Thursday, May 29, 2014

Britain At War 06/2014

TO MARK a period of service spanning more than a century, one of the oldest fixed-wing squadrons in the world recently marked its anniversary with the release of rare archive film footage from 1914. Formed on 13 May 1912, 2 Squadron Royal Flying Corps was trained to carry out reconnaissance, a role its modem day counterparts have continued to fulfil to this day. On the outbreak of war in 1914, the squadron was one of the first to be ordered to France as part of, noted the Official Historian of the RFC, the "first organized national [air] force to fly to a war overseas". By the evening of 12 August 1914, the aircraft of Nos. 2, 3, and 4 squadrons had been concentrated together on the South Coast near Dover. Just before midnight, the final order was received: "All machines to be ready to fly over at 6.0 a.m. the following morning, the 13th of August." The first aircraft of 2 Squadron to take off departed from Dover at 06.25 hours that morning; the first to arrive landed at Amiens at 08.20 hours. This machine, a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c, was flown by Lieutenant Hubert Dunsterville Harvey-Kelly, Royal Irish Regiment, attached RFC (who would subsequently be killed in action). Harvey-Kelly was, in fact, the first British aviator to land in France.

Aeroplane 07/2014

On the morning of June 4, two days before the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, a total of eight Douglas DC-3/C-47 variants will leave Lee-on-Solent, near Portsmouth, heading for the invasion beaches and parachute landing grounds in northern France as part of the largest aerial tribute ever put together fora D-Day commemoration. Four of the aircraft will be dropping parachutists, including D-Day veteran Douglas C-47As 42-24064/N74589 Union Jack Dak and Paddy Green's East Kirkby-based 42-100884/ N147DC Drag'em Oot. About 100 paras will be dropped over Carentan, led by the Myersville, Maryland-based Round Canopy Parachute Team. At 19.15hrs on June3, there will be tribute flypast at Lee-on-Solent comprising two Spitfires and Avro Lancaster Mk I PA474 from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and, representing the Royal Navy, the Fly Navy Heritage Trust's North Weald-based Hawker Sea Fury T.20 VX281. This will be followed by a poppy drop from C-47As 42-24064 and 42-100884. The former aircraft, Union Jack Dak, operated by Tradewind Aviation from Waterbury-Oxford Airport, Connecticut, arrived at Coventry Airport on May 10 following an Atlantic crossing. Originally flown by the 73rd Sqn, 434th Trooper Carrier Group, USAAF, at 01.30hrs on June 6, 1944, this historic machine took off from RAF Aldermaston in Berkshire, towing a Waco CG-4 glider to France.

Scale Aviation Modeller International 06/2014

This recycling thing isn't new, is it? Just rebranded every few years. I first saw the Mistel 1 in model form in the early 70s when someone had exhibited a 1/32 example at the Model Engineering exhibition in London - I didn't attend because in those days I was earning £7 a week and being a young chap had other pursuits in mind. I was however still making the occasional kit when not working or out with my mates, and I bought a copy of Scale Models with the Mistel on the front page and remember reading how the maker had used the Revell 109F and an MHW vacform Ju 88 (remember MHW?). I concluded that this was way beyond my meagre financial means and that I'd probably botch the vacform, never having attempted one, but it made quite an impression on me. I did attempt a 1 /72 build using Frog kits of the 109F and Ju 88 but wasn't happy with it and like many others sat back and waited for something larger. Dragon came up with most of the goods some years later with their Mistel 2 and this was purchased, the Fw 190 put to other uses and a Hasegawa 109F mounted on top. It looked fine, in fact I still have it, but it wasn't what I wanted. Some years later AIMS began producing 1/32 Ju 88 conversions after Revell's bold step in producing a kit in that scale, so I was nearly there at last. I'd bought a couple at half price when Modelzone closed their shop in Birmingham and had them stashed so when I saw AIMS' Mistel conversion at last year's Nationals, hand interfaced with wallet and I bought one. The same day I saw Trumpeter's 109G at half price and decided that my Mistel would be a late-war version as seen in Classic Publication's book.

Scale Military Modeller International 06/2014

One thing that soldiers in the field acquire is kit. That extra blanket, a pair of boots, a stove, or any number of things can make its way into their inventory. For most infantry, they are limited to what they can carry, but give them a jeep and much more can be carried. One of the common modifications seen late in the war was a rear stowage rack. Sometimes the crew would also relocate the Jerry can and spare tyre as well to allow more gear to be carried. The Legend stowage set used here provides such a rack as well as an SCR-694 - listed as the full unit nomenclature BC-1306. And whilst I was at it I also added a modified tilt from some spare parts together with a few extra details! Even with all the newer kits out, I still enjoy the Tamiya jeep for its simplicity and correct overall details. Beyond the basic construction, I added my usual brake, clutch, and accelerator pedals from plastic, as well as mounted the spare tyre on the passenger side. The Legend set makes its first appearance with construction of the radio mount and stowage rack assembly. The rack seems a bit fiddly at first, but by carefully following the bends it fits together very well and is more secure once glued to the jeep body. Note that all spare tyre and jerry can brackets are left off the rear. I didn't bother cleaning up the resulting holes and mounting pins as this area was going to be filled with gear.

Model Aircraft 06/2014

On 24 July 1943, the RAF escalated their night bomber offensive with the launch of a series of raids against the port city of Hamburg. The raids were significant for the first successful deployment of 'Window'-tiny strips of metal foil - which, cut to the right wavelength, successfully jammed German radar equipment. The attack and the resulting firestorm, which caused huge loss of life and damage to industrial installations, prompted the German High Command to give greater urgency to proposals then being tried out by the Nachtjagdversuchskommando Herrmann, (Night fighter Test Detachment Herrmann), led by decorated bomber pilot Oberst Hajo Herrmann. Conceived during early 1943 as a means of making up for a general shortage of night fighters, Herrmann's unit based at Bonn Hangelar deployed ex-bomber and Lufthansa pilots who were experienced in blind flying techniques, to attack the RAF bombers visually at night. Their first interception of a British heavy bomber raid had taken place on the night of 3/4 July during an attack on Cologne. Herrmann's pilots destroyed six bombers, including one brought down by Herrmann himself, for the loss of just one machine.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fine Scale Modeler 05/2014

Let's face it: If you build armored fighting vehicles, odds are you will eventually build one that's painted plain old green — far and away the most common color used on AFVs. During World War II, most American, British, and Soviet vehicles were this monotone. Watch just about any WWII war movie and you'll see fleets of Shermans or T-34s in solid green trundling over the battlefield. This trend continued after the war, with U.S. and Soviet tanks and vehicles painted dark green well into the 1970s, when both countries introduced multicolor camouflage. Unfortunately, from a modeling perspective, dark green is a color that can completely wash out most AFVs, no matter how intricately detailed they may be. Few things are as frustrating as spending time building and detailing a model, only to see it turn into a big green blob once it's painted.
So, what do you do? You could simply avoid those schemes. Sure, most Shermans were olive drab, but a few weren't; many people model the exceptions. Other classic tricks include bright markings, like the big, white stars on U.S. vehicles or the large, handwritten slogans on T-34s. Or, you can load up stowage or troops. These are great ploys, and I've used them myself. But what if you want to model an AFV where none of these options exist? Must you live with a boring, green lump? The solution is to break up the finish — as I did when I built a U.S. Marine Corps LAV-AD (Air Defense).

History Revealed 06/2014

Bound together in death, as they are in history books and monuments across Australia, Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills made an unlikely double act in life. Burke, a flamboyant Irishman, had an impulsive streak that saw him lurch from policeman to soldier to expedition leader. In contrast, Wills was an unexcitable Englishman. He had a methodical and careful character with the mind of a scientist. In fact, the only similarity the pair did share was a lack of relevant qualifications for leading the Victorian Exploring Expedition of 1860, which was tasked with finding a south-north route across Australia. Burke had no exploration experience or knowledge of bushcraft whatsoever, while Wills was never supposed to be second-in-command. When the expedition left Melbourne, Burke's right-hand man was George Landells. Wills' original role was as surveyor and astronomical observer. The expedition took place against a backdrop of intense competition between the colonies of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. At stake were the potential riches of the Australian inland, links with the important ports in the north, and ownership of the proposed telegraph line that would straddle the continent and open up communications with Australia's gold-rich (but completely isolated) south.

BBC History 06/2014

Paris, 1832. In the Tuileries garden, the young writer Victor Hugo was strolling by the river when he heard gunshots: trouble was brewing in the working-class district of Les Halles. Hugo went to investigate. For 15 minutes he hid behind a pillar and watched as the king's soldiers fired on republican rebels. At last the battle moved away, giving Hugo the chance to make his escape. It was a moment that staved with him for the rest of his life. Some 13 years later, he began work on a novel set in Paris during those tumultuous June days: Les Misérables. Today, thanks to the success of the musical and film versions, Les Misérables is by far Hugo's best-known work. Many people assume that it is set during the French Revolution. In fact, the insurrection at its heart was a two-day uprising against the Orleanist king Louis-Philippe, which ended in failure. The June Rebellion was triggered by the food shortages of the late 1820s, a devastating cholera epidemic and the death of the popular general Jean Lamarque, who had become a hero to the working classes of Paris. At his funeral on 5 June, republican demonstrators rallied the crowds, waving red flags and calling for "liberty or death". The mood turned ugly, and by the evening rioters had taken control of much of central and eastern Paris, throwing up the barricades that play such a key role in Hugo's novel. It was all for nothing. The army stayed loyal to Louis-Philippe, and by morning the uprising had lost momentum. At the Cloître Saint-Merri, the last demonstrators were surrounded by the king's troops. By nightfall it was all over.

Flight Journal 06/2014

In early 1939, just months before WW II erupted in Europe, the Kriegsmarine formulated Plan Z, a construction program expected to be completed in 1948. It included ten battleships, three battlecruisers, and four carriers. The lead ship of the Flugzeugträger class was named Graf Zeppelin, a logical connection to Germany's dirigible pioneer. A sister ship to be named Peter Strasser (after the Great War Zeppelin commander) was scrapped during construction. Adolf Hitler pledged his support to the Kriegsmarine, with Graf Zeppelin's keel being laid by Deutsche Werke at Kiel in December 1936. She was launched two years later. Originally planned for 18,000 tons, her 361-foot length gained another 10,000 tons but she was originally rated at more than 33 knots. By the end of 1939, with Germany at war, she was 85% finished. All warships have long lead times, but especially aircraft carriers. Graf Zeppelin's progress was complicated by the fact that Reichsmarshal Hermann Goring owned nearly everything that flew in Nazi Germany. Therefore, her air group would belong to the Luftwaffe. Britain operated under the same policy until almost the last minute, as the Royal Air Force provided aircrews and planes to the Royal Navy. Britain's Fleet Air Arm, organic to the RN, only gained independence in May 1939. Realizing that it was starting far behind Britain and the U.S., in 1935 the Kriegsmarine sent a study group to Japan during the large carrier Akagi's modernization. From 1940 onward, the Imperial Navy kept a large delegation in Germany to offer advice and to report back on Graf Zeppelin's progress. We can only wonder what Japan's accomplished aviators and sailors thought of their ally's approach to the esoteric art of carrier aviation. Surely they recognized the practical limitations of the sled launch and compressed-air catapults.

World War II 05-06/2014

IT'S GOOD TO BE WEALTHY, and World War II saw the richer side win. The Grand Alliance was a behemoth, consisting of the world's largest land mass (the Soviet Union), the biggest overseas empire (Great Britain), and the financial and industrial giant (the United States). Germany and Japan were strong states, certainly, but they could hardly compete in terms of production, manpower, or power projection. In retrospect, it is easy to oversimplify the Allied victory as an inevitable triumph of superior resources. It is intuitive to believe that bigger, better armed forces automatically confer an advantage, and like all intuitive ideas, this one does have much to recommend it. After all, no less an authority than Napoleon once famously declared that God was on the side of the "big battalions." It is always risky to argue with Napoleon, but though his axiom is true to a degree, it is also incomplete. While superior numbers and wealth are obviously important, modern war requires more than numbers. The real test of the "inevitability" thesis took place on the battlefield. It would be interesting to ask an Allied soldier or sailor, airman or Marine, "How did those superior resources work out for you?" You'd no doubt get back a contemptuous snort, seasoned with the off-color language that made this country great. If the Allies really were fighting a rich man's war, then why so often did their men have to do so outnumbered and at a disadvantage?

Model Airplane International 06/2014

Production focuses on ffA plastic kits production for origins of the company are linked with the fall of the Communist system in Czechoslovakia. Right after the Velvet revolution that had brought democracy and freedom to private enterprises, several people and enthusiast for plastic modeling founded MPM Company. The company could rely on the best Czechoslovakian modellers that already had experiences with basic master patterns making suitable for plastic kits moulds. The first MPM kits were released in 1990. These were vacuum formed kits in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. Subsequently the first injection molded parts were supplemented in the vacuum formed kits. The injection molded parts were produced using "Short Run" technology molds made from special heat resistant hardened epoxy resins. Gradually MPM Company trimmed this technology up to the level that they were able to release the first full injection molded kit in 1992. This "Short Run" technology, when the master pattern is copied into special heat resistant hardened epoxy resins, became the main program of the company. The affiliated company CMK was founded in 1995. CMK focuses on production of resin kits or their parts. The CMK products are released under own CMK logo in several series, but also their products are supplemented in MPM kits. CMK also offers on demand polyurethane and white metal casting.

Air International 07/2014

The first Boeing B-52H Stratofort re ss (60-0028) to receive a low rate initial production upgraded system of displays, servers and communications uplinks installed as part of the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) programme was delivered back to Barksdale AFB. Louisiana on April 21. A ceremony was held at the base four days later to introduce the new system to the fleet. The modifications were carried out over ten months at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker AFB. Oklahoma. Enhanced capabilities enabled by the upgrade include beyond line of sight digital data link connectivity, allowing for retargeting in flight. All operational B-52Hs will be upgraded with CONECT by 2020 at a rate of about ten per year. Meanwhile, under the terms of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed between Russia and the United States in 2010, 30 B-52Hs will permanently lose their capability to carry and employ nuclear weapons by 2018 (two more than originally reported in US Strategic Bomber Upgrades, November 2012, pl2). It will leave the US Air Force's deployed nuclear-capable bomber fleet at 41 B-52Hs and 19 Northrop B-2A Spirits. In addition, six non-deployed nuclear-capable aircraft will be retained, including three test aircraft, with the others unable to fire live weapons because, for example, they are in maintenance.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Military History Monthly 06/2014

The Napoleonic Wars ravaged Europe for a decade and a half, from Bonaparte's accession to power in 1799 to his ultimate defeat at Waterloo in 1815. They stand out from other wars for their huge scale, the manner in which they were fought, and the centrality of a single protagonist. Napoleon established his reputation during the Revolutionary Wars, winning several engagements against the odds as an artillery officer, promotion to brigadier aged 24, and absolute power at 30. With most of Europe against him, he consolidated power at home, then tried to pick off adversaries one-by-one. After his bid to invade Britain - his most consistent foe - had to be called off in 1805, he unleashed his forces against Austria, Russia, and, a year later, Prussia. His earliest military victories were brilliant and, combined with strong-armed diplomacy, he had most of Europe under his sway by 1810. But tension over Poland led Napoleon to invade Russia in 1812. It was a gross error, and the disastrous campaign cost him half a million men. The battles were becoming bloodier, too. as Napoleon lost his tactical flair and his rivals wised up. Worn down by guerrillas ('small wars') in Spain, and never able to stop Britain funding his increasingly determined opponents, Napoleon found his authority and empire shrink around him. He held back the tide briefly, beating a larger army than his own at Dresden in August 1813, but he could not stop it, suffering a great defeat at Leipzig two months later. The Allies entered Paris in March 1814, and Napoleon was exiled to Elba, a Mediterranean island.

Military History 07/2014

At dawn on June 25, 1950, the People's Army of communist North Korea crossed the 38th parallel and surged into the democratic Republic of Korea in what the United Nations termed "an unprovoked act of aggression." Ever since the United States and the Soviet Union split Korea in two after World War II, each side had postured, threatened reunification by force and engaged in border spats. This latest action seemed at first to be just one more incident in a five-year standoff marked by mutual threats and hostility. By June 30, having realized the true scope of the invasion, President Harry S. Truman had ordered General of the Army Douglas MacArthur—supreme commander for the Allied powers in occupied Japan—to commit ground troops to Korea. MacArthur immediately sought authorization to "move a U.S. regimental combat team to the reinforcement of the vital area discussed and to provide for a possible buildup to a two-division strength from the troops in Japan for an early counteroffensive." Truman approved, and MacArthur instructed Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, Eighth Army commander, to order the 24th Infantry Division—then stationed in Japan—to Korea with all possible speed. Walker, in turn, conveyed preliminary verbal instructions to division commander Maj. Gen. William F. Dean.

Military Modelling Vol.44 No.6

A couple of models I have been building recently got me thinking about some new trends in kit releases these days. For some manufacturers, the desire for extra detail in models has provided us with some beautifully detailed kits, but due to this they are broken down into some really tiny parts. An example is the 1:35 scale CV-33 Italian Tankette from Bronco, where just as one example, the four tiny spark plugs need to be removed from the sprue and fitted to the engine block! The detail is delightful, but those parts are really tiny. Okay, if you want a fully detailed model, and this one has all the engine and interior details to fit inside the hull which gives a lovely end result. At the opposite end of the scale, in 1:72 scale, there are a number of successful ranges of wargames models designed for easy construction, and usually with two complete models in the boxes. Ranges from Italeri, Pegasus, Armourfast and the Plastic Soldier Company all come to mind. In between comes the well-detailed model but one which does not have the complexity of others. For these, there are after-market accessory sets which are popular, to add the extra detailing if you want to. With commercial sales in mind, it must be ever more difficult for manufacturers to decide what is the best option to go for when planning a new kit. Every one of us will have varied views on these, but at the end of the day I find the variety that is available in the hobby these days is amazing.

An lllustrated History of the First Year of the Great War 1914

IT WAS said that Europe sleepwalked into war in the summer of 1914. Whilst the great Powers had been arming throughout the early years of the twentieth century in expectation of a European conflict, when war was actually declared on 4 August it was still a shock. Even greater shocks were to follow as the people of the United Kingdom responded to the threat they faced and adjusted to the prospect of a prolonged world war. Very quickly a British Expeditionary Force was shipped to France to take part in the great offensive that would knock the Germans out of the war. Almost from the start the Allied plan began to fall apart. The overwhelming might of the most populous nation on the Continent compelled the British and French forces to withdraw. Then came the "miracle" of the Battle of the Marne. The Germans were held. They retreated to the line of the River Aisne and began to dig in. There they would remain for four more years. The British Empire stretched around the globe and from its colonies and dominions volunteers joined the colours to fight for the mother country. The colonial troops attacked the German territories of Togoland and South-West Africa and from India an expeditionary force captured the oilfields of the Persian Gulf.

Military Illustrated Modeller 06/2014

The Trumpeter BTR-50PK APC represents a vehicle that saw very widespread use amongst the Soviet Bloc and allied nations, and indeed it is still in use. The BTR-50 was first introduced in 1954, and the PK version, which had an armoured roof, came in 1958, following experiences in urban combat where the open top proved a liability. The hull shape went through several production versions, with the earliest bow noticeably shorter and stubby, angled at 45 degrees, later becoming longer and more pointed, at 35 degrees. At the same time, the whole upper hull was raised by 130mm, leaving the mesh areas of the rear deck sunk below the level of the surrounding plates, and requiring a slight cut-out on the left hull side. This change improved the buoyancy and performance in water - the BTR-50 is fully amphibious and powered by hydro-jets from the rear. The majority of photos show this later type of hull, and the earlier type may have been phased out quite quickly, or given to satellite nations. The Trumpeter model represents the rarer early type, and is a close copy of the vehicle preserved at Lesany in the Czech Republic. To modify it to the later type would represent a major rebuild. A first look at the model in the box reveals the one-piece upper hull, with tremendous detail and every sign that the kit is really state-of-the-art. The parts that are associated with the BTR-50 are really excellent, and show how much Trumpeter has improved the quality of their moulding since the earlier releases in their range. However, it turns out that the lower hull is simply a re-hash of their PT-76 kit, released in 2007, and the parts associated with this are crude by comparison. This would include the wheels, suspension arms, idler and tracks. It is a shame that these parts were not improved in line with the upper hull, because although perfectly usable, the older parts seem to belong to an older generation of models.

Tamiya Model Magazine International 06/2014

The kit was a 1:48 Siemens Schuckert D.III and was fairly crude, with thick plastic, soft detail and a fair amount of flash -tell-tale signs of a short-run production model. The disparity in moulding quality between that kit and the subject of this article, the same manufacturer's recently released 1:72 Bf 110E is truly amazing. Packaged in the ProfiPACK' range, the box is crammed with sprues — eight of them, in fact. Although the parts count is high, many of them are options or applicable only to other boxings; clearly, Eduard have maximized their investment in the toolings. Amongst the options offered in this kit are the Dackelbauch conformai fuel tank and a second extended fuselage with the life-raft storage in the tail, as well as various fuel tank and weapons. Also supplied is a beautifully colour-printed photo-etched (PE) fret, a set of masks for the glazing and wheels and a sharply printed decal sheet providing four marking choices. Surface detail on the plastic parts is extremely refined. Panel lines are sharp but not excessively deep, and there's some restrained rivet detail in places. The Bf 110's cockpit is perhaps the most extensive I've seen in a 1:72 injection moulded kit. There's some nice relief detail on the floor which benefits from a wash and some light drvbrushing, and individual ammo drums are supplied for the MG 15 machine gun, itself very finely rendered. The radio array is worth a special mention.

Airforces Monthly 06/2014

NORTHROP GRUMMAN announced on April 3 that it has completed a series of flight tests demonstrating the first production Smart Node Pod (SNP) for the US Air Force. SNP is an aircraft-mounted airborne communications system that allows real-time information to be exchanged among many disparate military and commercial radios and different datalinks, extends the network to the forward edge of the battlefield and relays full-motion video. Northrop Grumman conducted five flights to certify performance characteristics in February in Virginia Beach, Virginia. During the flights, the SNP demonstrated the ability to transmit full-motion video, imagery, voice and digital messages between warfighters both in the air and on the ground via various waveforms and datalinks and its interoperability with the proprietary and open source forward tactical handheld devices. The company is under contract to produce SNP systems for the US Air Force, with deliveries scheduled across mid-summer of this year. Two different pod designs - a single-pod and a multipod architecture - are in production. "This proven, reliable technology gives an extremely capable but lightweight communications, situational awareness, and command and control capability that can be readily mounted on many different military aircraft and controlled by the deployed commander," said Jeannie Hilger, vice president, Network Communication Systems, Northrop Grumman Information Systems.

History of War 06/2014

AS WAS ITS CUSTOM, on the evening of 5 June 1944, the BBC's French-language service broadcast personal messages after the news. This evening, there was an unusually large number - 325 -and it took an hour to get through them. One message - "I will bring the eglantine" -was particularly significant. It was the order to the Resistance throughout northern France to implement Operation Vert, the scheme for rail sabotage. As the broadcast continued, other announcements activated Operation Tortue, the destruction of bridges and highways; Operation Bleu, the disruption of the electricity supply system; and Operation Violet, the cutting of telephone and telegraph links. Before midnight, teams of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) were moving into action. In the area of the Normandy beachheads, FFI intelligence chief Guillaume Mercader, a renowned cyclist who had come close to winning the Tour de France, pedalled at breakneck speed along coastal roads carrying orders from team to team. In Caen, stationmaster Albert Auge and his men set about disabling the locomotives in the city's marshalling yards. Further west, teams commanded by café owner André Farine cut the telephone cables leading out of Cherbourg. Meanwhile, other teams led by grocer Yves Gresslin dynamited the railway lines linking Cherbourg, Saint-Lô and Paris. In Brittany, teams of the Deuxième Régiment des Chasseurs Parachutistes (RCP) - the Free French equivalent of the SAS -parachuted down to join some 3,500 Resistance activists. By morning, they'd carved a swathe of destruction through eastern Brittany, wrecking railway bridges and tracks, demolishing electricity pylons, and establishing roadblocks covered by machine-gun and bazooka teams. They took every step to stop the 150,000 German troops in Brittany from reinforcing the beachhead quickly.

Legion Magazine 05-06/2014

IF YOU WERE 20 YEARS OLD IN JUNE 1944, you are 90 years old today, and you probably don't need to be reminded of that. But that's how old many of Canada's younger D-Day veterans are as commemorations begin for those who participated in the largest seaborne invasion of all time—D-Day. Seventy years have passed since the Allied assault on Hitler's Fortress Europe and many of the men and women who were part of that incredible era are now gone. Many have left us with excellent books and memoirs detailing what they and others endured on Juno Beach and further inland at places like Buron, Carpiquet, Verrières Ridge, Falaise and St. Lambert-sur-Dives. The majority however returned to quieter lives by holding down a job in an office or factory, raising families, volunteering and spending time with grandchildren while perhaps trying to forget what they saw. Anyone who has spent time with a war veteran, especially from that era, knows it is easier to get them to talk about the good times or the lighter moments of being a soldier, sailor or airman. Those of us who were born after the war can experience something far more profound when a veteran goes beyond the easier memories. The experience can begin when you notice that the veteran's eyes are fixed on something so incredibly deep that it doesn't feel right to ask about it. You get the sense that there's a wall there, and that you are not part of that group of men or women (war veterans) who can go beyond it; all you can really do is wait for the story to emerge, if it does.

Classic Military Vehicles 06/2014

The one fact that most MV enthusiasts will know about the Lightweight Land Rover - whether or not they are fans of that particular marque - is that despite the lightweight' moniker and in terms of unladen weight, it is actually heavier than the 88in Series IIA from which it was derived. However, and here is the whole point of the Lightweight, it can conveniently shed some 550 lb (250kg) of excess weight - doors, tailgate, bumpers etc - and slim down to a mere 2660 lb (1206kg). For, in the world of the air-portable vehicle, weight is king. Air-portable military vehicles were nothing new in the sixties. During the latter stages of WW2, Jeeps and even lightweight tanks had been deployed by glider, and in the late-fifties/ early sixties the British Army had evaluated various potentially air-portable types such as the Steyr Haflinger and Austin's Mini Moke. Indeed, from 1960 the Royal Marines employed 65 stripped-down Citroën 2CV pickup trucks which were stationed on the helicopter carriers HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark anö airlifted ashore slung under Westland Whirlwind HAS7s. Nevertheless, what the Royal Marines and the Army really needed was a sturdy utility vehicle, preferably with some commonality with existing types. Therefore, in 1964 an official specification was issued calling for a lightweight version of the short-wheelbase Land Rover. Among other things, it called for a maximum overall width of 60in (1500mm) so that two vehicles could be accommodated side-by-side within the fuselage of an Armstrong Whitworth Argosy, the standard heavy-lift aircraft of the time, and an unladen weight of no more than 2500 lb (1134kg) so that it could be airlifted by a Westland Wessex HC2 helicopter.

Aviation News 06/2014

After weeks of speculation, US and UK officials confirmed on April 16 that the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II is to visit the UK this summer. The historic event will see three aircraft, one RAF and two US Marine Corps examples fly across the Atlantic Ocean. A single F-35B will make its international debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, on July 11-13. The following week a single F-35B will display on the trade days at the Farnborough International Airshow from July 14-18 and public days (19-20). Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond said: "The US and the UK have worked closely together on the F-35 project from the beginning. We are the only country that is a Level 1 partner in the project, which is sustaining tens of thousands of jobs in the UK. This fifth-generation stealth combat aircraft will be a major boost to British combat air power and it is entirely fitting that the F-35's first stop outside the United States will be in the UK - its second home." The MoD has three F-35Bs, all currently based in the US at Eglin AFB, Florida, undertaking training with Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots. Orders for further aircraft will be placed over the next few years. First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, said: "July will be a real milestone in the rebirth of the UK's carrier strike capability. Alongside the naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth by Her Majesty the Queen on July 4, we can now also look forward to seeing the F-35B - the Lightning II - flying on the international stage for the first time."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

FlyPast 06/2014

Now the centrepiece of the magnificent collection of aircraft within the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford, Boeing B-52D Stratofortress 56-0689 has been based at the Cambridgeshire airfield since October 8, 1983. Not only is it the biggest aircraft on display, it is also the largest and heaviest machine ever to have landed at Duxford. Arriving with just over 14,000 flying hours on the clock', the M11 motorway was closed for several minutes as the B-52 made its final approach. The giant jet made a perfect touchdown and was brought safely to a halt before the end of the runway with the help of a brake parachute. The only complete Stratofortress on display anywhere in the UK, 56-0689 was built at Boeing's Wichita plant in Kansas, and delivered to the USAF's 28th Bomb Wing (BW) on October 11, 1957. After receiving several modifications, it flew around 200 sorties during the Vietnam War, initially based at Guam from June 1968. It became a pool aircraft used by several units, and from January 1969 was flying missions from Thailand. It had several tenures both in the US and Southeast Asia, before flying operationally for the last time with the 7th BW at Carswell, Texas. A crew from the squadron then flew the B-52 to Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, prior to delivery to Duxford. The machine spent much of its time on external display, before undergoing intensive conservation work and finallv taking up residence in the American Air Museum in September 1996. The building had been specifically designed to accommodate the leviathan's 185ft (56.4m) wingspan.

Model Military International 06/2014

A posting on HyperScale and a couple of busy threads on Facebook recently have suggested that some model articles feature too much aftermarket. Hopefully, any detailed model article will include plenty of useful information for those who build the model straight from the box as well as those who choose to add aftermarket, so it should ideally offer the best of both worlds. It was also suggested that the author of a model article should tell the readers about the value of any aftermarket item. I always try to explain why I use an aftermarket item, but I believe that the question of value is in the eye (or the wallet) of the beholder. My job as I see it is to offer enough information and photos to let the potential purchaser make up their own mind. Some thought that two kits should be built side-by-side - one straight from the box and one enhanced with aftermarket. I have actually done exactly that when I have written modeling books on specific subjects, but it is difficult to find the time and space to do this online or in the magazines. However, rather than justify my use (or otherwise) of aftermarket parts, I thought it might be more interesting to let the plastic do the talking and list every kit - both military and aircraft - that I have built since the beginning of 2013, along with the aftermarket used on each one. Please note that I have not listed paints, decals or weathering products here.

Combat Aircraft Monthly 06/2014

After a protracted evaluation process, on March 24 the Republic of Korea formally selected the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, becoming the third Foreign Military Sales (FMS) country to procure the Joint Strike Fighter, after Israel and Japan. Seoul will acquire a total of 40 F-35A conventional take-off and landing variants under Phase III of its F-X fighter competition, with the potential to increase this order by 20 aircraft in future. F-X Phase III had previously pitted the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle, EADS Eurofighter Typhoon and Lightning II against each other for a planned $7.2-billion, 60-aircraft requirement. The F-15SE was originally declared the winner on cost grounds, before the Boeing product was rejected last September amid concerns relating to its survivability. Last November, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said the F-35 was the 'only aircraft that fits [the] requirements' set by the military. Deliveries of the Block 3 F-35 to the Republic of Korea Air Force are expected from 2018 to 2021, dependent on a contract signature later this year. A decision to purchase the 20 remaining aircraft will then be based upon factors including operational requirements, the security situation, funding, and technological developments. These remaining aircraft could be purchased by 2023-24. The company will provide the RoKAF Lightning lis with Block 3F software that is expected to become operational in 2017. Currently, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and Korean finance ministry are working out the total budget available.

Airfix Model World 06/2014

Well, here I am in the hot seat of Europe's biggest-selling monthly modelling magazine! Those of you who read Glenn's final editorial in last month's issue will know that he's returned to the realm of full-sized aircraft as brand editor of AirForces Monthly. I must thank him profusely for his stewardship of AMWsince its launch in 2010. Good luck Glenn, and I'm sure we'll see you reporting from a carrier deck soon! AMW wouldn't be what it is without solid support from Airfix, our sterling bunch of contributors and talented page designer Tom Bagley. While creating a quality modelling publication isn't without its challenges, it is tremendous fun for me...Glenn's right-hand man since AMW's launch, and a 'plastic basher' for the past 40 years who revels not just in the excitement of new releases, but also the rejuvenation of aged kits launched during my youth. I suppose the last statement is a plea to modellers who may have forgotten the satisfaction one can glean from adding home-spun detail, re-scribing and generally breathing new life into an old kit. Past AMW build features by the likes of Jan Maes and Mike Grant are testimony to what can be achieved with imagination and patience. It's also with great excitement that this month we present two exclusive builds of new 1/72 Ai'rfix D-Day toolings (C-47 and Higgins LCVP), and our special 24-page supplement on the same firm's stunning 1/24 Hawker Typhoon. Those who follow new Airfix products closely will know that the company is making impressive efforts to provide us with quality kits at reasonable prices. We'll keep bringing you exclusive builds of the latest Airfix treats (more test shots are currently waiting in the wings!), as well as those from other big names such as Hasegawa, Eduard, Dragon, Revell and many more. However, I'd like to know if you think we're missing anything in terms of kit coverage, or skills and techniques... I'll do my utmost to consider your ideas.

Aviation History 07/2014

Rarely has there been a combat aircraft so perfect for its time and place as the Hellcat. "No more outstanding example of skill and luck joining forces to produce just the right aeroplane is to be found than that provided by the Grumman Hellcat," wrote legendary British test pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown in his book Wings of the Navy. This bluff, sensible, utterly workmanlike shipboard fighter arrived in the Pacific theater in August 1943 and went to work straight out of the box. The Hellcat immediately challenged what had been the most powerful naval air arm on the planet and beat it like a bongo, racking up by far the highest kill-versus-loss ratio of any airplane in American service during World War II (19-to-l, based on claimed shoot-downs). It resoundingly won the most onesided, humiliating air battle of any war— the Marianas Turkey Shoot. Unlike other fighters that went through lengthy series of engine, airframe and armament changes, the F6F was hardly modified or updated thereafter, and there were only two basic versions of the airplane during its entire lifetime: the F6F-3 and -5. The Hellcat's initial development proceeded virtually without incident The fighter proved to be as tough, reliable and durable as a Peterbilt It was viceless and turned out to be the ideal airplane for young, inexperienced ensigns to operate from aircraft carriers. Grumman claimed it had been "designed to be flown by 200-hour farmboys." In combat for just under two years, the Hellcat was as unbeatable on the day it stood down as it had been when it arrived for its very first mission.

WWII History 06/2014

THE BUG WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE. ON A TOP-SECRET FLIGHT OVER OCCUPIED Norway, this ancient, war-weary C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft became the helpless target of German antiaircraft guns, all firing desperately to bring down the transport and its precious cargo. Her pilot maneuvered violently to dodge the curtain of flak, praying his decrepit airplane would hold together long enough to make an escape. It did. Hours later, The Bug landed safely in Scotland, where Allied intelligence officers anxiously waited. Inside were the remains of a Nazi A-4 rocket, which had recently exploded over Sweden, the first real evidence of Germany's ballistic missile program that would shortly result in deadly V2 attacks across England. The flight of The Bug, which took place on July 30, 1944, was one of hundreds conducted by a fleet of unmarked American military aircraft operating in and out of a supposedly neutral nation underneath the noses of the German Gestapo. The story of this secret airline is one of World War IPs most amazing classified missions and sheds new light on the role of Sweden in the fight against Nazi Germany. At the start of World War II, Sweden found itself in a precarious position. When Germany conquered its Scandinavian neighbors in 1940, the Swedes were able to remain carefully neutral. Sweden possessed many cultural and economic ties to the Third Reich, regularly trading Swedish timber and machine parts in exchange for German coal.

Military Machines International 06/2014

The British Army is now in yet another period of reorganisation although any consequent re-equipment is limited by budgetary problems. It faces two main problems - the first to withdraw from Afghanistan bringing back all the vehicles and equipment as the role dwindles to training and secondly the need to re-invent itself as a force of three "reaction" brigades, an air assault brigade and seven "adaptable" brigades. The idea is that the reaction brigades are ready to deploy anywhere in the world where British interests are threatened and at brigade strength could undertake three, six-month tours, giving the adaptable brigades time to train and equip to follow on with the tours after the first 18 months. Given the budgetary limitations (and the fact that the FRES project has not really run to anything like the original plan) the equipment programme could be typified by the words "make do and mend". For many of the fleets of vehicle the proposed force size means that they are oversize for the needs of the Army - this i ncludes Wolf (TUM/ TUL), Support Vehicle (SV) and Oshkosh Close Support Tanker (CST). Starting with armoured vehicles FRES is no longer an acronym used by MoD preferring to describe the project by the letters SV standing for "Scout Vehicle" and describing the family of vehicles being developed by General Dynamics from the Austro-Spanish ASCOD.