The M715 Gladiator or "Five-quarter" if you prefer).
What the hell was ever wrong with this thing?
The Military went nuts and moved to boondoggle land.
It was solid, functional... cheap.
Largely stock! We could still be using them.
I've railed against the HUMVEE before but, in spite of its obvious boondoggle status, it did offer at least the saving grace of having replaced the most idiotic vehicle ever produced, The Gamma Goat.
They replaced the stone-age, butt-simple M715 with... something powered by a:
"Super-charged, two-stroke, three cylinder... diesel."
What a great idea! What a great ... bunch of ideas and all of them together.
It's perfect, reliability is dialed-in!
Now that's a tactical vehicle.
What the fuck were they thinking ('They' being Detroit Diesel)?
Anyway the adorably ugly, M715 was only produced for a few years, '67 to '69 but... Cue mass excitement... KIA has been making them right along.
Apparently, this wasn't even a case of Jeep licensing the design.
The South Koreans simply got hold of one back in the late sixties and copied it. It's said that parts are even interchangeable between the two (Some parts. The KIA's are diesel-powered and have some body alterations to keep Jeep happy).
Alas, they don't offer a civilian version.
More's the pity but the military of everybody and his little brother in the... second-world is happy as a pig in shit with them.
KIA is producing their knock-offs of the old jeeps and deuce-and-a-half's as well.
If only I were a government...
Okay, "Pre-Dred with combat cred";
Above: the sunken remains of USS Mississippi and USS Idaho.
Pay no attention to the garish tug, foreground.
You'll find the two battle-wagons in the middle-distance and way, way back there.
Look for the twin cage masts.
These two were the first American-built battleships ever to be lost to hostile air attack and - six months before Pearl Harbor at that.
We'll get to that.
Together they represented the entirety of the "Mississippi class", BB23 and BB24, contracted for in 1904.
Even without HMS Dreadnought showing up with the coolest car in school, the battleship school-of-thought ran to the bigger-is-better doctrine all along.
To illustrate the progression: USS Maine (Remember that one?) weighed one-eighth what the ships at the other end of the continuum did.
Mississippi and Idaho each had a displacement one-fifth that of the Japanese, Yamato Class battleships of just thirty years later.
In fact, by 1905, early in the game, while both of our above pictured, girls were still a-building, the average displacement of a new heavy-cruiser was greater than that of Mississippi or Idaho or most of the rest of these sorry-ass, top-of-the-line (five years ago), obsolete battleships.
Okay, Idaho and Mississippi (The boats - not the states) were virtually identical so here are the stats:
Displacement: 13,000 tons
Dimensions: 382' (length overall); 77' (extreme beam)
Powerplant: 10,000 horsepower, triple-expansion reciprocating engines, two propellers, 17 knot maximum speed
Armament (Main Battery): four 12"/45 guns in two twin turrets; eight 8"/45 guns in four twin turrets (four guns per side); eight 7"/45 guns in single casemate mountings (four guns per side) # Armament (Secondary Battery): Twelve 3"/50 guns in single mountings.
The guns were the same, pretty much, as what everybody else had.
The two ships were undersized, underpowered, slow and thus had a limited range.
The result of a brief brain-fart in Navy circles wherein it was thought that more, littler, shittier ships would be better than just a few really big ones.
So, brand-new, right off the showroom floor, they sailed out into a world that viewed them, and rightfully so, as past their time.
It gets better though. They were both gray-and-underway in the service of America for six years. No flies on that.
Before we get to the combat cred and the happy ending, some shots of the days when life was carefree and golden for a young battleship in the prime of life.
In the photo below, Mississippi, a year old, hasn't yet received her new forward cage mast.
Aaaaaand now... even though y'all have been so good about waiting through this suspense, I'm only going to give you a hint as to the fate of the girls.
The legend, thoughtfully provided by the Naval Historical Command, is such a jewel of Romneyspeak that it bears repeating - and it also wraps up the whole heart-warming-puppies-get-a-home-at-Christmastime conclusion to our tale.
"Greek battleship Kilkis or Lemnos, formerly USS Mississippi or USS Idaho."
That's the kind of clarity we should demand from our leaders.
As per the clipping, something in the air. Global, mad, battleship-building going on, random cruises of Great White Fleets.
Meanwhile the Ottoman Turks, on their way out of relevance and referred to as the "Sick Man of Europe", were intent on Navying-up their trip.
The Greeks had to keep up.
And their purchase worked out really well. Our Nav got rid of two embarrassing under-producers and the Royal Hellenic Navy gained two warships that, in the Aegean, the Ionian, the Sea of Crete or the Mediterranean, weren't so useless after all.
Both Kilkis (Mississippi) and Lemnos (Idaho) did lots of battleship stuff during the Great War, mostly harbor defense.
Immediately after, during the Greco-Turkish war both ships did shore bombardment and later, when Greece finally got waxed by "the sick man", they supported the final withdrawal of Greek forces.
By then they were quite long-in-the-tooth so, early in that decade, the Lemnos was taken out of service and just parked in port.
Kilkis was still sailing but only as a training ship.
That's their story so let me take pains to point something out: during their period of honorable service for the Royal Hellenic Navy, our girls threw rounds downrange and generally did good work for the Greeks.
The tragic end came on April 23, 1941.
German dive-bombers took them out, along with others at Salamis.
A long way from 1904 and William Cramp and Sons, Shipbuilders of Philadelphia.