Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


This is coolbert:

During and after World War Two [WW2], it has been the fashion to give "nicknames" to various weapon systems.

"Nicknames" that evoke a strong, masculine, powerful image.

American aircraft from WW2 such as the Warhawk [P-40], or the Mustang [P-51].

American aircraft of the modern era such as the Eagle [F-15], or the Fighting Falcon [F-16].

The British too during WW2 gave their fighting aircraft "nicknames" that denoted strength, speed, fighting ability. Such as the Hurricane, Spitfire, and the Typhoon.

Tanks were also "nicknamed" in a similar manner.

During WW2, the U.S. produced a whole series of tanks that were named after famous American Civil War Generals. Stuart, Lee/Grant, Sherman.

In the years following WW2, the British also produced tanks that possessed strong, masculine "nicknames". Centurion, Chieftain, and Challenger.

As usual, the English, however, seem to have a habit of sometimes breaking the mold.

Assign nicknames to weapons systems that just do not seem appropriate. For whatever reason, this HAS happened.

One case in point is the famous tank fielded by the British in WW2, the "Mathilda"

"Mathilda"!!?? A feminine name for a TANK??!!

"Matilda (sometimes spelled Mathilda) is a female name, of Teutonic derivation, meaning "mighty warrior." Its most common alternate forms are Maud and Mathilde"

Well, yes, a female warrior from Norse and Teutonic mythology. Well, OK. But how many folks know that?? One in a thousand??

Another instance of the English assigning a "strange" nickname to a weapons system is the case of the "Firefly".

The Fairey "Firefly". A carrier borne fighter/reconnaissance of WW2 fame.

[Fairey is of course the aircraft manufacturer.]

One can assume that pilots flying the "Firefly" were doubly damned. NOT ONLY flying a combat aircraft called the "Fire-fly", but flying an aircraft manufactured by someone named FAIR-EY.

This almost sounds like a cruel joke.

I can imagine the consternation of student pilots upon graduation from flight school. Expecting to be assigned to a squadron of Hurricanes, Spitfires, or Typhoons, they find out they are going to have to fly a "Fire-Fly"!!

One cannot say that the English are not without a certain degree of panache in this area of nicknames.

C'est le guerre!!




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home