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Found 5 results

  1. Part 6 of a multi-part series. Some kind of goofy mutant and an America-mobile. A duck and a ferret. Saracen Ratel 20. Eland 90, aka the Noddy car. Eland 60, sans 60mm mortar. Crazypants Italian armoured car. I honestly have no idea which end is the front and which end is the back. Granddaddy armoured car. Our first attempt at a locally-made armoured car. This is where we caught the wheeled death trap bug. Attempt the second. The Boys anti-tank rifle is missing. Attempt the third. The Brits had finally gotten tired of the 2 pounder, so of course we snapped them up and stuck them into our wheeled death traps. Attempt 4. Now we're really getting into it. I think that that's a 6-pounder, but I could be wrong. The G6. This is what happens if you let us work on the same thing for too long. Eventually you end up with a house-sized monster armed with a howitzer.
  2. Part 5 of a multi-part series. This one's got the goods. Sherman and firefly. Early crusader. Early Valentine. The British really went through a phase where they slapped 2 pounders onto everything. Father. Son. Holy ghost. Comet, aka Hipster Centurion. Centurion, aka The entire History of South African tanks post-WW2. T-shirt cannon Churchill. Combat engineers get no respect. This thing is tiny and has an insane steering system. Somehow this thing is even smaller. Those twin barrels are for a flamethrower of some sort, because the Italians were world-class optimists.
  3. The Joburg war museum (now Ditsong museum of military history) is a bit of an odd beast. Located right next to the Joburg Zoo, it's sort of small and kind of schizo in terms of content. It's also partly a monument to the fallen, partly a conference/events venue and partly a warehouse for all the odds and ends that the country has collected over the years and isn't sure what to do with. Anyway, I went there recently with my son and brought back tonnes of photos. These will be dumped around the forum in the appropriate places (tanks, planes, big guns and small arms), with this thread serving as an overview. The entrance is like the rest of the place: tucked away a bit and kind of pokey. A few metres away, though, is an impressive monument to the British dead from the second Boer war. Nothing screams 'empire' like crushing your enemies and then putting up a huge shrine to your own war dead in their former city. The museum is divided into a few big halls, some narrow glass-fronted galleries, an open park area and a central conference venue. One thing which should be noted is that two of the galleries do not allow photography. The interior pictures from these halls posted below are merely accurate replicas made from memory and a bunch of 1:72 models I happened to have lying around. Brink Hall from the front and back. It has a number of aircraft and related gear, as well as stuff related to the Boer war and First World War. The Brink Hall is pretty much the first thing you're going to wander into, as its close to the entrance. Between the two halls is a little artillery display. From here you can either go right to the open park area or straight into the Adler Hall. The Adler Hall from a few angles. This one is dedicated to small arms, uniforms, a POW exhibit and just about everything else you can cram into a small hall and still fit. It also has a few vehicles (M3 light, Sexton, M4) that are opened up and/or have stairs so that you can look into them. Past the uniform exhibit (which snakes around the sides and back of the hall) is a rather random exhibit on Cuito and the Border war. The cut-up Ratel in there has a driver's station with a display above it. The display shows grainy footage from the battle on a loop. Just past the artillery display thingy there are a few naval objects on display. The most interesting is probably this Nazi mini-sub which we got from who-knows-where. The placement of the sub did something strange to my phone camera, so there are no photos with it in perfectly focus. Most of the outdoor park stuff is going into other posts, so I'm just putting this there. These are the only two things that kids are allowed to clamber all over in the museum, and the little tykes seem to have stripped them down to bare metal over the years in doing so. I actually have lots of photos of these, as my little one was very insistent on spending time driving the jeep/flying the plane. All in all: a decent little museum, and home to a few interesting odds and ends that I'll put up in other places. Edit: Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
  4. So on my recent trip to Japan (protip: don't fly for 19 hours with your kids), I took some time out from family to visit Yushukan museum. To bring you all up to speed, this place is the museum attached to the controversial shrine that Japan and China are in a perpetual snit over. The shrine itsef is actually pretty anodyne, if fairly imposing and charmless. The museum, however, is pretty fucking sinister. Anyway, I'm sure you didn't click this just to see me repost content, so here are my impressions. 1. Revisionism deluxe If you've gotten the impression by now that this place has an agenda, you are absolutely correct. Japanese soldiers are always described in glowing terms ('honourable actions', 'noble warriors', 'honoured dead' etc.), war crimes are ignored whenever they aren't completely rewritten as laudable or necessary (Manchuria is described as an operation to bring regional stability, for instance) and the Emperor was a saint. It gets to the point of being almost admirably ballsy, such as the train from the Burma railway parked at the entrance without any comment whatsoever. Or when the brochure specifically highlights a Japanese flag signed by 25 of the most well-known ‘alleged’ war criminals as a key exhibit. In terms of the content of the museum, it is at pains to remind the viewer about Japan’s glorious martial past (glossing over the whole civil war aspect), how it was pushed into a hopeless war by the perdifery of the US/colonial powers, and how the noble sacrifice of its people/Emperor lead to... something, I guess? Sadly, a lot of the place is off-limits to cameras so I can’t show you some of the truly egregious stuff. Finally, the amount of memorialisation gets to sort of strange levels. There are statues, displays and plaques commemorating the brave souls who died in the war – including, and I can’t make this stuff up, a special statue depicting the sailors who died testing a suicide diving suit that the empire was working on in its final hours. There is an entire wing of the museum dedicated to photos and mementos of dead soldiers, sailors and airmen. There is also a section devoted to providing bibliographical accounts (including displays of uniforms and equipment) of the men – again eliding any reference to crimes or atrocities. 2. Suicidepalooza Part of this focus on heroic struggle seems to be to include every possible reference to suicidal actions that it can. Every field gun displayed, for instance, helpfully included a note on how the crew had fought to the last man. This also extended to suicide weapons. The museum has an Ohka sitting up in the hall (which I wasn’t supposed to photograph, but did anyway), a Kaiten at the centre of the same room, a Shinyo sitting to the side and a model of Kairyu sitting next to it. Each helpfully notes the exact number of airmen/sailors who perished during testing or use. Finally, the Zero sitting in the entranceway and the Judy sitting in the hall both make mention of their later careers as planes intended for ‘special mission’ purposes. There was also an interview with one of the surviving kamikaze pilots playing on repeat in the main hall. My suspicion here is that the obsessive focus on suicide craft has some special meaning to the Japanese nationalists who effectively fund and run the place that I am unable to grasp. This is interesting, as I’ve generally found that the best possible way to get people to contemplate the insanity of total industrial warfare is to talk about Japanese suicide craft and the reasoning that went into their creation. Generally, once you’ve explained this stuff in detail to a person they’re, like, 50% of the way to either total pacifism or a wholehearted embrace of America’s post-war role as the most munificent empire in history. 3. Odds and sods Every museum has some interesting little bits and pieces hidden away, and this one was no different. For me, it was seeing the astonishingly crude nature of pre-Edo bows (which were, sadly, verboten for purposes of photography). One of them was literally a bronze-capped branch (complete with copious knots) about 25mm in diameter at the handle and steamed into the familiar yumi shape. The others were various iterations of brutalist single-piece bowering, culminating in a square cross-section bow that looks like a direct ancestor of the modern Japanese bow. For the small arms nerds, there are a few machineguns and cannons to look at. There was also a single, lonely Chi-Ha to give the armour nerds some succour. Finally, outside of the museum there was an example of a weirdo-gun: a bronze cannon which was taken in an re-rifled at the end of its life. 4. Conclusion All in all, I found the visit interesting but a bit ominous. Worse, I fear that this sort of thing is more portentous in terms of where Japan is headed than anyone wants to admit. I guess I can only hope that the country, which seems to be going through some sort of transition, doesn’t begin indulging in its worst tendencies again as pax Americana wanes.
  5. EnsignExpendable

    Moving the Independent

    I just came across this video, where the British Independent tank is moved for an exhibition. Man, that suspension is in terrible shape. Track links have seized up, the springs have seized up, and that horrible groaning sound when it moves is indicative of some bigger problems. Yuri Pasholok & Co. complained that the T-35 that moved under its own power was in horrible condition, but this thing is just a whole new ball game.
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