By A Web Design
- Created on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 20:46
The Wilkinson Sword Company was practically an institution of the British Officer Corps. It was there the well heeled Victorian Officer got his martial gear for parade and combat. Located next door to the Board of Ordnance at Pall Mall, in London, a newly minted officer could get his field and parade sword, and while he was in the shop, could choose from the best revolvers and leather gear in the business.
This business of providing upper crust officers with finely finished firearms wasn't lost on Webley & Scott. They furnished Wilkinson with nicely polished and finished revolvers, which were also some of the best revolvers in the world at that time, and with which an Officer of the British Crown could fancy himself well armed.
Such a revolver was for sale on Gunbroker on 26 April 2011, and it has provenance for a martial family of some repute. It still seems to have excellent fit and finish, which would be true to it's roots, and would make a fine addition to your British revolver collection.
- Created on Monday, 11 March 2013 12:46
The Taiwanese company Autocopter has been building weaponized UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles) since 2007. Their product may not be a Global Hawk carrying Hellfire missiles, but it is still lethal in an up close and personal kind of way.
The Autocopter Gunship is 8 feet long and weighs 55 lbs with empty gas tanks, and is powered by a 8 1/2 hp turbine. With standard tanks, the 60 mph machine could get 30 miles before turning back, and could get to 5000 feet.
The thing that makes it lethal are the two mounted Atchisson 12 gauge automatic shotguns. These guns are made of stainless steel and seem to be very reliable. Fed by 8 round stick mags or 32 round drums, they fire at the relatively slow 300 rounds per minute, so no selector is needed to control auto or semi-auto fire. With the long recoil system, there isn't much recoil, the better to control the helicopter, and they can also be fired upside down, and one is mounted upside down.
The choice of ammunition is buckshot, standard slug round and a British invention, the Frag-12 round. Frag-12's come in many flavors, and the most lethal is the armor piercing round which is a spin stabilized shaped charge warhead, designed to blast into armor plate. This does have the potential to make this bird a troublesome opponent, and changes the possibilities of the hobby helicopter movement. Even though the technical possiblities are quite interesting, it is also disturbing, having just read Daniel Suarez's "Kill Decision". These lethal flying machines have.... I'll let it go at that. You'll enjoy the story, but it may also keep you up at night.
- Created on Sunday, 10 March 2013 16:23
Dynamite guns were developed from 1883 when a Mr. Medford successfully demonstrated a small model of the concept. The desire was to develop a reliable high explosive shell. The artillery of the time used black powder as a propellant, and as the bursting charge in the shell, and sometimes the shock of being fired would detonate the round in the barrel. The big dynamite guns used steam driven air compressors to power their guns, lessening the impact on the unstable charges.
A retired artillery officer, Captain Zalinsky witnessed the Medford trial, and developed the guns for the US. The first 15 inch 3 gun battery was installed at Sandy Hook in 1894, and other installations on the east coast followed, the latest in 1901. The shells for the 15 inch guns were longer than conventional shells and sported fins, the guns possibly not being rifled, and the fuses were electrically fired nitroglycerin. Sounds a little less than stable.
The US Navy got in the act and commissioned the Dynamite Cruiser USS Vesuvius, which was built around a fixed battery of dynamite guns. Being fixed, the ship had to be aimed at the target, but elevation could be varied with the amount of compressed air used, a could land a projectile up to 1 1/2 miles away. A Holland submarine was also fitted with two dynamite guns, one for aerial use, and one for underwater firing
The Sims-Dudley Dynamite Gun was a field gun with 2 1/2 inch barrel and a 10 pound projectile. Since carrying around a steam driven air compressor was out of the question, a charge of powder was fired in the cylinder under the barrel, compressing air for the operation of the gun. This gun was finicky enough that mechanics spent more time fixing the gun than firing it.
These guns were used in anger during the Spanish-American War. The Vesuvius bombarded Santiago at night, and as no noise was associated with the firing of the guns, there was a certain psychological impact on the Spaniards. The Sims-Dudley gun was used, along with Gatlings and Potato Diggers at the Battle of San Juan Hill, where Teddy Roosevelt was less than enthusiastic about the gun. There was somewhat of a psychological effect in this battle too, as the projectile's explosion was delayed about 6 seconds after landing. These guns seem more akin to terror weapons than actual artillery. In any event, their use was soon discontinued, as development of high explosive shells and fuses enabled conventional artillery use them to better effect.
- Created on Saturday, 02 March 2013 13:56
Oerlikon, now a subsidiary of Rheinmetall, builds a self contained, quick firing, 35mm quick firing revolver cannon for shipboard and land base defense. It is a different concept than the standard Phalanx gun used by Allied navies. The 4 chamber revolving belt-fed cannon is more akin to a giant automatic shotgun, than a Gatling gun.
To be sure, hitting missiles that are homing in on your ship is a daunting task. In order to have time to track, identify and hit something that looks like a baseball bat flying 3000 mph you almost have to give up human control, and artificial intelligence is being prepped for the task. Oerlikon, however, has been building anti-aircraft guns for quite a long time, and their solution is a bit different.
The heart of the gun is it's ammunition. The Millennium can fire many different types of ammunition, in order to counter any number of threats, but the Ahead round is the most interesting. Not only can it counter ship killing missiles, but is also effective against land attacks by rocket, artillery or mortar shells. The round is pre-fragmented, and is programmed as it leaves the barrel to separate into 152 spin-stabilized tungsten fragments at the optimum time into the target path of the incoming threat. In less than a second, from 18 to 24 rounds are grouped together forming a metallic cloud that the threat is not likely to survive.
And in the sales pitch, the whole thing is self contained in an easily installed turret. All you need to feed it is electricity to charge it's batteries, a radar input and someone to say "fire!", and you are ready to go.
The following video is the Millennium Gun in action with the Royal Danish Navy, from the FirstSeaLord01's channel
- Created on Saturday, 23 February 2013 14:03
The last remaining DO-17 buried in the Goodwin Sands off Deal in the UK is due to be brought up from the deep in May 2013. The RAF Museum in Hendon has finished plans for bringing the craft up in one piece. After that, the important work starts, that of stabilizing the aluminum and steel machine that had been laying in salt water for 70 years.
The Imperial College Metallurgy Department donated the time for testing and developing a solution that would stabilise the metal fuselage and remove all traces of chloride, and in this day and age, also be environmentally friendly. When this aircraft was built, it was only meant to last for a specific time, and in practice they didn't last long at all, with the RAF hell bent on destroying them. After the war, they couldn't be scrapped fast enough, such that sometimes airframes were just piled up and set alight to get rid of them. Now it is a different time, and many people want to see what's left preserved, if only to see what their grandpa flew in during the war. You can also donate to the project.
Dornier was one hell of a company. Started in the 20's, it was famous for it's flying boats. It survived WW2 and made many successful designs, but withered away in the 90's, being absorbed in many companies, one of which was Fairchild aircraft, builder of the Flying Boxcar and the A10 Warthog. Fairchild has since been absorbed by another company and no Dornier designs are being produced by them. Parts of it's accomplishments live on in medical technology, and one company still manufacturers a seaplane, the Dornier Sea Star.