Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Disney Park, Women and Minorities Hit Hardest?

"Tell me it isn't so Mickey Mouse!" you can almost hear the little kid crying, but it does look like the Mouse doesn't like poor people as Disney tries to stop a low income housing project near the park.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good Bye Stardust Hotel

One reason I like Las Vegas is it's embrace of the new, the change, the bigger and better.

In this regard when an old hotel is torn down folks feel sad, but they are also happy. The Vegas person looks forward to the newer flashy and more garish place that will come.

In this spirit the demolition of the Stardust Hotel was one heck of a send off.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 08, 2007

1.1-inch Cannon--The 3rd Worst?

When discussing the worst United States weapons of WWII you'll usually get presented with two outstanding candidates (or maybe suspects would be a better term): the M4 Sherman tank and the Navy's Mark XIV torpedo.

Note: I'll grant that at a second-tier level we have 'stinkers' like the M3 37mm antitank gun or the M50 Reising submachine gun, which were bad, but more of the 'close but no cigar' type, and don't qualify as 'worst.'

Thus, ranking slightly below the M4 tank and the Mark XIV torpedo (but much worse than the stinkers), for your consideration, I present the water-cooled Mk 2 1.1-inch (75 Caliber) Quad-barrel machine cannon.

At one time the 1.1-inch seemed to be just what the Navy needed to provide enhanced antiaircraft protection to its ships. But, once WWII started it was found that a twin barrel Bofors 40-mm gun could do the job better. In addition, the Mk2 1.1-inch was hard to maintain and unreliable.

The 1.1-inch ammunition suffered from being smaller than the 40-mm round and bigger than the 20-mm round. The 40-mm round was large enough to have a fuse that could be set for time and/or altitude and could detonate spewing fragments increasing it lethality area. The 20-mm round was smaller, easier to handle, and could be fired at a higher rate of fire than the 1.1 inch.

In addition, the 1.1-inch round had a fuse that was built only for contact detonation. The 1.1-in. round would only detonate if it actually struck an airplane greatly reducing it's effectiveness and lethality. The fuse was equipped with a simple set back system that could be armed if dropped while loading, which could result in a burst barrel.

So hobbled by its:

  1. Poor ammunition,
  2. High maintenance requirements,
  3. And, threat of injury to its operator

I feel justified in putting forward the Mk 2 1.1-inch for a dubious lack of achievement while in combat award.

Tip of the hat to the web site Destroyer Escort Central (located at: ) a treasure trove of information on WWII Navy technology.

Labels: , , ,