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Sturgeon's House


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Everything posted by Walter_Sobchak

  1. If they could figure out a way to make a tank suspension out of Beleville washers, anything is possible.
  2. From https://history.army.mil/books/Studies/sunell/sunell.htm, thought it was relevant to the current conversation. General Sunell: Well, General [Robert J.] Baer was the tank program manager for a long time, and he had a very close relationship with Fort Knox. The reason I can discuss the tank program is because I left the Armored Reconnaissance Scout Vehicle (ARSV) task force and became the deputy program manager for the XM1 tank where I worked for General Baer. General Baer, in effect, said, "This is what all these different items cost on a tank, and I have a $507,000 ceiling for the XM1 tank." And he said, "If you really want to add that to the tank, here's what a fender costs; here's what a machine gun costs. Now which one do you want me to take off, because I cannot exceed this cost ceiling?" Everybody understood that. General Starry and General Baer traveled together and then General McEnery came in. He did the same thing; he kept the program going. There was some criticism of the tank, and General Lynch came out very strongly as the commandant supporting the tank. His famous message was, "If you can't support the tank, keep your mouth shut and at least don't join the hostiles," if I recall his words. The tank went through then. General [Donald M.] Babers became the program manager, and we always kept an extremely close relationship with Fort Knox. The program manager and the commandant were not enemies; they worked together. That kept that program going. Major Pirnie: In other words, there were two aspects. One was the close cooperation with the Program Management Office [PMO] in Fort Knox, which included personal contact with the officers involved, extending over several changes in personnel. The second aspect was tying it to a budget requirement. General Sunell: Yes. Major Pirnie: It's perhaps a little unfortunate we have to use the budget in that fashion, but it does compel decisions. Wouldn't it be better if we worked with effectiveness criteria? General Sunell: Well, this went back to the MBT70 [Main Battle Tank-70] when we had a joint program with the Germans. That tank was coming along, but we had so many additional dollars tacked on to it that Congress accused the Army of "gold plating," and the program was stopped. Everybody knew we needed a new tank program. The Congress specifically stated that the Army could have a tank program, but it must be below a specific cost ceiling. Every time we went to testify in Congress, we were required to go back to that number ... that basic number. Even today, Brig. Gen. Peter M. McVey, who used to be the program manager for tank systems and is now responsible for all combat vehicles, must go back and trace the cost to the 1972 dollars�$507,000 a copy. Major Pirnie: How wise was it for Congress to set that standard? Did that help or hurt the program? General Sunell: It certainly didn't hurt the program at the time. We stayed under budget, and we had the support of the Congress. We didn't have runaway costs. It allowed the program manager to budget within those dollar figures. But in one place it did hurt the program. We knew at that time that we wanted an underarmor auxiliary power unit that cost $35,000 in today's dollars, probably about $15,000 in dollars in that day, but we couldn't do it. We included the power unit as a Pre-Planned Product Improvement program. But if we could have taken the dollars and put it in then, in the 1970s, it would have cost us half as much as to go back and add it to the program. The second thing we always wanted and needed was a redundant sight for the commander. By that I mean an independent sight for the commander, now called the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV). This allows the commander of the tank to search a portion of the battlefield and the gunner to look at a different portion of the battlefield. If the commander sees a target out there, he hits a switch and the gunner automatically slews to that target. We wanted that capability, but we couldn't do it because we couldn't exceed that ceiling. Now the commander and the gunner are looking through the same sights, and we really would have liked to have had the commander's independent sight, but we couldn't do that. We saved dollars at that time, but it's going to cost us big bucks to go back and do that now. Major Pirnie: In other words, setting the ceiling had the ironic result of increasing the cost of the vehicle. General Sunell: Yes. It increases the cost of the vehicle when you have a pre-planned product improvement.
  3. Modern tanks are expensive. Comparing the Abrams to the cost of earlier tanks is not very useful. Perhaps a comparison of the costs of the Abrams versus other third generation post war tanks would be appropriate?
  4. So long Rutger https://variety.com/2019/film/obituaries-people-news/rutger-hauer-dead-dies-blade-runner-co-star-1203278050/amp/?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR0Bep6o72NpURTN47ZPRa3CDBaRdDsFAEkxoBDPsmZT4FSau9VacdyOe7g
  5. This is probably a lot closer to what a Panzer 46 vehicle would have looked like than most of the crap people imagine.
  6. Ah, I didn't notice that error. Based on the bibliography in the Haynes book, I think I know where he came up with the MS-2 and MS-3. They are described in John Milson's book "Russian Tanks 1900-1970". The title should give you an idea of how old that book is. Why he would include such an outdated book in his research is a bit mystifying. I don't mean to bash on John Milson, his book was pretty awesome....in 1970. We have learned a bit since then. The only Russian authors he lists in his bibliography are ones that have been translated into English, so pretty much just Baryatinskiy and Artem Drakbin. As far as other older books in his bibliography, he lists Zaloga and Grandsen's "Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War II" published in 1984. That title does not mention the MS-2 or MS-3, so it's fair to say the record concerning those vehicles was corrected long ago and somehow Healy missed it when writing his Haynes manual.
  7. Why can't Trump just go make friends with the Iranians? Art of the deal.
  8. Speaking of the T-34, I just got the Haynes manual on it by Mark Healy. All in all, I like the Haynes books. They are a handy reference and have more info than say, the Osprey New Vanguard titles. Of course, quality varies from book to book a little. I recently got the Challenger II book by Dick Taylor, it's really quite good.
  9. Now Iran is basically calling Trump a retard. Iran’s president says the White House is ‘afflicted by mental retardation’
  10. Trump has gone from "flirting with quagmire" to just plain flirting now. MIGA!
  11. I just saw the same thing from ABC News. Seems Trump reversed course against the advice of Bolton and Pompeo.
  12. While I agree that the Iranian military lags far behind the US in terms of modern equipment and capabilities, I would not be so confident in the outcome of such a conflict. It all depends on what goals the US sets as "victory" and how much of a commitment the US is willing to make. Also, popular support for such a war in the US is going to remain really low unless Iran does something absolutely egregious, meaning that the US military will be very casualty adverse. Back in 2003 I was opposed to the Iraq war primarily on political and moral grounds. I had assumed that if the war actually happened, it would be carried out competently. For me, the biggest surprise was how poorly the whole thing was carried out. Do not assume that US warmakers actually know what they are doing.
  13. This video is not specifically about the Sherman, but considering who is giving the lecture, I figured I would post it here.
  14. That's pretty much my understanding of the situation. Teledyne was working with Renk by the late 1970's to get a Renk transmission into their "Super M60". So I'm not sure if Teledyne pitched the Renk transmission to the Israelis, or if the Israelis picked the Renk transmission independently.
  15. They tried to make an Easy Eight out of an M4A4? They even added onto the front hull armor to make it look like a large hatch hull and put a bigger bustle on the rear of the turret. Weird.
  16. I generally enjoy Red Letter Media, but I want to take this opportunity to disagree with them regarding Star Trek, the Motion Picture. Not too long ago, they posted a video arguing that Star Trek the Motion Picture was good. They are wrong. It is not good. It's a boring mess of a film. It's a tedious slog of special effects and tired plot elements with far too few character moments. The film is so bad it actually makes poor Leonard Nemoy say the word "oriface" as his character goes through a giant space asshole in a rocket powered astronaut suit. Here is what he had to say regarding the film.
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