02 September 2006

Mark VIB Light Tank

The Mark VI series of light tanks first entered production in 1936 and was widely used by the British army at the outbreak of the war. The Mark VI was intended for reconnaissance but were often used in the cruiser role, thus, resulting in casualties. The Mark VIB was armed with a Vickers .5 MG and a Vickers .3 MG. Maximum armour: 14mm. Maximum speed: 35 miles per hour.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

01 September 2006


The American M10 tank destroyer utilising the M4A2 chassis was an open-topped lightly armoured vehicle armed with a moderately powerful M7 3-inch (75mm) gun. The vehicle was designed to meet the requirements of the Tank Destroyer Command. In British service, it was known as the Wolverine.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

The Castle of Crossed Destinies

Pigment Ink. Faber-Castell pens. 0.1, 0.2, 0.3. 21cm x 15cm.

*Title is, of course, the title of an Italo Calvino book. Posted by Picasa

31 August 2006

Digital Maoism

In the early nineties, when the digital future was bright and shiny, and virtual reality was a great white hope, Jaron Lanier was a prophet leading the herd, his was a sacred name that defined that movement. Today, after the dotcom crash, I almost don't hear of his name anymore. He re-surfaced recently.
Quoting from an entry about Jaron Lanier in Wikipedia:

In Edge magazine in May 2006, Lanier criticized the sometimes-claimed omniscience of collective wisdom (including expressions such as Wikipedia), describing it as "digital Maoism". This critique is further explored in an interview with him at the Philosopher's Zone where he is critical of the denatured effect which "removes the scent of people".
Light Tank Mark II

The Light Tank Mark II was a development of the Carden-Loyd tanks and were built by Vickers. The tank is armed with a Vickers .303 machine gun and is intended for scouting missions. A few were in service with a few battalions of the Western Desert Force in 1940. A South African battalion deployed the Light Tank Mark II in the Abyssinian campaign of 1941. Maximum armour is 10mm.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

Rockets of the Hizbollah

Here is the known Hizbollah arsenal of rockets.

· 122mm Katyushas: range 13 miles, warhead 6 kg
· 122mm improved Katyushas: range 19 miles, warhead, 6 kg
· 220mm Syrian rockets: range 43 miles, warhead 40 kg
· 240mm rockets: range 6 miles, warhead 18kg
· 240mm Iranian Fajr 3: range 26 miles, warhead 50 kg
· 333mm Iranian Fajr 5: range 46 miles, warhead 90 kg
· 302mm Iranian Khaibar-1: range 100 miles, warhead 100 kg
· 610mm Iranian ZelZal-2: range 130 miles, warhead 400 kg

This list does not include ATGMs*, SAMs** and SSMs***. This terrorist organisation is known to possess many types missiles, not merely unguided rockets.

*ATGM - Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
** SAM - Surface to Air Missiles
*** SSM - Surface to Surface Missiles

Quoting MIT's Technology Review:

"The events of September 2001 disproved the assumption that only a state could make war on another state."

Non-state actors are now prevalent.

Source: MIT Technology Review
A postcolonial studies professor explains his religion

Ziauddin Sardar's 'Introducing Islam' is an uncritical look at Islam, Islamic culture and the Islam world. Claims of perfection abound. The four perfect caliphs? Perfect rule? Perfect societies? Morocco and Malaysia as the only true centres of multiculturalism?

The triumphalist tone (We invented everything and we invented them first, the others just stole from us.) throughout belies the claimed modesty in the beginning. The hints and sly digs at theft and plagarism coupleswith the outright charges do not appear to convey much about co-existence and compromise. Similarly, there is an initial claim about not blaming others for the ills in the Islamic world and, yet, at the end, blaming the West for everything, is one of the characteristics of this volume.

And there is finally a call for the Islamisation of knowledge including science and social sciences.

Is this a worthwhile book? Well, it really depends. In a superficial sense, Sardar does echo Chomsky's 'Year 501: The Conquest Continues', oh dear. However, this book does give a glimpse to the mindset of some Muslims, and that, in itself, is valuable if Islamic Terror is to be curbed.

For a better glimpse of a true grassroots political manifesto relating to Islamic Terror, one is advised to read the Hamas charter.

30 August 2006

Sacred and Dungeon Siege 2

I made level 12 in 'Sacred' last night and level 10 in 'Dungeon Siege 2' the night before. Both are highly playable games, bearing superficial similiarities in gameplay to the Diablo series of games. They are clickfests.

On initial impression, they are highly enjoyable though they cannot match up to the implementation of the theme, the gameplay and graphical standards of 'Titan Quest'.

For 'Sacred', the monsters have set levels in areas and are randomly generated and will appear continuously. While it is great for continuity, it makes travelling extremely difficult. You can't travel from your backyard to the store without fighting a horde. And that leaves little room for manoeuvre. I am utilising a battlemage with a strong fireball spell. I have been able to destroy monsters 3 levels higher.

The monsters in 'Dungeon Siege 2' are fixed and re-populated when one plays. I like that better to an extent.
C-802 (YJ-82) Anti-Ship Missile

The Hizbollah terrorist group has deployed shore-based C-802 Chinese anti-ship missiles supplied by Iran recently. It was pointed out to me by a reader that the missile is not a Silkworm/Styx derivative. It is a sea-skimming missile with active radar guidance in the Exocet class developed by the China HaiYing Electro-Mechanical Technology Academy. The development began in the seventies and early examples were available in the mid-eighties.

Quoting from the Sino Defence Website:

"The YJ-82 has only developed shore-to-ship variant launched from land-based vehicles. The missile received no order from the PLA. Following the 1991 Gulf War, Iran purchased about 60 land-launched C-802 missiles, which were deployed in coastal batteries on Qeshm Island."

From the Sino Defence page:


Length: (YJ-8) 5.814m; (YJ-82) 6.392m
Diameter: 0.36m
Wingspan: (YJ-8) 1.18m; (YJ-82) 1.22m
Launch weight: 815kg
Warhead: 165 kg time-delayed semi-armour-piercing high-explosive
Propulsion: (YJ-8) One solid rocket engine, one solid booster; (YJ-82) One turbojet engine, one solid booster
Max speed: Mach 0.9
Max range: (YJ-8) 42km; (YJ-81) 80km; (YJ-82) 120km; YJ-83 (150~200km)
Flight Altitude: 20~30m (flight); 5~7m (attacking)
Guidance Mode: Inertial and terminal active radar
Single-Shot Hit Probability: 75%

The warhead is 165kg in weight and should suffice in disabling any destroyer, frigate, corvette of 4000 tons and under.

The warhead did fail to detonate upon hitting the Sa'ar 5 corvette.

There are several implications:

1. The Chinese has developed a sea-skirmming missile. It is no longer reliant on those 30-year old Styx derivatives (ie Silkworms).

And the possible implications:

1. There was an intelligence failure. The Phalanx CIWS and Barak anti-missile systems were not switched on.

2. There was a procedural failure or lapse. Systems not switched on or ready.

3. The Phalanx CIWS and Barak anti-missile systems were inadequate in keeping out a subsonic sea-skirmmer. Very possible.

4. The corvette (1000+ tons) is an inadequate radar and anti-air platform. FAC and missile corvettes are inherently unable to deal with air threats due to stability issues and more.

Point 4 is very real and many nations are hesistant when it comes to addressing that. The US Navy and Royal Navy have rejected the deployment of such craft despite a long history of testing for a variety of reasons which I will not be discussing.
Free World of Warcraft Servers

There are quite a number of free World of Warcraft Servers out there. Here is a list of the top 100 servers:

And each server can support thousands apparently.

Colin just installed a World of Warcraft server.

Colin H says:
i think the system is built to go to level 255

Level 255! And the new expansion is going to allow up to level 70! Well done Blizzard. In other words, Blizzard can continue milking another 185 levels! Whoa! Great business model.

He spoke of his experiences:

Colin H says:
it felt like a teenage e-peen. giving yourself items and xp and stuff

Colin H says:
the main problems i faced were -- client version number requirements, and the difficulty in obtaining that specific client version number. many of the required resources are available for download only on rapidshare.de (the worst fucking fucked up file sharing host on the planet).

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
You gave yourself stuff? Items? Sets?

Colin H says:

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Second tier Epics? Full?

Colin H says:
things i tried - giving xp, changing levels, giving items (yes, t2 sets), teleportation

Colin H says:
but that was on 1.2.1 version of wow. the t2 sets only had placeholder graphics.

Colin also mentioned a few other sites and forums:

The servers can run on both Linux and Windows.

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
What server admin commands are available? Are you able to appear as a god?

Colin H says:
practically all of them

Colin H says:
some nut posted a screenshot of him riding a water elemental

Chuang Shyue Chou says:

I grew out of World of Warcraft a year or so ago. It's just so yesterday. I doubt if I will be getting the Burning Crusade expansion and getting back in the game.

A38 Valient Infantry Tank

The 27-ton A38 Valient Infantry Tank was an improved version of the Valentine Infantry Tank series, utilising many components of the preceding series. The early designs of the tank was initially armed with the 6-pounder (57mm) gun and the later ones, the 75mm gun. By the time the pilot vehicle was completed in mid-1944, there was no requirement for an infantry tank. The A22 Churchill was present as well.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

29 August 2006

Israeli Armoured Operations in South Lebanon 2006

Israeli armour in Lebanon took a heavy battering with thirty Merkava MBTs hit by some odd 500 ATGMs launched. Out of the thirty, ten MBTs were heavily damaged or destroyed resulting in a handful of crew heavily injured and killed. There was an instance where one Merkava MBT was hit by seven types of ATGWs.

The reported hits was approximately 50. That would work out to be a hit rate of 10%. Considering that the theoretical rates of missiles like the MILAN, TOWs which are in excess of 95%, real life combat hit rates would be somewhat lower. 10% would appear to be realistic with certain MBTs being hit multiple times. It was reported that the Hizbollah terrorists were targeting hatches and tank commanders.

The reported types included the 9M131 Metis-M, RPG-29, MILAN, TOW, 9K111 Fagot, 9K113 Konkurs, 9M115 Metis . The older 9M14 Malyutka with a theoretical hit rate of 85% were used against Israeli infantry in buildings.

The variants of Merkava MBTs utilised in the operations included the Merkava Mk4, the Merkava Mk 2D (with the distinctive sloped turret), the standard Mk2, and the Merkava Mk3Baz. This was reported in an article in Defence Update.

Defence Update has an interesting sequence of photos in an article showing a recovery operation involving two Merkava Mk IV MBTs and an overturned Puma Combat Engineers vehicle. A Merkava MBT was seen to be injecting smoke. Note the huge saucer-shaped turret, presumably with increased overhead protection.

There was another few photos elsewhere that featured two burning Merkava MBTs. The fires were small, likely to be the diesel tanks which were penetrated. (front engine, diesel fuel tank buffer as protection)

List of Russian ATGMs and their NATO codenames

3M6 Shmel - AT-1 Snapper
3M11 Falanga - AT-2 Swatter
9M14 Malyutka - AT-3 Sagger
9M111 Fagot - AT-4 Spigot
9M113 Konkurs - AT-5 Spandrel
9M114 Shturm - AT-6 Spiral
9M115 Metis - AT-7 Saxhorn
9M112 Kobra - AT-8 Songster
9M120 Ataka - AT-9 Spiral-2
9M117 Bastion - AT-10 Stabber
9M119 Refleks/Svir - AT-11 Sniper
9M117-1 Sheksna - AT-12 Swinger
9M131 Metis-2 - AT-13 none
9M133 Kornet - AT-14 none
9M123 Khrizantema - AT-15 none
9M114 Vikhr - AT-16 none
T14 Assault Tank

With the inadequacies of the A22 Churchill exposed at the Dieppe raid in August 1942, efforts were made to find solutions. The American T14 assault tank was a 41-ton tank armed with a M3 75mm gun and protected by up to 102mm of armour. The T14, utilising a lot of the M4's components but ultimately did not see production was sometimes described as a 'Super Sherman'.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

28 August 2006

A33 Heavy Assault Tank Excelsior

In view of the disappointing performance of the A22 Churchill Infantry Tank at Dieppe in August 1942, the A33 heavy assault tank was built as an interim, combining the functions of the cruiser and infantry class tanks, mounting a 75mm dual purpose gun. The A33 was based on a A27 hull with heavier armour. Two pilot models were built with the first prototype using similar tracks used by the American M6 heavy tank and the second, wider Cromwell type tracks. The A33 was not put into production.


That should be a A33 with the Cromwell tracks. If anyone knows better, please send clarifications. It will be greatly appreciated.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

27 August 2006

Strv m/40K

The Swedish Strv m/40K was the Swedish version of the TNH-Sv and produced under German licence after Czechoslovakia had been occupied. The light tank was armed with a 37mm gun and two 8mm machine guns with a maximum armour of 24mm.

Source: World Encyclopaedia of the Tank by Christoper Chant

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

A34 Cruiser Tank, Comet

The Comet, a fine mix of firepower, mobility and armour, appeared late in the war. The Comet was armed with a 77mm (76.2mm in reality, or a shortened 17 pounder).

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

Tiger II SdKfz 182

For information on German tanks, I used a variety of sources. They include:

1. German Tanks of World War II: The complete illustrated history of German armoured fighting vehicles 1926-1945 by F.M.von Senger und Etterlin

2. German Tanks of World War Two by George Forty

3. Encylopedia of German Tanks of World War Two Revised Edition by Peter Chamerlain and Hilary Doyle

And a few others. For Allied and others, I have other sources which I will list in future.

Tank Museum, Bovington: July 2006 Posted by Picasa