Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fortino Mobile Tipo Pesante Ansaldo Magrini Mangiapan

The Ansaldo Magrini Mangiapan was designed in 1916 by major Magrini as a "mobile fort" and was one of Italy's first tank designs. It featured multiple sets of tracks to help it traverse the crater filled battlefields of no-man's land. To power these tracks there were four 200hp engines in the centre of the tank which then drove two electric motors at the front and back, propelling this massive 70t vehicle to an estimated 20 km/h. It also unusually for that era featured two rotating turrets equipped with 76mm (some sources state 75mm or 105mm) cannons, as well as having multiple machine guns fitted around the hull. The design was approved by the direzione generale del regio esercito but was cancelled soon after because of the high cost and feasibility of such a complex design. Instead interest moved to the Fiat 2000 and purchasing tanks from France and Britain.

Steel Chimeras of the Red Army

Steel Chimeras of the Red Army

Scientific and technical progress has always been on the other side of the coin from war. Aiming to obtain instant superiority over the enemy, people who have never thought about the subject were as determined as those whose job was weapons design.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Burgess-Dunne D8 Aircraft

During The Great Martian War, the humans quickly learned that one of the few technological advantages they had over the Martians was aircraft.Despite crossing the huge gulf of space to reach Earth, the Martians had no smaller aircraft. Humans were soon using aircraft for scouting. After that they began to use aircraft to attack the invaders directly. Despite the terrible vulnerability of wood and canvas aircraft to the Martian heat rays, bold pilots made desperate attacks. Losses were high and aircraft which could be built quickly and which were easy enough for hastily-trained pilots to fly were needed. One model, the Burgess-Dunne D8 was built in large numbers. Originally an English design, the Burgess-Dunne was built by Curtis in the United States. It's unusual swept-wing design proved to be surprisingly stable and was very popular with the pilots. This kit includes 5 aircraft models.

Paper Terrain - War of the Worlds

Welcome to Paper Terrain! We produce a range of paper structures in a variety of scales and periods. They are printed on a heavy cardstock and are ready for immediate assembly and use. Our structures are a sturdy, lightweight, economical and attractive alternative to resin.

World War Tesla™

World War Tesla™ is a 15mm scale alternate-history wargame by James M. Ward (author of TSR’s Gamma World, Deities & Demigods, and Metamorphis Alpha) and Thomas A. Tullis, where Nikola Tesla’s more radical ideas such as death rays and force fields have come to fruition, changing the face of a world at war. Giant walking tanks, soldiers with rocket-packs, and flying machines armed with death rays rule the battlefield!

World War Tesla™ is the forefront of print-at-home wargaming. Say goodbye to the days of spending massive amounts of money to even have a small army to play a wargame, with World War Tesla™ even the largest vehicle can be printed for less than a dollar. All 3D printer .stl files for vehicles, troops, accessories, and even some terrain are provided, so there is no limit on how large your armies grow. If you wish to expand your army beyond the offerings in the Starter Set, inexpensive expansion sets will offer even greater variety for your games.

World War Tesla Rules F.A.Q.

The World War Tesla™ official rules F.A.Q. can be found HERE.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Forgotten Weapons: The 1917 Burton Light Machine Rifle

 America's first assault rifle? Well, it does meet all the requirements: select-fire, intermediate cartridge, and shoulder-fired. It was never actually fielded, though.

The Burton Light Machine Rifle was developed during World War One, with the firing model completed in 1917. It was intended as an aircraft observer's weapon for attacking balloons—a role which required incendiary ammunition.With this in mind, Winchester's Frank Burton adapted the .351 WSL cartridge from his 1905 and 1907 self-loading rifles into the .345 WSL, with a spitzer bullet. He designed an open-bolt, select-fire shoulder rifle to fire it, which became known as the Light Machine Rifle.

Burton's rifle was to be usable both in an aircraft where it could be fixed to a Scarff mount for a wide field of fire or used by an individual on the ground, fired from the shoulder. It weighed in at just about 10 pounds (4.5kg) and had a pistol grip and straight-line design to bring the recoil impulse directly into the shooter's shoulder and minimize rise during automatic fire. The barrel was finned for better cooling, and infantry barrels were equipped with bayonet lugs.

 The most distinctive elements of the design, of course, are the dual top-mounted magazines. Each one holds 20 rounds, and each has a pair of locking catches. One position locks the magazine into a feeding position, and the other holds it up above the cycling of the bolt. The idea here was to keep a second loaded magazine easily accessible for an aerial observer—so they could reload without having to find another magazine somewhere in the aircraft. Contrary to some speculation, there is no automatic transition between magazines. When one is empty, the shooter must pull it back to the second locking position (or out of the gun entirely) and then push the second magazine down into feeding position.

Despite Burton's work—which was well ahead of its time—the LMR had been rendered obsolete for its primary role by the time it was ready. Synchronized, forward-mounted Vickers machine guns firing 11mm incendiary ammunition were being mounted on aircraft, and were more effective on balloons and airplanes than Burton's weapon would have been. Only this single example was ever made, and it was not presented for infantry consideration as far as I can tell. It was lost for many years before being discovered in a Winchester building, and eventually ending up in the Cody Firearms Museum with the rest of the Winchester factory collection.

Ian McCollum is the founder of, a website and YouTube channel dedicated preserving the history of rare and obscure guns from around the world.

Remote-Controlled Tanks of the 1930s

This Japanese-made, remote-controlled tank got tech nerds all excited in 1931. But it wasn’t just because they saw a new toy. Tech-minded folk of the early 1930s also saw a utopian solution to war. A solution where, ideally, fewer humans would have to die.

Ideas about remote-controlled warfare have been around for over a century. And here in the 2010s we’re acutely aware that wars can be fought from halfway around the world. If our generation is remembered for anything, it might be for our introduction of “drone” into the international lexicon. But the thing that we so often forget is that the people who built remote-controlled war machines in the interwar period (between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII) thought they were doing humanity a favor.

There are countless visions of radio-controlled tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles, and even gigantic robot fighters from the early 20th century. But the thing that might be most shocking to readers here in the early 21st century is that these empty vehicles were all supposed to be fighting amongst themselves. 

The gigantic robots of 1934 were explicitly envisioned to fight “our battles” and whatever robot won, that nation would be declared the victor.
You also see this in the visions of robot tanks. From the April 1931 issue of Radio-Craft magazine (emphasis mine):
Writers of war stories, peering into the future, predict an approaching era when fighting will be done by machinery under remote control. Guns automatically operated will fire from deserted fortifications and from tanks which contain no living operators. Airplanes without human pilots will observe positions through televisors, and drop projectiles guided from a post at headquarters, many miles away. The casualties will be solely among robots of steel and copper, whose orders are conveyed to them by radio, or other subtle signalling methods. Such is the picture which is painted upon the drop curtain which conceals the next war—if it be true that war has not been abolished along with the dips in the business cycle.
Of course, that bit about abolishing dips in the business cycle gives us a hint that perhaps the authors of this article didn’t believe wholeheartedly in the utopian promises of unmanned war.
The article continued by explaining that the robot tank had recently been demonstrated in Tokyo, Japan, and that it’s clearly just the start of something much bigger.
A picture which appeared recently in one of our English contemporaries is reproduced here; the original, it is said, was taken at a public demonstration in Tokio of a tank which was operated entirely by radio from the post in the foreground. The tank went through numerous maneuvers, under full command of its operators, to the enthusiasm of a great crowd of spectators. While the picture does not seem to be of an official type, it is evidently genuine; the tank itself seems rather small and not too war-like.
When World War II would rear its ugly head, robot tanks would indeed become a reality. But unfortunately they were the exclusive domain of the Nazis. The Germans designed two different remote-controlled tanks that carried explosives: The Borgward IV and the Goliath.
Neither were wireless, so their range was thankfully limited to however far the remote’s wire would take them. Both were packed with large payloads and were designed to explode on impact with their target of Allied troops.
Needless to say, remote-controlled warfare has not led to a utopian world of robotic fighting wherein nations simply let the machines battle it out and declare a winner at the end. That seems about as likely as it did in 1931, along with abolishing “dips in the business cycle.”