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.

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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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BRDM2-rkh

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

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Blister-arm

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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Sarin-3D-balls

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.

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HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

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

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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

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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’.

.

.

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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Berlin 5 002

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.

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HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

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

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The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 10.

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 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.

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Cold War 10 041

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 cells in the Stasi Prison, East Berlin.

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The Soviet Army occupied East Berlin, like they did many countries in Eastern Europe.

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First there was World War I

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The ‘Little Caterpillar’, the first tracked vehicle bought by the British Army in 1907.

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The Mark IV tank, H.M.S Excellent. Entered service in May 1914.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Troops on the march.

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Then came World War II, the battle of the giants.

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From the famous Panther…

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…to the Panzer VI…

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…the Tiger II

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The Russian famous KVIB

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The American Sherman Firefly.

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The British Churchill Mark VII

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Then there was World War III

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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 US M-60. They also had the more modern Abrams M1

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105mm. Abrams M1

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The 120mm, Chieftain main battle tank, the mainstay of the British Army of the Rhine in the 80’s. 

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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

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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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DD-ST-86-06655

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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Cold War 10 063

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

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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. ‘The Red Effect’.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

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HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – due out in April 2013. The Cold War that became Hot

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Normandy Landings, June 6th, 1944. The Allied invasion Europe.

In remembrance of the brave soldiers who gave their lives during this historic day, I shall be looking at some of the Allied tanks on display at the Bovington Tank Museum.

The Royal Tank Regiment Memorial Statue, Bovington Tank Museum.

The above exhibit is the fibreglass model used to create the bronze statue that stands in Whitehall Place, London.

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, commenced on the 6th June, 1944 (D-Day).

The first phase, just after midnight, consisted of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and free French airborne troops landing behind enemy lines. There were also two decoy operations, Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable, used to distract the German forces from the real Normandy landings.

Armour played a key role in helping secure the beaches, particularly Hobart’s Funnies. Below are pictures of some of the tanks displayed at the Bovington tank Museum and a few of the specialist tanks used on the day.

The Mark II’s were used as training tanks at Bovington camp. Due to a shortage of armour, they were sent to the front.This is the last surviving Mark II.

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The Medium Mark A, the fastest tank of its time. A top speed of 8mph.

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Crew of 3, 12mm armour.

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14 tons. three -303in machine guns.

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Medium tank Mark II. New sprung suspension

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3 pounder gun. Serving in Egypt when WW2 broke out. Too slow at 15mph, so were buried with only their turrets showing and used as static defence.

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Light Mark VIB. 35mph carrying a .50in machine gun.

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Crew of 3, Reconnaissance tank weighing 5.2 tons.

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The Cromwell Cruiser Tank. Powered by a Rolls-Royce V12, fighter engine.

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76mm main gun.

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56mm of armour and a top speed of 35mph.

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Churchill Crocodile. Modified by fitting of a flame-thrower. The flame-thrower had a range of 120 yards.

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Churchill Crocodile with trailer, which held 400 gallons of fuel for the flame-thrower.

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Sherman Firefly. The first tank to match the Tiger.

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 76.2mm gun, 22mph, 75mm of armour.

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The Bobbin. A reel of 10-foot wide canvas cloth reinforced with shell poles. Unrolled onto the ground to allow tanks to move across the soft sand.

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Sherman Crab mine-clearing tank.

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A real Mark IV tank?

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Well?

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No. It is in fact a prop that was made for the Steven Spielberg film ‘War Horse’.

My intention is not to portray a particular message, but just share some of my photographs and information with you and help set the scene for some of my novels.

Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black