Dustpan of the Streets

The dustpan of the streets, the tow truck is always on the scene of any motor accident, alongside the emergency vehicles. Our friends at www.towchandler.com do this on a regular basis and helped with some of this article. They can be called the ‘unsung heroes’ of the streets, clearing up the path from wrecked cars so the rest can continue on to their routine. Created just for this purpose nearly 100 years ago, the tow-truck is as almost a common sight as any police car, firetruck or any other service vehicle. The tow truck has earned its title as a legendary servant of the streets. So much so that the U.S. Army even possesses such a class of vehicle in its large arsenal of vehicles.

It is the early 1900’s. Automobiles were in their infancy, and so was the structure of motorized transportation. The idea of a vehicle towing another vehicle hadn’t even emerged in the minds of the automotive industry. That changed in 1916, when a Tennessee local by the name of Ernest Holmes, Sr., gave birth to the idea in his garage. Prior to this, he had witnessed how much time and effort it required to pull a car out of a ditch, taking no less than six men, ropes, needing blocks and a wasted afternoon to finally retrieve the car. After his first design, he began improving the model and selling them commercially. Thus the tow truck was born.

There are numerous types of towing maneuvers. The first of which is Continue reading Dustpan of the Streets

The Russian T-34 in the History of WW2

Few tanks on the earth can compare to the might of the Soviet T-34. At over 80,000 being built in total, it is the most produced tank in World War II, deciding the outcome of the conflict. It was designed in the late 1930s to replace the Red Army’s obsolete light tanks, and entered service just in time for the Nazi invasion. Although it was later out-armored and out-gunned by later models from both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union herself, it remained in production for nearly two decades and continues to serve some nations’ military up to the present day, fighting along with its descendants.

 

The video above is about towing a tank out of a bog. Now this is a towing service!

 

In the late 1930s, the primary tanks in the Red Army’s arsenal were types such as the T-26 and BT series of light tanks. The former was slow and un-maneuverable, designed as a support tank for infantry. The latter was intended as a quick-moving ‘cavalry’ tank, based on the suspension designed by American J. Walter Christie. In 1937, Mikhail Koshkin, an engineer, was tasked to design a tank initially to replace the thinly-armored BT tanks. In the battles of Khalkin Gol, an unofficial border war against the Japanese Manchukuo government in Mongolia, at the time Communist, the T-26 was showing its limitations. The T-26, standard at the time, was equipped with Continue reading The Russian T-34 in the History of WW2

History of Limousines in the News

Whether it be for a school prom or for transporting the President of the United States of America, the limousine has never failed to turn heads to the pedestrians they pass by. A modern stage coach, the limousine was created with elegance in mind, as is represented in its appearance.  Almost as old as the car itself, the limousine has endured a variety of changes. The limousine also comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, for every need.  Check out the selection at mesalimophx.com for an example. The limousine is a worthy contribution to the field of transportation, and will continue to serve as such for decades to come, perhaps centuries.

Limousin
“Limousin bull” by Velela – Own work (Self taken). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

The name ‘limousine’ was derived from a type of cloak and hood worn by the people of the Limousin region of France, which resembled the closed compartment of the limousine vehicle. The first such limousine emerged in 1902, with an enclosed passenger compartment and an open driver’s compartment. These were nearly identical to the average cars of that era, except for the open driver’s compartment and closed passenger’s compartment. It wasn’t for another two decades when the ‘stretched’ limousine appeared, in 1928. These vehicles were initially made for the big band composers (whose popularity had been emerging throughout the 1930’s) to transport them and their bands. They became known as ‘big band busses.’ As mentioned in another article, the limousine was seen fit as a Presidential transport, when two were bought by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Although most standard limousines are very similar, there are some custom differences between certain models. For example, almost all limousines have a barrier between the driver’s compartment and the passenger’s compartment. Instead of having a simple sliding glass as a barrier as seen in most limousines, however, some have more flamboyant characteristics that distinguish the passenger and driver’s compartments. One such style is the limousine-landaulet, in which the entire roof of the passenger compartment is able to collapse, similar to a convertible, whereas the driver’s compartment is Continue reading History of Limousines in the News

Tanks in History That Made The News

The Kliment Voroshilov series of tanks were one of the best armored vehicles in the earlier stages of World War II. The Kliment Voroshilov series, known simply as the KV series, were a series of Soviet tanks manufactured during the earlier half of the Second World War, and were very effective against early Nazi armor. Built as primarily a replacement to the disappointing massive multi-turreted T-35 tank (designed in the 1920s as a break-through tank) the earlier and most produced KV tank, known as the KV-1, featured extensive armor and a powerful 76mm cannon, like that of the T-34. The KV series, however, didn’t last as long as the T-34, given that the T-34 was a simpler design, and that the T-34 performed just as well, and even exceeded the KV’s in some respects. However, the KV series did help slow the Wehrmacht armies in Operation Barbarossa and came in many variants, which helped the Soviet tank industry along.

The Kliment Voroshilov-1 (named after the political commissar of the same name) came about after the disappointing T-35 giant, a well-armed and armored tank, but extremely slow and horrendously un-maneuverable, and difficult for the crews to escape out of in an emergency. This, along with experience cultivated in the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939, called for a new main battle tank, one with strong armor and armament, like the T-35, but not as sluggish or impractical. The KV-1 wasn’t the only design submitted; several others were submitted to the government, the two main competitors being the SMK and the T-100. The SMK was essentially a twin-turreted version of the KV-1 tank, almost a hybrid between the KV-1 and earlier T-35. There is little information of the T-100 available, but what could be recovered stated that it was similar to the SMK in design.

With the world plunged into war, the Soviet government felt it was appropriate to take the three designs by each firm and test them in battle. In August of 1939, just before the invasion of Poland, the Nazi and Soviet governments both signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, a treaty of cooperation. In this treaty, land was guaranteed to the Soviet government, including that of Finland. It was this invasion of Finland that began the Winter War of 1939-1940. In this brief war, each of the three submitted designs, built in extremely low quantities (as in one or two apiece) were placed in battle, testing their strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, due to its advantage of its smaller size and being more maneuverable, the KV-1 was chosen for mass-production.

The KV-1 was the main variant of the KV series, and the most produced. Yet there are still some variants worthy of mention. The next KV tank in line was the stupendous KV-2, a massive tank designed for artillery purposes. This tank shared the chassis of the KV-1, but had, instead of the average KV-1 turret, had a giant box frame as a turret, housing a massive 152mm D-10T Howitzer cannon. Since these tanks were not the most practical, only 300 were produced, making it one Continue reading Tanks in History That Made The News