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Month: November 2013

The Otranto Barrage

The Otranto Barrage was a naval blockade of the Otranto Straits between Brindisi and Corfu, intended to prevent the Austro-Hungarian navy gaining access to the Mediterranean Sea. Although it did keep Austro-Hungarian surface ships in the Adriatic, it had little effect on submarines, which routinely passed through the Barrage to conduct anti-shipping operations in the Mediterranean. The idea of the Barrage was first brought up by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill at the May 1915 conference in Paris, on the eve of Italy’s entry into the war. Churchill offered to supply 50 fishing trawlers and 50 miles of submarine indicator nets, in return for the Italians providing crews and armament. The Italians declined, realising that manning and arming the craft would be a significant challenge. During the Dardanelles campaign, British trawlers proved very useful, and as the submarine war in the Mediterranean intensified, the Italians realised that they did not have enough small vessels for anti-submarine duties.

British drifters
British drifters

Terminator: The BMPT-2 Tank Support Fighting Vehicle

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

The BMPT ("Tank Support Fighting Vehicle"), sometimes known as the Terminator, is designed to provide support to tanks, APCs and IFVs. During the urban fighting in Grozny in 1995, the Russian army found that the limited elevation of the armament fitted to its armoured vehicles led to difficulty engaging the enemy, and so suffered heavy losses. Self-propelled AA guns such as the ZSU-23-4 Shilka were used as a stop-gap solution, but the very light armour on these vehicles made them vulnerable. The BMPT was developed largely as a solution to these problems, although it is also used in more open environments.

By Vitaly V. Kuzmin (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
By Vitaly V. Kuzmin (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons