Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

The Valiant: “One of The Worst Tanks Ever Made”

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Before we get into the British and U.S. tanks I saw at the Bovington Tank Museum, let’s look at one British prototype tank they had there, the Valiant, AKA “One of the Worst Tanks Ever Designed.”

Let’s look at the official Bovington description, shall we?

The Valiant appears to be one of the worst tanks ever designed in Britain. It is difficult to find any contemporary reports that say anything good about it!

The Valiant was originally designed by Vickers Armstrong to meet a War Office requirement for an Infantry Assault Tank for service in the Far East. During development the project was transferred first to the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. and then to Ruston and Hornsby Ltd. of Grantham.

The designers were required to apply the thickest possible armour while keeping the weight as low as possible. Inevitably the hull was very small; the front hull casting was virtually moulded around the driver while the turret ring stuck out over the sides of the hull. In comparison the turret appeared to be enormous, as it had to accommodate a three man crew, (commander, gunner and loader/radio operator).

The Valiant used the same diesel engine as the Valentine (See E1949.344), although it had little else in common with the earlier tank. Design documents exist for an improved version, the Valiant II, powered by a Rolls Royce Meteorite engine, converted to diesel operation.

Ruston and Hornsby built one prototype in 1944. Trials in 1944 – 45 revealed serious problems. With a power:weight ratio of 7.8hp per ton, the tank was slow. The ground clearance at the rear was found to be too low and the suspension, located partly under the hull, was easily damaged during cross-country driving. More seriously the driver was almost crippled by the cramped driving position and was in danger of being injured by the controls. Furthermore, the controls required inordinate strength to operate them. The tests were abandoned immediately.

Not surprisingly the Valiant did not enter production, officially because the war was likely to be over before the tank could be introduced into service.

My pics of the Valiant didn’t come out particularly well, but they do show what an odd looking tank it was:

And here’s a better pic from Bovington:

Wikipedia (citing David Fletcher’s book Universal Tank: British Armour in the Second World War), says “The sole Valiant was retained by the School of Tank Technology, where students were treated to an inspection of it at the end of their course and invited to find fault. David Fletcher wrote of this: ‘One hopes they started early in the morning.’”

Pictures from the Bovington Tank Museum: German Tanks

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

I hope you like tanks.

Here’s the first batch of pictures taken at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, which I visited on Saturday as a gift to my inner 12-year old. (There are few prospects more pleasing to the preadolescent male mind than being encased in a 30 ton metal killing machine.) The first batch is all German tanks and tank destroyers from World War II. Let’s face it, the Germans had far and away the best tanks, and shortly after the allies managed to catch up, Germany would be about ready to introduce something better. Germany’s problem (as compared to America or the Soviet Union) was an inability to manufacture enough of them. (Good thing for us.) They had an enormous array of German tanks, and probably the best collection outside Germany’s own tank museum in Munster.

The first picture of the first of two King Tigers (AKA Tiger II, AKA Königstiger, Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B) they had on display. The mosty powerful tank Germany produced during the war, its 88mm main gun could destroy any tank on the battlefield. It didn’t get on the battlefield until 1944, and Germany produced less than 500 of them.

The other Tiger II they had there.

Here you can see the Zimmerite anti-magnetic mine coating the Germans used.

Selfie, with tank.

The first of several tank destroyers.

This is a German tank destroyer that ended up in Finland. Stalin thought he could walk all over Finand, but the Finns tore the Soviets nine different new assholes in the Winter War, though this tank destroyer obviously post-dates 1940.

Alternate barrel used for the Sturmtiger close assault variant.

Here’s an early Panzer Mark I command tank. It’s amazing to realize that the initial German blitzkrieg was carried out with relatively slow, under-armed, and underpowered Mark I and Mark IIs, that, with Heinz Guderian’s new tactics of mechanized warfare, were simply Good Enough.

A Mark II.

I think this is the Mark III, would would be the mainstay of the Wehrmacht armored divisions through the end of the war.

A muzzle-eye view.

Armoured car.

An 88mm field canon.

LinkSwarm for August 8, 2014

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Another roundup of news, a disproportionate amount from the Middle East, disproportionately bad.

  • Old and Busted: “Never again!” The New Hotness: “Genocide? Meh. Case-by-case basis.”
  • More on the ISIS campaign to wipe out the Yazidi and other religious minorities.
  • Obama says he’s authorizing air strikes “if necessary.” Even when threatening military action, Obama manages to sound wishy-washy.
  • There are conflicting reports as to weather ISIS or the Kurdish Pesh Merga hold the Mosul dam.
  • Hamas demands that Israel kick their ass some more.
  • Rick Perry: “Since September of ’08, we have seen 203,000 individuals who have illegally come into the United States — into Texas — booked in to Texas county jails…These individuals are responsible for over 3,000 homicides and almost 8,000 sexual assaults.”
  • Quiz: Real Salon or Parody Salon? Difficulty: Impossible.
  • Leland Yee pleads not guilty to racketeering charges. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Won’t someone think of the poor federal employee who have nothing to do all day but spank their monkey to online porn?
  • Why did Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell proclaim a day in honor of convicted Louisiana felon Ed Edwards?
  • It has to be said: Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the fashion sense God gave a turtle. Two words: Lane Bryant.
  • Soldiers’ military kits from 1066 to 2014.
  • There’s a website dedicated to the world’s tallest men.
  • LinkSwarm for July 25, 2014

    Friday, July 25th, 2014

    Time for another random roundup of news and links:

  • Jimmy Carter looks like frickin’ Bismark next to the feckless dorm-room intellectual currently haunting the golf courses of the greater DC area.”
  • Even Thomas “What’s The Matter With Kansas” Frank calls Obama “ineffective and gutless.” (Warning: Salon Liberal Whining Ahead.)
  • Liberal law professor Lawrence Tribe thinks that ObamaCare is probably doomed due to the Halbig decision. “I cannot see how this Court could do anything other than decide the same way as the DC Circuit did. The statue is clear on its face.”
  • Even “ObamaCare Architect” MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber said the same thing back in 2012: “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”
  • Mark Steyn on the Halbig ruling:

    As to Mr Earnest’s point on “what Congress intended”, who can say? No Congressman who voted for the bill read it. Presumably, some legislator’s staffer wrote that actual line about “established by the State”. If we could locate him among the vast entourages of the Emirs of Incumbistan, we could ask him what his “intention” was. Until then, calibrating the competing degrees of deference to a corrupt bureaucracy, a contemptuous executive, a politicized judiciary and a feckless hack legislature brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s line about arguing the precedence of a louse and a flea, with a tick and a cockroach thrown in.

  • Missing from my Gaza roundup: “Shalom, motherf****r.” “I will not apologize for surviving.” (Hat tip: Josh Perry.)
  • Bill Whittle makes the case for Israel:

  • Obama won’t help arm Ukraine because he had a key role in disarming them.
  • Democrats plans for November: All race card, all the time.
  • 50 years of Democratic rule and now Detroit is cutting off people’s water. “Just goes to show that nothing is so expensive as when it is ‘free.’”
  • “That’s not funny.”
  • Republicans should stand firm and let the Export/Import Bank corporate welfare boondoggle expire. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Che Guevara, racist:

  • Maureen Dowd is never so readable as when she’s slamming the Clintons.
  • “Canadian Candidate Drops Out After Masturbation Video Surfaces.”

  • Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr against Lamar Alexander in Tennessee senate primary. I don’t think anyone who watched Alexander’s “Lamar!” flannel flameout in the 1996 Presidential race has ever really trusted him since…
  • A New York City cupcake truck seems a little unclear on who their clientele might be. (They’ve since deleted both this tweet and the one where they implored people not to “snitch” to cops when they see crimes committed…)
  • Evidently nobody is actually reading Thomas Piketty’s book.
  • In praise of Power Girl’s boob window.
  • Let No One Else’s Work Evade Your Eyes!

    Thursday, July 24th, 2014

    So it turns out that current (appointed) Democratic Senator from Montana John Walsh plagiarized his master’s thesis for the United States Army War College

    Now the New York Times has gone through and marked up Walsh’s thesis, and it turns out Walsh isn’t just a plagiarist, he’s a shameless, ham-fisted, damn-dirty plagiarist.

    (And is it just me, or is 14 pages plus footnotes incredibly thin for a Master’s Thesis? In college I did a piece on Sandinista human rights violations that was about that length (with, granted, about half as many footnotes) in 24 hours on an electric typewriter…)

    And you’ll love his excuse: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Hey, PTSD is a real thing, and I can imagine it make you jump at loud noises, lose sleep, drink too much, and snap at your friends and family over seemingly trivial items.

    But if it can make you steal someone else’s work and claim it as your own, then it’s an all-purpose “Get Out Of Any Crime Free” card.

    And did I mention that Walsh is up for reelection?

    Not only is he dishonest, he’s criminally stupid for thinking he can get away with it in a 21st century world where text searching tools are so powerful and easy to use.

    So what do I have to add to the story?

    Lobachevsky:

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)

    Israel/Gaza/Etc. Update for July 24, 2014

    Thursday, July 24th, 2014

    A whole bunch of news related to Israel’s incursion into Gaza:

  • Protective Edge enters its seventeenth day.
  • Hamas turns down John Kerry’s ceasefire deal. Wait, you mean the designated terrorist organization that uses its own civilians as human shields as part of its jihad to exterminate world Jewry isn’t moved by the verbal blandishments of the Secretary of State for the most feckless U.S. Administration in history? Imagine my shock.
  • And why would they heed John Kerry when they just got $47 million from him? Just think of all the missiles and tunnels those “humanitarian” dollars will buy…
  • Hamas provoked the current round of conflict because they suck at everything else.
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is shocked, SHOCKED that there are rockets at a UN school in Gaza.
  • Roger Simon calls for an investigation.
  • “Hamas hides its rockets in schools and places its command bunkers under hospitals. It wants war, and it wants civilian casualties.”
  • Even the Washington Post has a clue:

    The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.

    One of those demands is for a full reopening of Gaza’s land and sea borders. While this would allow relief and economic development for the territory’s population, it would also allow Hamas to import more missiles and concrete for new tunnels.

  • Sayeth Instapundit in reference to the Post piece: “Because ‘the world’ basically approves when people kill Jews.”
  • Parisian supporters of Palestine hold respectful protests, call for peaceful resolution of Gaza crisis. Ha, just kidding! They go all Kristallnacht on Jewish shops and yell “Gas the Jews!” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Pictures from that “mostly peaceful” protest. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Previously: The Battle of Rue de la Roquette.
  • In related news, students in the West Bank shout “Jews back to Birkenau!” Oh wait, did I say the West Bank? I meant Boston.
  • Chief Rabbi in The Netherlands has stones thrown at him. Next up: Hunting down that Zionist Frank girl…
  • FAA bans American flights taking off or leaving from Tel Aviv Airport, then lifts the ban, but not before Ted Cruz calls the action a boycott of Israel.
  • Cruz also says that the Obama Administration is the most anti-Israel administration America has ever had. Probably, though I know Israel was really not happy with the Eisenhower Administration during the Suez crisis…
  • “Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.”
  • Shockingly, Bill Maher Makes Sense on Gaza

    Monday, July 21st, 2014

    Here’s something from the “Blind Squirrel Find Acorn” department: Bill Maher actually making sense on Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

    Some choice quotes:

    “If Hamas had the opportunity, they would kill the maximum number of Israelis, which would be all. And Israel has the capability to kill a lot more and they do not. They seem victims of the soft bigotry of high expectations.”

    “Can we ask why Israel wins all the time? Because they’ve won every war. They have to. You can’t go 8-1 and be Israel. You have to go 8-0 every year to still exist.”

    “Jews have 155 Nobel Prizes and Muslims have two. Maybe it’s who you know, but that seems a big advantage for Team Hebrew.”

    Israel Picks Perfect Time to Kick Hamas’ Ass

    Sunday, July 13th, 2014

    Just a quick note to compliment Israel on a perfect sense of timing in picking this week to kick Hamas’ incompetent ass (yet again) in Operation Protective Edge:

  • No one cares about Hamas’ propaganda bullshit anymore:

    Hamas has done more harm to the Palestinian movement in the past two decades, than any opponent of the Palestinians could have done. It has sabotaged relations with a sympathetic media through muddled press conferences and moronic bombastic statements about “opening the gates of hell.” It has driven out international supporters, managed to decrease the support it did have among various “free Gaza” committees and “shot its bolt” in its various ill-conceived wars with Israel.

    Snip.

    It gained a respite with the election of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt in 2012. But like Morsi, it over-reached and overestimated its military chances against Israel. It must have gained hope from Turkey’s Islamist government AK party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong messages of support. But the Gaza flotilla incident of 2010 seems like a high point of Turkish resolve. Hamas’ other erstwhile friends in Iran and Hezbollah; although Shi’ite extremists, seemed like they might bolster the organization. The 2006 Lebanon War, which was roundly seen as a blunder for Israel, was a by-product of Hamas’ own kidnapping of Gilad Schalit that year. But Hezbollah and Iran were drawn into the Syrian quagmire and Hamas was left alone. The overthrow of Morsi by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt put another nail in the blockade around Gaza as Sisi sought to root out terror in Sinai. Pro-Gaza activists from the West were roughed up routinely in Egypt.

    Whereas Hamas could once propagate stories about flour or electricity shortages in Gaza, the international media and activists began to shrug their shoulders. Another perennial sewage problem? In June of 2014 Reuters noted, “sewage at the beach, piles of garbage mar Gaza’s summer.” Various alarmist UN statements, such as a 2008 claim that the “blockage [by Israel and Egypt] is putting Gaza at risk of starvation” were met with a yawn. Hamas’ Gaza policy, with its need for international attention, has been marred particularly by the mass atrocities that have been taking place throughout the Middle East. Media outlets like the BBC caught on to the fact that images from Syria are routinely passed off as being from Gaza and there is less international outrage at Israel than in previous years as the European public is inured to suffering in the region.

    This latest round of violence is indicative. Al-Jazeera cobbled together various world leaders’ reactions to the conflict. The usual suspects were there – but were markedly tepid in their criticism of Israel.

  • Indeed, with much of the region embroiled in the ongoing merged Syrian and Iraqi conflicts, both sides of the nascent Sunni/Shia civil war are too preoccupied with possible existential issues to bother with any but the most perfunctory denunciations of Israel. Sure, they’d still like to wipe Jews off the face of the earth, but they have more pressing concerns right now. And with all the other atrocities going on, the usual “Hey, look at these horrible pictures of dead children because we just happened to put our rocket launchers in their preschool” photos just don’t pack the same punch.
  • Likewise, with ISIS making mischief on their own border, Iran may be in no mood to buy Hamas another round of missiles for them to waste launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Israel in the mostly vain hope one might manage to kill a Jew or two. (Iron Dome seems to be working pretty well.)
  • As the War Nerd pointed out, the World Cup slaughters jihad porn in the viewer ratings derby. By launching Protective Edge during the final week of the World Cup, Israel insured that all the regions casual jihad sympathizers were too busy watching people kick a ball on TV to go through the motions of pretending they cared what happens to Palestinians.
  • All that said, I bet we go through the whole thing again another two years from now…

    LinkSwarm for June 27, 2014

    Friday, June 27th, 2014

    A small LinkSwarm for a busy Friday:

  • Evidently Obama wants $500 million to arm the Syrian rebels that we’re supposedly trying to fight in Iraq. Oh, the article says he wants to arm “moderate” rebels. Has anyone seen these moderate rebels? Who are they? Kurds? Oppressed Christians? The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, the problem is that the actual moderates seem to have forces too small to affect the outcome of the fight, and I don’t trust this administration on, well, anything, but especially on their ability to discern the difference between “moderate” rebels and radical Islamic militias from 6,000 miles away….
  • Welcome to the ObamaCare Death Spiral.
  • The War Nerd suggests that Putin is mucking around in eastern Ukraine less to take it outright than to keep it at a simmer so he gets to keep the Crimea without a fight. Also include this epic quote: “Tom Friedman, the Michael Jordan of wrong.”
  • Obama gets unanimous beatdown from the Supreme Court. For the 13th time.
  • Even liberals are turned off by Hillary’s poor, poor pitiful me act.

  • As Hillary Clinton gears up for a Presidential run in 2016, ABC decides to make one of Bill Clinton’s chief aides a network anchor. Lovely.
  • Hillary’s book sells more than 100,000 copies, but woefully short of what it would need to earn back it’s whopping $14 million advance…
  • Did Obama Fail Black America?” Obviously the question mark is unnecessary, as the only question is whether that headline is one or two words too long.

  • Feminism: The Tiny Elite: “You don’t have to look far to realize that victimhood is the flavor of the moment in America. Deeming oneself a victim delivers an afforded reverence, especially if said victimhood is biologically based.” Today feminism is “a group working largely for the interests of elite white women.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How the media discriminates against stories than indict big government.
  • Phil Collins donates his extensive collection of Alamo relics to the state. In fact, Collins is donating not only his existing collection, but stuff he continues to acquire. Three cheers for him.
  • Much like obeying the law, word problems are not Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings’ strong suit.
  • Texas man told to remove American flag from his balcony because it was “a threat to Muslims.” Get a rope…
  • Far-left cartoonist Ted Rall gets the axe. I’m not sure there’s a violin tiny enough…
  • Finally, you too can own the screenplay to Manos: The Hands of Fate.
  • I hope to have a longer post of the kangaroo court trying Michael Quinn Sullivan next week…

    1,000 Veterans Dead Through Neglect?

    Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

    A new report released Tuesday by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., claims more than a thousand veterans may have died between 2001 and 2011 as the result of misconduct and a ‘culture of mismanagement’ at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

    Obama didn’t make this mess, which was a long time in coming. But he promised to fix it and hasn’t, and in fcat it’s gotten considerably worse on his watch.

    Here’s the actual report, which I haven’t had a chance to read all of yet.