Saturday, January 30, 2010

WWII Bunker Converted to Computer Data Center

A three-story World War II underground bunker in Plymouth is being converted to one of the world's most secure computer data centers. The bunker was originally built in 1939 to serve as a military command center, and it was designed to survive a direct hit from a 1,000 lb bomb. In 1943, the bunker was extended with a network of tunnels and further upgraded in the 1980s to withstand a potential nuclear attack.

Video at BBC.

The 16" Gun and Turret

Old U.S. Navy training film describing the Iowa-class 16"/50 gun and turret - covers equipment, crew, loading and firing of the guns.

Four Iowa class battleships were completed by the U.S. Navy during WWII:
  • USS Iowa (BB-61) -- commissioned February 1943
  • USS New Jersey (BB-62) -- commissioned May 1943
  • USS Missouri (BB-63) -- commissioned June 1944
  • USS Wisconsin (BB-64) -- commissioned April 1944


Friday, January 29, 2010

Roman Battle Tactics

Roman Battle Tactics 109BC-AD313 (Elite No. 155)
Author(s): Ross Cowan
Illustrator(s): Adam Hook
Publisher: Osprey Publishing, 2007
Format: Paperback, 64 pages
ISBN: 9781846031847
Amazon Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Publisher's Description: How, exactly, did Rome become master of the ancient world? This book examines and illustrates the tactics employed by the legions of late Republican and early Imperial Rome from the evidence of ancient writers. The greatest military machine in the Western world for at least four centuries, the Roman Army was the foundation of the Western military tradition, and its doctrines were central to the later revival of trained, drilled professional armies. Here the evidence is discussed in clear detail, and brought to life with battle plans and full colour interpretations of tactical scenarios.

Amazon Product Description: The book clearly explains and illustrates the mechanics of how Roman commanders--at every level--drew up and committed their different types of troops for open-field battles. It includes the alternative formations used to handle different tactical problems and different types of terrain; the possibilities of ordering and controlling different deployments once battle was joined; and how all this was based on the particular strengths of the Roman soldier. Covering the period of classic legionary warfare from the late Republic to the late Western Empire, Ross Cowan uses case studies of particular battles to provide a manual on how and why the Romans almost always won, against enemies with basic equality in weapon types--giving practical reasons why the Roman Army was the Western World's outstanding military machine for 400 years.


Panther Medium Tank 1942-45 (New Vanguard #67)

Panther Medium Tank 1942-45 (New Vanguard No. 67)
Author(s): Stephen A Hart
Illustrator(s): Jim Laurier
Publication: Osprey Publishing, 2003
ISBN: 9781841765433

Publisher's Description: The Panzerkampfwagen V Panther is one of the best-known German tanks in existence and is considered one of the greatest tanks of World War II. When in June of 1941, Germany invaded Russia, Panzertruppe encountered Russian KV series and T-34/76 tanks, far superior in firepower and armour protection to any panzers in service at the time. It was therefore decided to design a new more powerful medium tank, which could be quickly put into production. This book details the resulting Panther which was available for service in January 1943. Later models ensured that it became one of the most feared tanks of World War II.

Contents: Development History -- Panther Model D -- Panther II -- Panther Model A -- Panther Model G -- Panther Model F -- The Panther Assessed


Russian Stealth Fighter Makes First Flight

From Associated Press: Russia has unveiled the prototype of its new fifth-generation fighter. The Sukhoi T-50 made its maiden flight Friday.

For a history of Sukhoi aircraft, see Okb Sukhoi: A History of the Design Bureau and Its Aircraft.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Figures from ICON

ICON Figures are releasing two new pirate figures in 54mm and 70mm. Both are sculpted by Alex Lopez.

Long John Silver 54mm White Metal Figure Kit
Long John Silver
54mm White Metal Figure Kit
Sculptor: Alex Lopez
Painter: Cesar
Anne Boney 70mm White Metal Figure Kit
Anne Boney
70mm White Metal Figure Kit
Sculptor: Alex Lopez
Painter: Rodrigo Hernandez Amezcua


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter

This U.S. War Department training film from World War II taught pilots how to recognize and defeat the Japanese Zero. Future U.S. president Ronald Reagan portrays Lieutenant Jimmy Saunders in this film.

Dedicated to the flyers who are helping to make the total number of Zeros.... ZERO

Part I:

Part II:


Ryan Nagata created the following film -- April 1945. With the Germans on the edge of total defeat in Europe, the Wehrmacht unleashes their ultimate secret weapon to try to turn the tide. This short movie was done with a low budget and 1/6 scale tanks and vehicles. No CGI. See the website, for more details and behind-the-scenes look at the models.

WWII Hospital Ship Found

The wreck of AHS Centaur, a WWII Australian hospital ship, has been located off Australia's north-east coast. The Centaur was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off the coast of Queensland, Australia on May 14, 1943. Of 332 people aboard, 268 died.

A search team led by David Mearns has located the wreck at a depth of 2,000 m. The wreck sits on its keel with a 25-degree list to port. The bow is nearly separated the hull from the damage of the torpedo hit.

The wreck is protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. However, the Federal Government have agreed to issue a special permit for a commemorative plaque to be placed on the Centaur.

Video: CBS News
Wikipedia: AHS Centaur


Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Tanks of World War II

Noteworthy tanks and AFVs of World War II:

T-34 Medium Tank
M4 Sherman at War
Churchill Tank

Tiger I
M3 & M5 Stuart
Germany's Panther Tank
M26/M46 Pershing Tank 
Char B1

Scud Ballistic Missile and Launch Systems

Scud Ballistic Missile and Launch Systems 1955-2005 (New Vanguard #120) Scud Ballistic Missile and Launch Systems 1955-2005 (New Vanguard #120)
Author(s): Steven Zaloga
Illustrator(s): Jim Laurier & Lee Ray
ISBN: 9781841769479
Publisher: Osprey Publishing, 2006

Publisher Description: The Scud missile was developed as the centerpiece of Soviet plans to fight nuclear war in the heart of Europe. However, it was never used in its intended role and has instead become a symbol of the changing nature of warfare in the aftermath of the Cold War. Saddam Hussein's Iraqi armed forces were almost helpless in the face of the Coalition forces in the 1991 Gulf War; the only weapon that Iraq could use to injure the Coalition forces was its arsenal of Scud missiles. This book explores the development and variants of the missile and its launch systems, its proliferation outside of the West, and its role in conflicts around the world.

Soviet Missile Launcher in Saint Petersburg Artillery Museum (Source: Wikimedia)


1/6th Scale Jeep

Collecting 1/6th scale (12 inch) military action figures has become a popular hobby. The number of figures available has increased drastically across all historical periods. Manufacturers have also started producing a wide range of equipment, uniforms, weapons, and even vehicles. DML, Dragon, Hasbro, 21st Century, and SOTW (Soldiers of the World) all make a 1/6th scale jeep. (Since jeep is a registered trademark of Chrysler, the kits are usually just called "trucks".)

Cromwell Cruiser Tank 1942-50

Cromwell Cruiser Tank 1942-50 (New Vanguard #104)
Author(s): David Fletcher & Richard Harley
Illustrator: Peter Sarson
ISBN: 9781841768144
Published by: Osprey Publishing, 2006

Publisher's Description: For most of World War II, British tank development remained faithful to the design philosophy inaugurated during World War I. Experiences in North Africa highlighted flaws in this basic design, however, and the General Staff identified the need for a new heavy cruiser that could combine speed and manoeuvrability with increased armour and armament. The Cromwell Cruiser tank was designed as a result and soon proved itself one of the fastest and most successful tanks deployed by the Allies during World War II. This book details the design and development of the Cromwell and its many variants, from its introduction at D-Day, through its many successes in the final year of World War II and beyond.

Publisher's Contents: Introduction -- Design and Development -- Organisation -- Operational History -- In Combat -- Variants -- Post-War Service


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tank Sounds

M4A1 Sherman with Continental R-975-C4 Engine

M26 Pershing with Ford GAA V8

Italian M14

Panther with Maybach Engine

Tiger with Maybach Engine


Saturday, January 23, 2010

German MG 42 Machine Gun - Training Film

WWII U.S. training film describing the German MG 42 machine gun.


MG 42 CAL. 7.92 MM

The latest German machine gun, and the one which is gradually replacing the MG 34, is the dual-purpose caliber 7.92 mm MG 42. New production methods which employ pressings, riveting, and spot welding give it a less finished appearance than the MG 34 without effecting its efficiency. With the exception of the removal of the barrel, the procedure for firing and stripping this gun is very much the same as for the MG 34. The same type of feed mechanisms are used. And loading is accomplished in the same way.

The rear sight adjustment in this case is of the tangent leaf type sliding on a ramp which is graduated from 200 to 2000 meters. The gun fires full automatic only, there is no provision for single-shot fire.

Disassembly is the same as the MG 34. The lower part of the sling is removed. The bipod is separated from the barrel jacket. To change the barrel, a barrel change lever hinged on the right side of the barrel jacket is provided. The lever swings out bringing the barrel with it. Slide the barrel to the rear and remove it. Then the butt comes off, followed by the driving spring. The cocking handle is pulled to the rear, and the bolt comes out. The completes the disassembly.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"The Pacific" Trailer (HBO)

Coming in March 2010, HBO presents a new ten-episode epic mini-series from the creators of "Band Of Brothers".

British Tankers - First Hand Accounts

By Tank: D to VE Days
by Ken Tout
Publisher's Description: Like most of his comrades, Ken Tout was just 20 years old in Normandy 1944. Not until the 1980s did he feel able to gather their memoirs in three books, Tank!, Tanks, Advance! and To Hell with Tanks. Now these adventures are condensed into this one continuous narrative. Follow the very ordinary young lads of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry through the massive enemy defences on Bourguebus Ridge, to the snows of the Ardennes, the night crossing of the River Rhine, and final roll-call in Zwolle's Grote Kerkl, where they celebrated with liberated Dutch citizens. The author graphically describes the total experience—the heat, noise, and smells—inside the Sherman tank. By Tank: D Day to VE Days vividly recalls, in one complete volume, the whole experience of battle with utter authenticity—the fear, confusion, boredom, excitement and grief.

Brazen Chariots: An Account of Tank Warfare in the Western Desert
by Robert Crisp
Publisher's Description: Major Robert Crisp recounts Operation Crusader, the great tank battle waged against Rommel's Afrika Korps on the borders of Egypt. Robert Crisp was a South African Test cricketer, a major in the Third Royal Tank Regiment, and a journalist.

Tanks and Trenches: First Hand Accounts of Tank Warfare in the First World War
Edited by David Fletcher
Publisher's Description: The vivid accounts in this book are taken from the early days of tank warfare and give an idea of the crucial role that tanks played in breaking the murderous stalemate on the Western Front. This influence was acknowledged by friend and foe alike and, while not decisive, it certainly hastened the end of that dreadful conflict, saving thousands of Allied lives and ushering in a new era of mechanised warfare. David Fletcher, the editor, draws his material exclusively from the archives of the world famous Tank Museum at Bovington Camp, Dorset. His linking narrative guides us through the war, battle-by-battle, from September 1916 to the Armistice, using first hand accounts of the tank actions.


Tanks Illustrated

Tanks Illustrated was a series of books from Arms and Armour Press covering the major tanks and armored fighting vehicles of all eras. Each volume consisted of a short text introduction followed by a large number of photographs with detailed captions highlighting technical features, markings, and camouflage.

No. 1: Allied Forces Central Europe by Pierre Touzin
No. 2: Battle of the Bulge by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 3: Israeli Tanks and Combat Vehicles by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 4: Soviet Tanks Today by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 5: British Battle Tanks: 1945 to the Present by Simon Dunstan
No. 6: Tank War Vietnam by Simon Dunstan
No. 7: German Tanks: 1945 to the Present by Peter Gudgin
No. 8: U.S. Battle Tanks Today by Steven J. Zaloga and Michael Green
No. 9: Last of the Panzers: German Tanks 1944-1945 by William Auerbach
No. 10: D-Day Tank Battles: Beachhead to Breakout by George Balin
No. 11: Patton's Tanks by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 12: British Army Fighting Vehicles: 1945 to the Present by Simon Dunstan
No. 13: U.S. Infantry Combat Vehicles Today by Steven J. Zaloga and Michael Green
No. 14: Tank War Korea by Simon Dunstan
No. 15: U.S. Halftracks of World War Two by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 16: Operation Barbarossa by Steven J. Zaloga and James Grandsen
No. 17: Afrika Korps by George Balin
No. 18: Self-Propelled Howitzers by Simon Dunstan
No. 19: U.S. Tank Destroyers of World War Two by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 20: Allied Tanks Italy: World War Two by Bryan Perrett
No. 21: Allied Tanks North Africa: World War Two by Bryan Perrett
No. 22: Scorpion: The CVR(T) Range by Simon Dunstan
No. 23: British Combat Vehicles Today by Simon Dunstan
No. 24: Modern Israeli Tanks and Combat Vehicles by Samuel M. Katz
No. 25: The Churchill Tank by Chris Ellis
No. 26: U.S. Mechanized Firepower Today by Steven J. Zaloga
No. 27: Hitler's Panzers, The Years of Aggression by Bryan Perrett
No. 28: Panzer Army North Africa by Peter Gudgin
No. 29: U.S. Marine Tanks in World War Two by Steven J. Zaloga

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

56th Fighter Group

56th Fighter Group (Osprey Aviation Elite No. 2)56th Fighter Group (Osprey Aviation Elite No. 2)
by: Roger Freeman
Illustrator: Chris Davey
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publishing Date: 2000
ISBN: 9781841760476

Description by Publisher:
One of the first Thunderbolt groups to see action in the European Theatre of Operations with the U.S. Army Air Forces, the 56th Fighter Group was also the only fighter unit within the 8th Air Force to remain equipped with the mighty P-47 until war’s end. Led by the inspirational 'Hub' Zemke, this group was responsible for devising many of the bomber escort tactics employed by VIII Fighter Command between 1943 and 1945. By VE-Day the 56th FG had shot down 100 more enemy aircraft than any other group in the 8th Air Force, its pilots being credited with 677 kills during 447 missions. The exploits of this elite fighter unit are detailed in this volume together with photographs and their aircraft profiles and insignia.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb

Three historians examine the American decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945:

Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb
by Ronald Takaki
Amazon: 3 out of 5 stars.

Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan
by: J. Samuel Walker
Amazon: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb
by Gar Alperovitz
Amazon: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

65th Infantry Division (U.S. Army)

Fragmentation: The Memories of the 3rd Platoon of I Company, 260th Regiment, 65th DivisionFragmentation: The Memories of the 3rd Platoon of I Company, 260th Regiment, 65th Division
Author: Joe Windham
Published: Biographical Publ. Co., 2005

A Test of Faith and Courage: Patton's Raiders in WWII
Author: Oscar B. Ladner
Published: Liberty & Freedom Prod., 2001

65th Infantry Division
Published: Turner Publishing

731 days with the 65th Infantry Division, 1943-1945, USA-ETO
Author: Thomas Edmund Tappan
Published: 1994

Right to be Proud: History of the 65th Infantry Division's March across Germany
Author: Bill Jordy
Published: 65th Infantry Division, 1945

65th Infantry Division - Camp Shelby, Mississippi, 1944
Published: 65th Infantry Division, 1944

The Mexican Revolution 1910-20

The Mexican Revolution 1910-20 (Osprey Elite No. 137)
Author: Philip Jowett & Alejandro de Quesada
Illustrator: Stephan Walsh
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publishing Date: 2006
Series: Osprey Elite
ISBN: 9781841769899
Details: Paperback; 64 pages

Publisher's Description:
Many famous Western movies have been set against the background of the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century. Now, Osprey offer a concise, fact-packed account of the events, armies, uniforms and weapons of those chaotic and bloody years, including such famous but half-understood names as Diaz, Pancho Villa, Zapata, Madero and Huerta. The text is illustrated with rare period photographs and with detailed color plates of orfiristas and Rurales, Maderisitas, Federales, Villistas, Zapatistas, and U.S. intervention troops.

Historical Background ◊ Chronology of Operations ◊ Overview of the Armies ◊ The Federal Army ◊ The Revolutionary Armies ◊ U.S. Intervention Forces

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts

Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts: Mussolinis Elite Armoured Divisions in North AfricaIron Hulls, Iron Hearts: Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa
Author: Ian Walker
Publisher: Crowood Press
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 9781861268396
Details: Paperback, 224 pages, 50 black-and-white photos

Publisher Description:

The campaign in North Africa during World War II was one of the most important of the conflict. The allies fought for control of North Africa against the Afrika Korps commanded by Rommel. But the part played by Mussolini’s Italian troops, and in particular the armoured divisions, in support of the Germans is not so well known. This painstakingly researched book looks in detail at the role of Mussolini’s three armoured divisions – Ariete, Littorio and Centauro – and the invaluable part they played in Rommel’s offensive between 1941 and 1943. Indeed, the author is able to show that on many occasions the presence and performance of the Italian armoured divisions was crucial to the success of the axis campaign.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Modelling the SdKfz 251 Halftrack

Modelling the SdKfz 251 Halftrack (Osprey Modelling No. 6)Modelling the SdKfz 251 Halftrack (Osprey Modelling)
Author: Robert Oehler
Publisher: Osprey Publishing (2004)
ISBN: 9781841767062
Paperback: 80 pages

Publisher's Details:
The blitzkrieg tactics of the German Army prior at the start of World War II meant that Germany needed a dedicated fighting vehicle to transport troops around the battlefield in support of the panzer spearheads. It was in response to this new requirement that the German armored halftrack was developed during the 1930s. The SdKfz 251 halftrack became one of the most numerous vehicles in German service during World War II with over 15,000 produced. This book provides detailed instructions on how to build some of the most popular SdKfz 251 variants in all scales. It also includes information on camouflage paint schemes and markings.

Introduction -- Materials -- Modelling the subject -- Intermediate build -- Advanced build -- Master build -- Special feature -- Further reading -- Museums and collections -- Kits available -- Index

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence

Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence
Author: John Ferling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 9780195382921

Publisher's Description:
In a chronicle of America's struggle for independence, the historian John Ferling transports readers to the grim realities of the war, capturing an eight-year conflict filled with heroism, suffering, cowardice, betrayal, and fierce dedication. As Ferling demonstrates, it was a war that America came much closer to losing than is often remembered. General George Washington put it best when Washington said the American's victory was "little short of a standing miracle."

The Waterloo Armies: Men, Organization and Tactics

The Waterloo Armies: Men, Organization and Tactics
Author: Philip Haythornthwaite
Published: 2008
Publisher: Pen and Sword

Publisher's Description:
Waterloo is one of the most famous battles in history and it has given rise to a vast and varied literature. The strategy and tactics of the battle and the entire Waterloo campaign have been analysed at length. The commanders, manoeuvres and critical episodes, and the intense experiences of the men who took part, have all been recorded in minute detail. But the organization, structure and fighting strength of the armies that fought in the battle have received less attention, and this is the subject of Philip Haythornthwaite's detailed, authoritative and engaging study. Through a close description of the structure and personnel of each of the armies he builds up a fascinating picture of their makeup, their methods and their capabilities. The insight he offers into the contrasting styles and national characteristics of the forces that came together on the Waterloo battlefield gives a fresh perspective on the extraordinary clash of arms that ended the Napoleonic era.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sherman Firefly vs Tiger: Normandy 1944 -- Osprey Duel No. 1

Osprey Duel No. 1 - Sherman Firefly vs Tiger: Normandy 1944
Author: Stephen A. Hart
Published: 2007
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Details: English; Paperback; 80 pages
ISBN: 9781846031502

Publisher's Description:
The German's Tiger tank dominated the battlefields of Europe until the introduction of the Sherman Firefly in 1944 shattered the Tiger's aura of invincibility. Explore the design and development of these monster tanks, as well as their tactics and weaknesses as gun sight artwork places the reader inside the tanks during famous engagements in the clash of steel that proved to be a victory not only for the superior Allied numbers but also Allied engineering skill and ingenuity.

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design & Development
  • The strategic situation
  • Technical Specifications
  • The Combatants
  • Combat
  • Statistics & analysis
  • Aftermath/Conclusion
  • Bibliography