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