User Input

User Input: Era vs. Era

Come on, how can you not love these?

There’s been a bit of backstage discussion amongst the various Toasters contributors in the last week or so. Much of it has revolved around wondering if we’ve had enough or too much or too little material from any one particular era. Now, when we originally […]


IT’S A GO!! USS Iowa to depart San Francisco today

It’s here! YEAY! The day has arrived!!

After a fortuitous week-long delay due to inclement weather off the California coast, the Last Battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) will (finally) be departing her berth in Richmond under tow and making her way out the golden gate around 2:30pm, enroute to her new home in Los […]

Military-Grade Awesome

Battleship, 16 Inch Gun Training Film

Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s USS Iowa Post, comes this period training film on the loading and firing of the Iowa class’s massive 16 inch/50 cal Mk7 gun. Here you will see the inner workings of the turret, as well as projectile and powder-bag handling. This may come in handy someday if you suddenly find yourself on a re-commissioned WWII battleship.

Hey, it could happen. You gotta be prepared.

Below is a cutaway diagram of the major parts and general arrangement. It’s kind of like an angry flaming iceberg, where you only see a small part above the surface… if you can call 3 gigantic 16 inch diameter 66 foot long guns “small”. Continue reading Battleship, 16 Inch Gun Training Film

Military-Grade Awesome

USS Iowa BB61, a visit to the Last Battleship

USS Iowa, BB-61 in distance dwarfs nearby railroad tankers

Last weekend Super-Spouse and I visited the USS Iowa Battleship as she sat in the docks of Richmond, California, being prepared to be towed south towards her new home in the Port of Los Angeles as a floating museum. I say the “last battleship”, because of all the battleships to have ever been built (that are not resting at the bottom of the sea), the Iowa is the last functional “Big Stick”, and is just now emerging from the Naval Reserve Fleet to be donated as a museum. Her sister ships USS Wisconsin (BB64), USS Missouri (BB63), and USS New Jersey (BB62) have already opened to the public as attractions in Norfolk VA, Pearl Harbor HI and Camden NJ respectively. This isn’t really the end of her official career however, as congress has ordered that the Iowa be maintained in such a way that if needed in a national emergency, the ship can be returned to active duty.  Continue reading USS Iowa BB61, a visit to the Last Battleship

Bizarre Powerplants

7700 cubic inches of aircraft engine goodness

At the end of World War Two the aircraft engine manufacturers took a bigger is better attitude towards design. Managing to create two running aircraft engines with five thousand horsepower each. Of course to produce that with a piston engine takes a large amount of displacement.  How about a nice little 127 liter engine for the new bomber of the moment.

We make this look good


Continue reading 7700 cubic inches of aircraft engine goodness

Airborne Awesomosity, Military-Grade Awesome

AT-9 Jeep: Deliberately Being Difficult

This AT-9 is part of the National Air Force Museum collection. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As our nation watched World War II escalate in Europe, America’s armed forces felt more urgency to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. would be drawn into the conflict. The Army Air Forces were procuring an expanding arsenal of larger, more powerful and harder to handle bombers. This meant that training requirements for pilots increased, too.

Cessna responded to this need with the AT-17/AT-8 Bobcat, a fairly conventional advanced trainer (“AT”) based on their new civillian T-50 twin. Curtiss-Wright, however, developed the AT-9, a purpose-built, all-metal, twin-engined advanced military trainer that went into service just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was notable for being notoriously hard to fly and land, and deliberately so. It was also, in my opinion, one of the absolute coolest-looking planes to come out of the WWII era.
Continue reading AT-9 Jeep: Deliberately Being Difficult

Covet Thy Neighbours' Swag, Startup

Startup: Reading the Minds of Men

I know, it doesn't even require batteries. And yet somehow I want it.

While yesterday’s Bugatti-themed desk would absolutely be a cool thing to own, let’s face it, there’s no way it’s going to be suitable in every house. It only comes in a brilliant Bugatti blue, and it probably costs about as much as a new Bugatti as well. So it wasn’t too hard to talk myself down from my unrequited lust for that shiny bit of wood and metal.

Continue reading Startup: Reading the Minds of Men


Startup: Everyone Flap Your Arms!

The post engineerd did on Friday really triggered a tidbit in my memory about one of the most amazing feats from the Second World War. As I discovered while I was refreshing my memory on the details, it was actually featured quite prominently in the movie Pearl Harbor, which I have not seen because I generally hate movies. I am of course referring to the legendary Doolittle Raid, which was the first American assault on Japanese soil during World War II. This raid was launched from the American aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942.

Continue reading Startup: Everyone Flap Your Arms!

Military-Grade Awesome, Startup

Startup: A Nuclear-Powered Floating City of Ass-Kicking

Not a sight you want to see in your rear-view mirror. Mostly because it would mean you were driving in the ocean.

If he were still alive, today would be Chester Nimitz’ 126th birthday. And he’d probably be very tired, but he’d still be in active duty. For those who are unaware, Nimitz […]

Startup, Stealth Week

Startup: A WINDOW Onto Warfare

Not what you first think of when we say "Stealth" aircraft...

Much of Stealth Week has been dedicated to fairly high-tech devices, particularly for their day. It all involves some sort of covert activity, disguise, or method of subterfuge. The technology of WINDOW, (as suggested to us by faithful Toasterite Tom) then, would almost seem contrary to that philosophy. Nevertheless, it served as a form of stealth warfare by attracting as much attention, and making as much noise as possible.

Continue reading Startup: A WINDOW Onto Warfare