Friday, April 24, 2015
I realize these trains were probably a medium dark green in colour but flat black just looks so cool.
The General is a type 4-4-0 steam locomotive that was the subject of the Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War. The locomotive is preserved at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was arguably the first train ever hijacked.
Built in 1855 by Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor in Paterson, New Jersey, The General provided freight and passenger service between Atlanta, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, before the Civil War on the Western and Atlantic Railroad of the State of Georgia and later, the Western and Atlantic Railroad Company.
During the Civil War on April 12, 1862, The General was commandeered by Northerners led by James J. Andrews at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw, Georgia), and abandoned north of Ringgold, after being pursued by William Allen Fuller and the Texas. Low on water and wood, the General eventually lost steam pressure and speed, and slowed to a halt two miles north of Ringgold, where Andrews and his raiders abandoned the locomotive and tried to flee.
Later, the General narrowly escaped destruction when General John Bell Hood ordered the ordnance depot destroyed as he left Atlanta on September 1, 1864. However, the engine was severely damaged by being run into boxcars of ammunition and the Missouri locomotive. This was done deliberately so as to render the engine unusable for the approaching Union forces.
It had been speculated by some that, after the General had been damaged, the invading Union army restored the engine and operated it. However, many historians believe that the engine was left untouched for the remainder of the war. The Union army had based its repair shops in Nashville, and there is no evidence to suggest the engine was moved there. The United States Military Railroad Service had many new or like-new engines, so they had no need to restore captured ones such as the General. The USMRR had often left the damaged equipment of a captured railroad undisturbed, and its records, having listed the General as "captured and returned," further suggest such was the case of the General.
After the war ended, the General was repaired and continued service on the Western and Atlantic. In the 1870s, the General was completely rebuilt, it had received a new pilot, boiler, and other components. Most notably, its three dome configuration was reduced to two domes, and its Radley-Hunter style balloon stack was replaced with a diamond stack, as the engine had been converted to burn coal. Indeed, the rebuilt engine had little resemblance to its original form.
Before the Civil War, most railways in the south, including the W&A, did not give their engines numbers. Rather, they were simply named, such as the General. When the railroad began numbering engines after the war, the General was the 39th engine to be acquired by the road, and was numbered accordingly. Locomotives came and went as years progressed, and by 1880, a renumbering was necessary. At this time, the General was given the number "3," being the third oldest engine that the railroad had at the time. The engine continues to carry this number today.
In the mid-1880s, the Atlanta and Florida Railroad began construction. During this time, the W&A had a locomotive surplus after buying several more modern engines, so they leased the General to the A&F from 1887 to 1888 to assist in construction.
The locomotive was originally built to the southern states standard rail gauge of 5 ft (1,524 mm). After a change to the northern states gauge was mandated by June 1, 1886, The General was converted to be compatible with the U.S. Standard Gauge of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm).
The General was retired from service in 1891 and stored on a siding in Vinings, GA where it awaited its final fate. Early the next year, E. Warren Clark, a professional photographer, discovered the engine in Vinings, and approached John W. Thomas, president of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway (which had won the lease on the Western and Atlantic Railroad of the State of Georgia in 1890), with the proposal of restoring the General for exhibition at the upcoming World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Thomas accepted, and the General was soon taken to the NC&StL Ry Shops at West Nashville to be restored. At this time, the engine was given a Radley-Hunter style balloon stack similar to the engine's original, and was reverted to a wood burner. The engine soon encountered problems involved with burning wood, so it was restored back to a coal burner. The engine was given a unique new stack at this time, one that, while designed for coal burning, was styled like the original so as to give the appearance of a wood burner.
While the engine's display in Chicago was costly, and left Warren Clark broke afterward, it had insured the General's preservation. In 1901, the General was placed on display in the Chattanooga Union Depot. There, it remained on display for nearly fifty years, only being removed for short periods for exhibitions. In particular, the engine was taken to Baltimore in 1927 to participate in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's "Fair of the Iron Horse," then in 1933 to Chicago's "Century of Progress" Exhibition, the 1939 New York World's Fair, and finally, the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948.
In 1959, The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, removed the General from the Chattanooga Union Depot and began to restore the engine to operating condition at its South Louisville Shops, for the American Civil War Centennial. As part of the restoration, the General was given modern air brakes, a modern coupler (only on the tender, the older style coupler on the engine's front pilot remained), and was converted to burn oil. Throughout the 1960s, the engine pulled Louisville and Nashville Combine Car Number 665 as travelled to various places across the eastern US, including the 1964 New York World's Fair under its own power.
In the mid-1960s, the state of Georgia began to express interest in reclaiming the engine. Indeed, many proposals about the General had arisen since the 1930s, while it was still on display at Chattanooga, including plans to have the General be displayed in Underground Atlanta, Kennesaw Mountain, or at Stone Mountain Park, among others, some of which even included removing the Texas from the Cyclorama to be displayed with the engine. While much press coverage was given about these proposals, none of them had ever materialized. Even the city of Paterson, New Jersey, where the locomotive was built, expressed interest, since many engines had been built by Rogers and other firms in the city, but had none to display. Paterson eventually withdrew their proposal and sought other engines to display.
The state of Georgia's interest in the General soon raised tensions with the city of Chattanooga, where the General was displayed. In 1967, the city of Kennesaw, where the engine had been stolen in 1862, requested to have the engine visit and give rides during a fundraiser. The General was on its way there, when it was stopped by a group led by Chattanooga's mayor, Ralph H. Kelley. He believed the engine belonged to the city, and a lawsuit had been filed against the L&N concerning custody of the engine.
Thus began a long legal battle, eventually going to the US Supreme Court. This dispute lasted until 1970, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the railroad. The General was stored in Louisville during this time, only being publicly displayed over a weekend in November 1971, when it was displayed in the city's Union Station alongside the road's newer diesel engine no. 1776.
After the L&N won the legal dispute concerning the engine's custody in 1970, they brought the engine to Atlanta via Knoxville and Cartersville, bypassing Chattanooga. In February 1972, a ceremony was held in Atlanta where L&N president Kendall formally presented the General to then state governor (and later President of the United States) Jimmy Carter. Afterwards, the engine was moved to Kennesaw where a museum site was prepared. On April 12, 1972, the Big Shanty Museum (later known as the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History) opened, and the General remained on display there since.
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives by wheel arrangement, 4-4-0 represents the arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles, usually in a leading bogie, four powered and coupled driving wheels on two axles, and no trailing wheels. Almost every major railroad that operated in North America in the first half of the 19th century owned and operated locomotives of this type. Due to the large number of the type that were produced and used there, the 4-4-0 is most commonly known as the American type, but the type subsequently became popular in the United Kingdom, where large numbers were produced.
Friday, April 17, 2015
To paint this model in a winter scheme I had to tear it apart first upon which everything was repainted, weathered and then reassembled.
To create a winterized version I added hand warmers over the grips. Toe warmers on the foot rests, and some greebly bits.
Speeder bikes and swoop bikes are small, fast transports that use repulsorlift engines in the fictional Star Wars universe. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi includes a prominent speeder bike chase; speeders and swoops also appear in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and the Star Wars Expanded Universe's books, comics, and games.
Various concept sketches came from producer George Lucas' call for a "rocket-powered scooter" in Return of the Jedi. While Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) Nilo Rodis-Jamero designed a blocky vehicle with a large engine, Ralph McQuarrie's designs were more fanciful but with less of a sense of the vehicle's power source. The final designs resulted in full-scale Imperial speeder bikes used by the actors for film against a bluescreen, along with miniatures mounted by articulated puppets. ILM used a steadicam recording at 1 frame per second to record the speeder bikes' path through the forest moon of Endor -- in reality, a California forest. Playing the footage at the standard rate of 24 frames per second caused a blurring effect, what looked like 100MPH actually was shot at 5MPH, which ILM used to simulate the vehicles' high speed.
The BARC speeder in Revenge of the Sith was designed to appear like a predecessor to the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi. ILM's Doug Chiang designed Darth Maul's (Ray Park) speeder in The Phantom Menace to resemble a scythe, and Chiang's initial designs for the droid army's STAP vehicle resembled the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. An all-CGI swoop appearing in A New Hope stems from a design created for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, and the swoop also appears briefly in The Phantom Menace.
Return of the Jedi features a speeder bike chase in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) pilot a pair of Imperial speeders to chase down scout troopers who might reveal the Rebel Alliance's presence on Endor. Darth Maul uses his speeder to chase down Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) in The Phantom Menace. A pair of speeder-mounted clone troopers shoot down a speeder-riding Stass Allie when Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) initiates Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith. Film and Expanded Universe depictions of speeder bikes and swoops consistently portray the vehicles as fast and maneuverable: Expanded Universe material describes the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi as being able to travel 500 kilometers per hour. Speeders and swoops achieve high speed and maneuverability, however, at the expense of size and protection for their riders. "Swoop racing" is described in the Expanded Universe texts and portrayed in LucasArts games as a dangerous, fast-paced competition between skilled pilots.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is best known as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
She was also Keppel's flagship at Ushant, Howe's flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent. After 1824, she served as a harbour ship.
In 1922, she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, England, and preserved as a museum ship. She is the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission.
In December 1758, the commissioner of Chatham Dockyard was instructed to prepare a dry dock for the construction of a new first-rate ship. This was an unusual occurrence at the time, as the Royal Navy preferred smaller and more manoeuvrable ships, and it was unusual for more than two to be in commission simultaneously; during the whole of the 18th century, only ten were constructed. Then Prime Minister Pitt the Elder placed the order for Victory on 13 December 1758, along with 11 other ships.
The outline plans were based on HMS Royal George which had been launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756, and the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the appointed Surveyor of the Navy. She was designed to carry at least 100 guns and was established with that number of guns; in practice, her armament varied from 104 to 106 guns and carronades. In January 1808, the Victory was reduced to a 98-gun second rate, but was reclassed as a 104-gun first rate in February 1817.
The keel was laid on 23 July 1759 in the Old Single Dock (since renamed No. 2 Dock and now Victory Dock), and the name was finally chosen in October 1760. In 1759, the Seven Years' War was going well for Britain; land victories had been won at Quebec and Minden and naval battles had been won at Lagos and Quiberon Bay. It was the Annus Mirabilis, or Year of Victories, and the ship's name may have been chosen to commemorate it or it may have been chosen simply because out of the seven names shortlisted, Victory was the only one not in use. There were some doubts whether this was a suitable name since the previous first-rate Victory had been lost with all on board in 1744.
Once the frame had been built, it was normal to cover the ship up and leave it for several months to season but the end of the Seven Years' War meant that she remained in this condition for nearly three years, which helped her subsequent longevity. Work restarted in autumn 1763 and she was finally launched on 7 May 1765, having cost £63,176 and 3 shillings, the equivalent of £7.53 million today. Around 6000 trees were used in her construction, of which 90% were oak and the remainder elm, pine and fir, together with a small quantity of Lignum Vitae.
On the day of the launch, shipwright Hartly Larkin, designated "foreman afloat" for the event, suddenly realised that the ship might not fit though the dockyard gates. Measurements at first light confirmed his fears: the gates were at least 9½ inches too narrow. He told the dreadful news to his superior, master shipwright John Allin, who considered abandoning the launch. Larkin asked for the assistance of every available shipwright, and they hewed away enough wood from the gates with their adzes for the ship to pass safely through. Larkin petitioned the Navy for some reward for his decisive action, "he having a large family": but, he was denied. He retired on a small pension in 1779, and died in 1803.
Because there was no immediate use for her, she was placed in ordinary—in reserve, roofed over, dismasted and placed under general maintenance—moored in the River Medway for 13 years until France joined the American War of Independence. She was commissioned in March 1778 under Captain John Lindsay but he was transferred to HMS Prince George in May 1778 when Admiral the Honourable Augustus Keppel decided to raise his flag in her, and appoint Rear Admiral John Campbell (1st Captain) and Captain Jonathan Faulknor (2nd Captain).
The Victory was armed with smooth bore, cast iron cannon. Initially she carried thirty 42-pounders (19 kg) on her lower deck, twenty-eight 24-pounders (11 kg) on her middle deck, and thirty 12-pounders (5 kg) on her upper deck, together with twelve 6-pounders on her quarterdeck and forecastle. In May 1778, the 42-pounders were replaced by 32-pounders (15 kg), but the 42-pounders were reinstated in April 1779; eventually, in 1803, the 42-pounders were permanently replaced by 32-pounders. In 1782, all the 6-pounders were replaced by 12-pounders. Later, she also carried two carronade guns, firing 68-lb (31 kg) round shot.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
This is an old resin kit I bought back in the late 80's. I can't remember who the kit manufacturer is anymore though.
Nowadays there are far better examples of the type II phaser out there, but 26 years ago this was it unless you were willing to pay an exorbitant sum.
Recently I decided to paint it a rust color and put ISS Empire markings on it just to see what it would look like.
I replaced the old resin tip with an acrylic one. Yes there is a way to sand an shape acrylic and bring back its clarity.
Monday, April 13, 2015
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907. 425 examples were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, with over 19,000 built in all.
It was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and below the Ford US$850 "Doctor's Car", Western in 1905 produced the Gale Model A roadster at US$500, the Black went as low as $375, and the Success hit the amazingly low US$250.
The flat-mounted water-cooled single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 hp (3.7 kW), relying on a brass gravity feed carburetor. The transmission was a semi-automatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low-speed forward and reverse gear system are a planetary type (epicyclic). The car weighed 850 lb (390 kg) and used Concord springs. It had a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
The car’s success was partially by accident — in 1901 a fire destroyed a number of other models before they were approved for production, leaving the Curved Dash the only one intact.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Mercedes-Benz 540K (type W24) is a car which was fabricated by the German firm Mercedes-Benz from 1935 to 1940.
Introduced at the 1936 Paris Motor Show, the Friedrich Geiger designed car was a development to the 500K, itself a development of the SSK. Available as a two seater cabriolet, four seater coupé or seven seater limousine with armoured sides and armoured glass, it was one of the largest cars of the time.
The straight-8 cylinder engine of the 500K was increased to 5,401 cubic centimetres (329.6 cu in), which aspirated by twin pressurized updraft carburetors, developed a natural 115 hp (86 kW). However, there was an attached Roots supercharger which could either be engaged manually for short periods, or automatically when the accelerator was pushed fully to the floor. This increased power to 180 hp (130 kW), creating a top speed of 170 kilometres per hour (110 mph).
Power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed or optional five speed manual gearbox that featured synchromesh on the top three gears. Vacuum-assisted hydraulic brakes kept the car under the driver's control.
The 540K had the same chassis layout at the 500K, but was significantly lightened by replacing the girder-like frame of the 500K with oval-section tubes - an influence of the Silver Arrows racing campaign.
To meet individual wishes of customers, three chassis variants were available as for the 500K: two long versions with a 3,290 mm (130 in) wheelbase, differing in terms of powertrain and bodywork layout; and a short version with 2,980 mm (117 in). The long variant, termed the normal chassis with the radiator directly above the front axle, served as the backbone for the four-seater cabriolets 'B' (with four side windows) and 'C' (with two side windows), and for touring cars and sedans. The shorter chassis was for the two-seater cabriolet 'A,' set up on a chassis on which radiator, engine, cockpit and all rearward modules were moved 185 mm (7.3 in) back from the front axle.
The Sindelfingen factory employed 1,500 people to create the 540K, and allowed a great deal of owner customisation, meaning only 70 chassis were ever bodied by independent builders. Owners included Jack Warner of Warner Brothers film studios.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the proposed further boring-out of the engine to 5,800 cubic centimetres (5.8 l) for a 580K was aborted, probably after only one such car was made. Chassis production ceased in 1940, with the final 2 being completed that year, and earlier chassis were still being bodied at a steady rate during 1940, with smaller numbers being completed in the 1941–1943 period. Regular replacement bodies were ordered in 1944 for a few cars.
On top of the normal and roadster cars, 12 special cars were developed on an extended chassis length with a 3,880 mm (153 in) wheelbase. All of these cars were developed for the Nazi hierarchy, as six seater convertible saloons. To allow for armour plate, these cars had developed De Dion rear suspension. Due to their higher weight, their maximum speed was 140 km/h (87 mph).
After the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich in Prague at the end of May 1942, the Reich Chancellery would only use armoured cars for ministers and leaders of friendly powers. Beside 20 large Mercedes-Benz 770s, in 1942 they ordered an additional 20 540Ks developed as two door armoured saloons. These were delivered during 1942 and 1943. A further order for 17 armored saloons was placed in late 1943, and these were delivered in April 1944. One of these cars was given as a gift from Adolf Hitler to Ante Pavelić, leader of the Independent State of Croatia. After the war this car was captured and used first by Ivan Krajacic, and then by Josip Broz Tito.
In 1936, Mercedes-Benz launched the 540K special, designated 540Ks. Based on the shorter 2,980 mm (117 in) wheelbase chassis, its body was carefully crafted. Its price tag of 28,000 Reichsmarks, some RM6,000 above the price of standard models, meant only 32 were ever built.
In 1937, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring ordered a 540Ks, in his favorite color of sky blue with his family crest on both doors. It included armor plated sides and bulletproof glass. Nicknamed the Blue Goose, Goering was often photographed in the car.
On May 4, 1945, the US Army, C Company, 326th Engineers, 101st Airborne Division 'Screaming Eagles' entered Berchtesgaden, and on finding the car took possession. Major General Maxwell Taylor used the car as his command vehicle in West Germany until it was commissioned by the US Treasury. Shipped to Washington, D.C., it successfully toured the United States in a victory bond tour. In 1956 the car was auctioned off by the US Army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, sold to Jacques Tunick of Greenwich, Connecticut, with a high bid of $2167.
In 1958, he sold it to the private collection of veterinarian Dr George Bitgood, Jr, who had it repainted into black and the chrome re plated. Kept private, Bitgood only displayed it once at the 1973 county fair in Durham, Connecticut. After Dr Bitgood's death, Blue Goose was shown by his family at the 101st Airborne Reunion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in June, 2002. The car was then sold to Carnlough International Limited of Guernsey, on the agreement that she be restored to her "as found" at Berchtesgaden condition.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile manufacturer and railcar manufacturer operating from 1883 to 1932. The company was founded by the Marquis Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton, and Bouton's brother-in-law Charles Trépardoux.
The company was formed after de Dion in 1881 saw a toy locomotive in a store window and asked the toymakers to build another. Engineers Bouton and Trépardoux had been making a starvation living on scientific toys at a shop in the Passage de Léon, close to the "rue de la Chapelle" in Paris. Trépardoux had long dreamed of building a steam car, but neither could afford it. De Dion, already inspired by steam (though in the form of rail locomotives) and with plenty of money, agreed, and De Dion, Bouton et Trépardoux was formed in Paris in 1883. This became the De Dion-Bouton automobile company, the world's largest automobile manufacturer for a time, becoming well known for their quality, reliability, and durability.
Already by 1889, de Dion was becoming convinced the future lay in the internal combustion engine, and the company had even built a ten-cylinder two-row rotary. After Trépardoux resigned in 1894, the company became De Dion, Bouton et Compagnie. For 1895, Bouton created a new 137 cc (8.4 in3) one-cylinder engine with trembler coil ignition. Proving troublesome at its designed speed of 900 rpm (throwing bearings and running rough), when Bouton increased the revs, the problems vanished; in trials, it hit an unheard of 3500 rpm, and was usually run at 2,000 rpm, a limit imposed by its atmospheric valves and surface carburettor. Both inlet and exhaust valves were overhead and a flywheel was fitted to each end of the crankshaft.
This engine was fitted behind the rear axle of a tricycle frame bought in from Decauville, fitted with the new Michelin pneumatic tires. It showed superb performance, and went on the market in 1896 with the engine enlarged to 1¼ CV (Horsepower) (932 W) 185 cc (11.3 cu in), with 1¾ CV (1.3 kW) in 1897. By the time production of the petite voiture tricar stopped in 1901, it had 2¾ CV (2 kW), while racers had as much as 8 CV (6 kW).
In 1898, Louis Renault had a De Dion-Bouton modified with fixed drive shaft and ring and pinion gear, making "perhaps the first hot rod in history".
The same year, the tricar was joined by a four-wheeler and in 1900 by a vis a vis voiturette, the Model D, with its 3¾ CV (2.8 kW) 402 cc (24.5 cu in) single-cylinder engine under the seat and drive to the rear wheels through a two speed gearbox. This curious design had the passenger facing the driver, who sat in the rear seat. The voiturette had one inestimable advantage: the expanding clutches of the gearbox were operated by a lever on the steering column. The Model D was developed through Models E, G, I, and J, with 6 CV (4.5 kW) by 1902, when the 8 CV (6 kW) Model K rear-entry phaeton appeared, with front-end styling resembling the contemporary Renault. Until World War I, De Dion-Boutons had an unusual decelerator pedal which reduced engine speed and ultimately applied a transmission brake. In 1902, the Model O introduced three speeds, which was standard for all De Dion-Boutons in 1904. In 1901, the De Dion-Bouton Motorette Company began manufacturing De Dion-Bouton automobiles under license in Brooklyn, New York. A small quantity of American De Dion Motorettes were made. These had either 2 seater vis-a-vis or closed coachwork and were powered by 3.5 hp American made engines.
The venture was in operation for only one year. They gained a reputation for unreliability during that time. Representatives of De Dion in the United States claimed that the licensee violated their contract and advertised for a new licensee.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The Bofors 40 mm gun, often referred to simply as the Bofors gun, is an anti-aircraft/multi-purpose autocannon designed in the 1930s by the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors. It was one of the most popular medium-weight anti-aircraft systems during World War II, used by most of the western Allies as well as by the Axis powers. The cannon remains in service (as the main armament in the CV 90, among other uses) making it both one of the longest-serving and most widespread artillery pieces of all time. Bofors itself has been part of BAE Systems AB since March 2005.
The Swedish Navy purchased a number of 2 pounder Pom-Poms from Vickers as anti-aircraft guns in 1922. The Navy approached Bofors about the development of a more capable replacement. Bofors signed a contract in late 1928. Bofors produced a gun that was a smaller version of a 57 mm (6-pounder) semi-automatic gun developed as an anti-torpedo boat weapon in the late 19th century by Finspong. Their first test gun was a re-barreled Nordenfelt version of the Finspong gun, to which was added a semi-automatic loading mechanism.
Testing of this gun in 1929 demonstrated that a problem existed feeding the weapon in order to maintain a reasonable rate of fire. A mechanism that was strong enough to handle the stresses of moving the large round was too heavy to move quickly enough to fire rapidly. One attempt to solve this problem used zinc shell cases that burned up when fired. This proved to leave heavy zinc deposits in the barrel, and had to be abandoned. In the summer of 1930 they began experimenting with a new test gun that did away with controlled feed and instead flicked the spent casing out the rear whereafter a second mechanism reloaded the gun by "throwing" a fresh round from the magazine into the open breech. This seemed to be the solution they needed, improving firing rates to an acceptable level, and the work on a prototype commenced soon after.
During this period Krupp purchased a one-third share of Bofors. Krupp engineers started the process of updating the Bofors factories to use modern equipment and metallurgy, but the 40 mm project was kept secret.
The prototype was completed and fired in November 1931, and by the middle of the month it was firing strings of two and three rounds. Changes to the feed mechanism were all that remained, and by the end of the year it was operating at 130 rounds per minute. Continued development was needed to turn it into a weapon suitable for production, which was completed in October 1933. Since acceptance trials had been passed the year before, this became known as the "40 mm akan M/32". Most forces referred to it as the "Bofors 40 mm L/60", although the barrel was actually 56.25 calibres in length, not the 60 calibres that the name implies.
The gun fired a 900 g (2.0 lb) high explosive 40 × 311R (rimmed) shell at 2,960 ft/s (900 m/s). The rate of fire was normally about 120 rounds per minute (2.0 rounds per second), which improved slightly when the barrels were closer to the horizontal as gravity assisted the feeding from the top-mounted magazine. In practice firing rates were closer to 80–100 rpm (1.3–1.7 rounds per second), as the rounds were fed into the breech from four round clips which had to be replaced by hand. The maximum attainable ceiling was 7,200 m (23,600 ft), but the practical maximum was about 3,800 m (12,500 ft).
The gun was provided with an advanced sighting system. The trainer and layer were both provided with reflector sights for aiming, while a third crew-member standing behind them "adjusted" for lead using a simple mechanical computer. Power for the sights was supplied from a 6V battery.
In spite of the successful development, the Swedish Navy changed its mind and decided it needed a smaller hand-swung weapon of 13 mm-25 mm size, and tested various designs from foreign suppliers. With the 40 mm well along in development, Bofors offered a 25 mm version in 1932, which was eventually selected as the 25 mm akan M/32.
The first version of the 40 mm the Navy ordered was intended for use on submarines, where the larger calibre allowed the gun to be used for both AA and against smaller ships. The barrel was shorter at 42 calibers long, with the effect of reducing the muzzle velocity to about 700 m/s (2,300 ft/s). When not in use, the gun was pointed directly up and retracted into a watertight cylinder. The only known submarines that used this arrangement was the Sjölejonet-class boats. The guns were later removed as the subs were modified with streamlined conning towers.
The first order for the "real" L/60 was made by the Dutch Navy, who ordered five twin-gun mounts for the cruiser De Ruyter in August 1934. These guns were stabilized using the Hazemeyer mount, in which one set of layers aimed the gun, while a second manually stabilized the platform the gun sat on. All five mounts were operated by one fire control system.
Bofors also developed a towable carriage which they displayed in April 1935 at a show in Belgium. This mount allowed the gun to be fired from the carriage with no setup required, although with limited accuracy. If time was available for setup, the gunners used the tow-bar and muzzle lock as levers, raising the wheels off the ground and thereby lowering the gun onto supporting pads. Two additional legs folded out to the sides, and the platform was then leveled with hand cranks. The entire setup process could be completed in under a minute.
Orders for the land based versions were immediate, starting with an order for eight weapons from Belgium in August 1935, and followed by a flood of orders from other forces including Poland, Norway, and Finland. It was accepted into the Swedish Army the next year, known as the "40 mm lvakan m/36", the lower-case "m" indicating an Army model as opposed to the capital "M" for Navy.
Because of the labour shortages some of the Bofors 40mm factories were opened in Poland.
The Swedish Navy adopted the weapon as the m/36 in hand-worked single air-cooled, and power operated twin water-cooled version. A twin air-cooled mounting, probably hand-worked was also used by the navies of Sweden and Argentina and a twin air-cooled wet mounting was developed for Polish submarines.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
The AVGP (Armoured Vehicle General Purpose) is a series of three armoured fighting vehicles ordered by the Canadian military in 1977. The three vehicles are the Grizzly, Cougar and Husky. These were based on the six-wheeled version of the Swiss MOWAG Piranha I.
The Canadian Army retired all AVGP variants beginning in 2005; however, a number of the retired vehicles were transferred to other militaries and police forces, where they continue to serve.
The AVGP had propellers and trim vanes for amphibious use, like the eight-wheeled Bison which was the vehicle family's immediate successor. Recent retrofits have removed the marine drive system, as it was seldom used and maintenance was costly. The Canadian Army's LAV III, the United States Marine Corps' LAV-25, and the US Army's Stryker are other variants of the Piranha family, and directly evolved from the Canadian designs.
The AVGP variants were introduced into Canadian service in the late 1970s Intended for use only in Canada, they were pressed into service for several United Nations missions, including UNPROFOR and the mission to Somalia. One Grizzly was captured by Serb forces in the late 1990s, despite it being present on a peace keeping mission.
The Cougar was used for training in Canada as a reconnaissance vehicle. During the 1980s and 1990s it was used by armored units as a tank substitute, for those units not equipped with the Leopard tank. The squadrons equipped with the Cougar in those regiments were humorously referred to as the "boat squadron" as opposed to the reconnaissance squadrons which were equipped with the Lynx, and later the Coyote (another AVGP successor).
The Grizzly was used as an armoured personnel carrier in regular force infantry battalions not equipped with the M113 APC, and also by reserve units. The majority of vehicles had their marine propulsion systems removed. Under the Wheeled LAV Life Extension project, the Canadian Forces planned to convert Grizzly and Husky vehicles to support variants such as Command Post and Mobile Repair Team Vehicle. However, the project was cancelled in 2005, and the vehicles retired.
In May 2007, the Edmonton Police Service accepted the donation of a disarmed Grizzly from the Canadian Army.
In March 2010, the Canadian Army donated two disarmed Cougar AVGPs to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia for use by the Emergency Response Team. They were retrofitted to transport ERT assault teams into hazardous areas where transport in unarmored vehicles would not be safe.
In April 2014, The department of National Defence donated a Cougar AVGP to the Windsor Police Service in Windsor Ontario.
In June 2005, the Canadian government announced plans to loan 105 AVGPs (100 Grizzlys and 5 Huskys) to African peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Sudan. The AVGP was considered sufficiently modern to be useful in this low-intensity conflict. Canada planned to arrange for civilian contractors to maintain these vehicles. As the vehicles contained some U.S.-manufactured or licensed parts, U.S. permission would be required to loan the vehicles. Initially, the vehicles were to be shipped without their Cadillac-Gage turrets. The vehicles arrived in Senegal in the late summer of 2005.
The Sudanese government required various kinds of assurances before they would allow peacekeepers to use the vehicles in Sudan. On November 18, 2005 the vehicles started arriving in Sudan, in white livery, with their turrets. The loan of vehicles for peace-keeping service in Sudan was originally for one year.
However, the loan was extended, and transferred from the African Union to the United Nations. According to Amnesty International the soldiers who used the loaned vehicles served in Sudan for too short a term to be properly trained, and become experienced. One of the vehicles was destroyed by a rocket-propelled grenade. A second vehicle was damaged when it rammed a more heavily armed, but unarmored Technical vehicle.
In 2008, the Uruguayan Army bought 44 surplus Cougars from the Canadian Army. They were rebuilt without the turret by the Chilean MOWAG-Piranha builder FAMAE, as they will act as armoured personnel carriers for the UN deployment in the Republic of Congo (MONUC), and domestically.
In 2009 Uruguay bought 98 Grizzlys and 5 Huskys that were on loan with the AMIS/UNAMID mission in Darfur.