Although Vasa was designed and built by an experienced Dutch shipbuilder, Henrik Hybertsson, she was larger than any vessel he had previously worked on.
Back to the Drawing Board
The mid 19th century saw a revolution in naval weapons technology – smooth-bore muzzle-loading artillery, which had changed little for over 300 years, was suddenly supplanted by far larger rifled guns firing steel armour-piercing shot and explosive shells to ranges far beyond anything achieved even 50 years earlier.
The idea ‘took off’ in the aftermath of the Dunkirk evacuation, when a German invasion seemed imminent and there was a critical shortage of anti-tank weapons
It was a futuristic-looking aircraft, which Lockheed publicised as ‘a missile with a man in it’.
Although its ‘high-tech’ features, such as an auto-loader for the main armament and its ultra-compact multi-fuel engine, were superficially impressive, they proved to be complex to maintain and highly unreliable.
One of the oddest inventions was the Supermarine Nighthawk, a massive twin-engine quadruplane night fighter designed to fly patrols of anything up to 18 hours at a time, with a fully-enclosed heated cockpit and even a small sleeping berth.
In the 1950s, the Cold War was at its height. To many, it seemed to be a question of when, rather than if, Soviet forces would exploit their overwhelming numerical superiority with a ‘steamroller’ offensive against Western Europe.
When the USAAF’s Eighth Air Force arrived in Britain in mid-1942, it was confident that unescorted formations of B-17 Flying Fortresses could make precision daylight bombing raids without suffering serious losses.
One of the earliest attempts to design an AFV that could cope with First World War battlefields was the bizarre Tsar Tank.
David Porter takes a look at everything that went wrong with the Bachem BA 349 ‘Natter’ (Viper)