Vickers machine gun
The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name used to refer to the water-cooled.303 British machine gun produced by Vickers Limited for the British Army. The machine gun required a six to eight-man team to operate: one fired, one fed the ammunition, the rest helped to carry the weapon, its ammunition, spare parts, it was in service from before the First World War until the 1960s, with air-cooled versions of it on many Allied World War I fighter aircraft. The weapon had a reputation for great reliability. Ian V. Hogg, in Weapons & War Machines, describes an action that took place in August 1916, during which the British 100th Company of the Machine Gun Corps fired their ten Vickers guns continuously for twelve hours. Using 100 barrels, they fired a million rounds without a failure. "It was this absolute foolproof reliability which endeared the Vickers to every British soldier who fired one." The Vickers machine gun was based on the successful Maxim gun of the late 19th century. After purchasing the Maxim company outright in 1896, Vickers took the design of the Maxim gun and improved it, inverting the mechanism as well as reducing its weight by lightening and simplifying the action and using high strength alloys for certain components.
A muzzle booster was added. The British Army formally adopted the Vickers gun as its standard machine gun under the name Gun, Mark I, Vickers.303-inch on 26 November 1912. There were still great shortages when the First World War began, the British Expeditionary Force was still equipped with Maxims when sent to France in 1914. Vickers was, in fact, threatened with prosecution for war profiteering, due to the exorbitant price it was demanding for each gun; as a result, the price was slashed. As the war progressed, numbers increased, it became the British Army's primary machine gun, served on all fronts during the conflict; when the Lewis Gun was adopted as a light machine gun and issued to infantry units, the Vickers guns were redefined as heavy machine guns, withdrawn from infantry units, grouped in the hands of the new Machine Gun Corps. After the First World War, the Machine Gun Corps was disbanded and the Vickers returned to infantry units. Before the Second World War, there were plans to replace the Vickers gun.
However, the Vickers remained in service with the British Army until 30 March 1968. Its last operational use was in the Radfan during the Aden Emergency, its successor in UK service is the L7 GPMG. In 1913, a Vickers machine gun was mounted on the experimental Vickers E. F. B.1 biplane, the world's first purpose-built combat aeroplane. However, by the time the production version, the Vickers F. B.5, had entered service the following year, the armament had been changed to a Lewis gun. During World War I, the Vickers gun became a standard weapon on British and French military aircraft after 1916. Although heavier than the Lewis, its closed bolt firing cycle made it much easier to synchronize to allow it to fire through aircraft propellers; the belt feed was enclosed right up to the gun's feed-way to inhibit effects from wind. Steel disintegrating-link ammunition belts were perfected in the UK by William de Courcy Prideaux in mid-war and became standard for aircraft guns thereafter. By 1917 it had been determined that standard rifle calibre cartridges were less satisfactory for shooting down observation balloons than larger calibres carrying incendiary or tracer bullets, the Vickers machine gun was chambered in the 11mm Vickers round, known as the Vickers aircraft machine gun and sometimes the "Balloon Buster", was adopted by the allies as a standard anti-balloon armament and used by both the British and French in this role until the end of the war.
The famous Sopwith Camel and the SPAD XIII types used twin synchronized Vickers, as did most British and French fighters between 1918 and the mid-1930s. In the air, the weighty water cooling system was rendered redundant by the chilly temperatures at high altitude and the constant stream of air passing over the gun as the plane flew. Several sets of louvred slots were cut into the barrel jacket to aid air cooling, a better solution than what had been attempted with the 1915-vintage lMG 08 German aircraft ordnance; as the machine gun armament of fighter aircraft moved from the fuselage to the wings in the years before the Second World War, the Vickers was replaced by the faster-firing and more reliable Browning Model 1919 using metal-linked cartridges. The Gloster Gladiator was the last RAF fighter to be armed with the Vickers, although they were replaced by Brownings; the Fairey Swordfish continued to be fitted with the weapon until production ended in August 1944. Several British bombers and attack aircraft of the Second World War mounted the Vickers K machine gun or VGO, a different design, resembling the Lewis gun in external appearance.
Vickers machine guns, designated as models E and F were used among others in Poland, where 777 of them were converted to 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge in 1933-1937. The larger calibre version of the Vickers was used on naval vessels; the Gun, Vickers.5-inch, Mk. II was used in tanks, the earlier Mark I having been the development model; this entered service in 1933 and was obsolete in 1944. Firing eith
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Latvia the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states, it is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2; the country has a temperate seasonal climate. After centuries of Swedish and Russian rule, a rule executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s the country became autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis; the country's de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years.
The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover. It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic and a highly developed country according to the United Nations Human Development Index, its capital Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Latvian is the official language. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and nine are cities. Latvians and Livonians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule and Soviet occupation, Latvia is home to a large number of ethnic Russians, some of whom have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all.
Until World War II, Latvia had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews. Latvia is predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, predominantly Roman Catholic; the Russian population are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, WTO. For 2014, the country was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country on 1 July 2014. A full member of the Eurozone, it began using the euro as its currency on 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats; the name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, which formed the ethnic core of modern Latvians together with the Finnic Livonians. Henry of Latvia coined the latinisations of the country's name, "Lettigallia" and "Lethia", both derived from the Latgalians; the terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".
Around 3000 BC, the proto-Baltic ancestors of the Latvian people settled on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Balts established trade routes to Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals. By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Selonians, Semigallians, as well as the Finnic tribe of Livonians speaking a Finnic language. In the 12th century in the territory of Latvia, there were 14 lands with their rulers: Vanema, Bandava, Duvzare, Megava, Pilsāts, Upmale, Sēlija, Jersika, Tālava and Adzele. Although the local people had contact with the outside world for centuries, they became more integrated into the European socio-political system in the 12th century; the first missionaries, sent by the Pope, sailed up the Daugava River in the late 12th century, seeking converts. The local people, did not convert to Christianity as as the Church had hoped. German crusaders were sent, or more decided to go on their own accord as they were known to do. Saint Meinhard of Segeberg arrived in Ikšķile, in 1184, traveling with merchants to Livonia, on a Catholic mission to convert the population from their original pagan beliefs.
Pope Celestine III had called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193. When peaceful means of conversion failed to produce results, Meinhard plotted to convert Livonians by force of arms. In the beginning of the 13th century, Germans ruled large parts of today's Latvia. Together with Southern Estonia, these conquered areas formed the crusader state that became known as Terra Mariana or Livonia. In 1282, the cities of Cēsis, Limbaži, Koknese and Valmiera, became part of the Hanseatic League. Riga became an important point of east-west trading and formed close cultural links with Western Europe. After the Livonian War, Livonia fell under Lithuanian rule; the southern part of Estonia and the northern part of Latvia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and formed into the Duchy of Livonia. Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of
Manchukuo was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic, it was under the de facto control of Japan. The area, collectively known as Manchuria, was the homeland of the Manchus, including the emperors of the Qing dynasty. In 1931, the region was seized by Japan following the Mukden Incident and a pro-Japanese government was installed one year with Puyi, the last Qing emperor, as the nominal regent and emperor. Manchukuo's government was dissolved in 1945 after the surrender of Imperial Japan at the end of World War II; the territories formally claimed by the puppet state were first seized in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in August 1945, formally transferred to Chinese administration in the following year. Manchus formed a minority in Manchukuo; the population of Koreans increased during the Manchukuo period, there were Japanese, White Army Russians and other minorities. The Mongol regions of western Manchukuo were ruled under a different system in acknowledgement of the Mongolian traditions there.
The southern part of the Liaodong Peninsula was ruled by Japan as the Kwantung Leased Territory. "Manchuria" is a transcription of the Japanese reading of the Chinese word "滿洲" which means Manchuria, which in Japanese is Manshū, which in turn dates from the 19th century. The name Manzhou was coined and given to the Jurchen people by Hong Taiji in 1635 as a new name for their ethnic group. However, the name "Manchuria" was never used by the Manchus or the Qing dynasty itself to refer to their homeland, the name itself holding imperialistic connotation. According to the Japanese scholar Junko Miyawaki-Okada, the Japanese geographer Takahashi Kageyasu was the first to use the term 满洲 as a place name in 1809 in the Nippon Henkai Ryakuzu, it was from that work where Westerners adopted the name. According to Mark C. Elliott, Katsuragawa Hoshū's 1794 work, the Hokusa bunryaku, was where 满洲 first appeared as a place name, in two maps included in the work: "Ashia zenzu" and "Chikyū hankyū sōzu" which were created by Katsuragawa.
满洲 began to appear as a place names in more maps created by Japanese like Kondi Jūzō, Takahashi Kageyasu, Baba Sadayoshi and Yamada Ren. These maps were brought to Europe by a German in Dutch service. According to Nakami Tatsuo, Siebold was the one who brought the usage of the term Manchuria to Europeans, after borrowing it from the Japanese, who were the first to use it in a geographic manner in the eighteenth century, while neither the Manchu nor Chinese languages had a term in their own language equivalent to "Manchuria" as a geographic place name. According to Bill Sewell, it was Europeans who first started using Manchuria as a name to refer to the location and it is "not a genuine geographic term"; the historian Gavan McCormack agreed with Robert H. G. Lee's statement that "The term Manchuria or Man-chou is a modern creation used by westerners and Japanese", with McCormack writing that the term Manchuria is imperialistic in nature and has no "precise meaning", since the Japanese deliberately promoted the use of "Manchuria" as a geographic name to promote its separation from China while they were setting up their puppet state of Manchukuo.
Of the initial high level officials employed by the Manchukuo regime, few had ethnic Manchu names. In mainland China, Manchukuo is known as "Puppet/False/Pretend Manchukuo", stressing the Japanese influence on the state's existence and the illegitimacy of the state. During its short-lived existence, Manchukuo was divided into between five and 19 provinces, one special ward of Beiman and two Special cities which were Xinjing and Harbin; each province was divided into between 24 prefectures. Beiman lasted less than 3 years and Harbin was incorporated into Binjiang province. Longjiang existed as a province in the 1932 before being divided into Heihe and Sanjiang in 1934. Andong and Jinzhou provinces separated themselves from Fengtian while Binjiang and Jiandao from Jilin separated themselves in the same year. Aside from the national flag, the orchid Puyi's favorite flower, became the royal flower of the country, similar to the chrysanthemum in Japan; the sorghum flower became a national flower by decree in April 1933.
"Five Races Under One Union" was used as a national motto. The Japanese had their own motive for deliberately spreading the usage of the term Manchuria; the historian Norman Smith wrote that "The term "Manchuria" is controversial". Professor Mariko Asano Tamanoi said that she "should use the term in quotation marks", when referring to Manchuria. Herbert Giles wrote that "Manchuria" was unknown to the Manchus themselves as a geographical expression. In his doctoral thesis of 2012, Professor Chad D. Garcia noted that usage of the term "Manchuria" was out of favor in "current scholarly practice" and preferred the term "the northeast"; the Qing dynasty, which replaced the Shun and Ming dynasties in China, was founded by Manchus from Manchuria. The Manchu emperors separated their homeland in Jilin and Heilongjiang from the Han Liaoning province with the Willow Palisade; this ethnic division continued until the Qing dynasty encouraged massive immigration of Han in the 19th century during Chuang Guandong to p
Finland the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, Russia to the east. Finland is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia; the capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Tampere and Turku. Finland's population is 5.52 million, the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union; the sovereign state is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP. Finland was inhabited when the last ice age ended 9000 BCE.
The first settlers left behind artefacts that present characteristics shared with those found in Estonia and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers; the first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture; the Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions and the sedentary farming inhabitation increased towards the end of Iron Age. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland and Karelia – as reflected in contemporary jewellery. From the late 13th century, Finland became an integral part of Sweden through the Northern Crusades and the Swedish part-colonisation of coastal Finland, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.
In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Kuusamo and some islands, but retaining their independence. Finland established an official policy of neutrality; the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the Soviet Union demanded war reparations from Finland not only in money but in material, such as ships and machinery; this forced Finland to industrialise. It developed an advanced economy while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, second in the Global Gender Gap Report, it ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018 and 2019. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.
The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two have the inscription finlonti; the third was found in Gotland. It dates back to the 13th century; the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, mentioned at first known time AD 98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word * gʰm-on "man" has been suggested; the word referred only to the province of Finland Proper, to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa or suoniemi, but these are now considered outdated; some have suggested common etymology with saame and Häme, but that theory is uncertain
The Universal Carrier known as the Bren Gun Carrier from the light machine gun armament, is a common name describing a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrongs and other companies. The first carriers – the Bren Carrier and the Scout Carrier with specific roles – entered service before the war, but a single improved design that could replace these, the Universal, was introduced in 1940; the vehicle was used by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War. Universal Carriers were used for transporting personnel and equipment support weapons, or as machine gun platforms. With some 113,000 built by 1960 in the United Kingdom and abroad, it is the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history; the origins of the Universal Carrier family can be traced back to the Carden Loyd tankettes family, developed in the 1920s, the Mk VI tankette. In 1934, Vickers-Armstrongs produced, as a commercial venture, a light tracked vehicle that could be used either to carry a machine gun or to tow a light field gun.
The VA. D50 had an armoured box at the front for driver and a gunner and bench seating at the back for the gun crew; the War Office considered it as a possible replacement for their "Dragon" artillery tractors and took 69 as the "Light Dragon Mark III". One was built as the "Carrier, Machine-Gun Experimental", carrying its crew; the decision was made to drop the machine gun and its team and the next design had a crew of three – driver and gunner in the front, third crew-member on the left in the rear and the right rear open for stowage. A small number of this design as "Carrier, Machine-Gun No 1 Mark 1" were built and entered service in 1936; some were converted into pilot models for the Machine gun Carrier, Cavalry Carrier and Scout Carrier – the others were used for training. The carrier put the commander at the front sitting side by side; the Ford Flathead V8 engine that powered it was placed in the centre of the vehicle with the final drive at the rear. The suspension and running gear were based on that used on the Vickers light tank series using Horstmann springs.
Directional control was through a vertical steering wheel. Small turns moved the front road wheel assembly, warping the track so the vehicle drifted to that side. Further movement of the wheel braked the appropriate track to give a turn; the hull in front of the commander's position jutted forward to give room for the Bren gun to fire through a simple slit. To either side of the engine was an area in which passengers could ride or stores could be carried. There were several types of Carrier that varied in design according to their purpose: "Medium Machine Gun Carrier", "Bren Gun Carrier", "Scout Carrier" and "Cavalry Carrier". However, production of a single model came to be preferred and the Universal design appeared in 1940, it differed from the previous models in that the rear section of the body had a rectangular shape, with more space for the crew. Production of Carriers began in 1934 and ended in 1960. Before the Universal design was introduced, the vehicles were produced by Aveling and Porter, Bedford Vehicles, the British branch of the Ford Motor Company, Morris Motors Limited, the Sentinel Waggon Works, the Thornycroft company.
With the introduction of the Universal, production in the UK was undertaken by Aveling-Barford, Sentinel and Wolseley Motors. By 1945 production amounted to 57,000 of all models, including some 2,400 early ones; the Universal Carriers, in different variants, were produced in allied countries. Ford Motor Company of Canada manufactured about 29,000 vehicles known as the Ford C01UC Universal Carrier. Smaller numbers of them were produced in Australia, where hulls were made in several places in Victoria and by South Australian Railways workshops in Adelaide, South Australia. About 1,300 were produced in New Zealand; the United States of America manufactured Universal Carriers for allied use with GAE and GAEA V-8 Ford engines. About 20,000 were produced; the Universal Carrier was ubiquitous in all the theatres during the Second World War with British and Commonwealth armies, from the war in the East to the occupation of Iceland. Although the theory and policy was that the carrier was a "fire power transport" and the crew would dismount to fight, practice differed.
It could carry machine guns, infantrymen, supplies. Artillery and observation equipment; the seven mechanized divisional cavalry regiments in the BEF during 1939–1940 were equipped with Scout Carriers – 44 carriers and 28 light tanks in each regiment. There were 10 Bren Carriers in each infantry battalion in the same period; the reconnaissance corps regiments – which replaced the cavalry regiments in supporting Infantry divisions after 1940 – were each equipped with 63 carriers, along with 28 Humber Scout Cars. Universal Carriers were issued to the support companies in infantry rifle battalions for carrying support weapons. A British armoured division of 1940–41 had 109 carriers. A British Carrier platoon had ten Universal Carriers with three carrier sections of three Universal Carriers each plus another Universal Carrier in the platoon HQ; each Universal Carrier had a rifleman and a driver-mechanic. One Universal Carrier in each section was commanded by the other two by corporals. All the Universal Carriers were armed with a Bren light machine gun and one carrier in each carrier section had a Boys an