T-34 Owner’s Workshop Manual

Back in what my wife likes to call ‘eighteen hundred and frozen stiff‘* (in other words, a long time ago) when I could still fix my old cars with some spanners, a couple of screwdrivers, and some swearing, I used to own copies of the relevant workshop manuals published by Haynes.

Over the past few years they have begun to publish a range of workshop manuals about a wide range of types of transport, including the RMS Titanic, the AVRO Lancaster bomber, and Saturn V rocket. One of this series that I had not come across before was the manual for the T-34 tank, but as I saw it on sale for only £4.00 in a local branch of THE WORKS, I just had to buy a copy.

The book is subtitled ‘1940 to date (all models)’ … and it certainly seems to do exactly that. Its chapters include:

  • The T-34 story
  • T-34 at war 1941-45
  • Operating the T-34
  • T-34s in post-war foreign service
  • Anatomy of the T-34/76
  • T-34 weaponry and firepower
  • Appendices
    • T-34 variants including SPGs
    • The T-44
    • T-34 turrets

I have several books about the T-34, but this one seemed to cover the technical aspects of the design and its variants better than the rest … and at the price being charged, it was a bargain.

T-34 TANK: OWNER’S WORKSHOP MANUAL was written by Mark Healy and published by Haynes Publishing in 2018 (ISBN 978 1 78521 094 5).

* This expression was used in an episode of DAD’S ARMY by Private Walker when referring to Corporal Jones’s service in the Sudan Campaign.

An even older Paraguayan River Gunboat!

The Paraguayan Navy’s Humaitá-class river gunboats may well be regarded as ancient by most modern standards, but their longevity pales into insignificance when compared to that Navy’s Capitán Cabral (ex-Triunfo, ex-Adolfo Riquelme), which was first launched in 1907!

She began life as a river tug, and was purchased and converted into a river gunboat soon after she was launched. She was originally armed with a single 3″ gun, but in the late 1980s this was replaced by a 40mm Bofors automatic cannon, two 20mm Oerlikon automatic cannons, and two 0.5″ machine guns.

At the same time as she was re-armed, the ship was modernised. Her original steam engines were replaced with new diesel ones, and her superstructure was completely re-modelled. She was certainly still in service in 2016 … one hundred and eleven years after she was launched!

Small Wars: New Perspectives on Wargaming Counter Insurgency on the Tabletop

It seems to be my week for acquiring new books. On Friday the latest addition to John Curry’s ‘History of Wargaming’ Project arrived … David Wayne Thomas’s SMALL WARS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WARGAMING COUNTER INSURGENCY ON THE TABLETOP.

I have known the author ever since he joined Wargame Developments many years ago, and he is a regular attendee (and session provider) at the annual Conference of Wargamers. As a result I have seen in operation (and taken part in) some the games featured in this book, and I can assure anyone who buys and uses the rules therein that they will enjoy some thought-provoking and well-designed games.

Besides a Foreword written by Brian Train (who is probably the foremost designer of counter insurgency board wargames), the books has six separate rules for COIN games:

  • Company Level Actions in the Early 21st Century: Boots on the Ground (by John Armatys)
  • An Isolated Outpost: Six Months in the Sahara
  • Soviet involvement in Afghanistan: Eight Years in a Distant Country
  • Counter-Insurgency in South West Africa
  • The Irish Troubles 1920-21: Flying Column
  • LBJ’s War 1965-68: Good Morning Vietnam!

The book also contains an extensive list of COIN games and rules as well as a five-page bibliography.

The book is published by the ‘History of Wargaming’ Project, and costs £12,95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 65183 1).

The Soldier

During a short visit to a local discount bookshop, I bought a copy of Chris McNab’s book entitled THE SOLDIER for £5.00. The book was published in 2016 by Parragon, and was originally priced at £16.00.

The book is split into three sections, and each section is divided into three chapters.

  • Section One: Global Conflict and Revolution
    • The Seven Year’s War
    • The American Revolution
    • The Napoleonic Wars
  • Section Two: The Age of Empire and Statehood
    • The American Civil War
    • Colonial Wars
    • Wars of Empire and Unification
  • Section Three: The World Wars and Modern Conflict
    • World War I
    • World War II
    • The Modern Era

Whilst this might not be the most definitive study of what it was like to be a soldier over the past two hundred and sixty years, it has some interesting illustrations. It is certainly worth £5.00 of anyone’s money … although personally I wouldn’t have paid full price for it.

Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: Romans vs. Gauls and a mid twentieth century battle

Ross Macfarlane and his long-time wargaming friend Ron recently fought an Ancients battles using the rules from DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME … and his battle report can be read here.

It would appear to have been a very enjoyable battle for them to fight, and I was interested to read both the House Rules they devised and the discussion in the Comments section.

Subsequently Ross fought a solo skirmish battle using some of his 54mm figures and models. The battle was set during the mid twentieth century and saw the forces of two imagi-nations battling it out for control of a village.

His battle report includes some interesting observations and house rules, and is very well worth reading.

Please note that the photograph featured above is © Ross Macfarlane.

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent: The Royal Engineers heavy vehicle display

The Royal Engineers have a museum at Gillingham, Kent but it is not large enough for all the heavy vehicles in its collection to be displayed on site. To make them accessible to the general public, these heavy vehicles are currently on display inside on of the covered slipway buildings at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent.

The vehicles and equipment on show included …

Chieftain (Willich) AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers)
In 1986, when the planned Chieftain AVRE did not materialise, the Engineer Workshops of 40 Army Engineer Support Group based in Willich, Germany, converted 12 Chieftain gun tanks into Chieftain AVREs for use by the Royal Engineers of BAOR (British Army Of the Rhine). They were an interim design, and were later replaced by vehicles that were converted by Vickers Defence Systems at Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1991 to 1994.

Giant Viper Mine Clearance System
Giant Viper was a trailer-mounted, mine clearance system, that was designed to clear areas that containing land mines. The system used rockets to launch a 250-metre-long hose, packed with plastic explosive, across a minefield. The explosive was then detonated, and the resultant explosion cleared a 200-metre-long, 6-metre-wide path through the minefield using sympathetic detonation.

Motor Tug Mk.VII and Trailer
The Motor Tug Mk.VII was used as a motor tug during bridging and rafting operations. This steel hulled boat was powered by a Rolls Royce marine B80 petrol engine, and was capable of reaching just over 10 knots.

M2D Amphibious Vehicle
The M2D was developed in Germany and used by BAOR. Individual vehicles could be used as ferries and several vehicles could be joined together to form a bridge capable of handling the heaviest armoured fighting vehicles.

Caterpillar D8 Crawler Tractor
The Caterpillar D8 Crawler Tractor was developed during World War II and used by the Royal Engineers during and after the war. It could be used for all sorts of engineering tasks such as repairing or building roads and airfield runways, removing debris, or pushing pontoons. This example has some armour plate to protect the driver and a push plate for pushing bridging pontoons into a river.

HMS Ocelot

One of the warships preserved at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, is HMS Ocelot. She was the last conventionally-powered submarine to be built in Chatham for the Royal Navy.

HMS Ocelot (S17) is also the last-surviving example of the Royal Navy’s Oberon-class diesel-electric submarines that is preserved in the UK. (Her sister-ship HMS Onyx was preserved in a museum in Birkenhead, Merseyside, but when the museum closed she was towed away and eventually scrapped. Other examples of the class are preserved in Germany, Australia, Canada, Brazil, and Chile.)

When built, HMS Ocelot‘s characteristics were as follows:

  • Displacement: Surfaced: 2,000 tons; Submerged: 2,450 tons
  • Length: 295.2 ft (90.0 m)
  • Beam: 26.5 ft (8.1 m)
  • Draught: 18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Propulsion: 2 × 3,680 hp Admiralty Standard Range V16 diesels driving two shafts; these also powered 2 × 1280 kW generators, whose output could be stored to drive the 2 × 3,000 hp electric motors that were used when the submarine was submerged
  • Speed: Surfaced: 12 knots; Submerged: 16 knots
  • Range: 10,350 nautical miles at surface cruising speed
  • Diving depth: 650 ft (200 m)
  • Complement: 7 officers and 62 men
  • Sensors: Type 1002 surface search and navigation radar; Type 187 Active-Passive attack sonar; Type 2007 long range passive sonar
  • Armament: 8 × 21 in (533.4 mm) torpedo tubes (6 bow and 2 stern torpedo tubes); 20 torpedoes

The Oberon-class submarines were a development of the preceding Porpoise-class, and proved to be very quiet. Although originally designed to be attack/hunter-killer submarines, they were often used for clandestine operations. The design proved to be very popular, and examples were used by the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Brazilian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Chilean Navy.

United Kingdom

  • Oberon
  • Ocelot
  • Odin
  • Olympus
  • Onslaught
  • Onyx
  • Opportune
  • Opossum
  • Oracle
  • Orpheus
  • Osiris
  • Otter
  • Otus


  • Onslow
  • Orion
  • Otama
  • Otway
  • Ovens
  • Oxley


  • Humaitá
  • Tonelero
  • Riachuelo


  • Ojibwa
  • Okanagan
  • Onondaga


  • O’Brien
  • Hyatt