I think I took the red pill

 

My beaming bride asked me to order a couple of things she needed off Amazon and somehow these just showed up in my cart.  I know, crazy, right?

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I’m always ready for a new reference book. Preferably one with lots of pictures.

I mentioned in another post I’m thinking of getting back into modelling.  Let me rephrase that.  I’m thinking about getting back into building plastic models.  I’ve still got some of the tooling I used back then but I know I’ll need some new files, sandpaper and a small saw for sure.  Then there’s the dilemma of an airbrush.  I’ve already got a compressor I can use but I need a decent, inexpensive airbrush rig so I’ll be researching those in the near future.

At least I’ll have something to read while finding out how deep the rabbit hole goes.  And that doesn’t include the books I’d like on the T-60 or Russian artillery tractors like the very dieselpunk looking Komintern artillery tractor.

Komintern_artillery_tractor

Make my funk the P-Funk and my punk the Dieselpunk!  (Although Steampunk is nice…)

Komintern line drawing 2

 

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77 years ago today – HMS Hood sunk during the Battle of Denmark Strait

Bismarck firing on HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales during the Battle of Denmark Strait 24MAY41 photographed from Prinz Eugen

Bismarck firing on HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales during the Battle of Denmark Strait 24MAY41 photographed from Prinz Eugen

Schlachtschiff Bismarck, Seegefecht

Smoke from HMS Hood immediately after an explosion during the Battle of Denmark Strait 24MAY41

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A sketch prepared by Captain JC Leach (commanding HMS Prince of Wales) for the 2nd Board of Enquiry, 1941. The sketch represents the column of smoke or flame that erupted from the vicinity of the mainmast immediately before a huge detonation which obliterated the after part of the ship from view. This phenomenon is believed to have been the result of a cordite fire venting through the engine-room ventilators

At 06:00, Holland ordered his force to turn once again to port to ensure that the aft main guns on both Hood and Prince of Wales could bear on the German ships; during the turn, a salvo from Bismarck, fired from about 9 mi (7.8 nmi; 14 km), was seen by men aboard Prince of Wales to straddle Hood abreast her mainmast. It is likely that one 38 cm (15 in) shell struck somewhere between Hoods mainmast and “X” turret aft of the mast. A huge pillar of flame that shot upward ‘like a giant blowtorch,’ in the vicinity of the mainmast, followed by an explosion that destroyed a large portion of the ship from amidships clear to the rear of “Y” turret, blowing both after turrets into the sea. The ship broke in two and the stern fell away and sank. Ted Briggs, one of the survivors, claimed Hood heeled to 30 degrees at which point ‘we knew she just wasn’t coming back’. The bow rose clear of the water, pointed upward, pivoted about and sank shortly after the stern. “A” turret fired a salvo while in this upright position, possibly from the doomed gun crew, just before the bow section sank.[nb 4] Splinters rained down on Prince of Wales .5 mi (0.43 nmi; 0.80 km) away. Hood sank in about three minutes with 1,415 members of the crew. Only Ted Briggs, Bob Tilburn and Bill Dundas survived to be rescued two hours later by the destroyer HMS Electra.

The Admiralty later concluded that the most likely explanation for the loss of Hood was a penetration of her magazines by a 38 cm (15 in) shell from Bismarck, causing the explosion. Recent research with submersible craft suggests that the initial explosion was in the aft 4 in (100 mm) magazine and that it spread to the 15 in (380 mm) magazines via the ammunition trunks. It has been suggested from examination of the wreckage, found in 2001, that the magazine explosion in the 4 in (100 mm) armament near the mainmast caused the vertical blast of flame seen there, and this in turn ignited the magazines of the aft 15 in (380 mm) guns that caused the explosion that wrecked the stern. This explosion might have travelled through the starboard fuel tanks, igniting the fuel oil there, setting off the forward magazines and completing the destruction of the ship.

The wreck of Hood revealed the bow section bereft of any structure. A huge section of her side is missing, from the ‘A’ barbette to the foredeck. The midship section had its plates curled outward. Moreover, the main parts of the forward structure, including the 600 long tons (610 t) conning tower, were found about 1.1 km (0.59 nmi; 0.68 mi) away from the main wreckage.[21] This has sparked theories that the 15 in (380 mm) forward magazines exploded as a result of the force, flames and pressure, caused by the detonation of the aft magazines.[22] However, a team of marine forensic scientists has found that implosion damage to the forward hull due to the rapid sinking of the Hood, is the most likely cause of the state of the forward hull, and they do not support any theory that the forward magazines exploded.[23]

If you have Amazon Prime, I found The Battle of Hood and Bismarck: The Sinking of History’s Greatest Warships to be pretty interesting.

I remember reading The Sinking of the Bismarck by William Shirer in 1979 when I was 8.  I didn’t understand most of it but I liked the pictures and I thought the cover was cool yet sort of creepy.  I think I need to track it down to add to the library.

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No longer a phony, sitting war

78 years ago today Fall Gelb was launched with German forces rolling through the Low Countries and things wrapped up about 6 weeks later with most of France occupied and the remainder under the control of the Vichy government.

AMR 35 light tanks, 1940

AMR 35 light tanks, 1940

Deutsche Truppen in Masstricht

German vehicles and troops in Maastricht, the Netherlands, 10 May 1940

Abandoned H35 light tank on the side of a road, France, May 1940

Abandoned H35 light tank on the side of a road, France, May 1940

German troops with a camouflaged 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun in Belgium, May 1940

German troops with a camouflaged 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun in Belgium, May 1940

Crashed German Ju 52 aircraft in a field in the Netherlands, May-Jun 1940

Crashed German Ju 52 aircraft in a field in the Netherlands, May-Jun 1940

73 years ago today – Victory in Europe

US troops watching VE Day celebtations from top of l_Arc de Triomphe Paris 08MAY45

US Army troops watching VE Day celebrations 08MAY45 from top of l’Arc de Triomphe

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The fighting may have been over (for the most part) in Europe but it was still going full bore on the other side of the world…

Men of the US Army 77th Infantry Division at Okinawa, Japan listening to radio reports for the German surrender, 8 May 1945

Men of the US Army 77th Infantry Division at Okinawa, Japan listening to radio reports for the German surrender, 8 May 1945

General Thomas Blamey and Brigadier David Whitehead inspecting a captured Japanese Type 96 25mm anti-aircraft gun, Essex Ridge, Tarakan Island, Borneo, 8 May 1945

General Thomas Blamey and Brigadier David Whitehead inspecting a captured Japanese Type 96 25mm anti-aircraft gun, Essex Ridge, Tarakan Island, Borneo, 8 May 1945

Drive it like you stole it!

Yep, still on an armor kick LOL!

I never knew New Zealand produced approximately 1,300 Universal Carriers (aka Bren Gun Carriers) until I ran across Antipodean Armor.  I also never knew Universal Carriers were powered by a Ford Flathead either.  I wonder if these guys smuggled a SCoT blower into the workshop one night…

NZ production Bren Gun Carrier demonstration at the General Motors plant, Petone, Wellington Carrier LP No 2

Bren Gun Carrier demonstration at the General Motors plant, Petone, Wellington, during World War II – Photograph taken by the Evening Post. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: PAColl-4161-01-022-02-03. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23011014

Universal carrier of 52nd Reconnaissance Regiment moving at speed over rough ground, Scotland, 10 November 1942.

Universal carrier of 52nd Reconnaissance Regiment moving at speed over rough ground, Scotland, 10 November 1942. The British Army in the United Kingdom 1939-45

Shoot and scoot – vecchia scuola edition

AS-42 of the 103rd Compagnie Arditi Camionettisti equipped with Breda Model 35 anti-aircraft gun in North Africa, March 1943

AS-42 of the 103rd Compagnie Arditi Camionettisti equipped with Breda Model 35 anti-aircraft gun in North Africa, March 1943

AS.42 Cannone da 47-32 M35

AS.42 Cannone da 47/32 M35

AS-42 on the Eastern Front

AS-42 on the Eastern Front

AS-42 North Africa

AS-42 North Africa “Italian – German resistance”

Bah, voi ragazzi e la vostra fantasia, armatura SP completamente armata e HMMWV armati! Perché indietro ai miei tempi …

I have a fascination with wheeled and half-track AFVs as well as SP artillery.   The more unusual the vehicle, the more I’m interested.  Here’s some basic reading on the AS.42:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPA-Viberti_AS.42

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/italy/Camioneta_AS-42_Sahariana.php

 

I’m starting to feel the itch of a hobby I gave up almost 20 years ago.  I built models as a kid but gave them up after getting married.  I wasn’t that good at it, I didn’t have the time, 2 boys and 5 cats meant something was bound to get broken and I realized I always enjoyed the research more than the actual build.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been watching several different WWII documentary series  and a couple of weeks ago one of them showed this oddball Italian tractor/prime mover that looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place.  How did I know it was Italian?  I didn’t, but the giant wheels had me pretty sure it was.  I dug around the interwebs and determined it was a Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A:

Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A

Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A

Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A towing 88mm Flak

Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A towing 88mm Flak

They even made a later version with pneumatic tires (steel wheels with folding spikes for traction was so 1920s):

Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A pneumatic tire version

Pavesi P4 100 Mod. 30A with pneumatic tires

Sorry, where was I?  Oh yeah, most of the pics I found were of models and I started feeling that old familiar tug so maybe there will be a model or two show up in the future.  Probably some kind of oddball AFV in 1/72….

 

 

76 years ago today – Wake Island

The first landing attempt by the Japanese on 11DEC was driven off by the Marines manning the coastal batteries (6 – 5″/51 cal naval rifles removed from the USS Texas during a refit in the mid-1920s) and the F4F-3 Wildcats of VMF-211 and cost the IJN 2 destroyers.

The Hayate was hit in the magazine by 1 or 2 shells from Battery L on Peale Islet at a range of approximately 4,000 yds.  She broke in two and sank within 2 minutes with only 1 survivor being picked up.

The Kisaragi was hit during the withdrawal by the Wildcats of VMF-211.  She caught a bomb which took out most of the bridge and possibly set off the depth charges.  She went down with all hands in about 5 minutes.

After what could be qualified as a disaster, the IJN was in no mood to play around on the second landing attempt.  They detached Sōryū and Hiryū from the returning Pearl Harbor force and upped the number SNLF troops from 450 to almost 2,000.

The second landing attempt started around 0235 following a pre-landing bombardment with fighting continuing into the mid-afternoon before the garrison surrendered.

Per Wikipedia:

The US Marines lost 49 killed, two MIA, and 49 wounded during the entire 15-day siege, while three US Navy personnel and at least 70 US civilians were killed, including 10 Chamorros, and 12 civilians wounded. 433 US personnel were captured. USMC History estimates that 125 Japanese were killed in ground combat with another 125 wounded. It also estimates 92 killed and 195 wounded from damaged ships.[13] At least 28 land-based and carrier aircraft were also either shot down or damaged. The Japanese captured all men remaining on the island, the majority of whom were civilian contractors employed by the Morrison-Knudsen Company.[14]

Of those captured, 98 American civilian workers were kept on the island as forced labor.  On 07OCT43 the Japanese garrison commander, fearing an attempt by the US to re-take the island, ordered them executed.  97 were executed by machine gun with 1 unknown worker escaping and carving “98 US PW 5-10-43” into a large coral rock near the mass grave of the executed.  This unknown American was recaptured and personally executed by the garrison commander.  After the war the garrison commander was tried and hanged for war crimes.

Wake Island was surrendered by the Japanese to a detachment of US Marines 04SEP45.

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The 98 rock

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The Wake Island exhibit at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia, United States, 15 Jan 2007 ww2dbase
Photographer
Bryan Hiatt

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A destroyed Japanese patrol boat (#33) on Wake.

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5″/51 caliber gun on Texas 1914.

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KAMIKAZE-class profile (IJN Hayate) via http://www.combinedfleet.com/hayate_t.htm

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MUTSUKI-class profile (IJN Kisaragi) via http://www.combinedfleet.com/kisara_t.htm