Another Cold War Flashback: T-55

I promise… this is the last video from this year’s open house at the American Wartime Museum.

I think this is a T-55AM2 turning laps on the demo field.  But I must admit my armored vehicle recognition has slacked over the years.


The T-55AM2 is a Czech offering to upgrade the dated, obsolete T-55.  The upgrades at least give the old clanker a chance against modern anti-tank weapons.  The upgrade package includes applique armor on the turret and hull, a side panel to protect the external fuel tanks, upgraded power pack, thermal protection for the main gun, suspension adjustments, better tracks, and a smoke grenade system.

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Yes, smoke grenades.  In the “old days” Soviet tanks used a TDA smoke generating system that simply dumped fuel or oil onto the exhaust manifold. I recall during one of our threat briefs circa 1991 an instructor clarified this solution by saying, “its just stupid, but that’s the way Ivan wants it!”

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Also on display at the open house was a basic T-55 in Czech colors.

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The basic T-55 was a formidable adversary in its day.  With 120mm frontal armor and a 100mm main gun, the Soviet tank had advantages over the contemporary American M-47s and early M-48s.  The low silhouette gave the T-55s some tactical advantages.   But that advantage came at a price – main gun elevation and depression.  I would also add, the T-55 is the most cramped tank I’ve ever taken a run in.

– Craig.