led by the Soviet Union, crossing the Inner German Border was a real possibility.

 

This post is just to take the opportunity to add some more equipment photographs. My next post will cover the Soviet European Theatre forces during the mid 80’s.

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Challenger 1.

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Although the tanks shown later in my Post, such as the Challenger 2, weren’t around in the 80’s, the Challenger 1

had just been introduced.

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Weighs 62 tons.

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L11A5 120mm rifled gun.

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Challenger 1. The 62 ton Main battle Tank is capable of a speed of up to 35mph. Its armour, still classified, and 120mm gun make this a formidable opponent

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Crew of 4. Commander, Gunner, Loader and Driver.

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Challenger 1

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Challenger 1 was deployed  in Saudi Arabia for Operation Granby, for the UK role in the Gulf War.

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Challenger 1 in the Bovington Tank Museum.

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Challenger 1

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Challenger 1. At the end of the post is a video clip of a Challenger 1 on the move.

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Challenger 2. The latest of Britain’s Main Battle Tanks. Weighs in at a hefty 63 tons.

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Although heavy, the Perkins CV 12 V12 – 26.1 1200 horsepower engine gives it a top speed of 37mph.

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It has a crew of 4 and the thickness of the armour protecting them is still classified Secret.

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It has a 120mm main gun. The thermal imagery system can be seen above the barrel. This enables the crew to see thermal images of any ‘hot spots’, vehicles, soldiers….

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It has hydropneumatic suspension with a David Brown TN54 epicyclic transmission, giving it 6 forward and 2 reverse gears.

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Challenger 2

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It has a range of 280 miles on road and 156 miles cross country.

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Whereas the Chieftain tank had rounded armour with an angle of 70 degrees, the Challenger 2 is more angular with its front armour sloping at 50 degrees.

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The turret and hull are protected by Chobham armour and is one of the most heavily protected tanks in the world. Although content of the armour is classified, it is said that it is twice as strong as steel.

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The Khalid variant of the Chieftain Tank. Also designated 4030P2J.

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Its digital camouflage. This Jordanian/Indian variant has the same running gear as the Challenger 1. This was the transition vehicle from the Chieftain to the Shir 2. After the cancellation of the Iranian order, after the overthrow of the Shah, they were reworked and effectively became the early Challenger 1s.

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The front half was still very much a Chieftain Hull.

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The most up-to-date version of Challenger 2 comes with lots of extras.

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Challenger 2, was designed and built by the British company, Vickers Defence Systems. It is in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and the Oman.

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The Challenger has additional in theatre protection. Here you can see the explosive reactive armour, ERA, panels on the side and the bar armour for protection against shaped charges.

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Challenger 2

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Challenger 1 and Khalid in action

My intention is not to portray a particular message, but just share some of my research and experiences with you.  This is the first of my new ‘Cold War’ series, supporting the writing of my new ‘Cold War’ series of novels, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany by the Warsaw Pact in the 80’s.

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HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black

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