Blowing Things Up in World of Warplanes (WoWP)

Some random screenshots from playing World of Warplanes; enjoy!

The German Heavy Anti-Tank 12.8 cm Pak 44 L/55 (PaK, (Ger.) Panzerabwehrkanone)

As the Second World War progressed, the need for ever increasingly more powerful anti-tank guns would evolve; to counter ever more powerful and better armed Tanks and AFVs among other things. With the Russians fielding increasingly more powerful guns such as the 122 mm, and tanks such as the IS-2, the need for what would become the PaK 44 became apparent. The guns initial requirements were made in 1943. The  PaK 44 would have the capacity to act as a field gun, firing HE rounds and also act as an anti-tank gun.

It was from the Pak 44 that the main armaments for the Jagdtiger tank-destroyer, and the Maus super heavy tank would be developed.

12.8 cm Pak 44 Anti-Tank gun, Krupp version.

12.8 cm Pak 44 Anti-Tank gun, Krupp version.

Designer Krupp
Designed 1943
Manufacturer Krupp
Produced 1944
Number built 51

The production model was a Krupp design; see blow:

A version was under development by Rheinmetall Borsig but ultimately it was dropped; see below:

Tanks of World War II: The Panzer VIII Maus

Tanks of World War II: The Panzer VIII Maus

Tanks of World War II: The Panzer VIII Maus By David Cummings.

I published a new eBook; this one is on the Panzer VIII Maus. Titled, Tanks of World War II: The Panzer VIII Maus; it can be found here on Amazon. Your purchase helps support Tankpedia.org.

In Pictures: Adolf Hitler Reviews The Maus Wooden Mockup and Remote Controlled Model

What follows is an excellent selection of photos, showing Adolf Hitler as he is presented with the scale wooden mockup of the Maus, as well as a remote controlled model. This event occurred on May 1st 1943. Having reviewed the mockup Hitler ordered 150 vehicles.

Regarding the Maus, Heinz Guderian, who would act in many capacities during the war, including Inspector-General of Armoured Troops, wrote in his book Panzer Leader:

On May 1st Hitler had inspected the wooden model of a ‘Mouse,’ a tank designed by Professor Porsche and the Krupp Company which was to be armed with a 150 mm. cannon. It’s total weight was supposed to be 175 tons; it must therefore be assumed that, after Hitler had ordered his usual supplementary changes to the initial design, it would weigh nearer 200 tons. But the model displayed carried no machine-guns for close-range fighting. For this reason I had to turn it down. This was the same mistake that Porsche had made in designing his Ferdinand Tiger and which had rendered the Ferdinand useless at close quarters; ultimately no tank can avoid fighting at close range, particularly if it is to co-operate with infantry. Our discussion grew heated, since everyone present except me regarded the Mouse as a very handsome tank. It did, indeed, promise to be ‘gigantic.’ (“Panzer Leader”, Guderian 309)

These photographs are watermarked bpk; Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, which is the visual archive of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

In Pictures: The Jagdtiger Tank Destroyer

20 October 1943, Adolf Hitler reviews an Italian Carro Armato P 40 and a wooden mockup of a Jagdtiger.

20 October 1943, Adolf Hitler reviews an Italian Carro Armato P 40 and a wooden mockup of a Jagdtiger.

The Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf. B was a German tank destroyer of the Second World War; known more commonly as the Jagdtiger. The ordnance designation for the Jagdtiger was Sd. Kfz. 186. Weighing 71 tonnes, and armed with a 128 mm PaK 44 L/55, it was both the heaviest, and heaviest armored fighting vehicle used operationally during the war. It saw limited service on both fronts from 1944 to the end of the war; with only 88 vehicles built. Tank ace Otto Carius would command a company of Jagdtigers during the war.

 

A Fascination With Things Massive

While pondering Germany’s Maus Super Heavy Tank, my thoughts shifted to other large scale weapons. The Maus reached the production stage; however production was interrupted early on and canceled, and as such only the prototypes (two) were completed. Of the two prototypes, a surviving example (a combination of the turret of one of the prototypes, and the hull of the other) exists at the Kubinka Tank Museum in Kubinka outside Moscow in Russia. In short the Maus weighed 188 tonnes, and was armed with a 128 mm main gun, and a 75 mm cannon, and two 7.92 mm MG 34 machine guns as secondary armaments.

Panzer VIII Maus

One of the German Maus prototype undergoing trials; likely at Kummersdorf South of Berlin.

Railway Guns

Railway guns, or cannons mounted on rail carriages, was not unique; numerous examples existed, however, their origins was in the First World War, and by the Second World War examples were limited (operators included Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom). Germany had two notable examples:

80cm railway gun Dora, being inspected by Adolf Hitler.

80cm railway gun Dora, being inspected by Adolf Hitler.

Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustaf/Great Gustaf) was the name for one of two 80 cm railway guns used by Germany; the other was Dora. The massive gun was moved on two parallel rail tracks.

V3 Cannon

V3 Super Cannon

The German V-3 (Vergeltungswaffe 3) super-gun

The V-3 (Vergeltungswaffe 3) cannon was a German super-gun using a multi-charge principle where the projectiles velocity is increased by the introduction of secondary propellants. Of two built, one was actually put into action.

The Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte

The German Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte Super Heavy Tank.

The German Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte super heavy tank.

Beyond the Maus, another colossal tank was proposed, of even greater size than the Maus itself. The Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte increased on the general concept of more armor, and greater fire power that was incorporated into the Maus.

Other large weapon systems existed, several planes for example, such as the Messerschmitt Me 323 transport; however the above examples, had much more questionable military value.

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Show and Tell: An Einfield Rifle

I was cleaning up some pictures and stumbled onto these of an old Einfield rifle. Enjoy!

In Pictures: Tiger I Tanks Operated By The Kingdom of Hungary

During the second World War approximately a dozen (ten to thirteen) Tiger tanks were provided to the Kingdom of Hungary. These tanks would be used in battle; including at least one operated by Hungarian Tank Ace Lt. Ervin Tarczay (credited with 10 kills during his career). These Tiger tanks were provided by the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion along with other armour including Panzer IV and Panther tanks; they were provided to bolster the Hungarian unit(s).

Armoured Units of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL depending on the context) has coalesced into a nation state, it has acquired a diverse selection of military hardware. This includes armoured units.  Among the various pieces of equipment deployed by ISIS are the Badger MRAP, Humvees, T-54/55, T-62, and T-72 main battle tanks (MBT), as well as M1117 armoured cars, MT-LB, BMP-1, and M113 APCs. The tanks, MT-LB and BMP-1 are Soviet Stock, and the Humvee, M1117, and M113 are all native to the United States. Depending on the sophistication of ISIS armoured vehicle recovery and repair, possible additions include the US native M1 Abrams MBT. ISIS armoured stock are spoils of war; possibly captured from a variety of places including the Iraqi Military, the Military of Syria, and other militant groups, as well as Iran. On the ground ISIS is currently fighting against a multitude of opponents; this could include any of the following,

  • Other militant groups
  • Kurdish forces
  • The Military of Syria
  • The Military of Iraq
  • The Military of Iran

Given the nature of the acquisition of ISIS’s military equipment and the highly fluid nature of the conflict in which she is fighting, her inventory of Armoured Fighting Vehicles has the potential to change rapidly. Future acquisitions could easily include more of the above as well as: M1 Abrams MBT, BMP-2, et al..

The actual size of ISIS’s armoured units is difficult to estimate given ongoing acquisitions and attrition; although it had been noted as being approximately 40 strong for two of the MBTs: 30 T-54/55 and roughly 10 T-72 tanks. Although these estimates were from earlier in the year regarding the T-54/55 and T-72. ISIS employs a strong collection of Technicals; pick-up Trucks with mounted weapons (and possibly armour as well); ISIS’s limit for these vehicles realistically is limited to her desire as pick-up trucks and supporting mountable weapons should be in ample supply. In a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article it was estimated that ISIS employs approximately 30 M1 Abrams already. Given the state of the war, it is not a question of if, but rather when ISIS will expand it’s inventory of US military hardware. However despite this fact the M1 Abrams is an iconic weapon system; given ISIS’s documented interest in lauding its perceived attacks on the West, including the murder recently of US journalists, it would seem logical that an M1 Abrams would prove an excellent backdrop for an ISIS propaganda video.  As such I do not believe ISIS currently has any M1 Abrams.

Based on my own research (with an emphasis on visual evidence) I estimate the following numbers for ISIS’s AFV inventory,

  • T-54/55 MBT – 10 to 20; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military. Likely from the Syrian civil war including all combatants.
  • T-72 MBT – 3 to 5; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military. Likely from the Syrian civil war including all combatants.
  • T-62 MBT – 20 to 30; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military. A large stock of these were captured from the Iraqi military however the Syrian Civil War would have also fostered an environment to acquire these.
  • MT-LB – 3; seized from the Iraqi military; also possibly in use by Syrians.
  • M113 – 3 to 5; including two captured from the Iraqi military.
  • BMP-1 – 3 to 5; stock from the Syrian military from the Syrian civil war including all combatants.
  • M1117 – 3 to 5; several seized from the Iraqi military
  • Badger MRAP – 3 or less; seized from the Iraqi military.
  • 2S1 Gvozdika Self Propelled Artillery – 3 or less; stock from either of the Syrian or Iraqi military.
  • 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) SAM missile systems – 3 captured in Iraq from the Iraqi military.
  • Humvees – perhaps 10 to 20 acquired from the Iraqi military.

I estimate ISIS total inventory at approximately 80 vehicles at most; this does not include Technicals and related vehicles such as Humvees. Technicals by far represent the majority of AFVs employed by ISIS; with the above representing a small fraction: perhaps as little as 1 to 3% although likely 1% or less. Given ISIS’s resources, she is well equiped to use and maintain these systems; the exception being the 2K12 Kub system’s main armament. There are claims that the US weapons systems will prove difficult to maintain; with a lack of spare parts and technical expertise. This is false; ISIS’s arrary of Technicals includes many illustrating a high degree of inginuity and resourcefulness. It is hubris to think that ISIS is incapable of maintaining its inventory of AFVs; her real limits will be with missiles of any size including captured ballistic missiles and aircraft. Further, ISIS is well equipped with mobile man operated anti-aircraft systems such as shoulder fired manpad systems. These systems provide a degree of secuirty for ISIS’s AFVs; while not absolute, they are a major factor for consideration in any airstrike targeting ISIS AFVs.

A video showing captured T-62 MBTs in a field; ISIS captured these from the Iraqi Military. They sit with a few APCs, possibly Soviet MT-LB APCs. I estimate in this video 10 T-62 and 3 MT-LB AFVs along with possibly 2 more MT-LB and 3 more T-62 in the far background.

Another video showing a parade of armour including T-62 MBTs and a BMP-1.

A video showing ISIS Technicals and an M113 APC.

Works Cited

Bender, Jeremy. “As ISIS Routs The Iraqi Army, Here’s A Look At What The Jihadists Have In Their Arsenal.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 8 July 2014. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-military-equipment-breakdown-2014-7>.

Parrish, Brent. “The Growing ISIS Arsenal, Pt. 1.” The Right Planet. 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. <http://www.therightplanet.com/2014/08/the-growing-isis-arsenal-pt-1/>.

Firik, Mehmet Kemal. “ISIS’s Weapon Inventory Grows.” Daily Sabah. 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2014/07/03/isiss-weapon-inventory-grows>.

“ISIS Ambushes Iraqi Army in Anbar Province.” HubPages. 15 July 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://perrya.hubpages.com/hub/ISIS-Ambushes-Iraqi-Army-in-Anbar-Province>.

PREGENT, MICHAEL, and MICHAEL WEISS. “Exploiting the ISIS Vulnerabilities in Iraq: The Terrorists’ Heavy Military Equipment Is Hard to Maintain, Easy to Target from the Air.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://online.wsj.com/articles/michael-pregent-and-michael-weiss-exploiting-the-isis-vulnerabilities-in-iraq-1407884145>.

In Pictures: The Italian Fiat-Ansaldo (Carro Armato) M13/40 Medium Tank

Italy’s Fiat-Ansaldo (Carro Armato) M13/40 medium tank was the main tank used by the Italians during the Second World War.

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