Archive Logo.jpg

January 09, 2007

The T-95, yesterday's Whatziss.

Fred identified the vehicle - and found the second of the two that survive. I didn't know where that one was, so I learned something yesterday - and that one, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, is within striking distance of the Castle.

Here's the picture that I modified for the snipe hunt.

T95 Experimental US tank.  One display in Weirton, W. Va, picture taken from the American Fighting Vehicle Data Base website: http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/pics/t95.html

That picture came from the American Fighting Vehicle Database website - specifically this page, which has several more pictures and explanatory text.

Most of you went where I expected the visual would take you - though the orangish-tan background color I chose my have given a subconscious cue - that was accidental, not deliberate.

I honestly thought some of you tankers out there would get this one more quickly than happened, in the event. Hey, you must have jobs or something...

Hey, if you've got pics of odd-looking stuff you want to submit for a whatziss - send 'em along! Those of you who have - thanks!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 09, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

January 07, 2007

Thinking outside the box.

The Russians have always been a fan of artillery. And they've been pretty competent users of it, as well.

They also think differently from us, and take novel approaches to things. There's some pictures of a putative new Russian artillery piece making the rounds, and it's shown up in my email box a couple of times.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

It looks to be a derivative of this SP artillery piece, the 2S19 "Mstas".

Artillery by Beretta... this thing, called 'Koalitcia-SV', or Coalition, hit the web over at the Cannon, Machine Guns and Ammunition website (which is a treasure trove of stuff, btw).

Murdoc noticed it last week, and the comments over at Strategy Page harbor some sceptics.

Interesting concept. Over and under 152mm cannon. They definitely aren't worried about trans-global power projection with this puppy - unless they're driving. However, the reinforcing plates on the travel lock (that gizmo that is framing the driver in the pic above) looks like it would really restrict the drivers vision to the corners - which could be an issue driving through urban areas. But, mebbe not. Of course, being a continental power, like Germany was, and not a sea power like the US and Great Britain, they've been more prone to this sort of thing anyway. Take this example... the Tsar Tank.

Tsar Tank

The Tsar Tank was designed and built in 1915. It was one of the largest attempts at tank-building during the war, reputedly weighing in at a lean(!) 40 tons. In comparison, the Brit Marks I-IV of the 1st World War weighed in at a sprightly 28 tons. The German A7V weighed around 33 tons. The French St. Chamond weighed 22 tons, while the other major large French tank, the Schneider, came in at 14 tons. It wasn't until the Mark VIIs, the "Liberty" tanksjointly designed by the Brits and US did anyone else approach the 40 ton mark that I'm aware of (but who knows, lots of people were tinkering back in the day). This sucker had two huge wheels each driven by it's own 250 hp motor. It had two small wheels in the rear. Some sources suggest the guns were placed outside the wheels, others suggest that machine guns in the small turret were all the armament. I've never seen a photo or drawing showing weapons on this baby - they may have realized what a clunker it was before they bothered. Two prototypes were made but they proved unable to handle mud (I can't imagine crossing a shell-pocked battlefield in one of these) and high costs caused the project to be cancelled, mercifully, in 1916. These photos show a partially scrapped vehicle without wheels in the rear. The last of the two was dismantled for scrap in 1923.

Then there is this puppy, the Object 279.

Object 279 Heavy Tank at Kubinka

In 1957 the Russians developed a prototype of a new heavy tank. Take a look at that body and those quad tracks. It was intended to lower the ground pressure of this vehicle, to give it better cross-country mobility in soft ground. I'm sure if it had ever made it into service, crews would have hated it. Twice the track to break. The hull was intended to protecting it against HEAT ammunition by deflecting the rounds. Putatively this shape would also assist in preventing the vehicle from being overturned by a tactical nuke blast. I'm sceptical of that, but... hey, maybe they did the modeling. It was canceled by Khruschev in favor of his preference - missile tanks. I believe they built two of these - the survivor is at the Tank Museum in Kubinka, near Moscow. That's one museum I want to get to. [note to self, lottery tickets]

Not that the US and Britain didn't have their own behemoths, mind you. The Brits built the Tortoise. Intended to kill tanks and help fight through the Siegfried line.

We built the T28/T95.

T28/T95 Super Heavy Tank

This sucker had removeable outer tracks, which could be towed behind the vehicle so it would be able to cross narrow bridges in Europe. Also intended for breaching the Siegfried Line, we only built two before cancelling the project, and the survivor today sits outside the Patton Armor Museum at Fort Knox.

T28 at the Patton Armor Museum, Fort Knox.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 07, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

December 14, 2006

I find this photo fascinating.

Anybody guess what I find so interesting in this photo?

To take away those first thoughts amongst the grognards - no, not the markings.

German Armor destroyed during Operation Bagration in WWII

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 29, 2006

A few moments of deployed Zen

Marines.
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Nov. 21, 2006)- Marines from C Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 let loose with the M-1A1 Main Battle Tank's 120 mm main gun. Tankers recently fired on Camp Fallujah's Eagle Range to zero all their weapons, including lanyard firing some tanks for their first shot. Tankers said all the maintenance and care that goes into keeping the tank rolling is worth the effort when they get the chance to fire the Marine Corps' largest direct-fire weapon. Photo by: Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Nov. 21, 2006)- Marines from C Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 let loose with the M-1A1 Main Battle Tank's 120 mm main gun. Tankers recently fired on Camp Fallujah's Eagle Range to zero all their weapons, including lanyard firing some tanks for their first shot. Tankers said all the maintenance and care that goes into keeping the tank rolling is worth the effort when they get the chance to fire the Marine Corps' largest direct-fire weapon. Photo by: Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

Air Force.

Staff Sgt. James Guidry, center, speaks with an Iraqi policeman Nov. 23in the Hy Al-Amil district of Baghdad, Iraq. Airmen from Detachment 7, 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron deploy into the city streets of Baghdad assisting Iraqi police in achieving self-sufficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Cline)

Staff Sgt. James Guidry, center, speaks with an Iraqi policeman Nov. 23in the Hy Al-Amil district of Baghdad, Iraq. Airmen from Detachment 7, 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron deploy into the city streets of Baghdad assisting Iraqi police in achieving self-sufficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Cline)

Navy.

061127-N-8197M-017 Pacific Ocean (Nov. 27, 2006) - Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1617 enters the well deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during onload-offload operations off the coast of Southern California. The LCU brought aboard 80 pallets of ammunition to assist in preparing Bonhomme Richard for a scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dustin Mapson (RELEASED)

061127-N-8197M-017 Pacific Ocean (Nov. 27, 2006) - Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1617 enters the well deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during onload-offload operations off the coast of Southern California. The LCU brought aboard 80 pallets of ammunition to assist in preparing Bonhomme Richard for a scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dustin Mapson (RELEASED)

Army.

November 6, 2006  Pfc. Raymond Purtee, from the 561st Military Police Company, attached to the 10th Mountain Division, provides convoy security during a patrol near Bagram, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Dexter D. CloudenThis photo appeared on www.army.mil.

November 6, 2006 Pfc. Raymond Purtee, from the 561st Military Police Company, attached to the 10th Mountain Division, provides convoy security during a patrol near Bagram, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Dexter D. CloudenThis photo appeared on www.army.mil.

Coast Guard.

KODIAK, Alaska (May 22, 2006)--Life rafts and survival kits stream out the back of a Coast Guard C-130 over Hallo Bay after a DeHaviland Beaver float plane operated by Andrew Airways crashed with six people on board. The crash wreckage and survivors can be seen in the right edge of this photo. All six people were rescued by air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Coast Guard rescue coordination center in Juneau received a call at 1:12 p.m. regarding the downed aircraft, which was enroute from Hallo Bay to Kodiak. A Coast Guard C-130 arrived on scene and immediately deployed several life rafts. Two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and two helicopters, an HH-60 Jayhawk and an HH-65 Dolphin from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak responded to the crash. Both C-130 aircrews and the Dolphin aircrew were diverted from training missions near the area of the crash which saved precious time. The Jayhawk crew rescued four people in the water, and the Dolphin crew rescued the remaining two. All passengers from the Beaver were transported to Kodiak where they were treated for hypothermia and minor injuries. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO


KODIAK, Alaska (May 22, 2006)--Life rafts and survival kits stream out the back of a Coast Guard C-130 over Hallo Bay after a DeHaviland Beaver float plane operated by Andrew Airways crashed with six people on board. The crash wreckage and survivors can be seen in the right edge of this photo. All six people were rescued by air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Coast Guard rescue coordination center in Juneau received a call at 1:12 p.m. regarding the downed aircraft, which was enroute from Hallo Bay to Kodiak. A Coast Guard C-130 arrived on scene and immediately deployed several life rafts. Two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and two helicopters, an HH-60 Jayhawk and an HH-65 Dolphin from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak responded to the crash. Both C-130 aircrews and the Dolphin aircrew were diverted from training missions near the area of the crash which saved precious time. The Jayhawk crew rescued four people in the water, and the Dolphin crew rescued the remaining two. All passengers from the Beaver were transported to Kodiak where they were treated for hypothermia and minor injuries. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 29, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 06, 2006

TOGs

Nope, not clothes. Nor the Terran Overlord Government, either.

In the early part of WWII, most British tanks sucked for one reason or another. A part was the armament, pretty punky in comparison to the people they were fighting, and their engines weren't the best (not for nothing is a brit mechanic called a "fitter", and they made their tracks out of softer steel, so they wore out quickly. In other words, they didn't design very good tanks. They had two major types of tanks - "cruiser" tanks, which were the breakthrough follow-up - cavalry on tracks, which were fast and lightly armed (heh, FCS, anyone?). The other was the "infantry" tanks, which were slow, better armored, and... poorly armed.

By the end of the war, they were doing better, with the Comet series and the new Centurion tank coming into being.

Mind you, the US wasn't doing much better. Anyone remember the M3 Lee? And the M4 "Ronson" Sherman wasn't a generation-jumping improvement...

So, the Brits were desperate for ideas. And while they were looking forward, the also decided to look backwards. The tank pics I put up over the weekend, is indeed the tank from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. What I was expecting, but didn't get, was some grognard to hazard that it was a TOG1 or TOG 2, the products of the Special Vehicle Development Committee, better known as "The Old Gang."

Sir Albert Stern, head of the Tank Supply Depot in World War I, was tasked to form a design team in July 1939. Other members of the committee were Sir E. Tennyson d'Eyncourt, General Swinton, Mr. Ricardo, and Major Wilson. They were all about building a heavy tank that could carry infantry (Merkava, anyone?) and brushed off the old Mark VIII drawings and did some updating.

The prototype TOG1 was completed in October 1940 and had a hull-mounted howitzer and a Valentine II turret on it, very similar in concept to the Churchill.

TOG 1 tank

But that wasn't enough! Oh no! Then came the TOGII! Which dispensed with the hull-mounted howitzer but stuck a spanking huge turret mounting a 17-pounder. Both of these things steered like underpowered freighters with a full load.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the TOGII!!!

TOG II tank at Bovington

Much as I'd like to tell you that was an adult in front of the tank, it's a little girl. Still, the thing's *huge*.

The TOG 2 weighs 80 tons, is 33' 3" long, 10' 3" wide, and 10' high. Crewed by six men, it could rush across the battlefield at a breathtaking 8.5mph. Whew! Be still my NASCAR heart! Those doors are for the infantry to get in and out of the behemoth as it trundled over the trenches the Old Gang were sure were going to define this second bout of intra-Euro fratricide. Powered by twin diesel-electric generators this is the ultimate expression of World War One tank - it would have been quite at home at Cambrai - but wasn't ready for things like, oh, Gazala, El Alamein, much less facing german armor in Normandy and beyond.

The success of the Churchill put paid to these monsters. Not that the Churchill didn't share a lot in common with them...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 06, 2006

October 11, 2006

CAPT H and MajMike...

...this one's for you guys. Oh, heck, Neffi too. Any tankers.

Marine tankers taking a forage break on Okinawa, 1945

Some Marine tankers taking a break to forage (and hopefully bathe and wash their clothes if one guy in the background is any indicator) during a break in the fighting on Okinawa, April 1945.

by John on Oct 11, 2006

September 15, 2006

Here she comes, the Debutante...

Treat 'em Rough!

15 September, 1916. The British offensive on the Somme, one of the bloodiest fights the Brits ever fought, is starting to lag. Something is needed to give it a kick, a push - get over that next hill, clear the Boche from that wood... break into the green fields beyond, where there are no trenches, no wire, no interlocking fields of fire from Maxim guns, and the Cavalry can finally earn their pay and fodder, damn those hoity-toity prima donnas!

So, we'll try a new weapon, one that Colonel Swinton has been working on with the Holt Tractor Company, under the sponsorship of... the Navy, backed by Winston Churchill.

Mark 1 (Male) pushing through wire.

Gathering up crews from the Navy, and C and D Companys of the Machine Gun Corps, and commanded by a sailor, Captain H. W. Mortimore, RN. 50 tanks arrived, but only 24 proved serviceable for that first day.

Mark 1 (Female) demonstrating trench crossing capability.

At 0620 hours, off they rolled into history and legend, at the Battles of Flers and Delville Wood. It was not an entirely auspicious debut... Of the very first attack, Mark 1 from D Company, MGC, under the command of Captain Mortimore, was sent out and overran an enemy trench. The tank was then promptly hit by a shell and disabled. Of the main attack, three of the six tanks got bogged in the mud, one broke down, and the other two continued towards the enemy line slowly, supporting the infantry. In an event presaging the training and operational issues which would bog combined arms attacks forever the infantry moved ahead, away from the protection of the tanks. WWI was the last war where the infantry would be able to outrun the tanks at walking speed - from then on the tanks would keep losing their infantry in the other direction... As is true with any new weapon, there were successes and failures. Concerns raised included the view slits - they were too thin to be able to see much while moving, and they were targets for enemy gunshot; the exhaust - it made too much noise and the heat could have ignited the fuel fumes. Then there was the amount of mud that got into the treads and gummed them up - and the heat in the fighting compartment - not only did it drastically reduce crew endurance, in some portions of the vehicle it was was hot enough to jam the guns.

Captured British Mark 1 (Male)

But after this day in 1915, we were stuck with the things, and the people who man them... At least they don't leave meadow muffins...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Heh. C'mon, you know you want to know - you're dying to know what the music and lyric was!

[Yeah, I know there's a lot of American graphics in a post about a British innovation - get over it... 8^D ]

by John on Sep 15, 2006

September 01, 2006

MGS getting to Units.

Stryker Mobile Gun System at Fort Lewis, Washington, being fielded to 4th BDE, 2ID.

FORT LEWIS, Wash. (Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2006) – A long wait is over for Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) crews of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, received its complement of MGS vehicles last month after more than a year of waiting. They are the first vehicles to be fielded in the Army.

“I think its going to give the infantry a whole new dimension of what they can do. Armor and infantry have kept each other at arm’s length for years and years," said Sgt. 1st Class David Cooper, an MGS platoon sergeant with B Company, 2-23 Inf. "We’ve got some growing pains, but once we get out there and they see what we can do, we’re going to be everybody’s friend.”

Each infantry company is slated to receive three vehicles, though crews don't expect to operate together except on rare occasions.

The vehicles carry crews of three, and are equipped with a 105 mm main gun and a state-of-the-art fire control system. The MGS also has an onboard coaxial machine gun that’s fire controlled.

“You can literally shoot smiley faces with it at 900 meters,” said Cooper. “Even minus the big gun we can give the infantry a lot of support.”

The 105 mm is capable of firing four types of rounds: SABOT, a depleted-uranium armor-piercing round; HEAT, high-explosive anti-tank; HEP, high-explosive plastic; and a canister round. The rounds are loaded using a hydraulic auto-loader in the rear of the vehicle.

The HEP and canister rounds give Stryker units new capabilities, especially in urban areas. The HEP can blow holes in reinforced concrete walls, but unlike the rounds from an Abrams, won’t continue through the target and into surrounding buildings. The canister provides as effective anti-personnel capability.

“The vehicle’s basic role is to support the infantry. It’s not there to take on tanks or go toe-to-toe in the wide-open desert like we did with the Abrams,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Ozmet, an MGS instructor from Fort Knox, Ky. “Its primary function is blowing a hole in the wall or blowing up bunkers.”

Over the past year, the crews have been training with TOW-ITAS Humvees or other Stryker variants. Finally having the vehicles gives the crews a chance to delve into training.

“I can actually start focusing on our training, both on our mission tasks and working with the infantry,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Lilley, the MGS platoon leader in B Co.

The MGS also comes equipped with training software that allows Soldiers to train on various engagements in their own vehicles, instead of going to a simulator somewhere else.

Once the 4th Bde. completes training, instructors from General Dynamics Land Systems will move on to equip and train Soldiers in Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Training for those units may change according to lessons learned here, but the vehicle itself is expected to remain mostly unchanged.

“I’m confident that this will turn out to be a successful piece of equipment for us, the infantry and the Army,” said Lilley.

by John on Sep 01, 2006

August 07, 2006

The rest of the story - the M36's from Iraq.

Castle Argghhh! Salvage 'Я Us!

Owen having twitted us about our weapons being used against us and our Allies, and my pointing out it was old news... what with the pictures of the M36 Jackson in Yugoslavian colors - along comes Blake, who is doing with M36 Jacksons what Beauchamp Tower Corporation is doing with the USS John Rodgers - repatriating them, so they will do no more harm to American Interests!

Well, the Rodgers *was* serving American interests, and mine. By preserving her for us until we were ready for her!

Here's Blake's tale:

Blake and his M36B1 Jackson TD in Iraq

John,

Well, we got our pair of M36's to the point where we feel like we can relocate them to the area where we're going to stage them for movement. We've got towing shackles in place, and we have the turrets and guns restrained so that I'm confident that we aren't going to have anything swinging wildly around in transit.

Some volunteers assembled by the Division Historian got the turret traverse on the M36B1 unjammed. Unfortunately, the driver's hatch is still stuck in the open position. If we rotate the turret clockwise, the turret bustle won't clear the open hatch. If we try to rotate the turret counter-clockwise the cannon barrel won't clear the hatch. Either way, we're stuck.

The problem with the driver's hatch is that there is a VERY robust spring-loaded detent pin which comes up through the top of the hull to engage an indent in the bottom of the driver's hatch hinge to lock the hatch open, and that detent pin is frozen in place. Nothing that we've tried has broken it loose, and I'm simply not willing to try to remove the hatch entirely by pulling the big pin/bolt on which it rotates, given the relative paucity of tools we've got available. Leave that for a later time. So what we've done is to get the gun itself into the elevation lock, then we've put a heavy chain bridle around the barrel of the cannon to keep the turret positioned with the gun facing forward on the center line of the vehicle. See the attached "ready to tow" picture. [Note the lavish accomodations in the background! .ed] It's not an ideal solution, but it's about the only one that seems workable, especially considering that I found the B1's turret traverse lock mechanism lying loose in the bottom of the hull today.

The M36B2 is in rather better shape. We've got the turret turned around over the back deck, and the turret traverse lock is mounted and engaged. Unfortunately, the travel lock for the gun barrel is badly bent and cannot be used, so again we've been forced to resort to a chain bridle to secure things. CSX, the railroad which provides us with service between Fort Campbell and our normal CONUS port of embarkation/debarkation, always likes to see some sort of external restraint on big rotating bits of a load, even if we DO have internal locking mechanisms engaged, so having the bridle in place will make
them happy. The elevation gearbox in that turret seems to be jammed, and
has no crank handle anyway, so I'm not worried about the gun shifting in elevation.

We've got some loose parts lying around, too. One of the engine hatch
covers fell off the B1, evidently because the hinge-pins sheared. Nothing wrong with it that isn't repairable, though, presuming that someone wants to put some time and a little money into the project. And in addition to the turret traverse lock I picked the elevation gearbox up off the turret floor of the B1. Now I have to find a stout wooden box or pallet for this stuff to to containerize it and ship it home. The B1 is in really poor material shape, both from exposure to the elements and from abuse/theft/neglect. The pictures of the gunner's position in the turret and of the hull interior are typical of the interior condition of the vehicle. The hull-gunner/radio-operator's position is completely stripped. Not even a seat frame left.

It's also interesting to see that these vehicles did not seem to have a full turret basket, as do modern tanks. There's a turret floor under the gunner and TC's position, but the loader evidently was expected to walk around on the tops of the stowage compartments at the bottom of the hull. Since this vehicle was built before the US bought into the idea of torsion bar suspensions for armored vehicles, the actual bottom of the hull is an unobstructed flat steel plate onto which one can install pretty much anything one wants. In this case, it appears to be mostly stowage for ammo. The M36B1 was designed for 11 ready rounds of 90mm in the turret bustle and another 36 semi-ready rounds in hull stowage, and the compartments under the floor are about the right size for 90mm rounds.

I'll attach some other photos of the M36B2 and such in a later e-mail.

At another location on this FOB there is an Italian CV 3/33 tankette, engineless, and without armament (originally, it mounted twin Breda machine guns,) but still in possession of all of its tracks and running gear. I'm hoping to have some pictures of that in the not-to-distant future. There's evidently a bit of a tug-of-war going on over the little thing, with more than one museum in CONUS trying to lay claim to it. I suspect that for the time being at least it's a matter of possession being nine-tenths of the law.

That's about it for the moment.

Regards,

Blake

by John on Aug 07, 2006

May 11, 2006

Stryker Mobile Gun System.

I admit I had (and still have) reservations about the Stryker being touted as the major armored punch of the Army. It has done very well in it's current service environment, and proven to be able to take an immense amount of damage with excellent crew survivability, while at the same time being economically repairable. And, as I assume they've gotten the lateral-shooting stability issues taken care of (i.e., being able to shoot to the side without flipping the vehicle if it's on any sort of slope) the MGS is a welcome addition to the fleet.

Now that we have some real operational experience with them, as well, we're getting in real improvements in a comparatively benign environment. Benign here meaning we aren't fighting a near-peer with our backs to the wall somewhere, a Bad Time to discover design flaws - nothing is benign when you're being shot at. Remember, to the individual soldier, *everything* is a frontal assault - only higher commanders and planning staff weenies like me talk of feints and envelopments.

But I still wouldn't want to find myself fighting a tank force in bad weather in cross-compartmented terrain - especially if I wasn't in a position to trade space for time. If I'm in that fight, vice a flat sandy pool table with good weather, I'd like some nice lumbering M1s.

But the truth is, the Stryker is a capability we need in this environment.

Stryker Mobile Gun System demonstrating max elevation.  Photo courtesy US Army

Pic of the Stryker Mobile Gun System demonstrating it's ability to engage targets well above itself. It's backed up on a ramp so that it can actually shoot level on a direct fire range. If it shot at max elevation, the round would travel many miles, and the probable error in range for high velocity guns fired indirect is really pretty massive. The PeR for the US 175mm gun was 1.5 to 2 km (call it a mile) at max range. This is lots safer, even if it looks silly.

For screensaver collectors - hi-res here.

Stryker ramps up to unveil Mobile Gun System By Annette Fournier May 9, 2006


FORT BENNING, Ga. (Army News Service, May 9, 2006) – The newest version of the Stryker vehicle, designed to provide fire power to Infantry units, will be unveiled May 15 at Fort Knox's Armor Warfighting Symposium.

The development of the Mobile Gun System is being managed by Fort Benning's Training and Doctrine Command System Manager-Stryker/Bradley.

The system was developed to meet the infantry’s need for a highly mobile support vehicle to supply rapid, direct fire, specifically during close assaults, said Dave Rogers, a TSM-Stryker senior analyst. The Mobile Gun System will eventually be integrated into Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.

"The Mobile Gun System brings a tremendous battlefield capability to the Stryker formation, providing direct fire support to infantrymen in close, complex terrain," said Col. Donald Sando, the director of the TSM Stryker/Bradley.

The Mobile Gun System's firepower includes a turret-mounted 105 mm cannon, a mounted M-240C machine gun and a pedestal-mounted M-2.50 caliber machine gun for the vehicle commander.

The cannon can blast holes through reinforced concrete walls creating a breach point for infantry, and destroy bunkers and machine-gun nests that typically pin down infantry squads and platoons.

The 105 mm cannon can also take out snipers, Rogers said, because with one shot, it can destroy the entire area where a sniper is firing from. The cannon also fires canister rounds, which are used when confronting large groups of combatants. The canister round sends out a spray of titanium balls, similar to the pellets from a shotgun, which can impact several targets at once.

It's the heavy fire power and versatility that will make the Mobile Gun System an asset in combat, Rogers said.

"People will assume it's a tank when they see it because it has a big gun," Rogers said, "but it's much lighter than a 70 ton tank, making it more mobile. Its primary role is to support the infantry, not to go head to head with tanks."

The Mobile Gun System also features the Ammunition Handling System, an ammo loading device for the 105 mm cannon. With the ammo system, several types of rounds can be loaded in advance, then the ammunition types are displayed on the cannon operator's central control panel monitor. Depending on the mission, the operator can select which ammunition to use and the Ammunition Handling System automatically loads the cannon.

This capability gives the Mobile Gun System an advantage over other Army vehicles, which must be manually loaded with specific ammunition by a fourth crew member, Rogers said. The Ammunition Handling System makes loading and firing on targets faster and more efficient, he said.

"When planning for the 10 variants of Strykers, the Army took into account everything a Soldier could need on the battlefield," Rogers said. "From that, they developed the other Stryker variants, like the Medical Evacuation Vehicle, the Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle and the Engineer Squad vehicles, which are all uniquely designed for their mission. The Mobile Gun System fills a hole, and gives the infantry another capability."

The Mobile Gun System will be the last Stryker variant to be fielded. The Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle, the other new Stryker vehicle, was fielded to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash., in February. Soldiers with the 2nd Cav. Regt. will also be the first to receive the Mobile Gun System. They will receive 27 vehicles from July to August, which will be tested in an operational unit environment.

The Army designated 14 Mobile Gun System vehicles for extensive testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Testing the vehicle in extreme climates and terrain helps the Mobile Gun System's designers look for potential problems that may appear in a combat environment.

"People go to great pains to almost abuse the vehicle," Rogers said. "It's tested realistically in harsh settings so we can identify any shortcomings during the testing stage. We don't want to find out about a problem after it’s in combat, so we're not cutting corners. During the tests, these vehicles aren't treated with kid gloves. We want to make sure we don't equip our Soldiers with a weak vehicle."

It will still be a while before the Mobile Gun System will get to the battlefield. The Defense Acquisition Executive will decide if the vehicle should go into full rate production in July 2007.

(Editor's note: Annette Fournier writes for the Bayonet.)


by John on May 11, 2006

March 15, 2006

Armor Pr0n.

Light Armor, to be sure.

U.S. Army SSgt. William Black performs Squad Leader duties onboard a Stryker combat vehicle with 2nd. Battalion, 1st. Infantry Regiment, 172nd. Infantry Brigade, patrol Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 14, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo byTech. Sgt. John M. Foster) (Released)

U.S. Army SSgt. William Black performs Squad Leader duties onboard a Stryker combat vehicle with 2nd. Battalion, 1st. Infantry Regiment, 172nd. Infantry Brigade, patrol Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 14, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo byTech. Sgt. John M. Foster) (Released)

Still taking reader submissions for Friday, if anyone is interested.

by John on Mar 15, 2006
» Techography links with: The 1 Million Celebration Post

March 03, 2006

Belly of the Beast

For those who wish a closer view of the Styker or LAV III, you might peruse the photos at this site:

The Exposed LAV

JMH

by Denizens on Mar 03, 2006

December 30, 2005

Through a glass, darkly...

Hosting provided by FotoTime


Two highback Humvees filled with Marines from the Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), practice firing their M240G medium machine guns while on the move during during live fire training on the Udari Range outside Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, Dec. 11, 2005. The 22nd MEU (SOC) is currently in Iraq conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar province. Photo by: Sgt. Robert A. Sturkie

Seeing that twigged a few memories. I couldn't find the exact pics I wanted, but I did find these. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ya want to be able to fight on your feet, have some cover, and be able to look *down* on the countryside around you. Admittedly, Bill takes that to an extreme. Though - I do remember times at the National Training Center when I was looking *down* into the cockpits of helos and A10s from the walls of the Central Corridor during Force-on-Force ops (where they use lasers for guns). Of course, up in Live Fire, I only saw *down* into helos. For some reason, the A10's were just specks high in the sky... The Air Force doesn't really believe in "Big Sky, Little Bullet." To tell the truth, I don't think helo pilots do, either. They just don't have any choice in the matter. Remember this challenge? How many holes can you find in Hubert?

Hosting provided by FotoTime


The Vietnam era 'Gun Truck'. Used for convoy protection, the gun truck has been revived for Iraq. Only one original gun truck came back from Vietnam. This replica has been a labor of love.


Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

December 14, 2005

A little historical stuff for the day...

Hey - old airplane guys - izzit me, or is this just a cool picture? A-12 Shrikes in the Phillipines before WWII.

Heh. Anti-aircraft gunnery... the hard way. I really find it interesting that they kept their pantel (panoramic telescope, used for laying the gun for direction, 'dial sight' to a Commonwealth soldier) on the gun (the thing sticking up in front of the guy crewing the piece). There *is* a way you could use that sight to reflect lead... but a ring-and-bead sight would be better.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Last, but not least... ain't tanks a mighty fine thing? As long as they're yours?
And is it just me - but given the range and power of the 120mm gun, don't they seem to have very thin barrel walls?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Don't forget to Vote For Us! We're not gonna catch those punk El-Tees at The Officer's Club unless you guys quit voting for Matty (who is untouchable at this point) but we're neck and neck with that Lawyer at Intel Dump.

by John on Dec 14, 2005

November 14, 2005

Cleaning up some stuff from the inbox.

Sadly, my cubicle is back to looking like most of yours (who work in Dilbertville, anyway).

Fuzzybear Lioness notes Devotion to Duty.

From Stop the ACLU:

Even though with my Irish blood (of course, there's just as much English in there, too) I'm supposed to hate all she stands for, I'll stand with the Queen on this one.

The MSM doesn't seem to have much interest in this story about 2,000 Muslims in anti-christian rampage. Bet if we swapped the words Christian and Muslim they'd be all over it.

And, of course, Mr. Newdow is offended every time he turns around.

Carnival Barker Punctilious notes that Myopic Zeal is hosting a Red White and Blue Carnival of the Recipes.

Another casualty of Hurricane Katrina - the USS Alabama. Showing why Navies put to sea and avoid or ride out storms out there, rather than chance being beached. She's a tough old bird, she'll be okay. Some of the stuff inside that museum building, however... (h/t, Larry K.)

Happy Birthday to the Secretary of State, Dr. Rice. Heh. It's Prince Charle's birthday today, too, but I'm afraid the Prince of Wales doesn't impress me nearly as much as his mother does, much less Dr. Rice.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

On this day in 1942, the loss of the USS Juneau, including the 5 Sullivan Brothers.

Speaking of the Sullivan Brothers - here's a nice piece from the Rocky Mountain News about one of the hardest jobs in the military for people who aren't deployed. H/t, Tony J.

In closing - how about some Gun Pr0n?

by John on Nov 14, 2005
» Pirates! Man Your Women! links with: The Most Important Thing

June 02, 2005

A new "special friend" of the Castle.

Send the Armorer pics like this, as SezaGeoff does, and you too, can be a Friend of the Castle!

Regarding the discussions about tanks and who had what operable Tigers where, Geoff sent along this pic he thought (correctly) I might find interesting - from the French tank museum at Saumur. It is an early model Jagdpanzer IV(you can tell by the vertical armor plate vice later models, which were lower and sloped), a German tank-hunter used in the last year of the war.

This one having been hunted a bit itself... that is a solid shot with tracer armor piercing round stuck in the glacis. There's a gouge from another hit... and then there's all that cracked and broken armor. Any crewmen on that side of the vehicle had soiled trousers, if they survived. Of course, there was a tendency on the battlefield to put "insurance shots" into armored vehicles that weren't obviously dead, as in a catastrophic kill. It was not unusual (especially with Geman vehicles which didn't burn as readily as US vehicles, being fueled with diesel and not gasoline) to have many extra holes in them as tanks passing by on their way elsewhere made sure for themselves.

This grouping of shots however, strikes me as an indicator of a duel between this vehicle and one or two other Allied tanks or anti-tank guns. Perhaps a first hit (the large hole on the lower portion) on the transmission housing immobilizing the vehicle followed by subsequent shots until the crew bailed or the Allied crew/s were satisfied the vehicle was no longer a threat. Perhaps CAPT H has some thoughts on the possibilities?

Hi-res, click here.

He sent along this commentary:

I mentioned the Musee des Blindes at Saumur in France in the comments. One of the exhibits in the German Hall was a Jagdpanzer that had been taken out by multiple hits of AP. One was still stuck in the glacis! Apparently the US soldiers took it over afterwards and used it for a while, which explains the steel plate where the MG was. I thought you might like to look at the picture.

And he's correct! I think the plate over the MG he's referring to is actually just the normal construction for the early version of this vehicle (see the pics in the article linked to above), but who cares? Kewl pic of a vehicle that saw real action, unlike most of the vehicles and aircraft you'll find in US museums. Not a slam on US museums, but we didn't tend to bring our own shot-up stuff back. And precious little of the other guy's stuff. By contrast, the Europeans, pretty much always being the Home Team last century, had lots of stuff to pick and choose from, without the transport costs.

Thanks, Geoff! Oh, and Geoff, my email box has high capacity and I have broadband access... no worries!

by John on Jun 02, 2005

May 25, 2005

Something to reward you for visiting!

Hindrocket has a good point. Of course, the answer is - good news ain't news. That said, in defense of the MSM... it *is* Memorial Day coming up, not Veterans Day - though they did miss Armed Forces Day, too. Hat tip to the Commissar, who has his own points to make... and we have to Hat Tip to Conservative Thinking for send us to the Commissar in the first place...

Then we there's this:


You don't see these too often!* Hi-Res, click here.


And then there is "Why Soldiers Like UAV's...," courtesy the Israel Defence Force. What you are seeing is some Bad Guys® servicing a mortar firing on Israeli settlements (near the cursor, you'll see some muzzle blast and people scurrying around) who are clueless (and have bad crew drill, anyway) to the fact they are being watched... until the missile arrives.


Oh! Ry - still working it, dude. I keep trying to write a book!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on May 25, 2005

April 06, 2005

A little note from Pravda

Provided as translated by Pravda. New vehicle in the Russian armored force. Interesting look and concept.

Update: CAPT H provides the following (it is *so nice* to have a research assistant, I just wish he was prettier and made better coffee):

Was first seen in 1999

Was inspired by (copied from).

This is better.

And for heavy MOUT.

Russia's new defense machine, the Terminator, marks new generation of Russian weaponry 03/16/2005 12:49

The capacity of the new tank support vehicle doubles the efficiency of six armored vehicles and 40 soldiers

The Russia army is taking a new military vehicle in the arsenal - the Terminator. Such a strange name has been given to the new tank support vehicle. At the end of 2004, when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was talking about new generations of the Russian arms that were planned to be added to the arsenal in 2005, he was talking about the Terminator too.

Specialists of the Ural Transport Machine-Building Design Bureau developed the new machine - the enterprise is a division of Uralvagonzavod, which is Russia's largest tank-maker.

Military specialists say that the capacity of the new tank support vehicle doubles the efficiency of six armored vehicles and 40 soldiers. Testing procedures for the latest development of the Russian defense industry are about to be over, a spokesman for the defense ministry's administration for armored vehicles, Nikolai Kovalev said.

"The use of the new machine in a tank battalion will add up to 30 percent of efficiency to the detachment. The tank support vehicle is capable of firing at three targets on a battlefield simultaneously," General Kovalev said.
The concept to develop the new tank support machine for the Russian army appeared from life experience itself. The storming of the Chechen capital of Grozny on January 1, 1995 resulted in a tragedy for the Russian federal forces. Chechen gunmen destroyed hundreds of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles in narrow streets and quarters of the city.

Russian military specialists were originally going to solve the tank support problem with the help of self-propelled antiaircraft systems known as Shilka. Four 23-millimeter guns could provide appropriate defense and fire efficiency. However, Shilka systems are not armored because they were not developed for offensive actions. In addition, Shilka does not have the most important quality at this point - it cannot destroy tanks.

The new vehicle is capable of overcoming three-meter ditches and breaching 1.5-meter walls.

Specialists of the US Armed Forces are also working on the question to develop a new armored vehicle to replace a not very successful M-2 Bradly machine.
Spokesmen for the Israeli Defense Ministry evinced interest in the new Russian tank support machine during a military technological show in the city of Nizhni Tagil. Israeli officials said that they would like to conclude a contract with Russia to acquire new machines for their Merkava tanks that were used for scouring procedures in Palestinian settlements. They later said, however, that Israeli specialists would be able to develop a similar machine themselves.

The new Russian machine as the latest military technological development is not regulated with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). The Terminator is a vehicle of a new class. The CFE Treaty stipulates certain restrictions for the number of units of weaponry in Europe.

Russia has a right to have 6,350 tanks and 11,280 armored vehicles on its territory. These terms are acceptable for Russia - they provide the necessary numeral parity with the armed forces of European NATO members. In connection with the conflict situation in the Caucasus, Russian diplomats were going to ask European authorities for certain concessions. The appearance of the Terminator makes such an intention useless, because the class of the new machine is not mentioned in legal documents of the CFE Treaty. Terminator is neither a tank, nor an armored vehicle. These peculiarities will inevitably lead to numerous discussions as far as the Terminator's class is concerned. Russia has a right to use as many Terminators as needed in the Caucasus until European authorities introduce certain amendments to the CFE Treaty. It is noteworthy, though, that the Russian treasury might not be able to handle this issue.

"Specialists of the US Armed Forces are also working on the question to develop a new armored vehicle to replace a not very successful M-2 Bradly machine. [emphasis mine, misspellings theirs] "

Heh. Wanna dance, Ivan?


by John on Apr 06, 2005
» CDR Salamander links with: Ignore doctrine fine; not your lessons learned

March 12, 2005

Caption Contest!

To give us something to do this weekend (though there *will* be a comment party later) here's a pic to caption...

To get you started: "Oh, Carp! The Bedoodlewhoopies are loose! Call for backup!"

As an aside, Pam (The Castle's graphic artist) is hosting the Carnival of the Recipes!

Want more captioning fun?

Wizbang.
Villainous Company.
OTB.
Conservative Life.

by John on Mar 12, 2005
» Conservative Life - General Politics links with: Conservative Life Caption Contest #20

March 08, 2005

Since we're overrun with Grunts...

Let's do a "What is this?" for them. CAPT H - you can't play, simply too easy for you, but you *can* offer up an analysis of *where* this is...

This one will probably suffer some mis-identification at first, but there's a grognard out there who will score pretty quickly, I would think. Cockpits are a lot harder than externals. Just like when I posted the interior shots of the T-55 and people had real trouble with that - only fair. No fun if they're too easy.

Unless you *know* what it is - don't go with your gut, do some research.

Update: Completely unrelated, saving on space update.

Terrorist Catch and Release program, over at Techography.

by John on Mar 08, 2005

January 24, 2005

The Caption Contest - and a new one!

This was the picture:

All the answers (that are printable on Castle electronic stationary, anyway) are in the comments to this post.

And we have a Winnah!

3rd Runner up: UtahMan with:

"Told ya you couldn't make it."

2nd Runner up: Mythilt with:

"Fred."
"Yes Steve?"
"When we get back to base, we saw nothing, we just woke up and the tank was gone. Right?"
"Right."

1st Runner up: fluke_boy with:

Damned manual said this thing was amphibious.
(I've got some family experience with this one... not me, my Dad.)

(Drum roll, please)

And the Winnah is: Tammi! For her double entry, which really is near perfect when used together...

Oh shit.

....and.....

Ok Ok Ok, this is fixable.

Just remove the "....and.."

And you probably have something close to what was actually said

Oh shit...

Ok Ok Ok, this is fixable.

- followed by some of the more scatological captions that were passed around in email only....


So, Tammi - send along an email and we'll talk your options for a mug or mousepad.

That was so much fun, let's do it again. Same thing - at least 10 people entering, no limit on number of entries per person - no being pointlessly nasty or gross (* out key letters in words like f*ck, please - don't want to get banned by net-nanny software or bumped into Google's restricted pages - already had that fight with the deployed Air Force)

Go for it. Show us what ya got. Obviously, I tend to go for simple. After I master the poll thingy, I might just let all y'all vote!

Update: Oh yeah! Extra credit - correctly identify the rifle. If you're really good at obscure stuff (and you can lie your butt off here, I have no clue) the regiment! The rifle shouldn't be too hard. If you've no idea, the general picture should give you an idea of the era. And here's a hint - there's a very similar one in the Arsenal at Argghhh!

by John on Jan 24, 2005
» Villainous Company links with: New Caption Contest
» Conservative Life - General Politics links with: Conservative Life Caption Contest #07

January 21, 2005

Coupla things...

1. This week's Carnival of the Recipes is up at CalTechGirl's place. (Hmmm, just how gay *is* a tiled background of a naked guy with sword (non-expansible) and funny hat...?) Not that the Castle would mind having the funny hat and sword. Shield, either.

2. SangerM points us to Bill Whittle on Michael Moore. I like Whittle's analysis of actors...

3. Beth obliquely discusses Andyism. Andyism is a polite philosophy, if a touch too narcissistic for my taste... But it *is* a tolerant philosophy, as long as you acknowledge him as Supreme High Being, Master of the Universe. Which isn't as bad as it sounds, 'cuz the SHB will most likely be playing video games, so if you don't unplug anything, he's not gonna mess around with you.

At Pool of Thought, Brad is spitting nails, however.

4. Marine Bumper Stickers.

5. Sorta Happy Birthday to the National Guard - in 1903 the Militia Act established the Guard in it's modern form.

6. Caption Contest. If I get 20 or more entries to choose from (no more than 2 from any single person will count, though you can submit more) gets a Castle Mug or Mousepad, what the heck.

by John on Jan 21, 2005

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.

by John on Jan 19, 2005

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.

Kübelwagen

VW Thing.


by John on Jan 14, 2005

January 13, 2005

Ahhhhh.

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.

by John on Jan 13, 2005

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.

by John on Jan 11, 2005

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!

by John on Jan 07, 2005

January 06, 2005

Two words.

Chia Tank.

by John on Jan 06, 2005
» 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.

by John on Jan 05, 2005

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 »

by John on Jan 04, 2005
» Mudville Gazette links with: More on Armouring Up!
» Mudville Gazette links with: More on Armoring Up!
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MILBLOG'S HOME
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs Archive - Jan 05'
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs Archive - Jan 05'

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!

by John on Dec 29, 2004

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!

by John on Nov 14, 2004

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?

by John on Nov 09, 2004

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.

by John on Nov 08, 2004

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

by John on Nov 08, 2004
» 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.

by John on Nov 07, 2004

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!

by John on Nov 07, 2004

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
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Show Trial #22