Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Reblogging: Improvised Tanks for Tank Week

Here's a piece I wrote for Breach Bang & Clear

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” ― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series

... and at times you want more than just a mean look and the occasional sandbag to be between you and harms way. Sometimes you want to call on the thunder of armour. However, you might not have the power of the military-industrial complex behind you. You might only have the local scrapyard, oxy-torches, sheet metal, and an innovative spirit.

Currently the world's undersupplied warfighters are inventing all kinds of home-brew armour options, and we've been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them over the last few years. And I must say, we're lucky to have only been catching glimpses and not rolling into battle in them. Let's check a few out.

This is the SHAM II, a proudly "100 percent made in Syria" improvised armored vehicle. Put together by Syrian rebels of the Al-Ansar brigade, in Bishqatin, four kms west of Aleppo, it came to the world's attention on December 8, 2012.

Built on an old car chassis and covered in 25mm thick steel walls, it was reportedly able to resist up to 23mm cannon fire. At only 2m wide and 4m long, this is no Abrams. It is, however, fitted with a remote-operated (by a hotwired Playstation remote of all things) 7.62mm machine gun on top. It also has five cameras that give the humans inside a view from all angles.

In one of the original interviews, its primary operator said ‘This is my brother, a trained engineer, who got the idea, we got a car, left its diesel motor on the chassis and built the engine. Not including from the gun, the vehicle costs about £6,200($10,000)." This gives you an understanding of what these folks are doing with their spare time.

Read the rest here at Breach Bang & Clear:

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