Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HMS Vindictive

Improved Birmingham-Class cruiser built by Harland and Wolff at Belfast under an Emergency War Programme and was ordered in July 1917. She was laid down on 8th December 1917 and was intended to be named Cavendish, but on selection to be converted for use as an aircraft carrier was renamed.
This cruiser was launched on 18th December 1918 and the 5th RN warship to carry the name Vindictive. Her conversion involved removal of 3 of her 6in guns and the fitting of a 215 ft landing deck aft with another forward measuring 100 ft. The ship carried six or eight aircraft, depending on their type. Build was completed on 19th June 1919.
In 1925 the ship was again converted and reverted to use as a cruiser in 1929. The forward hangar was retained and a catapult with crane for recovery were fitted aft. After 11 years use as a cruiser yet another conversion was authorised and the ship was converted for use as a Cadet Training Ship.
She was disarmed and modified to provide the facilities for training of Cadets. As a result her use during WW2 was limited to support duties.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Cook Interceptor

The favorable performance of an eight wheel (8x8) vehicle developed by the Cook Brothers of Los Angeles, California resulted in a design study to adapt the chassis as a 3 inch gun motor carriage. The design utilized the 3 inch gun mount M4 developed for the 3 inch gun motor carriage M5. The new vehicle was designated as the 3 inch gun motor carriage T55 and was popularly known as the "Cook Interceptor". As originally proposed, the vehicle had two engines, one in front and one in the rear, with each engine driving one four wheel bogie. In the final design, both engines were installed at the rear. Steering was with the aid of a hydraulic booster and was accomplished by turning the entire front bogie about a center pivot point.
Earlier wheeled carriages for the 3 inch gun had been considered. The first was the previously mentioned T7 which was a modified version of the armored car T13. The second was the 3 inch gun motor carriage TIS which proposed to mount a 3 inch gun on a special Ford, four wheel drive, chassis. Later plans changed the special Ford chassis to a six wheel drive version. However, the project was dropped completely in October 1941 and the two T55 series vehicles were the only wheeled 3 inch gun motor carriages actually constructed.
Tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground revealed that the cross-country mobility of the Cook vehicle was inferior to that of a full track tank destroyer such as the T49 then under test. Both the T55 and the T55E1 were canceled without further production.

More images & info @ Air, Land & Sea

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Empress of Britain

The RMS Empress of Britain was an ocean liner built between 1928 and 1931 by John Brown shipyard in Scotland and owned by Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. This ship — second of three CP vessels named Empress of Britain — provided scheduled trans-Atlantic passenger service from spring to autumn between Canada and Europe from 1931 until 1939. This Empress was distinguished by the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) prefix in her name while in commercial service with Canadian Pacific.
In her time, she was the largest, fastest, and most luxurious ship between England and Canada. She was torpedoed on 28 October 1940 by U-32 and sank. At 42,348 gross tons, she was the largest liner lost during the Second World War and the largest ship sunk by a U-boat (Wiki).

Thursday, November 25, 2010


From the "Vie à la Campagne" revue, published by Hachette

via Vintage Poster

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Standard Gauge

Images of Italeri's 1/35 scale Fiat Autoblinda AB 40 Ferroviaria:
The Autoblinda 40 (AB 40) was an Italian armored car built in small numbers in 1940.
Armament consisted of two 8 mm machine guns in a turret. During production a need for heavier armament was envisioned and so the AB 40 was redesigned as the AB 41 which was the same vehicle except for a new turret with a 20 mm autocannon. Most of the 24 AB 40s that had been built were then converted to AB 41s.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mechanical Horse

In 1934, Scammell produced the 3-wheeled 'Mechanical Horse', designed by Oliver North to replace horses in rail, postal and other delivery applications.
This featured automatic carriage coupling and the single front wheel could be steered through 360 degrees. It was sold in 3- and 6-ton versions.
The 3-tonner was powered by a 1,125 cc side-valve petrol engine and the 6-tonner by a 2,043 cc engine. Karrier had introduced a similar vehicle, the 'Cob', four years earlier. In 1948, the 'Horse' was replaced with streamlined 'Scarab'.
From 1937, a Citroën Traction Avant -powered version was made under licence in France, by Chenard-Walcker-FAR, known as the 'Pony Mécanique'. This continued in production, in various versions, until 1970.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Australian Gothic

Art deco style decoration roof top of the Manchester Unity building,
220 Collins Street (Cnr Swanston Street), Melbourne
Built 1932
Architect: Marcus Barlow

Photo by Chris&Steve @ Flickr

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flying Youth

By Gustav Klutsis, 1934

Not so happy picture as at seems, considering the fate of both the artist and the 8-engine plane pictured above (and below):
ANT-20 Maxim Gorky smaller brother, the ANT-20bis aka PS-124, flew in 1938. After four years in service, on December 14, 1942, it too crashed after the pilot allowed a passenger to take his seat momentarily and the passenger apparently disengaged the automatic pilot, sending the ship into a nosedive from an altitude of 500 m (1,500 ft) and killing all 36 on board.
Poster via x ray delta one @ Flickr

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Italy was the first country in the world to build freeways, the first one being the Autostrada dei Laghi (Autostrada of the Lakes), from Milan to Varese, built in 1921 and finished in 1924. This system of early motorways was extended in the early 1930s with the Autostrade Milano-Bergamo, Naples-Pompeii south to Naples, Florence-Sea, north to Florence, Bergamo-Brescia, Turin-Milan, Venice-Padua.
Marcello Nizzoli, poster for Lampo

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moscow, 1937

Frunze Military Academy building, designed by Lev Rudnev and Vladimir Muntz (see War & Navy Commissariat).
Decorative tank was demolished in 1941. Lives of many Academy graduates were destroyed much earlier, during the Great Purges.
Photograph by Ivan Shagin

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Younsters and Models

Velser Youth Air Club, c. 1938

HM-12 Tokkel at the 1947 Bowden Trophy

Originally uploaded by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden @ Flickr

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Steyr Goes to War

After the anschluss of Austria, the Steyr "Baby" streamline compact car has been converted into a Model 250 Kübelwagen (small personnel transport).
It retained its conventional layout with rear drive and front-mounted 1158cc water-cooled boxer engine. Suspension and gearbox were altered.
Between 1938 and 1940, 1200 Steyr 250 cars were produced for the German Army.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

MAS Torpedo Boats

Motoscafo Armato Silurante (Italian: "Torpedo Armed Motorboat"), commonly abbreviated as MAS was a class of fast torpedo armed vessel used by the Regia Marina (the Royal Navy of Italy) during World War I and World War II. MAS were essentially motorboats with displacements of 20-30 tonnes (depending on the class), a 10 man crew, and armament composed of two torpedoes, machine guns and occasionally a light gun.
MAS were widely employed by Règia Marina during World War I in 1915-1918. Models used were directly derived from compact civilian motorboats, provided with petrol engines which were compact and reliable (characteristics which were not common at the time) . They were used not only in the anti-submarine patrol role, but also for daring attacks against major units of the Austro-Hungarian Navy.
The greatest success of Italian MAS was the sinking of the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent István off Pula on June 10, 1918 by a boat commanded by Luigi Rizzo. MAS boats later engaged in the Second Battle of Durazzo in October 1918.
* * *
Italian MAS continued to be improved after the end of World War I, thanks to the availability of Isotta Fraschini engines. The MAS of World War II had a maximum speed of 45 knots, two 450 mm torpedoes and one machine gun for anti-aircraft fire. In 1940 there were 48 MAS500-class units available.
Notable war actions performed by MAS include the torpedoing of the Royal Navy C-class cruiser HMS Capetown by MAS 213 of the 21st MAS Squadron working within the Red Sea Flotilla off Massawa, Eritrea; and the failed attack on the harbour of Malta in January 1941, which caused the loss of two motorboats, one of them recovered by the British.
Five MAS were scuttled in Massawa in the first week of April 1941 as a part of the Italian plan for the wrecking of Massawa harbor in the face of British advance. MAS 204, 206, 210, 213, and 216 were sunk in the harbor; four of the boats were in need of mechanical repairs and couldn't be evacuated. On 24 July 1941, MAS 532 torpedoed and crippled the transport Sydney Star, which managed to limp to Malta assisted by the destroyer HMAS Nestor. MAS 554, 554 and 557 also sank three allied freighters on 13 August 1942, in the course of Operation Pedestal, for a total tonnage of 28,500 tn. On 29 August 1942, a smaller type of MAS boat, the MTSM, torpedoed and disabled for the rest of the war the British destroyer HMS Eridge off El Daba, Egypt.

Artwork: Joe Hinds

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Aerial Tramway

For just a few francs... in a couple of minutes... a cable car will take you to one of the world's greatest observation points.
Salève aerial tramway in the French Prealps was inaugurated in 1932.
Poster by Henry Reb

via Vintage Poster

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remington Noiseless 8

The No. 8 is somewhere between a standard portable and an office machine. As a 1936 Remington brochure puts it, it is "an office model so compact that it may be moved about as desired with no effort. Yet it provides all the operating features for regular correspondence typing. It is the machine for those who appreciate the inestimable advantages of the quiet office and whose budget has not permitted the previous high cost of noiseless performance. Now it costs less than noise." (But the No. 8 was not exactly cheap: it originally sold for $105.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Central Telegraph Office, Moscow

Designed by Ivan Rerberg
Construction started: 1926, completed: 1927
Revolving 10-meter globe above the central entrance is made of glass.
Color photo: yoksel @ LJ

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HMS King George V

Laid down on January 1, 1937. Launched on February 21, 1939
Battle Honours:
ATLANTIC 1941 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - ARCTIC 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - OKINAWA 1945 - JAPAN 1945
Service details
Class overview

Image: Maritime Quest

Monday, November 1, 2010