Purpose of this blog

Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Thursday, June 27, 2013

[360] Tanks All Around

Taken from here.

Did you have a chance to try the game in beta on during E3 2013? Any thoughts?

I don't own any console and my first PvP experience with WoT 360 happened about 3 weeks ago - found the controls pretty intuitive. Sure thing, gold Xbox Live sub requirement is a kind of entry barrier, unfortunately there was nothing we could. May be MS will drop this as they did with updating fees just recently. :)

And, which side are you on - Xbox One or PS4? 

[WoWP] The Right Stuff

Back in the early days of flight people wrestled with technology they barely understood, with engines that would crash for no reason. Equally the controls were utter nightmares, and would often lock up at high speeds or just do something unpredictable, and pitch you into the ground.

To spur on the early pioneers there were many prestigious prizes.

Now am I talking about WOWP or the real world? The answer is “both”. I was an Alpha Tester for WoWP, and for a couple of months each week I would set a challenge for the players to win, and give it an award. The awards were named after a Person, item or event in aviation history. Required Proof was a screen shot.

So I figure it would be interesting to revisit those early days and immortalize the Winners. Keep in mind this was Alpha Testing so the controls seemed like they were actively trying to kill you, and the graphics looked bad. Of course the game has also evolved so its likely you will be able to better these numbers, but back in March 2012 it was a very different game.

Claimed Prizes:
John Derry Medal:
For achieving Mach 1. Winner: Trebs, clocking a speed of Mach 1.16.
John Derry was the First Briton to achieve Mach 1. In a later flight in the same aircraft it crashed killing him.

The Mario Pezzi Award:
Highest altitude you can reach in a piston aircraft. Winner: Sgt_Bones with an altitude of 2361m.
Lieutenant Colonel Pezzi set the Propeller driven altitude record. He set it in 1937 (in a bi-plane), and it stands to this day! 

Walter Frame Gibb Award:  
Highest altitude you can reach in a Jet aircraft. Winner: MartokY with an altitude of 3706m.
Walter Gibb, set the first Turbojet record in 1953, in a Canberra bomber.

Alan Pollock Award: 
For Low flying, under a bridge. If there is a tie break, the person who is inverted wins. Winner: GrmlZ, with an altitude of 3m and inverted.
On 5 April 1968 Flight Lieutenant Alan Pollock flew his Hawker Hunter under Tower Bridge.

Le Prieur award: 
Get a Air-to-air kill with a piece of Ordnance, not a gun. Winner: GrmlZ.
Le Prieur rockets were a type of incendiary air-to-air rockets. They were invented by the French Lieutenant Yves Le Prieur and were first used in the Battle of Verdun.

Unclaimed awards. 
(remember applications are closed)

Chuck Yeager Medal:
Doing Mach 1 and surviving! Chuck Yeager was the first Person to do Mach 1 and survive in 1947

HMS Argus award:

For the First Landing! The award is named after the first Aircraft carrier, which conducted the first landing on 1 October 1918.

Scott Crossfield Award:
Doing Mach 2. Scott Crossfield was the first person to do Mach 2 in 1953.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

From the Mud...

Before the war Captain Donald Richardson was a Greengrocer. So when in 1917 he found himself in charge of a section of Tanks its unsurprising one of them sprouted the name Fray Bentos, a type of canned meat sold in the UK. Or at least that is the story.
Either way Captain Richardson was himself inside the tank during the Passchendaele offensive. It was wettest August on record, and by the 23rd the battlefield was a quagmire.

On that day the section of tanks was detailed to destroy a selection of German held farms. Although these had been farms before the war, they were now strong points/ heavily fortified concrete bunkers. Cpt Richardson led his section from Fray Bentos. Despite the tank never having been in combat, and all the crew being green the tank section destroyed the strongpoint at Somme farm. However all the tanks in the section were bogged down or knocked out, leaving Fray Bentos to continue on alone to destroy Gallipoli Farm.
As the approached the strongpoint a burst of HMG fire hit the driver’s vision port, the spalling from this burst caused injury to the face of the driver. As he fell in shock and surprise he caught the control levers, causing the tank to lurch to one side, and bog down.
Immobilised, high and dry with one sponson pointing into the mud the other into the sky, a Crewman called Brady volunteered to go outside and attach the unbogging beam. As he unhooked the beam the same HMG killed him. However at this point the Sponson gunner spotted the HMG nest and found his 6 pounder gun could just depress enough to hit it, which he did destroying the HMG.
The Germans now brought artillery to bear on the beached tank. A massive shell impacted alongside the tank punching a splinter into the chest of one of the sponson Gunners. As the rounds carried on falling the pounding caused the tank to start to sink sideways. When she stopped sinking the right sponson was utterly buried, and the left could not depress enough to do anything. Furthermore the shaking of the shells had caused Brady's body and the unbogging beam to slide off the tank, blocking the right door, as Cpt Richardson found out when he tried to lead a party outside to attach the unbogging beam. Unable to open the door the crew were unable to free the tank.

In the early afternoon the Germans launched a counter attack to re-take Somme farm. Right in their path lay Fray Bentos. Using her Lewis guns she broke up the attack.
Suddenly the tank came under fire from Somme farm as well as the Germans at Gallipoli and the artillery fire. The British forces as Somme farm were trying to destroy the tank to stop it being captured by the Germans.  Sgt Missen volunteered to act as a runner and return to Somme farm to let the forces there know of the tanks plight. Crossing no man’s land in broad daylight, Sgt Missen was wounded. However he did get the message through.
So for the first day the Germans had been content to bombard Fray Bentos with everything from mortars to larger artillery pieces. However overnight they tried something else. In the early hours after being up for around 24 hours, Cpt Richardson was startled by the Sponson door being heaved open. Silhouetted against the stars was the shape of a German soldier with a grenade. Luckily Cpt Richardson reacted faster, pulling his service revolver and shooting the German. The door slammed shut as the grenade detonated.

On the MKIV tanks was the sponsons could be retracted into the hull for transport. The blast of the grenade forced the left hand sponson to fall into the transport position smashing one of the sponson gunners across the chest.  At this point the Infantry at Somme Farm started firing up flares to illuminate the battlefield. And they kept this up for the remainder of the night. To make use of this light the Left door was used as a hatch, it did involve the crew man tasked with the job to hold the heavy solid armour door up with one hand while aiming and shooting with his pistol. This did enable the Tank crew to engage and rout another sapper party trying to sneak up on them .
At the start of the second day the crew in desperation started to drink the radiator water from the engines.
During the next 24 hours numerous assault parties were broken up by either Lewis gun fire or the use of the crew’s personal weapons. The tank had also provided a bulwark of fire against several German counter attacks against Somme farm. After three days solid in action, there was only one unwounded member of the crew, and they'd run out of food and water.
So Cpt Richardson ordered the crew to abandon the vehicle. They all made it to friendly lines, but to Cpt Richardson’s surprise the crew manning the Lewis guns had, as standing order required, dismounted the guns and brought them out with them. Before collapsing through exhaustion Cpt Richardson turned the Lewis guns over to the infantry's care.

Everyone of the crew later received a gallantry award of some form.

Note: The pictures used in this article are not of Fray Bentos.  Another tank bore the same number (F41), and was captured by the Germans. Or are generic stock photographs from the war.
As far as I've been able to tell there are no Photographs of Fray Bentos, apart from one aerial reconnaissance photograph.