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Month: June 2013

Falkland Islands Defence Force

This article has also been published in the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers Journal.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, a volunteer unit was formed in the Falkland Islands to guard against Russian invasion. This unit was commonly known as the Stanley Volunteers, but had no official title. In 1891 a Chilean steamer, with 200 armed men aboard, called at Port William for repairs. The presence of so many armed men was considered to be a threat to the islands, and so the governor, Sir Roger Goldsworthy, formed the Falkland Islands Volunteers, with an initial strength of 37 men, to provide the islands with an indigenous defence force. The men of the unit were sworn in at a ceremony at Government House in June 1892.

An Ineffective System: The M247 Sergeant York

This article has also been published in the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers Journal.


In the late 1960’s, helicopters with anti-tank missiles started to be deployed, and a new tactic known as a “pop-up” was developed. The helicopter would hover behind cover, then climb just high enough to fire a missile, before dropping down behind cover again. Newer missiles such as the American TOW allowed the helicopter to perform such a manoeuvre quickly, limiting it’s exposure to enemy fire. By 1977, the Soviets had introduced the 9K114 Shturm missile (known to NATO as the AT-6 Spiral), which had a range of 5km.

Szent István: Hungary’s Battleship

As a land-locked country with no coastline, it may come as a surprise to learn that Hungary has ever needed or wanted a battleship. But, in the years before World War 1, Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The empire’s political system meant that, when Admiral Montecuccoli announced the building of a new generation of battleship in 1908, the Hungarian parliament could insist that one of the new class be built in Hungary, and be named Szent István, for Hungary’s patron saint.

Funding for this new class of ships was initially refused by the parliaments, on the grounds that the army needed the money to administer Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had recently been annexed into the empire. None the less, the first keel was laid down on 24th July 1910, but only after Montecuccoli had persuaded the Emperor to authorise construction on credit, and personally guaranteed a 32 million Kronen credit.

The Sinking of SMS Wien

On the 10th of December 1917, the Austro-Hungarian Monarch class battleship SMS Wien (Vienna) was attacked in port at Trieste. All three ships of the Monarch class had been relegated to harbour duties in 1914, since they were obsolete and due to be replaced by the new dreadnought battleships of the Improved Tegetthoff class. Although the first Improved Tegetthoff was scheduled to be laid down in 1914, the outbreak of war meant that no work was done on their construction, and so the operational life of the Monarch class was extended.

SMS Wien at anchor in Cattaro
SMS Wien at anchor in Cattaro

The Sinking of INS Khukri

This article has also been published in the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers Journal.

On December 9th, 1971, the Indian frigate INS Khukri was sunk by the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor. To date, the Khukri is the only Indian warship to have been lost in action. It was built in the UK, and was basically a British Type 14 (Blackwood) frigate modified to suit Indian requirements. At the time it was sunk, the Khukri had an extra device fitted to its 170/174 sonar, which was intended to improve the detection range. Commissioned in December 1969, the Hangor was a French Daphne class submarine, well equipped with modern sensors and weapons.