There is nothing new under the Sun.


Identify the Glider and the Tank

Answers at the bottom of this blog.



The Vought OS2U Kingfishers were assigned to battleships and cruisers to spot naval gunfire. When radar came along, they were repurposed to scout for U-boats while escorting convoys across the Atlantic Ocean. The problem came that the capital ship had to stop for a period of time to recover the Kingfisher, during which time they were vulnerable to a U-Boat’s torpedo.


The Brits need to put more stuff on it.

Long Range Patrol Vehicle (UK)


Is that the right handgun for her?


The Shadow Republic of the Roman Empire

HIstorian’s generally mark January 16th, 27 BC as the fall of the Roman Republic and rise of the Roman Empire, for on that day Octavian accepted the title “Augustus” and became the first Roman Emperor.  However for the common Roman pleb it seemed as though little had changed and the Roman Republic was alive and well.  After all there was still a Senate, which created and passed laws, and there were still elections.  To most Romans, the traditions and ideals of the republic still remained in place.  This attitude continued for decades and generations, perhaps even centuries.  Little did the Romans know that they were living in a shadow republic where a shadow emperor pulled the strings behind closed doors (most of the time but not all of the time).

When Augustus came to power in 27 BC, he did not outwardly take the powers and identity of an emperor, in fact he rarely used imperial titles, instead preferring the title “Princeps” (first citizen).  He lived in a simple house, wore simple clothing, and disdained wealth at every turn. Rather than being a divine ruler, he propagated the illusion that he was “first among equals” or that he was “more equal than everyone else”. He allowed the Senate to continue their legislative work and appeared to be as humble and non-assuming as possible.  Of course, this was all a show to convince the Roman people that the republic had not fallen and that he was not an emperor, but in reality Augustus pulled all the strings and personally worked all the cogs of government.  The vast majority of the powers held by the Roman state were controlled by him.  Hence Augustus’ republic was not a republic at all, it was an empire camouflaged in republicanism.

This era of Rome’s shadow republic would become known as the “Principate” to historians.  While the Emperor controlled most of the Roman government, the government continued to operate as usual to give the outward appearance of a functioning representative system.  Elections were still regularly held in which citizens could vote for their senators and tribunes.

However the Emperor had to approve of all candidates.  The Senate still debated and passed laws, however all laws passed by the Senate had to be approved by the Emperor. The Senate controlled judicial matters, but only at the behest of the Emperor. It was shadowy business to maintain the illusion that the Senate was in control.  Often, when an Emperor disapproved of a certain law or policy, he would attend the senate debate or vote on the law.  His mere presence was a signal to the Senate of his disapproval, and the Senate would act accordingly.  Crossing or disobeying the Emperor had dire consequences, thus for the most part the Emperor usually got what he wanted.  It’s is important to note however, that the Emperor, while powerful, was not all powerful.  If the Emperor was a particularly lousy ruler, such as Caligula or Nero, the Senate could chose defy the Emperor’s decrees.  For example, Caligula’s reign was fraught with instances were he and the Senate clashed over government matters.  The Senate had the power to approve or disapprove of Emperors, and in the case of Nero stripped him of his power and declared him an enemy of the state.  However, such actions were rare throughout the history of the Principate.

As Emperors came and went, more and more they assumed more powers and more authority, especially after civil wars and national emergencies.  By the third century AD, the pretense of Rome being a republic was wearing very thin.  Finally in 284, Diocletian became Emperor and assumed absolute power over Rome.  The Senate was stripped of all legislative and judicial authority, and all pretenses of maintaining a republic were finally ended. In fact, the Emperor even became an almost god-like figure to the Roman people. This new era of absolute rule in the Roman Empire became known as the “Dominate”, and would characterize Roman politics until the eventual fall and collapse of the Western Roman Empire.  The Dominate continued in the Eastern Roman Empire until the Byzantines adopted a feudalistic system during the Middle Ages.


Identify the Tank and the Glideranswer – British GAL. 49 Hamilcar Mk.I glider and American Light Tank M22 Locust


  1. Lives as a common man but pulls all the strings, sounds like the Clintons. The jackass that followed him (not Bush) obviously advanced his agenda by about 100 years.

    The Kingfisher did good work, from spotting and recon to rescue and other fun stuff. Nice planes. The Navy lost something when they got rid of float or seaplanes.

    The babe with the gun? Well, interesting, but the holster looks like just a soft sack so drawing could be difficult.

    As to the Hamilcar, the Krauts made a bigger one. And then added engines to them. Whacky krauts.

    • I don’t think that the Germans did much in the way of airborne operations after Crete. They still had luftwaffe (parachute infantry) troops in the field, but it was a decreasing sum. I have seen photos of their huge “powered glider”. Strange ambition at the time considering the shrinking resources that they had.

      • The Germans used their glider assets to help supply the Afrika Korps. Which, after we got our P-38s in country, pretty much meant no more gliders, powered gliders, JU-52s or -87s…

        • Yeah and they really didn’t work out since they were produced in insufficient numbers – and way too late.

          I read German assessment of the American M-2/50 Cal machine gun. They said that the advantage that the Americans were not constrained by ammunition shortages and they could (and did) shoot at everything. The M-2’s were mounted on everything.

          More bullets and beans at the kinetic point of contact

          • Seems an odd assessment considering the Germans built their infantry squads around their machine guns.

            I read someplace that if you didn’t know who occupied a particular piece of real estate, you could always fire a few shots that direction. If they ran up the white flag, they were French, if you got a big dose of accurate rifle fire, they were Brits, if you got a fusillade of machine gun fire, they were Germans, and if there was peace and quiet for five or ten minutes, followed by an airstrike or artillery fire, they were Americans.

            I have no idea how accurate that assessment.

  2. I remembered the Locust, but forgot the name of the glider. The Brits had their own airborne tank project (Tetrarch), but I don’t think it advanced as far as the Locust.

    I guess the gun depends on her hand size, I can’t really tell.
    I wonder what the story is behind the weird airplane-fuselage… shed?


    • They got some Tetrarchs produced, 177 of them, sent 20 to the Russkies (who, I think, just melted them down to make real tanks) and used some in D-Day glider landings, where they sucked rocks and were unlamentedly sent to 2nd line and rear area for ‘escort’ and ‘support’ duties. (Replaced by Cromwells (which sucked) and M22 Locusts (which kind of sucked, but the Brits bought them.) Yet the Brits kept them till 1950. Kind of a “Dammit, we made the bloody blasted piece of dog squeeze, we’ll use them until the sprockets fall off!”

      An infantry support vehicle that can’t fire HE. Brilliant, just freaking brilliant. At least the 37mm in the Locusts could fire HE, AP, and, more importantly, Cannister.

      • WW2 showcased a seemingly endless search for the perfect tank.

        And in the end, when the dust settled, the M-4 Sherman was at the top of the heap for all around effectiveness, and numbers produced. Some say the T-34, but the manufacturing and the engines left too much to be desired.

        • The Sherman was especially loved for it’s reliability and ease of logistic support. When the Brits tested it against their mediums the results, especially daily availability, was amazingly one-sided. I believe the report actually cited that the mechanics supporting the Shermans were notably better rested and more effective at the end of the test versus the Cromwell mechanics, because the Cromwell guys were up every night pulling maintenance after fixing the day’s problems. The Shermans had virtually no problems and needed only the daily maintenance.

          • It would have been better if the Sherman had been a squidge larger to easily mount a 90mm gun but the 75mm wasn’t bad and the long 75 was better.

  3. Nothing new under the sun indeed. Augustus reminds me of Jimmah Cartah, carrying empty suitcases.

    Where can I get a card deck like that?

    I had no idea the Brits built a glider that big.

    • The Brits were big on gliders, as they had no real transport aircraft like the C-46, C-47 or C-54. They towed their gliders with heavy bombers.

      The Brit gliders were better than our Waco gliders. That’s not saying much.

  4. Diocletian’s palace in Split still remains, bizarrely intact. We forget, I think, that today’s Balkans were a civilised province of the Empire. Well, at least in part. Albania may have slipped the hook…

    • The Balkans were part of the empire for a lot longer than the US has been around. It’s difficult to hold onto that perspective.

  5. Brits- Looks like one of the more epic episode vehicles of the BBC Top Gear boys ready to head out. That’s some serious bugout…with a slight ground clearance loss.

    Handgun, what handgun? (Yeah, I know, stating the obvious but somebody had to do it.)

    Absolute rule – America is heading that way.

  6. As to the Long Range Vehicle, that is a descendent of the jeeps of the Long Range Desert Patrol of the North African campaign in WWII.

    Thanks for the posts.
    Paul L. Quandt

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