Two stunning new 3D styles have been released in the game client with Update 1.7.1:
If you own these tanks, their 3D styles can be obtained for gold by clicking the Exterior button in your Garage and selecting them from the Preset Styles list.
Each of these styles is unique in its own way, and so you may wonder – why would an Italian medium tank be decorated with African motifs, bearing black-plumed helmets into battle? And do you really need to pack a ladder for the AMX 50B?
The answers, as it turns out, lie in history.
The Italian Elite
The two helmets decorated with black feathers which can be seen on the rear of the Progetto's turret in the Safari Corazzato style were worn by the Bersaglieri–soldiers of the Italian Army's elite unit.
Originally created by General Alessandro La Marmora in 1836 to serve in the Army of the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Bersaglieri were initially trained as sharpshooters and tough soldiers. They were easily recognizable by the distinctive, wide-brimmed helmets they wore, decorated with black capercaillie feathers. An alternative version of their helmet has the feathers protecting the right eye of sharpshooters from sunlight, but over time, wearing the feathers became more of a decorative tradition.
A Weapon of Two World Wars
On the right of the tank's fenders, one can see boxes containing Carcano Moschetto M38 rifles. Designer Salvatore Carcano based these rifles on his experience with the best foreign rifle models of that time: the Mauser M1889 and the Mannlicher M.90.
The new rifle was tested by the elite units of the Italian Army: the Bersaglieri and the Alpini units. Experienced shooters liked the rifle so much that they accepted it for service, and during the First and Second World Wars, it was used by the Italian Army.
Africa as a Symbol of Italian Valor
The African motifs in this style are a nod to Italian East Africa, the administrative-territorial entity which existed on the world map until 1941. The Italians had intended to stay for a long time, but World War II ruined their plans.
The Italian troops gained an unflattering reputation in this war, but there were exceptions, such as the Ariete Armoured Division. Many of its soldiers showed heroism in the Second Battle of El Alamein against the British. One such act was the desperate attack of a dozen L13/40 tanks under the command of Luigi Pascucci, into the very center of the advancing 8th British Armored Brigade. There, they managed the impossible—they forced the British to retreat.
But in the end, the difference in the number and quality of their vehicles took its toll—all the attackers were killed. In subsequent battles, the division was surrounded and all but destroyed. Several vehicles and a squad of the Bersaglieri managed to escape the encirclement.
This newly-formed Ariete II Division then went on to save the Italian king and the government from being captured by the Nazis, defending Rome from attacks of the 3rd German Panzergrenadier-Division despite being surrounded.
In World of Tanks, the Progetto M35 mod. 46 is a true predator! Its accurate gun and high mobility allow it to quickly track down and destroy its prey.
So it seems only fitting that its fierce new style should feature the skull of an African buffalo, a trophy from the most dangerous of the so-called Big Five game animals. The buffalo usually attacks first without waiting for a shot, and when wounded, it attacks in all cases without exception. Many a hunter has fallen in pursuit of one, and so will your enemies!
For a hunt to be successful, a powerful and reliable weapon is needed, and it can be found behind your tank's turret. This lever action carbine Davide Pedersoli 1886, for which the .45-70 Government cartridge is used, was one of the most powerful rifle calibers at the time when the weapon was designed.
The lever action mechanism ensured a high rate of fire for the carbine, which immediately calls to mind the Progetto M35 mod. 46's gun with its autoreloader mechanism! Equipped with a gun like this, the Progetto M35 mod. 46 can hunt even a Maus, one of the most formidable beasts in World of Tanks.
Earning Favor with the Spirits
And of course, gaining favor with the spirits is a must for a hunt to be successful. For this reason, several African masks are attached to the turret.
Since ancient times, they have been used in Africa for many rituals, such as ritual dances before a hunt or before a battle. Charged with positive energy, masks can bring good luck. Perhaps, if they're attached to the vehicle, they'll win the favor of the Spirits of Random Battles!
A Hellish Disco in the Jungle
The name of the Javan Rhino style was selected intentionally. Rarely seen in the wild, the Javan Rhino is on the verge of extinction; similarly, of the six French heavy tank prototypes, only one (the AMX-50 Surbaisse) remains, and only in the tank museum of Saumur, France.
This new style was inspired by the first Indochina War, during which French troops had to fight in the impenetrable jungle. Devilish heat, thousands of insects, poisonous reptiles... In such conditions, a tank becomes both a home and a fortress. American soldiers, who replaced the French in Vietnam, referred to the conditions of warfare there as a "hellish disco in the jungle". If the AMX 50B had been sent for testing in the jungle, it would probably have ended up looking like this.
High Net Worth
A camouflage net is stretched above the top of the AMX 50B's turret to provide disguise, protect from the scorching sun, and prevent an unexpected grenade from being tossed into an open hatch.
Such multipurpose solutions are often still used in modern tanks, including the camouflage made by the Saab Barracuda company for the US Army.
A Gift from Uncle Sam
During the first Indochina War, the French were actively supported by the British and Americans. The latter provided the M20 recoilless rifle, adopted for service in 1945.
Later on, the French also put it to good use. In the mountainous and hilly terrain, it proved to be an excellent choice to destroy enemy firing points, so the rifle was mounted on any vehicle, even motorcycles.
Attentive players may also notice German entrenching tools mounted on the vehicle. After World War II, German vehicles and SPGs were used by the French Army for their purposes.
And as for the ladder? Completely historical! Such ladders can be seen in photographs of German heavy tanks during World War II. The designers of this style, who studied the real AMX 50, personally checked and verified that without a ladder, climbing such a vehicle would have been a challenge.
Now that you know the background behind these unique styles, you can apply them to your favorite tanks and bring yet another piece of history into your Garage!