By A Web Design
- Created on Monday, 19 September 2011 20:49
I'm just a working stiff, like most people, but I can afford to collect an old British gun or two. If I had a bit more money, I'd probably get a few Morgans, (at least one JAP engined 3-wheeler) and Jaguars, but if I was one of the co-founders of Google, I'd be getting a Spitfire. And not just any Spitfire, but an early Griffon engined hotrod built by Historic Flying Ltd. Those guys put them together like they just rolled off the factory floor in 1941, ready to turn back the hun.
One of the planes they just recently finished was an early 1940 built Spit whose pilot lasted just 55 minutes into his war till he was shot down over Calais and captured. The plane languished there, a backdrop to German picture takers, till it was buried by sand and surf. It popped back up in the 80's, and before the Duxford boys got to it, it was ripped apart by souvenir hunters, with at least 3 of the guns ripped out of the wings. There is a great article on this plane and it's history on the Telegraph, including a video of it up and flying. There is also a short history of the company on UK Warbirds.
Historic Flying has several spits for sale right now, and (at probably 1.25 million apiece) will deliver it and set it up, get it certified, and even get you trained to fly it. If you keep it in the UK, you can even get them to take care of it for you. If only I owned Google....
- Created on Friday, 16 September 2011 17:00
Future weapons designers at Tennesee Tech built a working (somewhat) prototype Gatling gun in 2007. In the end, it doesn't seem to get much paint on target, but these guys get an "A" for effort. Actually they did get an "A" on the project. Dubbed the "PaintMaster", the gun went from design to prototype in 15 weeks. Getting future engineers interested in a problem is key to a solution, and what young college kid wouldn't be interested in a paintball Gatling gun? Now if we could just make global warming into an interesting subject.
Then there is this guy who touts his project gun as a Gatling, but is more akin to a Gardner Gun, but still effective.
- Created on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 21:35
In the dark early days of WW2, Britain and Australia both faced the possibility of invasion, Britain from Germany and Australia from the Japanese. Both countries were in desperate need of both men and material, leaving them looking like juicy targets to the rising fascist empires.
In response to the threat, both England and Australia formed Auxilary Units, who were meant to stay behind, and to fight a guerrilla war if that became necessary. Men were recruited and trained, underground bunkers were built, and they were stocked with weapons and explosives to be used against the invaders. These bunkers were hidden from view, usually in wooded areas, and stocked with a variety of weapons, and the best available, which is remarkable with the pressing need for every gun on the front. The men spent the war patrolling their neighborhoods, and learning every rock and hiding place, to be used against the enemy if the time came.
Coleshill House located near Swindon became the headquarters of the Auxiliary Units, and men were trained there before being sent off to defend their little corner of England. Of particular interest to me are the underground bases they built, and there were lots of them, to house 4 or 5 men, Thompson submachine guns, BAR's, Piat anti-tank guns, ammunition, explosives, food and water. The bases were de-activated after the war, but you can still visit one at Coleshill House.
Are there any still out there? These underground bases are still being found, Some police units had thought they were IRA dumps, but were just old Auxiliary unit bases that had never been stood down. For fear of being compromised, the teams were only known to each other and there was no list at Whitehall.
Reading List: A good book on the subject is The Last Ditch: Britain's Resistance Plans Against the Nazis, written by David Lampe. Also, available for the Amazon Kindle, Gone To Ground , Written by Bill Watson, is a fictional but fact based account of what could have happened had Britain been invaded.
Google Earth:You can even download a kml file from the Coleshill House website to overlay on Google Earth for the locations of known bases that belonged to Auxiliary Units. A geeky way to enjoy the story.
The following video is a trailer for an available video on the story of the Auxiliary Units.
- Created on Friday, 09 September 2011 17:09
BAE's Global Combat Vehicle Systems Division had come up with an electronic system which mimic's Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility. A tank division on the move can possibly be invisible to infrared detectors and other surveilance systems or even mimic a car or herd of cows.
The system consists of individual hexagonal metallic plates placed together around the hull, which are semi-conducters that are capable of being heated and cooled individually to match the surroundings. Earlier systems had huge power requirements, but BAE says they have solved that problem, but are not revealing much detail. The company has built up a library of heat signatures which can be reproduced on the panels. BAE says the system can be scaled up to be used on warships or other large vehicles. This stuff is spooky in the video. This just means there won't be a cow left standing. The worst that can happen to a defending army is they'll all have steak for breakfast. Of course, the cat's out of the bag when the sun comes up.
- Created on Thursday, 08 September 2011 23:38
If you live around the Sierra Nevada mountains, you can hike to a B-17 crash site. The aircraft has been there since it crashed in 1941, and while it is not the easiest thing to get to, souvenir hunters have made off with lots of the plane. Regardless of the sign denoting the plane as U.S. property, a shredded B-17 would be irresistable. Who wouldn't want a piece of it.
Someone who resisted the temptation and also documented his hike with pictures of the plane was Neil Mishalov, an avid hiker. His website details the trip and some pictures of the remains.
On Geocaching.com some guys were talking about hiking up there to visit the site and even published the co-ordinates. Personally I don't know it they are correct as the location seems to be a secret. Plugging them into Google Earth should show if they are close or not... a piece of the wing ought to be at N 38 degrees 54.950'
W 120 degrees 19.802'.
Check Six, a website for aviation history and adventure has a good run down on what happened to the plane in its last hours, and how the pilot saved every one else's life while losing his own. After you start searching the internet for downed aircraft in this country it is disheartening to see how many there are. There are so many it seems there can't be any left.
There is at least one left, a B-17 just flew overhead in Madisonville, Ohio, where my day job is. Must be heading for Lunken Airport to give rides. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them.