January 19, 2005

Toys for the Castle Garage.

CAPT H, ever a shill for Canadian defence (sic) industries, opines that rather than Chinese amphibious jeeps of unknown safety and quality, or rather-hard-to-get-parts-for obsolete WWII German jeeps and tanks - I should go for a nice, North American made, Grizzly.

To which I respond, if I was gonna go Canadian, rather than the minivan he proposes, I'd go with the tricked out SUV, complete with back-up camera (or look into the next county camera) and all the other bells and whistles, the Coyote.

Either way, a new garage would be required.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 19, 2005 | TrackBack (0)

January 17, 2005

The need for commerce produces strange bedfellows...

Israel - supplier to China, India, and Russia. Given the amount of Chinese and Russian stuff used against Israelis over the years - and still used in Armies hostile to Israel - this is an interesting development.

PROCUREMENT: Israel, India and Russia Produce 125mm Tank Shell

January 17, 2005: Israel, India and Russia are teaming up to manufacture superior munitions for Russian weapons. IMI (Israel Military Industries) has agreed to co-produce (with India and Russia) 125mm tank shells for Indian tanks, as well as for export. IMI has long been a producer of high end tank shells. Incorporating some of the IMI technology into 125mm shells for the Indian army will be no problem. India and Russia hope to gain experience in higher quality manufacturing methods as a result of this deal. Both Russia and India have long suffered from quality control problems in their military weapons and munitions plants.

Interesting to note in the picture above, which is from an advertisement for Indian Ordnance Factories - what do the M1 and M113 in the background represent? Targets for the ammo? Or a cachet of quality?

And, given the Schwimmwagen post below, this seems an appropriate bit to share:

ARMORED WARFARE: China's Swimming Jeep

January 17, 2005: China has developed an amphibious jeep, the BY5020TSL. The vehicle, based on the forty year old BJ2020S (itself based on the older Russian GAZ69), can drive into water and move at a top speed of 12 kilometers an hour. The 1.2 ton vehicle can carry 900 pounds, and seats five. The amphibious version is intended for reconnaissance units, to make it easier for the recon troops to get across rivers or other water obstacles. On land, these 4x4 vehicles have a top speed of 105 kilometers an hour. Civilians can buy one for $15,000, from the Beijing Jeep Company. China's basic BJ2020S design has been continually improved over the years. In the 1990s, many engineering improvements were made by using technology borrowed (via a joint manufacturing deal) from the American Jeep Cherokee.

Looks like it may have a little in common with the Ford GPA (the US amphibious Geep) of WWII, as well.

Hat tip: Strategy Page.

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by John on Jan 17, 2005 | TrackBack (1)
» Overtaken by Events links with: Clicking Around

January 14, 2005

Gratuitous Bandwidth consumer.

When SWWBO saw the King Tiger yesterday, she burst out laughing... because she knew I wasn't kidding.

However, there *is* a toy I could probably talk her into.

A Schwimmwagen.

A nice little tidy amphibious package.

For those who might be confused. Kübelwagen.

Just to make sure: Schwimmwagen.


VW Thing.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 14, 2005 | TrackBack (0)

January 13, 2005


Would this not look good in the Castle Motor Pool?

And where did I put that 19,000 Euros I was wondering what to do with?

And last, but not least... this is a good suggestion from the Rantin' Raven. 'Bout time to change the old "close enough for Government work" shibboleth, anyway! While your there, scroll down one post and take a look at Enlightened Management in action. Not.

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by John on Jan 13, 2005 | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2005

City Fighting With Tanks.

Here's some shots that came in via email yesterday of some of the Marine tanks fighting in Fallujah. Might even be the same tank company whose commander wrote the AAR I posted last week.

Click the pic to go to the album. Click the pictures in the album to see them full size. Work safe, I think. No dead, burned bodies or anything. If you work in an anti-war environment - well heck, you're endangering yourself just reading me, so some pictures aren't going to make any difference.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2005 | TrackBack (0)

January 07, 2005

You guys are too smart for me.

Bill the Rotorhead ferreted out the truth. In his comment to the "Chia Tank" post he opined:

ALCON--Now that we've posilutely ID'd it as an M48A2, John's first post at dawn will reveal that it's actually an M60A3 hull that's been PhotoShopped three degrees laterally with an Aussie immersion heater from Gallipoli cut'n'pasted on a T-64 turret... =]

He got it right except it was a US Army immersion heater from Bastogne and this is my second post.

So, to do that, I started with this shot:

The I grabbed this and this.

Then I threw the elements onto a clean canvas, doing some stamps and blending of grass from the backyard to get the 'chia' part.

Slapped 'em together....

Adjusted some more...

And the rest is just little details. Some smoothing, some blending, adding some Koreans using Illustrator, cutting and pasting some roadwheels return rollers. modifying the fenders, and a pixel by pixel rework of the background of the original pic.

Then, Voila'! You have this.

See how easy that is? The hardest part was paying for Adobe Creative Suite!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 07, 2005 | TrackBack (0)

January 06, 2005

Two words.

Chia Tank.

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by John on Jan 06, 2005 | TrackBack (1)
» Right Thoughts links with: HA!

January 05, 2005

Shipping over the '113s.

This issue having generated some interest, I thought I'd post a comparison shot of the standard (i.e., no anti-RPG armor) M113 and Light Armored Vehicle (LAV), which the Marines use and from which the Stryker is descended.

Bill T. mentions the ACAV, and riding on top in Vietnam. Pretty good story on that with lots of pictures is available here. Here's a site covering Canadian M113s, of interest being the bottom photos of a M113 damaged by mines during operations in Bosnia. Mike Sparks, a big fan of the M113, might just have the most comprehensive overview of what's going on with getting them to Iraq, and includes a discussion on the up-armoring of the vehicles.

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by John on Jan 05, 2005 | TrackBack (0)

January 04, 2005

For those of you who have been suggesting...

...that we just send the M113s over to Iraq and quit worrying about up-armoring the HMMWVs... guess what?

We are.*

Perhaps more important, perhaps George Soros or Michael Moore could give this guy a hand. Someone should. Stanislav Petrov, I salute you, sir. Doing your true duty to your nation, not the reflexive one. I, too, was sitting in alert sites babysitting my battalion nukes during those dark days of 1983, when the NRAS (Nuclear Release Authentication System) messages weren't just training messages.

For those of you dropping in from Mudville - you might also be interested in this follow-up.

*If you can't get into the link - go to the extended post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 04, 2005 | TrackBack (3)
» Mudville Gazette links with: More on Armouring Up!
» Mudville Gazette links with: More on Armoring Up!
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME

December 29, 2004

Baddest of the Bad

Over at Strategy Page today they have an interesting discussion of what tank is the baddest of the bad.

In their discussion of the subject - the M1A2 wins, barely, over the Leo2, with the Challenger and LeClerc trailing... with no Russian products really in the running.

What say you, tankers? I'd really like (unlikely, I know, but one can hope) to hear from some Brits, German, French, Eastern European and other tankers in addition to the normal garrulous visitors from North America!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 29, 2004 | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2004

Monteith provides this dope about the Ferret.

You asked, Monteith answers. Between the two of us, we have the makings of a pretty good museum! Bring in Chris, and heck, we could probably make money!

Where do I start...

The Daimler Ferret is an outgrowth of the WWII Daimler Dingo and Daimler Armored car. The Dingo, being a LMG (light machine gun) armed scout car (2 man crew, 3 tons, wireless set, etc) and the Daimler Armored car being a 'wheeled light tank' as the role was envisioned at the early stage of it's design.

The Dingo came first and was used by the BEF in France. It was a purpose-built vehicle with a chassis and drive line arrangement built for war from the start vs a civilian light truck chassis being adapted by fitting an armored body (ala the Humber Light Recce cars or earlier Lanchester/Rolls/Crossley armored cars). The power plant was a Daimler 2.5 liter straight 6 engine driving through a fluid coupling, Wilson pre-selector gearbox and separate transfer box for forwards and reverse capability. Thus the vehicle had 5 gears forwards and reverse (get out of trouble as fast as you get into it, you know).

The Daimler Armored car was largely an expansion of the existing Daimler Dingo chassis to a 7 ton size and with a 3 man crew. The armament was a 2 pounder (40mm) AT gun and a coaxial BESA 7.92mm MG. There was also a Bren LMG for AA and close in defense work plus personal weapons. The Daimler armored car had a similar drive line to that of the Dingo including the 5 speeds forwards and reverse but instead had a larger 4.5 liter engine.

At war's end the Daimler Dingo and Armored Cars soldiered on, but around the end of the 40's a replacement was sought. The Ferret was an expansion of the basic design with some refinements and a larger engine. Daimler was approached to carry out the development of the prototype and production after the prototypes were approved. There were two main variants, a liaison vehicle that had no turret (pintle-mounted MG) and a scout version that had a 1 man manually traversed turret containing a MG. The drive line was just as similar as it's two predecessors, just updated in a few areas for details and easier servicing. The engine in this case being a 4.25 liter straight 6 Rolls Royce design.

All three vehicles have an individual drive shaft running to each wheel station allowing a lower overall profile as there is less requirement to fit crew and other kit above a large front and rear mounted differential. The transfer box is what contains the differential. The two WWII era Daimlers have standard frames with the armored bodies fitted to them whereas the Ferret has the drive line components directly mounted within a monocoque body(meaning the body is built to be a single unit), this allows a low height, but increases noise as the drive shafts and other running gear are with in the enclosed space of body with the crew. Power is transmitted to the 4 wheels which have reduction gearing in the hubs for a lower amount of torque exerted on the drive shafts for a correspondingly higher amount of torque where the rubber meets the road.

Normal crew is 2 men for the scout car version and 2-3 for the liaison version. Internal stowage arrangements are dependent on which role the vehicle is assigned. Wireless sets were standard kit with 2 sets and an intercom component as part of the radio sets. Early ferrets used WS 19 sets with WS 88's for liaison with infantry units. Later on they used the Larkspur series C42/45 and B47/48 depending on arm of service. Ferrets in the 80s used the Clansman series of radios and intercom sets.

The Ferret had two larger siblings for the heavy armored car role and wheeled APC (armored personnel carrier) role. Those being the Saladin and Saracen. The Saladin and Saracen have 6x6 arrangements that follow the ferret's configuration with individual drive shafts for each wheel station. The Saracen swapped the engine from the rear to front for reasons of easy debussing (dismounting, 'un-assing' in US miltary parlance) by the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry) carried in the back area.

As John stated in comments, the Ferrets were built from '53 to '71 and were used up through the first Gulf War. The British used them everywhere their forces needed reconnaissance and scouting including, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Germany, Aden, North Africa and Southeast Asia. Several Commonwealth nations also operate Ferrets to this day. The last Ferrets were disposed of following the Gulf War and make a very good choice for wheeled armor by the average collector. Prices range from $10K up in the US.

Photo's of all three are available here.

Plus details and movies of the Daimler Armored
car are at this place.

There is also a parallel set of movies on the Humber Armored Car.

Photos (with lots of interior shots) of Monteith's Ferret, as well as some of the more interesting vehicles that took part in the Veteran's Day parade are available here.

Oh, and did I mention... I WANT ONE!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 14, 2004 | TrackBack (0)

November 09, 2004

Okay, sports fans.

This one was tougher than I expected. It even disturbed the Commissar. Dunno why, though. It's Commie iron. Arditi and Captain H pretty well nailed it, with just a little help.

Here's your final clue to the challenge. New pics also added to the album. Apparently, not many of you have seen the inside of many tanks. And at least two of you who have, CW4Bill and the Instapilot, have only seen the interiors of tanks because you blew their turrets off, which does make it hard to get a good sense of the interiors, what with the altitudes, ranges, speed and all.

This beast is one of several vehicles kept around here so SOF soldiers can learn how to hotwire 'em, drive 'em, shoot 'em, and blow 'em up. Hey, if you know how to use the other guy's stuff, you don't have to bring as much of your own, eh?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 09, 2004 | TrackBack (0)

November 08, 2004

How to make the Armorer smile (a rare event, actually)

Give him a tank to play with. New action figure: East German Tank Commander Johann.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 08, 2004 | TrackBack (0)

Good News on the Getting Creative to Save Lives Front.

Something else getting a fast-track push to get developed and into the hands of the troops, outside of normal processes:

RPG air-bags. Yep. RPG air-bags. You know the bad guys will come up with a response, but that will take awhile.

ARMORED WARFARE: RPGs Stopped by Air Bags and Electricity

November 8, 2004: Rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) are the typical weapons of choice when insurgents decide to attack trucks and armored vehicles. RPGs are cheap, simple to operate, and if used properly can inflict significant damage on Stryker and Bradley armored vehicles. Unarmed and armored Hummers are especially vulnerable, since the various armor kits for the Hummer are designed to protect occupants from small arms and machine gun fire, not anti-tank grenades.

One quick fix to protect the Hummer is a unique airbag system developed by a small California company that deploys a "curtain" down outside the side of the vehicle being attacked. Four bags are needed to protect all quadrants and are held in place with simple Velcro straps. A small radar detects the incoming RPG or RPGs and inflates the airbag with a carbon dioxide gas cartridge. The RPG is literally "caught" by the airbag like a pillow and slowed enough so the nose-mounted fuse doesn't detonate the warhead. Instead, the RPG ends up collapsing upon itself, shredding the secondary self-destruct fuse and looking like a stomped-on beer can. Currently, the airbag and cartridge have to be replaced after one use, but the designers are working on a reusable airbag that can simply be rolled up and put back into place.

Cost for the system is expected to run between $5,000 to $7,000 dollars and weighs around 50 pounds. The Army is in the process of awarding a contract with the goal of getting systems to Iraq within 6 months, at a initial product rate of 25 systems per month. Other systems are being refined for use on canvass-topped vehicles and the Stryker. The system has the potential to replace both the current Stryker "RPG" fence standoff metal framework as well as reactive armor systems and has the twin advantages of being lighter and less expensive than reactive armor. It's also safer around infantry than reactive armor. Multiple tests of the airbag system have been run using RPGs, with one test managing slow down an RPG enough to stop it relatively intact – forcing a stop to the tests until range safety could come out and blow it up in place.

Over the longer term, the Army is looking towards electronically "charged" armor protection. The protection scheme would be composed of an outside armored plate, a spaced gap, and an inner charged plate. Shaped charges are essentially hot streams of metal traveling at (very) rapid speed to penetrate armor. A shaped charge from an RPG or other antitank weapon would detonate, penetrate the outer armor plate, and the hot metal stream would make contact with the charged inner plate, forming an electrical circuit that ends up plattering the metal across the inner plate rather than breaking through into the hull of the vehicle.

Charged armor is a better solution than reactive armor, as it is both lighter than reactive and also non-threatening to nearby infantry. At least two anufacturers have successfully demonstrated charged armor solutions, one retrofitting a Bradley AFV with a large capacitor to charge the inner hull plate. One manufacturer has demonstrated that the Bradley charged armor can take multiple RPG hits onto the same section of the hull without penetration and was willing to show a short demonstration film to those of the proper security clearance. In theory, charged armor should work equally well against weapons with larger shaped charge warheads, but the manufacturer would not comment on any tests done in that area. Ideally, charged armor would be an integrated solution as a part of a hybrid-electric vehicle. Power would be available from the vehicle to charge the armor for protection and installing the equipment would not require an expensive rebuild from the ground up. – Doug Mohney

Hat tip: Strategy Page!

Other interesting tidbits from the boys at Strategy Page. Twas a busy day in history today. Some good, some bad.

Good. 1789 Elijah Craig brews the first bourbon whiskey, Bourbon County, Ky. Can't stand the stuff myself, but I know there are those of you who love it...
Bad. 1923 Hitler's "Beer Hall Putsch" in Munich.
Bad. 1939 Failed assassination attempt on Hitler in Burgerbraukeller, Munich
Good. 1942 Hitler proclaims fall of Stalingrad (He was wrong)
Good. 1942 Operation Torch: U.S. and British forces land in northwestern Africa (Really bad day for Germany.) Bad day for France, too. They got beat again - by us, this time. If you think about it, France and Italy are the only countries in WWII to lose to both sides.)
Lastly, for the Instapilot: Good. 1950 1st jet combat, Lt. Russell J. Brown's F-86 scores a North Korean MiG-15

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 08, 2004 | TrackBack (1)
» Brain Shavings links with: RPG airbags

November 07, 2004

Some of you need some help...

...with the "Identify this tank" challenge. There has been one successful ID thus far.

Here's a clue:

And here's another.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 07, 2004 | TrackBack (0)

Tidbits from the National Infantry Museum

Which, being full of guns, with grounds full of artillery and tanks, is one of the Armorers favorite places to visit. The Armorer doesn't want to move here, but he does like visiting!

In the rotating exhibit section, to the right of the entrance, there are some OIF and OEF exhibits. Saddam's hunting rifle and ceremonial sword are in great company. The collection of the Infantry museum holds other relics of tyranny, such as Himmler's hunting guns and Goering's marshall's baton.

American infantry have thrown down numerous tyrants in their day. Assisting and assisted by their brother Anglosphere infantry, I would hasten to add. And, now and again, French infantry, when their government allows it. Ably assisting in this effort, and acknowledged by the museum, are their fellow-travelers, the Artillery and Armor.

The museum contains furniture the Armorer would like to have. Especially this piece for the living room. She Who Will Be Obeyed will allow it becaue it has a lot of nice brass in it.

And boy is the museum full of interesting little tidbits. Two Davy Crocketts. Several items the Armorer would like to add to the Funny Hat collection.

Developmental. rifles. all. over.

Mortars. Funny cars. And guns, guns, guns. What's not to like?

There's even a train!

If you are ever in Columbus, go visit Ft. Benning. See the Airborne School - and above all, visit the National Infantry Museum!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 07, 2004 | TrackBack (0)

November 06, 2004

The Armorer had another good day yesterday.

Which results in this challenge.

Identify this tank.

I have high expectations, Captain H. All the contextual clues are there!

No comments. Email. I don't want John spoiling it with an instant-answer!

by John on Nov 06, 2004 | TrackBack (1)
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Show Trial #22