Posts Tagged ‘pics’

Pictures from the Bovington Tank Museum: British Tanks

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

More pictures from the Bovington Tank Museum, this time of British tanks from World War II.

The Tortoise, an experimental prototype of a super-wide, super-heavy assault tank (actually a self-propelled gun) that made it off the production line too late to fight in World War II.

Matilda I infantry tank. I think most of the Mark I’s were destroyed in the fall of France.

Cruiser Tank Mark I…

…and Mark II.

Maybach tank transmission.

The Valentine Archer.

Valentine Mark II.

The Churchill tank. Not sure why the main barrel was off.

Black Prince, an experimental wider, heavier Churchill.

Churchill Mark III.

Centurion Mark I.

Centurion engine.

Cruiser Comet.

Cromwell Cruiser.

Tank gearbox.

I think this is a Mark VI light tank.

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 the Internet:

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.

Instead Of Real Content

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Instead of real content, enjoy some of this:

Dear Undergraduates: Communism Doesn’t Work In the Real World

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Because our great nation is constantly producing new crops of naive undergraduates, it occurs to me that it might be time to explicate what is painfully obvious to even the most casual observers outside the self-delusional circles of college bull sessions, academic Marxists and Occupy Wall Street. Namely:

  • Communism does not work.
  • Communism has never worked at any point in the past.
  • Communism will never work at any point in the future as long as human beings are involved.
  • Attempts to implement communism in the real world inevitably lead to failure, misery, and death. (Indeed, some 100 million deaths.)
  • The theory of communism goes something like this:

    Communism + Imagination of True Believer = Magical Working Utopia

    You know what tiny piece of evidence refutes this theory? It’s called “The 20th Century.”

    The actual practice of communism works more like this:

    Theory of Communism + Human Beings = Totalitarianism

    Don’t place trust in human beings. Human beings are not reliable things.

    When capitalism falls short of the platonic libertarian ideal, the result is Switzerland.

    When communism falls short of the wondrous utopia existing in true believers’ heads, the result is Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

    These two failure modes are not identical.



    The persistent belief that communism can work is sort of like the “No True Scotsman” fallacy, only worse. At least you can find Scotsmen that actually fit the definition. The “No True Communism” fallacy substitutes an idealized successful communist state that only exists in people’s heads for dozens of catastrophic real-world examples.

    No dictatorship of the proletariat is possible, because the heady violence of revolution always brings the strongest and most ruthless revolutionaries to the top of the new social order. And these are the precise individuals who entrench and extend their power by means of purging their potential rivals (see also: purge of the Mensheviks), suppression of dissenting opinions (see: Kronstadt rebellion) and establishment of a ruling elite nomenklatura with personal loyalty to the dictatorial leader.

    (Hint: If you didn’t know the words Menshevik, Kronstadt rebellion and nomenklatura before you stumbled on this page, you shouldn’t be arguing about communism over the Internet. Actually, the last nine words of that preceding sentence probably apply universally as well…)

    Thinking communism might work in the 21st century is like thinking that this time, spraying gasoline over it will finally put out that fire. If a surgical procedure is inevitably 100% fatal to the person being operated on, doctors stop performing it. And no, the magical cash free utopia some time in the distant past you have vague anecdotal evidence of doesn’t count.

    You can no more separate communism from totalitarianism that you can separate your own shadow from your body. The two always go together.

    Give it up.

    Brief Impressions of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2013 Policy Orientation

    Monday, January 14th, 2013

    I enjoyed attending what little I could of the Texas Public Policy Foundation 2013 policy orientation held January 9-11. Here are a few quick and largely random impressions:

    Because I just started a new day job, I wasn’t able to attend until Thursday evening, which meant I got to enjoy Austin’s lovely rush-hour traffic on Mopac and only got to hear about half of Ted Cruz’s pre-recorded message. (Cruz was originally scheduled to appear with Sen. John Cornyn, but had to fly off to Afghanistan and Israel on a Senate Foreign Relations trip. Cruz also appeared at lunch that day, a session I was unable to attend.) Then it was time for Texas’ senior U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, to be interviewed.

    He defended the Fiscal Cliff deal as necessary to avoid a huge tax increase. He talked about the Senate’s inability to pass a budget. “Shame doesn’t work on Harry Reid.”

    On foreign and defense policy, he noted (correctly) that keeping the American people safe is the number one responsibility of government. Cornyn says he’s opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel and dinged Obama over Benghazi. “If the President and his Administration had been honest about Benghazi, they’re wouldn’t have been a scandal.” (Paraphrased.)

    Cornyn also displayed a certain tone-deafness in regard to his audience. When asked to mention possible 2016 GOP Presidential candidates, the first name Cornyn mentioned was NJ Governor Chris Christie, which drew audible groans and hisses from the audience, for good reason.

    After the Cornyn speech there was a blogger met-and-great at Rivals Steakhouse. I met a bevy of state Reps whose names quickly blurred together, as well as Ashley Sewell, AKA @TXTrendyChick, who I had already been following on Twitter, and a bunch of other bloggers. Most interesting bit of off-the-record gossip: Confirmation of my Rick Perry hopped-up on goofballs theory. “When I saw him running around Iowa in flats I knew he was in a lot of pain. The man practically sleeps in boots.”

    On Friday, I took a long lunch to attend the Newt Gingrich luncheon and signing. I sat one seat down from the indefatigable Holly Hansen (who has her own, far more extensive coverage), and @TXTrendyChick promptly plopped down between us. Obviously our table was the place to be.

    I get to hang out with all the cool chicks!

    Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was Gingrich’s warm-up speaker. Dewhurst has improved somewhat since his losing Senate race against Ted Cruz last year, but he’s still not a natural speaker. He tries to cram too many policy points into a speech, and isn’t skilled enough to distinguish between major and minor points. When it comes to conservative policy, he seems to know the words, but doesn’t hear the music.

    Dewhurst’s four points as to why Texas is doing better than any other state (1. We keep our spending low, 2. Keep our taxes low, 3. A light regulatory hand, and 4. Keep state government out of the way) were all very solid. He also promised additional budget cutting; let’s hope he follows through.

    Most interesting parts of Dewhurst’s speech: A clumsily-phrased plea for welfare reform (“I’m not going to pay people to sit on the couch and do drugs,” a proclamation that will no doubt disappoint many members of Occupy Wall Street), and a proposal to arm teachers in the classroom.

    Gingrich came on stage to a standing ovation. He said it was unfair for other states to compete with Texas, since we weren’t raising taxes and spending like California. (This is what people call “sarcasm.”)

    This was definitely Gingrich 2.0 (or maybe 8.6), an idea-a-minute futurist (I’d like to see him and Bruce Sterling bounce off each other for a couple of hours someday). He was saying things about America 2.0, ubiquitous diagnostic cell phones as a health care initiative, having the programmers behind World of Warcraft come up with ways to teach our kids, and puters mkn kdz wrt btr (I iz skptical). It was even more scatter-shot than Dewhurst, but seemed a lot more organic. And he had one truly fascinating factoid: Students taking Stanford’s online classes did better on tests than the ones taking classes in person.

    Gingrich seems genuinely optimistic about America’s future, which is a nice contrast with many of us after the 2012 election.

    After the speech I managed to get him to sign two books for me, To Renew America, and Jim Wright’s Reflections of a Public Man, which he was quite amused by.

    A few more luminaries:

    State Senator Larry Taylor

    State Rep Marsha Farney

    A very dapper Chuck DeVore. He wasn’t born in Texas, but he got here as quickly as he could.

    Hey girl, it’s Josh Trevino!

    Apologies to anyone I didn’t mention, didn’t run into, or didn’t get a picture of (some just didn’t come out well). It was a busy two days!

    And congratulations to TPPF honcho David Guenthner and his many minions, for all the hard work in carrying this off:

    In addition to the copy of Texas Got it Right handed out to everyone, David thrust a copy of DeVore’s The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State into my hands. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to say more about both in the not-so-distant future.

    Pictures from Ted Cruz/Tony Dale Event in Williamson County

    Friday, October 26th, 2012

    I attended the Ted Cruz/Tony Dale event at Williamson County GOP headquarters on October 25 and took some pictures. Click to embiggen.

    Your humble blogger with the Guest of Honor, the next United States Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz:

    And just in cased you missed it, here once again is my endorsement of Cruz for the general election.

    Since I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of Tony Dale at his last event, I got two good ones this time around to make up for it:

    Here are some pics to give an idea of the Wilco GOP digs:

    They had a wide selection of GOP literature available:

    Ted Cruz solo:

    Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas Steve Munisteri, who I hope will forgive me for taking a picture than makes him look like The Joker:

    I get the impression that it was a very long day for both him and Cruz. Two ravenous Cruz staffers went to town on the chicken nuggets; I think they’d been too busy to eat before then.

    Also in attendance: Holly Hansen, Lisa Birkman, Third Court of Appeals candidate Scott Field, and Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell.

    It was a good crowd (I’m guessing about 50-75 people) and Cruz gave a very solid stump speech. I think things look pretty good for Cruz, Dale, and (fingers crossed) Mitt Romney.

    The Obama Administration’s Response to Benghazi, In Easy-to-Understand Graphic Form

    Monday, October 22nd, 2012

    Some devastating critiques of the Obama Administration’s non-response on American officials in Benghazi.

    Bing West:

    A U.S. ambassador is missing and his diplomatic team is desperately fighting off terrorist attacks. Our commander-in-chief and his national-security team in Washington are listening to the phone calls from the Americans under attack and watching real-time video from a drone circling overhead. Yet the U.S. military sends no aid. Why?


    Our diplomats fought for seven hours without any aid from outside the country. Four Americans died while the Obama national-security team and our military passively watched and listened. The administration is being criticized for ignoring security needs before the attack and for falsely attributing the assault to a mob. But the most severe failure has gone unnoticed: namely, a failure to aid the living.


    For our top leadership, with all the technological and military tools at their disposal, to have done nothing for seven hours was a joint civilian and military failure of initiative and nerve.

    Mary Steyn:

    Obama, Biden, and Panetta met in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. We know Charlene Lamb at the State Department was watching events in real time. It seems likely Panetta was, too — and perhaps even Obama.

    When something bad happens at a consulate on the other side of the world, very few nations have the technological capability to watch it in real time.

    Even fewer have fighter jets and special forces within less than 500 miles — or about the distance from Boston to Washington.

    Yet the commander-in-chief chose to do nothing. He chose to let the enemy determine the course of events, how long the battle would last, how many Americans would die. The only choice he made was to hold a photo-op at their coffins.

    Many Obama partisans continue to downplay the attacks in Benghazi as though they were indeed a mere bump in the road of no particular importance. Therefore, I’ve decided to put the incident in a graphic form that perhaps even they can grasp:

    Joe Biden’s Carter Smile

    Thursday, October 11th, 2012

    Separated at birth: Jimmy Carter:

    and Joe Biden?

    Pictures from Tony Dale’s Fundraising Luncheon

    Friday, October 5th, 2012

    I attended Tony Dale‘s fundraising luncheon, and snapped a few pictures of the swells assembled there. Click to embiggen.

    First, the lovely and talented Holly Hansen of Williamson County Conservative, who I finally got to meet in person! We’ve only been trading blog links for two years. Next to her is Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell.

    Congressman John Carter and Williamson County Commissioner Lisa Birkman.

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

    Abbott next to Your Humble Blogger and his freakishly long torso.

    And naturally, since this was a luncheon for Tony Dale, none of the pictures I got of him came out. Go figure. But don’t let that stop you from voting for him…

    Edited to Add: Tony Dale was kind enough to send this picture along: