The recent, controversial acquisition of the Piranha DF 90, a CMI gun-armed variant of the IIIC ordered en masse by Belgium, was to replace the Belgian Leopard 1A5 MBT in its inventory in the 1990s (recently acquired by Rheinmetall to be refurbished and sent to Ukraine). Armed with a Cockerill med-pressure 90 mm gun the Piranha IIIC DF 90 infantry support vehicle would probably have a hard time against the frontal armour of a T-72 or T-90 and shows both in quantities (only 18 over 40 in service) and quality the limits of the "Belgian Land Component" Today. This post is assorted with a review of the Belgian Army in the cold war up to this day, and its armoured vehicles.
Far less well known that the "usual suspects" of the cold war Bundeswehr's, such as the Leopard, Marder or Gepard SPAAG/Roland SPAAML, there was one vehicle that was the de factor inheritor of WW2 Panzerwerfer. Abbreviated as RakArtBtl-122, this 110 mm rocket launcher truck was based on the 6x6 Magirus Jupiter, under the system acronym LARS, intended to pummel advancing Soviet tanks formations. It filled a niche in NATO inventory that only completed later by the M270 MARS. It was replaced in the 1980s by the LARS-2. This is the sister article on truck encyclopedia's Magirus Jupiter (see below).
The company "Ukrainian Armour" is of today's Ukrainian domestic wheeled armoured vehicles, alongside KrAZ and NPO Practika delivered to the Ukrainian Army in recent years. The Company delivers also the Varta APC and intermediate Kamrat. In this case, the Novator is considered a "light APC" or "LAV" in US parlance, for light armoured vehicle. It is intended as a reconnaissance platform but could carry up to nine men. In service from 2019 with the Ukrainian National Guard, c50 had been manufactured and c19 lost in combat recently.
Born in the Trenches, when the front became static, the idea of the tank was a resurgence of ...science fiction, when some looked at HG Wells' "land battleships" novel. In UK, development was stirred by Wintson Churchill and the Navy. In France, by an artillery officer, J.B. Estienne. And soon the world took notice. Tanks were rare and few in between still, with grand plans in 1918 that never were realized. When the front was not static, armored cars reigned supreme.
In 1939, thanks had nearly two decades to evolve at peacetime rate, though the boiling of new ideas of tactics and combined arms, with some armies more acute of these than any others. Ground combat proved absolute masters of these new ideas, the Wehrmacht, with luck and opposite incompetence. After moving to USSR, the fight moved to Africa, then to Italy and back to Western Europe at large, driving fast-paced innovation in a deadly food chain contest.
The atomic age started with the opposition of two superpowers, which developed deterrence but at the same time, always considered conventional warfare. Far from peaceful, this second half century, until 1991, saw gradual improvement, with a gap of twenty years before generations, towards 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation main battle tanks and a cohort of armoured personal carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and many specialized variants, wheeled and tracked.
As the recent conflict in Ukraine shows us, the tank is still useful in the frame of a conventional war. However drones unexpectedly showed deadlier as well as artillery. Between 1991 and 2023are we really seeing a radical transformation of ground warfare ? One thing is sure through for all generals: The main battle tank is still king of the battlefield, when well used and accompanied. From city scapes to desert, steppe, rolly hills and mountains, even coming from the sea, the tank adapted and is there to stay.