David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Monday, April 26, 2010

World War II tank recovered after 62 years

WW II Russian tank with German markings uncovered after 62 years. WW II Buffs will find this interesting. Even after 62 years (and a little tinkering), they were able to fire up the diesel engine!

A Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer pulled the abandoned tank from its tomb under the boggy bank of a lake near Johvi, Estonia. The Soviet-built T34/76A tank had been resting at the bottom of the lake for 56 years. According to its specifications, it's a 27-ton machine with a top speed of 53km/hr.

From February to September 1944, heavy battles were fought in the narrow, 50 km-wide, Narva front in the northeastern part of Estonia. Over 100,000 men were killed and 300,000 men were wounded there.

During battles in the summer of 1944, the tank was captured from the Soviet army and used by the German army. (This is the reason that there are German markings painted on the tank's exterior.) On 19th September, 1944, German troops began an organized retreat along the Narva front. It is suspected that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake to conceal it when its captors left the area.

At that time, a local boy walking by the lake, Kurtna Matasjarv, noticed tank tracks leading into the lake but not coming out anywhere. For two months he saw air bubbles emerging from the lake. This gave him reason to believe that there must be an armoured vehicle at the lake's bottom. A few years ago, he told the story to the leader of the local war history club 'Otsing'. Together with other club members, Mr. Igor Shedunov initiated diving expeditions to the bottom of the lake about a year ago. At the depth of 7 metres they discovered the tank resting under a 3 metre layer of peat.

Enthusiasts from the club, under Mr Shedunov's leadership, decided to pull the tank out. In September of 2000 they turned to Mr. Aleksander Borovkovthe, manager of the Narva open pit company AS Eesti Polevkivi, to rent the company's Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer. (Currently used at the pit, the Komatsu dozer was manufactured in 1995, and has recorded 19,000 operating hours without major repairs.)

The pulling operation began at 09:00 and was concluded at 15:00, with several technical breaks. The weight of the tank, combined with the travel incline, made for a pulling operation that required significant muscle. The D375A-2 handled the operation with power and style. The weight of the fully-armed tank was around 30 tons, so the active force required to retrieve it was similar. A main requirement for the 68-ton dozer was to have enough weight to prevent slippage while moving up the hill.

After the tank surfaced, it turned out to be a "trophy tank" that had been captured by the German army in the course of the battle at Sinimaed (Blue Hills) about six weeks before it was sunk in the lake. Altogether, 116 shells were found on board. Remarkably, the tank was in good condition, with NO RUST, and all systems (except the engine) in working condition. This is a very rare machine, especially considering that it fought both on the Russian and the German sides. Plans are underway to fully restore the tank. It will be displayed at a war history museum in the Gorodenko village on the left bank of the River Narv.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is worn under a man's kilt ?

Warning; finish your coffee and biscuits before looking at these pictures because otherwise you may choke! I hope they make you smile or blush with embarrassment! I have often been told to take pictures you receive on the Internet with a pinch of salt as they may have been air-brushed or doctored in some other way. I will leave you to make up your own mind about these!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Politicians "Face Tough Choices on Policing"

Professional bodies warn that custodian of Number 10 keys must square up to difficult decisions on law enforcement issues…...

Tough choices will need to be made about crucial policing issues –whoever holds the keys to Number 10 Downing Street next month, it has been claimed.

In a statement after Gordon Brown announced that he would go to the country on May 6, the Police Federation said any PM would have to balance the demands of financial pressures while dealing with home affairs concerns.

Brown admitted that the election announcement had been “the worst kept secret in recent years” when – at 1100hrs on Tuesday (April 6) – he revealed he was going to the country.

All three parties have already discussed the broad direction in which they would take the police, should they take power, both in and out of Parliament.

Among the policies, Labour has said it will ring fence the Community Policing budget, ensuring there is cash for Police Community Support Officers for 2010-11.

The Tories are planning to introduce directly elected police chiefs which, the party claims, would improve accountability and cut down on bureaucracy.

The Liberal Democrats have maintained that chief officers should have greater discretion to manage their force in deciding key staff changes and rewarding specialists.

But a spokesman for the Police Federation said: “From our point of view we recognise that there are a number of issues in the police that need to be faced – whoever finds themselves in power in a month or so.

“We understand that the economic climate is not good and the Prime Minister will have to maximise investment in each of the public services.”

The spokesman believed that the “workforce mix” in the police would need to be examined to see how PCs and PCSOs could be deployed for best effect.

He also called for better collaboration between Forces to be explored where viable, Police IT to be better organised and a more “joined up criminal justice system”.

Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, believed that a more radical approach was required to meet the needs of difficult times.

The senior officer and former Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, again called for a top-down review of the whole law enforcement system, which, he stressed, had not been done for nearly five decades.

He said: “We would like to see a review of all areas of policing including the number of forces, national structures which pull things together in times of emergency and the manner in which the police are held to account.

“Police chiefs make hard choices on how to carve up their resources from anti-social behaviour at one end of the spectrum through to combating the threat from international terrorism at the other. It is now time to review the structures which govern our role in this increasingly complex landscape.”

However the Association of Police Authorities did not believe that an overhaul of policing was needed – and stressed that politicians needed to keep priorities in perspective.

APA Chairman Rob Garnham said: “Police authorities have the power, on behalf of local communities, to ensure that policing continues to improve. We do not need an expensive and time consuming review to look at how to do this.

“Policing is at an immensely important stage – we are already seeing a significant drive to improve public confidence in the Service, which is beginning to grow steadily and we are in the run up to the Olympics,” he added.

Article courtesy of www.policeoracle.com