Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Armourer 03/04 2014

We now move on to the Infantry which, at the beginning of August 1914, comprised the foot guards and 69 regiments of the line. The former had only been increased from three to four regiments when, by Army Order 77 of 1900, Queen Victoria had given authority for the raising of the Irish Guards. Not until 1915 did her grandson likewise sanction the formation of the Welsh Guards. Whereas the guards' regiments were usually based in and around London in order to carry out their public duties, it would be the function of line regiments to garrison the far-flung outposts of the British Empire; the usual arrangement was for one battalion to remain at home, while another went abroad. We will see that, with few exceptions, the general make-up of a line infantry regiment in 1914 was two Regular battalions and one or two Reserve. There would also be a varying number of battalions provided by the Territorial Force, but these will be dealt with in future articles. The following order, in which we see the location of each battalion as at the beginning of August 1914, is according to precedence and deals with the guards and first 35 line regiments. Also included arc the dates for those regular battalions that left for active service before the end of 1914.

Military Machines International 04/2014

Designed and constructed by Ford Motor Company, in Dearborn, United States, the T16 carrier was inspired by the British Bren Carrier, which had been designed for the same purpose, but the T16 was an improved version based around the Canadian-built vehicles and incorporating a number of improvements as a result of the combat experience obtained with the Bren Carrier. The US started producing the T16 in 1943 and, like others US-made armoured vehicles, was delivered to the Commonwealth and other units, via the lend lease program, with 2,625 T16 being delivered in 1944 and 604 in 1945, to reinforce Allied fighting units during the Second World War. Once the war ended, many countries in Europe that had been provided with this equipment used it to reequip their armies in the post-war period. Joining these countries was Argentina, who initially hired the Belgium Company Indanex to purchase different kinds of armoured vehicles (Tanks, Carrier, Personnel Armoured Transport), trucks, engineer equipment, tractors, Jeeps, etc., purchasing all of them by weight, and paying just 20 Cents per Kg. More than five hundred vehicles in 'as is' condition departed by ship to Argentina, which included hulls of the British Crusader Mk III Tank, a large number of different models of trucks, special vehicles and Jeeps, a few M5 and M9 armoured half-track vehicles, 360 Sherman Tanks and around 300 Carrier T16E-2 light armoured vehicles.

Model Military International 04/2014

Although tanks are able to cope with shallow water such as streams, they are not suited to moving through deeper water such as wading from a landing craft to the beach. To do this, special preparation and equipment is necessary. The British method during the latter years of the Second World War was to seal any gaps where water could leak in then extend the air intakes and exhausts with large tubes made of sheet steel. This prevented the tank taking in water that could swamp the engine or drown the crew but allowed air to both as well as giving a path for the exhaust to reach above water level. After it had been prepared a tank could operate in approximately 2m of water (as the UK used Imperial measurements, this was listed as 6 feet). Although the general principle was the same for all, the method for preparing each type varied because of its design. The Churchill, for example, needed attention to the doors on the hull sides as well as the usual extensions for air intake though with its exhausts on top of the hull it only needed simple round tubes to extend the exhaust outlets. Sets of parts for each type of tank were developed and manufactured, to aid in fitting them a series of instruction manuals were produced describing the process step by step.

Combat Aircraft 04/2014

THE UNITED ARAB Emirates has moved to acquire 30 additional Lockheed Martin F-16 Desert Falcon fighters. On January 23 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of the jets to the UAE. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had first mooted the follow-on 'Viper' sale in April 2013, the deal at that time involving 25 new airframes. The DSCA announcement described the aircraft variant as the F-16 'Block 61', although it remains unclear how this will differ from the F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons currently in the UAE Air Force inventory. While Lockheed Martin has not commented on the new standard, US Department of Defense officials note that the Block 61 will include enhanced radar, avionics, and weapons capabilities. Among the items of equipment listed as part of the initial sale are 40 20mm M61A1 Vulcan guns, 40 embedded GPS inertial navigation systems, identification friend or foe equipment, Joint Mission Planning Systems, and night vision devices. Since the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as used by the Block 60 Desert Falcon is no longer in production, it is expected that the Block 61 will feature a new radar type, likely to be either the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) or the rival Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR).

Airfix Model World 04/2014

Most of this year's kit releases have been announced (see Nuremberg report pages 60-62), and there are certainly some interesting subjects due this year. From what I've heard and seen it certainly looks as though manufacturers have been using their heads and produced new types, different variants and delved back into their stores cupboards and re-released long-wanted classic kits...with new decals and photo-etched brass details where possible. But such releases come at a price, and there's been more than one occasion when I have looked in the stash and seen the old price tag of when the kit first appeared and noted that in some cases there's been a £10-15 increase. But, if you want it, and flinch at Internet prices then its one option to keep in mind over the next few months. This year will no doubt focus on D-Day and the start of World War One, and for me the new 1/72 Airfix Dakota has certainly caught my eye, in its RAF and USAAF boxings; I wonder if in the next few years we'll get a Vietnam-era AC-47 Spooky gunship variant, too?