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Maj.Hans

Which T-55 for the Finns? Also T-72 Q's

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I notice that we've got several T-55's to pick from now.

 

I wonder, of these, which one would be the best option to represent the upgraded Finnish T-55M's?  I am aware that the Finns put in much better sights and fire control, but retained the original armor.  I'm not sure if they ever put in night sights other than the IR systems originally fitted.

 

Of what we have in ProPE, which one best represents the abilities of the T-55M's?  I know I could pick one of the AM/AM2 upgrades as a hypothetical with more armor, but if  I want to get as close as I can to the real deal what do I go with?

 

And again, I have to ask what ammunition would best represent what they had on hand?  I know the T-55s outlasted the T-72s, so I assume they had better ammo, but I also want to ask the same of the T-72s, what would they have had them loaded with at the end of their career?

 

Thanks

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What little I was able to find from net in Finnish says that Finnish T-55s  got Ballistic computer,  Laser-ranger finder, thermal shroud for gun And most importantly  Night vision based on light intensifier as in western vehicles.   No armor ugprades, and as I understand it... original ammo?   Reason why we kept T-55s  seems to be night vision and ballistic computer...  Unless... we got ammo from somewhere that was better than on t-72  but of that i have no clues.  I do suspect there may have been other reasons too  (namely fact that t55 has loader) 

 

Hah... i actually have  2  books that could reveal all things you wish..  but I have never read those..   I probably should..  LOL  

Edited by Lumituisku

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OK so they got better sights and fire control which is good.  Passive night sights might not be thermals but even those are a HUGE upgrade over the old Soviet system.

 

I can understand not trying to upgrade the armor.  If you can't bring it up to a modern standard that will stop the ammunition it's likely to be hit with, then why bother adding weight at all?

 

As for the ammo...That's going to be a shock to me if it's true!  I feel like you can, to some extent, make up for having thin armor or no armor...  Dig in, stay hidden, stay on the move, etc, or, kill your enemy before he kills you...  That last one is hard to do if your weapons are worthless!

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Finnish geography plays a huge role.

The whole country is a mix of forested swamp and rocky islands that freezes over for four months a year. Typical engagement ranges are very short, and you're more likely to be confronted with light infantry and light armored vehicles than masses of heavy tanks. In that context, if you can withstand BMP-2 30mm ammo and can throw HE frag rounds of decent caliber, you're good to go for at least a defense in depth with hundreds of ambush sited in highly restrictive terrain.

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I'll try to start reading those 2-3 books... That may reveal more of our T-55s and upgrades, ammo and why we kept those. as I'm kinda interested of this myself too. But.. I cannot promise anything. As my life currently is a bit of mess due to many reasons. 

 

I believe that real reason why we kept T-55s was that when those needed and received modernization when we were able to afford it. t72s.. fell in bad timing... They were good enough.. and not bad enough to be upgraded and then we got offer of used German Leopard 2a4s... That were much better than any upgrades for t-72 and at same time.. upgrading t72s would have been too costly in comparison to performance difference to leos ...  And at the time..  our upgraded T-55s were better for our needs that 72s.. so go figure. 

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okay.. I found what you are looking for..  i think.

 

Finland uses default  T-54  and T-55 tanks..   and  those were modernised and renamed in Finland  as  T-55 M  and  T-55 MK (command version with additional radio) versions.     Later  in the book I get number   60 T-55M   tanks.   (so not that many but I guess  many enough) 

 

Changes were following.. this according to tank maintenance depot book I have  

 

- New Fire control system manufactured by Bofors.  Includes abilities for  Lead, inclination of own tank and most effects of environment  (no mention of specifics  i assume it means temperature and air pressure etc)

- New gunner optic that includes improved night fighting ability with Light intensifier based night-vision

- Lighting grenade launcher  and Smoke grenade launchers

- Tracks with "rubber" joints ?

-  Stowage boxes to turret

- Xenon spotlight

- Thermal shroud for main-gun barrel

- Rotating hatch for loader with 12.7mm antiaircraft machine-gun 

 

I understand that later Finland bough 10x T-55A tank hulls from Poland to be changed to SPAA tanks   "T-55AM-Marksman"   

 

 

https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/Finland.php

This may be useful.. although numbers don't quite add up..  also  I have never ever heard Finland having  Leopard-1!!!    We have hulls of those in some bridge layers..  but that's it.  So that it total mystery to me if that is true.

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4 hours ago, Lumituisku said:

 

- Tracks with "rubber" joints ?

 

The joint / bush being rubber reduces wear (and noise) as the two metal pieces of track (depending on who you ask they'll call these "track link", "track plates", "track shoes", ...) now have some rubber between them.

 

It may also be an attempt to make it "live" track instead of "dead" track, but you'd need to now some more information about the locking pins, etc. before going too far.

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18 hours ago, Lumituisku said:

https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/Finland.php

This may be useful.. although numbers don't quite add up..  also  I have never ever heard Finland having  Leopard-1!!!    We have hulls of those in some bridge layers..  but that's it.  So that it total mystery to me if that is true.

That's gotta be a typo...You'd think we'd have heard about it in other sources...

 

 

Interesting upgrades for the T-55s...Makes me re-think what version is appropriate for use.  Those are lots of upgrades, especially the smoke launchers.

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Found something more! According to Parola Tank museum Finnish T-55  got better ammo during modernization!  

Too bad that I have no idea of what ammo precisely...  >.< 

 

T-55M.jpg

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That little sign on it is begging for somebody to write a caption to go with it!

"NO TANKDESANT!"

 

So this is all good info...I'm guessing the most likely source for newer ammo would be the west, Israel perhaps?  Didn't they capture and use tons of T-55/T-62 both with original guns and refitted with the L7?

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Russia also updates 100mm munitions. I wouldn't rule out that they supplied it. Then there's countries like Bulgaria, Romania whom after the fall of the Iron Curtain I wouldn't entirely rule out as supplying Finland. But, yes, Israel is another likely candidate. BM20, BM24, BM25 were all Russian mid to end 1970s rounds. M309 an Israeli round license produced in Romania, but only very recent (well, 20 years ago). There don't seem to be many HEAT and HE round variants, however, even though I would imagine that some progress was made there too.

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2 hours ago, Maj.Hans said:

I'm guessing the most likely source for newer ammo would be the west, Israel perhaps?

From Belgium, AFAIK. Probably M1000-series by MECAR.

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8 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Around which year did the modernization start?

According to  "Tank maintenance depo history" book I have.   Prototypes and testing for modernisation was made between 1986-1988.  And actual modernization during  years 1989-1993

Edited by Lumituisku

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On 2/8/2020 at 4:30 AM, Maj.Hans said:

but I also want to ask the same of the T-72s, what would they have had them loaded with at the end of their career?

This book says  that T-72 ammunition  had speed roughly 1800 m/s

and penetration of  650-800  depending of type of ammunition.     Perhaps that helps a bit.   

 

Also there is interesting mention that at same time  with T72s  being purchased from east german (and other armor vehicles)  there was as well massive purchases from china...    makes me wonder...  could it be ammunition for T-72s?  As I am not aware that Finland would have bough actual vehicles from China.. so it has to be something else.

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I found from interned discussion  that was related to T-72  a following comment.

 

"Päivitys PV:n vaatimalle tasolle olisi maksanut paljon (siinä oli mm. koko etupanssaroinnin uusinta), ja lisäksi Venäjä kieltäytyi myymästä parhaita nuoliammuksiaan vaunuihin. Suomalaisten piti tyytyä export-mallisiin ammuksiin, joissa oli vähemmän panssarinläpäisyä kuin viime vuoden loppuun asti käytössä olleiden T-55M FIN -vaunujen belgialaisissa nuoliammuksissa."

 

In short it says..  Russia refused to sell Finland their better ammunition for T-72 and Apparently T-55 latest sabot ammo from Belgium was better than "Export  (non russian)" ammunition used in our t-72s

 

Found same info from this PDF document..

https://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/172850/Ylijohdon_reservi-Petteri-Jouko.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y   Page 223

Edited by Lumituisku

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T55m  (FIN)   Gunners controls  

 

1ff9de71.jpg5e648cd7.jpg

 

https://ylilauta.org/sota/74651036#no95571871  Interesting post claiming that Finnish T-55 had better firecontrol than Leopard 2A4...  automatic target tracking and very fast calculations..   but old "stabilization"  meaning that shooting from move wasn't accurate.   But once stopped, its claimed to be top quality.       Though... I am bit suspicious of that claim...

 

 

Ooh  here I found ammunition information.  https://ylilauta.org/sota/74651036#no115562517

Myös T-55M:n belgialainen M-1000 -ampumatarvike osoittautui paremmaksi läpäisyssään kuin T-72M1:n teräsnuolinen 3BM18. M-1000 kun läpäisee vielä 2 kilometrissä 350 mm, mutta 3BM18 vain 290 mm.

 

So apparently T-55  used Belgium  Sabot round   M-1000    that has penetration of 350mm  in 2km distance.

And T-72  used  3BM18. M-1000  (Steel arrow)  that penetrates 290mm in 2km distance. 

 

O.o   

 

Here is a video of Modified finnish t-72 prototype..  

 

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There isn't much to find on the interwebs about the M1000A1, but I'll try to come up with something. Jane's has a few bits and pieces, and at least at longer ranges the performance estimation should match what few performance data are given.

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I haven't found clear answers. A blog covering the war in Syria claims that the rounds were sold to Syria in the 1980s. I'm skeptical about this, although it might just fit the timeline; The M1000 is said to be an outflow of 90mm APFSDS development for the 90mm Cockerill gun which was started in 1974 (but only the Mk III version of the gun with its triple baffle muzzle brake is certified to handle the recoil of APFSDS rounds). And only after the 90mm APFSDS was developed Mecar considered scaling it up for other calibers (including the 100mm D-10 gun).

 

Mecar seems to have announced only two international sales, both to undisclosed ASEAN member states (which would exclude both Finland and Syria, so it's not entirely unlikely that Jane's reporting is incomplete). According to Jane's Weapons & Ammunition 2016/17, Mecar released the "A1" series of 90mm rounds in 1994; the tracer version of the M1000 also has the "A1" designation, but of course that suffix could be entirely caliber-dependent rather than denoting generations of ammunition families.

 

The T-55 upgrade in Finland started in 1989 and ran until 1993 or so, so I'm currently considering "1991" as the date of introduction (+/- 2 years, I suppose). If it was 1989, this means that Belgium would have sold these rounds to Syria immediately as they became available. Mayyybe. But who knows how the M1000s found in ISIS hands made their way to this country.

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Well... Sources I referred here on last couple of my post were from internet forums and from users I do not know... And would not blindly trust either. Soo there is that too. Also M-1000 could be... Finnish designation on it or so... I did see mention of Mecar there though.

 

And how... Eeer... I guess reading all these books thoroughly could reveal it. What little I did read there was some really... Fancy ways of getting even adequate armor at that time because some nation's did not trust Finland because of Soviet / Russian proximity and poor information security. It was considered possible that secrets given would leak to unwanted hands and hence many sales of vehicles and possible upgrades of FCS or gun were denied because of that. Quite similar likely as how Soviet Union / Russia refused to sell some of their equipment or ammunition at times. And we're often it seemed to be political tool as well. But how did we get that ammunition... I have no idea... Yet.  I'm curious though, so perhaps further reading will reveal that. 

 

Also on the forum I found lot of this stuff there was claim that Finland still has 9 T-55m (Fin) at use based on statistics publicly shown on Finnish Defense Forces site. And some of those were seen in exercise in 2016.

 

There are many other wild claims.. too that I just do not buy at this point but history will reveal if those were or weren't true. 

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22 hours ago, Ssnake said:

There don't seem to be many HEAT and HE round variants, however, even though I would imagine that some progress was made there too.

I have to admit, I thought about that for a while, and I have wondered why we don't see newer HEAT rounds for the 100mm, 115mm, the NATO M68/L7 105mm, etc...

 

Part of me suspects that it simply hasn't been well documented.  For example, some while ago the ATK Systems website talked about 105mm MPAT rounds for use with the M68 as mounted in the M1, IPM1, M60, Stryker MGS, etc.  But there were little to no real details.

 

On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if upgrades to those weren't simply left behind as unnecessary.  Even the oldest 100mm HEAT round is more than enough to whack an M2 Bradley, and HEAT has fallen out of favor for use against MBTs, so why bother with upgrades?

18 hours ago, Lumituisku said:

Russia refused to sell Finland their better ammunition for T-72 and Apparently T-55 latest sabot ammo from Belgium was better than "Export  (non russian)" ammunition used in our t-72s

This doesn't surprise me.,,

My memory is fuzzy but if I recall correctly for the T-72, 3BM9 was an all steel APFSDS, 3BM12 had a tungsten nose plug, 3BM15 was a longer 3BM12, and 3BM17 was an all steel export version of 3BM15...

Did the Soviets allow anything more modern than 3BM9/3BM17 to be exported?  Did they even export 3BM12/15 with the tungsten plug?  I have to admit I don't really understand this policy entirely.  On one hand they equip countries like Hungary, Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia with T-72s so that their "allies" can help them fight against NATO in the Warsaw Pact.  On the other hand, those T-72s would have been almost entirely helpless against modern NATO armor...

 

In a way these facts might really help explain things.  The T-55M FIN armor and the T-72M armor was equally worthless against modern anti-tank weapons.  The T-55M FIN had better FCS and optics, and due to it's metal cased ammo possibly better survivability for the crew, easy to obtain spare parts from all over the world...  If you can't upgrade the T-72, why not just stick with the better tank right?

 

9 hours ago, Lumituisku said:

And how... Eeer... I guess reading all these books thoroughly could reveal it. What little I did read there was some really... Fancy ways of getting even adequate armor at that time because some nation's did not trust Finland because of Soviet / Russian proximity and poor information security. It was considered possible that secrets given would leak to unwanted hands and hence many sales of vehicles and possible upgrades of FCS or gun were denied because of that.

That's honestly interesting to hear.  I'm familiar with Finland only through modern eyes.  Looking back from today, where Finland is commonly depicted as a staunch enemy of the USSR, it seems strange to think about Finland being a risk for leaking things to them.  But then again, they did buy Soviet tanks, Soviet planes, etc...

 

9 hours ago, Lumituisku said:

Also on the forum I found lot of this stuff there was claim that Finland still has 9 T-55m (Fin) at use based on statistics publicly shown on Finnish Defense Forces site. And some of those were seen in exercise in 2016.

Wonder if they could have been kept around for training purposes?  Just as a way to offer another vehicle to play as the "bad" guys in exercises?

But going back to earlier points I'm sure they would still be more than capable against PC/IFV type targets.

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