For the Record: Lešany Opening 2016
as usual, I attended the Lešany Museum opening for the 2016 season around three weeks ago. I can say that it was really nice – the opening is traditionally visited by as many people as the Tank Day so the place was fairly empty, but there were still interesting things to be seen.
Warning – this post contains a large number of large images. Mobile users beware.
Here’s a group of Czech re-enactors, dressing up as a Scottish Argyll Highlanders regiment of the British Army. Why? No idea. But looks fun. As usual, right-click and “view image” for full res.
Well, this looks familiar. British equipment in Czechoslovak service:
So this is a one-of-a-kind item – the 4th prototype of the OT-64 SKOT (out of 4 in total). Without too much explaining – the first three prototypes had some serious problems with engine and suspension that were fixed on the fourht one. The hull is nearly identical to the mass-produced OT-64 version. After undergoing a number of military trials, it eventually ended up in the museum.
This is the Swedish VKP m/42 APC. As its name suggests, it was designed in 1942 and some of its modifications served for more than six decades. The Swedish actively used it during the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (1960-1964) and Cyprus (1964-1978). It was officially phased out only in 2004.
Here’s the traditional German halftrack, right? Nah, it’s “just” the OT-810 (Czechoslovak post-war improved version of the Hkl6p), re-painted to look like the German vehicle for re-enactments. While the OT-810 was not exactly successful, it found its new purpose after 1989 when dozens were sold to private owners and movie companies. If you see a German halftrack in any western WW2 movie (post-1989), the chances are extremely high that it’s in fact an OT-810.
There were a lot of wheeled vehicles too.
The legendary Praga V3S – legends say that its multifuel engine can run on vodka alone! The designation means “vojenský 3-tunový speciál” (military 3-ton special) but many, many of them were sold as civillian vehicles.
Czechoslovak pre-war army re-enactors
The show was – as usual – started by a low pass of two Gripen fighters the Czech Air Force uses.
Czech Special Forces wartruck used in Afghanistan
Special guests – Czech LIAZ an Tatra trucks that participated in the famous series of Paris-Dakar rallies in the 1980s. And yes, it was very, very dusty.
OT-810, this time in Czechoslovak colors. The khaki was the standard post-war military vehicle color.
OT-62 TOPAS, a heavy amphibious tracked APC (the OT means “obrněný transportér” – APC)
OT-64 SKOT, several variants. The one with many antennae is a special radio vehicle.
Remember that Praga V3S truck shown above? This is its armored AA variant, carrying two 30mm cannons called “Ještěrka” (“Lizard” – this was the project’s codename during its development). It was heavily used during the Yugoslavia break-up wars, more often than not in a ground attack role. These things were seriously feared for a good reason!
BRDM-1, a Soviet recon vehicle. Its successor (BRDM-2) was far better known.
BRDM-2, its successor
And of course, the ubiquitous BMP-1
This is the infamous OT-90, a BMP-1 with OT-64 turret MG turret, built to convert the BMP-1 from a “tank destroyer” to a pure “APC”. It was generally pretty useless and is often mockingly called “Havel’s Tiger” after Václav Havel, our first post-1989 president.
And of course the Pandur II IFV.