|T-58 Rhino Main Battle Tank|
|A Rhino Tank in the field|
|Unit Type||Main Battle Tank|
|Production Building||NVA Reinforcements|
|Secondary Ability||Switch machine gun/main gun|
Anti infantry/Anti tank
|Heroic Upgrade||Anti-Helicopter/Infantry Machine Gun|
|Dev. Status||In game|
"Fat Cats Die Die"
- -Anti Allied Graffiti seen on a Rhino of the 9th Tank Division - Scandinavian Offensive 1965
- Old Timer: Tried and trusted, the Rhino dates back to World War II, but is still as capable as ever. Mounting a powerful 125mm smoothbore cannon that has long replaced its old 100mm gun, the Rhino can easily handle anything it might encounter in the jungle.
- Over the barrel: In the event that a Rhino encounters pesky infantry, it has a number of options, from running them over to cutting them down with the Rhino's machine gun. However, the Rhino cannot use its machine gun and the main gun at the same time, and so the gunner much switch between the two, depending on the situation.
- Get psyched: The NVA's variant of the Rhino Tank also mounts a loudspeaker, allowing the crew to broadcast propaganda, orders or even songs to raise the morale of their comrades as they drive their tank into battle, supported by a wave of NVA Regulars. Regulars fighting near Rhinos are known to fight with even more ferocity than normal.
- Cut them down: Rhino Tank commanders with enough authority often requisition a second PKX 12.7mm machine gun, which boosts the tank's anti-infantry capabilities and allows it to engage helicopters.
After the initial Allied counterattack against Soviet forces commanded by Gunther Von Esling, the Soviets were forced, if unofficially, to acknowledge the German Mastiff tank as strategically superior to their own Anvil heavy tank. Though the Allied tank had long odds to defeat the Anvil one-on-one, it had far better range and speed while still being too powerful to defeat without another tank or specialized anti-tank weapons.
The inflexible Soviet Anvil, so successful at first, could not beat an enemy that refused to fight on their terms, so Soviet commanders quickly began demanding a supplementary tank that could engage the Mastiff on its own turf and free the Anvil up for assault actions. It still took over a year for the request to reach Soviet Command, with previous requests being interpreted as excuses or defeatism.
Soon after, the request went out for a knock-off design of the Mastiff; the final design consisted of a 50 ton tank capable of 50 km/h, with sloping armour and a single turret mounted gun, purpose built for engaging similar vehicles. This design flew in the face of current Soviet design philosophy, which pegged battle tanks at 90 tons plus with the iconic twin guns for the bunker-busting one-two punch.
Though the design was desperately needed on the front line, the project was death from a political standpoint; though Stalin did not halt the project, he refused to bless it with a name fitting the revolutionary scheme, thus beginning the tradition of giving vehicles names that broke the "Tools of the People" scheme. The tank, dubbed the Rhino for its single, protruding main gun with unusual over-the-barrel machine gun, was designed by the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, who at the time were the primary providers of Soviet armoured vehicle designs.
The first machines hit the field late in 1954, and proved to be an equal match for the upgraded Mastiffs in service. They slowly began to replace the Anvil, especially since the war had taken a defensive turn and the straightforward assault power of the Anvil was no longer as useful. By the end of the war in 1955, Rhino production exceeded that of the Anvil; Anvil production was stopped soon after the war ended, but Rhinos continued to be produced.
Contrary to popular belief, the Rhino is still the primary battle tank of the Soviet Union. Though they employ the much more advanced Hammer whenever possible, the Rhino is still the backbone on which the Soviet war machine is built. Part of its success is the extremely straightforward design; in an age where most tanks have advanced machinery like spectrum rangefinders, magnetic beams, or nanomachine shields, the Rhino is a straightforward gun turret on an armoured chassis that can be easily upgraded to remain competetive. This keeps production costs low and maintenance times minimal, meaning that the Rhino can always be used in large numbers. Furthermore, like most early Soviet designs, the Rhino can be built almost entirely from stamped parts, and the Rhino's chassis has proven quite upgradeable, with plans for a new hull and turret design incorporating many of the advances of the hammer and mounting a powerful 125mm gun.
It was this that allowed the Rhino to see service in Vietnam. Though the Soviets would not give up any of their precious battle tanks so needed on the front line, a stamping machine with the Rhino jigs was sent to North Vietnam in 1967. This machine, and ones built from its design, have churned out at least a thousand and likely substantially more North Vietnamese pattern Rhino tanks. Though simplified, these vehicles are still more powerful than their ARVN counterparts, and give the NVA the serious punch they would have otherwise lacked.
Just the Stats
|Main Battle Tank|
|Armour Type||Heavy Armour|
|Knock-Back, Dumb Fire, Move and Fire|
|12.7mm Machine Gun|
|Reload, Move and Fire|
|Infantry||Victor Charlie • Guerrilla • Krait Sniper|
|Vehicles||Pincer ICV • Supply Truck • Bulldog Tank Destroyer • Chameleon ZSU • Mortar Truck • Mammoth Tank|
|Structures||Tunnel Complex • Disappearing Gun • NVA Smelter|
|NVA Reinforcements||NVA Regular • NVA Pincer ICV • Rhino Tank • MiG Nine|
Camo-Netting • Tunnel Ambush • Saturation Fire
|Detailed Information||Vietnam War • North Vietnamese Characters|