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January 07, 2007

Thinking outside the box.

The Russians have always been a fan of artillery. And they've been pretty competent users of it, as well.

They also think differently from us, and take novel approaches to things. There's some pictures of a putative new Russian artillery piece making the rounds, and it's shown up in my email box a couple of times.

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It looks to be a derivative of this SP artillery piece, the 2S19 "Mstas".

Artillery by Beretta... this thing, called 'Koalitcia-SV', or Coalition, hit the web over at the Cannon, Machine Guns and Ammunition website (which is a treasure trove of stuff, btw).

Murdoc noticed it last week, and the comments over at Strategy Page harbor some sceptics.

Interesting concept. Over and under 152mm cannon. They definitely aren't worried about trans-global power projection with this puppy - unless they're driving. However, the reinforcing plates on the travel lock (that gizmo that is framing the driver in the pic above) looks like it would really restrict the drivers vision to the corners - which could be an issue driving through urban areas. But, mebbe not. Of course, being a continental power, like Germany was, and not a sea power like the US and Great Britain, they've been more prone to this sort of thing anyway. Take this example... the Tsar Tank.

Tsar Tank

The Tsar Tank was designed and built in 1915. It was one of the largest attempts at tank-building during the war, reputedly weighing in at a lean(!) 40 tons. In comparison, the Brit Marks I-IV of the 1st World War weighed in at a sprightly 28 tons. The German A7V weighed around 33 tons. The French St. Chamond weighed 22 tons, while the other major large French tank, the Schneider, came in at 14 tons. It wasn't until the Mark VIIs, the "Liberty" tanksjointly designed by the Brits and US did anyone else approach the 40 ton mark that I'm aware of (but who knows, lots of people were tinkering back in the day). This sucker had two huge wheels each driven by it's own 250 hp motor. It had two small wheels in the rear. Some sources suggest the guns were placed outside the wheels, others suggest that machine guns in the small turret were all the armament. I've never seen a photo or drawing showing weapons on this baby - they may have realized what a clunker it was before they bothered. Two prototypes were made but they proved unable to handle mud (I can't imagine crossing a shell-pocked battlefield in one of these) and high costs caused the project to be cancelled, mercifully, in 1916. These photos show a partially scrapped vehicle without wheels in the rear. The last of the two was dismantled for scrap in 1923.

Then there is this puppy, the Object 279.

Object 279 Heavy Tank at Kubinka

In 1957 the Russians developed a prototype of a new heavy tank. Take a look at that body and those quad tracks. It was intended to lower the ground pressure of this vehicle, to give it better cross-country mobility in soft ground. I'm sure if it had ever made it into service, crews would have hated it. Twice the track to break. The hull was intended to protecting it against HEAT ammunition by deflecting the rounds. Putatively this shape would also assist in preventing the vehicle from being overturned by a tactical nuke blast. I'm sceptical of that, but... hey, maybe they did the modeling. It was canceled by Khruschev in favor of his preference - missile tanks. I believe they built two of these - the survivor is at the Tank Museum in Kubinka, near Moscow. That's one museum I want to get to. [note to self, lottery tickets]

Not that the US and Britain didn't have their own behemoths, mind you. The Brits built the Tortoise. Intended to kill tanks and help fight through the Siegfried line.

We built the T28/T95.

T28/T95 Super Heavy Tank

This sucker had removeable outer tracks, which could be towed behind the vehicle so it would be able to cross narrow bridges in Europe. Also intended for breaching the Siegfried Line, we only built two before cancelling the project, and the survivor today sits outside the Patton Armor Museum at Fort Knox.

T28 at the Patton Armor Museum, Fort Knox.

Comments on Thinking outside the box.
BloodSpite briefed on January 7, 2007 10:14 AM

I've often found it mildly humorous that folks attribute "More is Better" to we Americans.

Russian designs have almost always been overloaded with so much "More more more" More guns, more engines, more wheels, more armor, more weight, than almost any design I can think

Not to say we design perfection everytime...we don't. But on a 1 to 10 scale I give the Russkies a 9 for creativity and about a 3 for actual use compared to the amount of things they have scrapped over the years because "Hell it looked good on paper! Lets add some more to it!"

A close friend once made the remark "The Russians are the Alabama Redneck Inventors of the World"


Murdoc briefed on January 7, 2007 10:38 AM

Doh! What was I thinking?

"If it's over .50 cal, alert Donovan. If it's over .50 cal, alert Donovan. If it's over .50 cal, alert Donovan."

Forgot it this time. I'll try to do better in the future.

Thanks for the link!

Dan Brock briefed on January 7, 2007 01:19 PM

Re the giant Rusky tricycle: If you can read Russian, there's info here:

John of Argghhh! briefed on January 7, 2007 01:26 PM

I tried using Babelfish, but it was a pretty rough translation!

Click here and try yourself.

J.M. Heinrichs briefed on January 7, 2007 08:41 PM

Minor spelling note: Msta-S.

I noted some of the to/froing about the sights and such. It appears me that at best, the photos show the new guns as mounted in a standard 2S19 turret. This is not necessarily actual prototype.

Also, the 2S19 turret is mounted on a T-80 chassis, and powered by a T-72 engine. Other combinations are not correct.


Rod Thorsen briefed on January 7, 2007 11:38 PM

A WWI modeling site called "Land Ships" has quite a bit of good info the "Tsar Tank", in english too.

BillT briefed on January 8, 2007 12:48 AM

Object 279 looks like a JS3 that's been through a Hoboken body shop.

MajMike briefed on January 8, 2007 08:54 AM

such lovely beasties. each and every one of them is beautiful in its own way.

Troy Z briefed on January 10, 2007 12:08 PM


For the sake of decorum, I wisely decided to edit out the obligatory lascivious slappity sounds to accompany that.

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