Sunday, October 28, 2018


The Brenus armor package coupled with the dozer blade would probably increase the combat weight of the AMX-40 to something like 46 metric tons.

The AMX-40 was a French prototype main battle tank. Its development began in 1983 as a clean sheet design. Four prototypes had been produced by 1986, and the design was offered for export notably to Spain.

The tank was of fairly standard configuration, with the driver at the front, the turret in the center, housing a gunner, commander and loader. With the engine at the rear. It's armament consisted of a 120 millimeter calibre smoothbore gun, with a coaxial 20 millimeter calibre autocannon. The tank was powered by a 1,100 horsepower V12 diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission.

Manufacturer(s)GIAT Industries
StatusDevelopment completed. Not in service or production.
Production Period1983-1985Production Quantity4 prototypes
Length, overall10.0mLength, hull6.8m
Width, overall3.36mHeight, overall3.1m
Combat Weight43000kgUnloaded Weightn/a
Radio, externaln/aCommunication, crewn/a

Main Armament120mm smoothbore gunAmmunition Carried35x120mm
Gun Traverse360ºElevation/Depressionn/a
Traverse Raten/aElevation Raten/a
Gun Stabilizationvertical/horizontalRangefinderlaser
Night VisionpassiveAuto-Loaderauto-assisted
Secondary Armament20mm F2 (coaxial); 7.62mm MG (AA)Ammunition Carried578x20mm; 2250x7.62mm

EnginePoyaud V12X 12-cylinder dieselTransmissionZF
Horsepower1100hp at 2500rpmSuspensiontorsion bar
Power/Weight Ratio25hp/tTrack Width57.0cm
Speed, on road70km/hTrack Ground Contactn/a
Fuel Capacity1100+400 l (1)Ground Pressure0.89kg/cm2
Range, on road600+250kmGradient70%
Fuel Consumptionabout 180 l/100kmVertical Obstacle1.0m
Turning Radiusn/aTrench Crossing3.2m
Ground Clearance0.45mFording1.3m (2)

Smoke Laying2x3 smoke launchersNBC Protectionn/a
Armor Detailsn/a

(1) AMX-40 can carry up to 400 l of addition fuel in two external barrels that may be jettisoned.
(2) Fording depth of 2.3m with preparation; 4.0m with snorkel.




US Army Railway Artillery Projects

Railway Artillery forms another chapter in the history of our wartime Ordnance preparation. An inventory taken by the Ordnance Department as soon as war was declared against Germany showed some 464 big guns available for mobilization on the western front. These ranged in size from the 8-inch Rifle to the single 16-inch experimental Howitzer, which the Ordnance Department had produced, prior to 1917. In the number were included guns which could be spared from the Coast Defense as follows: 96 8-inch, 129 10-inch, 49 12-inch, and 150 12-inch Mortars. The Navy offered to turn over 12 of its seven-inch guns, and it in addition to six 12-inch, 50 caliber, rifles were commandeered from a private concern where they were under manufacture for the Chilean government.

Here was an assortment of guns that offered splendid opportunity for equipment in heavy artillery. The Ordnance Department determined it that railway Mounts offered the only means of providing the required it mobility for this heavy fixed emplacement material and at once undertook the production of such mounts.

The use of heavy Railway Artillery had been developed to a high degree during the war before our participation. It had come to be almost as varied in design as field artillery and each type of Mount had certain distinct tactical uses. Guns, howitzers and mortars were all adapted to Railway mounts. These mounts were of three general types, the First permitting a 360 degree gun traverse, or all around fire, the second providing limited traverse, and the third providing no lateral movement for the gun, the traverse aim being secured by means of shifting the position of the railway car on a curved track called epis.

The railway mounts with the 360-degree traverse was used for the 7-inch and 8-inch weapons and also the 12-inch Mortars. This gun carriage revolves on an axis and turns the gun with it. The recoil of this mount is absorbed by a recoil system similar to that used with field guns. Mounts permitting a limited traverse movement of the accord type were used for guns and howitzers of great range. It is necessary to shift the car upon which this carriage is mounted on a curved track, or epis, when wide traverse movement is required for aiming the gun. Only part of the recoil shock is absorbed in the recoil system of the carriage, much of it being transmitted to the Gun car itself, which necessitates the car been bolted to the track and braced from the ground. In the third mount, known as the Schneider type, also used for the heaviest guns, the gun trunnion and mount are fastened rigidly together. Thus with no traverse movements provided it is necessary to depend entirely upon the movement of the car on a curved track to secure traverse aim. The carriage, of course provides elevation for the gun. The entire recoil of this type is absorbed by the retrograde movement of the car along the track, the heaviest guns driving the car 20 or 30 feet backwards after firing.

The first railway mount project of the Ordnance Department was undertaken as a measure of defense against possible attempts by German submarines to raid our coast. The twelve 7-inch guns turned over by the Navy were mounted for this purpose. A special pedestal mount was designed, giving the gun at 360-degree traverse. This gun was mounted on one of the three standard types of Railway Artillery cars designed by the Ordnance Department for the 7-inch and 8-inch guns and the 12-inch Mortars, the three types having the same general features.

Taking the projects in the scale of guns sizes, for the 8-inch Coast Defense guns the first type of mount was adopted. Orders for 47 Gun cars and mounts were placed with three concerns, two of which had materially to expand their shop facilities before beginning work. The prevailing condition of congested railroads and depleted raw material markets proved a serious handicap to getting production under way. But by June 1918, the first 8-inch railway mount had passed a thoroughly satisfactory test at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. When the Armistice was signed 18 complete units had been turned out and the contracting plants had developed a capacity of 15 mounts per month. Three complete units had been shipped overseas. These units included Ammunition cars, transportation cars, tools, spare parts and all necessary equipment. It was necessary to equipped gun cars of these units would narrow gauge as well as standard gauge trucks so they could operate on the narrow gauge track used in the fighting zone in France.

An 8-inch gun of longer-range than the Coast Defense guns was subsequently designed with the railway mounts and an order placed for 25 for use abroad in 1920. When the Armistice was signed this undertaking was abandoned.

Railway mounts for the 10-inch Coast guns were divided between the Schneider and the Batignolles types. As a joint operation with the French government, we undertook to place 36 of these weapons on Schneider mounts, the forging and rough machining to be done in this country and the finishing in the French Shops. Contracts for our part of the project were distributed among three plants. General Pershing had called for the delivery of 36 sets of parts in France by March 2, 1919. When the Armistice was signed 8 complete sets had been produced, and there is little doubt that had the war continued the 36 sets would have been delivered by the dates specified.

The Batignolles mount project for the 10-inch Coast gun was placed with the Marion Steam Shovel Company, which undertook to produce 18 of these mounts. Difficulty in translating the French drawings and in securing the necessary raw materials and Machine equipment entailed serious delays in this project and the Armistice was signed before any of the mounts were produced and the entire project was canceled shortly after the Armistice.

The Marion Steam Shovel Company also undertook the manufacture of Batignolles mounts for 12 of the 12-inch Coast Defense guns. This contract was given preference over the 10-inch mounts and although none of the 12-inch mounts had been produced by November 11th, work had progressed so far that the Ordnance Department ordered all 12 completed. The first was delivered about April 1, 1919.

For the 12-inch Chilean naval guns the Ordnance Department re-designated the Schneider mount to facilitate manufacture in this country, as our manufacturers had experienced and lists trouble in producing the French designs because of their entire lack of conformity to American shop practice. It was decided to build three mounts for these six 12-inch guns, holding one gun in replacement reserved for each mount. Although the order for these mounts was not placed until the summer of 1918, all three had been completed and made ready for shipment to France by November, 1918 each with its entire equipment of supplies, spare parts, Ammunition cars etc.

Of the one hundred fifty 12-inch Mortars, which it was believed could be safely withdrawn from the Coast Defenses, contracts were let for the mounting of 96, General Pershing having asked that 40 be delivered in France in time for the contemplated 1919 campaign. Provided with railway mounts, it was seen that these Mortars would provide an excellent weapon for short, plunging fire.

The project of mounting these weapons proved one of the largest of the entire Artillery program. The Morgan Engineering Company of Alliance, Ohio, which undertook to build the cars and the barbette carriage mounts upon which the mortars were placed, had to erect a complete plant at a cost of $1,700,000 for the building alone. Specially designed machine tools necessary to carry out the work cost the government more than $1,800,000 additionally. Although construction of the plant was not begin until December, 1917, it was entirely completed by June of 1918 and the pilot mount had successfully passed firing test at Aberdeen by the end of August, an exceedingly noteworthy achievement in view of the weather conditions that prevailed that winter and the manifold industrial handicaps encountered. Every structural part for all of the 91 mounts ordered had been completed when the Armistice was signed. Despite the relaxation, which follows the Armistice, the company had delivered 45 complete units by April 7, 1919, whereas general Pershing had requested only 40 for the entire campaign of that year.

These mortars as mounted it were provided with a hydro pneumatic recuperateor of far greater size than any that had ever been produced in this country, and this feature added immensely to the project.
It was in May 1918 that the Navy offered to turn over to the Army certain 14-inch Naval Rifles then under construction and of which it was estimated 30 would be completed by March of 1919. For these Guns it was planned to use the redesigned Schneider railway mount that had been adopted for the 12-inch Chilean guns.

Accordingly and order for 16 of these mounts was placed with the Baldwin Locomotive Works, specifying deliveries to begin by February 1st, 1919, and to be completed by the following April. The signing of the Armistice, however led to the abandonment of the entire project. Five of these guns were mounted by the Navy itself on railway mounts of another design, to be manned by naval personnel in France. The Baldwin Locomotive Works constructed 11 of these mounts for the Navy Ordnance Bureau and six of them were subsequently turned over to the Army.

Finally, the Ordnance Department designed and built a railway mount for the huge 16-inch Howitzer, which had been bored and finished prior to 1917. The design for the mount was finished on February 10th, 1918, and in order to complete the project in the shortest possible time it was placed with three manufacturers, who did a remarkably fast job in turning it out.

Whereas all previous railway mounts for guns of this size had been designed to be braced from the track when the gun was set in position for firing, a great advantage was obtained by eliminating the necessity for this in the 16-inch Howitzer mount. No track preparation whatever was necessary to fire this weapon. The great firing load, estimated at 748,230 lbs. is safely transmitted to the trucks of the gun car through the intricate system of equalizer springs. The recoil action is absorbed chiefly by a hydraulic recoil cylinder with which the gun is equipped and the balance is taken up by the retrograde movement of the car on the track of 20 or 30 feet. This unit was demonstrated by exhaustive tests to rank with the highest types of Ordnance in use at that time. Orders for 61 additional 16-inch howitzers had been placed prior to the test of the pilot mounts but were canceled when the Armistice was signed.

Skynight: The Deadliest Night Fighter in Korea

Why Douglas Skyknight crews weren’t afraid of the dark.

With a profile that would never be considered glamorous, the Douglas Skyknight was a conventional design delivering truly mediocre performance. Still, the Navy needed a sedan, not a sports car, and designer Ed Heinemann, who won fame for the World War II Douglas Dauntless and the 1953 Collier Trophy for the F4D Skyray, gave them what they wanted. Surprisingly, Skyknights would soldier on for two decades of service, easily outlasting speedier, more nimble contemporaries.

Conceived as the Navy’s first purpose-built night fighter, the Douglas F3D was built big to accommodate a complicated radar system along with a powerful battery of four 20-mm cannon. There were three radars: search, fire control, and a novel tail-mounted unit warning of threats approaching from behind. Pilots took off in darkness, flew by instruments, and trusted the radar operators sitting next to them to guide them to enemy aircraft that blipped across scopes mounted on the radar console.

The major production version of the Skyknight was the F3D-2. Preliminary specifications for the F3D-2 were released by the Navy on May 23, 1949, and the letter of intent was issued in October of 1949. The F3D-2 had improved cockpit air conditioning, a thicker armored windshield, revised electronic equipment, as well as improved versions of interception, tail warning, and gun targeting radars. In addition, the F3D-2 had a General Electric G-3 autopilot and was provided with wing spoilers for an improved rate of roll. According to original plans, it was to have been powered by two 4600 lb.s.t. Westinghouse J46-WE-3 turbojets housed in enlarged nacelles, which would have offered a substantially enhanced performance.

Unfortunately, the J46 experienced severe developmental difficulties and was still not available when the first F3D-2 was ready for its maiden flight in early 1951, and the first F3D-2 was powered instead by two 3400 lb.s.t. J34-WE-36s. It took off on its maiden flight on February 14, 1951. In the event, the J46 never did overcome its teething troubles and production of this engine was cancelled, forcing all production F3D-2s to settle for the less-powerful J34-WE-36s. However, all F3D-2s retained the larger engine nacelles that had been designed for the J46.

A total of 237 F3D-2s were built, the last example being produced on March 23, 1952.
The following Navy squadrons operated the F3D-2: VC-3, VC-4, VC-33, VX-3, VX-4, VX-5, VFAW-3, VF-11, VF-14, VF-101, VF-121, and VT-86.

The following Marine Corps squadrons operated the F3D-2: VMF(N)-542, VMF(N)-513, VMF(N)-531, VMF(N)-46, VMC-3, VMFT(N)-20, VMCJ-1, VMCJ-2, and VMCJ-3.

VMF(N)-542 deployed to Korea with its F3D-2s in the spring of 1952. They were soon transferred to VMF(N)-513 based at Kunsan (K-8). Their primary mission was to fly night escort missions for Air Force B-29 bombers. On November 2, 1952, pilot Maj William Stratton and radar operator Hans Hoagland shot down a North Korean Yak-15, the first jet-vs-jet night kill.

On the night of 2:3 November 1952, a Sky Knight piloted by Marine Major William Stratton, accompanied by radar operator Master Sergeant Hans Hoagland, shot down what they reported from the exhaust pattern to be a Yak-15 fighter, and claimed a confirmed kill since the Sky knight flew through debris, narrowly evading damage. Russian records indicate the target was actually a MiG-15
-- the Yak-15 was really not suited for operational use, and wasn't used in combat in Korea or anywhere else -- and though the Sky knight set the MiG on fire, the pilot managed to extinguish the flames and get back to base. The MiG was fully operational in a few days, a tribute to its rugged construction.

However, five days later, on the night of 7:8 November, another F-3D Sky knight under the command of Marine Captain Oliver R. Davis with radar operator Warrant Officer D. F. "Ding" Fessler shot down a MiG-15. Russian sources do confirm this kill and that the pilot, a Lieutenant Kovalyov, ejected safely.

On 10 December 1952, a Sky knight piloted by Marine Lieutenant Joseph Corvi with radar operator Sergeant Dan George spotted a "bogey" on radar. They could not establish visual contact, but since no "friendlies" were supposed to be in the area, they fired on the target.

A kill was confirmed when Sergeant George spotted a wing tumbling past them. This was one of the first times when an aircraft destroyed an enemy that the crew could not see. It turned out to be one of the little Po-2 biplanes used by the North Koreans to harass UN forces at night.

The Po-2 was a difficult target, since it flew low and slow, it was small and agile, and its mostly wooden construction did not show up well on radar.

The Marine Sky Knights claimed a total of at least six kills and no B-29s under their escort were lost to enemy fighters. Two Skyknights were lost in combat for unknown reasons.

In subsequent night actions, F3D-2s accounted for another Yak-15 and six MiG-15s, with no losses to themselves, which gave the Skyknight an overall 8-0 superiority in Korea. In addition, no Air Force B-29 was ever lost on a F3D-2-escorted mission. VMF(N)-513 crews also flew some night strike and interdiction sorties. Two Skyknights were lost in combat to unknown causes.

Mack Trucks

Mack Model NR 6 ton truck.

This Mack NO 7&1/2 ton truck is pulling a 155 mm gun through Brest, France in August of 1944, the task it was designed for.
The Mack Trucks Historical Museum is the repository of historical documents and artifacts from Mack's long and storied history as the leading American truck manufacturer and world-renowned brand name. The collection and curators at the Mack Museum connect Mack enthusiasts and casual visitors alike to the rich legacy of "The Greatest Name in Trucks."

Among the antique vehicles in the Museum's collection is one of the original sightseeing buses built by Jack and Augustus Mack in the first decade of the twentieth century. The gas-operated, open-air bus carried up to 26 tourists at a time around the streets and sights of Chicago in the summer and New Orleans in the winter for 25 years and more than a million miles of service, before returning to Mack as the anchor of its antique truck collection.

Also in the collection is a 1911 Mack Jr. that shared the streets with horse-drawn wagons as it made it's rounds delivering dry goods and produce. It's the final truck design attributed to the Mack brothers before they sold their company to investors in 1911.

Then there's the 1918 AC model, one of 4,100 built for World War I. Although there's no bulldog on the hood of this early Mack truck, it was the AC that earned the name while it was busy dodging bullets and trudging through the mud in France. The truck's unique blunt-nosed design reminded British troops of their own bulldogs. So did it's tenacious ability to get through anything with the supplies needed at the front.

The AC and the Mack Jr. are two of the treasures the Mack Museum displays to the public in its partnership with America on Wheels Transportation Museum in Allentown, PA. This state-of-the-art attraction tells the story of over-the-road transportation in American history -- with a strong emphasis on telling the story of the United States through the history of Mack Trucks, Inc.

For many visitors, the museum's real treasures aren't made of steel at all, but of paper and celluloid. There are more than 80,000 photos in the collection, many dating back to 1905. And there are records -- documentation of virtually all the trucks made by Mack since its early days. If you were to come across an old AB truck under a tarp in a barn, there was a record made when it was built. The company's been doing it for every chassis manufactured since 1905, and except for a few rare cases, all those records are filed here.

Blackhawk Helicopter - Special operations


The increased speed, range, and carrying capacity of the Black Hawk meant that it quickly found a number of uses in the special operations community. The MH-60G Pave Hawk was designed to deliver and extract Special Forces behind enemy lines, while the similar HH-60G was developed as a combat rescue helicopter for the Air Force. Both types are equipped with weather radar to allow operations in poor weather, while pilots are equipped with night vision goggles (NVGs) that enable missions to be carried out in low visibility. Pave Hawks are equipped with retractable in-flight refueling probes and internal auxiliary fuel tanks for increased range. Both types have seen extensive combat since the end of the 1980s, flying missions in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, as depicted here.

The Special Forces and rescue variants of the Black Hawk have now been in service for two decades. A number of current aircraft are finished in Gunship Gray (Federal Standard paint 36118) for low-visibility daylight operations against a ground threat, gray being much less obvious against the sky than standard green or camouflage colors. This aircraft is fitted with the External Stores Support System (ESSS). Developed in the 1980s to allow aircraft to be ferried over long distances, the ESSS consists of two downward-sloping stub wings with four hardpoints for external tanks. The extra fuel carried allows rescue helicopters to penetrate deep into enemy territory, where aerial refueling might be risky. In combat (and as shown here), only the outer tanks are fitted, allowing a clear field of fire for the door gunners.

Hawks Special Forces units have proliferated in most armies over the last 40 years, and helicopters are ideal platforms for delivering and supporting Special Forces teams. In the 1980s, the Army decided to convert 30 UH-60As to a special operations version, known as the MH-60A. This featured a number of modifications, some of which were later to be applied to other Black Hawk variants. The primary mission of the MH-60 is to conduct overt or covert infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of Special Operations Forces across a wide range of environmental conditions.

To give the helicopter additional range, an in-flight refueling probe was fitted, and an additional 117-gallon internal fuel tank was mounted in the rear of the cabin. This gave the MH-60 an infiltration radius without air refueling of just under 340 miles. HIRSS exhaust shields were fitted to give protection against heat-seeking missiles, and other defensive countermeasures, including a disco light heat-seeking missile jammer and two M130 chaff/flare dispensers, were added.

To enable the aircraft to operate by night, a night vision goggle (NVG)compatible cockpit was fitted, and a FLIR video camera was mounted in a turret in the nose. Defensive capabilities were increased by adding a pintle-mounted minigun on each side in place of the M60D machine guns normally carried at the time.

Since many of its features were tacked on in an improvised fashion, the MH-60A was nicknamed the Velcro Hawk. These machines were replaced in regular Army service by UH-60Ls brought up to a similar MH-60L Velcro Hawk configuration. The older MH-60As were handed down to Army National Guard units.

As with most variants of the UH-60A and UH-60L, the MH-60s could be fitted with either the ETS or ESSS stub wings, and they have carried a variety of stores and armaments, including a 30mm chain gun and unguided rocket pods. Developed for the US Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, armed MH-60Ls entered service in 1990. Designated as the MH-60L Direct Action Penetrator or Defensive Armed Penetrator (DAP), the armed MH-60 has the primary mission of armed escort and fire support.

MH-60G Pave Hawk
The Pave Hawk is a twin-engine medium-lift helicopter operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command, a component of the US Special Operations Command. The basic crew normally consists of five: pilot, copilot, flight engineer, and two pararescuemen. The aircraft can also carry eight to ten troops. Pave Hawks are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 200ft cable and 600lb lift capacity.
The 98 Credible Hawks acquired in the 1980s were to be brought up to MH-60G Pave Hawk configuration in a two-phase program. Only 16 of the total of 98 MH-60Gs received the Phase 3 gear. These Pave Hawks were assigned the special operations role, while the other 82, with the Phase Two equipment fit, were assigned the CSAR role in October 1991 and redesignated HH-60G.

The Phase Two update included a Bendix-King 1400C navigation radar in a radome on the left side of the nose, an ANIASN-137 Doppler radar, a GPSIINS set, a moving-map display, secure communications, and improved defensive countermeasures.

The Phase Three update included an AN/AAQ-16 FLIR imager; a partial glass cockpit with twin flat-panel displays and a head-up display (HUD); a door mount on each side for a 12.7mm machine gun, along with the gun mount in each window; infrared lights for night refueling; and a ring laser gyro inertial navigation system.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Personnel recovery in hostile conditions and military operations other than war in day, night or marginal weather
Contractor: United Technologies/Sikorsky Aircraft Company
Power Plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-700 or T700-GE-701C engines
Thrust: 1,560-1,940 shaft horsepower, each engine
Rotor Diameter: 53 feet, 7 inches (14.1 meters)
Length: 64 feet, 8 inches (17.1 meters)
Height: 16 feet, 8 inches (4.4 meters)
Weight: 22,000 pounds (9,900 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 22,000 pounds (9,900 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 4,500 pounds (2,041 kilograms)
Payload: depends upon mission
Speed: 184 mph (159 knots)
Range: 504 nautical miles
Ceiling: 14,000 feet (4,267 meters)
Armament: Two 7.62mm or .50 caliber machineguns
Crew: Two pilots, one flight engineer and one gunner
Unit Cost: $26 million
Initial operating capability: 1982
Inventory: Active force, 70; ANG, 18; Reserve, 13

Albatros D V

Albatros DVa
The famous Albatros scouts were among the most beautiful and deadly fighters of World War I. By the spring of 1917 they had become so indelibly associated with fighting that the British christened this period “Bloody April.”

The famous Fokker scourge of 1915 was summarily ended by the appearance of the Nieuport 11 and the de Havilland DH 2, and the Germans were hard-pressed to field an effective foil. In the spring of 1916 the Albatros Werke under chief engineer Robert Thelen conceived a fighter design unlike anything that had been seen in the skies of Western Europe. Dubbed the D I, it was extremely sleek and heavily armed, being the first German biplane fighter powerful enough to carry two synchronized machine guns. It debuted with great success that spring before a subsequent version, the infamous D III, appeared. This machine proved even deadlier. The D III combined many aeronautical refinements and incorporated features of the heretofore unbeatable Nieuport 17, including vee struts and a smaller lower wing. In the hands of aces like von Richthofen, Boelcke, and Voss, it quickly established superiority over opposing Allied aircraft. Consequently, the spring of 1917 became reviled as “Bloody April,” and the prowess of Albatros scouts caused the life expectancy of British airmen to be measured in days.

One persistent problem with the D III, which it had ironically inherited from Nieuport fighters, was the inherent weakness of the lower wing. In combat it was liable to flutter and break off, with fatal consequences. An improved model, the D V, was accordingly introduced in May 1917 to correct this.

It featured a deeper, elliptical fuselage, a more powerful engine, and more closely spaced wings. However, despite these refinements, the D V and its successor, the D Va, boasted few advantages over the aging D III. Throughout most of 1918, the D Vs constituted the bulk of German fighter strength, although they continually lost ground to newer Allied types such as the SPAD XIII and Sopwith Camel. An estimated 3,000 Albatroses, including Austrian versions, were manufactured.

The D.V entered service in May 1917 and, like the D.III before it, immediately began experiencing structural failures of the lower wing. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that the D.V was even more prone to wing failures than the D.III. The outboard sections of the upper wing also suffered failures, requiring additional wire bracing. Furthermore, the D.V offered very little improvement in performance. This caused considerable dismay among frontline pilots, many of whom preferred the older D.III. Manfred von Richthofen was particularly critical of the new aircraft. In a July 1917 letter, he described the D.V as "so obsolete and so ridiculously inferior to the English that one can't do anything with this aircraft." British tests of a captured D.V revealed that the aircraft was slow to maneuver, heavy on the controls, and tiring to fly.

Albatros responded with the D.Va, which featured stronger wing spars, heavier wing ribs, and a reinforced fuselage. The D.Va also reverted to the D.III's aileron cable linkage, running outwards through the lower wing, then upwards to the ailerons, to provide a more positive control response.

The wings of the D.III and D.Va were in fact interchangeable. The D.Va was also fitted with a small diagonal brace connecting the lower section of the forward interplane strut to the leading edge of the lower wing. These modifications made the D.Va 23 kg (50 lb) heavier than the D.III, while failing to entirely cure the structural problems of the type. Use of the high-compression 130 kW (180 hp) Mercedes D.IIIaü engine offset the increased weight of the D.Va.

Idflieg placed orders for 262 D.Va aircraft in August 1917, followed by additional orders for 250 in September and 550 in October. Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke, which had been engaged in production of the D.III, received orders for 600 D.Va aircraft in October.

Deliveries of the D.Va commenced in October 1917. The structural problems of the Fokker Dr.I and the mediocre performance of the Pfalz D.III left the Luftstreitkräfte with no viable alternative to the D.Va until the Fokker D.VII entered service in the summer of 1918. Production ceased in April 1918.

As of May 1918, 131 D.V and 928 D.Va aircraft were in service on the Western Front. This number declined as the Albatros was replaced by Fokker D.VIIs and other types during the final months of the war, but the D.Va remained in use until the Armistice (11 November 1918).

Specifications (D.V)
General characteristics
Crew: one, pilot
Length: 7.33 m (24 ft (7 m) 1 in)
Wingspan: 9.04 m (29 ft (9 m) 8 in)
Height: 2.70 m (8 ft (2 m) 10 in)
Wing area: 21.20 m² (228.5 ft²)
Empty weight: 687 kg (1,515 lb)
Loaded weight: 937 kg (2,066 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Mercedes D.IIIaü 6-cylinder water-cooled inline engine, 134 kW (180 hp)
Maximum speed: 187 km/h (116 mph) at sea level (101 kn, 116 mph)
Service ceiling: 5,500 m (18,045 ft)
Wing loading: 44 kg/m² ()
Time to climb: 4.35 min to 1,000 m (3,600 ft)
Endurance: 2 hours
2 × forward-firing fixed synchronized 7.92 mm (.31 in) LMG 08/15 machine guns

Thursday, October 25, 2018

420mm L/14 “Big Bertha”

Austria and Germany were particularly prolific in manufacturing such massive weapons. Owing to the design and production capabilities of the Krupp facilities, Germany produced the most famous heavy weapons of the war. During the 1890s, Krupp began a program to produce a heavy howitzer capable of destroying the massive concrete fortifications then being constructed in Belgium and France. “Alpha,” the first of a series of prototypes, was a 204mm weapon; it was followed in 1900 by the 305mm “Beta.” Completed in 1911, the 420mm “Gamma” H was the culmination of the firm’s program; weighing 175 tons, it required dismantling for transport on ten railroad cars and fired a 2,535-pound shell up to 8.8 miles. By 1914 the Gamma series had evolved into the more mobile Gamma M, also known as the “Big Bertha” gun.

Popularly named after Alfred Krupp’s daughter, the 41.3-ton, 420mm “Big Bertha” had a horizontal sliding block and fired a 1,719-pound shell up to 10,253 yards. Big Bertha required five tractors to transport its components, and it had to be assembled on site. In conjunction with a number of Austrian Skoda 305mm howitzers, the L/14 was first used with devastating effect against Liège in August 1914; it saw other action on both the Western and Eastern fronts. Owing to its relatively short range and vulnerability to Allied fire, Big Bertha was obsolete by 1917. Another heavy piece, the 211mm Mörser was adopted in 1916. It weighed 14,727 pounds and fired a 250-pound shell up to 12,139 yards.

420mm L/14 “Big Bertha”
Adoption date: 1914
Caliber: 420mm
Weight: 41.3 tons
Breech: horizontal sliding block
Barrel length: 231 inches
Elevation: 70°
Traversal: 360°
Projectile weight: 1,719 pounds
Muzzle velocity: 2,676.5 fps
Maximum range: 10,253 yards

Zubr-class landing craft

Air cushion small landing ships - Project 12322 

The Zubr class (Project 1232.2, NATO reporting name "Pomornik") is a class of air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC). This class of military hovercraft is, as of 2012, the world's largest, with a standard full load displacement of 555 tons. The hovercraft is designed to sealift amphibious assault units (such as marines and tanks) from equipped/non-equipped vessels to non-equipped shores, as well as transport and plant naval mines.

There are ten Zubr-class hovercraft in service. There are two vessels in the Russian Navy and four with the Hellenic Navy.[3] In 2009, China placed an order for four vessels from Ukraine [order transferred to Russia now] as part of a deal worth 315 million USD. Two updated versions of the vessels were built by Crimea's Feodosia Shipbuilding Company, followed by two advanced models of the surface warship.

The purchase of HS Cephalonia (L 180) for the Hellenic Navy marked the first time a Soviet-designed naval craft had been built for a NATO member.

In June 2017, Russia announced it was restarting production of the Zubr-class craft. Representatives from the Russian shipbuilding industry soon after responded by stating production could not possibly resume in 2018 and would only be possible by 2019–2021, refuting the government position. Representatives cited the lack of availability of and inability to mass-produce components, notably gas turbine engines and reduction gears as the main obstacles.

NPO Saturn (ODK GT) and Turboros developed marine gas turbine M70FRU (D090), FR RU, M70FRU2 (DP/DM71) along M90FR, M75RU, E70RD8 and Elektrosila, AO Zvezda, Metallist, Samara and others developed reductors and gears. Fan and Turboprop provided by NK Kuznetsov, Aerosila, among others (perhaps some like Aviadvigatel, Salut, AMNTK, UMPO, KMPO, having high and long experience and production).

The Zubr-class landing craft has a cargo area of 400 square metres (4,300 sq ft) and a fuel capacity of 56 tons. It can carry three main battle tanks (up to 150 tonnes), or ten armoured vehicles with 140 troops (up to 131 tonnes), or 8 armoured personnel carriers of total mass up to 115 tonnes, or 8 amphibious tanks or up to 500 troops (with 360 troops in the cargo compartment).

At full displacement the ship is capable of negotiating up to 5-degree gradients on non-equipped shores and 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in)-high vertical walls. The Zubr class remains seaworthy in conditions up to Sea State 4. The vessel has a cruising speed of 30–40 knots (56–74 km/h; 35–46 mph).

General characteristics - Project 12322
Displacement (tons):
Standard: 500
Full load: 550
Dimensions (m):
Length: 57,3
Beam: 25,6
Draft: 1,6
Speed (kts): 63
Range: 300 mn (55 kts)
Autonomy (days): 5
Propulsion: 3x10000 h.p., gas turbines MT-70, 2x10000 h.p., gas turbines NO-10, 5 turbine-type generators GTG-100K x100 kW (Project 12322E - 5 diesel generators «Volvo Penta»)
Armament: 1x2 launcher MTU-2 SAM system «Igla-1M» (32? missiles)
2x6 30 mm AK-630M (3000 rounds) – Fire control system MR-123-02 «Vympel» (on MDK-51 - without fire control system)
2x22 140 mm launchers MS-227«Ogon`» (132 rounds OF-45, ZZh-45) – Fire control system DVU-3
78 mines (instead of troops)
Electronics: Radar «Pozitiv» (on MDK-51), Radar «Lazur`», ESM Radar system MP-411, navigation radar «Ekran-1», communication complex R-782 «Buran»
Cargo: 3 main battle tanks T-80 or 10 BTR or 8 BMP or 360 troops or 140 troops and 130 tons of cargo or 150 tons of cargo
Crew: 27 (4 officers)