Thursday, February 27, 2014

Military Modelling Vol.44 No.03 2014

As a starter for the 100th Anniversary of WW1, the first of our Group Build projects for this year is firmly underway. There are a variety of different subjects currently underway, including tanks, trucks and aircraft, all under the heading of 'Equipment'. This particular Group topic will run until the end of March, so if you fee like joining in then p ease do. Just as an idea of what is going on, there of two builds currently in progress with different mode s from the Wingnut Wings range of 1:32 scale WW1 aircraft. Members Gary Radford and Sean Emmott are building the Fokker Eindecker and a Sopwith Pup respective y, and both making their own excellent build logs ('Biogs'), so to give some idea, there are some photos here of their progress part way through the builds. Another long-running project is a so being completed by regular member Johnny Gers, who has taken on the challenge of building the huge 1:35 scale LCT4 made by Accurate Armour, and building a whole series of armoured vehicles to make up the load. It is a lengthy build which is great to drop in on and see.

Electric Flight 05/2014

If you want a great-flying, park-friendly aerobatic airplane that you can have in the air the same day that you purchase it. then you'll want to keep reading! As part of Hitec's Weekender series of planes, this model is made of EPO foam and painted to look very realistic. A landing gear system, wing halves, carbon-fiber wing joiner, steerable tailwheel. prop, spinner, and tail feathers are all packaged with the utmost care. The operation manual consists of a dozen steps and pages, and guides you through the incredibly quick assembly process. Even if you have never seen a model airplane before, you should be able to put this one together. It has a low parts count, perfect parts fit. and goes together easily. The manual states that this model is aimed at novice pilots over the age of 14. If you're a beginner pilot, you may also want to use a buddy box with this model. Even though the manual is short, it is concise and consists of good instructions, which are always appreciated. Aside from plenty of info to get your Extra flying, you will also find a parts list and service contact info. This is cool because if (when) I crash my plane, I'll want to be able to buy a piece rather than a whole new kit; not to mention the guys at Hitec have great customer support. I decided to install the main landing gear first. You will be impressed with its completion as it only requires four screws for a solid attachment. The aluminum gear struts look great and the wheel pants are molded flawlessly. Plastic wheels with treaded foam tires are pre-installed and require no alterations.

Air International Magazine 03/2014

No other UK aircraft programme is subject to such tight security as the BAE Systems Tar an is unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstrator - and all because of the low observable (LO) technology used on the aircraft. Coring a joint BAE Systems-Ministry of Defence briefing in London on February 5, Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology explained the nature of the Taranis programme: 'The reason that it [Taranis] is highly classified is because it improves [the] technological advantage that this country wants to keep control of and not reveal to others that may find potential weaknesses and flaws in the system that could undermine its effectiveness." Artists' impressions, models, images, and distant head-on views of the actual aircraft have been carefully presented to hide aspects of the design. Those related to LO, the exhaust nozzle and aerodynamic control surfaces arrangement were regarded as especially sensitive. On two occasions when the aircraft has been in 'public' view at Warton, on the radar cross-section measurement range and when performing taxi trials, special measures were taken to make it difficult for photographs to be taken from public places. And if any pictures were taken, measures were put in place to ensure they were not published. To the best knowledge of the authors this was successful.

Model Aircraft Magazine 03/2014

The RAF and Commonwealth squadrons that flew the Ventura GR Mk V in the maritime role from the North African coastline were a pretty nomadic lot, moving from one desert landing ground to another and they all had a very similar routine. Amongst them was 459 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), whose nickname was 'The Desert Scorpions', and it was established in Egypt as one of seventeen 'Article XV' squadrons that formed part of Australians commitment to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (alongside 44 RCAF and six RNZAF units). Under this arrangement Australia, Canada and New Zealand agreed to provide operational units for service under RAF command that were manned by aircrew who were trained under the BCATP in the appropriate country, however the RAAF more than met this demand by providing additional units from within its own numbering system too, such as 10 Squadron, which flew Sunderlands throughout the war, and 3 Squadron which operated a succession of Gladiators, Hurricanes, Tomahawks, Kittyhawks and Mustangs.

Scale Aviation Modeller Magazine 03/2014

Some aircraft never get at good press and received wisdom is often not challenged. Well-known examples of this are the Grumman F-111B (a victim of inter-service and Defense Departmentwrangling) and the Vought Cutlass (a victim of its Westinghouse engines, which, it was said at the time, gave out less heat then the domestic, electric heaters made by the same firm). Both are damned, though neither was an intrinsically bad design. My subject for today is a less well-known machine: the Rockwell XFV-12A. On the face of it, this is just one more on the list of failed attempts by the USA to achieve usable VTOL. What gave me pause to reconsider it was a splendid new book by Eric Simonsen, where this plane is one of his subjects. The book was quite recently reviewed in SAMI by Soren Lorensen. (By the way, keep an eye out for the latter's forthcoming build series on Swedish naval fighters of the inter-war years.) The received wisdom in this case is that the XFV-12A programme was a complete failure but to fail you have to have been allowed a chance to succeed. Simonsen argues persuasively that the XFV-12A was not granted that opportunity. Some background The US Navy, in the early 1970s, faced with escalating expenditure on big, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, arrived at the concept of the 'sea control ship,' a small aircraft carrier in the 12,000 ton class, intended as an escort vessel for convoys.These ships were to be equipped, along with'sensor carriers' and anti-submarine helicopters, with supersonic interceptors.

Scale Military Modeller International 03/2014

SMMI is always delighted to feature the thoughts of individual modellers and manufacturers, and its a pleasure to welcome Schaun Myers, AFV enthusiast and US Army Chaplain... I don't know if you've ever noticed, but many 'author bio's' at the end of articles in modelling magazines start with something like 'after a break of twenty-five years, I recently got back into the hobby' I too can make the same statement in my armour building career. I was a voracious model builder in my teens, and would glue together anything I could get my hands on! I ended up building in 1:35 and was pretty much on top of what was being produced in the early eighties by Tamiya, Italeri, Peerless, and Monogram. But then life happened, with college, graduate school and marriage, three kids and a career. I built a few 1:48 Navy planes while in grad school, but there just wasn't enough time in the day to do the quality of work I wanted. So I put away my airbrush and tools, and boxed up my remaining built models and kits. Eventually I joined the Army at 39 as a Chaplain, and went to Iraq in 2009. I got home and was dealing with post-deployment issues, nothing serious but still things I had to work through. My neighbour graciously gave me and Italeri M4A1, and told me to get back into modelling!

Britain At War Magazine 03/2014

THE WAR in Europe was over and the men who had been prisoners of the enemy were flown back home. With more than 350,000 individuals to transport and process, it was a major logistical operation which, to their credit, those in authority generally carried out with considerable efficiency. The returning men had fought for their country and, in many cases, been held captive for years. Their homecoming, one would have imagined, would have been amongst the most celebrated of the Second World War. At the same time, what tales these men must have had to tell. Fighting, surrender, capture; the trials of internment, their treatment at the hands of the Germans; surely their stories would fill many a volume? Yet when we researched Operation Exodus, as the return of the prisoners was code-named, we found little had been written on the subject, particularly in respect of facts and figures, other than the occasional first-hand account. I suppose people had already moved on. They had other things to think of. Life was going to be very different with the end of the fighting, and not necessarily for the better. Indeed, for some it was a difficult homecoming. Houses had been destroyed, loved ones dead or disappeared.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Classic Arms & Militaria 02-03/2014

The widespread adoption of firearms which used metallic cased cartridges from about 1870 onwards created a requirement for inert cartridges to teach the soldier how to manipulate his weapon. This became increasingly important with die advent of magazine rifles. The only way that an instructor could be sure that his pupils had assimilated the lesson was to see them conduct a successful loading and firing cycle with inert ammunition. During the muzzle-loading era, the lack of dummy ammunition was not an issue. Loading drill could be conducted without it and lightly charged blank or "blunt" cartridges could be used when necessary to give the soldier a better impression of his firearm's function. As firearms grew more technically complex, armourers and other artificers needed inert ammunition to check functionality and wear. Consequently, a new type of inert ammunition the Drill or Dummy cartridge began to appear. In 1871 die famous Scottish gunmaker Alexander Henry advocated a dummy cartridge for use in the .577 Snider rifle. The main part of the case and the tapered "bullet" were made from turned boxwood. The head was brass and the "primer" was an India-rubber plug designed to absorb die impact of the striker. Mr Henry patented his design (No. 3257/1870) and promoted it vigorously amongst die Volunteer Movement. He claimed that soldiers could "..make constant HOME PRACTICE without danger, expense or injury to the rifle and the manipulation is a perfect as though using live cartridges". Henry's dummy cartridges cost 2 shillings and 6 pence for 10 or 100 might be had for a guinea including rail delivery. Specimens are rare today.

Classic Arms & Militaria 01/2014

Early firearms were invariably smooth-bore weapons because, initially, no one understood that putting grooves in the barrel of a gun to make the ball spin would increase its accuracy Even after this discovery was made, a rifled barrel was not very easy to make by hand and it was not until the beginning of the 16th century that rifled weapons began to appear regularly in Europe. These first rifles were of either Austrian or German manufacture and although they were accurate and popular with the sporting shooter, they never gained general acceptance by the military. The problem was loading. If the designer increased the size of the ball so that it was a tight fit in the bore, forcing the ball down the barrel past the rifling made it difficult to load and, if the ball was looser, the accuracy of the weapon was reduced to barely that of an equivalent musket. Very-early rifle shooters used a wooden mallet to knock the ball down the rifling, but this was not totally-satisfactory and rifles did not become really popular until their loading problems were partially overcome by the development of a process called 'patch-loading'. This involved the use of a patch of paper, cloth or even leather which was wrapped around the ball before it was inserted into the barrel and forced down to seat on to the charge. The patch gripped the grooves in the barrel sufficiently to impart the required spin to the ball and so rendered the rifling effective.

Aero Modeller March/April 2014

One of the special appeals of competition free-flight is that it's a purely objective sport, with simply a stopwatch to decide the result, rather than the subjective opinion of some judge. It's also a man (or woman) versus the elements. You, the flyer, will have pre-adjustcd several factors on the model that determine the flight (CG position, tailplane incidence for power or tow and for glide, rudder setting, differential wing incidence, propeller variable pitch changes,) and several of these maybe timer-controlled in flight. But in the end it is you who decides when to launch and that is when the elements bit comes into play. That model is going to end up somewhere downwind and you're going to need it back for several more rounds. Deciding when to launch usually means judging the air (temperature, wind speed and direction,) with the aim of finding a thermal to boost the flight performance to provide a max. When the model DTs (you did start the timer or set the fuse...?) is when the first stage of the retrieval phase begins. However, there's a lot you can do long before you get to the flying field that will help you to go home with the same number of models you set out with.

Aviation News 03/2014

With the successful conclusion of Operation Corporate, the campaign to retake the Falkland Islands from Argentina in 1982, the RAF found itself faced with supporting a large UK military presence 8,500 miles (13,680km) from home. It had no strategic transport aircraft and its air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tanker fleet was, inevitably, going to be overstretched. An ongoing programme of Vickers VC10 tanker conversions would help, but much of the life of its existing Handley Page Victor tankers had been consumed during Corporate. The RAF therefore had an urgent requirement for a large tanker/transport and British Airways (BA) was identified as having a suitable aircraft available. Six long-range Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 500 trijets had been ordered in August 1976, with the first placed in service during January 1979 and the last in May 1981. The new aircraft performed admirably on the carrier's long, thin routes (long haul, with passenger volumes insufficient for cost-effective service with larger aircraft), but proved somewhat costly to operate. Struggling to raise cash during a period of recession, BA took the opportunity to sell its nearly-new TriStar 500 fleet to the RAF. A deal was struck later in 1982 and a period of transition followed. The first to be transferred, G-BFCF was withdrawn from commercial service in December and by the following March all six had ceased scheduled flying. However three made temporary returns to BA service.

Airforces Monthly 03/2014

DURING A visit to the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft final assembly line at Bordeaux-Mérignac on January 10 Jean-Yves le Drian, France's Minister for Defence, awarded a contract to Dassault for development of the F3R standard Rafale from France's defence procurement agency, the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA- General Directorate for Armament). The F3R is a further evolution of the Rafale F3 standard and will enable Dassault to integrate the European Meteor long-range air-to-air missile produced by MBDA, the Thaies PDL-NG new-generation laser designator pod and HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range), the laser homing version of the Sagem AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire or Modular Air-to-Ground Weapon) that was partially integrated as an urgent operational requirement for France's Operation Serval in Mali. The DGA plans to buy 20 PDL-NG pods, of which 16 will be delivered between 2018 and 2019. The F3R will also include upgrades to Rafale's sensors and systems. Validation of the F3R standard is scheduled for 2018.

Aeroplane Magazine 04/2014

Following a two-year restoration in Cosford's Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, Britain's only surviving Hawker Siddeley Kestrel was unveiled in the Research and Development Hangar at the RAF Museum Cosford on January 24, just short of 50 years after the first flight of the type. The historic machine, XS695, is the only Kestrel ever to go on display in the country of its birth. Not only is XS695 an important addition to the RAF Museum collection, but it now provides Britain with the only major "link" in the Hawker Harrier V/STOL story not previously represented in the UK-wide museum system, completing the story of what is arguably the most innovative combat aircraft ever developed in Britain, three years after the last Harriers were retired from RAF service. Britain's last remaining Kestrel was the eighth of nine Kestrel FGA.l development aircraft, making its first flight from Dunsfold on February 19, 1965, with Hawker test-pilot Duncan Simpson at the controls. After almost 6hr of test flights, on March 30, 1965, XS695 was delivered to the Tripartite (Anglo-American-German) Kestrel Evaluation Sqn, at West Raynham. The unit had been set up to evaluate vertical take-off aircraft in simulated sen-ice conditions.

Tamiya Model Magazine International 03/2014

In 1960, Boeing bought Vertol Aircraft Co., a helicopter manufacturer in Philadelphia, Pa. The company had three tandem-rotor helicopters in production: the Chinook for the Army, the Sea Knight for the Navy and the Marines and the commercial 107-11 for the airlines. Chinooks first were used in combat in 1965 during the Vietnam conflict. By 1968, the Chinook had put in 161,000 hours of flying time, carrying 22.4 million passengers and more than 1.3 million tons of cargo. During the last days of the war, one Chinook is reported to have carried 147 refugees in a single lift. CH-47A, B and C models served with distinction for a decade until the war's end in 1975. During 2002, Boeing was developing the CH-47F, scheduled for first production in 2004 and was under contract to modernize at least 300 Chinooks to the new F-model standard, which featured reduced vibration, an integrated cockpit control system and more powerful engines with digital fuel controls. These improvements would make the Chinook fully compatible with 21st century operational and war-fighting requirements and improve the aircraft's efficiency and effectiveness. (From Boeing's website). The CH-47 as represented in the Trumpeter box is a machine assigned to the US Army Aviation Test Board at Fort Rucker, Alabama. This helicopter was used for logistics evaluations.

Military Illustrated Modeller 03/2014

The Avia S199 was a propeller-driven fighter aircraft built after World War II by the two aircraft factories in Czechoslovakia. Avia continued building the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 after the war under the Avia S-99 name, but soon ran out of the 109's Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine after many were destroyed during cn explosion at a warehouse in Krâsné Brezno. The S-199 continued to use the Bf 109 G airframe but, with none of the original engines available, an alternative engine had to be used. It was decided that as a replacement for the original engine, the aircraft would use the same Junkers Jumo 211 F engine and propeller as the Heinkel He 111 bomber. The resulting combination of parts was an aircraft with extremely poor handling qualities. The substitute engine with the propeller locked the responsiveness of the Daimler-Benz unit and the torque created by the massive paddle-bladed propeller made control very difficult. This, in combination with the 109's narrow-track undercarriage, made landings and take-offs extremely hazardous. The Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine allowed for a centrally mounted cannon that fired through the propeller spinner. This was not possible with the Junkers Jumo 211, so the S-199 used a version of the Luftwaffe's Rüstsatz VI modification kit, which consisted of a pair of MG 151 cannon, one each in a gun pod, one beneath each wing. This further impaired the aircraft's performance. A final hidden danger lay in the gun synchroniser for the cowl-mounted MG 131 machine guns that did not work as it was meant to, leading a few Israeli aircraft to shoot off their own propellers.

America In WWII 04/2014

It was New Year's Day 1945. Allied armies were marching toward Germany. Japan was getting pushed back toward its home islands. Americans were beginning to see light at the end of a long, dark tunnel of war. As they ate pork and sauerkraut, listened to the Rose Bowl on the radio, and daydreamed about their boys coming home, they probably weren't thinking about the trouble with horse racing. But they weren't James F. Byrnes. James F. Byrnes, the director of the US Office of War Mobilization, worried about the manpower and resources that racing consumed. Thousands of able-bodied workers kept stables and tracks operating. Fans wore tons of rubber off their tires and burned untold gallons of gasoline getting to tracks to toss money away on bets. Byrnes had long wanted to shut the sport down. On January 3, 1945, he did. Horse racing was banned—the only sport the government prohibited during the war. Byrnes had to overcome powerful interests to enact his ban. There was an awful lot of money in thoroughbred racing. Americans pulling high salaries from lucrative wartime jobs had money to spare. Gambling, which then usually meant horse racing, offered excitement and the chance to multiply earnings in an instant.

Jets Magazine March/April 2014

As we sit having lunch in the RAF Club in London's Piccadilly I immediately notice something about the cheery Rick Peacock-Edwards... he uses the word 'interesting' a lot. Flying Lightnings on border patrols in Germany during the Cold War was 'interesting'; being stationed at Dhahran in Saudi Arabia during the build-up to the first Gulf War made for 'a very interesting time' - as was transiting four Tornados to Oman one night over a very stormy Mediterranean. While he may play down many of his somewhat hair-raising experiences with a wry chuckle, Rick is swift to emphasise the pleasure flying brings him,"I've loved every single flying hour I've ever done. And I'm pleased to say, I haven't had to jump out of an aircraft!" He's also embarked on a post-RAF career to 'give something back'. The son of a Battle of Britain pilot, Rick was educated in South Africa from where he joined the RAF in 1965. He spent over 30 years in the RAF and retired as an Air Commodore in 1999 with a number of achievements under his belt, including Station Commander at RAF Leeming, Deputy Commander RAF Staff Washington, Inspector of Flight Safety and Director of Eurofighter His flying career has been spent mainly on fighters and he has over 1,000 hours on each of the Lightning, Phantom and Tornado. He also has over 1,000 hours on the Gnat and has flown many other types including the Hawk and Hunter.

Classic Military Vehicle 03/2014

From the early twenties until the mid- to late thirties, the standard fare of the Royal Tank Corps was the Vickers Medium Mk II supported by various marks of light tank. The Medium Mk ll's projected replacement - logically enough to be known as the Medium Mk III - fell victim to the financial cutbacks of the thirties and did not get beyond the prototype stage. Sir John Carden of Vickers-Armstrong, the company behind the Medium Mk III, then designed a cheaper alternative designated the A9, which incorporated some of the improvements of the Medium Mk III but was lighter and powered by an existing, readily available engine. First choice was to have been the 7.67-litre Rolls-Royce Phantom II, but that proved not to have the required power, so AEC's 9.64-litre A179 bus engine was selected instead. Two different types of main armament were initially proposed, a three-pounder and a3.7in howitzer. Trials commenced in July 1936 and production started in 1937, by which time the proposed three-pounder had been supplanted by a two-pounder which in the meantime had become the new standard tank gun. Of more long-term importance was the War Office's decision to dispense with the old medium class of tanks and to instead divide requirements into three classes, light, cruiser and infantry. Accordingly, the A9, which would have preciously fallen into the medium class, became the Cruiser, Tank, Mk I (A9) or Mk I CS (A9) in the case of the howitzer-armed close-support variant.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Flypast 03/2014

English Electric Lightning T.5 XS422 underwent two successful engine runs on November 6 at its base, Stennis International Airport in Mississippi. For the last 13 years the Anglo-American Lightning Organisation (AALO) has been working to return the jet to flight. The engine run was the aircraft's first in 27 years, representing a significant milestone for the project. Both Rolls-Royce Avon 302 turbojets were exercised through the full 'cold' range with all gauges indicating perfect performance. Chief engineer Phil Wallis, who is spearheading the restoration, was at the controls. "I don't mind admitting it was emotional, and full credit to the team without whom we would not be where we are today," he said. "The aircraft ran superbly and it is a real tribute to the diligence and professionalism of everyone involved."

Raider Vol.16 Issue 11

As you can most probably tell from the title, I've been reading waaaay too many Batman comics over the Christmas period... Heck who doesn't want to read about the Caped Crusader running around beating up various bad guys like the Joker and Penguin! But now you're most probably sitting here thinking what does any of this have to do with the magazine?
Well, here comes the overstretched, vague and most probably not topical reason as to why I've tried to fit my overindulgence of Batman into the foreword... Over the past few months I've been working hard with the MD to re-launch Raider as a new entity, and with the great power of being Editor; comes the great responsibility of getting such a re-launch right. Going back to last month, I spoke a lot about the close down of operations in Afghanistan, the inability to gain access to much in regards of 'Direct Action' pieces and the chances of coming across interesting pieces that people want to actually read about becoming increasingly hard to come by. So with all of this in mind we sat down at Raider HQ and started thinking of ways we can keep the current theme of the magazine in place but also allow us to widen our horizons and bring in a whole new aspect to the magazine not seen before!

Model Military International 03/2014

The Russian T-26 tank was the mainstay of Soviet light armoured forces through much of the 1930s. It bore a close resemblance to the Vickers Armstrong 6 ton tank on which it was modelled. Having purchased a number of light tank examples from Britain, the Russians were to manufacture many thousands of T-26 tank models with as many as 54 different turret variants being produced as prototypes or service vehicles. These included a wide range of sub-variants that utilised different calibre guns, flamethrowers and artillery pieces, newly armoured turrets and in one case a pair of machine gun turrets. The T-26 was highly successful in the early 1930s. In fact, fascist German and Nationalist Spanish forces offered a reward for the capture of T-26 tanks during the Spanish Civil war due to its effectiveness against Italian tankettes and the German Panzer I. However, by the time of operation Barbarossa, while many thousands of T-26 tanks were still available to Soviet forces, their effectiveness against Hitler's Panzers was greatly diminished due to the T-26's inadequate main armour and armament when confronted by the Panzer III and Panzer IV with their superior 5cm and 7.5 cm main armament and heavier armour.

Model Airplane News 04/2014

It isn't unusual to hear about folks who have been building and flying RC airplanes for most of their lives. While it's true that RC can be addictive, and the friendships that develop may keep us coming back, something else must compel us to put so much time and energy into aircraft that are destined for hard landings and even total destruction. I think that "something" may be that there's always a new experience to try: a challenging maneuver, a bigger or smaller plane, a tail-dragger, a sailplane, a state-of-the-art power system ... the list is endless! Having worked on Model Airplane News for 20 years now, I can vouch that even when the best of the best in a particular field get together, they're asking questions and learning from each other. For our "Getting Started" feature this month, we got our contributors together to answer many of the "newbie" questions that we're asked by folks who have never flown before and even more experienced modelers and pilots who want to add to their skill set. From battery charging to choosing a first kit to radio programming, we've got your "Getting Started" answers here.

Military Machines International 03/2014

The world's first tank was invented in Lincoln in 1916, but any visitor to the City today would have a difficult job finding any recognition of this fact. Next year, this will all change with the unveiling of an ambitious memorial, which will commemorate the creation of the tank and the inventive minds that built it. The Lincoln Tank Memorial Group have designed a monument to be made from Corten steel, the same material that the Angel of the North is created from and it will be surrounded by figures depicting the civilian and military workers who worked around the clock to deliver the new weapon to the Army. The group is still fundraising and has now received a very generous donation of £10,000 from the makers of the phenomenally successful online strategy game World of Tanks. The memorial will be a life size, two-dimensional representation of a Mk I tank of the type designed and built by William Foster & Co. Ltd in 1916. The idea behind the monument is to celebrate Lincoln's engineering achievements and its contribution to breaking the stalemate of the Great War. With planning and fundraising going very well, it is hoped that the memorial will be unveiled next year, coinciding with national commemorations of the beginning of the First World War.

History of War 03/2014

When chauffeur Leopold Lojka took a wrong turn while driving in Sarajevo one summer's morning in 1914, little did he know that he was also about to change the course of history and affect the lives of millions of young men. His passengers were Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir-apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, who were visiting the Bosnian capital on business. Hours before, a young soldier with connections to Serbian militant group the Black Hand - who were seeking independence for Slavic people from Austro-Hungarian rule - had attempted to assassinate the couple by throwing a bomb at their limousine, but had failed to hit his targets. Now, as the car trundled off the beaten track, it caught the attention of a second assassin from the group, Gavrilo Princip, who was relaxing at a café. Seizing his chance, he fired seven rounds. Unlike his comrade, he didn't miss. For Austria-Hungary, already irked by Serbian interference in Bosnia, the assassination was the final straw. Its government drew up a list of ten intentionally unacceptable demands for the Serbs, known as the July Ultimatum, then waited for the inevitably reluctant response.

Combat Aircraft Monthly 03/2014

ON DECEMBER 18 the Brazilian government announced its selection of the Saab Gripen NG as its next-generation fighter. The decision put an end to more than 15 years of discussions and speculation, and finally saw the green light given for the acquisition phase of the FX-2 project. The Brazilian Air Force will now negotiate with the manufacturer with the aim of procuring an eventual 36 examples of the single-seat JAS 39E Gripen, worth around $4.5 billion until 2023. The contract should be finalized before the end of the year, and may be launched with an initial 12-aircraft order. The Saab bid will also include various sub-systems, technology transfer, financing and a long-term bilateral collaboration agreement between the Brazilian and Swedish governments. This was bad news for the Gripen's two rivals in the FX-2 bidding, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Dassault Rafale. The French manufacturer responded with a statement describing the Gripen as 'an aircraft provided with many items of equipment of third-party origin, especially US, and that does not belong to the same category as the Rafale'. Dassault highlighted the selection of a lighter, single-engine fighter as a sign of budgetary constraint. In contrast, the Rafale package was valued at around $8 billion.

Britain At War 02/2014

THE DUKE of Wellington once described the British cavalry as being inferior to the French because of "a want of order". The cavalry's problem was that it could not resist charging at every opportunity. The routine tasks of scouting and patrolling were of little interest to the British cavalry. What they relished was the glory of the charge - and the greater the odds against them, the greater the chance of glory. Nothing could epitomise this more than the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava in 1854 and the charge of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade at Elouges in August 1914. In neither case was it the intention of the person giving the orders that the cavalry would charge the enemy guns, yet off dashed the cavalry without hesitation. I have walked the fields outside Elouges and John has picked his way through the vineyards that now cover the Balaklava plain. There is surprisingly little difference in the nature of the terrain over which the two brigades charged. In both cases it is open ground and the enemy, his view unimpaired, found the cavalry an easy target.

Airfix Modelling World 03/2014

Northrop's p-61 Black Widow represented a leap forward in terms of engineering and introduced state-of-the-art technology. It possessed immense firepower and its blistering performance was provided by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines. In fact, it was the biggest purpose-built fighter aircraft of its era at a whopping 35,OOOIb (15,875kg). Nevertheless, it was regarded by its crews as a very effective machine and, with its rounded shapes and inboard radar (1942's
fabulous SCR-720), became the first 'stealth' aircraft in the United States' arsenal. Packed tightly inside the sturdy box were 14 runners in pale grey styrene, one clear frame and decals for two in overall black and another in Olive Drab over Neutral Gray. Additionally, there was a superb photo-etched metal fret with details for the interior and exterior, including the engine's ignition wiring. To top this, there was a bonus print which echoed the artwork featured on the box. The well-appointed cockpit comprised 45 plastic and metal components. Care was taken when separating the tiny parts from the runners, as the plastic tended to be somewhat brittle. Despite this, pilot and radar operator seats suffered from multiple fractures.

AFV Modeller Issue 75

Every now and again a model is released that catches the imagination and finds you stepping outside your normal area of interest to take up the challenge. Artillery pieces can be a little bland without a crew but add a stunning set of crew caught in the midst of a desperate engagement and you have the archetypal 'Boys Own Adventure' scenario and it is had not to be inspired. The design of this boxed set with gun, limber and four crew is based on the engagement at Néry in France on the morning of 1 st September 1914 where six guns of the Royal Horse Artillery along with 1 Cavalry Brigade were billeted overnight. The Battery had prepared for an early morning departure with their horses harnessed to their limbers when they came under a surprise attack by German Field Mounted Artillery with the initial German salvo landing amid the assembled battery and causing horrific casualties to both men and horses. Of the six guns several were put out of action in succession and only gun 'F' remained to fight off the German attack. The gun was manned by Sergeant Nelson who was joined by Captain Bradbury and Battery Sergeant Major Dorrell who had been wounded twice when he joined the gun crew.