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Robert Michulec

PUBLICATIONS COMPANY
Editor: James R. Hill
Copyright © 1994
by CONCORD PUBLICATIONS CO.
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Kong Nam Industrial Building
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ISBN 962-361-917-0
Printed in Hong Kong
Front Cover
A good overhead study of a unit of Poli sh T-72M tanks_ The T-72M was c
hybrid type, having the thinner armor of the Soviet T-72 tank, but thE
improved laser rangefinder fire controls of the Soviet T-72A.
Back Cover
In this photo is the right side of a Kub. On the rear part of the roof is ,
lowered brace for keeping the missiles stable when driving_ Note the "sho
down" aircraft emblem painted on the front side of the superstructure_ In thE
background is another launcher vehicle being reloaded_
2
INTRODUCTION
-" e armed forces of the Warsaw Pact,
posed of the armies of seven diverse
_ untries, deployed most powerful ground
= c es in the history of 20th century Europe.
--'e most important elements of the Warsaw
c t armies were their armored forces.
to fight in western Europe, they were
der the complete control of Soviet
::;enerals. From the end of the 1940s, to the
te 1980s when the Warsaw Pact
.... sintegrated, their ostensible objec1-ive was to
:ofeguard the Communist bloc. But their real
-8sk was to carry the war onto the territories of
- e neighboring NATO countries. This was the
-eason for their need for strong armored
: rees.
The specific tasks of the non-Soviet
a rsaw Pact armies depended on their
c ation. The East German NVA was an
tegral part of planned Soviet operations
gainst West Germany. The Czechoslovak
SLA was given a significant role in Soviet
perations towards Austria and southern
---ermany. Poland was assigned the task of
and holding the Danish straits, as well
s operations against Sweden, hence its
significant amphibious warfare capabilities.
The armed forces of the Warsaw Pact
.vere neither well motivated nor parl-icularly
./ell equipped, with the possible exception of
-' e East Germans. In many cases, particularly
-' e Balkan countries of Romania and Bulgaria,
-' ey were armed with second-rate weapons.
T e quality of their armored vehicles left much
f O be desired. For example, the thickness of
rmored plates on the standard Warsaw Pact
ormored infantry transport used from the 1960s
-'-' rough the 1980s- the BTR-60 and BTR-70 was
nly a thin 6mm. Many armored vehicles
::uffered engine problems, and during field
exercises, commanders had to halt attacks
ue to the large number of vehicles which
ad broken down in a field or were helplessly
;stalled in the middle of a river.
By the mid- 1980s, there were about 39,000
1:- is a
Nheeled and tracked vehicles in the 40 first­
" -shot
the ine Warsaw Pact divisions posted at the
ATO-Warsaw Pact border, with some 19,000
::::ombat vehicles in the second-line divisions.
3
Opposing them were about 40,000 NATO
combat vehicles, some of which were of
better quality. While many NATO armies
consisted of well-trained and well-equipped
professional troops, the Warsaw Pact forces
did not hold all of the NATO forces soldiers in
high esteem. Some of the NATO armies were
not considered a major challenge. Many
people in eastern Europe, whether specialists
in military affairs or not; thought that the
armies of Warsaw Pact could simply plow
through western Europe by brute force to win
a war if needed. Whether this view was
correct or not, such a war in Europe could
have been the bloodiest war Europe ever
experienced. It is fortunate for the Warsaw
Pact, and all other nations that would have
been involved, that such a war never
occured.
This book is not meant to be an
encyclopedia of all the armored vehicles of
the Warsaw Pact. So many different types of
vehicles were built, often in small numbers,
and many vehicles were modified during their
service. To cover all these permutations would
be very difficult and is not the intention of this
book. Instead, in this book you will find a
review of the main types of combat vehicles
used by armored and mechanized units of
the Warsaw Pact from the 1950s until the
1990s, with a special focus on those used by
the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact countries. It is my
intention to provide readers with a visual
picture of what war in Europe might have
looked like from the perspective of photos
taken during Warsaw Pact wargames.
I would like to Mr. Staszynski, Vadim
Siesarev, Inga and my mum for their materials,
information and help. I would also like to offer
a very special word of thanks to Miss Paciorek
for her time and patience.
The first standard tank in all the Warsaw Pact armies was the T-34-85 in its 1944 version. It was armed with a 85mm ZIS S-53 gun and two mach·­
guns. The T-34 Model 1944 served to the end of 1950s when it was, theoretically, replaced by the T-34-85 Model 1960. The T-34-85 in this photo is in .
service of the East German Army (NVA).
The T-34-85 was in service up to the beginning of 1970s. So
countries used them even until the middle of the 1970s. In this photo,
Bulgarian Army T-34-85 drives through a shallow river. Note the red-whit
blue Bulgarian national emblem visible on the turret.
The NVA's T-34-85 Model 1960s were configured with an addition
storage box at the rear of the turret. The metal boxes on the right fender a
chocks used to prevent the tanks from moving during rail transport. Ti
white bands painted on these vehicles identify them as opposing fore,
during wargames.
4
---
5
-----.-.. . . . --. _. .. _--­
:- ional
.: er are
k_ The
r; 'orces
A shot of the Czechoslovak Army
T-34-85 Model 1944. This type of tank
,'Ias produced in Czechoslovakia from
e end of 1952 until 1960. Note the
WWII German pattern Notec night
'riving headlight on the left side of the
superstructure's front plate.
.::
18-2s and IS-3s were used in the
~ :' et Union as a support for units
=-~ s d wi th medium tanks, but in the
- : Ie of 1960s they were judged
: :: lete. Their combat characteristics
0-8 unsatisfactory, so they were
~ -:l inated from combat units. Here is a
Oo--S: of an 18-2 in Polish service with 7
- Jiory" X markings painted on the gun
:.2.-rel.
. -. ­ ~ .
, ,
"
Here a Polish T-34-85 storms over
some shore defense barriers. This is a
good example of why combat engineer
forces are needed to clear obstacles,
as such tank traps could easily stop a
tank such as this. Note the small
identification number "409" painted on
the end of the log attached to the top of
the right mud guard. The early "white
eagle" Polish national insignia seen on
the turret would be replaced on future
Polish tanks by the checkered red and
white design .
. "..
In the Soviet Union, thei­
were no light tan
manufactured after 1943's rai­
T-80. In early 1951 a new ligr.
tank the PT-76, we..
developed. "PT" mear.
"swimming tank", and "76"
the caliber of a gun. The pho'­
shows a PT-76 with a raise::
driver's central periscope.
belongs to a Soviet Grou :
Force's reconnaissance unit.
All reconnaissance units of the Warsaw Pact armies were equippe::
with PT-76 tanks. A Romanian vehicle is shown in this photo. The turret".,
hatches, clearly seen here blocking the two crew members, were ver
similar to those found on the T-34, and were just as troublesome. On th',
vehicle, the muzzle brake has been removed for some unknown reason.
PT-76Bs were usually used in the first wave of marine units. The one
shown here is part of a Soviet Naval Infantry unit in the beginning of 1980s
Note the four added fuel tanks on the engine roof and the Soviet nava
ensign painted on the side of the vehicle.
Another example of a tank missing its muzzle brake. This is a PT-76E
without a fording trunk. The tank is marked with markings of the "crew of the
socialist duty" , Polish national emblems and the emblem of the 7th Nava
Assault Division which are painted on both sides of the hull and turret.
6
s rare
light
was
- --76B
Jf the
aval

This rear view of a Soviet PT-76B
0,- .',s the open ports of the hydrojet
_ _: .Jlsion system nozzles. The PT­
3 as been in service since 1962 and
:=<l s from the PT-76 due to the
--: 'lied D-76TS gun and larger fuel
Note how the trunk fitted to
- " rear of the turret is bent for
: -: :ection against a high sea wave.
T-54As of the Czechoslovak Army
oss a pontoon bridge under the gaze
i the soldiers directing the crossing.
zechoslovakia produced T-54s and T­
55s from 1960 until about the middle of
- e 1970s, adding improvements to the
ydraulic clutch system even before the
Soviets did.
For a many years the T-54/55/62
tanks were regarded by the Soviets as
"the best tanks in the world." They
were built in the Soviet Union from 1946
to 1985, and many were exported.
Poland and Czechoslovakia also
manufactured versions of the tank.
This photo, taken in the 1980s, shows a
column of East German T-54 Model
1951 mounted with the D-10T gun as
they traverse a grassy field.
7
Several T-54s of the Soviet Army roll into action during a field exercise
at the end of the 1970s. Note that the ubiquitous DShK anti-aircraft heavy
machine gun is missing on each tank, as is the water brake on the front
armor plate.
A tanker passes a message to the crew of an Mi-1 helicopter hovering
above and, it seems, dangerously close to this T-54A that is in the service
of a Czechoslovak Army staff unit. Open ports in the front of the tank's turret
are clearly visible, and the barrel of a co-axial machine gun protrudes from
the one located to the right of the 1 OOmm gun. Note that the tricolor circular
national insignia can be seen on the left side of the turret.
This Polish T
is being tran"nr>rtp..­
a tracked
mechanized
Production
version of the
began in 1 954 in
Soviet Union. It
system and a
fume extractor.
8
~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3pecial markings and extra track sections affixed to the side of the The profile views of Czechoslovak T-54A numbers "364" and "384" as
: : . . r - ~ : di stinguish this Czechoslovak T-54A. The white signal bands on the they advance on the "battlefield" show that they bear the same white
--- 3. 5 of the mud guards served as identification markers while the vehicle marking around the barrel of their 1 OOmm guns. Note the two 55-gallon fuel
~ .2 led in convoys. They were particularly useful at night. drums stowed at the extreme rear of their hulls. The white barrel markings
were probably used to identify "aggressor" tanks during wargames.
Czechoslovak armor was often
- - ullaged for summer wargames, as
_: :Jsed to the bland paint schemes
__ - ~ on the armor of other Warsaw
- ",:::- nations. Here is an example of a
- _ ~ . t . . painted in camouflage that is
~ - . similar to the "ambush"
- ouflage scheme used by the
~ n ans during World War Two.
Here is another example of a T­
54A finished in a dramatic camouflage
) r scheme-three shades of paint on top
'- e T-54 of the standard green. After having
made the necessary preparations, the
tank enters the water for some
amphibious action. Note the sealed
exhaust on the left side of the hull, the
OPVT deep wading equipment tube
extending above the turret, and the
protective covering on the tube of the
gun.
9
This photo shows a Czechoslovak Army T-54A staff _
tank emerging from a river. Note the absence of the froni
guards. The large pipe rising above the turret is the full-I"
version of the OPVT combat snorkel.
The Hungarian Army received its first T-54As from the Soviet Union at
the end of the 1950s. Here we see one of these tanks being transported to
an exercise field somewhere in Czechoslovakia (that country's flag is flying
from the upper window of the building at left). Note the Hungarian star
insignia on the side of the T-54's turret.
The T-54A entered service in Poland in 1954 and was produced under license from 1956 to 1964. After many internal modifications, the tank rece
a new designation - T-54AM. All tanks made in Poland were equipped with an additional box on the front left side of the turret.
10
unit's
1t mud
-length
Since the Soviets did not have a sufficient number of armored personnel transports for their mechanized units by the end of the 1950s, they often trained
",::acks with infantrymen perched on tanks, as this photo illustrates. In an attempt to conceal their position, the third and fourth tanks have used the TDA
_ to create a smoke screen. This system involved spraying diesel fuel on to the engine manifold to generate white clouds from the exhaust.
- other shot of a Soviet T-55A tank attack, this time without infantry.
e standard boxes for DShK machine gun ammo near the gunner 's
(like on the T-72) on late production T-55s. The unit emblem and the
mud guards are also interesting.
This rear view of a T-55 shows a non typical storage box located on the
rear of the turret. This tank belongs to a Soviet reconnaissance unit and is
equipped with KMT-4 mine rakes and two additional 55 gallon (400 I) fuel
drums. Note the OPVT snorkel tube located above them.
I I
f
.+
This photo shows an amphibious assault on the Black Sea in the
middle of the 1980s. Note the non-standard covers for · the Luna
searchlights mounted on the tanks numbered "180" and "110". T-55s are still
used by the Soviet Naval Infantry units but with Kontakt explosive reactive
armor.
Another T-55 in the service of the Romanian Army. Note the
identification number "C234" painted on all sides of the turret. This tank
features the "starfish" wheels that were configured on the later versions of
the T-54 tank to replace the earlier "spider-web" wheels.
The Romanian Army was not on the best of terms with the rest
Warsaw Pact members, especially since the beginning of the 1970s, S(
did not often train with them. Here, amidst exhaust steam and cas
water, the Romanian T-55 number "V672" rises from a river.
.- - ~ , ". :.:::-..
This cia
photo of the front
snow-covered Poll
55 provides
excellent view of
rifling in the barr
the tank's 100mm
visible just on
inside of the m
Notice that the v
number-"51 "­
repeated on all 0
crewmen's helmet
well as on
commander 's
gunner's inf
equipment.
12
close­
- 'rant of
=-"8 Polish ­
-: 9 3 a
-'oN of II'
'" barrel
g
on t
Thi s T-55 churns the water in this tank training ditch into froth as it
.-C s steam and spray on the infantrymen that are following in its wake.
ih e several lights affixed to the hull and turret of this tank; there are no
-nan 15! There are nine small position lights mounted on the corners
- 9 hull and one on the rear of the turret.
This view of Czechoslovak T-55 number "574" shows yet another style

ali of It:
- =I mets,
on tr
infrarE uds of smoke fail to obscure the frontal view of these T-55s. At 10 ft (3.27 m) wide and 7.5 ft (2.35 m) high, this model of tank is smaller, and therefore
_5 - to see at long distances, than American and German tanks. On the other hand, they are less comfortable for their crews.
13
_- ::amouflage used around the end of the 1970s and early 1980s. The tank·
so they

: - bably painted in two-tone green paint divided by sand colored "veins".

-- '= photo was taken at the beginning of the 1980s. Note the addition of a
x-C" 'on of track on the turret.
Two companies of Hungarian T-55s are shown here participating in a
parade in East Germany following a 1980 exercise. The T-55's D-10T2S
cannon was the first Soviet tank gun to employ the new ("Typhoon") two-axi s
stabilization system which allowed the gun to be more quickly readjusted for
accuracy after the tank had been on the move.
The Polish national markings are painted in more subdued tones on this T-55; the outline is painted in white only. This front view provides a good
at a commonly seen feature of the tank- the highly visible orange-circle-with-black-triangle "road sign" located on the left mud guard.
In this photo, two T-55As flank &.
55AM during an exercise.
modification to the commanda
cupola on the T-55AM version is c l e ~
seen here. This cupola contai
additional anti-radiation shielding.
The Polish T-55A shown here is
participating in exercises during the
summer of 1987. It is well concealed
under a stack of foliage and pine
boughs and has its markings painted
over with sandy camouflage. In open
terrain such as is shown here, the T­
55A is able to reach a maximum speed
of 34 mph (50 km/h).
14
Another view of Polish T-55A tank. The T-55 had been made in the
- :iet Union since 1955, in Poland since 1960, in Czechoslovakia from
1964 to the middle of the 1980s. A total of over 30,000 of these tanks
-2 . ;) been produced.
:",amouflage netting effectively hides the turret of this
-:: - -made T-55A. The contours of this tank are further
- - -ed by the Soviet BTU-55 dozer blade combat engineer
": ent that was borrowed from one of the East German
: -ank a T
- d added to the front of the vehicle.
ThE

.s clearl.

" 9·
One of the camouflaged T-55s belonging to the blue force
is shown here after it was "hit" and "destroyed" by an "enemy"
tank. This tank has a blue band on the turret rear to identify
which side it belongs to during summer wargames. This is a
parti cularly good profile view of the T-55.
The muzzle blast of a single 100mm gun eerily illuminates a platoon of
T-55As which are engaged in night firing exercises. The first infrared night
vision systems configured on the T-55 were the TPN-1 and the TPN2; they
were installed in the mid-1950s. While undergoing minor modifications over
the years, these systems have been used on all other Soviet-designed
tanks, from the T-34-85 to the T-72, up until the present time.
15
-
ti
-
The T-54AMs that had been used
in the Polish Army were relegated to the
reserve units at the beginning of the
1980s when they were replaced by the
more modern T-55s. The swift
movement of the T-55 shown here
denotes a sense of urgency that is
commonplace in wargame exercises.
This particular tank certainly has a
much cleaner appearance than other T­
55s discussed so far. Note the covered
7.62mm coaxial machine gun
protruding from the turret on the right
side of the gun mount.
The repair of broken down armored vehicles is a common
during large-scale exercises. In this photo, four soldiers wearing
issue helmets pose for a photographer. During their normal work
the men would not wear such restrictive headgear. Note how the turret'
allow for easier access inside the turret.
The camera has captured
moment when all three of this T-5 ·
crew members-driver, gunner
commander-are entering
respective hatches. Compare the
fenders of the lead tank with thOSE
the vehicles in the background and
will notice how they have been cut
to allow for the installation of a K ~
mine clearing device.
16
_ -rence
-egular
• utine,
jacks
The tanks shown here were produced in Poland but are in the service
::- :: 8 East German Army. The one in front is ready to be fitted with a KMT­
- _ clearing device as is evidenced by the altered mud guards. The box
_ left side of the turret is a characteristic of a Polish- or Czechoslovak­
-c-=e T-55.
n ese T-55s belong to East Germany's National People's Army (NVA).
are being used here for practice on a tank driver's training course.
ow the identification numbers that are normally so conspicuous on the
. the turret have been painted out on the lead tank.

The large tube rising above the loader's hatch on this T-55 is a training
evacuation hatch. It was designed to be used in the event that the tank was
stalled while fording a river and the crew needed to escape. Usually used
on WZT/BTS recovery vehicles, the pipe proved too bulky to transport and
too complicated to use on tanks in combat conditions.
, e first major upgrade of T-55
= seen in the late 1970s. These T­
- - !
-;;-i nders
:- :
- -=-.-
_
' 8
-
- :. "
"
-" =.rm ed
anks were equipped with laser
and updated tracks,
_-1 other things. In early 1983, the
3 : Union began to produce the T­
and the T-62M. Both new
S were fitted with better armor,
engines, and newer armament
2quipment, all of which breathed
into the old T-55s. Appearing
.;. photo are rows of T-62Ms in
istan in 1988. Only one of the
tan ks is equipped with smoke
-$ (the first from the left) , and two
with anti-aircraft machine
17
The thickness of the new laminate
front plate armor is clearly shown in this
photo of a branch-covered T-55. The
"Merida" version of the tank was built in
Poland from 1986 to 1989 for the Polish
Army exclusively, unlike the
Czechoslovak "Klavidos" (Soviet T-
55AM/Ms that were built under license)
that were exported to East Germany.
The T-55s modified in Poland 2.
little different than the Sovie:
Czechoslovak versions. They
designed to accept the Polish
control system called "Merida
though only a few tanks actually he
installed. Usually they have ani .
infrared system, a wind sensor a ­
ballistics computer. The T-55AM2 0.
has new armor on the superstru
front plate and the front of the
and sideskirts over the wheels.
Two more of the "super" T-55
are shown here. While these ta­
sport thermal covers on their .
barrels, not all of these tanks are;
equipped. Many of the T-55AMs .
configured with laser rangefind"
however. The Polish version of the {;
fire control system is called "Meri­
This model varies slightly from
Czechoslovak version known
"Klavido" and the Soviet version knC'
as 1K13.
18
are
have it
:ln ly an
- - and c.
.12 also
--':ructure
c turret
- T-55AM
--e tan
-' eir 9
Soviet T-62s, each bearing a unit insignia on its turret, make short work
=: - ing some shallow water obstacles in this photo_ Until 1975, T-62s
~ -= not armed with a 12.7mm DShK AA gun. Their arsenal consisted of a
: -lhbore 115mm UT-5TS gun that was stabilized by the two-axis
,=,".:eo r" system. This gun was the major new feature on this tank
::--Jared to the T-55.
e T-62 tank was developed under the code name of "Obiekt 166",
- entered service in the Soviet armored units in 1961. The experimental
167", with a multi-fuel 700 hp engine and a "Malyutka" rocket
er, appeared on the scene that same year. A new model equipped
- "- gas turbine engine was introduced in 1963, and the "Obiekt 150" (the
- - 8.n k destroyer) was produced in 1968. The latest model , the T-62M,
'" into being in the mid-to-Iate 1980s.
This tank that is so
effectively dug into the
earth is a T-55AM2 with
the full "Merida" fire
control system-a wind
sensor (located behind
the Luna-2 searchlight),
a laser rangefinder
(under the
commander's hatch)
and a thermal cover
wrapped around the
barrel of the gun.
Notice the indentation
in the "bra" armor
where it goes around
the driver's head.
Although widely used by the Soviet Army, few T-62s were used
elsewhere in the Warsaw Pact except for a handful in Bulgaria. The T-62
was also produced in Czechoslovakia for export but surprisingly enough
was not used in the Czechoslovak Army due to its cost. Here is a platoon of
this model tank from a Soviet Guards unit. The first T-62 has a red lance­
pennon which means it is the commander's tank.
19
A T-62 (without any markings) leads a long column of ZSU-23-4V1
Shilka vehicles down a road. At the time, these new medium tanks were
known as a "suppression tank" or a "support tank". They were distributed
over a number of companies (with a few tanks per company) , or even
concentrated into one company of T-62's in one tank battalion.
A line of T-62s from a Guards unit
practice crossing a river. With their
OPVT snorkels attached and their
engines sealed up, they can cross any
river up to a maximum depth of 17 It
(5.5 m). The two snorkels in the water
in the background indicate the locations
of two T-62s still in the process of
fording the river.
A view of the rear of a T-62. Almost everything on this tank is the s=:
as on the T-55, except the completely new turret. The range of the T­
280 miles (450 km) or 400 miles (650 km) with additional fuel drums ('1. ­
can be installed on the curved racks, visible here over the unditching bee­
In the rear of the turret are found a ventilation mushroom and a shell eje'"
hatch.
This photo, taken in 1980, sho
column of T-62s with white be
around the turrets, an alterne:..
wargame marking for Soviet aggr
units during wargames.
:;;-Jresso'
T-72 and T-80 tanks. The T-64 has always been exclusively in
21
vi et T-64A tanks are shown here on parade in East Germany (DDR)
; . e "anti-Solidarity" exercises in 1980. When it first appeared in the
.: vhicr
the T-64 was considered more of a heavy tank than a modern
; J'eam)
tank. Over the years a number of changes have been made to

-::: roblems that have arisen with the T-64. This resulted in the more
o· ows c.
.= bands

unit of
T-728s.
Pact
were
1 the Romanian
many of
the early
It is
note that
Poland,
possessed
number of
entire
Pact-about
first
=- ::: ian
-.=- Warsaw
- sD , there
300 of these
but
" ere
-=-- .l1g to
to
::0 - - ='1ia
"- c:gest
- in the
The next generation of the Soviet main battle tank was the T-72 which
entered service in the Soviet Army in 1973. In 1978, the first of the T-72s
were sold to the Soviets' allies. In the place of the T-72A came a new
modification-the T-72M. The licensed production of the T-72 began in
Poland and Czechoslovakia around j 981-82. This photo of a parade of
Hungarian T-72s was taken at the beginning of the 1980s; this is the original
Soviet T-72 model.
The crew members of a company of Czechoslovak T-72s make final
preparations prior to undertaking a deep river passage. Although
Czechoslovakia and Poland eventually manufactured the T-72M locally,
both countries bought small numbers of T-72s from the Soviet Union to
familiarize themselves with this tank. The contrasting image of the horse­
drawn cart and the modern armored vehicles is striking. There is little doubt
as to which would be more useful in the event of mobilization for war.
A column of Polish T-72s. These tanks were imported from the Soviet
Union in the late 1970s by all the countries of Warsaw Pact. All tanks in this
photo have attachments for gill armor.
Though it appears this squad of T-72Ms is embroiled in mortal combat,
they are merely undergoing some rather realistic exercises at a firing
ground. Two of the more important changes in the "M" modification relate
directly to protection during an actual combat situation-the installation of
the TDA device and the addition of thicker armor.
These three T-72Ms were built under license in Eastern Europe. Each is fitted with gill armor on the fenders and has a windshield for the com man
Note the mock-up of a ... German PzKpfw. V "Panther" (') in the distance behind and to the left of the last T-72.
22
: -: of
"'::s.
0\ tank,
.- 1e gur
- _
-: - :::0 is the
- --3.
lumn of first series Polish T­
out mud guards. Visible in
ditch digging blade
zo '0 the underside of the front
is incorporated in the tank's
is intended to assist the tank
:r-=-c:: hing. A crew needs only
- - 3 " an hour to dig a trench 5 It
=- -::eep.
A second column of T-72Ms,
camouflaged in splotchy tan and green,
skirts around the marshy terrain. The
two blue stripes located on the forward
portion of the barrel of the 125mm
smoothbore gun identifies these tanks
as belonging to the second company.
Note the impressive 12.7mm anti­
aircraft machine guns held at the ready.


·it'­
;: l1mande·
Camouflaged with pine branches,
, 1-72M engages in "combat" with an
=- =l1Y' during exercises. Note how
s .urret is turned rearward.
23
The T-72M was, theoretically, the
main battle tank in all the Warsaw Pact
countries, but in fact all of them were
equipped with too few of these tanks.
Here is a company of Polish T-72M1s in
a frontal attack. All of these tanks show
overpainted tactical numbers (and
some national markings, too).
Following exercises, tank
members clean the barrels of t h ~
81TM (2A46) 125mm guns.
guns are capable of firing two
anti-tank (AT) shells-the 3VB
later types) Armor-Pie
Stabilized Discarding Sabot
which has an initial muzzle
1800m/s and the 3VBK7 (or later
High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) \
velocity of 900 m/s.
In this photo is one of the
72As painted in the standard
color, except the side skirts which
its natural , black rubber color.
this version of T-72 has add'i
armor on the turret , with the
"73" painted on it. This thicker
and side skirts are the most vi_
differences between the T-72A fa;:
and previous models. In Polish
Czechoslovak production, the T·­
was designated T-72M1.
24
"Soviet T·
c:d gree­
- hare i'
10te the:
"':D dition2
:- 9r armo
:st visibl,
.;. CDl umn of T-72s stops to take on fuel at a field refueling station. Fuel
"""--"...: . is 264 gallons (1000 liters) for the T-72A model and 317 gallons
- ' ers) for the later Soviet T-72S and S1 versions. This allows for a
-=-um range of about 280 miles (450 km) and 360 miles (580 km)
-=>-.&.:;Uvely.
ere a T-72M traverses a "battlefield" during maneuvers. The T-72M
.' 4j"
.

The Czechoslovak Army had the most T-72s of all the Warsaw Pact
countries-about 850 examples. This Czechoslovak T-72M seems
hopelessly trapped in a quagmire of mud and water, but the commander of
the tank appears confident that his vehicle will extricate itself in short order.
,_:. __'
The 750 hp engine that powers this East German T-72M1 has sent it
- 2ft, fami t '=" · ·on is not the same as the Soviet "M" model and no counterpart is found literally flying through the air over a slope. There were about 550 T-72M and
an: --e Soviet Union. It is, in fact, an intermediate version between the T-72 M1 tanks in service in the East Germany. This tank is painted in the
-" T-72
=T-72A with the thinner steel armor of the T-72. The tank shown here is standard green color, but splotches of white have been added as wintertime
=r-_ pped with covered KMT-6 mine rakes. camouflage.
25
A pair of Polish T-72 M1 s during a
winter exercise. Based on this model of
the T-72, the Polish military industry
developed its own, "new" model named
the PT-91 Hard. In fact, it is a modified
T-72M1 equipped with a new 780 HP
engine, 24 smoke mortars, Polish
reactive armor and the "Drawa 2" FCS
with thermal imaging.
,.' ~ ...... ~ . ~ : - -::.'
,0 ,.., _< :
......... .r_
/..
.;'
"
. J/.
. . '
.... \ . I
. ,I .
_
26
A platoon of Polish T-72M1 d_
winter march. There were proposE...
sell the newer T-80s to the W ~
Pact members in the end of 1980s
Poland leased several for trial s
plans to produce it locally. Howeve'
Soviets wanted too much mone
license production rights, so Pc
stuck with the T-72 (now in its P­
Twardy version).
Another shot of the Polisr
72M1 s during winter exercises.
photo gives us a good view of
example of the variety of
camouflage added to the tanks .
other features worthy of attention
the smoke mortars on the turret anc
skirt armor on the fenders of the ta

' :
.arsa
- - ar)":,
- - wi ir
':', cr, ttk
-"y fCY
"olan
"" PT-9'
.
"
- .:olumn of Polish T-72M1 s at rest with the unit commander's tank in the front Note the windshields fitted in the commmanders' cupolas of the second
-: _ tanks. This photo shows the locations of the driver and commander of the tank crew.
- fall of wet snow creates a
...2l li ntry landscape, as two tanks
:;: :';:''l1pany of T-72M1s lead their
- - toward a distant firing ground.
$ 'I provides a good look at the
nd on the front of a T-72M1.
Some of the camouflage applied to
the T-72s during the winter is worth
further study. Little of the standard
green undercoat is visible on this tank.
Note how the sandy colored paint (or
mUd?) on the skirt armor and glacis
plate contrasts with the green seen on
the hatches and on the second tank.
="":":ention a Even on the Luna searchlight, the
and t green is given a coat of white, then one
tan of mud/sand.
27
Here is a close-up of a T-72M1 covered with ­
In the area where the mud is fresh and wet, it shOl
dark in the photo; it appears light where it has
Visible on the turret are several of the twelve s.:
"902 S" smoke mortars which contain 81 mm 306 s­
shells. Note the five mortars installed on the &::
laminate armor.
-\
The three rings (yellow or blue)
around the barrel of the gun on this
Polish T-72M1 identify the tank as
belonging to the third company. The
positioning of the twelve smoke
mortars are clearly visible here. Note
the incomplete KMT-4 mineclearing
blade system attached to the front of
the hull.
The last tank developed under the Warsaw Pact treaty was the T-80 which was used only in the Soviet Union. Here are a pair of T-80SVs tha:
covered with bricks of explosive reactive armor. This armor is attached to the existing armor plating. When it is struck by a shaped charge 'Mo.rh" ,...
explodes outward, thus preventing the charge from penetrating the conventional armor. Today in the CIS, the Arena active defense system is being i
to protect tanks from missiles.
28
- - S Jhoto shows an East German
- -- - - 'ng a sweep through a mine
- ~ ~ 32.ri ng it for use by other tanks
_-; - the use of a KMT-5 mine
- - ~ ; ; device. The KMT-5 is
_: =-ll of a KMT-4 mine rake and a
-ne roller. It is a dramatic
-"--::n of the potential effect of a
- --e on armored vehicles.
Shown here is a Polish T-54AM
tank mounted with a KMT-4 mine rake.
In the background is a WPT-34
recovery vehicle passing through a
gate made by the use of a BGL-60
bridge. This photo was taken at the
beginning of the 1980s.
The interesting tank seen here is a
T-55 made in Poland, modified with a
BTU-155 (also known as the USCz-55)
bulldozer blade. The BTU-155 blade
weighs about 1 .4 tons. It is lighter than
some of the earlier blades attached to
the T-55, but no less effective.
29
Here is a BLG-60 bridging tank in action. Working together, =­
Germany and Poland developed the design for this model of scissors br':
This photo shows the top of the hull of the modified T-55 chassis anc
actual electro-hydraulic system that opens the bridge.
Many special vehicles have been built on the chassis of the T-St
Here is one of the most popular-an BLG-60M bridging tank. It
produced in East Germany at the end of the 1960s, based on Polish
chassis. This one is shown crossing over a ravine on the same ty .;:
scissors bridge that it carries.
The BLG-60 bridging tank in this photo is driving onto a section of
pontoon bridge that is connected to the shore by another BLG-60 scissors
bridge. The BLG-60 reduces the launch time of the bridge from 5 minutes
(using the Soviet MTU system) to 1.5 minutes.
The BTS-3, shown here holding aloft a BRDM reconnaissance vehicle,
was not the first tank recovery vehicle made in the Soviet Union, but it was
the first one equipped with a heavy duty crane. Its first modification, the
BTS-2, which had no crane, was built under license in Poland (the WZT-1)
and Czechoslovakia (the VT-55A).
.
viet Union began to develop a tank recovery vehicle following
VO. Other Warsaw Pact nations eventually followed suit. Here
- 'IZT-2 is shown in action with a "damaged" infantry fighting vehicle.
-:-­_ has been equipped with a crane that can lift up to three tons .
It WOE
: ta
:ype
the mid-1980s, the WZT-2 has been replaced by the WZT-3
vehicle that is built on the chassis of a T-72 tank. Another
is the MID (road engineering machine) , which has a crane that
_ to 15 tons and a capacity to safely evacuate up to three wounded
;... •.8
-
For many years following World War Two, self-propelled artillery was the main support for tanks and infantry. This photo, taken in the 1960s, shows an
- 52 (at left) in Polish service during spring exercises. By the end of the 1960s, in the Soviet Union, a new generation of self-propelled artillery was
31
The most popular
gun in the Czechoslovak
1950s was the locally
In the beginning of 1960s, Polish
para units received new combat
vehicles - the ASU-85 assault gun
which was armed with the 85mm D-70
gun. Its anti-armor performance was
inadequate and its heavy weight meant
that it had to be airlanded rather than
air-dropped. It was used only by Soviet
and Polish para units.
The most popular of all the self-propelled artillery in the Warsaw Pact
were those shown here, the Soviet 2S1 Gvozdika ("carnation"). It served in
all the armies as a self-propelled medium howitzer. Built since the end of
the 1960s, it is one of the vehicles that for a long time was secretly exported
to Soviet allies. The Polish Army has used them since 1973.
SU-100. It was built under I
that country from 1952 to the end cr'
1950s, and was used up to
beginning of the 1970s. Many of
met their end in the sands of the
East where they were sold to Egyp:
Syria.
is mounted on a lengthened MT-LB chassis, the hull t
constructed of thin armored plates. It is armed with a modernized verso
the Soviet 122mm D-30 howitzer. This photo depicts two 2S1 as
appeared shortly after jOining their unit. Both vehicles are samples (j
initial version; there is no hatch on the right side of the turret and the)
infrared equipment.
3 2
--8 T-72M in its final version with side skirts, in an unusual exercise camouflage scheme. Note the four Type 902 Tucha smoke mortar tubes installed
- = .eft and right sides of the turret. Two boxes for AA ammo are located near the right side of the commander's cupola. Note the badge of the Polish
-- 0 =Forces behind the infrared searchlight.
= : - tal view of a Polish T-72M (initial version) belonging to a unit
~ by the white puma insignia (located on the turret to the immediate
.' " barrel of the 125mm gun). This tank is equipped with KMT-6M
- : .:",ring blades with covers.
In the late 1980s, tanks in Polish armored units were painted with unit
emblems such as a fox, wild boar or windmill. The first T-72M tank in this
column does not have a puma emblem painted on its turret, while the next
two tanks do.
- '" passage. This T-72M, shown here slogging down a waterlogged
,"_, s not equipped with mud guards, but it is configured with three
:' ' aiding "gill armor" typical of the initial production batches of tanks,
-o : ·Jred in Poland at Labedy. The first version of the T-72M had four
- ~ Janels per side, which fold out at a 65 degree angle to protect
- ~ - t i - t a n k weapons. Often, the forward panel would be knocked off
r- -. training.
33
A column of T-72M tanks pc '
through a soggy field during an exe-:
in 1987. The T-72s are "painte:
improvised wargame camouflags
mopping the tank with a mixture of ­
Note that each of the tanks is equi::
with folding gill armor.
The third company of the "blue"
forces advances in march formation in
this scene. Note the white identification
numbers painted on a blue background
on the storage boxes at the rear of
turret on each tank. The nearest tank
has the full array of side panels.
A T-72M1 , its national mar' ­
partially obscured by camouflage, =­
up a cloud of dust as it races down c ::'
road. The tank's engine enables tt-o ­
72 to achieve a maximum speed of
mph (60 km/h). That is an
. speed for a tank that weighs 41 ':
(42,000 kg). Note the several mc­
tubes located around its turret.
34
...
- his view shows a Polish T-72M1 with the later pattern of smoke
- - 3rs mounted on a stepped launch rack; this feature was peculiar to
= ""2 - tanks. This particular T-72M1 is camouflaged with sand and ochre
: -3 over the standard green; this type of camouflage was usually only
,,0 during summer wargames and was often applied with washable
. " ra paints.
After having refueled, this column of T-72Ms heads toward an exercise
field . Note the red and white Polish national insignia on the turrets. In the
Polish Army (LWP) , there are about 780 T-72Ms and M1s. The expense of
the tanks prohibits any major increase in this number. In 1991 -92, only
about ten T-72's were purchased annually.
-\ column of Polish T-72Ms is seen here as it snakes up a road
- "" Ihere in the middle of a forest. Located above the storage boxes are
-. ;Jhts which project the tank's number towards friendly tanks to the rear.
~ ; " lights are especially useful when the tanks travel in long columns on
_-.as in adverse weather and at night. Note the tank at the far right has
311 letter "E" near its tactical number.
T-72M1 makes an impressive
through some fl ooded ground.
~ "he remains of red anti-rust paint
.-0 the muzzle of the gun breech
_~ yellow lance-pennon on the radio
' - l a. This indicates that this is the
- : any commander's tank.
35
Here are three T-72M1 tanks in dug-in positions. Note the non-standard This photo provides a view of some of the detail found on the turre·
number on the closest. It looks as if the tank in the middle has been a T-55A, particularly the large anti-radiation combing around
camouflaged a very long time; its pine branches are not green anymore. commander's hatch. Note the finely crafted regimental banner held alo , :
the commander. The Polish Army has a long and proud military tradir:­
which the Soviets tolerated in the hopes of maintaining morale amongst ·-­
traditionally anti-Russian Poles. The traditional banner was usually car- :o
at parades marking the start or conclusion of major Warsaw Pact wargarr :-­
The final combat modificatio.
the T-55 is the T-55AM which bo,, >
increased armor and the improve::
55U engine. The BOD (Horse-sl-:-"
applique armor that surrounds ~
turret was nicknamed "bra armo( ~
the Warsaw Pact troops. It consis:E
steel boxes filled with layers of rr,,­
and penapolyeurethane. While trs ­
55AM can be hard to drive in dir:
terrain, the parameters of its fire CO" ­
system are equal to the T-72.
A pair of muddy T-55AMs. The first
tank clearly shows the Polish version of
T-55AM2 with the large armored
covering over the gunner's sight , and a
hammerhead wind sensor,
characteristic of the Polish Merida fire
control system.
36
- --55A, moderately camouflaged with a few pine branches and mud, escorting several BMP-1 infantry combat vehicles on maneuvers.
During this exercise, all Polish
tanks and other armored vehicles were
painted in sand camouflage color over
standard khaki. Only the Czechoslovak
Army camouflaged its vehicles in the
1950-70s, but the Poles began doing so
later. Soviet and East German vehicles
were for many years painted only in the
standard Soviet green color.
This unusual photo depicts a GSP
- ferry) transporting a T­
- .: - across a body of water. River
--:-3sing practice was one of the most
- :vrtant aspects of the Warsaw Pact
=-cises due to its offensive
=l tation. The numerous rivers in
Europe would pose a
, idable problem for any invading
Jred units.
37
A T-55A carrying the standard
200-liter barrels of fuel is seen here
fording a river. With this additional
external fuel supply, the tank can
increase its range from about 310 miles
(500 km) to nearly 440 miles (700 km).
It takes about 200 extra liters on the
road (and 320 liters in open terrain) to
travel an extra 100 km.
Stretching back into the horizor
column of T-55As adds the
their tracks to ground that has obvio
seen a lot of earlier tank maneuv,, ­
The additional storage box on the ,..
side of the turret was characteristic
Polish and Czechoslovak manufactL ='
T-55s. The orange circle with b =..;;
triangle is a Polish traffic ma ­
indicating a dangerous or wide vehi: '"
To create as accurate a scena" =
as possible of what kind of
Warsaw Pact armored units mi: ­
encounter during an invasion :
western Europe, concrete ta­
obstacles are deployed to slow ,r,
advance of the troops involved in ;- "
exercise. Here crew members of a - ­
55A employ their tow cables in
attempt to remove the
fortification by force.
38
A company of T-55As is shown
O'-e in attack formation. The mud
: : = . . . ~ e d on the fenders and underbelly of
-= tanks attests to the T-55's ability to
'=Jotiate all kinds of terrain. The four­
; ·1numbers on the sides of the tanks'
__·-sts can be seen to have been
:"" l Ied with a stencil; four-digit
. _ , bers were common in many Polish
_ sions in the Cold War years.
Due to its design, this vehicle
presents the appearance of a battle
tank, but it is really a PT-76B
reconnaissance vehicle. No NATO
force had an amphibious scout tank like
it until the appearance of the US Army's
M551 Sheridan in 1969. This particular
PT-76B sports two additional external
green fuel tanks located on the engine
deck, as well as a 12.7mm DShK heavy
AA machine gun. These tanks were
widely used by Poland's 7th Naval
Assault Division on the Baltic, the Polish
equivalent of the US Marines .
.: _G bridging tanks have been in use in the Polish Army since the
A rear view of an East German Army (NVA) BLG-60M carrying two
external fuel drums. The detail of the extension mechanism located at the
middle of the bridge is clearly visible. The bridge itself unfolds to a length of
71 It (21.6 m) and has a support capacity of 50 tons.
- " hey were jointly manufactured by Poland and East Germany. This
.:. shows a modernized version of an BLG-60MP (designed for T-72
_ : uring summer exercises in 1992. The "MP" version has its channels
- - ~ by four inches (10 cm), new surfaces and a slightly different
,:n mechanism than earlier models. Note the colorful summer
_·age.
39
Another special version of ­
is a technical recovery vehicle knc
Polish as the WZT-2. It has a ­
spacious superstructure than the . --::
1 and it is more useful on a
battlefield.
A group of Polish BMP-1 infantry
fighting vehicles waiting for their
marching orders. While the BMP-1 was
fitted with the Malyutka anti-tank
missiles in the 1970s, the vehicles were
usually seen without them in the 1980s,
partly due to the fact that some armies
converted over to the BMP-1 P model
which was armed with the dismountable
9P135 Konkurs launcher, usually left
stowed in the hUll .
In Poland the BMP is
as BWP (Bojowy woz piechota) . -­
camouflaged BWP-1 s
formation. With the possibility
nuclear weapons might be emp' : ­
Warsaw Pact troops used the me:
of their armored vehicles to conce­
for assaults, and to disperse to
themselves against fire strikes. ­
BWP allowed the soldiers to fire
the interior of the vehicle where
would be protected from nu c""
biological and chemical wea;:
They would also enjoy the supp: ­
the BWP's gun.
40
An exercise provides an excellent opportunity to practice crossing a river using different bridging techniques. The crossing is accomplished over three
: ;es. The first is a pontoon bridge, the second is made by the two bridging tanks (with a pontoon in the center) and the third is built on four mechanized
"T. vehicles (GSPs).
3ecause of modern Europe's urban congestion, street fighting would
_-e in any Warsaw Pact-NATO confrontation. These skills were actively
_ ~ ' l t by the Warsaw Pact armies. In this photo, a BWP-1 patrols along the
~ o ~ s of a mock-up city.
Here is a close-up frontal view of the new turret of the BWP-2
entrenched during a summer exercise. The crew wears the usual Soviet
style tanker's helmet, but the infantry squad wear normal steel helmets.
There are about 200 BWP-2s in Poland.
This shot of a BWP-1 being refueled gives a good idea of the vehicle's
size relative to the height of a man; it stands only 6 It (2.9 m) tall. It "drinks"
101 gallons (460 liters) of fuel which provide it with a maximum range of 310
miles (500 km). Both rear doors contain fuel cells, and there is a large
central tank in the infantry compartment that is being filled by the crewman
on the roof. The unditching beam at the back is to help extract the vehicle
from mud.
41
·' .
'."-'
The MT-LB is a multi-purpose light armored tracked vehicle which has
been built in the Soviet Union, Poland and Bulgaria. They have been in the
service of all the Warsaw Pact member armies since the end of the 1970s.
The MT-LB served in recovery, artillery, engineering and other units. Here is
one of the Polish vehicles during a 1987 exercise.
The Soviets employ the IRM (built on the chassis of the BMP-IK) in its
engineer reconnaissance units. In the Polish army, the MT-LB TRI is used
instead as its engineering recce vehicle, since the basic chassis is built
under license in Poland. This version was locally developed in Poland. It is
armed with a 12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun and can carry up to nine
soldiers. Among the many features of the vehicle is the capability of
detecting mines in the ground and in the water.
The TOPAS-R2M is a modifie:
TOPAS designed for use by compa­
commanders. The one shown he-o
from the 7th Naval Assault Division ;
the command vehicle for an anti-ta­
company. Note the open turret shie :
for a machine gunner (absent t 0
weapon in this view) that I'E o
developed by the Polish Milit,, ­
Institute for Automotive and A r m o r ~ :
Technology (WITPiS).
The TOPAS is a Czechoslovak version of the Soviet BTR-SOPK. 1­
photo it is in its final Polish modification (TOPAS-2AP) armed v. ·­
14.Smm KPVT heavy machine gun in the turret originally develop - :
Poland for the OT-64 SKOT wheeled APC. This version is equipped
more effective fording trunk and four fuel tanks.
42
The MT-LBu universal chassis has been used as the basis for Three Soviet Naval Infantry BTR-60PBs emerge from the gaping
- I and and control vehicles for battery and battalion staffs. They differ "mouth" of a landing ship in the largest exercises in the history of the
' .2.. -Iy in the radio equipment used. This photo shows a MP23 Rangir air Warsaw Pact, the "anti-Solidarity" maneuvers of 1980. These BTR-60PBs
~ l s e command vehicle. Note the emblem of the Polish Armored Forces have a speed in the water of 6 mph (10 km/h). They have a normal
. -'e front plate. complement of eleven men (3 crewmen and 8 SOldiers).
The SKOT has been in service since 1964, but this
-'- version SKOT-2AP has been around only since
- 3. Notice the water deflector screen mechanism on
' " 'lull front. The main problem with the SKOT is its
~ s engine which made the vehicle as tricky to drive in
"-' "r as the BTR-60. A small tactical insignia is painted
- ' -e hull front.
SKOTs were produced in many modifications,
among them five command versions with about eight to
ten modifications. They differed in radio equipment and
superstructures. In this photo are two SKOT-R3s
camouflaged with spots of sand color and foliage.
43
The BRDM-2 was built on a modified BRDM-1 chassis but its
superstructure was completely changed so that its interior became more
spacious. It was armed with a 14.5mm heavy machine gun installed in a
turret, derived from the type used on the BTR-60PB. In this photo is a
command version, the BRDM-2D, locally developed in Poland, and serving
with the 7th Naval Assault Division. Note the folding antenna mount on the
left hull side.
Along with recce units, special troops, staff units and a variety of C'
units are also equipped with BRDM-2s. This photo depicts the BR:
2RKhb (called BRDM-2RCh in Poland) used to locate
contamination. On the "b" of this vehicle, the turret has been modifie: .
deleting the 14.5mm heavy machine gun, replacing it with a
machine gun and a flare dispenser. At the rear is a flag dispenser
used to mark contaminated areas; the flags are in bright yellow.
Another famous armored vehicle created by the Soviet military industry is the ZSU-23-4 Shilka, a self-propelled air defense system. The ZS_
entered service in the Warsaw Pact countries in the mid-1960s, about four years later than in the Soviet Union. The photo shows the later model ZS _-_
4V1.
44
A close-up of the front of a Polish
== ) -23-4. This time it is the earlier
J-23-4V Shilka version . Under the
- =Is there is an inscription in Russian
""_ 19, "Do not stand under barrels".
-. Polish national markings on the
-: -: plate of a turret ( on both sides of
9uns )have been painted out. The
o '/ of four-commander, driver, radar
and gunner· are visible here.
Since its earliest development, the
most impressive aspect of the ZSU-23­
4 Shilka has been the powerful
quadruple 23mm AZP-23 cannon. The
practical rate of fire of this weapon is
about 200 rounds per minute per barrel.
The weakest element of the ZSU-23
has been its RPK-2 radar and the
electronic equipment. This photo
shows a ZSU-23-4V1, the standard
production variant.
Sand colored paint has been
-= sd over the green base coat of
' . 7 281 Gvozdikas to break up the
- ines of their nearly 24 It (7.3 m)
ulls. This battery of 2S 1 s are
participating in maneuvers
.; the summer of 1987. A UAZ-469
- ':: 910nging to the staff of a unit can
in the background.
45
This photo shows two more 2S1 s as they negotiate a slippery, muddy slope. For all their positive aspects, the 2S1 has some flaws. For insta- :-"
seems odd that the vehicles are not armed with a 12.7mm AA machine gun and that the drivers have no infrared night vision system. Also, notice fK
driver has limited visibility to the right side of the road.
The largest producer of armaments in the Warsal
was the Soviet Union. The second was Polaoo
Czechoslovakia had more independence in its military ir:
It was the only Warsaw Pact country that was
produce a relatively wide range of weapons. One of the­
the Dana 152mm self-propelled gun, several of which
here in Polish service.
This shot of a 2S1 , taken while the 4-man crew replenishes
the howitzer's ammunition supply, displays a good close-up
view of the vehicle's turret and roof. The 2S1 's cannon can fire
the complete range of Soviet 122mm ammunition. It can fire a
standard high-explosive round about 9 miles (15.2 km).
46
The camera is literally looking down the barrel of the 85mm gun
- :)unted on the ASU-85 tank destroyer that leads this foliage-covered
==-; ade. These vehicles were used in Poland's 6th Pomeranian Airborne
: .lision, the only country other than the Soviet Union to use the ASU-85.
- :hough the ASU-85 is very thinly armored (its frontal armor is only 1.5 in
- mm) thick), it carries variety of ammunition that is eHective against many
:es of targets, and it is equipped with various night-vision systems. ASU­
..5s in the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s were additionally armed with
, ·2.7mm AA machine gun .
Here is a good shot of the left side
of a mobile rocket launcher with a
Luna-l (NATO: FROG) tactical missile.
Four of these short range rockets, each
with the range of 21 miles (35 km),
were in a divisional artillery-rocket
regiment. They were later replaced by
the Luna-2 rockets which could carry
nuclear warheads .
__
-
-
. - S 19505, Soviet tactical Luna
=- ':,-surface rockets were
n the chassis of PT-76s.
slicles did not adequately
'- e job, however, so in the
-;; Soviets produced their first
: - of multi-purpose eight­
:' Jcks for second line duties.
' - em, the ZIL-135/BAZ-135,
-= : ped for the Luna-M (FROG­
" 'ocket launcher. Here is a
Luna-M in firing position
in the summer of
47
a ZIL-131
A close-up of three 9M9s with combat warheads (white color) at a
camouflaged combat position. The Kub launcher system, known in the west
as the SA-6 "Gainful", formed AA regiments on the divisional level. In each
battery there were four of these vehicles with a mobile radar station on a fifth
vehicle and a command vehicle on a sixth.
In the 1950s, the first long '",
8K11 (Scud) missiles were
the best available chassis at the t - .­
the IS/ISU heavy tank tracked c"' 03
In the middle of the 1960s, the
the so-called "eight-legged" \' .. ==
chassis entered service. In tt"o
1960s, the 8K14 missile syste,
mounted on the MAZ-543
the first time in the Soviet Union ­
missile launcher became famous : .
the coverage of the Gulf War v .. '"
was used to launch Scud missile3
This profile view of supply truck shows exactly he;
vehicle's crane is employed in the loading of missiles. The crane car ­
to 1,400 Ibs (640 kg). Note how the soldier holds the Kub missile
it is lowered into place.
Here a lengthy convoy of ZIL-131 trucks delivers a fresh supply c' : :..
missiles to an anti-aircraft battery made up of SA-3 Goa static lau r : ' ,
The convoy consists of six supply trucks and between five and eig hi :
vehicles, including a fire truck. Note the manner in which the
secured while en route.
48
Mechanised units of the Warsaw Pact armies received their
modern SPGs in the beginning of 1970s. The Soviets were
iled to build two main types of SPGs - one with 122mm and
- - ~ n d with 152mm howitzers - because those were the two
=... types of artillery still in the Soviet Army service at the end
-S60s and they thought that both calibers were still useful.
-=.-" is a squadron of 2S1 "Carnation" SPGs (in their first
-= :BI) in Hungarian service in 19aO.
Another battery of 2S1. Theoretically, there were four
battalions in a division which should have had eighteen 2S1 sin
each. However as it was frequently unattainable in the Warsaw
Pact countries, battalions very often used towed D-30s or even
Model 43 howitzers. In the LWP (Polish Army) in the 19aOs
there were even Model 3a howitzers still in use!
The 2S1was the most numerous SPG in the Warsaw Pact
armies, its use being more prevalent by a margin of anywhere
between 3:1 and 6:1 over the 2S3 (Akatsiya) or its Warsaw
Pact equivalent, the Dana. For example, when the Warsaw
Pact dissolved, there were 49a 2S1 s compared to 93 152mm
Danas in the Polish People's Army. A Polish Army 2S1 is
shown here in an entrenched position.
he profile view of these two 2S1s shows two sets of
_, inexperienced and cold crew members receiving their
3ssons on driving these formidable vehicles. Note how the
--:zers are secured with their muzzles covered. In operation,
" n can fire only 9 miles (15 km) compared to the 15 miles
) range of an American M109 SPH.
49
The 2S1 weighs in at just ~
35,000 Ibs (16,000 kg). It is pov.
by a V-8 engine that can achieve ::
hp. The mobile howitzer can travf.
to 37 mph (60 km/h). The vehic ::
also fully amphibious and can err :
its tracks to propel it through water =.
speed of 3 mph (4.5 km/h).
At the end of the 1970s, the
Warsaw Pact countries were offered the
new Soviet 2S3 SPG with a 152mm
howitzer. About the same time,
Czechoslovakia developed a new and
much cheaper SPG, known as the
Dana, that was mounted on the
wheeled Tatra 815 chassis. Shown here
is a four-gun battery of Czechoslovak
Danas.
The massive turret that oCClf:
almost 60% of the whole
superstructure is clearly visible in ­
photo. This turret houses
automatically loaded 152mm S­
vz.77 howitzer. The gun hao
maximum range of 12.4 miles (20
with 0-20 howitzer shells, and .
miles (18.5 km) using CzechosI
and Soviet ML-20 shells.
50
The vz. 77 152mm Dana SPG can drive through rivers up to a depth of 4.5 ft (1.4 m). It has a range of 372 miles (600 km), weighs a heavy 29 tons,
- ~ nas a maximum speed of 50 mph (80 km/h). It has a crew of five. Those with inquiring minds will be interested to learn that the full name of the gun's
c.s.si s is VP31 29265 8X8.1 R.
ere a battery of vz.77 Dana SPGs in Polish service
-..::.: Is into formation. Only three of the Warsaw Pact nations
~ the 152mm Dana-Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the
. t Union. Depending upon on the military industry policy
"S: 9 the Warsaw Pact, Czechoslovakia was willing to produce
~ n armored infantry vehicles because they were cheaper or
~ - than those made by the Soviets. In this case, though, the
- "-.-=- was of a lesser quality than the 2S3, even though it was
- - -. This view shows an excellent close-up of the Dana's
- -.m AA machine gun .
The Czechoslovak 152mm Dana
self-propelled gun is not as good a
weapon as the SPGs developed by the
Soviets or the United States, but it has
many laudable features. It has an
automatic loader which permits the
firing of four shells per minute (two if
manually loaded). Today in
Czechoslovakia the same turrets on the
same chassis are being tested with
30mm AA guns for an anti-aircraft
version called Strop.
51

The history of the 2S3 is a long one. The oldest "ancestor", known as the SU-100P, was introduced in 1949. Next came two SPGs (mou- ­
152mm guns) and a transport vehicle. The first true prototype of the 2S3 was built in 1965 and had an M-69 gun mounted in a closed turret. At
the 1960s, a design change was made and a D-20 howitzer was installed, along with light armor. That model , which appears here, was produceD
beginning of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1980s.
This is a photo of seve=.
German 2S3 SPGs gather€':
training field. Only in the Sov': '
and East Germany were many
152mm SPGs found. In HE
Warsaw Pact countries,
152mm gun batteries were
only a few units being armed
self-propelled howitzers. Unl ·­
2S1 , the 2S3 is armed with a .:.
NSVT AA machine gun. Toda
CIS, the 2S3 is being replaced _
2S19 which is built on the T-72
Included in this group of various
Warsaw Pact vehicles is the IV-13-the
command and communication vehicle
used by battery commanders. It is
located at the extreme right of the
photo. Lined up behind it is a battery of
2S1s.
Rocket artillery has had good and bad times in the Soviet
Union. This sort of artillery was very successful for almost 20
years until the way style of thinking was changed from a point of
view of rockets to "smart" weapons and systems. In the photo
is a group of BM-13 multiple rocket launchers on the ZiL-157
truck which were in service up to the end of 1960s.
1964 the Soviets started producing a new version of the
- - ~ 5D truck. From the beginning it was built in different
- s, one of them as a platform for the multiple rocket
~ -sr ( MRL) - the BM-21 Grad. In the end of the 1960s, they
-,"= :lxported to the Warsaw Pact countries, for example to
- J . where BM-21 s replaced the old standard BM-13s in
A profile shot of the highly acclaimed BM-21 multiple rocket
launcher (MRL) mounted on the chassis of the capable Ural·
375D truck. This one serves in the Polish 7th Naval Assault
Division judging from the insignia on the cab side. This system
can rain down a salvo of rockets in a concentrated area with
terrible effect.
-,m the BM-21 entered service, it was quickly seen that
~ ery good rate of fire, especially when compared to the
=-. the BM-31 MRLs. It proved to be an amazing and very
~ leapon. Here is a battery of Soviet BM-21s during an
s=. in the mountains.
53
This view of the rear of the BM-21 shows eight stanGo:..
M-21 OF rockets in tubes. This Soviet MRL has 40 tubes w
can fire 40 rockets in 20 seconds at a range of 12 miles (20
There are 18 BM-21 s in each rocket launcher battalion of eo:::
divisional artillery regiment.
The insignia on the door of the middle truck shows that this
battery of BM-21 multiple rocket launchers is in East German
(NVA) service. The BM-21 is a hefty vehicle, weighing a little
over 13 tons. It can achieve a speed of 47 mph (75 km/h), and
can fire its 122mm rockets up to a range of 12.7 miles (20.5
km).
The BM-21 Grad ( Hail) is served by a crew of 4 soldiers
who load tubes and aim at a given target manually. The Grad is
still the standard MRL in service in the ex-Warsaw Pact armies.
In the CIS it has been replaced since 1978 by the same MRL,
but on the stronger Ural-4320 chassis and by other MRLs with
a larger caliber.
54
The camera has captured a display of Warsaw _
firepower in this photo of a portion of an MRL battery firing sc­
of its rockets. While the 20-second salvo, or ripple, displ & ­
here is very impressive, it is also highly visible to the enem.
is easy to imagine how unsafe the position would be for the =
crewmen during actual combat.
A squadron of a Czechoslovak Army multiple rocket launchers
mounted on Praga V3A three-axial trucks. This 32-tube rocket system was
manufactured at the end of 1950s, and it was used only by the
Czechoslovak Army. It was not as good a combat vehicle as the BM-21, but
unlike the BM-21 , it could carry additional ammo for a second salvo.
In 1970, the more efficient Soviet 122mm MRL (built on the
..::3Choslovak mUltipurpose Tatra 815 chassis and pictured
??) replaced the MRL on the V3A chassis. This change
-:'. ed to be a success for the Czechoslovak military industry.
--=BM-21 on the Tatra chassis, known as the RM-70 (vz.70) ,
- ore mobile and has better cross-country capabilities, plus it
- e s additional ammo in a rapid-reload system located in the
--.:er of the vehicle.
This Czechoslovak RM-70 sends
a rocket skyward in this photo. This
model has been built since 1970 in two
modifications : one with an armored
cabin to protect the crew (vz.70) and an
-, - ",£
unarmored version with changes in the
·....~ ••A t ~ ~ ; engine's exhaust system (vz.70/85 ).
55
East German NVA vz.70s thrill a crowd of patriotic onlookers during a
parade commemorating the 25th anniversary of the "good" Germany in
1974. The vz.70 MRL can be armed with a 12.7mm heavy AA machine gun,
but only a few of the Czechoslovak Army vehicles actually have one installed
on their cab's roof.
The vz.70/85 MRL was put to use by the Polish Army too. The 7
visible differences between this model and those of other Warsal' :;
countries. For instance, the design of the truck is obviously altered b e ~ ­
the wheels. Also, a new exhaust system appears behind the unarr:- _
cabin on this new model that is not on the earlier vz.70.
56
The Luna-1 was quite a small rocket. I
1950s its builders thought that it did not nec.:
chassis that was larger than the rocket itset'
they used the PT-76 chassis. These caI'
gave good protection to its crews, but the roo
was ineffective. They were replaced by a ~ ~
model of the Luna rocket, the Luna-2, s r:
here.
This is an East German version of the Luna-2. Note how the lack of
-2ce at the rear of the vehicle makes it difficult for the crew to operate the
ile. When the Luna-2 was removed from service in the mid-1980s, the
'= icl es remaining in the Warsaw Pact countries were used as recovery
'=" ' cl es.
There are two methods for transloading Luna surface-to­
" ce missiles onto a ZIL-135 missile carrier vehicle. Here a
2 F (FROG-7) is hoisted onto the ZIL-135 by means of a
=:--B mounted on a STAR 100 truck. The ZIL-135 itself is
:-"gured with an onboard crane so is also able to load them
:self.
This is a battery of Czechoslovak 8K11 tactical missiles mounted on the
IS chassis. These big, powerful and heavy vehicles were well suited for this
purpose. Like the PT-76, though, they proved to be difficult to use and were
too cramped for the missile. The heavy IS chassis was replaced in the
1960s by a larger wheeled vehicle. The missile system shown in this photo
ended its service at the end of the 1970s.
..
. ------' f
Here is the Luna-M rocket on the ZIL-135LM rocket launcher
camouflaged with sand, ochre and light green colors. This vehicle is manned
by crew members who probably like paint very much. They marked one of
the vehicle's cabins with five emblems of the Polish Armored Forces: one on
the left part of the front window, two on the doors, and two on the mask. Note
that the information on the crane says it can lift up to 2.6 tons.
57
The rear view of a 9P113 Luna-M
launcher vehicle with a 9M21 , also
known as the R-65 rocket. Two
BAZ-135LTM tranloader trucks can
carry six Luna-M rockets for the whole
battery of launchers.
This photo shows the ZI .­
crane loading on a 9M21' .:
(FROG-7B) from a
transloader vehicle. The crane (­
launch vehi cle allows for rapid =­
reducing the reload time from or=
to about 20 minutes. Note the
information stencilled on the from
bumper indicating the 2.8 m (9 ft)
of the truck.
58
The production of the 9P'
started in 1966 and the first vehi C2
reached the Soviet all ies' armies in -­
beginning of the 1970s. The
powered by two ZIL-375 engines (ec_
with 180 HP) which make it very diffi
to drive.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the famous "Scud" missile was probably the
- - -: secret weapon in the Warsaw Pact countries. A combination of the R­
- -:>eket and the MAZ-543 truck, the 8K14 Scud has shown itself to be a
idea that has proven successful up to the present time. This is a Polish
:i:Jd B" in its older modification.
Framed between two birch trees, a Soviet BK14 rocket (also known as
the R-17 and R-300) sits waiting to be put to use. In Warsaw Pact war
doctrine, the Scud, with its range of over 43 miles (70 km), was
acknowledged as a tactical nuclear weapon for use at the army level.
Brigades of Scuds are placed in the hands of army commanders.
In the 1960s, the Soviet Union was so proud of its missile forces that the Soviet generals considered replacing almost all other parts of the army with
ile units. In this photo, a number of rocket systems await the beginning of a May Day parade in Red Square. In the middle of the picture are supply
icles for AA units carrying, among other things, S-75 (SA-2) and System A (GriHon) missiles. In the left corner are BM-25 MRLs on Kraz-214 trucks and
' -21s on Ural-375D trucks. At right are two UR-96 missiles being towed by MAZ-537 tractors. In the "second wave" are Luna-2s on PT-76 chassis and
1 s on IS-2 tracks.
59
A pair of East German NVA BTR-152Vs in the company of
a Mi-4 helicopter. This modification was built on the ZIL-157
chassis from 1955 to the beginning of the 1960s. The BTR-152V
was not a very good vehicle especially due to its poor cross­
country capability.
The first batch of Soviet APCs were used throughout all of the Warsaw
Pact nations, except in Czechoslovakia where they produced their own OT­
810. This photo shows a BTR-152, armed with a 12.7mm DShK heavy
machine gun, that belongs to a Soviet reconnaissance unit. These vehicles
were used in the East European armies until the end of the 1960s.
The BTR-152, produced in 1950 and mounted on the =
151 chassis, was the first armored personnel carrier built i:"
Soviet Union since 1939. The Soviet Army needed a fast, f _
to-produce infantry transport, though, so they decided or
"armored truck". This East German BTR-152 is armed \"
7.62mm machine gun. Note the firing ports on the side ana ­
of the superstructure.
A Polish Army BTR-152V in a photo taken in the middle of 1960s. T­
APC could carry 19 soldiers and was armed with one 7.62mm machine G­
or KPVT 14.5mm heavy meachine gun. In special versions "A" and "VI­
was equipped with the ZTPU-2 system (two 14.5mm AA KPVT hmg-s) or ­
ZTPU-4 system (four 14.5mm KPVT's). Note the tire-pressure r e g u l a ~
system.
60
A BTR-60P from a Soviet Naval Infantry unit during the 1980
- euvers. This vehicle is armed with a 14.5mm KPVT hmg, and it is partly
sred by a canvas on a top of the vehi cle which used as a roof. The main
of the BTR-60 were two GAZ-40P engines with 180 HP which had
--hronization problems.
The first modification of the BTR-60 took place in 1963; it consisted of
- -::mping the superstructure and adding an armored roof. This vehicle, the
-60PA, was armed with one 7.62mm SGMB machine gun . It could also
10 soldiers who were able to more easily fire their weapons from inside
s ehicle since their positions faced the interior walls of the hull.
The next generation of wheeled APe's was developed at the end of the
1950s and built from 1960 to the middle of the 1970s. The BTR-60P was a
completely new 8x8 design for 16 soldiers. It was armed with two 7.62mm
machine guns and one 12.7mm DShK heavy machine gun. In this photo is
a column of BTR-60Ps during a parade in Red Square in Moscow at the end
of the 1960s.
In 1965, the BTR-50 was modified again.
This version, the BTR-60PA, had two new GAZ­
49B engines. Also in that year, the next
model-the BTR-60PB-entered service. This
modification was equipped with two improved
stations (for the driver and commander) and a
turret with a KPVT heavy machine gun. The
BTR-60PB shown here has its water deflector
in the raised position.
6 1
Half of the Soviet mechanised infantry units have been equipped with The command modification of the BTR-60 is known as the BTR­
the BTR-60PB eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers since 1960. Note the additional antennae. Three of these vehicles form a staff col_
Almost all BTR-60 vehicles in the Warsaw Pact armies were produced in the every battalion. In this photo, two BTR-60PUs froni the staff of a '­
Soviet Union, with the exception of Romanian variants. It was not exported Naval Infantry unit participate in the 1980 exercises.
to Czechoslovakia, though, since this country produced its own eight­
wheeled vehicle. Here is the view of the front of a BTR-60PB from the Soviet
Naval Infantry.
This photo shows a pair of BTR­
60PAs from the Bulgarian Army. Note
the spare wheels carried on the rear of
the hull roof. The Bulgarians were
rarely seen guests at the Warsaw Pact
maneuvers in central Europe because it
was expensive to transport their
armored units to exercise areas.
At the beginning of the 1970_
license for the BTR-60 was so:
Romania where this vehicle
produced in the early 19805 as
TAB-71, 77 and 79. In the Romo.­
language, "TAB" means the samo
BTR does in Russian- "arm:
transporter".
62
Here is a BTR-60PB marked with the "C-172" identification number of the Hungarian Army. The BTR-60 is armored with thin plates of 6mm. Only the
_ t of the vehicle is armored with 8mm plates. The whole vehicle weights 10.5 tons. Today the BTR-60 is still the standard Hungarian transport, along with
100 BTR- 80s.
These three BTR-60PBs of East
=s m any's NVA churn the water to a
:::E1l1 y white as they cross a river. The
:R-60 is able to reach a speed of 6
_ (10 km/h) as it swims through
These vehicles are also
-_ with grapnels.
A company of the NVA BTR-60PBs in the course of passing over a river
by using a pontoon bridge. The BTR-60 family was the most widely used in
the Warsaw Pact armies although they were not popular among their crews.
These vehicles were produced in the Soviet Union for almost 15 years for a
total of about 20,000 pieces in some 20 modifications.
63
A pair of East German NVA BTR-60PBs on exercise. Note the fake
windmill in the background.
Four years after the birth of the BTR-60, another eight-wheel e:. ­
entered service. Known as the OT-64 in Czechoslovakia and as the ­
in Poland, it has proven to be a slightly better vehicle than the
equivalent , and a little larger, too. The SKOT-2AP in this photo is tall,, ­
the BTR-60PB by 16 in (41 cm).
The smooth-as-glass body of water in the foregro.­
this photo has produced a mirror image of a row
Czechoslovak/Polish-produced SKOT. It is considered ­
better and more "European" than the Soviet BTR-60PB i
is more comfortable, better armored and has two gears for
driving.
The SKOT was designed and manufactured in
Czechoslovakia and Poland. This photo shows an example of
a basic model Czechoslovak OT-64 taking part in exercises in
1980. Upon close inspection of the vehicle, a camouflage paint
job of two shades of green divided by outlines of a sand color
becomes visible.
64
About ten different command and communication vehicles were built on
the original SKOT chassis. Among them is the SKOT-R2 shown in this
photo which is equipped to mount all kinds of radio masts. The antenna
these men are erecting is the telescoping "Hawk Eye" type.
Sitting alone on a rail platform is an SKOT-R2 model of the SKOT
wheeled troop transport. The SKOT in the R2 and R3 versions were built
on the SKOT-2 superstructure. The R2 version has additional radio sets and
is able to mount a variety of radio masts. Note the frame antenna visible in
this photo.
Here is another example of a command model SKOT, this time an R3.
- is parading through a town as part of the 1980 exercises. Due to some
- anges in its superstructure and the addition of extra radio equipment, this
=hicle may seem to have a different appearance than other SKOTs.
This view into the interior of an SKOT transport shows the vehicle
ployed in sapper duty. Here these soldiers demonstrate the technique for
E.ying mines manually. Those with an interest in scale modeling will note
-.;at the interior of the infantry compartment of the SKOT is painted white
ile the interior side of the doors are painted a standard green color.
65
When a SKOT's infantry
contingent has to fight during a raid
through enemy positions or when using
a "deep penetration" tactic, they can
shoot from the interior of their
compartment as well as from the roof
hatch where they are protected by roof
doors. It was the desire to make an
improvement over the design of the exit
doors of the infantry compartment in
the Soviet BTR-60PB that prompted
the Polish army to adopt the SKOT.
66
An optional method of la)
mines on a battlefield is present€'[
this photo. SKOT-1 version
transports are hauling the mine la!
machines. The -1 version of the S ­
can be distinguished by the
any armament .
The BTR-50P entered serviCE
1952 as a supplement to six-wheE:;
BTR-152 APCs, but it was not bui'
so large a number. It was 5( :'
replaced by the BTR-50PK which ­
an armored roof. In the photo is a Br=
50PK with one cupola for the veil::.
commander. Note the raised roof the::.
typical of vehicles produced in -­
Soviet Union.
Two columns of Czechoslovak BTR-50PKs and a Mi-4 helicopter with
a Polish flag are shown preparing for a post-exercise parade. The first
modifications of the BTR-50 were used as a mUlti-purpose transporter,
including roles such as a carrier for an 85mm anti-tank gun or a battery of
82mm mortars. Later it was used as a standard APC.
An NVA BTR-50PK , called SPW-50PK by the Germans, with heavy
.2ge camouflage. These vehicles are better armored and have better
-Dility than the BTR-60/70. BTR-50s were, for a long period, the best
- ::Cs in the Warsaw Pact armies. Due to this fact, they were produced
- : er license in Czechoslvakia as the OT-62 from 1962 to the end of the
=Os.
The last vehicles in the final waves of landing forces belong to unit
"Oiaffs. In the foreground is a command BTR-50PU (a modification of the
-TR-50PK) with fuel drums on the roof of the engine compartment and the
ushroom" of a modernised venlilation system in the corner of the crew
x>mpartment roof. In the background is a MT-LB armored transport vehicle
its standard modification. Both are from one of the Soviet Naval Infantry
:rigade staffs.
Another SPW-50PK, this one marked with the number "542" of the East
German NVA armored unit. It has been photographed in action near a forest.
Note the ventilation mushroom on the roof. In other series, it was transferred
to the rear corner of the infantry compartment. These vehicles have been in
the East German Army since 1962.
6 7
The vehicle in the foreground is a BTR-50PN, one of about eight
command/communication versions. Since the late 1950s, this vehicle has
been built in small numbers as an option for lower command level staffs. It
differs from the BTR-50PU only in its radio equipment. The PU had four
radio stations while the PN had three.
The first series of the Czechoslovak OT-62 were armed with the 82­
Tarasnice recoilless gun and 7.62 machine gun in the modified right tL ...."
In this photo is an anti-tank unit additionally armed with 107mm B- 1- ­
recoilless guns. The OT-62 was produced on the base of the BTR-50PA ::;.
had a lower roof over the infantry compartment.
The OT-62, known as TOPAS _
abbreviation for "tracked, arma­
transporter"), has been in service in ­
Polish Army since 1963. In this
seen the TOPAS in its first stane-,,­
version without any armament , but
some interesting winter camouflage.
These TOPAS armored personnel
carriers move steadily on through the
surf during amphibious landing
exercises. Note the new ventilation
system designed by the WITPiS
research institute in the 1960s. The
stand for a 7.62mm AA machine gun
located on the right turret was installed
in a workshop of the Polish 7th Naval
Assault Division.
68
-'.
..
. ..
..
-1 -
The last modification of the TOPAS-the TOPAS-2AP- was made in
=: : osnd in the middle of the 1970s. A new enclosed turret of Polish design
- h featured a KPVT heavy machine gun was installed in the middle of the
?II vehicle. This turret replaced the small, open turret that sported a
- ~ 2 m m machine gun which was seen on earlier versions. The TOPAS-2AP
_ ~ here belongs to the 7th Naval Assault Brigade (formerly the 7th Naval
-=ult Division until the late 1980s) .
The MT-LB (multi-purpose, lightly armored tractor) is quite an old
ehicle, but it is still considered very useful. One of its main assignments
as serving with anti-tank artillery units in mechanized divisions. Here are
: T-LBs of the East German Army rolling along in a parade in 1980.
A view of the rear of the final version of the TOPAS - the TOPAS-2AP.
The rear of the turret and the open hatches of the hydrojet systems are
visible. On the roof and inside the infantry compartment are four doors for
eight soldiers of an infantry section.
A Soviet Naval Infantry staff amphibious vehicle slips into the surf. This
MT-LB armored transport is a special staff version. Note the special cupola
located in the middle of the vehicle behind the turret which mounts an
infrared searchlight.
69
The BMP-1 infantry fighting
vehicle, several of which are shown
here, was the next step in the evolution
of armored warfare. It provided quite a
shock to NATO specialists when it
appeared on the scene at the end of
the 1960s. The versatile fighter would
prove its value in subsequent years.
The BMP-1 infantry fighting vehi ­
entered service in 1966. One year later
participated in a parade in Moscow, and 2-:
years afterwards it was sold to Warsaw P ~
member nations. It can travel in water a: ~
speed of 4 mph (7 km/h) to a range of a Ii;;;=
over 60 mph (100 km). Note that the W2.-­
deflector shield, the central periscope and ­
gun barrel have all been raised. This is standc:.­
procedure when entering into a river.
A view of a pair of swimrr.
Polish BWP-1s. In Poland the BMF
referred to as BWP. The crew of B\ -:
consist of three men: the driver (in :..­
photo, in the first hatch on the left), ::­
vehicle commander (in the secc
hatch) and the gunner. In the infar
compartment are eight soldiers. N­
the fording trunk behind the turret :"
the vehicle in the background.
70
These BWPs are camouflaged with a combination of sand colored paint applied over a green base color. Crew members have finished the job by adding
-?Jlotches of fresh mud over the paint scheme. Notice that there is waterproof caulking around the side firing ports.
The BWP was the first infantry combat vehicle in the world armed with a major caliber gun in the turret (the earlier German HS.30 had a 20mm cannon).
: gave good protection to its crew and was characterized by very good mobility. It was perceived in the 1960s as an ideal vehicle.
The BWP in this photo presents a
- ne example of what the vehicle would
.oak like in an actual combat situation.
With the appropriate camouflage of
Jine branches and earth tone paint, it
Jlends in easily with its surroundings.
:-Jate the three open firing ports on the
ear hull sides.
71
A repair unit at work on a BWP's UTO-20 engine under the shelter of
camouflage netting in a field recovery station. The UTO-20 weighs 1,463 Ibs
(665 kg) and produces 300 HP at 2,600 rpm. It can take the BWP up to a
maximum speed of 50 mph (80 km/h).
72
A shot of deployed mechan· ­
infantry going into action with B W P ~
support. In a standard batt le format _
BWPs would be in the second and
waves of the attack after the first v.z:
of tanks (or in the third and fou rt­
there were two waves of tanks) .
attack with deployed troops is prefe ­
in difficult terrain and during figh:
heavily forested regions only.
A view of a pair of command BV,-:­
lOs, called BMP-1 KSh by _
Russians. The letter "0 " (in R u s ~
"K") means dowodczy (komand
shtabniy) - command. This version
the BWP family is equipped with spe
communication equipment, and its c '"
consists of five people. There are f­
BWP-10s in one battalion staff .
The sleek profile of the BWP-1 is shown to advantage here as the 22-foot-long infantry fighting vehicle roars over sandy ground during an exercise in
-992. Note that this vehicle has its mud guards knocked off , and the various camouflage colors on its hull seem to have been painted in haste. Since
-990/1991, the potential enemy of the Warsaw Pact nations has disappeared. So during maneuvers in Poland, soldiers "fight" with an "'enemy" that uses the
3ame armament as they do. Prior to the end of the Communist threat in Europe, the "enemy" during maneuvers was equipped with imitations of Leopard
3nks.
BMPs were commonly seen in all armies of the
Narsaw Pact coalition. Usually they composed 30% ­
50% of the infantry fighting vehicles of all mechanised
nfantry regiments. The rest were equipped with
IIheeled infantry fighting vehicles and, especially in
?oland, BTR-50/0T-62 vehicles. Here is a BMP-1 of the
NVA coming out of a river.
In this photo is a close-up of an East German BMP-1. The BMP is
armed with one 7.62mm PKT machine gun, the smoothbore 73mm 2A28
gun and a rocket launcher for 9M14M AT missiles installed on the turret. In
the infantry compartment, there are 9K32 (SA-7 Grail) and RPG-7
weapons, both standard squad armament.
73
Here is a front view of a Hungarian BMP-1. 1-..:­
the national insignia outlined on the turret. The Sc ­
Union built about 25,000 vehicles of the BMP-1/2 far
Apart from Russia, many of them can be found i
Czech and Slovak republics-over 2,000.
This photo shows a Czecholsovak BMP-1
practicing at a driver training field. The Czechoslovak
Army was the best equipped army of the Warsaw Pact
nations when it came to armored vehicles. At the end
of the 1980s, it had at its disposal 2,538 infantry fighting
vehicles, some of them in the Czechoslovak
modification known as OT-90 (a BMP-1 with a KPVT
heavy machine gun).
A squad of soldiers and a BMP-1 are presented in
shadowy silhouette in this photo thanks to the flashes of
light that split the darkness during a night firing exercise.
The crew of the BMP-1 are able to perform night
operations with the help of several infrared night vision
systems: the TKN-3B (for the commander), the TVNO­
2 (for the driver) and the TNP-350B (for the gunner).
74
Three years after the BMP-1 was produced, a
vehicle called the BMD-1 was designed. It I'.;::
basically a BMP-1 for Soviet para units. In para units :
the other armies of the Warsaw Pact, the BMP-1 I'.;>;:
used even though it was heavier than the BMD-1 by
tons. Here some Polish soldiers of the 6th Pomeran ~
Airborne Division pose with their BMP-1.
This is a rear view of a pair of Soviet BMP-1 s taking part in
the spring exercises. Clouds rise behind them as they create a
smoke screen to mask their presence. There is a box located
atop the rear of the right mud guard which identifies this vehicle
as one of the relatively rare early production BMPs. Note the
unit number painted on the right side of the turret, as well as the
faded tank identification number on the entry hatch at the rear
of the infantry compartment.
-.
Here is a view shot of Soviet BMP-1 Ps, this time during
.' inter exercise. The BMP-1 P had the Malyutka missile launcher
' emoved and a simple piece of steel rod welded to the roof for '. _
llounting the 9P135 launcher for the Konkurs (AT-5) missile.
Juring training, the launcher was usually left inside the hull. This
ersion also had Type 902 Tucha smoke grenade launchers
110unted on the turret rear, but in this view, only the attachments
:lre visible.
This Soviet BMP-1 has an added fuel tank on the infantry compartment roof. In the background are a few Soviet T-72As with side skirts partly painted
.vith green color.
75
Another version of the BMP, the BMP-2, entered service in 1981. In this photo, Soviet BMP-2s train to perform a four-wave attack.
new turret (with additional armor but without smoke mortars) and the long, thin barrel of the 30mm 2A46 gun .
A Polish BWP-2 rests inside a prepared entrenchment. These concrete
lined entrenchments were a characteristic feature of many Warsaw Pact
training areas, especially firing ranges where they assisted in training
armored vehicle crews to fire from hUll-down position.
In 1950, along with the BTR-152, the BTR-40 entered service in the
Soviet armed forces. It was known to the world as a scout car but it was, i­
fact, a small armored transporter used for multiple purposes by differen­
subunits, especially reconnaissance troops. In its first modification, eigr:
soldiers could be placed in its infantry compartment.
The BTR-40 was built in three main modifications: the standard "A"
(since 1950), "B" with an armored roof (since 1957) and "V", with a
tire-pressure regulation system (since 1956). In this photo is a BTR-40A fire
support vehicle. It is armed with a ZTPU-2 AA system which consists of two
14.5mm KPVT heavy machine guns. This vehicle is from a Soviet recce
troop. On the side of the vehicle is the unit identification marking "6N2". Note
the lack of firing ports in the side of the hull.
76
......
......
......
.. ~ , ~
...... ..
......

:--. ,.
The BRDM prototypes did not have an armored roof , but the 1958
production model was fully armored. The BRDM-1 was produced from 1957,
and entering service in the Warsaw Pact armies at the beginning to the
middle of the 1960s. This photo shows the East German NVA BRDM-1 from
a recce unit. In the East German Army it was known as SPW-40P, and it has
been in service since 1964.
When the Soviets began selling
the BRDM-1 to its allies, the Soviet
reconnaissance units were issued a
new armored scout car-the BRDM-2.
Having been in the Soviet service since
1962, it began to be used by the
Warsaw Pact nations in the mid-1960s.
It is one of the most famous armored
fighting vehicles in the history of the
Soviet military industry. About 20,000
of these vehicles were built in three
versions: standard, anti-tank and anti­
aircraft. A Polish BRDM-2 is shown
here crossing a river on a PTS-M ferry
vehicle.
Based on wartime experience, the Soviets attached a great deal of
importance to delivering secret messages without risk of eavesdropping or
being jammed due to the lack of high quality radio and electronic equipment.
Here is an example of how a message from a pair of recce BRDM-2s can
be sent with the assistance of an Mi-4 helicopter at the end of the 1960s.
77
For many years the Warsaw Pact forces employe:
light armored cars in their reconnaissance units. Tr"
most famous of these was the BRDM-2, shown here ­
its standard version. The red and white checkerec
insignia on the turret indicates that the vehicle is in tt-,.
service of the Polish armed forces.
There are two main types of the BROM-2
command vehicle: the Soviet "U" modification and the
Polish "0" modification, visible here in this photo. The
first two vehicles have fitted antennae of an R-113 radio
(on the left side of the hull) and a frame antenna of a
long range radio station. This sort of antenna is a Poli sh
equivalent of the Soviet "clothes-line" antenna used on
BTR-60s.
The most typical arrangement of a recce troop i­
action comprises three BROM-2s. One serves as co
command/communication post while the others c a r r ~
out miscellaneous reconnaissance tasks. Here two c'
the armored vehicles embark on a recce missio­
involving a water obstacle. Note the rubber raft carriec
by the second BROM-2.
A BROM-20 in flood waters. The command BROM
is equipped with several radio stations, among them is
one for a long range communication with a frame
antenna. This vehicle has three antennae; usually these
vehicles are used with only two.
78
When Poland and East Germany bought Soviet BRDM-1 armored
vehicles in the first half of 1960s, the Hungarian military industry developed
~ h e i r own equivalent at the Csepel motor plant. This FUG scout car entered
production in 1963. It was a much better vehicle than the BRDM-1, and it
was sold to Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. Here is a Hungarian FUG
in its standard model.
Already in 1966, Hungary had started to build a completely new scout
car armed with a heavy machine gun installed in the turret. This vehicle,
originally named the FUG-2, was modified at the end of 1960s and entered
service at the beginning of the 1970s as the PSzH-IV. There are still about
1,000 of them, exclusively in Hungarian service.
A column of Hungarian PSzH-IV armored scout vehicles on exercise.
Many of the Warsaw Pact countries preferred building armored vehicles
locally, as Soviet prices were often quite high.
The Soviet Union was slow in developing anti-tank missiles due to resistance by the GRAU artillery directorate. The first type in common service was
the 3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper). These wire-guided rockets were first installed on mobile platforms like the modified GAZ-69 chassis which were known as
2P26, and nicknamed "Baby carriages" because of the folding canvas cover over their rear ends. Here is a battery of this combination in the service of East
Germany's NVA.
79
' . •.•. . •••
This photo shows a rear view of a 2P27 belonging to the Polish Army
as it performs coastal defense duties along the Baltic coast. Although not
specifically designed for the task, the Shmel could seriously damage a
typical landing craft. The configuration of the rocket launchers is clearly
visible here. The three main modifications of tank destroyers built on the
BRDM-1 chassis used the 3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper), the AT-2 (Swatter)
and the 9M14M Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger) missiles. They served as the
nation's principal anti -tank vehicles up until the beginning of the 1970s.
Here is a column of vehicles in an AT unit. All these units are equippec
with the 9P122 tank destroyers constructed on the BRDM-2 chassis.
9P122 is still a standard tank "killer" in all ex-Warsaw Pact armies except .,
the former Soviet Union where the 9P133 replaced many 9P122s.
At about the same time, the more reliable
BRDM·1 hull was being fitted with 3M6 Shmel
missiles. Because of the large size of the
missiles, though, only three could be carried.
The BRDM-1 missile-launcher entered service
about 1960 as the 2P27 self-propelled tank
destroyer. The one shown here bears
Romanian markings.
Another famous vehicle, the 9P122.
appeared in the Warsaw Pact armies AT units ir.
the middle of the 1960s. It was built on the
BRDM-2 hull and was armed with six 9M14
missiles. The enclosed gunner's optical sight i::
clearly visible on the armored front of the
vehicle.
80
There were also some very important anti-aircraft weapons in the
Warsaw Pact armies based on the BRDM-2. The Soviets did not believe in .
using strong aircraft cover for armored units during deep ground penetration
so they developed a number of anti-aircraft vehicles. This photo shows one
of the most rarely seen AA systems mounted on a BRDM-2-the Strela-1.
The Polish Army models shown here are armed with 9M31 M missiles.
In 1968, anti-aircraft weapons (four 9M31 missiles) were installed on
the BRDM-2 chassis. Two extra weapons were occasionally stored on the
racks on the side of the hull (shown empty here). These vehicles were used
at the regimental level.
A close-up of a Strela 1 vehicle known in NATO codename as the SA-9
"Gaskin". Note the Warsaw mermaid emblem of the 1st "Warsaw"
Mechanised Regiment. The mode of installation of the missile launchers is
clearly shown. The pristine appearance of the vehicle on parade is
impressive, and only two missiles are loaded on the racks.
More popular in the Warsaw Pact
AA units was the Strela 10M3 system,
called SA-13 Gopher in NATO. It was
installed on the MT-LB chassis and
armed with four 9M333 missiles. Here
two "Gophers" of the Czechoslovak
Army are sent skyward during night
firing exercises.
81
In the Warsaw Pact armies, different AA systems were used for
different sized units of troops. The 2P24 self-propelled rocket launcher
shown here is representative of the first generation of fully mobile surface­
to-air missile systems for use at the army level. The photo shows 9M8
rockets (SA-4 Ganef) being reloaded from a Ural-375 supply truck onto a
2P24 launcher in the service of the East German Army.
A view of the front of the Krug missile vehicle in Soviet service. T h e ~
2P24s were concentrated in independent brigades which were in the h a n ~
of army commanders in all of the Warsaw Pact countries. In the Sovi6:
Union, they were used up to the end of the 1970s as the standard AJ.
weapon to combat aircraft at high altitude.
The 2P25 Kub launcher is based on the same chassis which is used for
the ZSU-23 AA vehicle. On the front plate of the hull are two hatchways for
the 3-man crew. The crew consists of a commander, a driver and the
operator of the system.
These 9M9 rockets, NATO codename SA-6 "Gainful", have been the
most popular AA missiles since the beginning of the 1960s. They were
mounted on a modified ASU-85 chassis and were used as the standard air
defense weapon against aircraft flying at low-medium altitudes.
8 2
This photo shows the left side of the Kub ("Cube" in English) air defense system in Polish service. None of these weapons were license produced by
the Warsaw Pact countries, and so had to be imported from the Soviet Union at considerable cost . Fixtures for hanging tools are visible at the rear of the
vehicle on the side of the hull.
Reloading of 9M9 missiles from a ZIL-131 supply truck onto a launcher.
Each truck can carry a set of two rockets which is not enough for one load
for one launcher vehicle.
A rear view of the 1 S91 (NATO: Straight Flush) radar station of the Kub
battery in combat position. Radar stations were built on the same chassis
and lightly armored like all Kub launchers, but sometimes other special
tracked chassis were used for radars, notably the AT-S unarmored tractor
with the P-40 surveillance radar. Quite often Kub batteries were not
equipped with armored command vehicles, but truck mounted types.
83
One of the latest AA systems in the Warsaw Pact armies is the
combination of the 9M33M2 missiles mounted on the BAZ-5937 six­
wheeled vehicle. It is known in the West as the SA-8b (Gecko) and in the
Warsaw Pact countries as the Osa-AK (Wasp). The photo shows reloading
of containers of 9M33M2 rockets onto a launcher.
Another view of the reloading of missile containers. The containers are
meant to protect the missiles from inclement weather while they are being
transported in a loaded position. The radar seen in these photos is the H
band early warning and search radar. It indicates that this is a newer
system, the SA-8b Gecko Mod 1, which carries six missiles. The earlier
version carried only four.
The BAZ-5937 was one of a family
of vehicles that entered service in the
middle of 1970s as a chassis for two
main missile systems: one for the
Tochka-U (SS-21 Scarab) and one for
anti-aircraft Osa (SA-8 Gecko). This
system, seen here in Polish markings,
was known as the "Romb" (Square) in
its Soviet version and the "Osa" (Wasp)
in its export model.
Tracked vehicles were also used in
support units for jobs such as towing
missiles. In this photo, an ATS-59
mUlti-purpose vehicle is used as a
tractor for a battery of S-75 (SA-2
Guideline) air defense missiles.
84
The Soviets started to manufacture the ZSU-57-2 in 1950, but the first ZSU-57-2s were exported to all of the Warsaw Pact countries in the late
time it was seen was at the end of 1957 during a parade in Moscow. The 1950s, and they used them up to the end of the 1970s. The ZSU-57-2 could
ZSU-57-2 combined two S-68A guns and a modified T-54 tank chassis. In carry 300 rounds of ammunition, among them being anti-tank and shrapnel
the photo are Soviet ZSUs waiting to join the parade near Red Square in ammo. This photo shows Hungarian ZSUs being loaded with ammunition.
Moscow. --,
tl
This battery of spotlessly clean
Polish Army ZSU-57-2s are lined up
prior to participating in a celebration of
the birthday of Communist Poland. The
last ZSU-57s in Polish service were still
seen on exercise fields at the end of the
1980s. The dual 57mm caliber gun
armament is an impressive feature of
these ZSU-57-2s, but their lack of radar
fire control made them inadequate in
the jet age.
The Polish LWP was one of the
first Warsaw Pact armies to be
equipped when it appeared in the early
1960s. This is one of the ZSU-23-4V
Shilka, distinguished by the
configuration of the vents on the turret
side. This particular version was
notoriously inhospitable for the turret
crew, as the use of tube electronics
meant that it heated up the turret
interior to an unbearable degree during
the warm summer months.
85
In every tank and motor rifle regiment there are two batteries of air defense and anti-tank vehicles. The air defense batteries consist of four ZSU-23­
4s and four Strela 10Ms (known by the NATO code of SA-13). Normally the ZSU-23-4s operate in pairs, and the one seen here is a ZSU-23-4M, sometimes
called the Biryusa rather than Shilka. However, the name did not stick, and most Soviet troops called all ZSU-23-4 versions the Shilka.
Camouflaged as it is, this ZSU-23­
4 Shilka disappears in the cloud of dust
that it kicks up during the summer
exercises of 1992. Powered by a V-6
240 HP engine, the vehicle can achieve
speeds up to 27 mph (44 km/h).
Instead of using the ZSU-57-2, the
Czechoslovak Army opted for their own
locally produced version of an anti­
aircraft vehicle which they called the
vz.53/59. Built on the chassis of the
Praga V3A truck, it was armed with twin
30mm guns and partially armored with
thin armor plates over the cab. This
photo shows a vz. 53/59 vehicle
painted in a two-tone green camouflage
scheme at the beginning of the 1980s.
86
Two vz.53/59s in the front of a
column of a company of 2P122s during
1980 maneuvers in western Poland.
The vz.53/59's guns are neither the
newest nor the most effective weapon,
but it has seen widespread combat in
recent years in Yugoslavia.
The K-61 amphibious transporter
was designed for transport duties at the
beginning of 1950s when not all combat
vehicles could "swim", but it was still
considered useful up to the end of the
1970s. It was used as a supply carrier
or assault vehicle for infantry attacking
across rivers. In the photo is a K-61 with
twin 14.5mm AA heavy machine guns
which belongs to the Polish 7th Naval
Assault Division.
--=-.
-. .
In Poland, the chassis of
unarmored trucks like the GAZ-63, the
STAR-100 and the STAR-266 were
used to create light, mobile anti-aircraft
artillery vehicles. This photo shows the
latter truck configured with twin ZU-23
(2A14) guns. Each AA squadron in all
of the mechanized regiments have
eight of these vehicles at their disposal.
87
. ~ " ' ? : ~ ' .
, .:
.....
'. ~ ~ .. ~ ' :
. . ~
~ -4-,
. ~ __C:-_,___
f
The K-61 was replaced by a new
transporter in the 1960s-the PTS-M.
It was larger than the K-61 and was
able to carry 70 soldiers or over 10 tons
of equ ipment. The PTS -M in the
foreground of this photo is a
Czechoslovak version. Note how large
the vehicle is compared to the size of
the driver.
K-61 s have been in the service 0
East Germany's NVA since 1957. ThE
NVA K-61 shown in this photo i ~
transporting an 85mm SO-44 anti-tanf
gun along with its crew. This versatilE
amphibious vehicle can carry 50 t r o o p ~
or up to 5 tons of equipment. .
This Hungarian Army PTS-M flies a "red cross" flag and is being used
for medical evacuation . Note the soldier erecting the frame for a soft-top
roof. This profile shot gives a good view of the long, low-profile chassis on
which the transporter is mounted.
88
All pristine, and decorated with a conspicuous Communist star, the--"
two Bulgarian PTS-M tracked amphibious transports make an impress' =
addition to a parade. Each one carries a "crew" of finely dressed Commu
officials and carries an impressive 100mm T-12 ant i-tank gun.
.7 __,__ _ _____