The Hummel ("bumblebee") and Nashorn ("rhinoceros") are two of Nazi Germany's most widely recognized self-propelled artillery pieces. The Hummel, with its heavy field howitzer, was indispensable as heavy field artillery despite its open-top fighting compartment. The Nashorn, also known as the Hornisse ("hornet"), utilized the same chassis but mounted the formidable 88 mm antitank gun, becoming one of the most feared pieces of antitank artillery, or Panzerjäger ("tank hunter"). This book chronicles the development and use of these vehicles from concept to combat. Through dozens of archival photos, many never before published, as well as detailed photographs of some of the finest existent examples of surviving vehicles, these iconic armored fighting vehicles are explored, and their history is explained.
Despite the favored acquisitions abroad by the VVKJ conservatives, in the early 1932 an idea to develop a modern combat airplane was initiated by two young Serbian engineers, Ljubomir D. Ilic and Kosta I. Sivcev, who were at the time employed at the Air Force Command Technical Department. They worked in secret after hours at Ilic's apartment and designed the first entirely Yugoslav made fighter airplane, the IK-L1, which first took off on 22 April 1935. The second prototype, IK-02, construction began ten months later and the airplane took off for the first time on 24 August 1936. The first 12 series airplanes construction followed in 1937 with the last airplane entering service in February 1939. At the time of the German attack, on 6 April 1941, VVKJ could rely on eight IK-2s, which served with distinction during the short and bloody April war.
M3 General Lee - an American medium tank from World War II era, also used by the British army. In the US, known as Lee, in the United Kingdom as Grant. M3 tank was created as a result of the need to replace the obsolete M2 tank, which did not match the WWII battlefield. The serial production began in August 1941. The M3 tank had many components from the M2 light tank, including chassis, Wright R975 EC2 star engine and the shape of the combat compartment.
M3 was meant to be a transitional solution due to the lack of turrets for a 75 mm cannon (M2 type cannon), which was finally mounted in the sponson on the right front of the hull. Second anti-tank gun - 37 mm caliber - was mounted in the turret and intended to fight enemy vehicles. The original M3 was equipped with a riveted hull and a turret in which M6 cannons were mounted (cal. 37 mm). In the M3A1 version the riveted turret construction, dangerous for the crew, was replaced with a cast version. The new turret was easier to assemble, which accelerated the production process. It also reduced the weight of the vehicle. Both guns were equipped with gyroscopic stabilizers. Additional armament included two or three Browning M1919 machine guns, caliber 0.30 inches. In American M3, two Brownings were mounted in a small rotating dome at the top of the turret. In the British version there was a entrance hatch for the crew.
The crew of the tank consisted of six soldiers (initially seven). A total of 6258 M3 tanks were produced in all versions. They served in the British, Australian, American and Soviet armies.
Sd.Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther is a German tank destroyer developed by Krupp and Daimler-Benz. The order was placed in August 1943 and the vehicle entered service in the first months of 1944. It was armed with a very effective anti-tank tank gun. PaK 43 cal. 88 mm. The destroyer's combat compartment was armoured with 40 to 100 mm thick (front plate) armour plates. From January 1944, 415 pieces were produced (at the MIAG, MNH and MBA factories).
The vehicle was based on the chassis of the Panther Ausf. G, but it didn't have as many technical problems as the mentioned tank. Due to the favourable power-to-weight ratio, Jagdpanther had good performance and maneuverability. Together with a powerful cannon, which was able to destroy any allied armoured vehicle that time, it made it an extremely effective and dangerous destroyer.
Vehicles were used by independent tank destroyer battalions. Jagdpanthers debuted in Normandy in 1944 (within 555th and 654th Panzerjagerabteilung), achieving great successes. Also during the offensive in the Ardennes, the Allies took a toll on them. They appeared on the Eastern Front in the autumn of 1944, effectively fighting all Soviet armoured guns and heavy tanks, including IS-2.
The vehicle was produced in two main variants. The early version - designated as G1 - had a smaller yoke that was welded to the hull, a modified engine compartment from the Panther Ausf. A and two driver's visors. In the later version - G2 - the Panther Ausf. G engine compartment was used, one driver's visor and a larger yoke which was bolted to the front plate with screws. There were also many hybrid variants combining the features of both versions. Until September 1944, Jagdpanthers were covered with Zimmerit in the form of characteristic squares, and not the more popular "snakes".
Jagdpanthers proved to be the most effective German tank destroyers, but they appeared too late and in too few numbers to significantly influence the course of the war.
The Mirage F1 emerged from a series of design studies performed by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. Having originally sought to develop a larger swept wing derivative of the Mirage III, which became the Mirage F2, to serve as a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) propulsion testbed akin to the Dassault Mirage IIIV, however, it was soon recognised that the emerging design could function as the basis for a competent fighter as well. Both the Mirage F2 and a smaller derivative, referred to the Mirage F3, received substantial attention from both Dassault and the French Air Force, the latter being interested in its adoption as a long-range fighter bomber as a stopgap measure prior to the adoption of the envisioned Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG) strike aircraft.
Parallel with the Mirage F3 study, which was intended to serve as an interceptor aircraft, Dassault decided to study a single-seat derivative which featured the all-French SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojet engine. The Spanish Air Force was the second Mirage F1 customer, and purchased a total of 91 machines of different variants from 1975, equipping a total of four squadrons, during the period 1998-2000, the survivors were upgraded to Mirage F1M standards, and were phased out of service in June 2013, but about 22 of them were given a new lease of life after beinjg acquired by Draken International to be used as aggressors in the US.
When, in the early 1930s, the Americans began modernizing their navy, they considered the replacement of old destroyers from the Great War as one of the most urgent tasks. However, the new projects, disappointed and dissatisfied the sailors. Some of these vessels were heavily overloaded (e.g. Sims class and early Benson ships), as a result some of the weaponry had to be removed. By proceeding with the design of subsequent series of destroyers, efforts were made to respect the Treaty restrictions (London, 1936). The originally formulated requirements envisaged a destroyer with a displacement of 1,600 tons and armament consisting of not less than 4.5-inch (127 mm) guns and 10 x 533mm torpedo tubes and a speed of 36 knots. There were six variants of vessels slightly different from earlier Benson and Sims classes. It soon became apparent that additional requirements could not be met within the limits of this displacement. This mainly concerned making space for a 28-mm quadruple automatic cannon and more powerful ASuW weapons.