Tanks and Armour through the Century. Part 2.

After yet another visit to the Bovington Tank Museum, my second home according to my wife, I wanted to share some photos of the tanks they have on display. I will look at tanks and armour from just before the start of WWI up until present day. I am not a tank expert, so if you spot something that is incorrect, please let me know and I can edit and update.

 

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The most enduring image of Lord kitchener urging young men to sign up to fight in the trenches. The poster was actually never used as a recruitment poster during the conflict and was only widely used after the event.

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The recruitment Sergeant all us ex soldiers love dearly….

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British WW1 Tank – Mark I. Born out of the need to breach the German Trenches which were heavily fortified with barbed wire, this was the first vehicle to be called a ‘Tank’.

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The British WW1 Mark II. With a few minor differences from the Mark I, and still not ready for use in a war setting, only a few were built. It was mainly used for training. Only a few Mark III’s were ever built, and was again used as a training tank. The last two were melted down during WWII.

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The Mk IV tank, HMS Excellent.

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An order was placed for over 1,000 of these tanks in 1916. Over 1,200 were built, and it became the mainstay for the rest of the Great War.

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One of the 57mm guns visible in a turret. It weighed 28 tonnes and had a top speed of 6kph. The armour was 12mm thick and carried a crew of 8.

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 Its full weapons compliment was two, 57mm guns and three, .303 machine guns. It was manufactured by William Foster & Co. Ltd. of Lincoln.

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The Mark IVs, were mechanically identical to the Mark I and IIs. But, the armour was thicker and there was now a proper exhaust and silencer for the engine. The fuel tank was placed outside the tank at the back.

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 The Mark IV was built in such numbers it became the key armoured vehicle for the Tank Corps.

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Although very similar in appearance to the earlier models, the Mark V was a much better tank. It was more powerful and easier to drive.

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The markings shown are of the 8th (H) Battalion, Tank Corps.

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It also had 12mm of armour and weighed a slightly heavier 29 tonnes.

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It had a top speed of 7.4kph.

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Equipped with the Ricardo six-cylinder engineered the Wilson epicyclic steering, meant that one man could handle all the controls. In the Mark IV, it required 4 crew members to do the same job.

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It was armed with two, 57mm guns and two, machine guns.

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An uditching beam can just be seen carried on the top.

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The ditching beam would be chained to the tracks and drawn under the tank when stuck in the mud. The beam gave the tracks something solid to grip.

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The tank saw action the time of the Battle of Amiens.

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Service date from 1918 to 1923 and with the Red Army, 1920 to 1928.

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It had a rear cab for the commander and a rear machine-gun position.

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Mark V

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I do plan on writing a WWI trilogy in 2016, but in the meantime please read either my Cold War trilogy or my WWII books on the famous Fallschirmjager.

The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. There are three books in total, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, by the Warsaw Pact in the mid 1980′s. Book 1, ‘The Red Effect’, encompasses part of the intelligence build up leading to the initial Warsaw Pact strike against the NATO forces lined up against them. The purpose of the posts is to give the reader some additional background information to enhance their reading experience..

. RedEffect72dpi-4 .

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Available now. The Cold War that became a Hot War.

.

The Blog and photographs are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

. HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Kindle and Paperback version out now! The Cold War that became a Hot War.

.

Tanks and Armour through the Century. Part 1.

After yet another visit to the Bovington Tank Museum, my second home according to my wife, I wanted to share some photos of the tanks they have on display. I will look at tanks and armour from just before the start of WWI up until present day. I am not a tank expert, so if you spot something that is incorrect, please let me know and I can edit and update.

 

The Hornsby Chain Tractor was originally designed as a Gun Tractor, manufactured by Richard Hornsby & Sons. The engine was started on petrol, until the engine was hot, then switched to paraffin. The unpleasant smell of the paraffin burning was unpopular with the soldiers.

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Saw service between 1909 and 1913. 

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It weighed 8.5 tonnes.

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Fuel tanks, which held 272 litres, are attached to the rear of the tractor.

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Top speed of 7.5mph

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A Chain-track was added.

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 The soldiers nicknamed it a Caterpillar and it has since stuck.

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Due to a lack of interest by the War Office, the Patents were sold to a company in America.

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 When WWI broke out, Britain had to purchase the caterpillar tractors from Holt in the US and the design for the tank had to be started from scratch.

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Number 1 Lincoln Machine, affectionately known as ‘Little Willy’, probably the first real tank, albeit nothing more than a metal box on tracks. Unfortunately it was too short to cross the trenches. ‘Little Willy’ never saw combat.

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“Little Willy’

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Weighing in at 16.5 tons

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It was planned for it to carry a Vickers 2-ponder gun. The secondary armament would be either a Hotchkiss or lewis machine gun.

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A Foster-Daimler Knight sleeve valve petrol engine (105 hp).

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Two forward gears and one reverse. Top speed of 2mph.

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Steering was by way of a set of wheels at the rear.

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I do plan on writing a WWI trilogy in 2016, but in the meantime please read either my Cold War trilogy or my WWII books on the famous Fallschirmjager.

The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. There are three books in total, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, by the Warsaw Pact in the mid 1980′s. Book 1, ‘The Red Effect’, encompasses part of the intelligence build up leading to the initial Warsaw Pact strike against the NATO forces lined up against them. The purpose of the posts is to give the reader some additional background information to enhance their reading experience..

. RedEffect72dpi-4 .

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Available now. The Cold War that became a Hot War.

.

The Blog and photographs are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

. HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Kindle and Paperback version out now! The Cold War that became a Hot War.

.

 

The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. There will be three books in total, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, by the Warsaw Pact in the mid 1980’s. Book 1, ‘The Red Effect’, encompasses part of the intelligence build up leading to the initial Warsaw Pact strike against the NATO forces lined up against them. The purpose of the next few posts is to give the reader some additional background information to enhance their reading experience.

.

RedEffect72dpi-4

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‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Available now. The Cold War that became a Hot War.

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 perception of a potential Third World War, was generally one of a nuclear war. It may have come to that. In reality we will never know. But, one scenario is that of a conventional war. The massed forces of the Warsaw Pact against the supposedly technically superior, but weaker, NATO armies, that may well have escalated into a nuclear exchange.

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The Chinese Type 59, main battle tank. Top speed of 30mph.

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It is essentially a copy of the Soviet T-54 tank. Powered by a V-12 liquid cooled diesel engine.

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A rugged simple design, ideal for mass production.

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36 tons on torsion bar suspension.

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A 100mm, rifled main gun. Over 9,000 were built. .

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Although the tank was fairly dated in the 80’s, the Soviet army still possessed 35,000 T-54/55 and T-62s.

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T-62 main battle tank.

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This one was captured from the Iraqi forces during the Gulf War in 1991.

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Top speed of fifty miles an hour.

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It had a thirsty diesel engine, covering 2 miles to the gallon. 

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115mm main gun

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The BMP-1, another captured vehicle from the Iraq war. Above the the main gun, there is a Sagger anti-tank, wire guided missile. When the Israelis first came across the sagger missile, packed in a large suit-case type container, and set up on the ground, they destroyed their tanks with devastating effect.

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This can claim the mantle of being the first ever mechanised infantry combat vehicle. The west followed later with vehicles such as the Warrior and the American M2 Bradley.

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The Soviet soldiers would exit via the two rear doors. It weighed 13.5 tons and had armour 23mm thick. They could also exit through four hatches in the roof. The hollow doors also acted as fuel tanks, meaning a hit from behind would have a devastating effect. The internal fuel tank was located between the benches in the rear, putting the soldiers at risk.

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It was also amphibious, driven through the water by the movement of the tracks, hence the vanes at the rear.

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Although very cramped due to its low profile, it could carry eight soldiers in the troop compartment. Four ports either side allowed the soldiers to fire from within the vehicle.

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The 73mm main gun, was a low-pressure, semi-automatic smooth-bore gun.

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It could travel up to a speed of 40mph. It also had a radiation-shielded interior, allowing it to fight in contaminated areas. The Soviet military saw future wars being conducted using nuclear, biological and nuclear weapons.

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The Soviet BRDM-2. Although primarily a traditional reconnaissance vehicle, also had other roles.

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This version of the BRDM-2, another vehicle captured from the Iraqi forces, is a chemical reconnaissance vehicle.

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Equipped to locate areas of the battlefield contaminated with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons and mark a safe passage for advancing forces.

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The safe route was identified by firing the yellow flags into the ground as it moved through the area.

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Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were a key part of the Soviet arsenal.

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Soviet Chemical Weapons:

Blister Agent

Causes severe skin, eye and mucosal pain. Breathed in and the effects would be far worse, causing major damage to the lungs.

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Nerve Agents:

Sarin – Disrupts the mechanism by which nerves transfer messages to vital organs. Contraction of the pupils, profuse salivation, involuntary urination and deification and eventual death by asphyxiation.

Blood Agents:

Works at the cellular level by preventing the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the body’s cells. Cells suffocate from lack of oxygen.

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This is the bog standard BRDM-2 Reconnaissance vehicle. Although a four-wheel vehicle, between the main wheels there are a pair of smaller wheels either side. These are chain driven from the gearbox and can be lowered to assist across rough ground, 

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Much larger than the ideal reconnaissance vehicle, but the size was necessary as a consequence of it needing to be amphibious. In fact it is twice the size of a British Ferret reconnaissance vehicle.

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Powered by a Gaz V8 petrol engine.

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The engine also provides power for the ducted water jet that it uses when swimming. The flap at the back pivots sideways allowing the jet to push the vehicle through the water.

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Top speed of 60mph, a 14.5mm gun in the turret  and a crew of 4.

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Going forward i will add more information in support of my Cold War trilogy, including maps and photographs.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

.

HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Kindle and Paperback versions available now.  The Cold War that became a Hot War.

.

The Red Effect. The Cold War heats up. Part 1.

The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. The next two in the trilogy are also complete, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, by the Warsaw Pact in the mid 1980’s. Book 1, ‘The Red Effect’, encompasses part of the intelligence build up leading to the initial Warsaw Pact strike against the NATO forces lined up against them. The purpose of the next few posts is to give the reader some additional background information to enhance their reading experience.

.

RedEffect72dpi-4

.

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Available now. The Cold War that became a Hot War.

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’.

.

.

The perception of a potential Third World War, was generally one of a nuclear war. It may have come to that. In reality we will never know. But, one scenario is that of a conventional war. The massed forces of the Warsaw Pact against the supposedly technically superior, but weaker, NATO armies, that may well have escalated into a nuclear exchange.

The emergence of the Cold War started almost immediately after the end of World War 2. 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.

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Le drapeau de la victoire

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The Soviet flag finally flew over the turret of the Reichstag in Berlin, 1945

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.

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The famous photograph of the East German soldier making an escape to the West. The soldier in the photograph died recently. – The Cold War had begun.

 

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The four zones of Berlin – 1984

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In East Berlin, and other countries under the control of the Soviet Union, the communist state imposed ruthless control over the people of those countries.  A section of the wall that cut off access to the Brandenburg Gate.

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The Intelligence gathering mission commenced. On paper the Soviet Union and the West were allies. In reality both sides were constantly seeking to find chinks in their respective armour and looking for signs when one was preparing to strike. In East Berlin, it often came to a head with the local security forces.

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“Today, West German imperialism is United States’ chief ally in Europe in aggravating world tension. West Germany is increasingly becoming the seat of the war danger, where revenge-seeking passions are running high… The policy pursued by the Federal Republic of Germany is being increasingly determined by the same monopolies that brought Hitler to power.

The Rhineland politicians fancy that once they get the atomic bomb, frontier posts will topple and they will be able to achieve their cherished desire of carving up the map of Europe again and taking revenge for defeat in the second world war.

One of the most ominous factors endangering peace is the bilateral military alliance that is taking shape between the ruling circles of the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. This factor remains an objective of unflagging attention.”

Leonid Brezhnev

23rd Party Congress

March 1966

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The British Army during the 80’s, although still made up of the traditional Infantry Battalion/Regiment and Tank Regiment, was broken down and recombined into Battle Groups and Combat Teams in order to provide the appropriate force to defend the front line in West Germany. An Infantry Battalion would have elements of a Tank Regiment attached and a Tank Regiment would have perhaps a mechanised infantry platoons assigned to them.

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The backbone of the British Tank Regiment in the 80’s was the Chieftain Tank.

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Although not without its problems, particularly the engine, when first brought into service, the Chieftain, with its formidable 120mm rifled gun was a main battle tank to be reckoned with.

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A Tank Regiment would be made up of four squadrons of 14 tanks, one for the Regimental HQ, making 57 tanks in total. .

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For the Infantry, the battle-taxi was the FV432. Armoured, but unarmed, it would carry a full section of ten men. There were four 432’s in a platoon, the fourth for the platoon headquarters, commanded by a Lieutenant.

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Some variants supported a turreted GPMG, General Purpose Machine Gun.

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Others had the 30mm, Rarden cannon mounted, similar to that found on the Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle.

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The modern day scimitar was not dissimilar from the 1980’s model. Upgraded armour and no longer powered by the Jaguar engine.

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The other reconnaissance vehicle was the scorpion. Similar chassis to the scimitar, but with a 76mm gun.

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During the early-mid 80’s, the Challenger was being introduced as a replacement for the Chieftain.

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The German Leopard was the mainstay of the Bundeswehr, the West German Army.

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They were up against some extremely modern Soviet main battle tanks.

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The Soviet T-72. This was very much a tank made for Export. The T-64 would have been the mainstay of any Soviet invasion of the West.

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Soviet T-64.

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The T-80, being introduced into the Soviet elite armies of the Group of Soviet Forces Germany in the 80’s

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Soviet Hind-D. The Soviet Army had hundreds of these available in the 80’s. These would have been a major issue for NATO forces.

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Going forward i will add more information in support of my Cold War trilogy, including maps and photographs.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

.

HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Kindle version out now! The Cold War that became a Hot War.

.