Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Royal Marine ORC

...before you start getting excited - that's Offshore Raiding Craft...

Southampton Boatshow last weekend and the Royal Marines were there so I took the opportunity to have a look over one of their new assault craft... 

These things come in two configurations - troop carrier (this one) and fire support type (Fire Support Platform - FSP).

FSP removes the troop seating and replaces them with an additional two weapon mountings which can take either single GPMG or .50 Cal machine gun - it also has enhanced side protection - apparently you can switch between the two modes in less than an hour....

The troop carrier (this one) will take 8 marines and all their equipment (plus 2 crew) - with machine gun mount (single or twin GPMG) for close support/protection. It's design brief was to deliver the load from ship over the horizon to shore in up to 2 mtrs of surf..  they can even be launched from helicopter...

Rib tubes are close cell foam so protected against puncture...

Stripped down, basic, but frighteningly fast... driven by two of these (Steyr M0256K43 high speed diesel engines each developing 250Hp/184Kw at 4300rpm) and fully loaded they still do 34 knots....

Here's one in use...

Spec's (from the manufacturers website)
  • Length – 9100mm
  • Beam – 2900mm
  • Displacement Light Load/speed – 4200 kg inc fuel and 2 crew/39 knots
  • Full load/speed – 5500 kg/34 knots
  • Range - 200nm+
  • Turning – 1.5 boat lengths at max speed
  • Acceleration – 0 to 30 Knts in 10 seconds (!!)
  • Stopping – 1.5 boat lengths from max speed
  • Troop capacity – 8 troops with equipment (8 x 150 kg)
  • Total Payload capacity – Combination of troops, equipment and weapons up to 1300kg
  • Weapons – Forward pedestal for single or twin GPMG.
  • Hull – Fabricated Aluminium (Grade 5083).
  • Fendering – Elastomer covered closed cell PU foam
  • Engines – Twin Steyr M0256K43 high speed diesel engines each developing 250Hp/184Kw at 4300rpm.
  • Propulsion – Twin Rolls Royce (Kamewa) FF270 Waterjets
  • Fuel – Diesel
  • Transportability – Air transportable in C130 J MK IV. Under-slung Chinook CH47 and Merlin Helicopters. Optional road trailer.
  • Armour – Optional
  • Communications – Marine VHF.
  • Navigation – Chart plotter with DGPS
  • Electrical – 12V DC, Insulated return
  • Optional Equipment – Infrared and visible convoy lights, Infra-red flood light, Radar reflector, Intercom system, Shipping cradle, Boat cover, Launching trolley, Military Communications systems, Boat trailer, Fire Support Platform (FSP) complete with armour and weapon mountings
Fire Support Platform mode... 

Sales brochure (in case you're thinking of buying one) [clicky]

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A very interesting evening...

So how did the meet the authors evening go???  Very interesting I thought and I enjoyed it far more than (to be honest) I expected to....

I have long accepted that to most people I'm a bit of an oddity, a geek in fact, with an interest in military history that seems to most people in these politically correct days to be somewhat distasteful...  Having said that I have a view of myself as being fairly normal (other than a liking for Crocs) so my hesitancy was based on previous such events which tend to be packed with older gentlemen with a military bearing dressed in blazer and slacks, or slightly younger types with the personal  hygiene issue that is common to anyone who has been to a large wargame show... neither of which I have much in common with....

For the evening in question, the audience was heavy on the former, but we were short on the latter, and some of the former had even bought their wives...!

The event started then with the opportunity to have a look at the exhibits in the (comparatively) new Chichester Novium Museum, which opened to much fanfair a few years ago, and has quietly sunk out of site ever since  - it's an architectural eye sore (modernist concrete block), with high entry fees, and given I had a free entry given I was going to pay to see the authors anyway I was keen to see if I had missed anything...  not really....  the best part is the exposed basement - the museum was built on the site of a Roman bath house, so they left that open to view - quite amazing to see..  the rest of the museum, is spead over two other floors, which are fairly small in area, but have very high ceilings (they should have put in another floor) so don't contain much - and what little space they do have contains art pieces illustrating the subject in question rather than exhibits.... I got the impression the curator was fresh out of museum school...  4/10 I'm afraid...

The talk didn't start well as one of the two authors (Robert Wilton [clicky]) had been delayed returning from Kosovo so Michael Arnold [clicky] started by giving us a fairly extensive descriptive run through his books, his main character, the reason he had written the books based in the English Civil War (basically, no else had), his premise that after 20 odd years of peace the English civil War armies were run by mercenaries - Englishmen (British men) who had up until then hired their swords to either side in the European wars particularly the 30 Years War..  he has a fairly populist outlook, he came across as a (clean!) wargamer to be honest - he has a clear interest in military history, and told the story well...

After a break, Robert Wilton then did the same - I was far less aware of his books, in fact until that evening I'd not not heard of him, and also to be fair (as he said) only one of his books is actually set in the English Civil War...  I was most impressed - he's spent a lot of time in the British Civil Service (the link above takes you to his biography) and he speaks clearly and lucidly..  his book is far more about the growth of ideas than military hack and slash. His premise, and reason for writing the book, being how could a country go from 20 years of peace and prosperity, and a position where the prospect of killing a King was so far out of the ordinary as to warrant a claim of "madness", to a point less than 10 years later where a Parliament did exactly that. He was particularly interested in the growth of the various religious groups (Levellers/Diggers etc) and where that had come from. In essence he believed that this was mostly due to better education and the printing press....  I was enthused enough that I intend seeking out his book when I can....

Questions were many and varied, and despite the fact that they were not historians, I thought the authors did well, and both had a coherent view of the causes and outcomes of the war, add in a well genned audience, a few that clearly loved the sound of their own voice, and a very entertaining evening was had...    In summary, 8/10

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nothing Civil about Civil War

"With historical authors Michael Arnold and Robert Wilton. Come along to the Novium Museum for an exciting evening with two historical authors.

Michael Arnold lives in Petersfield, Hampshire and has been a member of Earl Rivers' Regiment of Foote in The Sealed Knot. Traitor's Blood is the first in The Civil War Chronicles series featuring the unforgettable Captain Stryker and is followed by Devil's Charge (a Sunday Times Historical Fiction Choice of the Year) and most recently Warlord's Gold.

Robert Wilton is a diplomat, charity co-founder and writer. The latest in the prize-winning Comptrollerate-General series of historical novels, drawing on documents from the organisation's archive and exploring different crises in British history, is The Spider of Sarajevo, published on the centenary of the events it illuminates. He divides his time between Cornwall and the Balkans.

Light refreshments and an opportunity to view the museum's collection will be available at the interval.
Contact the Novium Museum for tickets 01243 775888. Tickets can also be purchased from Chichester Library, phone: 01243 777351 or email: chichester.library@westsussex.gov.uk.
 Venue: The Novium Tickets: £5.00
Time: 6.30pm Date: Friday 12 September"

I have my ticket, and I am looking forward to it very much...   I shall report back after the event!