Howl and the World Howls With You.

Tag: Military (Page 2 of 2)

Spaghetti with Beef & SCE (?!?)

So this year my daughter turned 12, (okay, so she turned 12 in 2015 so I guess she turned 12 last year) and what is the daughter of a former Air Cadet and Army Reservist to do?  She joined Sea Cadets.

As a proud member of RCSCC 335 Calgary she was off to a seamanship competition this past weekend and in addition to winning the provincials, she and her team (and the rest of the Calgarys) spent the weekend eating field rations.  Now in my day (oh so long ago) Canadian Forces field rations were outstanding–not only did they meet your dietary needs they also tasted good (well, except the Hungarian goulash and lung-in-a-bag).

My daughter’s rations apparently weren’t that good (to be fair and honest, I’m not sure they’re actually Canadian Forces field rations–they could be American or civilian or some other source of mush-in-a-bag).  To provide to me their lack of quality she provided me the following item for lunch:field ration package

Stamped on the nondescript green pouch it says “Spaghetti with Beef & SCE“.  I have no idea what SCE is, but here’s what  it looks like once heated:

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All that said, I tackled the challenge head on and ate my issued ration of spaghetti with beef & SCE–there’s even photographic proof:

image (1)

Surprisingly enough, it was actually good–better than Chef Boyardee.  Now either I was lucky enough to get the one decent meal they issued, or my child has no idea what bad rations would taste like.  Compared to Hungarian goulash, this was gourmet.



Tin Can Canucks

Tales of the Tin-Can Canucks

The Royal Canadian Navy celebrated it’s centenary in 2010.  In 2014 the RCN celebrated 100 years of Canadian Submarines. Coming up in 2020 it will be 100 years since the commissioning of Canada’s first Destroyers HMCS Patriot and HMCS Patrician.  It will be the centenary of Tin Cans (destroyers) and Tin Can Canucks (destroyer sailors) in the Canadian Navy.

Tin Can Canucks: HMCS St. Croix

HMCS St. Croix

While there have been some fabulous books on various classes of ships in Canadian service–written by Canadian authors I deeply admire like Ken Macpherson, Julie Ferguson, J. David Perkins and others–I have yet to see a book published that looks at the story of destroyers in Canadian service.  So, in advance of 2020 I decided I had to write one–and call it… (drum roll)…

Tin Can Canucks

While I work on the manuscript, I wanted to share some of the amazing stories I’ve unearthed in my research–stories of men and ships and circumstances that are very much uniquely Canadian (including shelling the American west coast, surviving a monster gale on the way to Bermuda, or breaking up a mutiny on a merchant ship amongst other).  So those I think are most interesting–or frankly if I think I need a blog post in a jiffy–I’ll post here over the next few months.

I hope to have Tin Can Canucks completed this summer, and from there we will see how she goes.  In the meantime, I hope my readership (minuscule as I assume it to be) will enjoy reading these tales as much as I enjoyed writing them.

If you read one or more of these tales, and are interested in getting a copy of the book once it’s published, please leave a comment to let me know–I’ll post how to get a copy once I have that sorted out 🙂



Old Engines Never Die… (They Just Blow a Gasket)

Hrmm …. looking back on my blog, I realize I made exactly two entries last year. Not good. Sure I have excuses (My old ecto didn’t work with Blogger’s new API; I was busy; I was uninspired), but I don’t believe in excuses, so here’s my New Years Resolution for 2008: write more.
I’m starting the year with some babble about a subject I have a fondness for: engines.
Now the real irony is that although I’ve always had a love for the mechanical–engines in particular–I’ve never actually worked on a real one (my mother thought advanced math was a better waste of my time in high school than motor vehicle repair). Instead I work on miniature model engines–usually 72 times smaller than the real ones.
While doing some research on WW2 armoured vehicles several years ago I learned a neat fact: the first versions of the Sherman tank were powered by an aircraft engine.
The Wright J-6 (also known as a R-975; a Radial engine with 975 cubic inches displacement) was a radial engine first designed for use with early aircraft. IKt first flew in the R-975, 9-Cylinder configuration in 1930. The J-6 was in fact used by the Curtis F9C Sparrowhawk, a biplane used with US Navy’s rigid airships USS Macon and USS Akron. The J-6 and the aircraft is was designed to be used with were all inter-war types, most of which had disappeared by the time Europe exploded again in the late 30’s.
During that second conflict–around 1942–Wright licensed Continental Motors to build a version of the R-975 as a power plant for medium tanks and tank destroyers. The M3 Grant/Lee, M4 and M4A1 Sherman and the M18 Hellcat were all powered by the Continental R-975, which proved fairly reliable and easy to maintain in field conditions. It produced some 400 horsepower, which could power a 30 ton tank up to 24 mph for brief periods. Though the Shermans were hardly the best tank in the war, their shear numbers and ease of deployment made them arguably one of the key factors to the Allies victory.
Post-war, the R-975 found itself in another niche–helicopters. Although the world of short/vertical takeoff wasn’t new to this Continental engine (the J-6 had powered the Pitcairn-Cierva PCA-2 autogyro years before) the use of the helicopter as a naval and army asset had entered its own in the mid-to-late 1940s. The Piasecki HUP Retriever and H-25 Army Mule helicopters were used by the US, Canadian and French navies as well as the US Army for search and rescue work as well as moving men and material. The HUP-2 was used in the Canadian Arctic during the navigation of the North-West Passage by the HMCS Labrador in the 50’s. The last HUP/H-25 was retired in 1964, over thirty years since the J-6 first flew on a biplane.
Fascinated by this tale of engine history, I decided to do more than just write about it–I’m currently building a collection of F9C, M4A1 and HUP-2 all in 1/72 scale. Each model will show it’s J-6/R-975 in some way and in addition I’ll have a 1/72 scale R-975 mounted on a test stand. I hope to have this done for the Western Canadian Regionals in May. I’m already well on in the construction of the HUP-2 and Sherman.
In other modeling news, I just received the Alliance Models 1/9600 Battlestar Galactica model–and it’s one sweet chunk of resin. It’s worth every penny (even if I did get it on sale before Christmas).
Well, I guess that’s it for now–I hope to keep some sort of regular bloggin schedule this year, but as the old saying goes: hoping is like farting–everyone does it, and most times the results stink.

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