AFV Alphabet: E is for EIFV


The EIFV is the Egyptian Infantry Fighting Vehicle, an interesting hybrid of an M113 armoured personnel carrier mated with a turret from an M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. It was developed by BAE Systems for the Egyptian Ministry of Defence, with design starting in 1995, and production starting two years later.

The M113 chassis is enlarged, with an extra road wheel. The armour is improved to a point where it is proof against 14.5mm AP rounds in all aspects. A more powerful engine is fitted, to compensate for the extra weight caused by the additional armour and turret. It has a crew of three, and can carry seven infantrymen. A standard Bradley turret is fitted on top of the M113 hull, armed with a 25mm chain gun, coaxial 7.62mm machine gun, and twin launcher for TOW anti-tank missiles.

The combination of M113 hull and Bradley turret makes for a cheap and reasonably effective infantry fighting vehicle. The upgraded engine allows the vehicle to keep pace with the Egyptian army’s M1A1/M1A2 Abrams MBTs.

Image source: BAE Systems via Wikipedia (GFDL)

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Britain Did Not “Stand Alone” in 1940

Seven British empire military personnel in uniform

Lest we forget … that Britain was not alone

On Remembrance Day last year I wrote, “I consider Remembrance Day to be a time to remember everyone that has been harmed by war. Any war, any nationality, civilian, military, whatever.

I still believe that, but it occurred to me recently that there is a commonly-held belief that after the fall of France in 1940, Britain alone opposed Nazi Germany. This is a myth. I don’t know where the “Britain stood alone” idea came from, but it seems likely that it comes from Churchill’s famous “Their Finest Hour” speech. However, to his credit, Churchill recognised that there were countries other than Britain fighting Germany. He didn’t speak of Britain fighting alone, he spoke of “Britain and the British Empire”, and the “British Empire and its Commonwealth”. Even that wasn’t quite true, since countries such as Nepal and Oman, which were neither members of the Commonwealth nor parts of the Empire, had declared war against Germany in 1939.

After France surrendered in 1940, Germany was still at war with Britain. They were also at war with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Bahrain, Nepal, Newfoundland, Oman, and Samoa. None of these countries were covered by the British declaration of war, but had made their own distinct declarations during the first weeks of the war. More countries, including India, were covered by the British declaration of war, since they were part of the British Empire.

These countries made very real contributions to the war effort, even before the entry of other countries such as the USSR and USA. In December 1939, HMNZS Achilles, a New Zealand cruiser, was engaged in the Battle of the River Plate, which led to the sinking of the German pocket battleship Graf Spee. New Zealand pilots fought in the Battle of Britain, and an army division served in North Africa. It’s notable that the only man to win the Victoria Cross and Bar during World War II was a New Zealander. The Royal Canadian Air Force made a major contribution to the Battle of Britain, and her navy fought in the Atlantic. Two Indian infantry divisions fought in North Africa. South Africa provided many pilots during the Battle of Britain, and South Africans fought in North Africa.

When people say that “Britain stood alone” against Nazi Germany in 1940, they’re doing a great disservice to the countries, and the many thousands of men, that fought and died alongside the British. Their contribution and their sacrifice deserves to be remembered.

At 11:00, when I observe the two minute silence, I will remember them. Will you?

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AFV Alphabet: D is for Deerhound

T17-Deerhound-armored-car-2“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The T17 (named Deerhound by the British) was an armoured car built in the US during World War II. Originally intended for service with both the British and US armies, in the end, neither army adopted it. The 250 vehicles that had been built had their armament (one 37mm gun and two machine guns) removed, and were used by the US Army Military Police Corps in the US.

The vehicle was designed by Ford in 1941 in response to a US Army Ordnance requirement for a medium armoured car. It had six wheels, all of which were driven. At the time, the British army was looking for medium and heavy armoured cars for service in North Africa. Production started in late 1942, but tests early the next year showed that the competing T17E1 design from Chevrolet was superior. Consequently, Britain decided to buy the T17E1 (which they named the Staghound), and the US army adopted the light M8 Greyhound armoured car.

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Self-Printed 3.0 Splash: Essential WordPress Plug-ins

Catherine Ryan Howard is a self-published author and blogger. When I first started thinking about self-publishing, her blog helped get me up to speed. She’s also written a book on the subject, the third edition of which is now available. Since she’s given me so much help and advice, I decided to take part in the Self-Printed 3.0 splash, to help her launch her new book (and, yes, the chance to win a prize helped).

Self-Printed 3rd edition cover

I asked, “What WordPress plug-ins are absolutely essential for an author website/blog?” Her answer is below:

Catherine’s Answer

Well, here’s the thing Russell: I don’t use, so I don’t use plug-ins. (For those of you who don’t know the difference between and, the first is the self-hosted one you have to pay for and the second is the free one you don’t.) I have never paid for anything to do with my website – or, to be more specific, the blog I make look like my website – except for the €18 a year or something for the URL upgrade which allows me to take “wordpress” out of my website name, i.e. I absolutely adore and think they have everything you need to make a great blog and/or website, and that since self-publishers should be trying to save money where they can, that’s what I’d recommend other self-publishers use. Bonus: you also don’t have to worry about plug-ins!

If we’re talking the features of an author website/blog, I’d say keep it simple, functional and professional. You’d want a section all about your books, obviously, plus an “About” page, plus a way for people to contact you in private (a “Contact” page with either your e-mail address or a contact form, which you can easily insert in Telling people they can get you via Twitter is not acceptable; you never know who might be trying to get a hold of you and chances are, one day it’ll be someone who doesn’t want to have to do it in public, like a radio show producer or a publisher. A newsletter sign-up and links to your other online homes (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is essential. I’m against having fifty different flashing widgets in your sidebar just because if you paid to have your website professionally designed, the design wouldn’t come back looking like that. Cohesiveness is best. Above all else, don’t distract from the content.

About Catherine

Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit for the chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!

“SELF-PRINTED is my self-publishing bible. It taught me how to format, create and upload my e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. It showed me practical things such as how to build a website/blog and how to promote my books. More importantly, it taught me how to compete with the professionals. Just look at the results – The Estate Series has sold nearly 100,000 copies and following that I got a traditional book deal with Thomas & Mercer too, so I’m now a hybrid author. Jam-packed full of hints and tips all in one place, I’m always referring back to it. In a word, it’s priceless.” – Mel Sherratt, author of The Estate Series and DS Allie Shenton Series.

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AFV Alphabet: C is for Carden Loyd tankette

Carden-Loyd Mk.VI Strängnäs 12.08.11 (3a)

The term “Carden Loyd tankette” actually refers to a series of vehicles which were developed in the inter-war years. The Mark VI was the most successful, being built under licence in many countries.

In 1925, Carden-Loyd Tractors Ltd, a company owned by Sir John Carden and Vivian Loyd, created the Carden-Loyd One-Man Tankette. The idea was developed, and from the Mark IV onwards, became a two-man vehicle. The vehicles showed enough promise that Vickers bought Carden-Loyd Tractors in 1928. The Mark VI tankette became a great success, with over 300 seeing service in the British army, and more sold abroad. In the British army, the tankette saw service primarily as a machine gun carrier, but it was also used as a light gun tractor and mortar carrier.

It later formed the basis of the British Universal Carrier. Several other countries used it as a basis for development of their own tankette designs. Five Dutch Carden Loyd tankettes saw action in Crete, fighting German paratroopers in May 1940.

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