Saturday, December 24, 2016

Evolution of Tanks from 1918… Part II

The penchant for additional machine gun turrets was not confined to the British Army. The French 2C heavy tank already had a second machine gun turret at the rear of the hull and so did the 16 ton Grosstraktoren built secretly in Germany in 1929. The very first Japanese tank built in 1927 went further in having an additional machine gun turret at the front as well as the rear. The 19.5 ton Neubaufahrzeuge built in Germany in 1934 also had two machine gun turrets. But the provision of additional machine gun turrets was carried to an extreme in the A. 1 Independent heavy tank built in Britain in 1926 which had no fewer than four.

 The Vickers A1E1 in 1925

This aberration in tank design can be ascribed in part to the influence of naval ideas and the concept of the employment of tanks by themselves, which required them to ward off attacks from all quarters. In part it was also due to the contemporary tendency in Britain to overrate the effectiveness of machine guns and to ignore the need to arm tanks with guns of more than small calibre. This tendency was clearly demonstrated by the main armament of the 32 ton Independent which consisted only of a 47mm gun.

The other multi-turreted tanks, such as the Grosstraktoren and the Neubaufahrzeuge. did at least mount 75 mm guns in their main turrets. Multi-turreted tanks built in the Soviet Union were similarly armed with 76.2mm guns. They included the 17 ton T-2S first built in 1932. which had a machine gun turret on either side of the driver, like the British Sixteen-tonner. and the 45 ton T-32 and T-35, built in 1930 and 1933 respectively, which had five turrets like the Independent.

The 75 or 76.2mm guns mounted in German and Russian multi-turreted tanks were what the tanks of the period should have been armed with in general. Although they were short-barrelled, they fired projectiles which were effective against the armour of the contemporary tanks. At the same time they were of sufficiently large calibre to fire high explosive shells that were effective against various other targets. In consequence, tanks armed with them became what they basically are, namely a mobile source of fire power effective against virtually all battlefield targets. As versatile tank weapons they differed fundamentally from the 93.4mm mortars mounted in the close support versions of the Vickers Medium and other British tanks which were specialised weapons, intended primarily to fire smoke shells and never provided with armour-piercing ammunition.

In the meantime another category of tanks had come to the fore. It consisted of light tanks larger and heavier than those of the Vickers Carden Loyd pattern and armed not only with machine guns but also with 37 to 47mm guns. Unlike the lighter tanks they were capable, therefore, of fighting other contemporary tanks and they were also generally more effective tactically because they had two-man turrets.

Although they were lighter than the contemporary medium tanks but because they were armed with guns of the same calibre as some of the latter, tanks of this kind could be regarded as 'light-medium' rather than light tanks.

The BT, a 'light-medium', which was built in large numbers in the Soviet Union, was the most successful. The BT owed its origin to the outcome of several years' work in the United States by J W Christie on fast tanks which could run on wheels as well as tracks, an idea explored in several different forms during the 1920s. The most notable outcome of this work was an experimental vehicle built by Christie in 1928 which attained what was then a record speed of 68 km/h. A small number of T3 and T4 tanks was built from its basis between 1931 and 1936 for the U. S. Army, which did not however develop them any further. But in 1930 Christie sold two chassis to the Soviet Union, where they served as the basis for the design of the BT, which began to be produced by the end of 1931.

Of the major features which the BT inherited from Christie, the ability to run on the road wheels after the removal of the tracks proved of little value. But the BT very successfully followed Christie's ideas in having large, independently sprung road wheels and a high power-to-weight ratio. In 1933 the Russians added to this a 45mm gun and the BT became what was probably the most effective tank of the mid-1930s.

Six years after the Russians adopted Christie's ideas the British Army took note of what they had achieved with the BT and decided to use his type of suspension for British tanks. In the meantime, the A. 6 Sixteen Tonner and the Mark III Medium derived from it had been abandoned as too expensive and an attempt to produce a cheap medium tank with three turrets, the A. 9, did not prove a success. The next tank to be designed, in 1934, the A. 10 was much more sensible as it dispensed with the additional machine gun turrets. What is more, its original, A. 10 E. 1 version introduced what was to become many years later the standard configuration of tanks, with only the driver at the front, a three-man turret in the centre and the engine and transmission compartment at the rear of the hull. This configuration was then combined with a Christie-type suspension to produce in 1938 a new tank, the A. 13.

The A. 13 was somewhat larger than the BT but it was superior to it in having a three-man turret and short-pitch tracks, instead of Christie's noisy long-pitch tracks with which the Russians persevered. It also dispensed with Christie's idea that tanks should be able to run on their road wheels without tracks as well as with them, which was rightly adjudged in Britain to be an unjustified complication. Otherwise the general characteristics of the two tanks were similar, which included their weight of 13.8 to 14 tons. Thus A. 13 had the makings of a highly mobile, light-medium tank that could be used effectively in a number of roles. Unfortunately it was not regarded as such but as a more specialised 'cruiser' tank intended to be used in the cavalry role to which British armoured formations were being confined.

What is more, those in charge of British tank development still hankered after multi-turreted tanks and in 1938 placed orders for the A. 14 and A. 16 'heavy cruisers'. Each of these, once again, had two additional machine gun turrets but neither mounted in its main turret a gun larger than that of the A. 13. Development of the A. 14 and A. 16 was mercifully abandoned in 1939 but the tank which followed the A. 13 cruisers, the A. 15 or Cruiser Tank Mark VI, Crusader, still had one additional machine gun turret and the same 40mm gun as the A. 13.

Evolution of Tanks from 1918… Part I

When the First World War ended there were, broadly speaking, two categories of tanks. One consisted of tanks of 20 to 40 tons which were armed with guns of 57 to 75mm and which were intended for assaulting or breaking through enemy positions. The other category consisted of lighter tanks, which ranged in weight from 6.5 to almost 20 tons but which were armed only with machine guns or, at most, with 37mm guns. The great majority of them and in particular the Renault FT and its derivatives were intended for close infantry support.

Before the war ended much heavier tanks began to be developed in France and in Germany. In France this led to the 2C tanks of 68 tons, each of which was manned by a crew of 12 and was armed with a 75mm gun mounted, for the first time, in a turret. However, only ten of these tanks were completed, after the war In Germany construction began of two K-Wagen, which weighed about 150 tons and which were armed with four 77mm guns, mounted in sponsons. Each was to be manned by 22 men but both were destroyed after the war when they were about to be completed. The 2C tanks remained in service with the French Army until 1940, when they were destroyed without ever going into action but for two decades they were the heaviest tanks in use anywhere.

Nothing more was done about the development of tanks as heavy as this after the First World War when armies were generally concerned with much lighter vehicles. In particular, the French Army planned to develop a replacement for the Renault FT. But a successor to it. the Renault R-35 light tank, was not put into production until 1935. With a maximum speed of 20 km/h it was significantly faster and the maximum thickness of its armour was 40mm instead of 20mm. But the general concept of the two-man R-35 was much the same as that of its predecessor and its main armament consisted of the same short-barrelled 37mm gun as that mounted in the Renault FT. This showed a remarkable lack of concern about the most important characteristic of tanks, which is their armament, and made the R-35 virtually incapable of fighting other tanks.

Much more sensibly, the French Army also embarked on the development of a char de bataille armed with a 75mm gun, albeit mounted in the hull. But this was not put into production until 1934 in the form of the 27 ton Char B. I, which was quickly made obsolescent by the appearance of other, more recently developed tanks.

Better progress was made in Britain. It started with the recognition by the engineering staff of the Tank Corps that the speed of tanks could be increased by the use of sprung suspensions, which none of the British war-time tanks had, and by the use of higher powered engines. This led to the design of the 20 ton Medium D, which had a higher power-to-weight ratio than any previous tank and a maxi- mum speed of about 30 km/h, or more than twice the speed of any British or French tank built until then. But even this was improved upon by the 8 ton Light Infantry Tank derived from the Medium D which, on trials in 1922, attained a speed of 48 km/h. The two tanks represented therefore a considerable advance in mobility and they were also amphibious, at least to the extent of being able to swim across calm inland waters. But their design also incorporated a number of dubious features. These included a suspension consisting of a cable interconnecting all the road rollers on each side and a single spring, pivoted track plates in the case of the Medium D and laterally flexible tracks with spherical joints between the track plates in the case of the Light Infantry Tank. Moreover, both had fixed turrets and although some of the Medium D were to have a 57mm gun the rest were to be armed only with machine guns. What is more, the maximum thickness of their armour was only half that of the Renault FT. As fighting vehicles they therefore left much to be desired but it was mechanical troubles and financial stringency which led to a decision in 1922 to abandon them.

At the same time the British Army decided to order the second of two tanks designed by Vickers Ltd. as competitors to the Light Infantry Tank. This tank, which became known as the Vickers Medium, was not quite as fast as its competitor but it was capable of about 30 km/h, which put it well ahead of most contemporary tanks and enabled the Royal Tank Corps to take a lead in the development of more mobile methods of employing tanks. Its high speed was made possible by a properly sprung suspension and it was sensibly armed with a 47mm gun. What is more, in contrast to the one-man turrets of the tanks being developed in France, its turret accommodated a gunner and a commander who, being free of the task of firing the gun. could better exercise his craft. On the other hand, it suffered from the contemporary preoccupation with machine guns, having as many as six of them which could hardly be operated by its five-man crew. Also its armour was at first only 6mm thick. Nevertheless, in spite of its various shortcomings and the criticism levelled at it at different times, the Vickers Medium represented an important step forward in the development of tanks. It was also the only tank produced in quantity during the 1920s anywhere in the world, even though the total was not more than about 160 vehicles.

After the Vickers Medium entered service attention in Britain turned to much lighter vehicles. These were conceived, like the Renault FT, as small, light tanks for use with or by the infantry. But after a number of vehicles was tried between 1925 and 1927 it was decided that there was a need for two different light armoured vehicles: one was a machine gun carrier for the infantry and the other a reconnaissance tank, with a turret, for the armoured units.

Financial considerations, which made the relatively cheap light tanks so attractive to armies, did not inhibit them from going to the other extreme and trying to develop tanks that were large and expensive. In particular, the British Army planned to replace its Vickers Medium with a tank officially designated the A. 6 and commonly known as the Sixteen-tonner. This tank, which was designed by Vickers-Armstrongs in 1927, was a considerable advance on the Vickers Me- dium in having a better layout with a separated engine compartment at the rear of the hull and a three-man turret, and it was capable of up to 48 km/h. But at 14mm the maximum thickness of its armour was not greater than that of the contemporary light tanks and less than that of the Renault FT. What is more, its main armament consisted of a 47mm gun, which was virtually the same as the gun already used for several years in the Vickers Medium. The use of this gun was hardly compensated for by the addition of two small turrets, each with two machine guns, which were incorporated in the Sixteen-tonner at the express request of the Royal Tank Corps.

Tanks during and after the First World War

Although technology governed what could be done, its scope was sufficiently wide to provide a range of options in the design of tanks. In consequence, tanks came to vary considerably as these options were exercised to suit different ideas about their role or mode of employment.

The early ideas on the employment of British tanks were mainly those of Swinton who was made commander of the first British tank unit and who, in 1916, defined the tank as "primarily a machine gun destroyer, which can be employed as an auxiliary to an infantry assault". In other words, he regarded tanks as specialised vehicles which would help the infantry assault enemy trenches.

British tanks were, in fact, originally used as such. They were first sent into action, on the Somme, on 15 September 1916, when only 49 could be made available. Their first employment ignored Swinton's advice that they should be used by surprise and not in driblets and it met with relatively little success. It was only a year later, on 20 November 1917, at Cambrai, where 476 tanks were concentrated on a narrow front and used in a surprise assault over suitable ground, that tanks achieved a spectacular success in the role for which they were intended.

However, the battle of Cambrai also demonstrated that the capabilities of the original tanks did not extend beyond the short-range assault for which they were designed. To advance beyond it there had to be another, faster type of tank with a longer operating range which could exploit any breakthrough achieved by the other tanks. A lighter and faster tank, which became known as the Medium A, had already been designed and the first production model of it was completed shortly before the battle of Cambrai. But it was not used on any scale until the second major tank assault, at Amiens in August 1918, for which a total of about 600 tanks of all types was assembled.

Thus, by the end of the First World War in November 1918 the British Army had two categories of tanks. One consisted of the direct developments of the original tank, which culminated in the Anglo-American Mark VIII heavy tank. The other consisted of the Medium A and its successors. The role of the latter was about to be extended considerably as a result of experiments carried out by the engineering staff of the Tank Corps which showed that a tank could be built to have a maximum speed of 30 km/h, or more than twice the speed of any tank built until then. This inspired Colonel J F C Fuller, who was the chief of staff of the Tank Corps, to produce "Plan 1919", which proposed the use of fast medium tanks for raids against objectives well behind enemy lines. The raids were to be carried out by tanks called Medium D, which still had to be designed but work on which was started in 1918 by Lt. Colonel P Johnson. However, by the time a prototype of it was built the war was over.

Even before the infantry took over the French tank units, or the artillerie d'assaut as they were called until then, Colonel J E Estienne, who had become their commander, was already forecasting a very different way of employing tanks. Thus, in a study written in 1919, he foresaw the light accompanying tanks of the Renault FT type becoming after a time the organic equipment of the machine gun or heavy weapons companies of the infantry. They would then be succeeded by battle tanks which would be capable not only of destroying enemy machine guns but also enemy tanks. Companies of these tanks would replace infantry companies as the basic fighting units and future battles would be fought between tanks, whose armour and armament would need to be increased progressively. Other lighter and faster tanks might be useful for exploiting the success of the more powerful tanks, but Estienne very wisely commented that it would be a mistake to allow their construction to reduce the effectiveness or the number of the battle tanks, as the latter could never be too powerful or too numerous.

But Estienne's far-sighted views were ignored and, after several years of trying to improve the Renault FT, the French Army procured some more, albeit it more modern, infantry accompanying light tanks. The prime example of them was the Renault R-35, which became the most numerous French tank by 1940.

In the meantime more new ideas on the employment of tanks emerged in Britain and they led to its progress well beyond the confines of infantry support. To start with, in 1919, Fuller proposed that infantry battalions be reorganised to include a company of tanks. This foreshadowed the integrated tank-infantry battalions which were successfully created forty years later by the French and Swedish Armies but it could hardly be implemented at the time for lack of suitable tanks. Thus, the wartime British tanks were too clumsy to be incorporated within infantry battalions. A Light Infantry Tank was proposed but it still had to be designed and it was even faster than the Medium D, although Fuller considered that this did not make it incompatible with infantry marching on foot.

Fuller's proposal did not lead to any practical results but his writings and those of others promoted the formation, in 1927, of an Experimental Mechanized Force to explore some of the new ideas about a more mobile employment of tanks. The pursuit of these ideas was greatly helped, and to some extent inspired, by the Vickers Medium tanks with which the Royal Tank Corps was reequipped from 1923 onwards and which had a maximum speed of about 30 km/h - a speed considerably higher than that of all tanks used previously. In fact, a battalion of these tanks formed the core of the Experimental Mechanized Force. The latter also contained motorised infantry, artillery, reconnaissance and engineer units and thus constituted the first attempt at a self-contained force based on automotive vehicles. As such it provided some valuable experience but experiments with it led to two divergent lines of employment, neither of which made the most effective use of tanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Books: Great Martian Invasion

The Great Martian War: Invasion
Following the initial Martian invasion on England, President Theodore Roosevelt tries to prepare the United States for the potential of another Martian incursion. As the possibility of another, stronger invasion is increasingly clear; The U.S. government tries to mobilize nations to share information and technology to defend humanity. Newly minted ordinance officer Andrew Comstock has been placed in charge of developing new technology that has to be tested on the fly in a race against time if humanity is to survive.

The Great Martian War: Breakthrough
The second of the three-part series covering the opening salvo of the Great Martian Invasion. US forces recover from the initial shock of the Martian invasion of the South-west and attempt to set-up a defensive line along the Mississippi. The best minds in the US try to come up with ways to defeat the Martians using the little captured technology available to them. Meanwhile, President Roosevelt tries to rally world leaders to aid in stopping the invaders.

These books are based upon the "All Quiet on the MartianFront" game system.

Scott Washburn

A century ago, H. G. Wells raised the possibility of conflict with an alien civilization in the classic and genre-establishing "War of the Worlds." With "The Great Martian War: Invasion," Scott Washburn imagines what happens a decade later, with the Martians adapting to the virus that wiped them out in the Wells novel and the human nations frantically preparing for the return of a technologically superior enemy.

Washburn follows the preparations for and the early stages of the second wave of the invasion through the eyes of five characters who range from ordinary civilians up to the White House to a Martian commander. Their paths cross in interesting ways, and we frequently see the same events through different points of view. This becomes a major theme in the book: both humans and Martians learn from the first wave of the invasion, yet remain largely ignorant of the other race's tactics, motives, and technology. One can see a similar dynamic in the human response to the Martian threat, as departments of the American military and nations on the brink of the First World War devolve into tribalism in the face of a truly existential threat.

The true strength of the book is its pacing. Suspense reigns in the first half, as Americans struggle (often unsuccessfully) come to terms with the possibility of a second invasion and, when it comes, to understand Martian strategy. The development of technology is another major theme in the book. The Martians learn from their disastrous first wave, and come to earth determined to avoid the mistakes they made the first time. The historical earth of the early 20th century saw an arms race fueled by nationalism, and with the potential for Martian conflict, that race escalates even further, with the introduction of steam tanks and a Tesla electrical cannon. However, Washburn does not get bogged down in the details of engineering, and the machines never obscure the human (and Martian) elements of the story.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

War of the Worlds Kits

War of the Worlds Kits

Scale models pertaining to SF, Horror, Fantasy figures and vehicles. Resin, vinyl or styrene! Come visit!

Read HG Wells War Of The Worlds Issue 1 online

Read HG Wells War Of The Worlds Issue 1 online | Read HG Wells War Of The Worlds online | Read Comic Books Online Free

HG Wells War Of The Worlds Issue 1, HG Wells War Of The Worlds, free HG Wells War Of The Worlds Issue 1 comics, is the only place to read scans of HG Wells War Of The Worlds Issue 1 of the comic HG Wells War Of The Worlds online.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Massacre of Mankind

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.

So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells' book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.

He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist - sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins - must survive, escape and report on the war.

The Massacre of Mankind has begun


The Martians are marshalling a fresh invasion force – and this time they’ve learnt from their mistakes. A newly-written sequel to H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, published 118 years after the original story, will join the catalogue of classic fiction given fresh life by contemporary authors.

Publishers Gollancz announced that Stephen Baxter, an award-winning author who has collaborated with Terry Pratchett, has been chosen to write a new sequel to one of the most influential science fictions works ever published.

First published in 1897, The War of the Worlds has spawned half a dozen feature films, a famous Orson Welles radio drama which created a national panic in the US and a hit record album and stage production adapted by Jeff Wayne.

Baxter promises that his sequel, The Massacre of Mankind, will tell an equally terrifying tale. Set in late 1920s London, the Martians return, and the war begins again. But the aliens do not repeat the mistakes of their last invasion. They know their vulnerability to microbial infections caused their demise last time. They target Britain first, since this nation led the resistance but “the massacre of mankind has begun.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

War of the Worlds - Wikia

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds - Number of Articles: 190, Number of Pages: 864, Number of Media Files: 194

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Robot Tanks of WWII, Both Real and Imagined

The Robot Tanks of WWII, Both Real and Imagined

In the mid-1930s, sci-fi legend Hugo Gernsback predicted that manned flame tanks would one day become a reality. A decade later, Gernsback would revisit his prediction with one important twist-the flame tanks of tomorrow would drive themselves.

The Horrifying Flame Tank of the 1930s Meant to End All Wars

The Horrifying Flame Tank of the 1930s Meant to End All Wars

In 1936, Hugo Gernsback proposed a terrifying new war machine meant to be more efficient than any that had come before it. He called it the "flame tank." And while the thing looks absolutely horrifying in every way (those appear to be dozens of people being burned alive by the tank's flame guns), the stated goal of Gernsback's machine of death was actually to make war less brutal.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

HMS X-1 Submarine-cruiser

When HMS X1 was launched, she was the largest submarine at sea, 3,600 long tons (3,700 t) submerged. She became the only warship designed and built for the Royal Navy after World War 1, to be scrapped before the start of World War II.

Constructed with a double hull, the external tanks carried most of the fuel, only 9% of the diesel being carried inside the pressure hull. X1, by any standards was a very large submarine and the pressure hull was divided into 10 separate watertight compartments.

Designed to attack any armed merchant ship by gun action alone, it was decided a 5.2" calibre gun was required. These were manufactured at Woolwich and two twin mounted guns were fitted. Each gun was capable of firing 6 rounds per minute with a range of 17,288 yards.

To man both guns from the magazine to the firing control took no less than 50 crew.

The two admiralty diesel engines, both built at Chatham, were designed to produce 3,000 bhp each. The generators for charging the batteries, were driven by two auxiliary diesel engines. These were MAN-type 6 cylinder engines which had been taken from U 126 after this German boat had surrendered at the end of WW1.

Propulsion when submerged was supplied by four 600 bhp GEC Electric Motors. Each shaft being driven by two motors. These motors were the only part of the propulsion machinery that proved successful. Both the main and auxiliary diesels were constantly faulty and were the main reason for X1 being scrapped.

Following her commissioning, X1 sailed for trials. In 1926 she sailed for the Mediterranean where she remained until 1930. On her return to the UK, X1 went into refit and in 1933 went into reserve. The razor blade factory beckoned and the submarine was scrapped in December 1936, eleven years after her commissioning.

X1 was the last submarine to have only a number until numbering of submarines began again at the beginning of WWII.


Pre-war Type 386 Locomotive of the Czechoslovak State Railway

 Polish (ex-German) Pm3 steam locomotive in Warsaw.

 'Lightweight' 2-cylinder 4-6-2 locomotive with add-on experimental streamlined casing
Deutsche Reichsbahn, 1930s

The first high-speed streamliner in Germany was the "Schienenzeppelin", an experimental propeller driven single car, built 1930. On 21 June 1931, it set a speed record of 230.2 km/h (143.0 mph) on a run between Berlin and Hamburg. In 1932 the propeller was removed and a hydraulic system installed. The Schienenzeppelin made 180 km/h (112 mph) in 1933.

The Schienenzeppelin led to the construction of the diesel-electric DRG Class SVT 877 "Flying Hamburger". This two-car train set had 98 seats and a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). During regular service starting on 15 May 1933, this train ran the 286 kilometres (178 mi) between Hamburg and Berlin in 138 minutes with an average speed of 124.4 km/h (77.3 mph). The SVT 877 was the prototype for the DRG Class SVT 137, first built in 1935 for use in the FDt express train service. During test drives, the SVT 137 "Bauart Leipzig" set a world speed record of 205 km/h (127 mph) in 1936. The fastest regular service with SVT 137 was between Hannover and Hamm with an average speed of 132.2 km/h (82.1 mph). This service lasted until 22 August 1939.

In 1935 Henschel & Son, a major manufacturer of steam locomotives, was able to upgrade its various steam locomotives to a high speed Streamliner type with a maximum speeds of up to 85 km/h (53 mph) by the addition of a removable shell over the old steam locomotive. The type was used on the Frankfurt am Main to Berlin route.

In the United Kingdom, development of streamlined passenger services began in 1934, with the Great Western Railway introducing relatively low-speed streamlined railcars, and the London and North Eastern Railway introducing the "Silver Jubilee" service using streamlined A4 class steam locomotives and full length trains rather than railcars. In 1938 on a test run, the locomotive Mallard built for this service broke the record for the fastest steam locomotive, reaching 126 mph (203 km/h). The London Midland and Scottish Railway introduced streamline locomotives of the Princess Coronation Class shortly before the outbreak of war.

The Ferrovie dello Stato (Italian railways) developed the FS Class ETR 200, a three-unit electric streamliner. The development started in 1934. These trains went into service in 1937. On 6 December 1937, an ETR 200 made a top speed of 201 km/h (125 mph) between Campoleone and Cisterna on the run Rome-Naples. In 1939 the ETR 212 even made 203 km/h (126 mph). The 219-kilometre (136 mi) journeys from Bologna to Milan were made in 77 minutes, meaning an average of 171 km/h (106 mph).

In the Netherlands, Nederlandse Spoorwegen introduced the Materieel 34 (DE3), a three unit 140 km/h (87 mph) streamlined diesel-electric trainset in 1934. An electric version, Materieel 36, went into service in 1936. From 1940 the "Dieselvijf" (DE5), a 160 km/h (99 mph) top speed five unit diesel-electric trainset based on DE3, completed the Dutch streamliner fleet. During test runs, a DE5 ran 175 km/h (109 mph). That year the similar electric Materieel 40 were first built.

In Czechoslovakia in 1934, Czechoslovak State Railways ordered two motor railcars with maximum speed 130 km/h (81 mph). The order was received by Tatra company, which was producing first streamlined mass-produced automobile Tatra 77 in that time. The railcar project was led by Tatra chief designer Hans Ledwinka and received streamlined design. Both ČSD Class M 290.0 were delivered in 1936 with desired 130 km/h (81 mph) maximum speed, although during test runs one car reached 148 km/h (92 mph) mark. They were run on Czechoslovak prominent route Prague-Bratislava under Slovenská strela (Slovak for "Slovak Arrow") brand.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Steam/Dieselpunk Pictures

This is the mothership aircraft that carry the parasite fighter in his tail. Here is the moment of the release by a cable. The cable can be hooked once more by the pilot in the same fashion as the refuelling probe of our fighters today. The cable can be extended well behind the mothership.

The steam turbines are placed in the wing tips in order to do not disturb the recovery operations with turbulences and steam trails.

Power source are boilers that burn a powerful mixture of synthetic chemicals, and there is several large water tanks inside de fuselage.

The mothership is protected by the parasite fighter and by his own guns in remotely-controlled turrets

Steam-powered mothership by CUTANGUS

Crimson Skies!

The Introduction to one of my most favorite games of all time, Crimson Skies! This is the PC version, which was had way more of a Sim feel to it then the Xbox. However, both are great games and I recommend them heartily.

The series is set within an alternate history of the 1930s invented by Weisman and McCoy. Within this divergent timeline, the United States has collapsed, and air travel has become the most popular mode of transportation in North America; as a result, air pirates thrive in the world of Crimson Skies. In describing the concept of Crimson Skies, Jordan Weisman stated he wanted to "take the idea of 16th century Caribbean piracy and translate into a 1930s American setting."

The Crimson Skies series takes place in an alternate 1930s in which the U.S. has broken apart into a number of independent nation-states. According to series creator Jordan Weisman:

I needed to create a geo-political situation that would result in air-pirates, so I looked at the real political situation that gave rise to the pirates of the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries. We needed a balkanized era so that pirates could escape quickly into another countries territory, we needed things of value to be moved by air, and we needed a constantly churning political environment so that things did not settle down quickly. […] It took only three little changes in the history of the United States to get us the dynamic world of Crimson Skies.

This alternate timeline incorporates both fictional and actual historic events. According to the series' official backstory, the divergent timeline begins after World War I, when a "Regionalist movement" gains popularity in America following the Spanish influenza pandemic, rallying behind an isolationist platform. Meanwhile, President Wilson's authority was undercut when Prohibition failed as a constitutional amendment leaving the matter to be decided on the state level. The nation soon became polarized between "wet" and "dry" states and checkpoints became a common sight on state borders to stop the flow of alcohol into "dry" states. As the decade progressed, state governments seized more authority, encroaching into areas formerly the responsibility of the federal government, and formed regional power blocs.

The optimism of the Roaring Twenties was upset in 1927 when an outbreak of a deadly strain of influenza in America prompted states to close their borders, further dividing the Union. Though not as deadly as the 1918 pandemic, the epidemic had immense political fallout, bolstering regionalist "strong state" views and decreasing voter turnout in the 1928 elections. Shortly after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Texas seceded from the United States, forming the Republic of Texas on January 1, 1930. New York was the next state to secede, and persuaded Pennsylvania and New Jersey to merge with it to form the Empire State. California followed suit, creating the Nation of Hollywood, as did Utah, which had already come in conflict with the federal government after the establishment of the Smith Law in 1928 that made Mormonism the state religion. Washington, D.C., essentially powerless, was unable to stop the country from falling apart. The federal government made its last stand against the "People's Revolt" of the bread basket states. When the US Army was defeated by the People's Collective (formerly the Midwest) forces in 1931, the fate of the United States was sealed, and the rest of the country dissolved into independent nations by the end of 1932 with the last legal remnant of the US being the neutral nation of Columbia in what used to be whatever area around Washington could be seized.

Though not directly affected by the Texas Secession, Canada found itself dragged down by the collapse of the U.S., with Quebec seceding in 1930 and the rest of the provinces siding with their nascent southern neighbors: New Brunswick and parts of Quebec joined the Maritime Provinces of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; Newfoundland joined Quebec; Manitoba joined the People's Collective as did parts of Saskatchewan, with the Lakota nation laying claim to the rest; British Columbia merged with Oregon and Washington in Pacifica; and Alaska claimed the Yukon territories. The core of the former Canadian government established the Protectorate of Ontario. While Ottawa's authority technically extends to Alberta and the Northwest Territories, these areas are mostly no-man's land, while Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island comprise a self-governing body, commonly referred to as the Northumberland Association.

In 1931, the Territorial Government of Hawaii was left defenseless in the wake of the fragmenting country and was overthrown in favor of the monarchy with Jonah Kūhiō as its king. Likewise, America's territorial holdings overseas were surrendered following the nation's formal collapse and the formation of the Federal Republic of Columbia on March 1, 1932.The resulting nation-states that formed were no longer unified—distrust between them strained diplomatic relations to the point that several small-scale wars broke out.

After the dissolution of the United States, the country's interstate railroad and highway systems fell into disrepair or were sabotaged as they crossed hostile borders. Consequently, ground-based vehicles such as the locomotive and automobile were replaced by aircraft such as the airplane and the zeppelin as the leading mode of transportation in North America. Europe soon followed this fascination with aviation to make its own strides into the new, aerially-dominated market. Gangs of air pirates formed in turn to plunder airborne commerce. Although air militias formed to counter the threat, rivalries between the nations of North America reduced their capacity to effectively address this issue, and even encouraged the countries to sponsor pirates as privateers so as to direct their illegal operations against opposing nations. In Europe, privateers and other mercenary groups have been adopted widely by nations who wish to avoid another world war, especially in the case of the Spanish Civil War.

By the end of 1937, North America is a "hotbed of conflict," with multiple pirate gangs and air militias battling for control of the skies. Europe is no better, as Germany jockeys for power while France and Britain look the other way. The Russian States continue to fight their civil war, which threatens to spill over into the Eastern European nations and Alaska. Asia, too, is on the brink, with Japan's recent invasion of China and the continuation of the bloody civil war in Australia.

Zeppelin Aircraft Carrier-Germany

Aircraft and technology
The planes of Crimson Skies are fictional designs created to fit within the Crimson Skies universe. Although some planes were modeled after actual 1930s era experimental aircraft and other "bizarre and outlandish designs" from the early years of aviation, they still take significant departures from conventional aviation design. Jordan Weisman has stated that the planes in Crimson Skies are designed to be the "hot rods of the air." According to IGN, "the planes in CS are built for style and not function with their redundant wing positions and rear propellers." For example, the Devastator aircraft features a pusher propeller and a biplane design.

Because of the history of the world of Crimson Skies, especially given that the nation-states of North America are constantly at war with one another and that air travel is the primary means of transportation, advancements in both aircraft and weaponry technology would have proceeded at a faster pace than had actually happened in the same time period. Zeppelins with hangar launch bays which can accommodate escort fighters are featured prominently in Crimson Skies; in actuality, only a few zeppelin-based airborne aircraft carriers saw service. Zeppelins in Crimson Skies are also armed with broadside cannons and are also heavily armored. Radio-controlled rockets are also available in the Crimson Skies universe, which can be controlled remotely after launch.

Other technologies are exclusive to the world of Crimson Skies. Magnetic rockets have the ability to track planes or weapon emplacements over a short distance. Aerial torpedoes are similar to sea-based torpedoes, but are specifically designed to take out airships. Beeper/seeker rockets are designed to work in tandem. The "beeper" rocket attaches to a target and emits a homing signal; the "seeker" rocket follows the homing signal, destroying the target. The Choker rocket disables the target's engine by bursting into a fireball that burns all oxygen around it. The Tesla cannon is a tesla coil-style weapon which fires a bolt of electricity at a target, disabling it. Also featured in Crimson Skies is the wind turbine, a weather control mechanism designed to generate storms.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

War of the Worlds -- Second Invasion

The possibilities of a second Martian invasion, probably taking place around the time of World War I. Assuming (over optimistically) that the Martians are able to fortify themselves against Earth's germs, that still leaves them with the element of surprise shot, and up against an enemy that now has poison gases of their own (chlorine, phosgene, and mustard), gas masks and protective clothing, Fighting-Machines of their own (tanks and armored cars), several flavors of flying machine (airplanes and zeppelins), long-range and quick-firing artillery pieces, recoilless guns, submarines, and all-big gun (Dreadnought-type) battleships.

The biggest handicap the Martians will face is that it takes many hours to break out of their cylinders, during which time humans can blast them with explosives of some sort. They could also position a cannon or machine gun right in front of the screw, to fire directly into the cylinder as soon as the screw falls out and slaughter the occupants. About the only thing the Martians could do is land in the most out-of-the-way places they can find, hoping that the human defenders won't have time to reach and attack the cylinders before they are opened. But under the new conditions, the humans have bombing aircraft to quickly attack the invaders wherever they land, and until the cylinders are opened, their occupants can't even shoot back. Landing on small, distant islands also leaves them vulnerable to fire from naval artillery.

It's believable that the second wave would be more heavily equipped than the first, given that those planning the invasion would have expected the first wave to establish a beachhead in England that would then be reinforced with further supplies and personnel. Possibly more powerful fighting machines, and construction tools to allow for setting up a long-term base on Earth.

You could have an ongoing battle starting up between the Martian Second wave, and the rest of the world's nations (United against this new threat) all in a WWI-esque setting. Humans would have advanced enough to put up more of a fight against the original book Martians, (Gas masks, howitzers, machine guns, land mines, rifle grenades, biplanes, ect. ect.) and we can see huge land/sea/air battles between the desperate humans and the entrenched Martian foes.

They'd need to land in a rather remote and isolated area to avoid being blown up before they're ready to move.

The Black Smoke poison gas the Martians use is a simple asphyxiating agent, so ordinary gas masks are sufficient protection against it. This takes away the Martians' biggest advantage, as the Black Smoke was more decisive than the Heat-Ray in their campaign of conquest. Against hidden and entrenched artillery, the Martians now have no choice but to advance into the humans' line of fire and take their licks until they can bring their Heat-Rays to bear.

We know absolutely nothing about the flying machine the Martians have, including its speed, range, and whether or not it is armed. If the Martians don't expect aerial opposition, they might content themselves with a relatively slow device that Earth's biplane fighters could successfully engage. (Remember, Mars is running low on resources, so they'd probably scrimp on their war preparations whenever they think they can safely get away with it.) Antiaircraft guns will also be a factor now, when the flying machine attacks cities and ground forces.

Some say that the Martians learned their lesson about engaging warships with the "Thunder Child" incident, and thus would now automatically fire on all warships at long range. But maybe they DIDN'T learn their lesson. The third Fighting-Machine had disappeared by the time the smoke cleared, so we don't know whether it walked away or got caught in the blast radius of the Thunder Child. Add to that the fact that the flying machine only turned up AFTER the battle, and we can see that the Martians might not have had any witnesses to tell them what happened.

It may not matter, anyway. The Thunder Child steamed in close before firing to presumably make every shot count, but with battleship-sized guns, she could also have fired on the Martians from miles away. And here's another thing to remember: pre-dreadnought battleships had only two to four battleship-sized guns, while carrying large numbers of smaller guns of various calibers. Capital ships of the Dreadnought era carried anywhere from eight to ten or even twelve guns of the largest type, relying almost entirely upon them during combat. That means that they would be far better suited to a long-range duel with the Fighting-Machines than the Thunder Child and her contemporaries were.

Physics doesn't always favor the technologically-advanced, either. Energy beams like the Heat-Ray have a major weakness against projectile-firing weapons of older type: they can only fire straight ahead. Indirect fire is impossible to them; a beam of light will only bend if it is near a black hole, and if the Martians wind up near one of THOSE, human weapons will be the least of their worries. Mortars, heavy artillery and howitzers, naval gunfire, and even (against personnel caught outside of their machines) bows, javelins, and slings can all be used to lob lethal fire at unseen targets.

Finally, if the Martians hang around near coastal regions or near large rivers, submarines could give them fits. The subs could sneak in underwater, possibly at night, surface, and feed the Martians a few shells from their deck guns before they even know they're around, then submerge and sneak away when the alarm is sounded.