This is the fourth in the series of Photo Essays of my visit to the Imperial War Museum.
So you crank up the top, up to 24 meters and peer over houses and natural dips to see what the enemy was getting up to. Neat, eh? That round thing on the right hand side is a seat, the operator would be able to climb up to it and peer at them.
This is the feared Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer. This was made to combat the superiority of Allied armour. Introduced in 1943, it didn't see that much service but was still used in the Ardennes in December 1944. Ugly ferocious looking fella. Did you notice that they don't have a turret as we see in normal tanks? This meant that it was more defensive in nature and the range of transverse movement wasn't that much. So you had to move the entire tank to aim it properly.
The armour has been cut off to show the inner compartment. Pretty serious stuff, eh? almost 2.5 inches of steel. Man, these were uncomfortable beasts to use. Did you know that they fitted in 5 people inside here? a driver, a radio operator, commander, gunner and a loader. Plus 60 shells. Bloody hell.
That is the driver’s seat. Bloody hell. Imagine being crammed into that little space, next to the giant and hugely successful 88mm cannon which would be firing away rapidly. Steering while trying to see out of those tiny slits.
Here is the view of this monster from the back. Angled sides to try to bounce the enemy shells off. The mottled skin is apparently to protect it against anti tank mines although I am not sure how this will help.
This is perhaps the best WW2 tank ever produced. The awesome T34. This tank had the greatest production, and even in this century, it is still in operation in many armies around the globe. What a beast.
It was fast, mobile, excellently armed with a 85mm gun in a fairly well armoured unit. Guess what? With a diesel engine, it had a greater range and less prone to flameouts compared to a petrol engine. And it could cope better in the winter compared to the German tanks.
The track from another angle. Apparently this tank scared the bejesus out of the Germans when it first appeared. But still, it had problems, the vision was limited, with only 2 crew, it was under manned. Still, what a machine.
This was an American tank and was produced in some big quantities. The shape is extraordinary, the main gun is stubby, low velocity and in an offset sponson. This severely limited the mobility of the aiming circle. You had to turn the tank to aim in different directions
The high profile was also a problem, this caused severe problems when the Germans got to grips with their armour problem and knocked these off with gay abandon. Many were sent to the USSR where they got a very bad reputation, “coffin for 7 brothers”.
The armour was riveted on and this caused severe problems when it was hit. This was called as spalling, when an enemy shell hit the tank, the rivets would break off and become lethal projectiles inside the tank. Not something you want to be faced with.
Almost half of the American production was for the British which was primarily used in the African Campaign. Almost 1300 were sent to the USSR.
Another rear view of the Grant, as the Brits called this American tank. But then, Monty used these tanks masterfully in his campaign. This one has been painted in desert colours. Fascinating stuff. But this tank didnt speak to me, I am afraid, not like the first two…oh! well.