General Electric’s modified M-61 cannon sticks out the side of a UH-1B. U.S. Army photo via Ray Wilhite It never worked by JOSEPH TREVITHICK A some point during the Vietnam War, a U.S. Army specialist named David drew up a plan to give UH-1 Huey helicopters more firepower. During the conflict,... Read more
A war-time taxi in an exhibit. Wikimedia photo But they were better at building morale than turning the tide of battle by MATTHEW GAULT It was Sept. 6, 1914 and the German army was only 30 miles east of Paris. The Germans thought the Great War would be fast, short and... Read more
The Supermarine Nighthawk. Unknown source A young designer who later built the Spitfire learned a few lessons by ROBERT BECKHUSEN World War I produced some truly ungainly aircraft designs. The Supermarine Nighthawk was one of the weirdest looking of all, and had the peculiar purpose of shooting down zeppelins — though it never... Read more
The Bonus Army fights with D.C. police. National Archives photo The White House wanted thousands of angry former soldiers gone by MATTHEW GAULT Every generation of soldiers has problems, but most haven’t left the military only to later be attacked by it. But that’s what happened to thousands of veterans who served... Read more
Nock Gun. Source The seven-barrel weapon was supposed to help Royal Marines to defend their vessels by MATTHEW MOSS In 1779, James Wilson present a design for a seven-barrel volley gun to the British government’s Board of Ordnance. The board decided that the gun, while of no use to the British Army,... Read more
HMS ‘Repulse,’ at bottom right, and HMS ‘Prince of Wales’ under Japanese air attack on Dec. 10, 1941. Photo via the National Museum of the U.S. Navy HMS ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Repulse’ sank off Malaya in December 1941. Big-gun warships never recovered by ROBERT FARLEY Seventy five years ago, the... Read more
‘Yulius Fuchik,’ a Soviet barge carrier and a central character in Tom Clancy’s novel ‘Red Storm Rising.’ Dmitriy Lakhtikov photo via Wikimedia Yeah, probably by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Tom Clancy’s 1986 novel Red Storm Rising depicts a conventional war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It’s one of Clancy’s best... Read more
A B-52G. U.S. Air Force photo The Thule accident caused an environmental disaster and ended the Air Force’s airborne alert program by MATTHEW GAULT Throughout the 1950s and ’60s American bombers carrying nuclear weapons crisscrossed the globe, ready at a moment’s notice to fly into the heart of Russia and bomb it... Read more
Source Voila, the Chinese Type 63 rifle by MATTHEW MOSS China’s Type 63 rifle— sometimes referred to as the Type 68 — is an unusual weapon combining features from the Soviet AK and SKS. The Chinese army had previously relied on Soviet small-arms designs. Beijing’s Type 56 series included versions of the Soviet SKS,... Read more
Source A simple, reliable weapon by MATTHEW MOSS Gunnar Johnsson, an engineer at Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori designed the Kulsprutepistol m/45 — sometimes known as the “Swedish K” — at the end of 1944. It endured in military service for more than 60 years, making it a true classic. Demand was so high that, when Sweden... Read more
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