Back to the Drawing Board

British_Submarine_HMS_M2_2

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – M-CLASS SUBMARINE

Dial ‘M’ for Muddle… Two of the three M-class submarines that the Royal Navy launched between 1916 and 1919 were lost with all hands. Both sank just off the English coast. In peacetime. Literally designed by committee, from the outset the role for these huge submarines was unclear and changed over time. Under the circumstances, […]

1

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – Flying Aircraft Carriers

It might sound a bit like a Sci-fi fantasy, but during the early 1930s the United States Navy actually operated two airships capable of launching biplanes. Ultimately, the experiment ended in disaster, with the catastrophic loss not only of both airships but of the admiral who had been the leading light of the project. Airships […]

DREYSE-1-1024x409

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD -The Dreyse Needle Gun

The Dreyse Needle Gun   Daniel Sager examines this weapon’s limitations Introduced by the Prussian Army in the mid-19th century, the Dreyse Needle Gun was a revolutionary breach-loading rifle which proved decisive in its victory over the Austrians in 1866. However, when the Prussians marched into France four years later, they faced soldiers equipped with […]

Biber_sub_controls

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – The Biber Submarine

When the German navy captured a British Welman midget submarine in November 1943, Commander Hans Bartels set about improving its crude design and delivered the prototype Biber (Beaver) in March 1944. There were just two problems with this project. Firstly, he copied the wrong submarine. Secondly, some of the improvements had unexpected, and ultimately fatal, […]

BTTDB

Back to the Drawing Board – The Beaufighter

Whispering Death A heavy fighter derived from a light bomber, the Bristol Beaufighter entered service in the summer of 1940 and by the end of the war nearly 6000 of them had been produced, proving highly effective over both land and sea. This is an incredible record for an aeroplane that was designed in a […]

Flea-4-1024x674

Back to the Drawing Board – The Royal Enfield Flying Flea

Designed by the Germans, copied by the British and thrown out of aeroplanes over occupied Europe, the Royal Enfield Flying Flea was the most successful military motorcycle developed for use by airborne troops in the Second World War. Ironically, the British Army would not have benefited from this light weight vehicle had it not been […]

Northrop_SM-62_Snark_061218-F-1234P-002

Back to the Drawing Board – The SM-62 ‘Snark’

The English language changed drastically during the swinging Sixties. ‘Cool’ suddenly meant fashionable or aloof, to ‘dig’ something was to enjoy it, and a Snark – once the sinister subject of Lewis Caroll’s poem The Hunting of the Snark – was now an intercontinental cruise missile capable of carrying a W39 thermonuclear warhead. Proposed as […]

Republic XF-84H

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – The Republic XF-84H ‘Thunderscreech’

Just over 75 years ago, the world’s loudest ever aircraft took to the skies for its first test-flight. When the US Navy voiced its need for a carrier fighter that did not require catapult assistance, Republic Aviation started experimenting with the USAF/Republic XF-84H experimental turboprop fighter. A variant of Republic Aviation’s F-84 Thunderstreak, this novel […]

6448741965_84455181e2_b

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – The Bachem Natter

As the Luftwaffe’s air superiority began to wane in 1943, various schemes were put in place to try and stop the Allies from seizing control. Guided defence missiles were still unreliable, their homing devices too primitive to allow any surface-to-air missiles to become operational. Surface-to-air missiles did, however, seem to be the best option available. […]

Back-to-the-drawing-board

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – COMBINATION WEAPONS

You would think that combining two deadly weapons to create a super-weapon would be a smart move for any warmonger. Some combination weapons, however, were simply over-ambitious monsters: clumsy, cumbersome, useless. The popularity of the combination weapon rose during the 16th and 17th centuries, when weapons-smiths were innovators and owning a trident dagger elevated one’s […]

1 2 3 4 5

Advertisement