I know, I know, I should have come up with more original name than "Dracula" in Romanian For a time I considered "Anton", after the main character of my unfinished story "Battlefield Transylvania" about Hungaro-Romanian War in 1940s and 1950s. However I decided someone may think it was after Ion Antonescu, fascist dictator of Romania in WWII, so I dropped this. I was also thinking about some Romanian WWI war hero, but couldn't come up with a fitting name. So I choose "Draculea" in the end.
I wanted its camo to remind of Romanian national colours, but none of the combinations (blue/red, blue/yellow, yellow/red) looked good enough, so I left red and chose a random shade of green.
I decided that Black Sea is spearated from the rest of World's Ocean by small straits, so only relatively small Kaiju would be able to invade it. Therefore Draculea did not have to have as much armour as Pacific Jaegers, giving it greater agility. Plus, it would allow it to fight in difficult Carpathian environment.
The M48A5 and the M60A1 were donated to Armoured Warfare Museum in Poznan in September 2012 by Greek army. They were loaded on flatcars and shipped to Poland all the way from Greece through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia before arriving to Poznan on September 17th, early in the morning. On September 29th, on the 10th anniversary of establishing Land Forces Training Center, the tanks were officialy passed to Armoured Warfare Museum.
Having witnessed the massacre of Sherman tanks in North Africa and Southern Europe from the hands of Germany's newest designs, British designers decided that if they cannot up-armour their Lend-Lease Sherman tanks, they'll at least make them able to fire back at German Panthers and Tigers. The gun of their choice was indigenous Ordnance Quick Firing 17 pounder. Interestingly, the gun was rotated by 90* to fit inside the turret. While it was just barely larger in terms of caliber (76,2 mm) than standard Sherman gun (75 or 76 mm), the muzzle velocity of its projectiles was much higher, and the shells were designed for anti-tank role from start, unlike American Sherman's 75s and 76s, which were good for firing anti-personnel and anti-building shells, but not anti-tank ones. That's how Sherman Firefly, one of the best Allied tanks of WWII, was created. Fireflies could fire back at German tanks and cause serious damage to them, sometimes forcing them to retreat. While Sherman Firefly was still pretty vurnerable to German 75 mm and 88 mm guns, Allied tankmen felt much more confident in Fireflies than standard M4s. Polish Army in the West also used these tanks.
This tank is in running condition. It was brought to Poland from Belgium, but I don't know if it was used by Poles during World War II. All I know is that it was used as a target on shooting range and when it was brought to Poland it looked like a cheese grater. Thanks to the effort of Artur Zys' company, which greatly helped in renovation of such vehicles as StuG IV, SdKfz 6 or BTR-152, it was possible to restore the Firefly to the running order. It'll stay in Poznan until it is moved to Gdansk Museum of Armament in 2014 or so.
As requested by , another Jaeger from Black Sea Region. This time, it's an Ukrainian Ataman. Its name is "a title of Cossack and haidamak leaders of various kinds". I almost called it Hetman, which is an equivalent of Ataman in Polish, good thing I looked it up
Ataman is a heavy artillery-type Jaeger, designed to counter Kaiju from large distances. It has very heavy armour, at the cost of making it less agile. It's not as manouverable as Hussar, not to mention Draculea. However, in vast Ukrainian steppes this is not a great drawback. Ataman's feet are equipped with spikes which work as anchors when it fires its massive armament.
Also this is the only of my designs where this oversized head gear (which I started to call kolokol, the Russian for "bell", due to its shape) actually looks well.
I'm thinking Baltic Republics or Bulgaria next, but probably not today.
BTW did anyone notice that Ukraine's flague in Jaeger Maker is rotated upside down? It should have blue stripe on top of the yellow one. I had to correct it in Paint
Another vehicle that I really liked to see, but unlike the previous Marder II, this is an original Hetzer, not a replica or post-war Swiss G-13.
Jagdpanzer 38(t) was another attempt to create a small, inexpensive, but powerfully armed vehicle to stop the waves of Soviet and Allied armour driving towards the Reich. German engineers were inspired by a turtle-like Romanian design, the Maresal tank destroyer, sporting a Soviet 76,2 mm ZiS-3 gun on a T-60's light tank chassis, enclosed with heaily sloped armour. The Germans decided to use Czech-designed light tank, PzKpfw 38(t), for their own version of Maresal.
The chassis had to be modified slightly to accomodate everything inside (gun, crew, ammo, powerplant etc.). Wider tracks were fitted to make up for increased weight, and the engine was slightly more powerful (~150 HP instead of ~125). The frontal armour was about 60 mm thick, and thanks to the heavy sloping it was about as effective as 120 mm of armour. Hetzer was armed with 75 mm PaK 39/L48 gun without muzzle brake - although it was initially fitted, it was raising clouds of dust after fire, and momentarily blinded the crew. Instead, the force of the recoil was absorbed by the vehicle itself. The gun could destroy virtually any tank in the Allied and Soviet arsenal - most of them, except for the heavy tanks, frontally. Being an ambush vehicle, though, often ment that it was attacking enemies from the flanks, exposing their thinner side armour.
When Hetzer was fielded in 1944, it quickly prove itself as one of the best tank destroyers in the world. When concealed, it was extremely difficult to detect, and when it dug-in, it was also difficult to hit once exposed. It was also fairly mobile, allowing it to move through the battlefield if the tactical situation changed. Fully-enclosed crew compartement gave its crew a significant amount of protection, definitely more than open-top Marders. Crew protection was a major concern to its designers, as the German Panzerwaffe was loosing its men at a dramatic rate.
Still, Hetzer had several shortcomings. Although the sloped armour protected its occupants well, it also made the interior of the vehicle very cramped, hampering their operations. It also limited ammo supply - 41 rounds. It was enough for a single battle, but late in the war, German logistics were failing and Hetzers were not always recieving their supplies. Moreover, the gun was designed to be loaded from the right-hand side, but it was located at the right side of the vehicle. The loader had to work around the breech to load the gun, which decreased rate of fire. This asymetrical layout also limited gun's traverse to the left (the breech was blocking its movement).
Hetzers were used by Panzerjägerabteilungen (Tank Destroyers Battalions) of the infantry divisions, giving them ability to counter enemy's armour. Sometimes, Hetzers were used as assault guns, using fragmentation and high-explosive rounds to destroy enemy's personnel and strongholds. They were prominently used during Warsaw Uprising, where they performed better than Marders due to their fully-enclosed bodies, protecting the crew from attacks from above.
One of such guns was captured by the insurgents on September 2nd 1944. It was set on fire with Molotov cocktails, its crew was killed in the attack and the machine became inoperational. Named Chwat (Brave), the captured gun was moved to one of the barricades on Napoleon Square, as a permament firing position, but it was probably not used in anger. Then it was taken to Polish Post Office, where it was restored to running condition. However it was never used - it could not manouver between the barricades, and the insurgents didn't want to waste time taking them apart. Finally it was buried under the Office's rubble after an air strike. For a short time after the war, it was displayed in Polish Army Museum, but in the 1950, during the times of deep Stalinism, the communist authorities ordered it to be scrapped, as "ideologically incorrect" - no Nazi or Western vehicles were allowed to be displayed in the museums.
Later a destroyed Hetzer replaced Chwat, but the museum lost its chance to display a complete machine. Since that time, several Hetzers were found throughout Poland, and some post-war Swiss variants, the G-13s, were brought from abroad as well. In 2007, mostly complete Hetzer was recovered from the Baltic Sea, where it was used as a base for a bridge when Germans were escaping from Hel peninsula.
This particular Hetzer bears the same markings as Chwat before it was captured, still without Polish eagles and symbols painted by the insurgents.
Sexton is quite an unusual vehicle, not only because of its name, but also history of developement.
The British Army felt the need to give their artillery greater mobility, as the towed guns were unable to keep up with the advancing tanks and infantry. So, their first attempt was to put a 25 pdr gun on the chassis of Valentine infantry tank. However, the vehicle - Bishop self-propelled gun - was far from succesful; its silhouette was very tall, and the gun elevation was limited. Moreover, the whole vehicle was not much faster than the towed guns.
The Americans delivered their own M7 Priest guns (based on M3 Lee tank) to the British, but there was a problem: they used different gun, a 105 howitzer. This caused obvious logistic problems, so the British came up with an idea to combine the chassis of Priest and the 25 pdr. However the American industry at the time could not satisfy the needs of both US Army and the British Army. Thus the British turned to Canada for help.
Canada has already produced two tanks on their own, the Ram - which was based on M3 tank's chassis, but with different upper hull, - and the Grizzly, which was a slightly modified, licence-produced Sherman tank. This eliminated the logistic problems, as most of the parts were interchangeable between the vehicles. The upper hull was removed, and a light armoured superstructure was installed, housing the gun, the crew and the ammunition. Thus the Sexton SPG entered service in 1943.
Sexton proved highly succesful, combining high mobility, reliable mechanics and a powerful howitzer. Their light armour and an open top were not that much of a concern, since Alliesuused different tactics for their SPGs than the Germans: instead of putting them in front-line service as direct fire vehicles, they'd be positioned behind the lines and use the howitzers' indirect fire ability and the guidance of forward observers to pummel the enemy from far away. Moreover, with Allied air supremacy, they were rarely threatened with air attacks.
Polish Armed Forces in the West also recieved these guns, which were used by 1st Motorised Artillery Regiment, part of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. The 7th Horse Artillery Squadron (purely traditional name - by the 1940s the unit had already swapped their horses with vehicles) of the 2nd Division, also recieved some of the guns, but the Division as a whole didn't take part in the war before it finished. As a result of Yalta and Potsdam Conferences, and the UK's and the USA's permission for the USSR to occupy Poland, its soldiers did not return to country, but settled in Britain near York and remained there for most of their lives.
This particular gun stands in Military Hardware Museum, a branch of Polish Army Museum, Warsaw.
The M3 Scout Car was a light armoured vehicle, used by the Allied armies since 1940, mainly for reconaissance, ferrying troops or as a light gun tractor. Its open top and thin armour made it unsuitable for fighting with enemy's armour; however, high top speed (~90 kph), low, compact silhouette and reliable mechanisms gave it perfect scout capabilities, allowing it to be used far in front of its own troops, looking for enemy's positions.
The Red Army used these cars under the Lend-Lease Act since 1942, with some 3.000 M3s being delivered via naval and land routes. Some also made their way to the People's Army of Poland (Polish Armed Forces in the West used them as well). The Scout Car became an influence for the post-war Soviet APC, the BTR-40, and therefore somewhat became the predecessor of all Soviet APCs (the Red Army used almost no such vehicles during the war; troops were ferried around with trucks).
This particular example was used during the Battle of Poznan reenactement, and before it started it stood in Armament Museum for some time. Next to it is an American Harley-Davidson WLA motorcycle, also used by the Soviets and PAP during the war.
One of two replicas of Renault FT light tank, which was exhibited today in front of Greater Poland Uprising Museum in Poznan. Note that the Renaults did not take part in this uprising - the 1st Polish Tank Regiment in France (1e Régiment de Chars Blindé Polonais) was established two months after the end of the conflict and did not arrive to Poland until June 1919.
Also currently one of my favourite low-tier vehicles in World of Tanks When fully upgraded to Elite status, this tank is a great fun to drive. My vehicle has its own name - Charlotte (diminutive from Char, which is French for "tank" )