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Ken Estes

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About Ken Estes

  • Birthday 08/25/1947

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    USMC Tanker, Historian

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  1. Hi, I made a thread with a question about your opinion on Panther vs Sherman gunner visibility. I hope you like to check it out. Thank you.


  2. FEINDEF is apparently the only defense show conducted in Spain. The website certainly whets my appetite and I'll be there on day one as my wife is hired as an interpreter for the opening ceremony. See https://www.feindef.com/index.php/es/
  3. https://battleshiptexas.org/ 3/5/23 SHIP REPAIRS TORPEDO BLISTERS (Yes, new torpedo blisters ARE going back on) – The addition of new framing for the torpedo blisters has stopped on the ship’s starboard side. Any new frames will be done with modules that will consist of about 9 frames each. They are produced off of the dock and will be brought on and attached to the ship’s hull. We now have the three modules installed and being fitted on the ship. Modules are being made in the shipyard’s fabrication shop. More of the blister plate is going on the forward section on the starboard side. The forward sections are almost entirely plated up. The blisters will be of a slightly different design and square off at the bottom below the waterline. This design change will make the new blisters easier to maintain. Workers have removed most of the aft and midship portions of the port torpedo blister. FOAM REMOVAL – Foam removal on the port side blisters is complete. HULL – As work continues moving aft, any holes in the ship’s original hull (including areas under the blisters) are being repaired. New plates are added to thinner areas and smaller pin holes are welded up. The ship’s hull on the starboard side is now being primed temporarily. Sandblasting is almost complete on the starboard side. STERN – New plating continues being paced onto the ship’s stern. As the new plates go on, they are welded to the repaired framing done while the ship was still at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in 2013-2014. SCRAP STEEL – Any steel that comes off the ship (and is deemed worthy) will be used in future fundraising. We have already started making prototypes of the new products we will be offering on our store. Thank you all for the support and, Come on Texas!
  4. Interesting discussion with excellent data on military readiness. Accordingly we ought to recognize that the UK prime minister operated from the beginning of the crisis with firm assurances from his service chiefs that they were completely unprepared for war. In the case of France, it requires noting that the French Army annual maneuvers did not exceed regimental level and even then were undermanned in terms of reserve callups. French intelligence had also concluded that the German forces were trained and equipped for sustained warfare. With such blinders installed as 'know your enemy,' the UK and France had little to offer from the outset of the crisis.
  5. RETAC21 and I wrote a chapter in The Military History of Modern Spain (2007) in whch we covered Cold War fortifications. "Rejoining Europe: From post World War II Isolation to the Eurocorps (1945-2006)" Upon the end of World War II in Europe, The Spanish armed forces faced enormous difficulties in strategic position, resources, organization and modernization that for the most part remained well beyond their capacity to correct. Strategically, Spain faced isolation at least as grave as that of the war, in which Spain had exceeded a strictly neutral position in favor of a “non-belligerency” tilted toward the Axis powers, Germany and Italy. As a result, Spain already faced the prospect of sanctions in the newly founded United Nations (spurred by a naturally hostile USSR), a dearth of allies of any sort, a growing nuisance in the form of Franco-Spanish resistance fighters crossing the Pyrenees, and severe problems of a backward and obsolete military establishment. Postwar Spain thus remained a pariah state in Europe, and maintained conscription and extensive defenses into the 1990’s, although any invasion threat faded with the coming of the Cold War. The army fought the last insurrections in North Africa and departed its last African colony in 1975. The Spanish forces modernized in the 1950s with military assistance from the U.S. in return for bases and garrison privileges, and again in the 1960s with the beginning of the Spanish economic recovery. NATO membership in 1982 introduced the last phase, by which Spain converted to a modern, all-professional force by the turn of the century. The army has trimmed down to a mechanized division, aviation squadrons, and several handy rapid deployment brigades; the air force has squadrons of interceptors and fighter bombers with supporting echelons; and the navy maintains modern sea control, minesweeping, amphibious and submarine squadrons. Spain has participated actively in interventions and peacekeeping actions of NATO, the UN and the WEU since 1991. Section I – Post-Second World War (1945-1954) France closed the Pyrenees border temporarily in June, 1945 and definitely on March 1, 1946. Although the dangers of outright invasion by the victors of World War II subsided, the strategic priority for Spain clearly remained in the defense of the Peninsula, with colonial affairs a distant second. The defense of the peninsula fell mainly upon the Spanish army, for the air and naval services remained too weak and obsolete after the tumult of the Civil War and Spain continued to lack resources for modernization and other reforms. The army thus reinforced its existing coast defense arm, maintained a large conscript (18-24 month service) force of mostly foot infantry formations and expanded its antiaircraft artillery arm. Spain already had many coastal defense sectors, chiefly ports, featuring powerful coast defense artillery works, topped by 18 15-inch and 52 6-inch Vickers pattern guns purchased and installed in the 1930s, augmenting older guns dating from the turn of the century. After the Civil War, these were reinforced with another 16 12-inch cannon salvaged from battleships lost in 1923 and 1937, the last being installed in the 1950s at Mallorca and on the Straits. The 4-inch antiaircraft guns (48 installed) were augmented by light antiaircraft guns of various wartime marks. Although most works were closed in the 1990s, several remained operational and the last 15-inch training shoot is planned for 2007. Two coast defense forts used their fire control equipment to track and report the advancing oil slick from the tanker Prestige in November 2002. On the landward defenses, a comparable effort consisted of several thousand blockhouses and related installations incorporated in Line P across the Pyrenees Mountains. This series of numerous minor works ranks as both the last great belt of fortifications of World War II and the first of the postwar period. Spain already was under attack in a minor way at wars’ end, as Spanish communists and anarchists, many being members of the French Maquis, attempted their own version of the 1944 Liberation across the Pyrenees. The Spanish Republicans fighting on the side of the Allied forces during Second World War may have exceeded 30,000 men in total, including 10-15,000 in the French Resistance. The first incursions into Navarre and Basque regions gained little support but a major effort at Vall d’Aran aimed at Lerida may have totaled 4000 guerrilla fighters. This incursion required the intervention of military as well as police forces, and General Moscardó, the military governor of Barcelona, lent his prestige to the effort. Most of these guerillas fled back to France, but numbers remained in the mountains and the interior, where anarchist bands also roamed as late as 1952, with some isolated incidents extending to 1963. Atrocities committed by both sides recalled the Civil War and some banditry typical of earlier epochs also occurred. The Spanish government declared an official end to the Guerrilla War in 1949. By then, the last efforts of the USSR to rally support in the UN Security Council against the Franco Regime had failed and France re-opened her border with Spain on 10 February 1948. ....
  6. Sometimes called Battery Marcouf, the Crisbeck Battery on the mainland was powerful enough and well enough camouflaged to menace the invasion and bombardment ships alike. For years, the sinking of destroyer USS Cory was credited to a minefield instead of the single salvo of 210mm guns.
  7. The Swiss, Austrian, and Swedish Armies used Centurion tanks and tank turrets to make their fortifications more lethal during the Cold War. The Swiss Military Museum at Fall has one on display in fortress mode, but don't go there without seeing their Tiger B restoration project being done in full public view!
  8. Actually it repeated at least twice, so I trimmed it. More coming, and a photo album
  9. 22 May Stevns fort: https://www.stevnsklint.com/en/experience/places/stevnsfort-cold-warmuseum/ 2 x 152 mm twin turrets L/55 from German battleship Gneisenau secondary armament. Cold-war costal artillery battery finished in 1953 and in operations to around 2000. A museum since 2008. Placed along the Öresund south of Copenhagen it controlled most of the traffic on the Danish side of the straight towards Sweden and most of the harbors on the eastern Danish shore. Rangefinders and radar stations controlled the guns. Everything is connected with a spine system some 18-20 meters underground in the Danish chalk clint. Around 1.6 km of tunnel system with underground ammunition depots, battle control station, dormitories, kitchen etc. On site is also a HAWK surface-to-air missile battery – Raytheon MIM-23 missile “Homing All the Way Killer” with many artefacts still on site.
  10. Last time we listened to a 'requirement' from the US Airborne Club, it resulted in the M56 Scorpion. One of its virtues was carrying the same gun as the medium tanks of the era that would presumably bring more ammo once the breakthrough to the airhead was accomplished. That was also the period when the 11th Airborne Division was last reactivated, such deja vu for our time....
  11. https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/472x336q90/924/k8bp5o.jpg
  12. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTSOygiibXQAXPdsf4sElQ
  13. Videos and stills of heavy and light batteries of the Oscar 2 fort at Gothenburg, Sweden, for the 6 June national day, up to 24cm https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTSOygiibXQAXPdsf4sElQ
  14. Stick to eye of the beholder. First, Minister Albert Speer: Then the exploits on the battlefield: Then there are the historians: Although primarily a history of multiple failures, the German heavy fighting vehicles of World War II provided a multitude of challenges within the engineering problems of tank design and manufacture, and several technological exploits resulted from the experience of bringing them to the final stages. In most cases, however, the sheer size, scope and weight of these vehicles generally exceeded the available technologies and manufacturing capabilities. These setbacks proved no specific undoing for the armies concerned despite the sheer waste of materials one might consider they involved. The numbers attempted remained very small. Above all, the tactical and operational considerations that brought them into development were proven false or obsolete by the time they could have entered service. Fortifications of all kinds and power were encountered and overcome in World War II without the use of specialized armored vehicles. The accomplishment of tactical and operational breakthrough on the modern battlefield came to depend more on numbers, mobility, and logistical sustainment than the application of superior guns and armor at a single point. The minor experiences of German operations with their Jagdtiger tank destroyers pointed out that when not employed in substantial numbers, even super-heavy fighting vehicles were soon overwhelmed and swept aside in the Allied advances. Above all, the logistical handicaps of the heavies presaged their doom. The operational constraints posed by at least partial disassembly for rail transport, the limitations of bridging and fording means, and the ever-existent possibility of miring in swamps or even city streets that their high length-to-width steering profiles could carve up all made for extraordinary difficulties. Left to their own automotive power for deployment, they could not hold up for long under constant stressing of barely tested components.
  15. Well, you are not long on patience, are you. I'm not qualified to explain to you the detailed workings of copyright law. The source of the map has it in a 400-page manuscript of his and I do not know if it has been published or not. Suffice to say that any pledge of yours to keep it for personal use may not impress a publisher who insists in a contract with the author that such items not be previously circulated or published and if not the case, such might be used to cancel or modify an existing agreement to publish. I've asked him for permission to circulate the map and for some of his pics of major caliber guns fired today on Swedish National Day. If I can wait so might you?
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