At its height during the 1960s, the Luxembourg Army consisted of a rather large – proportionally – 4,700 man brigade stocked
through universal conscription. This was reformed in 1967 though when the armed forces underwent a significant downsizing with the abandonment of the unpopular draft, following which the Army numbered a single under strength battalion, the 1st Luxembourg Light Infantry, of 720 men, supplemented with a Gendarmerie and reserves. Following this reform, they became the
only army on continental Europe to be an all volunteer force.
For reference, if the US used this same model today, it would have a 4.7-million person army, which is about nine times what we have currently.
Styled after the famous compact weapons of the Soviet Spetsnaz commandos, the new Serbian-made M92 has everything you want in a six-pound pistol. Back during the Afghanistan war (the 1980s one with the Russkis vs. the Mujahidin, not the current one), Soviet airborne and Spetsnaz troops needed a more compact weapon to deploy when moving around the mountains and villages. You see these troopers normally deployed from helicopters operating at maximum altitudes in thin air where weight and space were at a premium. In addition, a favorite tactic of the spetsnaz would be to disguise themselves as ‘locals’ complete with long beards, pakol hats, and chapan robes to get into rebel villages. To be effective once there, they needed a concealable yet brutal firearm.
To meet this need, the Soviets came up with krinkov or krink. This concept took the standard AK74 rifle, and replaced the barrel with one that was just 9-inches long. With a folding stock, or no stock at all, the krink proved popular with not only the Soviets,
but with the rebels who captured them as well.
With this legacy, as soon as the Cold War ended, semi-auto civilian legal versions of this gun started coming into the US from Eastern Europe. One of the first in this version was the Romanian-made Draco pistol. You see, to keep the gun from being classified as a short-barreled rifle with the BATFE, civilian Krinks have no-buttstock and are therefore legal as pistols.
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week.
- Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday December 11, 2013 The Indian Step Ahead
Here we see the neatly arranged Indian Navy carrier INS Vikrant (R11) at sea in the 1960s. She was one of 16 planned 1942 Design Light Fleet Carriers for the British Royal Navy. This class, broken up into Colossus and Majestic-class sub-variants, were pretty nifty 19,500-ton, 695-foot long carriers that the US Navy would have classified at the time as a CVL or ‘light carrier’. They were slower than the fast carriers at just 25-knots with all four 3-drum Admiralty boilers were lit and glowing red, but they had long legs (over 14,000 miles at cruising speed) which allowed them to cross the Atlantic escorting convoys, travel to the Pacific to retake lost colonies, or remain on station in the South Atlantic (Falklands anyone?) or Indian Ocean for weeks.
Capable of carrying up to 52 aircraft of the time, these carriers had enough punch to make it count. The thing is, only seven of these carriers were completed before the end of World War Two and even those came in during the last months and weeks. They effectively saw no service. With the 1945-Post WWII Royal Navy not having a need for 16 flash new oceangoing landing strips, they started laying them up and selling them off. Three went to Canada, three to Australia, one to france, one to Holland and others were mothballed. Two ships, HMS Hercules and HMS Leviathan sat on the builders ways, never completed.
Laid down in 1943, the ships were launched but when the war ended, construction was canceled. Then in 1957 the Indian government, newly independent and needing to police a huge coastline, bought the HMS Hercules for a song. She was towed from the original yard at Vickers-Armstrong to Holland-Wolfe in Ireland (the same yard that built the Titantic) and finished as the Indian Naval Ship Vikrant with pennant number R11. Vikrant was taken from Sanskrit “vikranta” meaning “stepping beyond”, and its a good choice as it was the first aircraft carrier operational that was not from one of the more established naval powers (i.e Britain, France, US, Japan).
Her sistership, the HMS Leviathan sat at Swan, Hunter & Wigham until 1968. She would have been finished like Vikrant and commissioned as R13 but the money to do so never materialised and she was scrapped.
Vikrant joined the Indian Navy officially on 4 March 1961, giving her a construction period that lasted 18 years. She was to serve for the next four decades and was seen as the Indian Navy’s USS Langley, serving as the test bed and training hive for the first generations of India’s naval aviators. It should be taken as a direct inspiration that after the Indian Navy commissioned Vikrant, the navies of Argentina and Brazil embarked on flat top programs (also with surplus British 1942 Design Light Fleet Carriers).
Flying obsolete British Hawker Sea Hawks, the Vikrant sailed into history during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Her Hawks scored nearly a dozen “kills”, mainly of Pakistan Navy gunboats and Merchant navy ships and cargo ships in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) without losing an aircraft in the war. Aided by French-made Breguet Alize aircraft, the Sea Hawks of Vikrant emerged unscathed, achieving the highest kill ratio for any aircraft in the entire war.
According to a Indian historical website, “After the sinking of the Ghazi, the Vikrant then cordoned off and every port in the erstwhile East Pakistan — Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, and Khulna — was pounded by the Sea Hawks based on the Vikrant. Such was the impact of the air attack from Sea Hawks, that the Pakistani Naval commander in the then East Pakistan remarked, “Indian naval aircraft were hitting us day and night. We could not run.” On one occasion, with aircraft airborne and no wind conditions, the ship had to take a chance with her cracked boilers to land the returning flights. This was easily the carrier’s best of the finest hour. Such was the performance of the ship in the liberation of Bangladesh that it earned two Maha Vir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras.”
She later flew the first Indian Sea Harriers and after 1989 gained a ski-jump for these VSTOL aircraft. Showing her age, she was decommed 31 January 1997. She has since served as a museum ship of sorts in Mumbai harbor. It was announced this week that
the old girl is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, most likely for scrap. Since a lot of ship-breaking is done in Bangladesh, her last voyage could be to the country she helped to free.
Vikrant, ave atque vale.
Displacement: 15,700 tons standard, 19,500 tons full load
Length: 192 m (630 ft) waterline, 213.3 metres (700 ft) extreme
Beam: 24.4 m (80 ft) waterline, 39 metres (128 ft) extreme
Draught: 7.3 m (24 ft)
Propulsion: 2 Parsons geared steam turbines 40,000 hp (30 MW), 4 Admiralty three-drum boilers
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 1,075 usual,
Armament: 16 × 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns (later reduced to 8)
Hawker Sea Hawk
Westland Sea King
Breguet Alizé Br.1050
If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO)
They are possibly one of the best sources of naval lore http://www.warship.org/naval.htm The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.
Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of
which are unique in their sweep and subject.
I’m a member, so should you be!
This last week the final stable call was made of Kapitan Jozef Kowalski.
Born around 1900 in Polish Galacia, then controlled by the Austria-Hungarian Empire of the Emperor Franz Josef, now part of the Ukraine, young Jozef spent his teenage years surviving the back and forth invasions by the Imperial Russian Army during the First World War. At the tail-end of that conflict, he joined the new infant Free Polish Army and fought the Ukrainians, Reds and Whites in turn during the Russian Civil War and Russo-Polish War. Kowalski remained in the Army, specifically in the cavalry. He was one of the famed Polish Lancers, a member of the 22nd Uhlan regiment that fought Hitler’s Panzers in 1939. The great saga that was horse-mounted cavalry versus armored vehicles.
He survived the hell of a German POW camp for six years and then lived in Poland until this last week, dying at age 113. As such he was the last known Polish veteran of the Russo-Polish war, and possibly one of the last Great War veterans of any nation. He is a holder of both the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Pro Memoria Medal, presented by the President of Poland as a token of gratitude for his service.
He has answered the final call of the trumpeter and has ridden slowly off the field into the halls of glory.
The humble bolt-action rifle known across the planet as the Mosin-Nagant, lovingly called ‘nuggets’ by collectors, is possibly the most common rifle on the planet. Produced in figures of no less than 48 million by at least a dozen countries from 1891 through 1973 the Mosin-Nagant rifle was robust, accurate, and reliable. Besides, of course, being an affordable piece of history, it also has several bonus features and uses for which you may not be familiar with.
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
Peter Lloyd has a great primer up on his site about Viet Cong Booby traps during the late great hate in Indochina. (originally from SSG Arnold Krause C 2/12th Infantry.)
“It comes as no surprise that the utilization of IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) in the Middle East theatre of war, in Iraq and
Afghanistan, throws up similar problems faced by the foot soldier in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The only difference is that one fighting force was primarily using boots for transportation and the other is using vehicles. The end result is the same: injure or kill using an explosive device without directly engaging the enemy.’
Found this beautiful vintage nautical image online.
The thing is, I have no idea what ship its from. Stating the obvious, its a large (10,000-ton plus judging from the draft), four-screwed single rudder steamship under construction in a stepped dry dock around the 1900s. Other than that…got me.
Any thoughts guys?