Meccanica Mekaniikka Mecanică

Rosebud!

No, not the famous last word of Charles Foster Kane but rather Rosebud’s WWI and Early Aviation Image Archive.

Actually the website of Rod Filan and maintained by “Rosebud”, it was a treasure trove of downloadable early aviation pictures from the early 1900s through the end of WWI.  I hadn’t visited in a while and when I tried to several months ago (I needed new background pics for the work computer) my bookmark didn’t work anymore.  My friend Mr Google couldn’t tell me what happened nor did I find any answers at the next best place I could think of for information The Aerodrome.

I still don’t know why it went away, but archive.org and their Wayback Machine found a version that’s still active: Rosebud’s WWI and Early Aviation Image Archive.

It’s still well worth a visit…

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Albatros D.V 1154/17 Ltn. Max Ritter von Müller Jasta 28

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de Havilland Airco DH2 in flight

 

German armor going back to the future?

I saw this on laststandonzombieisland: Germany ups tiny tank force by 40 percent

A quote from one of the sources piqued my not-quite-right sense of humor:

All told, the Bundeswehr stands to get 104 used Leopard 2 battle tanks out of storage that manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann will upgrade under a contract with the German Defence Ministry from the A4 configuration to the newest A7V standard.

Newest A7V standard?  Like this?

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I know, it’s a goofball sense of humor…

81 years ago today – T.E. Lawrence

6 days after coming off his Brough Superior motorcycle in a crash while avoiding two boys bicycling on a road T.E. Lawrence, aka Emir Dynamite for his skill in railroad and bridge demolition dies, never having regained consciousness.

Here’s a very good article worth checking out: The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia

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“That’s not gone well” Thursday

“I thought we were empty nesters?” edition

https://es.pinterest.com/pin/557672366342649429/

A playful Russian Bébé. Regrettably, I’m not sure if this “well-nested” Nieuport was an 11 or a 16. Only minor and subtle differences between the two models and the Russian played quite a bit with their aircraft.

Via: The Dreamy DodoNieuport 11/16 Bébé: “Did I Do That? (IV)”

Happy New Year!

May the new one be even better than the one just ended…

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Accompanied by their pipers, Scottish troops congregate outside their huts to cheer and raise their bonnets on New Years Day. Dressed in their kilts and Tam O’Shanter hats, these soldiers would have been resting in billet huts behind the front line. The wooden platforms that were used to bridge the mud and puddles between the huts can also be seen. It is highly likely that this image would have been used in an attempt to raise morale back in the UK. Publishing photographs of happy, smiling soldiers while they are on leave from the trenches and during the festive period, would have established the sort of unquestioning climate desired by the authorities. [Original reads: ‘BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTO FROM THE WESTERN FRONT. Happy Scottish troops on New Year’s Day.’]

Warship Wednesday Dec. 7, 2016: The eclipsing old bird of Battleship Row

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Here we see the Lapwing (“old bird”)-class minesweeper-turned-seaplane tender USS Avocet (AVP-4) from atop a building at Naval Air Station Ford Island, looking toward the Navy Yard. USS Nevada (BB-36) is at right, with her bow afire. Beyond her is the burning USS Shaw (DD-373). Smoke at left comes from the destroyers Cassin (DD-372) and Downes (DD-375), ablaze in Drydock Number One. The day, of course, is December 7, 1941 and you can see the gunners aboard Avocet looking for more Japanese planes (they had already smoked one) at about the time the air raid ended.

Inspired by large seagoing New England fishing trawlers, the Lapwings were 187-foot long ships that were large enough, at 965-tons full, to carry a pair of economical reciprocating diesel engines (or two boilers and one VTE engine) with a decent enough range to make it across the Atlantic on their own (though with a blisteringly slow speed of just 14 knots when wide open on trials.)

Not intended to do much more than clear mines, they were given a couple 3″/23 pop guns to discourage small enemy surface combatants intent to keep minesweepers from clearing said mines. The class leader, Lapwing, designated Auxiliary Minesweeper #1 (AM-1), was laid down at Todd in New York in October 1917 and another 53 soon followed. While five were canceled in November 1918, the other 48 were eventually finished– even if they came to the war a little late.

Which leads us to the hero of our tale, USS Avocet, named after a long-legged, web-footed shore bird found in western and southern states– the first such naval vessel to carry the moniker. Laid down as Minesweeper No. 19 on 13 September 1917 at Baltimore, Maryland by the Baltimore Drydock & Shipbuilding Co, she was commissioned just over a year later on 17 September 1918– some seven weeks before the end of the Great War.

Read the rest here: Warship Wednesday Dec. 7, 2016: The eclipsing old bird of Battleship Row

Fiat-Revelli Modello 1914

Designed by Captain Bethel Abiel Revelli and manufactured by Fiat the Modello 1914 unlike most of its contemporaries used a blowback action rather than a gas operated system. It was chambered in Italy’s standard 6.5x52mm service cartridge the Modello 1914 fed from an unusual magazine which held cartridges in rows of five with each magazine holding 50-rounds.
The weapon also had two modes of fire, slow and fast, which varied its cyclic rate. Unlike contemporary water-cooled medium machine guns the Fiat-Revelli used a water circulation system which pumped condensed water back into the jacket. The assistant gunner worked the pump, the two hose connection points can be seen beneath the barrel jacket, near the trunnion.  

In the photograph above an Italian machine gun crew fires from the cover of vegetation. The Modello 1914′s water can and dual jacket hoses cannot be seen but the gun appears to be in action. 

The Revelli Machine Gun was extensively tested by the Italian military, as was the competing Perino Machine Gun, during the early 1900s. With the outbreak of World War One Italy’s sources for imported foreign machine guns dried up. The Italian military decided that they needed an indigenous design. Fiat-Revelli was deemed to have performed the best with Fiat also having the necessary production capacity. Italy entered the war on the Entente side in September 1915 and the Modello 1914 saw action throughout the war and continued in service into the 1940s albeit in a modernised belt-fed, air-cooled Modello 1914/35 form.

Sources:

Images: 1 2

via historicalfirearms

Pritchard-Greener Revolver Bayonet

Trench raiding was a tactic developed by the British, although the French and Germans quickly caught on.  The weapons used during trench raids were famously gruesome with some men using maces, clubs and knives.  However, the most popular weapon was the pistol, closely followed by bombs or grenades.

In late 1916 Captain Arthur Pritchard, who had been serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment in Flanders since 1915, developed the Pritchard Revolver Bayonet for the British Army’s standard issue pistol the Webley Mk VI.  The idea behind the weapon was that in the close-quarter hand to hand fighting frequently experienced during a trench raid a man equipped with a Webley might not have time to reload. Although the Webley was remarkably quick to reload – especially with speed loaders (pouch next to the officer’s holster image #2), it was thought that in a tight situation a short stabbing blade could be extremely useful.

British Trench Raiding Weapons c.1916 (source)

The Pritchard bayonet was a shortened French Gras rifle bayonet adapted to attach to the pistol’s barrel with the the cross guard behind the foresight with the base sitting against the frame, around the revolver’s cylinder cam, cam lever and joint/hinge pin screw.  The Gras blade was shortened to roughly 8 inches making the weapon’s overall length about 17 inches.

Pritchard initially brought his design before the famous sword and blade makers Wilkinson’s Sword Company however after making a prototype they passed on the idea.  It was the Birmingham gunmakers W.W. Greener which took on Captain Pritchard’s design believing their may be a real market for the weapon both privately and possibly as a wider army contract.

1874 Gras Rifle bayonet (source)

Greener produced two variants of the bayonet, one with a steel hilt and another more commonly seen variant with a brass grip (see above). The bayonet was undoubtedly a fearsome looking weapon which would have certainly had a psychological and possibly practical impact on any German soldier unlucky enough to come face to face with one (see the artist’s impression above, image #2).

The Pritchard-Greener Revolver Bayonet was never widely manufactured and was not a commercial success.  Exactly why is unclear although practically speaking the blade would have made the revolver muzzle heavy.  It is estimated that as few as 200 were actually produced. There is no direct evidence to suggest any ever reached the Western Front or were used.

The demand created by arms and militaria collectors over the last 30 years means that thousands of copies and replica Pritchard Bayonets have been manufactured.

Sources:

Image One Source
Image Two Source
Image Three Source
The Webley Service Revolver, R. Maze, (2012)

via historicalfirearms

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