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Showing most liked content on 07/31/2017 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Mighty_Zuk

    Israeli AFVs

    New turret for the Namer with an integrated APS. Will provide updates as soon as I get home. This is Zuk time!
  2. 2 points
  3. 2 points
    mjmoss

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    Christ, what a question! I shall try and keep it short - there are both political and technical stories running parallel. It had potential, that much is clear. It was pursued over the EM-1 because it was slightly further along the development phase. Once Britain put all their efforts into the EM-2 the project was ambitious, more so than anything else at the time. Calibre was supposed to be selected by a panel of ballistics experts (Ideal Calibre Panel) but another working committee's suggestion of .280 was selected over the ICP's recommended .270 - a mistake. Not that .280 isn't a decent round for what it was intended to do. Politically this is all within the context of the emerging NATO alliance when they didn't know what they were aiming to achieve - standardisation proved to be impossible on all but some ammunition and some equipment. The US, for their own reasons (which are worth a book in themselves) disliked .280 and made concerted efforts (at least in British eyes) to put NATO powers off .280. Meanwhile in the UK the sitting Labour party use EM-2 as a flagship rearmament program, Chruchill's Conservative party against this and believe in preservation of the Anglo-US alliance at all costs. Once Labour lose next election (just 5 months after 'adoption' of EM-2 as the Rifle No.9) the Conservatives move to axe rifle program. Some evidence to suggest Churchill may have used it as a bargaining chip to secure a senior NATO naval command position for UK (this may have occurred during the Jan 52 meeting with Truman). The project stagnated due to US Ordnance unwillingness to compromise and UK political indecision. Add into this a lack of funding and a design which needed more refinement for general production and you have a complicated narrative. That's the summary view and I feel like I have probably left out a lot - its been 18 months since I worked on EM-2 properly, other projects have taken priority. But its a fascinating rifle and its development and downfall are equally interesting. I've not doubt Nate can fill some of the inevitable gaps!
  4. 1 point
  5. 1 point
    roguetechie

    Israeli AFVs

    I like everything about what they're doing here! Even the lack of Spike totally makes sense to me in a sort of "you eat elephants one bite at a time" way. What i mean by this is attempting to integrate spike on top of the APS all in the same relatively small volume and possibly power consumption limitations would have likely added 6-18 months and at least one or two extra zeros to development time and prices. Meanwhile, Moore's law might be rapidly reaching the wall in consumer stuff but properly hardened and certified military computing etc options still seem to have a bit more wiggle room before they hit their wall. What this means to me in this instance is that we're probably very likely to see something spike like show up at worst as a midlife upgrade. At which point, everything about the necessary electronics etc will be cheaper, more robust, and more capable for any given budget. Also, namer looks really F***ing MEAN with that turret, which is AWESOME!
  6. 1 point
    Zyklon

    The Whirlybird Thread

  7. 1 point
    Collimatrix

    Aerospace Pictures and Art Thread

    Rotting fighter aircraft in Russia
  8. 1 point
    mjmoss

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    I'm afraid it's not available electronically at the moment :\ I did suggest it to them. I'm in the process of improving it, more learnt since I finished it 18 months ago. Nate is doing good stuff on the US angle though. Hopefully we can team up and put something together.
  9. 1 point
    mjmoss

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    Well I wrote my Master's dissertation on it, so I've been hands on with the rifle and I've done archival research into UK govt. records. It's difficult to say when exactly it 'died' because it depends on what you take a the final nail in the coffin. The very final death of it was Churchill and the Conservative Party's return to government in late 1951. His meeting with Truman in Jan '52 ended all hopes of progress with the EM-2. But arguably the project stalled when the ammunition compromises began and the US were still disinterested. From an engineering standpoint the rifle needed a lot more work, Nate and I have discussed several times how the EM-1 probably had a better chance of becoming a suitable service rifle. It was a serious contender for unilateral British adoption certainly if we had decided to go it alone (Churchill very much saw the big picture and did not want us to do that). It is possible Canada may have followed us which may have cancelled out some of the production capacity concerns.
  10. 1 point
    Sinking of the Otvazhny on August 30, 1974. Kashin-class guided missile destroyer. The launch of the SA-N-1 Goa anti-aircraft missile inside the hull caused an explosion of the remaining missiles. After 6-hour fire and another explosion of depth charges 19 crew members and 5 cadets were lost. R.I.P.
  11. 1 point
    Shameless self promotion: http://tankarchives.blogspot.ca/2017/07/m4a276w-emcha-with-long-hand.html
  12. 1 point
    Sturgeon

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    I'm going to take minor issue with the part of your thesis that characterizes US production as behind because it focused on forging the receivers. I say this, because the US had gotten extremely good at receiver forgings. You show an image of "M14" receiver production which is highly misleading, as it is in fact an image of the modern Smith Enterprises Inc machining process (from billet) of their M14 reproduction receivers. In reality, the M14 receive was formed from a very close forging. For comparison, here are some images of an original M1 forging: This receiver forging obviously required additional machining to turn it into the finished product, but you can see the level of extreme detail conveyed to the blank by the forge: Even the cutout for the rear sight mechanism, and the feed area are forged straight into the receiver. As well, the details on the underside of the receiver are already beginning to show, such as the hollow where the bolt reciprocates, and the area for the magazine. These forgings lost very little mass to become finished receivers, relative to what other forgings require (compare to the FAL receiver in your post above). In this way, they were extremely well production optimized. Of course, it's true that the receivers still took some considerable machine time to finish (though much less than other forgings), and there were correspondingly efforts to reduce the cost of the weapons. Although M14 manufacturer Harrington and Richardson decided to make their rifles exactly the same way they were making M1s, Winchester and TRW both innovated new ways of turning receiver forgings into complete receivers. Winchester produced M14 receivers automatically, turning forgings into receivers via early NC machines. TRW in particular is notable for their procedure of using high precision forgings which were then cut by enormous chain broaching machines to finished dimensions. Also, the rest of the M14 was production optimized as well. Looking back briefly at the Earle Harvey T25, which had been designed from the ground up to be producible in garages across the United States in the event of nuclear war (no, really), the M14 took a page out of this book as well and was extremely well-suited for distributed production, with almost all other parts besides the barrel, bolt, and receiver able to be cast in the small foundries which were common at the time. In fact, TRW produced only 11 parts for the M14, and outsourced all other parts production to other manufacturers, and were able to offer the M14 to the government at a considerable cost savings as a result ($79.45 per, compared to $95 per for H&R). H&R also subcontracted out most small parts of the rifle.
  13. 1 point
    Collimatrix

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    Question Six: Why was this thing so poorly suited for mass-production? Let's look at the problems of mass-producing small arms in a little more detail. Can you tell it from a javelin? This is the receiver of a Mauser Gewehr 98/K98 rifle. The receiver is responsible for containing the force of the burning propellant, which for a few ten-thousandths of a second is on the order of four tons. The receiver thus needs to be quite strong, and along with the barrel it is the single most expensive portion of the rifle. The receiver of the Mauser rifle is made of a forging of ordnance-grade steel. This means that a billet of steel is heated until it is soft, but not molten, and then mashed in some gigantic mechanical hammers into a rough outline of the final shape like so: After that the forging must be machined or milled. In this step, various machine cutting tools are used to remove excess material. The Mauser is generally held to be the best-engineered of the First World War rifles, but all other rifles from the period were of comparable construction. During the First World War, all major combatants found out that their rifles were simply too damned expensive. War planning had assumed that the next conflict would involve far fewer soldiers than it actually did, and planners had failed to anticipate the number of rifles that were lost or destroyed in the field. All major combatants in the First World War learned this painful lesson, but to the Germans the problem was especially dire, as they were heavily reliant on foreign supplies of the alloys for making ordnance-grade steel. To the Germans, reducing the amount of specialized alloys used in their rifles was a major strategic issue. Most other nations had more reliable supplies of alloy raw materials, but reducing the cost of weapons and time needed to produce weapons was still a major concern, once the tempo and scale of modern warfare was understood. The German solution was the STG-44, née MKb-42(H), which was the culmination of research into cheaper weapons that had been started in the 1930s. The designers had realized that there really wasn't any way to make the barrel cheaper, but they could make the receiver substantially cheaper. The STG-44 achieves the remarkable feat of having no ordnance-grade steel in the receiver whatsoever. Additionally, much of the rest of the receiver was made of stampings. Stampings are steel components made of sheet metal that is bent, cut and formed with hydraulic presses and dies. Stampings are not only faster and cheaper to make than machined forgings (at least for large production runs, for smaller runs they are less economical), but they produce far less waste material that needs to be recycled. Production volume can be increased enormously. The changeover from the milled-receiver PPSh-41 to the stamped PPS-43 [Sturgeon edit: The PPSh-41 has a stamped receiver. I am not sure whether colli intended to say "PPD-40" (which was milled) and "PPSh-41", or something else]* allowed the Soviet Union to double the number of SMGs made per month during WWII. An STG-44 receiver stamping Most post-war small arms development focused on the use of stampings. The Soviets had the greatest success: the AKM was a truly sublime piece of manufacturing engineering. Western designers took a little longer to figure things out; of the first generation of Western combat rifles, only the CETME/G3 had a stamped receiver (though there were many stamped prototypes that simply didn't make it). Also, the receiver stamping of the CETME/G3 is quite a lot more complex than that of the AK, and it is also heavier. Still, while it failed to meet the high standard for production streamlining that the AKM achieved, it was a perfectly competent effort for the era. And HK G3, showing some of the stages of turning raw sheet metal into the finished rifle. Stamping the receiver of an HK rifle is a complex, multi-step process. All that said, the milled Western rifles weren't completely hopeless. While the use of a milled receiver in the FAL and the M14 was basically backwards and primitive by the 1950s, both of these rifles have reasonably small receivers. So, while the steel still needs to be removed from the forging by the lengthy and laborious process of milling it off chip by chip, the total amount of milling that has to be done isn't that great: In the FAL the receiver is kept compact in part because some of the moving parts are housed in the stock. In the M14 the receiver is kept compact because many of the moving parts are outside of the receiver. However, this makes them vulnerable to mud and dust. At the same time, a private firm spun off from an aerospace company called Armalite had a different idea. They constructed their rifle, the AR-10 primarily out of aerospace-grade aluminum and used an absolute minimum of high-grade steel where needed for strength. Aluminum alloys have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel stampings, but in addition to saving weight, they solved the manufacturing problem as well. Aluminum alloys, while more expensive than steel, were not in short or tenuous supply for any major power after World War Two, so they were unlikely to become a chokepoint for rifle production. In addition, aluminum is much softer than steel, which permits much faster machining operations. Thus, the aluminum receiver of the AR-10, while conventionally machined from a forging just like the rifles of the previous generation, did represent a viable alternative to sheet steel stampings for mass production. Mass production is addressed at 3:28 So, you want to know what post-war combat rifle was designed without any thought of streamlined mass production whatsoever? Yep, that's right, the EM-2. Per the official records, the rifle was 35 inches long and had a 24.5 inch barrel. The last inch or so (generously) of the rifle consisted of the buttpad. However, we can also see that at least an inch and a half of receiver wrapped around the barrel past the bolt face: So, the receiver of the EM-2 is at least eleven inches long. The receiver of the FAL and M14 were both about eight inches long. On top of that, the receiver of the EM-2 was much larger and voluminous than that of the FAL or the M14, as it completely encloses the bolt carrier and bolt carrier raceways and return spring, which is not the case in either of those designs. An enormous amount of maching time would be spent in particular on the rear portion of the receiver, which is a large, hollow area where the bolt carrier reciprocates. Much material would need to be removed here, and that would take a large amount of machine time. Furthermore, this would be hard, expensive, ordnance-grade steel. There is no indication whatsoever that this expensive, time-consuming receiver was ever considered an interim design. Indeed, Enfield had already made arrangements with outside contractors to heat treat the gigantic receiver, as they apparently lacked the capacity to do so. The .280 trial models sent to the US for competitive testing were considered "semi-production," and the changes made after the 1950 US trials were extremely minor and did not involve changing the construction of the receiver. Interestingly, there is a British document from 1951 that acknowledges that the EM-2 was more expensive to produce than the FAL. It then proceeds to give a variety of silly excuses for why this is the case (e.g. that it was made to higher standards and was intended to be accurate enough to double as a sniper rifle, and that front-locking weapons are inherently more expensive to make). However, this document declines to give exact costs. It is clear, however, that the EM-2 was really very poorly suited to mass production. *The anecdote about the PPS-43 vs the PPSh-41 is taken directly from the Collector's Grade book on the STG-44. As Sturgeon points out, the PPSh-41 is also stamped, so I have no idea WTF they are actually talking about. Possibly the PPS-43 was simply better production optimized.
  14. 1 point
    Collimatrix

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    But wait, what's this? Unused EM-2 pictures?
  15. 1 point
    Sturgeon

    Bash the EM-2 Thread

    There's quite a bit more to add to SH's only unironic bash thread. Some excerpts from things I've written, starting with the Modern Intermediate Calibers episode on the .280: Two short articles I did on the .280 and NATO rifle competitions: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/02/28/the-return-of-weekly-dtic/ http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/01/28/rifle-competition-us-vs-uk-1950-dtic/ Something from my notes for Light Rifle V - coming soon™: I have never handled an EM-2, but I know four or five people who have not only handled examples, but disassembled them (Those being: Ian McCollum, Matt Moss, Jonathan Ferguson, Trevor Weston, and maybe one or two others I correspond with). It's worth noting that at least three of those people believe that the EM-2 could not have been mass produced economically in the configuration of the test rifles - the receiver was simply too big and complex a workpiece.
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