Author Topic: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2  (Read 78699 times)

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2016, 02:18:31 AM »
Little-StuG

 There are very few times when you come across a tank, which makes you go -'Aaaawww'. But whilst rummaging through my old kits, I came across a very bashed up Polish TKS Tankette. Something to calm my rage at the Surma painting fiasco. Mini-StuG!

 1938 and Poland realised that they had done too little too late regarding the development of their own armoured forces when compared to their larger and more aggressive neighbours. In a desperate effort to increase their anti-tank capabilities and keep them as mobile as possible, a novel plan was hatched to mount the 37mm Bofors wz 37 cannon, as carried by the 7TP tank, into the numerous but somewhat obsolescent TKS Tankettes. The result was surprisingly successful. Although only having a very limited elevation and relying on the driver to aim and fire the gun, they were ideally suited to ambush tactics. Whilst unable to stem the inevitable tide of German and Soviet forces, the small, hard-hitting TKS-37 earned the grudging respect of the German Panzer Corps who called them the Kliene Sturmgeschütze (Little StuG)

 The model depicts a TKS-37 from the 10th Motorised Cavalry Brigade. Unfortunately, I can't remember who makes the original model but a few old spare parts and some plastic card do wonders!

 Edit. I hasten to add, just in case the setting above seems too believable - the TKS-37 is made up entirely from my own fevered imagination. AH AFVs rule OK!



« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 02:22:20 AM by Claymore »
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2016, 02:24:14 AM »
Surma Tank Destroyer

 I put this model together from an initial idea by wiiguy and some additional suggestions from Life in Black and Sharing. The vehicle would be for a TL in which Finland was still fighting the USSR and allied to Germany but was in an altogether more powerful position.

 Not knowing exactly what wiiguy had in mind for this beastie, I built it more as a tank destroyer than a balanced MBT. Keeping the basic T-34 hull for speed and mobility, the turret is heavily armoured and mounts that big bad 75mm KwK 42 L/70. Tactically, I thought it would primarily fight from hull-down defensive positions where the turret could withstand a fair hammering whilst dealing out long-range justice.

 The idea went down well and wiiguy christened her the Surma (a monster from Finnish legend).

 The model depicts the 4th vehicle of the 1st Armoured Battalion, the Armoured Brigade of the Finnish Armoured Division. The model is made from parts from a Tamiya T34/85, a Tamiya KV-1, Tamiya Panther, an Italeri Panzer IV, various spare parts, the ubiquitous plastic card, filler and of course my own home made decals.







« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 06:05:16 AM by Claymore »
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2016, 02:29:09 AM »
StuG 35-S

 It's taken its time getting here but I present the Stug 35-S built for Jim Smitty's Flight 817 TL. The Somau S35 is a surprisingly small tank - reasonably long yes but ridiculously narrow. It was after all only a 3-man vehicle with a one-man turret. This placed a severe limit on what could be done with it and various gun combos were tried and rejected before I settled on the Italian 75 mm Obice da 75/18 modello 34. This compact little gun still gives the StuG 35-S a useful infantry support capability and a limited AT capability as well.

 Never very popular in German service (too cramped) it nevertheless did sterling service in support of the infantry formations. The model depicts the 2nd vehicle, 3 platoon, 2 coy of the 666th Independent Sturmgeschütz Abteilung (battalion) and is made from parts from a Heller Somau S35, an Italeri M40-75/18, plastic card and various bits from the spares box.



Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2016, 02:31:25 AM »
PzKpfw IV IFV

 The PzKpfw IV IFV came from an initial idea by Nietzsche across on my AH.com thread. The in-thread discussion threw up a Nashorn based APC design by Life in Black which looked extremely practicable and seems to have taken the fancy of other modellers who have built along similar lines (photos appear on this and other threads). I, on the other hand, went for an IFV design which borrowed lines from familiar modern designs but also kept the square ruggedness of the Panzer IV.

 What we end up with is a front-engined, front-differential IFV with the crew compartment at the rear accessed by 2 x doors in the rear bulkhead. A late model Panzer II turret armed with a 20mm auto cannon is centrally mounded but offset to the right with the driver to the left. The vehicle has a crew of 10 (Commander, Gunner, Driver + 7) and has a roof mounted hatch to allow the infantry to fire on the move and/or to speed egress.

 Extra lengths of track have been added by the crew as makeshift armour to increase the frontal protection whilst mesh Schürzen (side skirts) have been added to disrupt hollow/shaped charges.

 The model depicts the 1st vehicle, 4th platoon, 1st Coy, 1st Bn, 3rd Pz Gren Regt of 3 Pz Div and is made from bits from an Italeri Pz IV, Accurate Armour Pz II Ausf L 'Luchs', Eduard mesh Schürzen, Quad 2cm Flak gun, plastic card, bits from the spares box and the better part of my sanity.







Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2016, 02:37:22 AM »
The Big Mac

The story behind how South Africa came to deploy a squadron of heavy tanks in the mid-60s is a strange and convoluted affair that, had it not actually happened, would have read like an entry in some bizarre alternative history journal.

 For South Africa, the tale essentially starts with its independence from colonial rule in 1910. The fledgling nation is keen to make its mark on the world. Its armed forces, although small, have a reputation for fighting hard and punching about their weight. Both world wars see South Africa fully committed to the Allied cause. In particular, South Africa’s military contribution during WW2, under the leadership of Jan Smutts, is critical to the North African and Italian campaigns. South Africa emerges from the Allied victory with its prestige and national honour enhanced. South Africa's standing in the international community is rising, at a time when the Third World's struggle against colonialism had still not taken centre stage. In May 1945, Prime Minister Smuts represents South Africa in San Francisco at the drafting of the United Nations Charter.

 During WW2, Britain’s tank designs are, at best, haphazard and it is not until the closing days of the war that a capable tank in the form of the A34 Comet is produced. However, plans for an even heavier and more capable tank have been progressing with two very different and distinct lines of development. The A41 Centurion will eventually be a very capable tank but in 1945 is plagued with problems and will not see service in WW2. The second line is based on an enlarged Churchill design – designated A43 Black Prince. A less advanced design than the Centurion, the Black Prince goes into limited production with 20 built before the war ends. The end of the war sees the immediate need for a heavy tank recede and the decision is made to progress with the greater potential of the Centurion and cancel the Black Prince. In recognition of South Africa’s contribution during WW2, Britain gifts them the 20 operational A43s under the high profile Project Lionheart.

 After the initial public interest dies down, the 20 Lionhearts are transferred to the South African Armoured Reserve and quietly forgotten about. Smutts is defeated at the polls in the 1948 elections at the hands of a resurgent National Party. South Africa descends into eventual isolation from a world that will no longer tolerate any form of political discrimination or differentiation based on race only.

 In 1956, the Suez Crisis sees a combined force from Britain, France and Israel launch a concerted effort against Egypt in order to seize the Suez Canal. For its part, Israel will push into, and secure, the Sinai Peninsula. This proves to be relatively straight forward with Egyptian forces in complete disarray. Much to their surprise, forward IDF armoured units ‘liberate’ a tank storage park on the East bank of the canal which amongst various T34 variants also holds 15 Tiger IIs. Subsequent interrogation of prisoners reveals that the Tiger IIs were a gift from the Soviet Union to the Egyptian Presidential Guard; the Tigers having presumably been captured at some time during WW2. Whilst tempted to destroy these last vestiges of Nazi power, the canny Israelis decide instead to store them away for a rainy day.

 In 1965, South Africa faces mounting pressure from its surrounding neighbours and Angolan insurgents in particular. The Soviet Union is only too happy to extend its sphere of influence into Africa and readily supplies arms and ammunition to stoke the fires of discontent. Cuba starts to deploy forces directly into Angola. South Africa rapidly need to expand its armed forces and starts to call up its Reserve formations. Major General Ben MacCaulay, head of the South African Armoured Corps realises that a show of force is needed on the border but is acutely aware that on-going British sanctions have deprived him of much needed armoured assets and the world class Centurion in particular. At what seems to be the darkest hour, MacCaulay is approached by representatives from the IDF who offer a potential solution. Israel offers to overhaul and enhance 15 of the old Lionhearts utilising the turrets from their stored Tiger IIs. The end result, whilst not a class act by Western standards, is certainly better than anything currently deployed in Africa. Although designated the Lionheart Mk II, media headlines pronounce them as MacCaulay’s Miracle; the name sticks and images are flashed world-wide. General MacCaulay gets his show of force. To the crews, however, the Lionheart Mk II/MacCaulay is simply the Big Mac. In 1966, the Big Macs hold the line when the border tension spilled into open war. Following the Israeli 6-Day war in 1967 and realising the Soviet danger in Africa, Britain finally relaxed most of its sanctions and started exporting Centurions to the hard pressed South Africans. With the arrival of the much superior Centurions, all of the Big Macs are stood down and returned to the Reserve. It is testament to this unique AFV that all 15 still exist in various museums around the world.

 Specifications:

 Weight 57 tons
 Length Hull: 7.91 m
 Overall: 10.4 m
 Width 3.4 m
 Height 3.12 m

 The model represents the 4th tank of A Squadron (Heavy), the Pretoria Regiment and is constructed from parts from a Tamiya Churchill Mk VII, a Tamiya King Tiger, AFV Club Centurion track links, a few bits from a Tamiya Leopard 1A4 and a whole lot of plastic card scratch build.





















Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2016, 02:39:15 AM »
The Rhino

 From an idea by La Rouge Beret...

 The South Vietnamese Model 68 Main Battle Tank is known by many names. The North Vietnamese Army referred to them as ‘Double Death,’ while their crews affectionately knew them as the Rhino due to their durability and effectiveness in battle.

 The Model 68 MBT was conceived as a replacement for the Model 62 MBT, a licensed version of the Japanese Type 61. The introduction of the T – 62 into the Laotian Civil War in early 1965 rendered the Model 62 obsolete immediately and a replacement program was commenced under the moniker of Project 44. Ultimately, the unique physical requirements imposed by the landscape of the Kingdom of Vietnam, eliminated several Western MBTs. The Japanese STB -1, the forerunner to the Type 74, was experiencing severe teething problems regarding the layout of the turret. However, as the Model 62 had shown, the hull of a Japanese MBT was ideal for jungle warfare and for a physically slight trooper. The Bundeswehr had recently introduced the Leopard 1 MBT, which was designed to destroy the latest generation of Soviet MBTs.

 Following a night of inspiration, allegedly from a bottle of Suntory whiskey, the lead engineer proposed merging the turret of the Leopard 1 with the STB – 1 hull. It was to prove to be an inspired decision. Hastily brought into production and rushed to the front, the Model 68 soon developed a reputation for combat effectiveness.

 The model below represents the 6th vehicle from the famed 3rd Armoured Cavalry Squadron during their relief of Hue where they encircled the 1st Guard Army of the North Vietnamese Army, which led to its surrender and the formal peace between the two states.

 The model is made from a Tamiya Type-74 and a Tamiya Leopard 1A4 and a few bits from the spares box.



Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2016, 02:40:53 AM »
M10- Sherman MLRS

 From Jim Smitty’s excellent American Flight 817 TL…

The M10 MRLS was born out the Black Hole staffed by Owen Glyndwr and John Richmond at the Rock Island Arsenal. A downgraded version of the M270 MRLS, the M10 MRLS, or as the troops came to know it, the commander's personnel shotgun, was designed for counter battery work and could fire a deadly mix of High Explosive (HE), White Phosphorous (WP) and Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) sub-munitions.

The M10 entered the war a bit later than some other uptime armour designs due to some initial teething troubles with the rockets and counter battery radar systems. However, once it entered service in late 1941, it became a terror to Axis artillery crews. Initial deployments saw a company of M10s assigned to each Division but as the war progressed this company was rapidly upgraded to a battalion.

As a direct result of their experiences and high loss rates to the M10, the Axis was compelled to try and adopt an all SP Artillery approach. However, with the effects of the USAAF fuel campaign biting, they were never able to achieve this goal and by the end of the war an average Axis artilleryman's life expectancy on the Soviet-American front was all of 28 hours before they were either wounded or dead. It is hardly surprising that the axis referred to the M10 as Steel Rain.

 MLRS Specifications:

 MX25 Rocket - Length - 2.5m
 Calibre - 155mm
 Range - 25-30Km
 War Head - HE, WP, DPICM

 20 rounds carried in two preloaded containers.

 The model depicts "Al Capone", the 11 vehicle of 937 Field Artillery Battalion assigned directly to 8th Army and comprises of parts from a very old Cyber Hobby (?) M50 Super Sherman and a fair bit of plastic card scratch build.







Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2016, 02:46:24 AM »
Sentinel II project X-13 Wombat

From an idea by Angry scottsman 1989…

Data retrieved as at 30 Mar 2050…

In 2020, Claymore Industries were a relatively new defence company based out of the old Ardersier oil rig construction yards some 8 Km East of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The site was ideal for the company with good rail links, its own port facility and the Fort George military ranges and training area complex alongside.



In January of that year, the Australian government released the specifications for its Sentinel II High Strategic Mobility Armoured Fighting Vehicle Programme which called for a 120mm armed vehicle on a compact, light and air transportable hull capable of a full range of worldwide operations. Claymore Industries duly tendered their design proposals and after the Australian Ministry of Defence’s initial deliberations were asked to produce 3 prototype vehicles for further field evaluation with the design being allocated the trial’s code nomenclature X-13.

The X-13 was built around the Rhienmetal 120mm L44 gun which at 5.28m in length was no small piece of artillery. With a standard 120mm NATO round measuring in at just less than 1m in length the smallest possible combination dictated a minimum vehicle length of 6.23m. In an effort to try and meet this exacting limitation, some radical design philosophy was needed. The gun would be mounted in a turret at the rear of the vehicle; thus most of the hull would sit under but within the overall length of the large gun. In a more traditional AFV turret space is required for the gun to elevate, depress and recoil and space is also needed for the crew and ammunition storage. In a radical departure from tradition, however, the X-13’s gun would be solidly fixed within the turret which would be of an oscillating design. As the whole turret moved in elevation and recoil the size and weight of the turret was kept to a minimum whilst also reducing the overall profile of the vehicle. Furthermore, the turret was fully automated. With the gun fixed in place the auto-loader was permanently aligned and able to efficiently and accurately feed the ammunition from the storage magazines. The two 8-round carousel magazines were mounted either side of the breach and auto-loader to give 16 rounds of ready use ammunition. Whilst the magazines were designed to be removable for quick reloads, in practice this was rarely the case as each could be recharged automatically from a third magazine in the compartment under the turret which held an additional 32 rounds. Secondary armament was provided by a coaxial 7.62mm MG and provision was made for the mounting of an additional Remote Weapon System on the turret roof.

With the turret, its drive, electronics and magazines mounted at the rear of the vehicle, the 800 HP Rolls Royce gas turbine engine was mid-mounted. A gas turbine was selected to again minimise size and weight whilst maximising power output.

The two-man crew sat in front of the engine compartment and behind the forward transmission with the drive shaft running between the two crew stations. The driver and gunner had identical controls, meaning either crew-member could drive the tank or aim and fire the weapon systems. Each crew station had three day/night periscopes. A Primary Gun Sight (PGS) and Thermal Observation and Gun Sight (TOGS) system was mounted directly above the gun whilst Target Acquisition was achieved using a 360 degree day/night sensor mounted on the turret roof just behind the PGS/TOGS. This sensor was linked to the BAE Systems Tigercat target acquisition and threat prioritisation AI software which dramatically reduced the work load of the 2-man crew.

Although the X-13 met the specifications of the Australian Sentinel II programme, Claymore Industries were already looking towards future sales and in particular the Phase II (Light Armour) element of the UK’s Next Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle programme. With this in mind the whole X-13 was built on a modular concept; a crew compartment at the front, an engine compartment in the middle and a mission specific module at the rear. This mission specific module could easily be changed over by field workshops. The following mission specific modules were developed: a 120mm gun, an APC/reconnaissance variant with room for five dismounts, a low profile automated 120mm mortar, and a mount of an MSAI 60mm stacked projectile area denial weapon.

It was this very modular concept and the requirements of the Sentinel II programme that resulted in the Claymore Industries work force christening the vehicle the Wombat (Worldwide Operations, Modular Build, Air Transportable).

Although Claymore Industries were ultimately unsuccessful in their Sentinel II bid, the Australians settling instead on a home-grown and arguably less capable design, the Wombat system went on to be adopted by the British Army. In 2025 the Wombat fought with distinction with 22 Air Mobile Bde and 16 Air Assault Bde in the heroic defence of Irkutsk alongside the remnants of 8th Guards Tank Army and 4th Combined Arms Army on the Baikal Front.

Within the UK Armed Force the Wombat modular hull was officially designated the FV620 with the gun module FV621, the APC module FV622, the mortar module FV 623 and the mine projector module FV 624; but to the troops on the ground and the general public at home, the 120mm Wombat was always the X-13.

X-13 Wombat (FV621) Specifications:

Weight: 33 tonnes
Length: 6.58m
Width: 3.2m
Height: 2.25m

This model depicts the third prototype X-13 Wombat as it appeared at IDEX 2021 and comprises a few bits and pieces from a Revell Kanonenjagdpanzer, an Italeri Leopard II and a whole lot of plastic card scratch build.

















Footnote:

The X-13 Wombat caused quite a stir in Australia not just because of its unique design but also because of a chance encounter between the Claymore Industries trials team and the comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (of Achmed fame). On spying several members of the audience sporting “Team Wombat” T-shirts Mr Dunham was so amused at the idea of a military Wombat that he created the character of Combat Wombat which appeared in all his shows for the remainder of his Australian tour.







Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2016, 02:48:46 AM »
Vickers Medium Mk II S "Welly"

 From an idea by Sharlin…

Specifications:

Length: 5.33 m
Width: 2.8 m
Height: 2.5 m
Weight: 14.5 tonnes

Main Armament: Ordinance QF 4-pdr (57 mm)
Secondary Armament: 1 x Vickers .303 machine gun.
Armour: 8-14 mm

Engine: 170 hp Sunbeam Amazon
Power to Weight: 11.7 hp/tonne
Speed: 20 mph

The 'Welly' or 'Boot' as it was rather affectionately known by its crew was heavily altered Vickers Medium Mk II and whilst called a Mk II S or 'Special' was basically a new machine. The rear mounted turret was moved forwards to a more central position and in a bold move the engine was moved to the rear along with the fuel tanks instead of being in the nose of the tank which became the standard for all following British tanks.

This improved the machines layout and allowed for the tank to be widened slightly and thus made 8 inches lower reducing the tanks formidable profile. The weak 90hp Armstrong-Siddeley engine was replaced with a much more powerful 170hp Sunbeam Amazon engine which raised its speed to an impressive 20mph. Other major changes were internal with the driver being seated now at the front centre of the tank which improved his field of view immeasurably.

Protecting the tank was 14mm of armour on the slab sided front of the tank and the front of the turret with 8mm elsewhere compared to the 8mm max and 6.25mm minimum of the standard Mk II. In the spacious turret a OQF 4-pdr (50mm) cannon was fitted that could fire both armour piercing rounds and a small high explosive round. A radio was also fitted in the distinctive turret bustle.

These changes of course resulted in the tank piling on the pounds, both in terms of weight and economic cost, with the weight going from 12 tonnes to 14.5 tonnes.

Although the Government railed at the cost the tank was loved by the army when trialled and demonstrated and the with the Armed forces riding high after the Great war of 1916 - 1919 the Generals could not be denied. Entering production in 1926 the Wellesley also became an export success being sold to Germany, the Scandinavian countries as well as the Dutch, Belgians and Poles.

With the success of the Experimental Mechanised Force in exercises in both Britain and Germany in 1928 the value of a tank capable of firing both HE and AP rounds was recognised and it was seen that the tanks could support the Infantry and be supported by the infantry without relying on a dedicated 'Infantry tank'.

The model depicts “Iceni” a tank of B Squadron, 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division and has been made from parts of a Tamiya Matilda II and a whole lot of plastic/styrene card.











Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2016, 02:50:23 AM »
T-34MLA 'Carlota'

 From an idea by NothingNow.

 In November 1975, on the eve of Angola's independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist liberation movement MPLA against United States-backed interventions by South Africa and Zaire in support of two other liberation movements competing for power in the country, FNLA and UNITA. By the end of 1975 the Cuban military in Angola numbered more than 25,000 troops. Following the retreat of Zaire and South Africa, Cuban forces remained in Angola to support the MPLA government against UNITA in the continuing Angolan Civil War.

Cuba operated independently through December and January bringing in their troops in slowly, but steadily. Two months after the start of Operation Carlota the Soviets agreed to ten charter flights on long-range IL-62 jet airliners, starting on 8 January. This was followed one week later by an agreement that "the Soviets would supply all future weaponry … transporting it directly to Angola so that the Cuban airlift could concentrate on personnel."

The USSR supplied the Cuban forces in Angola with a mix of AFVs; T-55, T-62 and T-34/85. Whilst the T-55s and T-62s were capable MBTs the T-34/85 was already outdated. Capable of operations against ground troops it was not well placed against any other MBTs and it was relegated to supporting operations only.

Given the very mobile nature of the conflict, Cuba soon realised the need for highly mobile and hard hitting artillery to support its on-going military operations. The BM-14 140mm rocket launcher was proving very capable and a firm favourite of the Cuban infantry but was limited to a towed launcher. In a piece of inspired brilliance, a T-34 battalion commander suggested fitting a set of BM-14 tubes to the turrets of his tanks thus improving artillery support, increasing the usefulness of his tanks and securing himself early promotion.

The Brigade workshops set to work with sheet steel, some old hydraulic rams and a battery of BM-14 launchers. Each launcher was cut down the middle to produce two 8 tube packs which were then mounted to a simple box-like structure welded to the turret sides. Inside the structure, two hydraulic rams provided the necessary power to elevate the rocket packs.

The modification, whilst relatively simple, was a great success. It is easier to think of the T-34MLA (modificación - lanzacohetes para Angola) Carlota as a Self-Propelled Rocket system with a 85mm gun rather than a MBT with rockets as its modus operandi would see it fire its rockets in support of an attack by T-55s/62s before it would then follow up in support. It was never intended that the Carlota would enter combat with other MBTs, or indeed ground troops, with its rocket tubes loaded. The normal firing position was to have the turret traversed 90 degrees left of right.

The model depict the 2 vehicle of 2nd Platoon, A company of the 31st Tank Battalion and is made out of an old Zvesda T-34/85 kit, Tamiya T-34 tracks and styrene tubing and card.





Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2016, 02:54:49 AM »
Thor 1946

 To a degree, the Thor project represented the desperation of a war weary Germany, outnumbered and retreating on all fronts. However, necessity is often the mother of invention and so it was that the Thor, or more precisely, the Mjolner rocket that it fired would radically re-balance the tactical battlefield and allow Germany to weather the Soviet storm well into 1946. Indeed, it could be argued that the massive casualties inflicted on the Soviet Forces and the ultimate stalemate that descended over the Eastern Front was directly attributable to the massed use of thermobaric weapons. It is equally argued that it was Hitler’s last minute decision to cancel Operation Citadel and adopt a flexible defence that allowed Germany the time and strategic reserve to field its new weapons effectively.

As the Tiger I was slowly phase out of front line service by the introduction of the Tiger II, the older but still useful Tiger I’s were converted into numerous heavy support vehicles. The Thor was a 24 round box launcher mounted on just such a hull. The GWGr 21 ‘Mjolnir’ unguided thermobaric rocket was 21cm in diameter, 3.5m in length and had a range of approximately 7-8Km. The 24 rockets could either be fire in pairs or salvo fired over a period of 15 seconds. Although the whole launcher turret assembly could rotate 360 degrees, it was standard practice to fire in the fore and aft position as this gave the best stability for firing. A pair of stabilising hydraulic jacks were mounted at the rear of the vehicle. The launcher was elevated by a pair of hydraulic rams attached to the rear of the stub turret. A dedicated reload vehicle was used to recharge the launcher.

In 1946, the Tiger hull provided the crew of 4 (Commander, Gunner, Driver, Co-Driver/MG Gunner) with much needed armoured protection. For close in defence the Thor carried 2 x 7.92mm MGs – one in the original Tiger I hull position and a second in the stub turret under the launcher.

The model depicts the 2 HQ vehicle of the 3rd Battery, 1st Abteilung of the 10th Schwere Rakete Brigade and consists of a very old Tamiya Tiger I, some bits from the spares box, a lot of plastic card, some hard wood and some golf tees.


























Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2016, 02:57:51 AM »
Water Buffalo

From an idea by La Rouge Beret...

Xiangkhouan Province, Laos 1968

Second Lieutenant Truong To of the 1st Battalion, Vietnamese Army looked to his front at the remnants of his platoon. They were pinned down by two Chinese Army pillboxes and were being bracketed by their mortars. Although his platoon was in dead ground, if they moved out of cover his men would suffer grievous casualties.

He asked his radio operator if there had been any update on his request for fire support and was told that it was at least five minutes away… Five minutes, he thought, was an eternity in combat. If the support did not arrive soon he was going to withdraw his men to the start position.

He heard a dull thump and saw both Chinese positions explode in front of his eyes. Well, well, he thought as a smile cracked across his face, the Water Buffalo has broken down another door.

The Water Buffalo was borne from the second Laotian Crisis in 1964 and particularly the Pyrrhic victory at Muong Phine. Where the Chinese defensive bunkers had decimated the assault launched by the Vietnamese Parachute Regiment. After the battle the Vietnamese General Staff recognised the need for an assault gun to provide direct heavy artillery in support of attacking infantry.
Several vehicles were considered such as the M41 Bulldog MBT, but it was Colonel Duong Minh (later General), who suggested the Type 62, the Vietnamese version of the Japanese Type 61 MBT, be modified as an assault gun due to its availability following its replacement by the Type 68 in the MBT role. After liaising with the American military assistance team the M126 howitzer was fitted to the Type 62 hull and metamorphosed into the Type 62 (A).

Although, its official designation was Type 62 (A), it became universally known as the Water Buffalo due to its size, strength and symbiotic relationship with the infantry; similar to the relationship between the farmer and his buffalo. The Type 62 (A) saw service during the Vietnamese involvement in Laos, their invasion of Democratic Kampuchea and in repelling the Chinese invasion of northern Vietnam. Several vehicles were transferred to the Khmer National Army, and were again referred to as the Kouprey or Water Buffalo in Khmer. The Khmer attachment to the Type 62 A was so strong it became the moniker of the national Rugby team and in 2006 the last vehicles retired.

This vehicle is painted as the 1st vehicle ‘Hue’, 3rd Battery, 1 Bn of 11th Artillery Brigade, which participated in the battle of Xianghouan and which resulted in the destruction of the 3rd Volunteer Regiment of the People’s Liberation Army.

The model is made from components of a Tamiya Type 61 tank, a Tamiya M113, an Italeri M109, some bits and pieces from the spares box, plastic (styrene) card and a big blob of millliput modelling putty.













Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2016, 03:02:18 AM »
BMP-2S Vagyar

It could, and has been, argued that by out-surviving Nazi Germany in the short but destructive war of 1993, the Soviet Union emerged as co-victors alongside NATO. However, for the victors, and particularly the Soviet Union, that accolade was won at considerable cost. The destruction in men and material even before the final nuclear exchanges was shocking enough but the death toll in the annihilation of the majority of her European cities was too much even for the stoic peoples of the Soviet Union. In the years that followed the war, soviet communism would evaporate as the individual member states of the Union sought independence. Unable to afford the luxury of maintaining its military forces to pre-war scales, and unable or unwilling to contemplate further military adventurism, Russia rapidly demobilised. Whilst maintaining a relatively small core of professionals, the majority of her army was stood down and the bulk of her equipment mothballed. Little of worth was left west of the Urals and with the capital relocated to Novosibirsk, Siberia with its vast reserves of natural resources was Russia’s passport to economic recovery.

However, Russia’s plight had not gone unnoticed and envious eyes looked upon those same strategic reserves; the opportunity for easy pickings and the potential to boost the People’s Republic of China’s standing as the new global superpower was just too tempting.

As Chinese sabres started to rattle in the winter of 2007/2008, Russia, realising that war was once again inevitable, did all that it could to prepare for the impending storm. Realising that its fixed defences and Machinegun Divisions along the Amur River would, at best, only slow down the Chines advance, Russia needed to rapidly increase its mobile anti-tank defences. Whilst as many tanks as possible were brought out of storage and crews recalled to active service, the need was still pressing. The 125mm 2A45M Sprut-B towed anti-tank gun was a good gun but its lack of mobility would severely hamper its usefulness in the coming conflict. Kurganmashzavod JSC, the maker of the BMP series of AFVs and one of the few remaining military manufacturing facilities in Russia suggested taking some of their stored BMP-2 and adapting them to carry the 2A45M Sprut-B gun. Taking a leaf out of the Swedish Stridsvagn 103 (S-Tank) book, the design they came up with was elegant, effective and, most importantly, quick to produce.

The BMP-2S Vagyar (Viking) as it became known in homage to its Scandinavian roots was a standard BMP-2 with its turret and UTD-20/3 diesel engine removed. The 125mm 2A45M Sprut-B with modified recoil system and fume extractor was fitted centrally in a fixed mounting through the upper glacis plate. An autoloader system was strapped to the breach and a large magazine fitted in the now redundant crew compartment. The Commander and Gunner sat either side of the breach/autoloader and with dual day and thermal fire control systems were able to duplicate each other’s functions. The Driver’s position remained unchanged, although a rear mounted camera system allowed him to drive the Vagyar effectively in reverse without assistance from the Commander. The engine was replaced by a smaller but more powerful SG-1000 gas turbine and the 2 forward and 2 rear road wheels attached to a basic gas-hydraulic hydro-pneumatic suspension to allow for accurate laying of the main gun in elevation. For local defence, the Vagyar carried the X3 (7.62mm) RWS with its own integral day/thermal sights. The X3 was, in essence, a copy of the German Marder IFV RWS mount and was heavily based on the experiences and a grudging respect gained during the 1993 war. Two 9-barrelled directional smoke dischargers were also fitted. Given the size of the BMP-2 chassis, the Vagyar was still also able to carry 2 infantrymen in the rear compartment when additional local force protection was required . This extra space also proved extremely useful for the carriage of additional ammunition/fuel/stores, etc or for the extraction of injured personnel.

The end result of the Vagyar conversion was a highly mobile, light weight, all weather anti-tank system at a fraction of the cost and production time of an MBT. An excellent operational extract of the performance of the Vagyar in the field can be found at Chapter 7 of Alexander Kamarov’s book ‘Heroes of Irkutsk’.

The model depicts vehicle 234, 180th Anti-Tank Battery, 56th Mech Bde and comprises parts from an old Italeri BMP-2, an Italeri T-72, a Tamiya Marder IFV, some plastic card and a few bits and pieces from the spares box.





















Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2016, 03:06:43 AM »
Mk VIE General Wolfe

 From an idea by Sharlin... The model itself is from a later stage in Sharlin's TL that has not yet been written and indeed may never feature at all as this was more my development from Sharlin's original idea for a medium tank looking somewhat like the OTL Valentine (Mk VI Picton).

 In Sharlin's TL the Mk VI Picton is the standard British medium tank of the early to mid period of a war -more or less in a parallel timescale to WW2 - where Britain and Germany are allied against a French/Russian coalition. The Picton looks, superficially, like the OTL Valentine but has a larger 3-man turret mounting a 57mm 6pdr gun and a more powerful engine to give it better performance and speed.




 My development was to fast forward Sharlin's war a couple of years to the point where the Picton was becoming obsolete and was presumably replaced by a more capable beast. Given the alliance with Germany and the Germans penchant for converting obsolete panzers into StuGs, I proposed that Britain might take a leaf out of their book and do something similar with the Picton. Having had little experience in the StuG-field the British decide to copy and licence build the highly successful StuG III conversion kit. The result is the Mk VIE General Wolfe. In British service, the General Wolfe (or Wolfe for short) is a highly capable and successful tank destroyer and is allocated to the Anti-Tank Regiments of the Royal Artillery. Whilst somewhat cramped inside, it is nonetheless extremely popular with crews and infantry alike.

 The model depicts 'Briton' a vehicle of A Troop, 288 Battery, 102nd Anti-Tank Regiment (Armoured)(Northumberland Hussars) of 2nd Armoured Division and comprises of parts from a most excellent MiniArt Valentine Mk III, an old Tamiya Stug III, some plastic/styrene card and a few bits and pieces from the spares box. Great fun and I think she looks really cool... so there! :p














Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2016, 03:18:40 AM »
Bloodhound TEL

 The system's initial development appeared to be shrouded in secrecy however; various staged leaks in the early 1960s led the Soviets to believe that the project would be fielded in early 1965. This resulted in the USSR sinking large quantities of time, effort and roubles into rushing the 2K11 Krug (NATO designation - SA-4 Ganef) in to production by 1964 ahead of its UK counter-part. Having achieved its primary aim of suckering the Soviets into fielding a very expensive and none too reliable missile system the UK government fully intended to shelve their own mobile SAM project which was nowhere near as fully developed as they had led the Soviets to believe and continue with the extant static Bloodhound 2 system. However, increased tensions between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in late 1965 saw the mobile Bloodhound 4 missile system completed and fielded by both the RAF Regt and Royal Artillery in 1966.

 The model depicts A2, the 2nd Transporter, Erector and Launcher (TEL) of A Flt, 54 Sqn RAF Regt. A2 is one of 4 TELs in A Flt which is one of three combat Flts of 54 Sqn. Each combat Flt also has one mobile Type 85 target acquisition and illumination radar mounted on the same stretched M110 chassis as the TEL. The model is made from a couple of old Italeri M110A2 models some plastic card and a whole pile of knitting needles.





















Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2016, 03:22:58 AM »
Griffon Heavy IFV

 By mid-1946, although still heavily outnumbered, Germany had managed to stem the Soviet tide through a combination of massed use of thermobaric weapons (see Wilhelm Gustav’s epic account of the war in the East during 1945 ‘Thor’s Hammer’) and a flexible defensive strategy based on highly mobile and hard hitting mechanised forces. Key to these armoured formations was the introduction of the standardised E-series panzers and two new APCs to carry the panzer grenadiers.

The first of these APCs – or more accurately 'Schützenpanzer' Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) – was based on the venerable PzKpfw IV (see post #24 above). Although far superior to any other APC on the battlefield it was nevertheless relatively slow and under armoured. In the autumn of 1945, the PzKpfw V Heavy IFV ‘Griffon’ was issued to the panzer grenadier regiments of the panzer divisions and subsequently to the panzer grenadier divisions. Critically, this heavy infantry carrier was fully capable of keeping up with the fast moving panzers and carried enough armour to hold its own in battle. Its 5cm gun was also capable of providing significant direct fire support to its dismounted grenadiers. The Griffon carried a crew of 10 (Commander and Gunner in the turret, the Driver front left and 7 dismounts in the rear compartment. So successful was the Griffon that it remained in service with the Wehrmacht well into the early 1970s.

The model depicts the 5th vehicle, 1st Platoon, 4th Company of the 1st Battalion of Panzer Grenadier Regt ‘Großdeutschland’, Grossdeutschland Division and consists of parts from a Tamiya Panther Ausf G, an Italeri Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma, Tamiya M113 and some plastic card.

















Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2016, 03:27:12 AM »
Sd.Kfz. 137 PzKpfw 38(t) LuLa (Otter)

 The Sd. Kfz. 137 Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) LuLa (LuftLande).
 The readily adopted nickname for the tank was Otter. The idea that this comes from 'LuTra' (Luft Transport), which is also Latin for Otter, is most likely apocryphal and coincidental.

 Designed in response to disastrous results during the Invasion of Crete, where many German paratroopers were unable to enter battle readiness fast enough and subsequently met their end in the open terrain of their landing zones, the Otter was designed for aiding the Fallschirmjäger during the initial stages of aerial assault.

 One of the main lessons learned from the Invasion of the Low Countries and the Battle of Crete was that paratroopers by themselves are too light to take and hold terrain. Paratroopers were best used in advance of a larger, heavier force, to put defenders in disarray in time for other units to move forward and press the attack. As such, the main strength of the airborne arm laid in the surprise, not the ability to hold terrain.

 This idea manifested itself in the Otter, which was designed to be air-dropped into battle alongside infantry and provide fire-support immediately during the initial stages, at the cost of armour and firepower. Indeed, one could say it was barely designed at all; due to perennial conflicts between Luftwaffe and Heer weapons procurement designing and manufacturing a brand new AFV was out of the question. However, the combination of a recently obsolete late model Panzer 38(t) and the newly developed Sd.Kfz. 234/2 turret proved fruitful at a reasonable cost, balancing a low enough weight with armour and fire-power (the same 50mm gun used in the Panzer III) acceptable for its purpose.

 Sadly, the Otter wasn't used for it's intended purpose. While the first Otters were ready in late 1942, the Luftlande Panzer Regiment (a rather boisterous name since it was barely battalion of strength, much like the FJR Sturmregiment in its early days) was not ready for combat until early 1943, by which time it was painfully obvious that the Führer was not going to allow airborne operations ever again. Service on the Eastern Front was also not a possibility, as the Otter was painfully inadequate in a defensive role.

 By mid 1943, already a few Otters were poached by the Waffenamt for reconfiguration. The remainder stayed with the Luftlande Panzer Regiment, which was integrated into the 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision, which was stationed in Sicily at the time.

 It was here that the Otter saw it first and last sight of battle, where during the Allied invasion of Sicily it was part of the first counter-attack against allied paratroopers at Primrose Bridge, which the light attacking forces were unable to capture until reinforcements moved in, by which time the Axis forces themselves had already established a defensive line. Doing this, the Otter both proved itself, as well as the use of armoured support for paratroopers, a lesson the allies would heed during the invasion of France.

 The Otters themselves were all lost during the battle for Sicily, the last few ditched during the evacuation of the Fallschirmjäger. Later in the war, the allies would make use of glider-borne tanks themselves, their gliders not being ready yet at the time. The allied equivalents, the Locust and the Tetrach, proved themselves to be inadequate as main-line AFVs, but did make themselves count when they were needed. In that regard, they were no different from the Otter.

 The model is made up from an old Italeri Pz 38(t), the turret from an Italeri Sd. Kfz. 234/2 Puma and some plastic card. Thanks to Cortz#9 for the initial design and Theodoric for the backstory.
















Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2016, 03:30:03 AM »
Dhole

 The Dhole comes from an excellent TL written by La Rouge Beret (12 Minutes to Midnight) and is set in 1965-75 Cambodia where the Monarchy remains in power and fiercely independent country fights off the North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge. My thanks to LRB for his thoughts, ideas and encouragement.

 Following independence from France in 1954 the Forces Armées Royales Khmères inherited 24 M24 Chaffees from the tank stocks of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps. By 1963 the threats posed to Cambodia both domestic (Khmer Rouge and Serei) combined with ongoing territorial disputes involving Thailand, South Vietnam and North Vietnam meant that FARK and by extension the small armoured corps were modernised.

 As they had antagonised both political blocs, Cambodia was wary of purchasing any armaments that could be subject to an embargo. Accordingly, following a conversation with the French military attache a decision was made to replace the turrets on the M24 Chaffee with an AMX-13 (Insert turret designation). This improved the ergonomics of operations conducted within the Tank, but also provided further room for the design to grow over time. The first tank rolled off the production line in 1965 and was dubbed the chkai prey meaning Dhole in Khmer.

 The Dhole first engaged in large scale combat as part of 'Force Koh Ker' during Operation Javaryamann. However, the 75mm gun was considered to be inadequate following the introduction of the PT-76 and T-34 by the North Vietnamese Army and the Khmer Rouge forces. Accordingly, the Dhole's armament was upgraded to 90mm and the transmission was replaced producing the Dhole (II).

 The Dhole II fought with the 1st Armoured Regiment during the offensive launched by 2 Div and during the defence of Stung Treng. They also participated in the spoiling attack on Pak Nhai launched in 1975 until being superseded by the Dhole (III) in 1977.

 The model represents the lead tank (callsign Babar) of A Squadron, Cambodian 1st Armoured Regiment and is the gate guardian outside of the School of Armour at Das Kanchor. It is notable as being one of the original 24 M24 Chaffees operated by FARK and received both Dhole upgrades. This same vehicle fought at Kampong Cham, with 2 Div at Stung Treng and Lumphat and also at Pak Nhai. The vehicle was also reactivated during the 1978 invasion by the NVA.

 The model is made up from bits from an old Italeri M24 Chaffee, a Heller AMX-13, an Italeri M47, some white plastic card and some odds and sods from the spares box.











Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2016, 03:40:50 AM »
M4A3E8 UCV

 Following the Yom Kippur War, the IDF had introduced a bespoke AFV Escort vehicle in the shape of the Magach 5 Avenger.

Armed with a 30mm GAU-8 rotary cannon, the Magach 5 had been well liked by its crews and the infantry alike but the cannon had proved to be a little on the brutal side when fighting in built up areas even for the IDF.
 However, by the mid-1990s and the height of the South Lebanon Conflict, the IDF and population of northern Israel were growing weary of Hezbollah’s continued rocket attacks. In Apr 1996, Operation Grapes of Wrath was launched to clear Hezbollah out of Southern Lebanon and the gloves were most definitely off.

 The need for a Magach 5-like urban escort vehicle was understood but nothing was readily available and there was no particular desire to detract from the planned AFV construction schedule. Fortunately, the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate had some suitable trials vehicles to hand and without further ado they were unceremonially pressed in to service. The three vehicles carried a GAU-12 in a M2 Bradley turret (purchased for an earlier Heavy APC trial) mounted on a M4A3E8 Sherman hull. The turrets were the primary goal of the study and the Shermans had been selected for no other reason than they were already available in the research and development facility. As it turned out, the mating of these two unlikely partners produced a surprisingly simple and efficient offspring.

 As no-one had ever envisaged the elderly Shermans actually going into battle, it was decided to give them as much of a sporting chance as possible and therefore, a layer of Blazer Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) was added. For additional utility, and an extra degree of frontal protection, a dozer blade was added.

 As the fighting intensified, the three M4A3E8 Urban Combat Vehicles (UCV) - Raam (Thunder), Barak (Lightning) and Saar (Storm) - proved their worth on numerous occasions and became a firm favourite with the infantry and tankers alike in the resulting destruction of Hezbollah’s South-Lebanon command.

 The model depicts Saar (Storm) and is made from parts of an old Tamiya M4A3, a Tamiya M2 Bradly, a AFV Club M4A3E8 HVSS and track set, a Verlinden M113 dozer blade, the ubiquitous white plastic card and some bits and pieces from the spares box.























Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2016, 03:47:40 AM »
Bradley FSV:

 It has taken a wee while but here you go...

 Please check out LRB's TL 'The rooftop of the World' for complete details of the Amdo and their struggle to set up an independent homeland whilst fighting against the Taliban (and others). Although not yet in the story, the Amdo plan to buy a number of Ex-US Army Bradleys in order to provide infantry mobility/support and a degree of long-range anti-tank capability. However, it has been anticipated that the standard Bradley will not be able to provide all of the support functions that the Amdo might require. To fill this capability gap, the US deal has included a number of Bradley Fire Support Vehicles mounting the 105mm gun system in the same turret as was produced for the Stryker M1128 MGS.

 The model depicts the first vehicle of the second platoon of the Fire Support Company of the King's Dragoon Guards and comprises of the hull of a Tamiya up armoured M2 Bradley and the turret fro a AFV Club Sryker M112 MG.





















Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #45 on: September 26, 2016, 03:58:34 AM »
This project has taken me some considerable time to research and whilst I make no apologies for the delay in posting – I wanted to double and triple check my facts where I could – I do hope that you enjoy this little bit of AFV history. If you have any more details regarding the historic background or have any additional relevant photographs, then please feel free to PM me. So here is what I have…

Of Ontos and other things


[Picture 1: Ontos]

 We are all generally familiar with the peculiar shape of the Ontos Air-Mobile Tank Destroyer and its limited, but relatively successful, service career with the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. However, I suspect that very few of us know of the full story behind the ugly duckling that never grew into the swan and which forever will be remembered by the translation of its Greek name ‘Ontos’ (Thing).


[Picture 2: Maj Gen W Miley]

 The existence of the Ontos programme, which was initiated in November 1950, owes much to the military career, experiences and vision of one Major General William (Bud) Miley (US Army). After returning from occupation duties in Japan commanding the 11th Airborne Division, Miley took up the post of Director of the Joint Airborne Troop Board of US Army Alaska, Alaskan Command with the responsibilities for formulating airborne parachute techniques, organisation, equipment and doctrine. It was from his desk that the requirement for an air-mobile tank destroyed came to fruition. Not known for his literal verbosity, it is rumoured that the specification sheet that Miley proposed was only one page long. Among the few things that it specified was that the vehicle’s running gear would be based on the M56 Light Anti-Tank Vehicle; that it would utilize the same six-cylinder, inline gas engine common to all the military’s 2½-ton GMC trucks; and that the project name should be Ontos.

 The rest is well documented history. The development contract went to Allis Chalmers’ Farm Machinery Division, with the work being carried out at the company’s Agricultural Assembly Plant in La Port, Indiana. The first vehicle was completed in 1952 and, although rejected by the US Army, the Ontos entered service with the Marines in 1955.

 Whilst there is little new to the story so far, what is really of interest is the rationale behind General Miley’s proposal for an air-mobile tank destroyer and his unspecified but clear desire to incorporate recoilless rifles into the design. To understand his thought processes we must look back at his wartime experiences when he was the General Officer commanding 17th Airborne Division.


[Picture 3: 17th Airborne Division Insignia]

 The 17th Airborne Division was officially activated as an airborne division in April 1943 but was not immediately sent to a combat theatre, remaining in the United States to complete its training. During this training process, the division took part in several training exercises, including the Knollwood Manoeuvre, in which it played a vital part in ensuring that the airborne division remained as a military formation in the U.S. Army after the poor performance of American airborne forces in the invasion of Sicily. As such it did not take part in the first two large-scale airborne operations conducted by the Allies, Operation Husky and Operation Neptune, only transferring to Britain after the end of Operation Overlord.

 When the division arrived in Britain, it came under the command of XVIII Airborne Corps, part of the First Allied Airborne Army, but was not chosen to participate in Operation Market Garden, the airborne landings in the Netherlands, as Allied planners believed it had arrived too late and could not be "trained up" in time for the operation. However, after the end of Operation Market Garden the division was shipped to France and then Belgium to fight in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. It is worthy of note, for future developments, that during this time the Division had both the 761st Tank Battalion and 811st Tank Destroyer Battalion attached from 15- 27 January 1945.

 On 27 January 1945, the 17th Airborne Division was then withdrawn to Luxembourg to be the Theatre Reserve and to prepare for the impending assault crossing of the River Rhine. As an airborne division the 17th was not particularly well endowed with motor transport and the acquisition and maintenance of its limited resources rested as much with the bartering skills of its Maintenance Company as it did with the US Army’s Logisticians. It was on one of the Maintenance Company’s foraging trips that they came across an abandoned French Hotchkiss H39 tank which had obviously been pressed into service by the German Army. Although the vehicle had clearly been looted, there didn’t seem to be any major structural damage; indeed with a little fuel and some TLC the tank’s engine was coaxed back into life. The decision was made then and there to recover the Hotchkiss so that it could be utilised as an ersatz recovery vehicle.


[Picture 4: Hotchkiss H39 40555 abandoned in Luxembourg]

 It is at this stage in this peculiar tale that I have to take a step back in time as I have managed to track down a bit of detail regarding this particular vehicle. As you will appreciate, records form 1940 and the fall of France are limited as indeed are the specific accounts of the retreat of German forces in 1944 but, nevertheless, a bit of detective work has proved fruitful. Although the war diary of 17th Airborne Division makes no reference to the Maintenance Company’s acquisition of this diminutive AFV, an account by Tech Sergeant Clinton Hedrick notes that the vehicle’s external markings identified it as part of 233 Panzer Company and an internal plate had the number 40555 which was, more than likely, its original French registration number.

 This being the case, I then managed to trace the vehicle back to June 1940 when Hotchkiss H39 40555 was part of 27e Bataillon de Chars de Combat (BCC) which along with 14e BCC made up 4e Demi-Brigade de Chars Légers of 2e Division Cuirassée de Réserve (DCR).


[Picture 5: 27e BCC]

 27e BCC fought as part of the Division in the Battle of Abbeville 27 May-4 June 1940 where after some initial success against superior German forces, they were pushed back in total disarray with 2e DCR and 27e BCC effectively ceasing to exist as a cohesive unit. Amidst the confusion, Hotchkiss H39 40555 ran out of fuel on 6 June 1940 – such was the desperation of the crew that they did not stop long enough to disable the vehicle but simple abandoned it to the Germans who were close on their heels.


[Picture 6: Hotchkiss H39 40555 abandoned]

 What exactly then happened to 40555 is lost to the mists of time but we do know that it was taken into service by the German Army and ended up as part of Panzer Kompanie 233 which was made up of 12 x Pz-H38(f) (Hotchkiss H38/39 tanks) and 5 x Pz-S35(f) (Somua S35 tanks) and was part of 100 Heeres Panzer Brigade. The Brigade’s primary role was that of internal security with Kompanie 233 operating in eastern France. The only noticeable changes made to 40555 were the removal of the tail skid and the standard replacement of the original commander’s cupola with a flatter two-hatch design.

 At some point in late 1944, and for the second time in its career, 40555 ran out of fuel and was abandoned by its crew. Unfortunately, I could find no specific details of 40555’s 4-year life with Panzer Kompanie 233 nor is there any explanation as to how it came to end up on the side of a small country road in the depths of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg but that is exactly where the ever-opportunistic troops of the 17th Airborne Division’s Maintenance Company found her in early February 1945.

 On 24 March 1945, 17th Airborne Division participated in its first, and only, airborne operation, dropping alongside the British 6th Airborne Division as a part of Operation Varsity. Landing with the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment was the US Army’s first delivery of the new M18 57mm Recoilless Rifles. Although limited in its intended anti-tank role, this man-portable artillery piece proved very effective as a bunker buster. Nevertheless, at 46.8lbs the M18 was awkward to fire off the shoulder and was not a popular load if needed to be carried any distance.


[Pictures 7 & 8: M18s with 17th Airborne Division]

 With the successful completion of Op Varsity on 27 March, 17th Airborne Division continued its advance into northern Germany as part of XVIII Airborne Corps. This now gave the opportunity for those Divisional Troops not committed to Op Varsity to catch up with the rest of the Division. So it was that on 28 March 1945 the 17th‘s Maintenance Company and Motor Transport joined the advance complete with Hotchkiss H39 40555.

 Whilst fighting as a regular Infantry Division was not new to the paratroopers of 17th Airborne, the lack of any attached armour was keenly felt and none more so than when facing stubborn fortified machine gun emplacements. The M18s were effective but it took a brave man to expose himself in order to engage the bunker when the back blast of the first shot fired instantly gave away his position. Exact who had the idea first is unknown but it was in the face of this thorny problem that the ever innovative men of the Maintenance Company outfitted their adopted recovery tank with 4 x M18s mounted on the outside of the turret and able to be aimed and fired from within. The combination was an immediate success with the paratroopers of the Rifle Regiments who were more than happy to call up their armoured pet rather than take unnecessary risks. With no official designation, role or name it didn’t take long before regular calls over the radio nets were requesting that ‘the Thing’ be brought forward to deal with one situation or another. These requests eventually came to the notice of the Divisional Commander, Major General Miley, who out of curiosity, if nothing else, came forward to see ‘the Thing’ in action. Again there is nothing recorded in the official Divisional War Diary regarding his encounter, but subsequent events would suggest that he was clearly impressed.











After completion of operations around Essen and Munster the Division remain in northern Germany until the end of World War II, when it briefly undertook occupation duties before shipping back to the United States. What then became of ‘the Thing’ is not recorded but it can be safely assumed that its M18 Recoilless Rifles were removed and returned to the United Sates along with the rest of the Division’s weapons. Given that Hotchkiss H39 40555 was still in running order, there is a good chance that it was handed over to the French military authorities who at the time were recovering any and all military equipment in order to rebuild their armed forces.


[Picture 9: Hotchkiss H39 post-war]

 In 1948 a consignment of 10 Hotchkiss H39s were clandestinely sent to Israel and whilst I could find no evidence to positively identify these vehicles, I still like to think that one of them may have been 40555.


[Picture 10: Hotchkiss H39 with the IDF]

 The model itself is adapted from a Bronco Models Hotchkiss H39, the M18s are from Tamiya’s US Infantry Weapons set and the selection of field/workshop tools come from the depths of my various spare part boxes. For those with an interest, here are a few in-build pictures.






Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #46 on: September 26, 2016, 04:21:02 AM »
...and for those that can remember...

The Landkreuzer P.1000 'Ratte'

Still a work in progress but at 1:35 scale it is a considerable drain on resources.  Nevertheless, here is where I am...  ;)



































« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 04:25:23 AM by Claymore »
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
  • "Define 'interesting'?"
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2016, 09:00:41 AM »
Bloody awesome, Claymore! 8)

I remember watching most of these coming together & seeing them all again, now, is brilliant! :D

Love your work, man! :-*




PS: For some bizarre reason, I'm loving the "Combat Wombat", too. ;)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Buzzbomb

  • Low Concentration Span, oft wanders betwixt projects
  • Accurate Scale representations of fictional stuff
    • Club and my stuff site
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2016, 09:55:02 AM »
Yo... great to see it is still "creeping along"

Offline Gingie

  • The LAV sausage-maker…goes nice with a home made beer I understand
  • Has been to Tatooine...
Re: Claymore's AH AFVs: Take 2
« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2016, 10:19:46 AM »
The Lancruzer makes me smile, shake my head, drop my jaw...all at the same time! Wonderful!

Also, I seemed to have missed the Bloodhound TEL on the first go 'round. Saaweeeet!