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    • By CharlieAlphaVictor
      This may have already been answered, but why are so many modern assault rifles gas-operated, when blowback-operated designs are (generally speaking) simpler/cheaper to manufacture and require less maintenance? I've been doing some research and can't seem to figure out why for the life of me. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
    • By Toxn
      This is the competition entry thread.
       
      Please submit your complete entries here (all entries will be judged complete when judging begins in the first week of November) and keep the other competition thread for discussion and chatter.
       
      Once judging is complete I will make a post here to discuss the entries and announce a winner.
       
      Best of luck!
       
      Update: final submissions should be in hand by the 22nd of November 2020.
    • By Toxn
      You are an engineer at an Italian locomotive and tractor-making company in early 1943. The writing is on the wall for the Italian army in North Africa, with a lot of equipment having been lost and the enemy on the brink of kicking the axis out of Tunisia and then heading across the Mediterranean. In short, things are looking more than a little desperate. 
       
      However, all is not lost. Il Duce himself has stepped in and, with the assistance of the Germans, procured both some of their finest captured vehicles for use in the upcoming defense of the homeland. Since many of these vehicles have been... gently used, and the existing firms like Ansaldo are flooded with orders, your firm has been asked to work on them in order to bring them up to the standards demanded by modern warfare. 
       
      In addition to these vehicles, the Germans have also graciously agreed to sell weapons from their existing stock of captured equipment, as well as providing production licenses for some of their more modern equipment. You have also been given permission to work with local weapons manufacturers in order to modify existing artillery to suit your needs. Italian automotive and engine manufacturers are similarly available to help. Finally; your firm's experience in locomotives and tractors means that you can modify hulls and put together turrets and turret rings. You can also produce castings (although not very large ones) and weld armour plates.
       
      Your job, which you have no choice but to accept, is to choose a vehicle from among the captured stock being offered for sale, and propose a series of plausible fixes in order to give it a fighting chance against the American and British equipment currently in the field (specifically light tanks and light anti-tank weapons).
       
      It is not foreseen that any of these vehicles will be able to plausibly take on modern medium or heavy designs head-on. Instead, what is wanted are general, implementable improvements to the characteristics of the chosen vehicle. These improvements should be aimed at making these vehicles more useful in the initial battles which are foreseen taking place against airborne and landing forces, in general cooperation with infantry, and as scouts.
       
      The submission should include one or more drawings or blueprints (at least a side view of the vehicle, but preferably a 3-point view and isometric view), a description of the modified vehicle, a description of how the modifications would be accomplished and a description of how the modifications would improve the design overall. The text of the submission should short and descriptive rather than long and exhaustive, and should not exceed 1000 words in total. Images may be photoshopped using existing pictures.
       
      Judging will be done on the basis of plausibility and effectiveness, with innovative solutions being encouraged in order to get the most bang for buck out of the base vehicle. Beyond implementation, the fixes should prioritise combat effectiveness while also improving reliability, crew ergonomics, communication, mobility and protection as much as possible.
       
      The foreign vehicles available for modification are:
      Renault R35 (already in service) Hotchkiss H35/39 Somua S35 (already in use for training purposes) T-26 BT-5 T-28 (only available in very small numbers, so need to be extremely effective) Panzer II Ausf.C  
      The foreign weapons immediately available for purchase are:
      15mm ZB-60 25mm Puteaux and Hotchkiss 3.7cm KPÚV vz. 34/Pak 34 (t) 3.7cm ÚV vz. 38/KwK 38(t)
      3.7cm Pak 36 4.0 cm Pak 192 (e) 45mm M1937 (53-K) 4.7cm KPÚV vz. 38/Pak 38 (t) 47mm APX 7.5cm Pak 97/38 7.62 cm F.K.297(r) and  7.62 cm PaK 39(r) 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43  
      Licenses are also available for the manufacture of foreign engines (Maybach HL62 TRM, Maybach HL120 TRM and Praga Typ TNHPS/II), periscopes, sights, radios, cupolas and automotive subassemblies. All foreign vehicle weapons, subassemblies and components are available for reverse engineering and manufacture.
       
      IMPORTANT NOTE: This competition hasn't been finalised, and is waiting on your input! Vote to participate by giving this topic a 'controversial' (grapefruit-induced tears being the only currency of value), and if we get enough participants we'll pull the trigger. Ask any questions you want below, and when/if the competition goes forwards I will make a new thread for entries.
       
      Edit: thanks to excellent feedback, the competition proposal has been somewhat edited. If you want an idea of what my mindset is here, read up on the battle of Gela (bearing in mind that the wikipedia entry is shite) and ask how much better the counter-attack could have gone if the Italian vehicles had been equipped with radios and had the ability to move faster than jogging speed.
       
      Edit 2: since I failed to mention this above - this is not a one-man, one-entry sort of competition (although I'm not keen on the ten-men, one entry approach either).
      If you have two good ideas then you can submit twice. The only rules are not to test my patience and to keep it within the bounds of good taste.
    • By Toxn
      So I got a request recently from {NAME REDACTED} as to whether we have a how-to guide or something for competitions. After a few moments of bitter, bitter laughter at the decade-plus of my life that I've spent cobbling together things that can maybe, sort-of, squint-your-eyes produce a facsimile of a realistic vehicle, I thought I'd share my process:
       
       
      Note: I was half-right - we definitely have supplementary info for aspiring pretend tank designers pinned to this very board.
       
      Finally, I'm inviting our forum grognards and past winners to share their process for folk that haven't been here since before the last ice age, so that all can benefit.
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