Monday, April 30, 2012

Video review of the Dardick Model 1500 handgun - a magazine-fed revolver

This is an ugly looking handgun. Check out this video review from YouTube.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mateba Model 6 Unica

The Mateba Model 6 Unica (often known simply as the Mateba or the Mateba Autorevolver) is a semi-automatic revolver, one of only a few such models ever produced. It was developed in Italy and sold by the Mateba company. Emilio Ghisoni is listed as the owner of US Patent #4,712,466 which details the operation of the weapon.

Type Automatic revolver
Place of origin  Italy
Production history
Designer Emilio Ghisoni
Designed 1997
Manufacturer MA.TE.BA. Arms (Macchine Termo-Balistiche), via Villa Serafina, 2/B. 27100 Pavia (Italy)
Produced 1997-2005
Variants Variants
Weight 2.96 lb (1.35 kg)
Length 275 mm (10.83 in)
Barrel length 152 mm (6 in)

  • .357 Magnum
  • .44 Magnum
  • .454 Casull
Action Recoil operated semi-automatic revolver
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Feed system 6-Round Cylinder
Sights Iron sights
Fixed Two-Dot Night Sight

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kiev Aircraft Carrier

The Kiev was decommissioned in 1993 and was the first of four ships in her class. The Kiev Class was a larger version of the Moskva Class and her design was a bold step in achieving a through-deck carrier. Lacking catapults and arrester gear she was only able to operate V/STOL fixed-wing aircraft along with helicopters.

In the Soviet Navy the Kiev class of ships was specifically designated as a heavy aviation cruiser. The ships layout mirrored the Moskva Class with the bow, or forward area, dedicated to heavy missile armament and the aft, or rear section of the ship, utilized for aviation. V/STOL fighters needed a rolling deck for take-off and, dissimilar to normal practice, a 2/3 length angled flight deck was all on the port side having a moderate 4.5 degree angle. This considerable flight deck overhang created an out-of-balance weight problem. To counterbalance the flight deck, a massive island (by carrier standards) was constructed on the starboard side of the ship. The intended mission of the Kiev class was support for strategic missile submarines and it was capable of engaging in anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and surface warfare as well.

The Kiev, or also called the Krechyet, class was in compliance with the new ship classification system introduced by the Soviet Navy. The classification sported a 14,700 square meter flight deck, arrestor wires, and a ski-jump type ramp at the bow.

The carrier air wing consisted of 14 x Yakovlev Yak-41M "Freestyle" vertically launched interceptors, 8 x Yakovlev Yak 38 "Forger" attack aircraft, 10 x Kamov Ka-27 PLO "Helix", 2 x Kamov Ka-27 PS "Helix" Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters, and 4 x Kamov Ka-27 RLD "Helix" helicopters. Two elevators on the starboard side would transport the aircraft from the hangar deck to the flight deck. Defense of the ship was handled by the "Bazalt" anti-ship missile system along with 8 x surface-to-surface missile launchers. The Krechyet class air defense system used Klinok vertical missile launchers and anti-aircraft missiles.

The Project 1143 ships were designed by the Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau and built at the Nikolayev South facility, formerly Chernomorsky Shipyard 444. Each ship in the class featured some different design features.

Starting with the Minsk, the aircraft capacity was increased upwards of 50% by changing the hangar deck area and parking area for the aircraft. During a refit, the flight deck forward edge was rounded and wind deflectors were added. The Kiev sister ships were designed to carry new generation aircraft such as the Yakovlev Yak-36P (Yak-141) supersonic VTOL aircraft though these were subsequently cancelled. The defense air arm resulted in a mix of Kamov Ka-27 series helicopters, and Kamov Ka-25 series helicopters. The last carrier constructed was the Baku, and - with all upgraded modifications - some consider her a separate class altogether. Improvements in this unit included a phased array radar, extensive electronic warfare installations, and an enlarged command and control suite. The flight deck was extended forward 5 meters, 15 feet more than that of the Kiev. Additional modifications were the addition of four additional SS-N-12 SLCM launchers for a total of 12. The ship was equipped with 60 anti-submarine rockets and an Udav-1 integrated anti-submarine warfare system.

The Kiev was retired in 1994 and was being used for parts in the Admiral Gorshkov. In August 2000, it was reported that a shipyard in China purchased the retired carrier from Russia.

Her sister ship, the Minsk, was sold to China as a recreational floating casino. Russia sold the Admiral Gorshkov, which had been inactive since 1991, to the Indian Navy. The Gorshkov reportedly will be extensively modified at a cost of between $500-$650 million and on assurances from the Russian government she would be ready for operational service in the India Navy in 2009. In Indian service, she was appropriated renamed the INS Vikramaditya.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

TAR-21 Tavor

Tavor CTAR 21 assault rifle

The development of the new assault rifle, that should eventually replace in service the ageing M16A1, CAR-15 and IMI Galil assault rifles, began in Israel in the 1991. The new rifle was developed by the Israel Military Industries (IMI, now privatized as IWI - Israeli Weapons Industries Ltd) company, in close cooperation with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). This new rifle received the name of "Tavor" and the designation of TAR-21 (Tavor Assault Rifle, for 21st century). The new rifle first appeared on public in the1998, and it had been tested by the IDF during 1999-2002. Initial issue of Tavor rifles to IDF showed some teething problems, but by now the Tavor is already in widespread use by IDF, and it seems that many earlier problems are worked out. It is also in limited use with Special Operation forces of India and Georgia.

Tavor TAR-21

In general, the TAR-21 represents the mainstream of the present assault rifle developments. It shares all the "modern” features, already tried and proved successful by previous designs, like the bullpup layout, polymer housing, optical sights as a prime sighting equipment, modular design with several different configurations (from very short submachine gun and up to standard assault rifle and a para-sniper accurate rifle with heavy barrel). So far it seen not much real action and it is hard to judge if it is really a success, and only time will show that.

Fitted with 40mm M203 grenade launcher and grenade launching sight

The IWI also developed and manufactures a civilian, semi-automatic only version of the Tavor rifle, which looks much like the Tavor Micro rifle but with longer barrel. This version has already been exported to several European countries and Canada.

Tavor STAR 21

The Tavor TAR-21 is a gas operated, selective fire, magazine fed assault rifle of bullpup configuration. It is available in several configurations, which differ in the barrel lengths and accessories. The basic configuration is the TAR-21 assault rifle with the 460mm (18.1 in) barrel. Next is the compact assault rifle, called CTAR-21, with the barrel 380 mm (15 in) long, and the micro assault rifle, with the barrel of only 330 mm (13 in) long, called MTAR-21. The latter rifle also featured a redesigned front part of the housing, with charging handle placed further back on receiver, for a more comfortable hold of the short weapon. Micro-Tavor also can be converted to 9mm pistol ammunition (9x19) with installation of the caliber conversion kit, which includes a new barrel, bolt group and a magazine adapter.

TAR-21 utilizes a now-common long piston stroke, rotating bolt action, with the gas piston rigidly attached to the bolt carrier. Gas cylinder is located above the barrel and is completely enclosed by the gun housing. The rotating bolt is similar to one found in the M16 rifle and has seven lugs. The ejection ports are made on both sides of the weapon, and the right or the left side ejection can be selected by installing the bolt with the ejector mounted on the right or on the left, respectively(and, of cause, this change requires the gun to be partially disassembled). The bolt carrier rides on the single guide rod, with the return spring unit located above it, behind and inside the hollow gas piston rod. The charging handle is located at the front left side of the gun and does not reciprocate when gun is fired. The charging handle slots are cut on the both sides of the gun housing, so it can be installed on either side of the weapon, as required. The trigger unit is more or less conventional, with the ambidextrous fire mode selector /safety switch located above the pistol grip.

Civilian (semi-automatic only) version of the Tavor

The TAR-21 has no separate receiver. Instead, all parts are mounted within the high impact-resistant plastic housing, reinforced with steel inserts where appropriate. The access to all the internal parts is controlled by the hinged butt plate, which can be swung down for internal inspection and disassembly.

Partially disassembled

Early production TAR-21rifles had no open sights, but this has been fixed with introduction of the folded front and rear sights on current production models. Tavor rifles are fitted with the standard Picatinny-type accessory rail on the top of the gun. Early guns had Israeli-made ITLMARS as standard sight, which is a complicated and expensive reflex-type sight with the built-in laser pointer. For the night time operations the MARS could be complemented with the ITL Mini N/SEAS compact night vision device. Current manufacture Tavor rifles (except for Sniper version) are usually fitted with less expensive Meprolight red-dot sight. Sniper versions usually are fitted with Trijicon ACOG optical sight with 4X magnification.

The TAR-21 utilizes the STANAG-compliant, M16 type magazines, with standard capacity of 30 rounds.

TAR-21 in its basic configuration can be fitted with 40mm M203 underbarrel grenade launcher.

TAR 21 TAR C21 / CTAR 21 TAR M21 / MTAR 21
Caliber: 5.56 x 45 NATO
Action Gas operated,rotating bolt
Overall length 720mm 640 mm 590 mm
Barrel length 460mm 380 mm 330 mm
Weight 3.27 kg empty 3.18 kg empty 2.95 kg empty
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Rate of fire 750- 900 rounds per minute 750- 900 rounds per minute 750- 900 rounds per minute

Friday, April 13, 2012

M1918 155mm Field Artillery

The American M1918 155mm GPF was a copy of the French mle.1917 field gun and utilized by the US Army and US Marines up to 1945.

The 155mm (6.10 in) field gun was originally designed and built by France during World War I under the direction of one Colonel L.J.F. Filloux as the G.P.F. ("Grande Puissance Filloux"). The gun was to fill a vital French Army requirement for a heavy artillery piece. The design ultimately proved a success and became the standard heavy field gun of the French from 1917 through to the end of World War II.

So successful was the gun that the United States Army paid for, and subsequently copied, the design as the Model 1918 (M1918). The M1918 gun was mounted on a large, four-wheeled carriage weighing in at 11,065 lbs and having a split tail in anchoring to the ground for firing stability. The split tail design allowed recoil clearance for the gun from 1.8m/10 degrees to 1.1m/ 28 degrees at high elevation and also provided for firing over a horizontal field of 60 degrees and an elevation from 0 degrees to 35 degrees. While traveling the split tail was closed together to form a trail and supported by a carriage limber having a gear brake. Transportation was normally by a tractor. The carriage would be travelling on paved roads and open terrain so the limber was supported on semi-elliptical springs to absorb all road shocks.

The top carriage was a steel casting mounted on top of the bottom carriage so the gun could pivot when traversing; Belleville springs carried the load of the gun. However, when the gun was fired, the springs were compressed and the stress was centralized along the surfaces of the top and bottom carriages.

The bottom carriage was a steel casting suspended from the axle by a heavy leaf spring. The main purpose of this design element was to support the top carriage; also it housed the axles and the hinges for the trail. The trail was a "split" type made of steel beams with locks pivoting along their front ends for securing them in the open position. When the gun was in the towing retracted position, a lock was provided for on the trail. Spades were fitted mounted on the trail ends for soft or hard ground stabilization and could be removed when the gun was in transport mode. The carriage wheels were made of cast steel with a solid rubber tire and each wheel was afforded its own brakes. Caterpillar wheel shoes are used when on soft ground and these simply fit over the rubber tires. They consisted of twelve shoes that spread the load weight over a given soft surface.

The gun was sighted by a "quadrant sight panoramic" system and a peep sight. The quadrant sight was mounted on top of the left side trunnion of the carriage and was used for elevation. The angle of sight mechanism was mounted on top of the quadrant and an extinction bar was provided for use with the panoramic sight. The peep sight was used only for direct firing or in an emergency - if the latter then it could be mounted on the quadrant sight instead of the panoramic sight. For night-sighting, an aiming lamp, an azimuth lamp along with cables and fixtures were provided. These fit into a provided storage chest that was mounted on the carriage.

Ammunition shell types made available were HE (High-Explosive) steel, shrapnel, gas, and some special ammunition. The powder was smokeless and packed in two sections - a larger base section and a smaller one. The most common fuse used was a 31-second combination fuse for shrapnel and combination time and percussion. For high explosive steel rounds, the Mark 4 detonating fuse was used. For gas shells, the Mark 2.

The 155 mm shell was the same size as the 6-inch artillery round and was the heaviest mobile artillery of the day except for railroad guns and some howitzers. The round weighed 95 pounds (43.1 kg) and fielded a muzzle velocity of 735 m/s (2,411 FPS) with a range of 17,700 yards (10+ miles). The weight of the maximum powder charge itself was 25 pounds. The gun crew could fire off two rounds per minute and the life of the gun was rated at about 3,000 firings. The rounds were not carried on a caisson because of their sheer weight but instead transported on support trucks. The barrel length was 19.35 ft (5.915m) with the rifling being one turn 2,989 caliber right-handed and considered uniform.

The breech block was the uninterrupted screw type that had four plain and four threaded sectors. The breach mechanism was of an obturator type having the forward mushroom type head of the breach block fitted with an asbestos ring known as the obturator pad. When the gun was fired, the ring was compressed and acted as a gas check to prevent the explosive gas from escaping from the breach. The cradle was made of forged steel bored with three parallel cylinders to house the recoil brake and recuperator. On the upper sides of the cradle were slots for the gun slides and underneath the cradle was the bolted elevating rack.

The recoil mechanism was of a hydropneumatic variable type. The mechanism was made up of a piston, a piston rod and a control rod. The piston rod was connected to the breach lug and recoils when the gun fired. The control rod featured oil groves that allowed oil to flow along the rod controlling the oil, going to the piston ports during the recoil. The piston rod rotated as the gun was elevated by the arm and gear sectors in such a way that this reduced the recoil of the weapon. A replenisher, or gravity tank, was fitted in connection with the recoil cylinder. The tank held 17 quarts of overheated oil and assured the recoil cylinders were always filled with oil.

The French gun was widely used in Europe by Allied and captured systems were fielded by the Central Powers as well. German units named the captured guns the 15.5-cm K 418(f) where it served with heavy artillery battalions and as coastal defense weapons. On D-Day in 1944, the Germans had over 50 of the 155-mm French guns trained on the northern French beaches with the most famous collection near Pointe du Hoc - these were ultimately destroyed by the US Army 2nd Ranger battalion during the Allied invasion of France.

During World War 2 in the United States, the 155mm guns were taken out of storage and utilized for coastal defense on American shores and across allied territories such as the Philippines and Australia. These defensive guns were sat upon "Panama" mountings that allowed the gun to swivel on a concrete pillar with the split trails spread out on wheel rails that could be rolled around the pillar for maximum flexibility in training the gun against targets.

Ultimately, both the US Army and Marine Corps phased out their M1918 guns for the 155-mm M1A1 "Long Tom" beginning in 1942. The M1918 was also fitted to the M12 Gun Motor Carriage as a self-propelled gun (SPG) and used from 1944 to 1945.

Friday, April 6, 2012

M1A1 75mm Artillery

The M1A1 Pack Howitzer was the standard howitzer for American forces in World War 2. The Pack design actually traced its roots back to the howitzer development of World War One, standardized in the American Army post-war as the M1.

 The M1A1 of the Second World War featured a short barrel, could reach a sustained rate of fire of 3 to 6 rounds per minute with a capable crew, and had a range of roughly 9,610 yards (8,790 meters). The system was purposely engineered to be light, easily transportable and operated by a small crew (which worked well in the favor of light divisions such as airborne units as evident in the M8 variant of the Pack). The high explosive shell of the M1 Pack Howitzer weighed 6.3 kilograms. The weapon system could be used for suppression, assault, defense and limited anti-tank duty. Further developments enabled better cross-country mobility.

Pack howitzers garnered their 'Pack' designations by the idea that pack animals could tow the lightweight system (most common in World War One but not uncommon in World War Two for either side).

 The system was designed to be easily taken apart in multiple pieces (the M1 carriage could be taken down to a total of six parts while the gun system could be taken down to nine parts) for this very purpose. The M1A1 first utilized the aforementioned M1 Carriage, which featured wooden spoke wheels. Later versions implemented into the follow-up M8 Carriage utilized rubber threaded tires on metal wheels.

The M1A1 saw action in Arnhem with the British, being dropped by glider in Operation Market Garden. British troops also trained Yugoslavian partisans in the use of the weapon system (seeing some success in the mountain warfare role).

The M1A1 saw action in the far east jungles of the Pacific Theater. The ability of the system to be able to be broken down made it most advantageous in mounting amphibious assaults needing artillery support immediately upon landing on the beaches.

M1A1 Pack Howitzers were also trialed on halftrack chassis and utilized to great effect in this role as well. Overall, the M1A1 became a classic piece of American artillery design. Portable, potent and very versatile, the system went on to see a great many years of frontline service as the standard light artillery weapon system.

Specifications for the M1A1 Pack Howitzer

Accommodation: 5
Weight: 1.2 US Short Tons (1,062kg; 2,341lbs)

Armament Suite:
1 x 75mm main gun

Dependent on ammunition carrier.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stg.45 assault rifle (Mauser Gerat 06)

German development of assault rifles did not stop with the adoption of the Haenel / Schmeisser "Sturmgewehr" Stg.44 rifle. The Stg.44 was far too heavy and,while being made mostly of stampings, still required plenty of raw materials. So, several German companies continued to produce 7.92 mm Kurz rifles of various designs. Most interesting among these was the Mauser design, usually credited to Wilhelm Stähle and Ludwig Vorgrimler. By 1943 Mauser Werke had developed a gas-operated weapon, which featured rigid roller locking broadly derived from MG42 machine gun. This experimental weapon had a factory designation of “Gerät 06” (Device 06). This system (copied several times during the post-war period with equally unspectacular results) proved itself too complicated, but then the head of the analytical department at Mauser devised a version of the retarded (sometimes also called delayed) blowback system. In this system, there was no gas system and piston, and no rigid locking. Instead, rollers were used to retard the opening of the breech until the chamber pressure dropped down to safe levels. This system was factory designated as “Gerät 06H”, and by early 1945 was officially type-classified as Stg.45. It is believed that, no more than 30 specimens of these new weapons were made before Allied forces captured the Mauser Werke in Oberndorf, so it made no impact on the war. But, instead, it made significant impact on the post-war developments, since one of its designers, Ludwig Vorgrimler, went to France, where he continued to develop this design for several years. During the early 1950s he moved to Spain, where he participated in development of the CETME assault rifles, which led directly to the famous Heckler & Koch family of small arms, including the G3 and other assault rifles, submachine and machine guns, all featuring the same roller-delayed blowback system.

Mauser Gerät 06, an early roller-locked, gas-operated prototype dated to circa 1943

The famous Mauser Werke began to develop its own assault rifle by the 1943. It was decided to produce the cheapest possible deign, with as much stamping and welding used as possible. The original design, called “Gerät 06”,had a short-stroke gas piston and a locking system with two rollers, located in the bolt, which was forced out to the barrel extension to lock the bolt. When the gun was fired, the gas piston forced the bolt carrier back, and this withdrew the rollers from the cuts in the barrel extension, unlocking the bolt, and then pulling it back to eject the spent case and load a fresh round on its way back. This system was later found too complicated, and experiments proved that the locking system could be done away with since the rollers by themselves were able to retard the initial bolt movement, until the pressure in the chamber dropped down to a safe level. This improved system greatly simplified the design. This version was designated “Gerät 06H”. Because there was no primary extraction, a fluted chamber was devised to avoid sticking cases and subsequent torn rims and resulting jams. The receiver, as well as the round hand guards, was made from two stamped parts, left and right, connected by simple welding. The gun was built with a straight-line layout to reduce muzzle climb during automatic fire, so the sights were placed well above the barrel. This also resulted in the development of a shorter magazine with capacity of only 10 rounds, requested by the troops. The retarded-blowback Stg.45(M) were easily distinguishable from the original gas-operated “Gerät 06” rifles by the ribbed handguards of circular cross-section on the former, as opposed to the slab-sided handguards on the latter gun.

Mauser StG.45(M), one of the very few pre-production rifles

The Stg.45(M) was a good deal lighter than the Stg.44, and required about 50% less raw materials to make.

Caliber: 7.92x33mm (7,92mm Kurz)
Action: delayed blow back
Overall length: 893 mm
Barrel length: 400 mm
Weight: 3.7 kg
Rate of fire: 400 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 10 or 30 rounds


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