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Apr 18, 2013

American Arty: A Chronological Debacle

Author: Priory_of_Sion

You may know my now that in 8.6 the US Artillery Line will receive two new arty pieces, the M44 and the M53/M55.  So the M40/M43 goes to tier 8 and the T92 goes to tier 10. This creates a very messed up chronological development which makes absolutely no historical sense at all. Both the M44 and M53/M55 both lead to tanks that were out of production(M40)/cancelled(T92) before the M44 and M53/M55 were even reached the wooden mock-up stage. Even The_Chieftain is confused by Minsk's decision, he has implied they have pretty much ignored his suggestions on US arty.

It wouldn't be hard to fix this mess at all. The US designed plenty of artillery during WW2. The T16/T64 can be added at a tier 5 bumping the M41, M12, and M40/M43 up an extra tier. This leaves only one spot at tier 9 left for the T84. There shouldn't be much rebalancing needed.

The T16/T64 were two SPGs based on components on the M5 Stuart in 1943. A 115 mm and a 155 mm guns would be available for the T16/T64. The T64 eventually lead directly to the M41 SPG.

The T84 was based on the M26 Pershing chassis and was developed in 1944. The T84 mounted a powerful 8 inch(203 mm) gun and should be well balanced at a tier 9 position. The T84 also was the basis for the T92 project.

This isn't the first time WG has messed up the progression of American arty either. The M37 before the M7 Priest makes no sense, the M37 was designed to be the replacement for the M7. It would be really easy in my opinion to just swap these two since they share practically the same weapon and the M37 has more speed.

There is even more artillery that can be added to fatten the US arty line, such as the T1 Cunningham 75 mm SPG and the Christie SPGs. However they are not needed at the moment and I am feeling rather lazy.

Now what would happen to the M44 and the M53/M55? Well why not create a second line of similar vehicles such as the M52, T147, TS-13, M108/M109? I will save that for a later post though.


Stuart: History of the American Light Tank vol 1
Sheridan: History of the American Light Tank vol 2
Patton: History of the American Main Battle Tank vol 1
Pershing: History of the Medium Tank T20 Series

Japan: the best is yet to come...

Source: Kankou (US forums)

So, you think the Japanese projected only silly riveted tankettes? Check this out:

This is a 100 ton heavy tank, designed by Hideo Iwakuro, known as the "Iwakuro tank". Armed with a 105mm cannon. Twice as big as the KV-1, this monster is speculated (with high probability) to appear around tier 6 in the Japanese heavy line (another version with a 150mm cannon was confirmed by SerB also). Do not mistake it however with the O-I, this is NOT the O-I, that came later.

Edit: Kankou provided the armor values and cannon info:

75mm front, 35mm sides (with possibly another 75mm + 35mm plate bolted on it, eg. 150mm front, 70mm sides - but I doubt that will make it to tier 5-6)

Cannon: Type 92, 120mm penetration at 100m

And this is lowtier stuff. Imagine what monsters await us around tier 10... :)

E 50/75 Weserhütte

By Zarax

Note: much credit goes to Thor_Hammerschlag for noticing the hull size differences.
As usual, don't expect anything published here to be implemented in WOT.

Today I got an interesting message from Thor, saying that there was something unusual on page 75 of "Special Panzer Variants" by Spielberger (btw, did you know that he actually worked as engineer for Porsche and was involved in the Ferdinand project?).

The page shows the E 50/75 hulls, however aside from the two well known Adler layouts there is another, slightly different one by Weserhütte:

Not much is known about it other than the company was responsible for E 50 and E 75 but the interesting bit is that the chassis is about 15cm longer.
It is not known either if this was an early draft or a later development, however this extra space was likely to be enough to accomodate the planned rear drive transmission. 

All in all, this is yet another shadowed corner in the already pretty obscure development of the E-Series.
I will further investigate but it's unlikely anything else will be found, especially as even Jentz and Doyle seems to have given up on this (or maybe Doyle is keeping any new data for the next issue).


- the "non-existing" modules, mentioned in 8.5 patchnotes are in fact modules we already have, that have been renamed (SS: some of them were, I think it's some engines, can't remember)
- the bigger amount of shells in ammo rack does not increase the tank's chance to be ammoracked (SS: related to the question, whether increasing the shell amount for E-100 does increase its chance to be ammoracked - it doesn't)
- tanks having the 5TD engine series will not be implemented (SS: it's a high-power diesel engines installed into the T-64 and some prototypes, which we won't see)
- according to Storm, Kniepkamp suspension did allowed relatively accurate fire on the move on flat surface and while going slowly
- E-100 ammorack size won't be increased
- the new "split" tank numbers (SS: VK3002DB ---> VK30.02(D) for example) are done according to Doyle's Panzer Tracts (SS: PT are the ultimate source on anything German)
- apparently, the base ring size won't be reduced
- there is a WG employee who watches not only tank statistics, but also changes in the way they are played, this is completely independent on any player feedback, such changes can trigger a rebalance
- the damage changes in lowtier Soviet guns are not connected with the promised Soviet tank gun rebalance
- there will be an Encounter on Prokhorovka map in 8.5, it was forgotten in the patchnotes
- KV-5 is doing fine statistically
- MBT-70 will not appear, it's too modern

Worst tanks ever made

Panther. Tiger. T-34. Sherman. Everyone knows those tanks. Why? Because they were the results of successful development. Some were expertly made, others were produced in numbers noone could match, but they were all good tanks.
Sometimes however the development doesn't go as planned and the result is... not so good. Some tanks were plagued with too many problems, some were barely functional and some were simply a disaster. Those form the tank Hall of Shame and today we are going to have look at some of the worst tanks ever made.

Bob Semple

This one is a classic - perhaps the worst "tank" seriously made. In the past, there have been many improvised vehicles, made by groups without access to proper tank facilities, some have been very successful in their role (Kubus, the Odessa tanks etc.), but this is just plain bad.
Bob Semple was named after Robert "Bob" Semple, the minister of public works in New Zealand (who also acted as an ad hoc minister of defense), who decided it would be a great idea for New Zealand not to rely on British protection and make an "armored vehicle" instead. And because he was a very "humble" man, he ordered the vehicle to be named after him. Bob Semple tank was based on agricultural Catterpillar tractors, it was crude construction, "armored" with 12mm thick plates, that was to carry 8 crewmembers. It was slow, the overstressed suspension broke down all the time (they "upgraded" the weight of the original tractor to 25 tons), while powering it with the original 95hp engine, it was top-heavy so it tended to topple everytime it climbed a slope, the ergonomics were a nightmare (one of the gunners actually had to lie on the running engine with only a matress protecting him), the armor could be punched thru with a heavy machinegun and the armament (Bren HMG's) was obsolete. Only like 4 were made, they were used on "military parades" for morale purposes only and instead of inspiring, they became a laughing stock for the whole country. The army got rid of them soon after.

More on Bob Semple:


Another classic disaster from 1943, this time from the British themselves. It is still kept in the Bovington museum as a reminder how not to build a tank. The whole point of the tank was to make the frontal armor as thick as possible without having too much weight, which resulted in a terrible, terrible tank. The weight distribution overstrained the whole suspension too much, concerns about its fragility were never addressed. The tank was trialled in 1945 and for those who haven't watched the brilliant Operation Think Tank show, here's what was wrong with it, as told by D.Fletcher (a recently retired Bovington museum curator and British tank expert):

- if your foot slipped accidentally between pedals, the tank was so badly ergonomic the only way to get you out of there was to remove your foot
- the driver's hatch was so badly designed that the sharp rims did hit the driver in the back of the skull everytime the tank went over broken terrain
- if you pushed the gear lever too far back, the only way to get it back was with a crowbar

Either way, during the tests, the tank went only few miles before the commanding officer decided it's not worth it and had the whole project cancelled. The tank was kept then in a museum and occasionally, it was shown to a bunch of British officers in training for them to find as many mistakes as they could.

More on Valiant:

Asad Babil (Lion of Babylon)

Lion of Babylon was an Iraqii tank, designed during early 80's. Basically, it was a dowgraded cheap copy of an already downgraded T-72M export model, which in turn was a cheap copy of the regular early model Soviet T-72 tanks. The Iraqui "upgrades" consisted of cheaper armor, bolted on armor iron armor plates (completely useless), removed electronics and wrong shells being used (it is believed that the Russians cheated the Iraqi and sold them APDS shells with cores made of mild steel (!) instead of tungsten alloy. Ironically, this terrible tank performed not so badly in the Iran-Iraq war, but during the Gulf war, it got torn to pieces by the Americans.


Panzer 68

Panzer 68 was a Swiss tank from the 60's. It isn't a bad design by itself, but when it was introduced, it was discovered that it has significant design flaws and bugs. These included:

- faulty non-functional NBC protection
- gearbox not allowing to properly shift to reverse when the tank is moving
- radios interfered with turret control, causing the turret twitch randomly when the radio operated at full power
- switching on the heating system could cause a gun to fire a round by itself (luckily, this was discovered before an accident could happen)

This led to a huge scandal in Swiss army, resulting in minister of defense's resignation. The newspapers at that time ironically stated that "the tank is more dangerous than it would seem". Eventually, these flaws were fixed during an upgrade program.


Tančík vzor 1933

Tančík vzor 1933 (Tankette, 1933 pattern) was a copy of one of the Carden-Lloyd tankettes. It serves as an example how NOT to develop tanks. The copied tankette was originally bought in late 20's in order to serve as a lightly armored mobile machinegun nest, but it was decided to rename it to "tančík" and make it a "real fighting vehicle". The army trialed it hated it, citing low protection, insufficient armament, unreliability and bad ergonomics as the reasons they do NOT want it and that it's totally useless as a recon vehicle because when driving buttoned up, the crew can't see shit. The crews also had trouble in communicating, the machinegun had a narrow field of fire and the gunner couldn't fire it accurately if going faster than 10km/h. But politics intervened and in the end like 70 were made. They were actively used to suppress the nazi uprisings in the Czech border regions and later made their way to various places.

Naturally, there were many more terrible tanks developed. Honorable mentions: the M551 Sheridan that literally melted under fire, Russian early superheavy tanks (T-35, T-100, SMK) for being completelly useless and broke down all the time, naturally their French counterparts (Char 2C - equally as useless) or for example the Covenanter.

Contrary to popular belief however, Japanese tanks weren't that bad, they were perfectly adequate for the task they were designed to do (fighting the essentially medieval Chinese army). Of course, few could slug it out with the Sherman but at the end of the war, heavier designs started to emerge.

This is how Maus started

Author: Yuri Pasholok

This was the initial design of what would enter history as Panzerkampfwagen Maus.

This is the drawing designated KV3881, displaying the VK100.01(P) from 4.6.1942. The tank is still in the 100 ton category, its weight inflation has not yet started. The armor equals roughly to VK7001(K), the gun mounted is the 149mm 15cm KwK L/40. It is generally the German analogue of the KV-5.

At that point however, the process of inflating it has already begun. On 15th of May that year, Hitler has aleady decided that the weight should be increased to 120 tons.

2 million hits (+ contest)

Hello everyone,

it was about a month ago I was thanking you for the one million hits on this blog. Little did I know that within a month, it would double. I guess I must be doing something right :)

Either way I'd like to thank you all again for your continued support. As a reward, I am preparing a very special competition for you :) It will involve.... nah, won't tell, but it'll start next week (with the new patch) and it's a generally pretty stupid idea, so I am sure many will like it.

I would also like to thank the contributors who wrote and continue  to write very interesting articles for this sate, it's your archievement too (with R no less!) :)

So, thanks once again and enjoy :)