Saturday, July 6, 2013

Panzer Aces No.42

Right up to the end of the war 8350 units of this motorcycle were manufactured. This vehicle cannot deny its origins which come from the standard motorcycle (Called "Krad" in soldier jargon -short for Kraftrad which means motorcycle in German-), because its front wheel suspended in a hook -shaped like a parallelogram- and its handle were clearly taken from the motorcycle design. However the frame, the arrangement of the tracks, propelling wheels, course and steering were taken from the design of the larger Wehrmacht tractor vehicles. We've got as a result a vehicle -the "Kettenrad" which is a mixture between a motorcycle and a Halftrack tractor vehicle. In terms of maneuverability in any sort of ground, this motorcycle with tracks clearly got the better of the sidecar and other cycles, and could also be used as a towing tractor to carry light artillery. Where other vehicles capitulated -be it mud, bogs, sand, ice or snow- the "Kettenkrad" because of its tracks and its short width (about a meter), and its limited unloaded weight (I250kgs) and the pressure this vehicle exerted on the ground, it always found a way. This vehicle was driven with small directional impacts (of about 8 degrees) carried with the help of the front handlebar and the front wheel. The handlebar was the standard steering element in the motorcycles of the period, but even this was designed in a much more stable way. Along with the wider directional impacts, the vehicle was equipped with a steering brake, which acted on the inner track. In difficult ground these vehicles could also be driven without having to use the front wheel, but the vehicle was slowed down considerably as a result.

Model Military International 08/2013

At the outbreak of WWII, the British Army classified its tanks under three main categories -Light Tanks for scouting and use in areas where roads and bridges would not support heavier vehicles Cruiser Tanks as the main equipment of Armoured Divisions Infantry Tanks indended to accompany infantry attacks. The first Cruiser was the A9, developed in the early 1930s by Vickers using its "slow motion" suspension with two bogie units each having one large and two smaller wheels. A10 was initially intended to be an Infantry Tank using many components from the A9 but with thicker armour. The A10E1 prototype T1479 BMM833 was delivered in October 1936. Maximum armour thickness was 30mm, which was over double that of the A9, however when the minimum armour for Infantry Tanks was set at 60mm it was "downgraded" to a Heavy Cruiser. Various modifications and trials were carried out including a change from a Rolls-Royce Phantom II engine to one from AEC and fitting a self-sealing extra fuel tank on the left-hand front mudguard. In September 1939 it was fitted with extra weights to simulate heavier armour and tested against the A12E1 Matilda prototype as part of the development of the Valentine Infantry Tank. When it was of no further use it was disposed of in August 1940.

Military Machines International 08/2013

The narrow-gauge Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, situated on the Skegness Water Leisure Park at Ingoldmells near Skegness, is home to a collection of historically important World War 1 trench railway vehicles running on tracks 60 cm wide. Having opened to the public at Skegness in 2009, it now plans to offer its first 'photo and video charter' on Friday 13th September 2013. The line, which has a length of just under a half a mile, runs in the shape of a figure 7 from a storage shed to Lakeview passenger station, and from there to a run round loop, situated in a typically remote Lincolnshire fen countryside location, among flat but pleasant scenery of grassland and arable farmland, with young tree plantations along the way. Normal operation of passenger carrying trains on summer Saturdays involves running the locomotive round its train at the passenger station and the end of the line.

FlyPast 08/2013

Always referred to as 'Two-Sixteen' rather than 'Two-One-Six', 216 Squadron can trace its history back to October 1917 - and decidedly naval roots - when a detached flight of Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) Handley Page O/100s at Manston, Kent, was designated as 'A' Squadron under the command of Sqn Cdr K C Savory dso. Ten aircraft flew to Ochey, near Nancy, France, to the 41st Wing, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), for attacks on industrial areas in Germany. Operations began on the evening of October 24 when nine of the large biplanes raided Saarbrücken, and although 4'^ tons of bombs were dropped to good effect, two 'HPs' were lost to anti-aircraft fire. Fit Lt Sieveking's 0/100 was shot down attacking Mannheim a few nights later, so after just two 'ops' strength had been significantly reduced. Bad weather curtailed further sorties until the night of January 6,1918 when Courcelles railway junction in Belgium was struck. Two days later, 'A' Squadron was redesignated as 16 Squadron RNAS (or '16 Naval'). An epic raid was staged on March 24 when Fit Cdr Digby succeeded in reaching Cologne during an 8]'z hour flight. He wrote: "Bombs were dropped in a line over the Haupt Bahnhof [the main railway station]. Large store north east of station set on fire and burning fiercely when last seen. Anti-aircraft defence was poor, only five guns noticed in action.