Tuesday 29 November 2011

Hind Helicopter

My 9 year old son has been playing quite a bit of Battlefield 2 Special Forces these last few days, and felt inspired tonight to draw his favourite helicopter the Mi25 Hind.

Rome, Sweet Rome: Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire ?

It was a hypothetical question that became a long online discussion and now a movie in development: Could a small group of heavily armed modern-day Marines take down the Roman Empire at its height? We talked about the debate with James Erwin, the man who scored a movie writing contract based on his online response, and ran the ideas by Roman history expert Adrian Goldsworthy. Read More


Monday 28 November 2011

This Was Not In The Plan For The Day !

Its fair to say that Saturday wasn't without its stress...

1. New doors I've picked up for the CCKW truck won't fit without me using a crowbar on the body :(

2. A dripping oil leak on the truck, became a flood from a high pressure oil pipe, and I needed to be recovered home :(
(Although on the upside I did save on petrol I suppose)



3. A container with some oil blew over in the wind and splattered on the neighbours path :(

4. A replacement radio I bought off E-Bay for my Peugeot 107, doesn't work... Hey, my day was complete !!

The 'Superbowl' of Machine Gun Shoots

Only in America could you own your own 3" anti-tank gun ! Cool ! I want one :)


HUMOUR - Air Traffic Control

Actual exchanges between pilots and control towers

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"

Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"

Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."

TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet.. How much noise can we make up here?"

Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm f...ing bored!"

Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"

Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored, not f...ing stupid!"


O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."

United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this...I've got the little Fokker in sight."


A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?"

Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.

San Jose Tower Noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able.. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."


A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich , overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."

Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany . Why must I speak English?"

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"


Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"

Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way,after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."

Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"

Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern. We've already notified our caterers."


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: " Frankfurt , Speedbird 206! Clear of active runway."

Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark -- and I didn't land."


While taxiing at London 's Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727..

An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"

Friday 25 November 2011

Richard Johnson: Sketches from our front lines - Afghanistan

This guy is a brilliant sketch artist. Link


Russian Bunker

This link is worth checking out. This old Russian bunker is simply massive ! Would love to visit it. Link


Sunday 20 November 2011

Honestly, I've got my membership card here somewhere ...

This was too good a picture, not to post :) Click on it to see all of it.


List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll

This is a list of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll. It covers the lowest estimate of death as well as the highest estimate, the name of the event, the location, and the start and end of each event. Some events overlap categories. Link

Comment: This casualty listing is quite interesting. Must confess I new knew the Chinese wars had resulted in such a loss of life.

Thursday 17 November 2011

End Of An Era For Derelict 'A1 Lightning' Fighter Jet

Apparently the old Lightning on the A1 is no more :( I wondered what had happened to it... Link
Here's a (rather poor quality) picture I took of it in 1988.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Germany's Corpse Hunter Helping the Lost Dead of WWII Rest in Peace

During battles at the end of World War II, tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians never got a decent burial. For almost 30 years, one man has been finding these bodies and helping them rest in peace. Link

Monday 14 November 2011

War Memorial

The family and I attended a short service at the Warboys village war memorial yesterday. Looking at the long list of those who gave their lives during WW1 I reflected that in a small village the deaths of so many will have touched almost everyone.



Sunday 13 November 2011

Giant poppy installed on Wiltshire hill

A 33ft (10m) poppy placed on a hill in Wiltshire to launch the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal will appear on the BBC's Countryfile programme. Link



Friday 11 November 2011


For ALL those who have died for their country in ANY war..


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true ?'

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgement of his God.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown~

Thankful villages: The places where everyone came back from the wars

The mass slaughter of WW1 1914-18 robbed the UK of a million lives, leaving no part of the country untouched. But there was a tiny handful of settlements where all those who served returned home. Link to the BBC.


Thursday 10 November 2011

Spitfire redux: The WWII guns firing after 70 years buried in peat

An excavation at the site of a 1941 Spitfire crash in a bog in the Irish Republic uncovered huge, remarkably preserved chunks of plane and six Browning machine guns. After 70 years buried in peat could they be made to fire? They certainly could, writes Dan Snow. See the BBC web site for more info. Link

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Tankduels Tali Ihantala 1944

There is some excellent footage of StugIIIs in this Finish film clip.


Tuesday 8 November 2011

Military & Flying Machine Show - Photos

Futher to my blog posting on 7th Aug about the Military & Flying Machine Show I attended on 6th Aug near Upminster, I finally got round to uploading the a bunch of the photos I took that day. I really do like that Hellcat, if I had the cash I would definately get myself one of those !

2011 - Upminster Military Vehicle Show in Aug

Monday 7 November 2011

Battlemech Storage

My son had some of my Battlemechs out recently to play with. Tidying them away last night off one of our collapsable gaming tables (to make room for a game of Space Hulk), I wondered what other people do for storage of their Mechs. Myself I use the following two types of boxes with home-made foam inserts.




Nazi Landmines Block Egypt's Access to Oil and Gas

Egypt is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. The unexploded ordnance left lying in its desert from World War II battles ranks the country right up there with Afghanistan on this dubious list. Every year, Bedouins and farmers come across unexploded mines and shells, and it's not uncommon for undiscovered bombs to explode amid retrieved scrap metal. Link.
Amazing that this stuff is still lying around !


Sunday 6 November 2011

Friday Humour - Late

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals,track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'W' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? Do you have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. At no extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on 'START'…….

Saturday 5 November 2011

BBC History Podcasts

There are some really good podcasts to download off the official website of the BBC History Magazine. Well worth checking out. Link

Thursday 3 November 2011

Russian T70 pulled from a marsh

Its quite amazing what gets recovered out of bogs, and how good the condition is !