Tuesday 31 January 2012

WW II Beer Flights

In the lighter moments of World War II, the Spitfire was used in an unorthodox role: bringing beer kegs to the men in Normandy .
During the war, the Heneger and Constable brewery donated free beer to the troops. After D-Day, supplying the invasion troops in Normandy with vital supplies was already a challenge. Obviously, there was no room in the logistics chain for such luxuries as beer or other types of refreshments. Some men, often called "sourcers", were able to get wine or other niceties "from the land" or rather from the locals. RAF Spitfire pilots came up with an even better idea. The Spitfire Mk IX was an evolved version of the Spitfire, with pylons under the wings for bombs or tanks. It was discovered that the bomb pylons could also be modified to carry beer kegs. According to pictures that can be found, various sizes of kegs were used. Whether the kegs could be jettisoned in case of emergency is unknown. If the Spitfire flew high enough, the cold air at altitude would even refresh the beer, making it ready for consumption upon arrival. A variation of this was a long range fuel tank modified to carry beer instead of fuel.
The modification even received the official designation Mod. XXX. Propaganda services were quick to pick up on this, which probably explains the "official" designation.
Mod. XXX tank being filled.
As a result, Spitfires equipped with Mod XXX or keg-carrying pylons were often sent back to Great-Britain for "maintenance" or "liaison" duties. They would then return to Normandy with full beer kegs fitted under the wings. Typically, the British Revenue of Ministry and Excise stepped in, notifying the brewery that they were in violation of the law by exporting beer without paying the relevant taxes. It seems that Mod. XXX was terminated then, but various squadrons found different ways to refurbish their stocks. Most often, this was done with the unofficial approval of higher echelons. In his book "Dancing in the Skies", Tony Jonsson, the only Icelander pilot in the RAF, recalled beer runs while he was flying with 65 Squadron. Every week a pilot was sent back to the UK to fill some cleaned-up drop tanks with beer and return to the squadron. Jonsson hated the beer runs as every man on the squadron would be watching you upon arrival. Anyone who made a rough landing and dropped the tanks would be the most hated man on the squadron for an entire week.
The Spitfire had very little ground clearance with the larger beer kegs. In his book "Typhoon Pilot", Desmond Scott also recalls Typhoon drop tanks filled with beer but regretted that it acquired a metallic taste. Less imaginative techniques involved stashing bottles wherever space could be found on the aircraft, which included the ammunition boxes, luggage compartment or even in parts of the wing, with varying results. Champagne bottles in particular did not react well to the vibrations they were submitted to during such bootlegging trips.

Sunday 29 January 2012

F-35B on the USS Wasp

Some very cool footage here of the new F-35B (Lightning II) doing trial take-off and landings on the USS Wasp. The sheer size of the door that opens above the lift fan is the thing that surprised me the most. - -

Saturday 28 January 2012

King Tiger Video

Stumbled across some more video of the only working King Tiger (or Tiger II) taken at the French museum 'Musée des Blindésat' at Saumur. Never been there myself, but it's definitely a place I'd like to visit.

Raymond Aubrac: How I tricked the Gestapo

The capture of French Resistance hero Jean Moulin is one of the country's darkest chapters of the war. The last surviving Resistance leader, Raymond Aubrac, recalls that night and the audacious escape that followed. Link -

Monday 23 January 2012

Broadband Speed Test

Nothing to do with gaming or the main subject of this blog, but I thought I'd share this link with you to a good Broadband Speed Test site that I use to monitor what speeds I'm getting.

HMS Victory 'set to be recovered' from seabed

The remains of a 300-year-old warship are to be raised from the sea bed, according to reports. The wreck of HMS Victory, a predecessor of Nelson's famous flagship, was found near the Channel Islands in 2008. Link to BBC web site.

Sunday 22 January 2012

MVT Area Meeting + Truck Problem

The MVT Area meeting I wrote about on the 12th Jan went ahead, and was quite a success I feel with 26 (including myself) turning up. Ratified a constitution and talked about forthcoming events (shows and the like) along with ideas for a 'Spring Run' out in our vehicles. Talking of which the group owns a real mix, with a varied range of Jeeps, CCKWs, Motorbikes, Landrovers, FV432s, and some ex Warsaw Pact Russian stuff. On a personal note when I last took the truck out it didn't warm up at all, so, suspecting a problem with the Thermostat, I bought a replacement one this last week along with a new top hose.

Attempting to fit it this weekend, I discovered why the truck has been running cold in this cold weather.... there was no Thermostat fitted !!! :(

The question gentlemen, is why....? Currently seeking advise from those in the know on the HMV Forum, as the new thermostat doesn't seem to fit very well, and I don't want to bolt the Thermostat Bell Housing down until I've sussed things out.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Inside story of the UK's secret mission to beat Gaddafi

British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground - and on the quiet - special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. This is the previously untold account of the crucial part they played.  Link

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

This is brilliant !

Church Ladies With Typewriters

These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:
 The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals..
 The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water.
 The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus.
 Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
 Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you .
 Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help .
 Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. 
 For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs . 
 Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get. 
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.
So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
 A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.. 
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?'
Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled.
Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
 The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
 Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
 The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church.
Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
 Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM .
All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
 Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door. 
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM.
The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
 Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday:"I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours." ___________________________________

Monday 16 January 2012

Ship Launches - Good & Bad

Some of these are great fun ! Especially the first one ! (if you like getting wet that is)

Falklands veteran meets Argentine 'enemy' 30 years on

Thirty years after the Falklands War, a British veteran prepares to travel across the world to meet the Argentine pilot who he shot out of the sky. Link to the BBC.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Tiger Tank - Replica

The replica Tiger I tank made made by a (Hungarian ?) company called ​​Rondo-S is quite an astonishing piece of work. This is no conversion of an existing vehicle such as the T34 used in the film Saving Private Ryan, but a bottom-up build of a vehicle to look externally just like the real thing. Awesome ! The company have their own U-Tube channel which is well worth a look. http://www.youtube.com/user/rondos63#g/u - -

Thursday 12 January 2012

F16 Low & Fast

We like low fast passes, and this is a good one :) - -

Inaugural Meeting Of The Huntingdon & District Area of the Military Vehicle Trust (MVT)

Regular follows of my ramblings will know I purchased my WW2 CCKW 352 in the end of July last year. At the time I joined the Military Vehicle Trust (MVT), which is as the name suggests, is a club for military vehicle owners/enthusiasts. The Trust has a network of area groups dotted all over the country, however where I live seems to be somewhat of a black spot without a group within easy travelling distance. Anyway, I've stuck my head up above the parapet and started a local group. Our inaugural meeting is 19:30 tonight at the Montague Club in Huntingdon. I sent out 57 letters to people within a 40 mile radius just before X-Mas, and thus far about 20 have responded to say they will be along tonight. It will be interesting to see how many actually turn up...

Tuesday 10 January 2012

RAF veteran who flew secret mission told it’s too dangerous to sit in Spitfire

A 91-year-old former RAF pilot who flew Spitfires in the Second World War was told he could not sit in one of the fighters at a museum because it was too dangerous. Link -

Saturday 7 January 2012

Battlemech Drawing

Back in the early 1990s I used to play a huge amount of Battletech, and one of my gaming circle at that time was a talented artist. As a favour he did this drawing for me of my favourite 3025 era Mech from House Steiner, the Banshee 3S standing triumphant over an Atlas of one my friends, from House Kurita.


For rent: One WWII U-boat bunker

Two government authorities are in conflict over a huge World War II submarine bunker near the northern German city-state of Bremen, which is to be rented out for commercial use. Link -

Sunday 1 January 2012

German Tank Factory Vids

It never ceases to amaze me what just pops up on U-Tube. The first vid shows PIII and StugIII production, the second shows stills of Tiger Tank assembly. There are some simply massive jigs and fixtures in use. - - -