British Army’s Amphibious Alvis Stalwart

There is a new kid in town at the Armed Forces History Museum – a British Army Amphibious Alvis Stalwart. If you haven’t seen this incredible vehicle, stop by and check it out. Below are some interesting facts about the Alvis Stalwart. General Overview The Alvis Stalwart was often referred to as the “Stolly” by the servicemen. The Stolly - an extremely mobile, general transport military truck - was built by Alvis and put into service in 1966. The main purpose of this amphibious vehicle was to provide supplies, such as fuel and ammunition, for forward units. Design of the Alvis Stalwart  Hull: vehicle chassis  Engine: located under the load deck in rear of hull  Gearboxes, differentials and transfer boxes: Located forward of the engine  Load Deck: open-top with large panels on either side that dropped down. Panels had waterproof seals which kept water out of the area when the vehicle was submerged.  Driver: Center position with a seat on either side for two additional men. Note: Cab entrance is through roof hatches only  Capacity for 30 fully equipped soldiers  Weight: 10 tons (9 tonnes)  Length: 21 feet (6.36 m)  Width: 8.5 feet (2.62 m)  Height: 7.5 feet (2.31 m)  Suspension: 6×6 wheels  Capable of carrying 5.5 tons of supplies (or) tow 11 tons  Engine: Rolls Royce B-81 Mk 88 petrol  Engine Power: 220 horse power  Maximum Speed on the Road: 40 mph (66 km/hour)  Maximum Speed in the Water: 7 mph (11 km/hour) Many parts of the design required a significant amount of maintenance, including the multiple gearboxes, the water propulsion units and the all-wheel drive system. If...

Restoring Military Vehicles – WWII M8 Reconnaissance Vehicle

When visitors tour the Armed Forces History Museum, they are consistently amazed when they learn all the military vehicles (tanks, halftracks, jeeps, etc.) have been fully restored in-house AND are in operational condition.  This means the vehicles at the AFHM don’t just get an exterior refurbishing in order to be on display.  The intricate parts of each vehicle are painstakingly taken apart, inspected, cleaned and overhauled (if necessary) so the vehicle is safe and its interior (motor included) matches its exterior.   Maintaining operational status is vital for the museum as many of the vehicles are moved to make room for large rentals and events hosted by the museum.  But what is even more amazing is the majority of this work is accomplished by one staff member – Doug Yerby.   Operational Military Vehicles are always a show stopper.  They have a conquer anything-in-their-way kind of attitude.   Some restoration projects can be daunting and overwhelming for even the most avid restorer, but for Doug, the bigger the challenge, the better he likes it.  His pride is evident in each and every restoration project he has undertaken at the museum.   Doug started with the museum prior to its opening in 2008.  He has been an integral part in what can best be described as an exceptional museum of high caliber.  He’ll be the first to tell someone the vehicle they are looking at did not always look that way.  Doug has spent countless hours researching and then restoring each of the many vehicles at the museum all the way down to the fine details such as stenciling, lending an...

Ford’s Model T Automobile

You can almost hear the sound of the roaring 20s as you view the rare 1923 Ford Huckster Model T automotbile on display at the Armed Forces History Museum.  The automobile is as much a piece of art as it is a car and is definitely a huge piece of Americana history.   Introduction The Ford Model T first went into production in 1908 and was often referred to as the Model T or Tin Lizzie.  The Model T is remembered as the first affordable automobile.  Contributing to that affordability was Ford’s integration of the assembly line production.  The Ford Model T is also attributed with opening up travel to middle class Americans for the first time.  The first Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1908.  Less than 20 years later, on May 26, 1927, the 15 millionth Ford Model T came off the assembly line.   Model T Design Though different from today’s reference, Model Ts were known by their ‘model years’, referring to the year the car was made.  This Ford automobile maintained its name ‘Model T’ throughout its 20 year production run despite its many revisions.  It had a 177 cubic inch engine which was mounted in the front with all four cylinders located on one block – something that was uncommon at the time of its production.  The top speed of the Model T was 40 to 45 mph with fuel economy averaging 16 to 21 miles per gallon.  The engine could run on a few different fuels:  Gasoline, kerosene and ethanol.   Combustion on the car was ignited by a...

BMP-1 Amphibious Tracked Vehicle

The BMP-1 Amphibious Tracked Vehicle was designed and manufactured by the Soviet Union.  It is considered to be the world’s first, mass produced infantry fighting vehicle and probably one of the top ten military vehicles produced.  The design combined components of the armored personnel carrier with those of a light tank.  The Soviet’s designed the interior of the BMP-1 with a radiation shield, which would permit the vehicle to fight in contaminated areas while providing a relatively safe environment for its troops.  The BMP-1 not only increased infantry squad mobility, it also provided them with fire support.   Development of the BMP-1 During WWII and into the 1950s, armored personnel carriers (APC) were used to deliver the infantry to the front line, where they would disembark and begin fighting on foot.  The carrier would provide fire support using its on-board armament.  Inadequate seals and open tops on the earlier designed APCs did not allow for any protection from nuclear or chemical weapons.  The same design did not permit troops to begin firing their weapons until after they disembarked.   The initial design of the BMP was drawn up in the late 1950s with a focus on speed, armament and the capability of each squad member to be able to fire from inside the vehicle.  The armament chosen for the vehicle would need to be capable of providing direct support for the infantry after it dismounted and to destroy any comparable light armored vehicle.   Initially, various experimental vehicles were configured in an effort to decide if the BMP should be produced with tracks or wheels.  Eventually, the tracked vehicle,...

Universal Carrier – Bren Gun Carrier

The name Universal Carrier, or Bren Gun Carrier, references a number of light armored tracked vehicles built from 1934-1960 by Vickers-Armstrong.  These vehicles were used extensively throughout WWII by the British Commonwealth forces for personnel and equipment transport and are considered some of the top military vehicles.  In all, an estimated 113,000 Universal Carriers were manufactured in the UK and abroad, making it the most widely produced armored fighting vehicle in history.   Design and Development of the Universal Carrier The concept of this carrier family is based on the 1920s Carden Loyd Tankettes, more specifically their Mk VI design.  When Vickers Armstrong first manufactured a light vehicle in 1934, it was designed to carry a machine gun or tow a light field gun.  Several variants of the Universal Carrier emerged throughout its production run. By 1945, almost 57,000 various models had rolled off the production line.  A number of manufacturers in Great Britain produced the Universal Carrier and production eventually expanded to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.   Operational History Each regiment of the Reconnaissance Corps was issued 63 carriers.  In addition, Support companies in infantry rifle battalions, were also equipped with the Universal Carrier.  The Support companies started out with ten per battalion.  By 1941 the number increased to 21 and in 1943 it was 33 vehicles per battalion.  Universal Bren Carriers were also issued motor battalions of the British armored division.  Artillery units utilized this carrier to pull anti-tank guns.   Additional Information The Universal Carriers were all equipped with the Bren light machine gun.  Some carriers were also equipped with a Boys anti-tank rifle, which...

Armored Fighting Vehicle – Stryker

The armored fighting vehicle Stryker is an eight-wheeled, 4-wheel drive which can be switched over to an all-wheel drive.  Produced by General Dynamics Land Systems for the US Army, this vehicle was modeled from the Canadian LAV III and is considered one of the top military vehicles.   History In October of 1999, the US Army was adopted a flexible doctrine which allowed quick deployment of fully equipped troops ready for a number of different operations.  The plan outlined the need for an ‘interim armored vehicle’; a vehicle capable of filling the gap between the heavier designs (which were not easily deployable) and the lightly armed and protected (more deployable) vehicles.   In 2005, production began with a limited number of vehicles to present for evaluation.  There has been extensive media coverage on the Stryker as it has become a controversial vehicle among military experts.   Future of the Stryker The US Army has rebuilt over 1,000 Strykers as a result their involvement on the battlefield.  Once refurbished, they returned to the action.  The Army already has planned to improve this armored fighting vehicle.  A few of the upgrades are listed below: Semi-active suspension Reshaped hull for better protection against IEDs Additional armor on the sides Hatches which minimize gaps in the armor Upgraded seating which absorbs blasts Tires made from a non-flammable material Remote weapons station (permits firing while vehicle is moving)   Specifications for the Stryker             Originated:  United States and Canada Crew and Passengers:  Varies Main Armament:  M2 .50cal machine gun (or) MK 19 .40mm grenade launcher Secondary Armament:  .50cal M2 MG and an M240 7.62mm...