Jump to content
tanknet.org

Canadian T-72's


Recommended Posts

Not sure if you can see this thread but a first hand account with pictures of T-72's basically gifts from a Unified Germany for Trials and Evaluation

 

http://www.canadiangunnutz.com/forum/showthread.php/1173250-Canadian-T72M1-Tank

 

 

Digging around in some albums I came across some pictures of the T72s Canada received in the mid 1990s for Trial and Evaluations at CFB Gagetown NB and thought they may be of interest. Previously I had posted at Picture of the Day some background info on them and thanks to the folks here learned how to bring it over from Pic of the Day to this loc.

Quote Originally Posted by bellero View Post

No, it's not operational (no engine in it), we got it from CFB Edmonton and it was used as a prop for an exercice here in Wainwright. It's gonna end up as a museum piece in Calgary after it's restored. I'm going to deliver it in January and I get a private museum visit in exchange, can't wait.

The story goes that DND purchased six T-72 from Bosnia in the 90's and when they showed up at the port, this T-34 was included (buy six t-72, get one free T-34! )


The Canadian government/CF received gifts of Ex-East German armour in the 1990s. T34,T54/55 and T72 tanks went to Borden, a BTR152 and BRDM2 went to Gagetown. A second batch of five T72M1 tanks came to Canada afterwards for Trials and Evaluations (Not museum vehicles) I had MUCH experiance with those tanks. These fives tanks where again ex E.German but made in the Czech Rep. I was also the very FIRST Canadian to ever fire the Leopard C1 at a T72 tank. A Battle engagement at 300M, three rounds in five seconds, this took place during the Leopard Mid Life Extension trials. Personally I thought the T72 was a good tank, cramped beyond belief and crude compared to the Leo but it was still a weapon system and did everything asked of it.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

During the Leopard Mid Life Extension trials (run by Capt Martin of T&E Gagetown) it was my sad duty to prep a T72 for use as a target for the 105/120mm gun upgrade and more so the ammunition brought in by various manufacturers for hoped for sales to Canada. I picked the poorest running tank, defueled it, cut off anything that would contaminate impact data such as lights, bins, smoke grenade dischargers and had it towed to the range. The Leopard would fire through bristol board yaw cards and the manufacturerers would go down and see what their ammunition results where, with great care for them to NOT see what competitors ammo did on target. Watching the super high speed was amazing, but what was more amazing was how well the "Dolly Parton" armour on the turret front was at stopping a 105/120mm, everyone thought so highly that the rounds would just whistle straight through the tank. Lets just say there was some stunned disbelief when everyone went downrange to check damage. When I fired (up to that point all rounds where fired by a computer so the cameras caught the round in flight and impact) I fired center of mass to turret, with the T72 gun barrel at postive elevation I had my "Radley Walters" moment and the round struck the fume extractor and was deflected downwards onto the hull top directly behind the drivers hatch. Had the T72 been ammo loaded the carousel and its ready ammo would have "brewed up". I will backtrack abit here, the interiors spaces of a T72 tank are reserved for fuel and ammo, the space for a crew must have been an afterthough, there are fuel cells/tanks and ammo storage spots EVERYHERE inside the tank, hence a hit on a T72 if it gets inside is a sure kill. The subsequent two rounds I fired center of mass and caught the tank at the upper hull. Anyways the tank is a good vehicle, robust beyond belief, cramped as hell and super workman like. It is also a "low end tank" as the Soviet doctrine was to equip higher end units (like a "Guards" unit) with T80 or T64 and lower end units with older, lower end tanks like T72.

 

 

Damage caused to the T72 by the various trial rounds, not allowed to take pictures and even the manufactures where not allowed to see their competitors strikes/damage. They could look at and take pics of there own but not each others. To be honest the 105mm ammo jazzed up to hit like a 120mm was a dead dog in my books. The target tank had all the "soft" parts cut off like search lights/grenade launchers/hand rails, essentially anything that would contaminate a clear hit on either turret or hull armour. The thought was the rounds would go sailing clean through, but the first round was a sobering wake up that maybe the Czechs/Russians knew a thing or to about building tanks and casting armour. The first round struck just to the left (as your looking at the tank) of the main gun, and just got absorbed by the turret armour. We popped the turret hatch open expecting to see a penetration and all the damn thing did was form a slight plate sized bulge in the armour and cast some paint flakes around of the turret wall. The test rounds faired "slightly" better on the hull front armour (this being a M1 Standard production tank it had a 20mm plate welded to the glacis plate and with the glacis being so sharp it did a good job at defeating the 105/120 rounds)but still even half failed to go through. One got in and started a small fire inside so yours truly went inside the burning tank to deal with that. Talking about fires the fire bottles on the T72 came filled with Freon gas and that's a big no in N.America reading the book it talked about the explosive squibs used to fire the bottles but no pics of it so rummaging about the "pile of "stuff" I found spares of what I assumed where the squibs just rolling around loose. Health and safety hah, who needs that.

120mm have problems with T-72M1 ? not real imho.

 

 

 

Anvil tough and very straight forward tank to run and keep running, the Leopard tanks of C Sqn would be constantly changing derubbered road wheels, never, NEVER, had that issue with the T72.
Edited by Wiedzmin
Link to post
Share on other sites

more of it: (he gave me permission)

 

^Low slung, big gunned with the 125mm D-81TM gun and ready to give NATO a bloodly nose, Actually no just the driver training "bowling alley" past Range Control.
DREV and DRES each received one tank each and Gagetown had first three then the DREV tank was sent to Gagetown about the time we shot one during the "upgunning" of the Leo C1 so it had the punch of a 120mm but was still a 105mm. The Germans had so much unwanted armour back then and was just giving it away so for the cost of shipping Canada "could" have all the vehicles to put together a super "Ops Force" but being the 1990s the CF was bankrupt and falling apart. The three tanks (we had all three running) where VERY popular as a mini enemy force for stuff like the Squardron Commanders Course (SCC) or high end Dog and Ponys. The Germans after divesting themselves of whatever they could give away ended up crushing and shattering tank armour with a wreaking ball dropped from height. The museum in Borden did something stupid by painting HUGE T72-T34-T54/55 on the ex E.German tanks and a big red Soviet star on the T34. The German embassy went to see their gift and just about had a kitten at that stupid act, the museum in Gagetown painted there T72 in some groovy black and green cam job. Why museums have to do this stuff is beyond me. All the T72M1s where just basic gun tanks except the one that came from DREV which had been a mine roller tank (less roller). Manuals for the tanks where from the Foreign Material Test Group in Aberdeen Proving Grounds and where for the Yugoslav M84AB which is a license built T72. Certainly an interesting job to take on and to do so with a zero budget one became very good at begging fuel to keep things rolling so doing field time with a course allowed me to keep diesel in them. Interestingly they came to Canada with stove oil in them. The T72 also came kitted with a great hand held electric pump. Bare in mind most homes in Europe are heated with stove oil, the doctrine was when the Warsaw Pact crosses the inner German border and makes the dash to the English Channel, tank formations could essentially "live off the land" fuel wise. If I was filthy stinking rich and I owned a HUGE piece of land I would buy a couple Czech T72s (way cheaper then one would think) and have a big rich mans toy or two. I better go buy some 649 tickets if I ever want that to happen.
Here is a T72M on Milweb, heap of fun at a great price http://www.milweb.net/webverts/61877/

 

^Me filling the role of a Warsaw Pact Tank Platoon Commander, this was the best running tank of the lot we received and to be hoest the things are a total blast to drive. If you like simple, hands on, mechanical vehicles and just have to have some armour in your life, pound for pound these tanks are a screaming deal. Anvil tough and very straight forward tank to run and keep running, the Leopard tanks of C Sqn would be constantly changing derubbered road wheels, never, NEVER, had that issue with the T72. Even years later talking to a couple old C Sqn buds they brought that fact up. I am using the issue Warsaw Pact tanker helmet for comms to the driver and think the throat mike was the cats ass also. You did not get any wind noise and even with the vehicle running you could just about whisper a direction and it went through clearly.

 

When we used the T72 for the filming of the Eyrx interactive gunnery System (EVIGS) I needed to "Mcguyver" up a better way of having comms inside the tank and be able to send and receive outside. So using a 1780 box connected directly to the batteries a 30 foot drop cord and a PRC77 set it all came together. I took the head set that you see in this pic and in the left ear had the 77 set feed and the right ear piece for intercom, it could drive you crazy but it worked.

^ Or if your comms goes down completely one could always do things the "old school" way and go back to flags and hand signals.

Link to post
Share on other sites

^ "Driver training" or more in reality "hey its a nice day and lets go drive the tank around" under that pretext. I am wracking my brain try to remember the fellow in the drivers hole to give credit due.

Hi Beauebon the T72s saw there first use by Trials and Evaluations in Gagetown for the filming of footage to be used in the Eryx Video Gunnery System (EVIGS) and then Tow VIGS. When they came over we did not have a clue what went where or what any of the tools that came did to keep things running. Essentially the Germans had just opened the commanders hatch and dumped in "stuff". Sorting through the "stuff" was interesting and after awhile using the good books and common sense I got a handle on what was tool or a part, or a part of a tool. The T72 dipstick is a hex shaped rod about a metre long that has hash marks and is in cyrillic script, essentially it is one dipstick that checks 12 things, so I called UNB and got in touch with the German/Russian school there. A professor came out one weekend and we translated anything that needed doing such as data plates with warnings or instructions and that cool dipstick. Note all data plates where in cyrillic, even though it was a East German tank.
During the Leopard Mid Life Extension trials (run by Capt Martin of T&E Gagetown) it was my sad duty to prep a T72 for use as a target for the 105/120mm gun upgrade and more so the ammunition brought in by various manufacturers for hoped for sales to Canada. I picked the poorest running tank, defueled it, cut off anything that would contaminate impact data such as lights, bins, smoke grenade dischargers and had it towed to the range. The Leopard would fire through bristol board yaw cards and the manufacturerers would go down and see what their ammunition results where, with great care for them to NOT see what competitors ammo did on target. Watching the super high speed was amazing, but what was more amazing was how well the "Dolly Parton" armour on the turret front was at stopping a 105/120mm, everyone thought so highly that the rounds would just whistle straight through the tank. Lets just say there was some stunned disbelief when everyone went downrange to check damage. When I fired (up to that point all rounds where fired by a computer so the cameras caught the round in flight and impact) I fired center of mass to turret, with the T72 gun barrel at postive elevation I had my "Radley Walters" moment and the round struck the fume extractor and was deflected downwards onto the hull top directly behind the drivers hatch. Had the T72 been ammo loaded the carousel and its ready ammo would have "brewed up". I will backtrack abit here, the interiors spaces of a T72 tank are reserved for fuel and ammo, the space for a crew must have been an afterthough, there are fuel cells/tanks and ammo storage spots EVERYHERE inside the tank, hence a hit on a T72 if it gets inside is a sure kill. The subsequent two rounds I fired center of mass and caught the tank at the upper hull. Anyways the tank is a good vehicle, robust beyond belief, cramped as hell and super workman like. It is also a "low end tank" as the Soviet doctrine was to equip higher end units (like a "Guards" unit) with T80 or T64 and lower end units with older, lower end tanks like T72.

Brad Pitt in Fury?? Naw, just old XRCD. Allan Joyner Productions of Ottawa did the film work for T and E at Gagetown for the EVIGS. Here they are just getting some stock footage, that and its just fun to go drive around the training area with not a care in the world. Actually every time the tanks went out I kept the fingers crossed nothing would break, fail, burst into flames, impale or crush anyone. There was LOTS of "not user safe" things to cause injury or harm. One REALLY neat thing we decovered was how to turn on the smoke generator, the tanks where being used as a mini OpFor for a SCC course and in the down time I am pouring through the translated manual and talked the driver through the procedure. The tank has an injector on the exhaust manifold that sprays diesel on the hot manifold that is VERY effective at cranking out smoke, and lots of it till the manifold cools off. As the tank slobbered a fair amount of oil through the exhaust the first use of the generator shoot flames out the exhaust about six feet till the oil burned off. Then its pumped smoke and lots of it. Soon to be a much requested feature by the SCC staff, good times.

You can see the remains of the East German decal which in time I replaced with a black maple leaf.

 

other comments: Didn't read all the first post but we did had one T-72 from the initial group that was refit and operational. Few guys at the 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada (12 RBC) at Canada worked hard to keep the T-72 up and running but like many other things, budget cuts did another collateral victim and the T-72 is now gone, which is a shame from my point of view. It was weird, conducting a training on the base and having a T-72 driving around. At this time, I was serving in an anti-tank platoon, so having a real T-72 around us was just amazing!

Today, I have no clue about where is that tank. Some rumors say it was brought to CFB Gagetown and used as a target for TOW missiles. If this is true... it was a very poor decision.

 

No, the T&E tanks did not have anything to do with the German gift of Ex-WP tanks and equipment to the Government of Canada and DHist/DND. It was along the same lines as a "gift" from the Germans who where glad to divest themselves of the unwanted vehicles but had not tie in to what DHist at DND went and got. Matter of fact I seem to recall something about that museum load being written up in the old Sentinal. In a subsequent batch of vehicles four BMP2 came to Canada for trials (read destructive testing).



Another bit of misinformation is someone was mentioning the tank needing a hammer to shift, No the tank had gate shifting seven forward, one reverse and sailed along at 60KPH (I do believe we went faster on occasion). Very cool to see at speed on snowy ground with brick sized chunks of packed snow and ice fly off the tracks. The only time I could ever see a hammer in the drivers position would be to smack the four dogs holding the escape hatch closed to exit the tank out the bottom. Shifting was never an issue on a T72.
Being a straight forward and rather simple vehicle to keep in the field, it can even be called "agricultural" in nature it was amazingly robust. I had to retrieve the T72 that the Gagetown museum had been given by T&E for one of their trials and deploy with it for a trial. The tank had sat, unloved and unattended to for a year filling up with rain. In one hour I had the tank running again which sort of blew my mind. I very much doubt any Leopard of the day would have started up like that T72 did.

 

^009 coming back to life

One of the rewarding things of being in the field with the T72 was the amazing degree of latitude we where given as the things where just so weird to see driving and being used as an enemy force till T&E needed to shoot something at them (like the Leopard Mid Life Extension)120mm to 105mm, ADATS, TOW2B, etc. C Sqn RCD took great pleasure in seeing them and it was not uncommon to be tracked by Leopards WAY, WAY out of any conceivable arc. Tank gunners did love tracking us to say the least. The thing was everyone said that the 125mm muzzle end was very visible even at 2,000 M and it was sobering to think if they where looking down the pipe then the T72 gun was also looking back at them and if you ever see the 125mm AP round or HEAT round I have great confidence it would have ripped through the Leo C1

 

another commenter: Well not a Leopard, but we have one of the modern Jagdpanzers here in Shilo. The Germans left it behind, and it sat at the main gate for a decade or two. Then it went to range control for another decade. A couple of the museum guys went down, dumped in some fuel and slaved it and away it went. Turned out it had the hull plugs in so it sufferred some water damage to the generator, whch as it turned out was similar to the leo generator. The new generator is now in, and hopefully on Monday the pack goes back into the hull.

On our SA-6 launcher, to go along with the normal diesel engine there is also a small turbine engine buried under the engine deck. I imagine it's purpose is as a generator when the main engine is off, but it does not seem to be the simple WP design that I expected.

 

I am sure there is no end of stories, oft told, that take on a life all there own, like guys throws Stens in windows so the little gun will dance about killing everyone inside. No, none of these tanks went on any wild drive by tow starting or any other form of start up (electric, air start or by towing) what a T72WILL do is jump forward about 3-4 feet when started so one NEVER stood directly in front or behind it and certainly never be in a position to be crushed by it on start up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The tank came with a real hodge podge of "stuff/kit" dumped into the turret and no secondary armaments like MGs, all the boxes/bins and tools but no guns. So being the resourceful fellow I am I took a 2X2 piece of wood (even made a small piece to look like the sights) and using pics of T72 with the 12.7mm NSVT mounted put the canvas on it and called it a day. Certainly adds something to the look.

Damage caused to the T72 by the various trial rounds, not allowed to take pictures and even the manufactures where not allowed to see their competitors strikes/damage. They could look at and take pics of there own but not each others. To be honest the 105mm ammo jazzed up to hit like a 120mm was a dead dog in my books. The target tank had all the "soft" parts cut off like search lights/grenade launchers/hand rails, essentially anything that would contaminate a clear hit on either turret or hull armour. The thought was the rounds would go sailing clean through, but the first round was a sobering wake up that maybe the Czechs/Russians knew a thing or to about building tanks and casting armour. The first round struck just to the left (as your looking at the tank) of the main gun, and just got absorbed by the turret armour. We popped the turret hatch open expecting to see a penetration and all the damn thing did was form a slight plate sized bulge in the armour and cast some paint flakes around of the turret wall. The test rounds faired "slightly" better on the hull front armour (this being a M1 Standard production tank it had a 20mm plate welded to the glacis plate and with the glacis being so sharp it did a good job at defeating the 105/120 rounds)but still even half failed to go through. One got in and started a small fire inside so yours truly went inside the burning tank to deal with that. Talking about fires the fire bottles on the T72 came filled with Freon gas and that's a big no in N.America reading the book it talked about the explosive squibs used to fire the bottles but no pics of it so rummaging about the "pile of "stuff" I found spares of what I assumed where the squibs just rolling around loose. Health and safety hah, who needs that.

45jim I do believe I gave you copies of the manuals when you where attending your 6A in Gagetown. Great pics of the T72 out west and thanks for posting them. To be honest I do have a soft spot for the T72 and respect that the WP had lots to use should things in Europe had gone that way, it may not be the worlds greatest tank (in its day), but it is/was still a weapons system and for that earns a degree of respect considering the numbers cranked out and what it was built for.

En For/Ops For being the 1990s the leopards had a tight mileage restriction placed on them, for some reason I have 20 or 25 Km being the limit stuck in my head. The T72 had no such concern and as long as I could get fuel for them we could drive them as much as we needed. So field time was great at rolling up to a course Cans or Pod truck and filling up. The T72 was much loved by all as it added a degree of realism that cannot be beat by a M113 popping up and turning its headlights on and off. Sadly that chance of ever seeing a dedicated nascent En4/Ops4 like the Americans, 29 Palms in the 1990s during those dark, dark liberal years of bleeding the CF white was never going to happen. It could have been done and been super cost efficient as FREE vehicles is a great purchase price and ALL the goodies where available then, tanks of every flavour, BRDMs, BMP 1 and 2, Arty galore, wheeled vehicles, everything available with just the transportation costs to get it to Canada. A lost opportunity.

 

Other commenter: Yeah that manual really helped, getting the electrical system worked out saved the gun mechs (and the taxpayers) a fortune in Compressed Nitrogen that we were using to air start the T 72. It was robust and reliable and I would have really liked to try out the gunnery system and compare apples to apples on target engagement. I have seen first hand the penetration capability of the gun while performing armour testing in Israel, very impressive. But unfortunately this was a fixed gun, no chance to experience the turret in live fire conditions. The ballistic design of the T 72 hull and turret are first rate, metallurgy on the hull and turret show good quality materials used throughout the manufacture but to very wide tolerances. Lots of contaminated welds, gaps filled in with weld and other shortcuts but generally a very well designed and made tank. My discussions with testers in Israel led me to believe that the gunnery system was no better than a Cougar and the stabilization was so poor that engaging while on the move was limited to "Battle" ranges and really had to be done from short halts. Problems with gun/sight misalignment after an ejection cycle was also a significant problem, for those unaware after the round is fired the gun elevates to a position that allows the auto loader to expel the spent casing through a door at the rear of the turret and then reload projectile and casing from under turret storage into the breech. The gun then attempts to realign itself with the gunners sight to allow firing to continue, often the alignment would be off and accuracy would go out the window.

 

While the manual called for the use of the air to start the tank and that worked pretty well, if a driver failed to close the system you could find the T72 may loose its air overnight so I had a fitting made that could be used like a slave cable to blow air into the air tanks of one T72 into another T72. After a while T&E gave me the funds to buy new batteries and it was just a matter to wrestling the original (dead) ones out and using the measurements go to the Douglas Battery book and buy four tractor batteries (I did say the tank was "agricultural" in nature) I hit a home run with the batteries and got a perfect fit, same size, amps, volts. Wrestle the new ones in (four per tank) and we said screw what the manual says and just started on electrical power thereafter with air as a back up.

 

True I have already mentioned that and it was one of the warnings I had read from the US Army Foreign System Test Group. The way to negate the start up surge (and no it does not drive off on its own) was upon shut down follow the checklist do what was called a oil double suction of the gearbox and reduction gears which I had and still have taped to my T72 manual inside cover (should I ever buy a T72 I guess). When done it made for easier start ups and took away the surge forward.

 

other commenter: The Strathcona T 72 came from Suffield where they had two more used for fuel/air explosive destructive testing along with some Lynx Recce vehicles. We painted it and added it to our running Historical vehicle troop and had some fun driving it up and down the back 40 and using it for the odd car crush. i think the last time we ran it was our reunion in 95. It also came fully kitted (and we stripped everything off the other two) and allowed us to play enemy force for troop training with some bravado.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Problems with gun/sight misalignment after an ejection cycle was also a significant problem, for those unaware after the round is fired the gun elevates to a position that allows the auto loader to expel the spent casing through a door at the rear of the turret and then reload projectile and casing from under turret storage into the breech. The gun then attempts to realign itself with the gunners sight to allow firing to continue, often the alignment would be off and accuracy would go out the window.

 

 

looks like the author mistaked t-62 with t-72/ as the 72 has vertical stabilization of gunner sight

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Problems with gun/sight misalignment after an ejection cycle was also a significant problem, for those unaware after the round is fired the gun elevates to a position that allows the auto loader to expel the spent casing through a door at the rear of the turret and then reload projectile and casing from under turret storage into the breech. The gun then attempts to realign itself with the gunners sight to allow firing to continue, often the alignment would be off and accuracy would go out the window.

 

 

looks like the author mistaked t-62 with t-72/ as the 72 has vertical stabilization of gunner sight

 

I guess you misunderstood what is stated. That guy did not mention that sight pointed sky after firing - which was the case of T-62 with dependent stabilization - but with gun/sight misalignment after an ejection cycle. In case of T-72 sight is stabilized independently and after ejection the gun needs to return to line of sight. The sight gyro and the gun are align mechanically, and probably that was the source of problems. Maybe it was because of lack of proper maintenance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Problems with gun/sight misalignment after an ejection cycle was also a significant problem, for those unaware after the round is fired the gun elevates to a position that allows the auto loader to expel the spent casing through a door at the rear of the turret and then reload projectile and casing from under turret storage into the breech. The gun then attempts to realign itself with the gunners sight to allow firing to continue, often the alignment would be off and accuracy would go out the window.

 

 

looks like the author mistaked t-62 with t-72/ as the 72 has vertical stabilization of gunner sight

 

How has shown this problem? :blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

To be honest the 105mm ammo jazzed up to hit like a 120mm was a dead dog in my books.

120mm have problems with T-72M1 ? not real imho.

 

This reads to me like they were using hot 105mm, not actual 120mm.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

... what a T72WILL do is jump forward about 3-4 feet when started so one NEVER stood directly in front or behind it and certainly never be in a position to be crushed by it on start up.

PS:

In winter necessarily suck out the oil of the gears. There's a switch for it. And the brake do not forget...

Link to post
Share on other sites

How I'm reading it is that the "105/120" stuff means improved 105mm ammo that's simliar to the early 120mm stuff.

 

IIRC, most 105mm stuff will have problems against the T-72M1 with the composite turret and improved glacis. Even the DM63 will fail on certain parts of the front (DM63 being the one 105mm round that has a decent chance against the front of an T-72M1).

 

The T-72M1 is a well protected tank for its weight.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...