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  1. Sturgeon

    General AFV Thread

    I'll start off with a couple Pathe videos:
  2. This is a big post about Syrian tanks in Syrian conflict. So prepare for words, but to make it easier i will add some pictures, because words are hard in 21st century. Syrian war is going on for 4-5 years, with high amount of videocameras recording combat inside of this torn country. It is very easy to find them on Youtube, with any sorts of action in it - explosions, destruction and death. Source: http://spioenkop.blogspot.de/2014/12/syrias-steel-beasts-t-72.html In this thread I will look at part of this conflict - how tanks perform in this war, how and why they are used by Syrian Arab Army (SAA). T-72 and T-55s are most popular/most used tanks by SAA. They are a backbone of armored forces of SAA, fighting in different enviroments from cities in deserts to snowy peaks mountains. it is believed that Syria operated around 1500 T-72s before conflict started, but only about 700 T-72s could have been confirmed through official weapon deals, Syria received them in three batches. The first batch consisted of around 150 T-72 'Urals' ordered from the Soviet Union and delivered in the late 70s, a total of 300 T-72As delivered in 1982 make up the second batch and an order for 252 T-72M1s placed in Czechoslovakia was only partially completed when the country was separated into two. While 194 examples were already delivered by Czechoslovakia in 1992, the order was continued by Slovakia and the remaining 58 T-72M1s were delivered in 1993. Around 300 T-72s are still believed to be operated by mainly the Republican Guard and the Syrian Arab Army's elite 4th armoured division. Syria received the first of a total of 300 T-72As in 1982. What makes Syria receiving this tank so special is that the T-72A was never cleared for export by the Soviet Union, with even the most trusted Warsaw Pact countries receiving T-72M1 instead. The first country outside the former Soviet Union to receive T-72As was Hungary in 1996, which acquired them from Belarus 14 years after Syria received theirs! T-72A with ERA (T-72AV) preparing for attack through next street. Syrian T-72As are rumored to be delivered directly from Soviet Army stocks. In Syria, these tanks became known as T-82s, with 82 referring to the year of delivery. The use of this designation continues even today, and neither T-72A nor T-72AV was ever used to refer to this tank in Syria. All of Syria's T-72As were later upgraded to AV standard, aimed at increasing the T-72A's protection against RPGs by mounting the Kontakt-1 ERA. Opposed to the T-55MV upgrade, which happened in the Ukraine, the upgrading of the T-72As took place in Syria. The Kontakt-1 ERA was bought from one of the former Soviet Republics (possibly Ukraine, again) and was supposedly installed by Armenian contractors. The 300 T-72AVs were split between the Republican Guard and the 4th armoured division. The T-72s operated by the Republican Guard were always seen in a desert livery, while the T-72s of the 4th armoured division were usually painted green, which operated alongside a limited amount of "desert" T-72s. Numerous BREM-1 armoured recovery vehicles were also acquired mainly for the Republican Guard, and all remain in widespread use today. This BREM just seconds ago pulled this T-72AV out of fire, after it was damaged. Officer is helping with second cable. The 252 T-72M1s were the latest additon to the Syrian tank fleet, and although inferior to the T-72AVs, they are Syria's most newest tanks, having rolled out of the factory over ten years later than Syria's T-72AVs. As most were delivered in 1992, they are sometimes referred to as T-92s by Syrians. Yet the original designation of T-72M1 also remains in use in Syria, resulting in some confusion around the Syrian designation system. To add to all the confusion, the T-72 'Ural' is also believed to have acquired an indigenous name, which would likely be T-79. Lower frontal plate penetration with RPG, launched from basement. Driver died. A large part of the T-72M1 fleet was originally slated to be upgraded to what was believed to be T-72M1M standard by Russia at the start at this decade. However, this plan was abandoned after the start of the Civil War alongside several other ambitious modernisation programmes for the Syrian military. Sniper bullet kicks dust from T-72 turret roof, just near commander's open hatch. In agreement with Galileo Avionica of Italy, 122 T-72s were upgraded with the TURMS-T (Tank Universal Reconfiguration Modular System T-series) fire-control system (FCS) between 2003 and 2006. TURMS-T were mounted on T-72 Ural, T-72M1s and T-72AVs. All the TURMS-T equipped tanks in Syria got the 'S' added to their designation, resulting in T-79S/T-72S, T-82S/T-72 AVS and T-92S/T-72M1S. While this may seem confusing at first hand, the 'S' stands for Saroukh (صاروخ) meaning missile, indicating all are capable of launching the 9M119(M) guided anti-tank missile through their barrel. 1500 of such missiles were believed to have been acquired in 2005. Of the once 122 strong TURMS-T fleet, some one hundred still remain in service. As these tanks are by far the most modern examples found in Syria, most are held back on Mount Qasioun near Damascus, the Republican Guard's base. Some of the T-72M1s equipped with the panoramic sight were tasked to monitor rebel activity in the villages around Mount Qasioun. The T-72 has meanwhile seen use on every front. Deir ez-Zor, previously only home to T-55s, saw numerous T-72s operating here because of the arrival of the Republican Guard's 104th brigade. Some TURMS-T equipped T-72AVs are now also attached to Suqur al-Sahara (Desert Falcons), and saw use against the Islamic State near the Shaer gas field. T-72 in Daraya. A limited number of T-72s also operate around Aleppo. All of these belong to the 4th armoured division and operate alongside BREM-1 ARVs. They mainly operated around the neigbourhood of Al-Layramoun in late 2013. Due to their heavy usage, many T-72AVs were soon left without their Kontakt-1 covered side skirts. Side skirts mounting joints are week part of side protection, after being hit a part of side skirts just fall off. Various other groups also continue to operate the T-72, of which the Islamic State is by far the largest operator with thirteen T-72 "Ural" and six T-72AVs in operation. Six T-72 Urals and three T-72AVs joined the ranks of the Islamic State after Liwa Dawood, the largest operator of tanks of all the rebels at the time, defected to the Islamic State. Liwa Dawood is claimed to have the dubious honour of participating in Syria's second tank duel, footage of which can be seen here. The duel resulted in the complete destruction of a T-72AV (the remains of which can be seen below) by a T-72 'Ural' from Liwa Dawood. Although the presence of numerous ATGMs in the area could soften the tank duel claim, the T-72AV seems in a great hurry to leave the area, possibly because it became aware of the T-72 Ural. Tank.. umm. "duel" between insurgents T-72 and SAA T-72 (from 8:42). Another notable operator is Jaish al-Islam, which bought two T-72s from a corrupt officer within the Army's elite 4th Armoured Division and captured at least another six, of which one T-72M1 TURMS-T. Jaish al-Islam's usage of its T-72s can be seen as quite revolutionary compared to other rebel groups in the Syrian Civil War, being the only group in Syria which operates various types of armour and infantry in a mechanized force, fully exploiting their potential. At least one 'T-72AV' was upgraded with additional armour on its glacis plate and rear by Jaish al-Islam. ......................................
  3. Hello, my friends and Kharkovites, take a sit and be ready for your brains to start to work - we are going to tell you a terrible secret of how to tell apart Soviet tanks that actually works like GLORIOUS T-80 and The Mighty T-72 from Kharkovites attempt to make a tank - the T-64. Many of capitalists Westerners have hard time understanding what tank is in front of them, even when they know smart words like "Kontakt-5" ERA. Ignoramus westerners! Because you are all were raised in several hundreds years old capitalism system all of you are blind consumer dummies, that need big noisy labels and shiny colorful things to be attached to product X to be sold to your ignorant heads and wallets, thats why we will need to start with basics. BASICS, DA? First - how to identify to which tank "family" particular MBT belongs to - to T-64 tree, or T-72 line, or Superior T-80 development project, vehicles that don't have big APPLE logo on them for you to understand what is in front of you. And how you can do it in your home without access to your local commie tank nerd? Easy! Use this Putin approved guide "How to tell appart different families of Soviet and Russian tanks from each other using simple and easy to spot external features in 4 steps: a guide for ignorant western journalists and chairborn generals to not suck in their in-depth discussions on the Internet". Chapter 1: Where to look, what to see. T-64 - The Ugly Kharkovite tank that doesn't work We will begin with T-64, a Kharkovite attempt to make a tank, which was so successful that Ural started to work on their replacement for T-64 known as T-72. Forget about different models of T-64, let's see what is similar between all of them. Almost all T-64s have 1 thing in common - chassis. It includes Kharkovites-made suspension and Khrakovites-made engine compartment. Let's begin with suspension! Look at those puny all-metal stamped aluminium rollers with huge gaps between each other, those are rollers not for a real tank! They are so narrow! Definitely to work as self-digging knifes when tank lose tracks, to make tank stuck in the even smallest amount of dirt. Who thought that this laughable design will work well on a combat vehicle fighting off-road? Only those dirty crazy Kharkovites! Look and remember those puny rollers for APCs that somebody mounted on 40 tons tank! Central hexahedron (3) with 6 bolts, 10 slight cavities/ round "dents" (2) around it just to increase a price of each roller so Kharkovites could take more money from country and visible swing arm (1) that holds this engineers metal joke - they are give away of T-64 tank. But what if you can't see sides? Well, our guide got you covered here! From the rear you are looking for 2 things: 1 is engine exhaust, it is wide and located almost on top of the engine compartment rear plate, and it looks like harmonica, which is probably what was used to reverse-engineer by lazy Kharkovites. 2 is engine compartment rear plate, there is not much details on it if it is T-64. This is usual for T-64 because of their crazy engine that only mad man could mount inside of the tank. From the front you are also looking at 2 visible details: Luna IR light (1) is located on the left part of the tank (if we are looking from the tank) and single driver periscope (2), as Party told - for each driver - a periscope. Not only visible featues can help you to identify this terrible tractor that was disguised as a tank - the engine sound of it will inform everybody around that this vehicle is near you! If you hear sounds similar to sounds of Soviet motor bicycle - that is either Soviet motor bicycle or T-64 (which is not that different from Soviet motorbicycle speaking between us). Was it hard? No! To spot dirty Kharkovite T-64 - look at rollers, if they are puny and gaps between them are big = T-64. If from the rear you see wide grills on upper part of rear plate = T-64 (except T-80UD). If Luna IR light is on the left side of turret (looking from T-64) and periscope for driver is one and only per Party request = T-64 (with exception of first model of T-64 and Ukrainian T-64s, which our incrtedible guide will may or may not bother to cover in next chapters). T-72 - the Mighty weapon of Workers and Peasants to smash westerners Unlike tank look-alike, made by Kharkovites mad mans, T-72 is true combat tank to fight with forces of evil like radical moderate barbarians and westerners. Thats why we need to learn how identify it from T-64 and you should remember it's frightening lines! Look at this suspension - this is how a real tank suspension looks like! Look at those big wide powerfull rollers to support armor and weapons of Mighty T-72: T-72 rollers is different from T-64s, even if (1) is still hexahedron, T-72 desingers didn't wanted to be like dirty Kharkovites, so they made a detail different by adding a big bulge in the center. Not feeling enough, they added 6 additional bolts (2) around center 6 bolts, just to be sure that Kharkovite tank parts are not compatable with their mighty tank! But this was not enough, so Ural workers added a rubber bands (3), to gain superior riding comfort for proletariat crew, compared to those barbaric Kharkovites, that force true socialists and defenders of the Fatherland to ride in the tank with all-metal rollers! How could Soviet leaders not see such obvious attempt of sabotage of Soviet army fighting capabilities - using all-metal rollers in a modern tank?! Only Ural workers are true socialists making their best to propel Soviet army into the bright Future of Communism in rollers covered in rubber! From the rear: 1 is empty, nothing intresting, just armor and usefull tools, like every tank should have. 2 - see round armor plate in the middle with 5 big manly bolts holding it? This is give away of the T-72 - it is internal fan armor cover. Because T-72 engine is battle-proven diesel based on legendary V-2 engine from GLORIOUS KV-1, instead of small engine with giant airfilters that nullify advantages of smaller engine and doesn't fix disadvantages of that crazy engines that only out of their minds Kharkovites could use for a combat vehicle that was expected to fight the Last war of Humanity, we should also know engine compartment batter than T-64's engine deck. Engine exhaust (1) is located on the left spectrum of political views side of the tank, with air intakes (2) sucking air to keep capitalist-hating engine alive to propel Soviet army into bourgeois army and crush them with mighty rollers with rubber bands to increase comfort of the crews and those, who are crushed. Used air is pushed out of the tank via grills (3), to warm up atmosphere and to make green Euroweaklings cry. From the front: A Soviet soldier stopping T-72s from premature invasion of nearby capitalist "freethinking" decadent oppression state. Luna IR light is on the right side of the tank turret, to make driver exit much safer, as he doesn't need to be in front of the tank co-axial MG, unlike those Kharkovite crappy tanks that don't care about Soviet soldiers! And a single driver periscope, as Party promised! A roar of T-72 diesel engine sounds like what normal tank should have, instead of engines, stolen from your local motorbike gang. So, to spot T-72 look for mighty rollers to crush enemies, IR light on the right with engine exhaust on the left side, poluting air with particalce of Socialism, that will infect lungs of EuroWeaklings airheads, and big round armored cover on the rear, to hold a powerfull airsystem fan inside of T-72. If fan is left without big chunk of stell holding it in place, it will fly right out of engine compartment towards suprised heads of nearby owners of the means of production that are not under Proletariat State control, chopping their heads to benefit the opressed Working class! The GLORIOUS T-80 - a Weapon to Destroy and Conquer bourgeois countries and shatter westerners army And now we are looking at the Pride of Party and Soviet army, a true tank to spearhead attacks on decadent westerners, a tank that will destroy countries by sucking their military budgets and dispersing their armies in vortex of air, left from high-speed charge by the GLORIOUS T-80! The T-80 shooting down jets by hitting them behind the horizont The T-80U use Lenintation device to levitate above ground and see end of capitalists invaders hordes T-80U making their way to US soil by driving out of a pass through planet core of the Earth from USSR bases to US lands of immorality. T-80 is last and most advanced Soviet MBT, a true pinnacle of Soviet Planned Economy and result of wise policy of the Party. Soviet Guards needed a Superior weapon to wipe out hordes of imperialists, which herded their workers and peasants into Malls and Hypermarkets to suck their hard-earned money for another shiny thing that they don't need and distract their attention by TV talk shows about their cheating husbands and elections of another man, who already was payed by capitalists and exploiters of working class! The only way to combat sex and drugs culture of the West is hard steel and gas turbines of the East! In order to create a superior weapon to T-72 (yes, there is such a weapon!) Leningrad designers mounted a more powerfull engine - the gas turbine engine, to their new tank. This engine was able to propel that 45 tons tank to higher speed than average Soviet worker car, so engineers of the best Design bureau of the Soviet Union created new suspension, even superior to T-72 suspension! This suspension is at first looks similar to T-72's, but make no mistake - it is different. Let's look at T-80 rollers first! Central bulge is still here, but now with even more bolts around it - 10 + another 10! This roller also have rubber bands, but T-80 was so faster than both T-64 and T-72 that creators added rubber on tracks too! T-80 is charging to future of Earth-wide Communism on rollers covered in rubber moving at trucks, covered in rubber for smoother ride to Ultimate social system that Humanity ever known! Not only T-80 have different rollers, but they are located differently from T-64's puny jokes and T-72's imperialists skull crushers: Note distinctive "paired" rollers in the middle. If you notice them your brains will "sort out" 4 others in their own "pairs" like this: Even if rollers in pair 3 have relatively big gap between each other, this will not break overal pairing of rollers. This will help to you to tell T-80 apart from others, less powerfull tools of spreading socialism into your bedrooms. If your brain can't do that - ask your doctor if you had a brain injury, or you are sick with the "Arrogance of Westerners" syndrome, discovered by great doctor of the Soviet Union - awarded by the Order of Stalin Ivan Milyukhin Robinovichev. From the rear: From the rear you are looking at engine exhaust (1), located closer to the center of rear armor plate. This exhaust in bigger in vertical plane and narrower in horizontal plane than T-64's, and it is also located lower that T-64's exhaust. T-80's superior exhaust is much closer to square than T-64's badly-designed and poorly made harmonica that works like exhaust only because Kharkovites drilled it enough times to let gases out of it to poison warriors of Motherland with their partially burned mixture of exhaust gases and diesel fuel fumes. T-80 superior engine, as all real Russians, can use vodka to work and it needed different engine compartment than Kharkovites-made one, so they designed a new engine compartment: And again, you are looking for 1 thing - air intakes (1) that on the GLORIOUS T-80 are located near turret rear. The rest of engine deck is flat and can work as sleeping place for soldiers of the victorious Soviet Army, keeping them warm in cold nights of the Cold war. From the front: Because Soviet Guardsmens are best warriors of the Socialism, the Party leadership created a new 5 year plan to give to each guardsmen tank driver not 1, not 2, but 3 vision periscopes (2),to increase ability of drivers to see next capitalist, running in fear, to crush him with T-80s unstoppable trucks. To help to see capitalistic profit-soaked vehicles and profit-dreaming faces of imperialists in the night, T-80 is equipped with Luna IR light (1), mounted on the right side of the turret (looking from the tank). And here, the Kirov factory workers care for Guardsmen can be seen - Luna light block exit for driver to the right from gun, so drivers could exit tank on the left side of main gun, without co-axial MG looking in their backs with it's cold and possibly ready to fire barrel, something that saboteurs from Kharkov ignored in their careless mock-up of the real tank. Another way to ID T-80 is sound of furious GTD-1000 or GTD-1250 engines, very characteristic and will remind sounds of airplanes for many people. A whistling sound of pure hatred to American and NATO invaders, it can't be mistaken with sound of Kharkovites-build motorbicycle engine of the T-64 and roar of T-72 Ural diesel. So, to spot Superior tank you should see if big wide rollers have too many bolts and if they are arranged in 3 "pairs" per side. From the front, 3 driver periscope will give away a Superior Leningrad tank, while a big squar-ish exhaust, located near the center of rear armor plate, will indicate a gas turbine engine, that only Superior tanks like T-80 use (unlike inferior T-80UD, a Kharkovite abomination and attempt to violate the Spirit of the Communism, the power of T-80 ideology by putting their revolting 5TD/6TD engines that were created during schizophrenic seizures of the Main Kharkovite madman).
  4. Shortly after Jeeps_Guns_Tanks started his substantial foray into documenting the development and variants of the M4, I joked on teamspeak with Wargaming's The_Warhawk that the next thing he ought to do was a similar post on the T-72. Haha. I joke. I am funny man. The production history of the T-72 is enormously complicated. Tens of thousands were produced; it is probably the fourth most produced tank ever after the T-54/55, T-34 and M4 sherman. For being such an ubiquitous vehicle, it's frustrating to find information in English-language sources on the T-72. Part of this is residual bad information from the Cold War era when all NATO had to go on were blurry photos from May Day parades: As with Soviet aircraft, NATO could only assign designations to obviously externally different versions of the vehicle. However, they were not necessarily aware of internal changes, nor were they aware which changes were post-production modifications and which ones were new factory variants of the vehicle. The NATO designations do not, therefore, necessarily line up with the Soviet designations. Between different models of T-72 there are large differences in armor protection and fire control systems. This is why anyone arguing T-72 vs. X has completely missed the point; you need to specify which variant of T-72. There are large differences between them! Another issue, and one which remains contentious to this day, is the relation between the T-64, T-72 and T-80 in the Soviet Army lineup. This article helps explain the political wrangling which led to the logistically bizarre situation of three very similar tanks being in frontline service simultaneously, but the article is extremely biased as it comes from a high-ranking member of the Ural plant that designed and built the T-72. Soviet tank experts still disagree on this; read this if you have some popcorn handy. Talking points from the Kharkov side seem to be that T-64 was a more refined, advanced design and that T-72 was cheap filler, while Ural fans tend to hold that T-64 was an unreliable mechanical prima donna and T-72 a mechanically sound, mass-producible design. So, if anyone would like to help make sense of this vehicle, feel free to post away. I am particularly interested in: -What armor arrays the different T-72 variants use. Diagrams, dates of introduction, and whether the array is factory-produced or a field upgrade of existing armor are pertinent questions. -Details of the fire control system. One of the Kharkov talking points is that for most of the time in service, T-64 had a more advanced fire control system than contemporary T-72 variants. Is this true? What were the various fire control systems in the T-64 and T-72, and what were there dates of introduction? I am particularly curious when Soviet tanks got gun-follows-sight FCS. -Export variants and variants produced outside the Soviet Union. How do they stack up? Exactly what variant(s) of T-72 were the Iraqis using in 1991? -WTF is up with the T-72's transmission? How does it steer and why is its reverse speed so pathetically low?
  5. Walter_Sobchak

    Tank Myths

    This thread is where to post all the stupid and annoying tank myths that fail to go away. We shall start with two pointed out by Marsh over in the Swedish tank thread. 1. The S-Tank was designed as a tank destroyer or as a tank only fit for just defensive missions. 2. The Merkava was designed for asymmetric combat in an urban environment, rather than full scale armour versus armour battle. I will add a few: Any tank suspension without return rollers is a "Christie" suspension. In particular, T-55 and T-62, HEAT munitions create a molten jet that "burns" its way through armor. The French 75mm gun on the AMX 13 is a copy of the German KwK 42
  6. Hello fellow members, a newcomer here. I just finished reading the exhaustive Ukrainian armor -thread among few other great threads, and felt like I shall contribute something to this forum in return. Hopefully I can drag other authors with me into this thread, but I restain the right to start the topic with the vehicle, of which retirement has caused most butthurt among Finnish armor community. That is, of course, the T-72M1, "Seittenkakkonen" (Finnish for "semdesyatdvoyki" / "seventytwo"). All data presented here is translated from public Finnish articles and seminarys. In this post I focus on the initial acquirement process of the T-72 from the USSR, and in later posts I will adress the NVA-deal, some interesting modifications and last, the disqualification of the T-72M1 in the FDF. A Nižni Tagili T-72M1, produced somewhere between 1985 and 1988, in AALTO-2004 exercise with reservist crew. The attached combat simulator equipment is Saab BT 41. Photo most likely courtesy of the FDF. T-72M1 in Finnish Service The acquisation and preparations During the 60's and 70's the Finnish land force's fist was one <sic> Armored Brigade, which main battle tanks were T-54's and T-55's delivered from 1959 to 1972. During 1975-1977, The parliaments defense commitee proposed the renovation of armored equipment. The next committee left its memo in 1981, which suggested acquiring armor from the USSR, utilizing possible bilateral trade. Such procedure was usual way of business in heavy machinery and equipment between Finland and USSR at the time. This would enable the FDF to form another war-time armored brigade. In May, 1979, The T-72 Ural, among armor workshop trucks and other armored vehicles was presented to the Finnish delegation in Vystrel training centre in Solnetshnogorsk. In December another delegation was sent to examine the T-72, first in theory at Malinovski armor academy and in practice at Vystrel. Memos from both trips review the T-72 very suitable for the FDF's usage, and to be a vast improvement in contrast to the T-55, but it was also considered to demand more service due its complexity. The buying process was initially started, but during may 1983 the Soviet counterpart notified for the Finns surprise that more modern, T-72M and T-72MK-tanks would be available. These vere reviewed by the Finns later in the same year. Later the acquisition refined to apply T-72M1 and T-72M1K's. Training in Odessa The process started to materialize, when a 22-men delegation formed of personel from the Headquarters, Armored Brigade and depots took a trip to Moscow in early September 1984, and continued from there to Odessa, where instructors and maintenance personell received their training. The journey memorandum is still held secret by the headquarters, but a good overview in to their studies was publicly presented by one of the participants in 2014. The course were held in military academy in Fontanskaya street. Gunnery took place in Khornomorskje, driving studies in Štepanivka near Kiev, and deep fording training was held near the town of Nikojalev. The academy was a combined arms cadet academy, and held participants from satellites such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Angola, Mosambik, Afganistan and Mongolia, but also equipement course students from a countries whose ties to the USSR were little looser, such a Finland and Algeria. The cadet courses lasted for five years, of which the first one consisted of only studies of Russian language. The delegation was led by colonel Tauno Ylänne, while their soviet counterpart was army captain. The students were split into three courses: The instructors, weapons and electrics, and service & maintenance. The Finns attending the course were no greenhorns; all had solid experience on the T-54 and the T-55, the most experienced elders even beyond that, from the T-34-85. They shared the views of acquisition delegations and considered the T-72M1 remarkably advanced in terms of fire control, night vision and loading automatics <no way...> compared to its predecessors. The cultural difference between the instructors and students was wide: The Soviets wanted to call their Finnish students comrades, which the delegation refused to accept. The instructors had gotten used to the low knowledge level of their students, thus for example the training for the command (K)-models navigation apparatus started from the basics of trigonometry. The Finns were taught like they had no prior experience of the armor branch, but these issues was to be solved quickly. Not every participant was fluent in Russian language, or understood it at all. The three interpreters included in the delegation could not be serving all need simultaneously, but with help of colleagues the students kept up. The Finns also had translated the technical documentation of the T-72 on their own, which greatly helped the self-studies. The translation was done by a major called Ari Puheloinen. He would later become the commander of the defense forces. A tankist to the bone, he left service for retirement in 2014, driving a BMP-2 in the streets of Helsinki. Instructor's training consisted of 300 hours, of which over a half was spent for combat vehicle course and a degree. Relatively little time was used for weapons and gunnery training, and the emphasis of the studies was on the cassette autoloader which represented new technology for the Finns. The maintenance group instead, focused on the repairs and evacuation, and also carried out a degree to attest their 336 hour training. The studies took place from Monday to Saturday, from 0800 to 1500 followed by a three hour self-study time. The method of theory followed by self-studies was seen successful, and was later to be applied on the training of conscripts. In the exams the Finns cheated abundantly : The interpreters had heard the correct narrations many times over, and despite of what the student sobbed them in Finnish, they provided the correct answers for the instructors. On the other hand, the Finns repeatedly broke the 2,8 km long tank driving tracks speed records for a great nuisance for their instructors. Practical training remained a bit thin; no full-calibre shots were fired, and deep fording was presented only as an exhibition. The combat frog, MT-LB was also presented for the students, and later it was chosen to be bought also. The students returned in Finland 27.10.1984. The tanks arrive The first 15 T-72M1's and T-72M1K's of the order of 60 tanks, crossed to border on a railbed 13.12.1984 and were transfered to Siikakangas depot for acceptance and modifications. Also a "work brigade" of two russian mechanics arrived to fix faults and deviations noticed in the acceptance checks. The new vehicles and its systems were put on several tests during 1985 in order to examine and clarify its features and performances. The tanks were localized with Finnish light package for road usage, Finnish plates in instruments, fire extinguisher and such minor things. The Odessa men were called in May for a week to recap their studies, exercise driving and perform so called "driving licenses" for the tank in order to start its usage on the Armour Brigade. The first batch on tanks, 3 T-72M1's and one T-72M1K was delivered from depot to the Armored Brigade in May, where they were used in public presentation and in additional training for the brigade staff. In autumn 1985, 10 tanks more were delivered and the conscript training (production of war-time troops) begun. In the next summer the Armored Brigade received next 13 tanks to start training in another Tank Company and a first T-72 cadet course. For the next decade they would be training two T-72's companies concurrently, until the second unit switched to modernized T-55's in 1996 in order to fulfill new troop production demands. The rest of the tanks were delivered in four batches, 15 in February 1985, 10 in December 1986, 10 in Apri 1987 and 10 in September 1988, respectively. All the delivered tanks, 54 T-72M1's and 6 T-72M1K were new and were shipped straight from Nižni Tagil. The exported vehicles represented a productions from November 1984 to August 1988, there were some degree of structural differencies, which caused minor problems with spare part fitment and documentation. Configuration was usual for the type, but the GO-27 gas/radiation meter lacked from all Nižni Tagili vehicles. This wasn't the case with Warsaw Pact T-72M1's. Later the war-time Armour Brigade rosters were adjusted and changed, which created a demand for three more T-72M1K's. These were amidst very interesting political situation, in December 1991. They were equipped with brand new radio gear R-173 and R-134 and new R-174 intercoms. Training equipment In addition to the tanks them selves, a large assortment of training equipment was acquired. It consisted of UDS-172 demonstration tank (a cage model of the T-72, nowadays shown at the Armour Museum), demonstration turret SAZ-172, autoloader training apparatus, demonstration main gun and broad range of cut-models of various equipment. In 1993 started training with three TOPT-3 turret simulators, which were modified in Finnish-Israeli co-operation. The modifications allowed to train the turret crews of whole platoon in a classroom. First usage experiences and maintenance When the users had got familiar with their new tanks and their most common faults and issues, a repair training was initiated with the Soviet counterpart, based on earlier agreements. The field maintenance troop was trained in Kiev, and the major overhaul training was held in Moscow, Atamanovka and Saransk. The Soviet union broke up meanwhile, and changes in organizations caused a few years break in the training. When the training resumed, qualitative problems arose as some of the organisations supposed to train the Finns weren't yet familiar with the T-72 them selves, as they had just took over functions which were had been located in the Baltic states. Additional training was bought from former DDR, where their biggest tank repair factory in Neubrandenburg, now operated by company called SIVG provided the Finns training for the repairs in transmission and sighting complex TPD-K1. Some testing equipment were also bought from SIVG, which proved to be excellent and some still remain in use while the T-72 is long gone. Discussions with the Russians in 1993 were held in order to find out at which phase and in what scale they applied interval repair to their vehicles. While the Russian procedure was not applied "as-is" in Finland, the discussions strengthened the Finnish perceptions of the tanks usual wear and tear. The overhaul literature and technical drawings were bought as full series in their whole broadness. Spare parts were bought per manufactureres guidelines, but adapted in the light of Finnish experiences. Repair equipment and tools was purchased both in metal and in paper (to be manufactured by the buyer, if necessary). Finnish repair volumes didn't correlate at all with huge quantities of Russian workshops, and thus it was not necessary to obtain a specific tool for every single work phase. After "just" couple years of use, malfunctions started to appear in the V-46-6 engine, on its head gaskets to be more specific. The problems were examined, among other means, by instrumenting one engine. The instrumentation proved that the cooling usage after heavy duty before engine switch-off had major effect on the internal temperatures of the engine. During repairs it was observed that measurement, machining if necessary, and hand-picking the bi-metal gaskets with accuracy of 1/100 mm cured the situation in some extent. Even thou the cooling was given big attention in use, the problem of coolant and pressure leaks between the block and the heads followed the tank thru its whole lifespan, and appeared to be unrelated to the origin of the engine; both Russian-made and later Polish-made engines suffered from it. The experiences with the T-72M1 in the FDF were mixed in their nature, when compared to our other tank at the time, the T-55M. The tactical mobility of the T-72 superior, but it suffered from its slow reverse speed in typical fire position action. It had less daily maintenance subjects and adjustments than the T-55, but the final drives in the sprockets was noticed to wear prematurely. 2E28M stabilizer, the autoloader and the sighting complex TPD-K1 suffered from small defects and malfunctions thru the lifespan. The ammunition provided to the T-72M1 was outdated, especially the 3BM15 APFSDS lacked performance. As for Fire Control Systems, the differences were such big in favor of the T-55M that it not a huge wrong to declare that the T-72M1 did not have one. Meanwhile the T-55M presented a superior night figthing capability with its gunners image intensifier, and its Belgian 100mm sabot ammo was considered capable for the mission. A Nižni Tagili T-72M1 on an OPFOR mission, 28.6.2012 in the Armored Brigades 70 year anniversary. This vehicle is a rare example, as it retains the fording tube. It was not usually carried in the Finnish T-72 .Photo: Niko Juvonen Sources: Panssariseminaari 2014. (The armour seminary 2014). Parolannummi 4.2.2014. Lecture: Colonel (ret.) Kari Haapanen : Odessan miehet - Suomalaiset T-72 koulutuksessa Neuvostoliitossa. (The men of Odessa - Finns in T-72 training in the USSR.) Panssarilehti 4/2014. (Armor magazine 2/2014) Esa Muikku: T-72 Suomessa. (T-72 in Finland) ISSN 1235-3469. Lecture, 4.11.2014, Armour Guild, Parolannummi, Hattula: M.Sc.(Tech.) Esa Muikku, Millog Oy technical chief: T-72 Suomessa 13.12.1984-28.12.2006.