I am from Bosnia. You know, between 1992 and 1995 it was hell. For one year I lived, and survived, in a city with 6000 people, without water, electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Our city was blockaded by the army and for 1 year life in the city turned into total crap. We had no army, no police, we only had armed groups – those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started some of us were better prepared, but most of the neighbors families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols, a few had AK47s ( ) or shotguns.
After a month or two gangs started operating, destroying everything. Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more police. About 80% of the hospital staff were gone. I got lucky – my family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large house, 6 pistols, 3 Aks), and we survived (most of us, at least).
You and your gang, including Ribbentrop, decided to enslave Europe. A ******** like you could not figure out how dumb that was. Your sheep-head could not figure out you couldn’t carry this one out. It seems the horse that gave birth to you filled your head with bread, not brains. The Germans thought you are a Napoleon and came in the water, not knowing where to cross. Instead of a conquered Europe, you got kneed in the arse. You’re hanging on so far by a thread, but soon you will get cockslapped in the head. And from your fascist nest not even a cock will be left standing, you German pussy.
As a guess, the wheel will be for applying and taking away the power from the engine, rather than the more common power handles. I've driven German Loco's with this set-up, so it would be quite logical for the Russians to have had the same system.
I would also expect those two switches on the cab wall to the right, to be the loco brake and the train brake - again, similar as some German units I've driven
Aside from the use of very long range artillery pieces, Big Bertha for example, I've never understood the logic in creating armoured trains. No matter how much armour is fitted, the weak point has to be the track bed - and the heavier the train, the less damage needs to be done to the track bed to halt the train.
The pics show a ballast wagon with repair materials pushed in front of the train. Optimistic? Four lengths of rail and some sleepers - when the ballast needed beneath them will be scattered around the countryside. All very well to say that tracks and ballast can be removed from behind the train, but that doesn't bode well for a hasty retreat.
I've never understood the logic in creating armoured trains. No matter how much armour is fitted, the weak point has to be the track bed - and the heavier the train, the less damage needs to be done to the track bed to halt the train.
It probably only ever made any sense in the huge expanses of Russia prior to WW2, when most military transport was horse drawn, air cover didn't exist and both sides wanted to make use of the tracks for shifting their men and materials.
Part of Von Schlieffen's cunning plan involved givng the French a comprehensive shoeing first before turning on the Russians, because the Russian rail network was poor, it would take longer for the Tsar's armies to reach the border and, once they got there, they'd have to revert to roads because they used a different rail gauge.
But I agree it was a profoundly weird thing to anyone who's not a Russian.
I'd suggest that the Russian fetish for such things was due to the Bolshevik experiences in the 1918-21 civil war - All the rail lines extend outwards from Moscow in a direction towards the various white armies, and with Dzerzhinsky's Cheka 'keeping the peace' in the centralised area of control held by the Bolsheviks, they had little to worry about in regards to sabotage on the tracks. So why armour them? Well, Russia being the size it is and rails being the massive advantage that they were due to lack of other options, its only natural to assume that the Whites were as desperate to nick them off the Bolsheviks were to keep them - a true strategic asset (think the reverse of the UK's current train system...). Thus, the threat to the trains is people trying to a) capture them, leading to the arming and armouring, and b) people trying to steal things from them, such as food which was in critically short supply. Never underestimate the Russian ability to shoot their own people!
EDIT: Putting the hand for general mongness, only started to read the article after replying!
It isn't that bad an idea, remember the expanse of Russia, and the numourous tracks over it. Yes, when a train is chanced upon by aircraft it is going to get messy, but I doubt we could use Bombs on ALL tracks.
Is it a correct assumption that this train would take the tansk and infantry to a point, they then disembark (even under fire) and as the train reverses, they go to fight?
When you look at the expanse fo russia, this idea has merit. Moving armoured formations around fast.
While I can't directly answer the question, I would point out that they do seem to have a big thing about fighting from the train itself, which the significantly wider Russian rail gauge facilitates. However, from reading the article I'd assume that your assumption is correct.
Armoured Trains go back as far as the American Civil War, used by the British in the Boer War. Young Winston Churchill being caputured by the Boers after a Armoured Train incident. Used by the British in WW1 and WW2.
Also used by the Germans, Polish, Hungarian, White & Red Russians, Chinese, and Japanese.
In the 60's and 70's the Rhodesians had armoured vehicles converted to run on railway tracks.