Archive Logo.jpg

January 13, 2007

A whatziss of a different color.

One of these things is not like the other. Of course, that's the easy part.

So, what *is* the thing that's not like the other? What's the oddness of it being here in the first place?

One of these things is not like the other...

Extra credit? Who, what, and where on the photo.

Just to be kind - hi-res here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 13, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

January 09, 2007

The T-95, yesterday's Whatziss.

Fred identified the vehicle - and found the second of the two that survive. I didn't know where that one was, so I learned something yesterday - and that one, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, is within striking distance of the Castle.

Here's the picture that I modified for the snipe hunt.

T95 Experimental US tank.  One display in Weirton, W. Va, picture taken from the American Fighting Vehicle Data Base website:

That picture came from the American Fighting Vehicle Database website - specifically this page, which has several more pictures and explanatory text.

Most of you went where I expected the visual would take you - though the orangish-tan background color I chose my have given a subconscious cue - that was accidental, not deliberate.

I honestly thought some of you tankers out there would get this one more quickly than happened, in the event. Hey, you must have jobs or something...

Hey, if you've got pics of odd-looking stuff you want to submit for a whatziss - send 'em along! Those of you who have - thanks!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 09, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

January 08, 2007


Change of pace. One for the Tankers. I expect this will go fast.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Yeah, yeah. I know it's a tank. Let's do better than that. Extra points if you figure out where it is. And the *only* photoshopping was to remove the background.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 08, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

January 05, 2007

The Whatziss from yesterday.

A British Wombat recoilless rifle at the RAF Duxford museum. 23 September 2006 Photographer Max Smith

Not too many takers on this one. Which is interesting, given that there is boatloads of data out there on this particular beast.

That said - only two takers, but #2, Pat - got it mostly correct when he identified them as rounds for the M8C Spotting Rifle. His only error (obliquely) was continuing on and tying it to the 106mm recoilless rifle.

These were used for the M8C rifles used on the British Wombat recoilless rifle - a quibble, certainly, except the red paint in the flutes indicates their Brit origin.

This website (the Armorer wants one of these guns) has a nice set of pictures of a before and after restoration of a 106RR.

The spotting rifle is used by the gunner to acquire his target, without wasting main gun ammo, and with a lessened signature to give away his position. The M8C is a gas-operated semi-auto, which means the gunner just pings away with it until he sees a hit on his target at which point he fires his main gun. The use of a special cartridge with the M8C, vice a regular .50 cal round, is because you want the ballistic performance of the round to be roughly equal to the trajectory of the main gun - speed of flight isn't as important as trajectory matching is.

Tanks can use their coaxial machine guns for the same purpose. The Israelis even mounted M2 .50s on their M109A1 155mm howitzers for the same purpose - to make it easier to use the guns in direct fire mode.

Now for the fun part - doing some research for this post, I found this very nice picture of an M50 Ontos - the USMC reckless rifle carrier of the Vietnam era.

M50 Ontos

And I found this website with a lot of great pictures of the Ontos, certainly one of the odder weapon systems we've developed over the years. A lot of firepower on that little tracked chassis - but all served from outside the vehicle, on a vehicle, by the very nature of the weapon, that is going to attract a *lot* of attention.


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 05, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

January 04, 2007


Hosting provided by FotoTime

The red paint in the flutes is a clue as to origin. That will help you narrow the field.

I'll take away the easy answer - they're dummy rounds used for function-checking by Armorers and training by users. The real question is - what weapon were they intended for?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 04, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

December 26, 2006

A new whatziss.

This one is rather more conventional - some of you may get it right off the bat.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Someone's bound to overthink it, however.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 26, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

December 22, 2006

The Whatziss, continued.

Here's your second clue - at this point, it's a Google Skillz contest. Which is why you don't often *get* headstamp clues!

But this one is kinda neat, and while very different from what you guys would expect from me, is very much in keeping with the things that keep me endlessly fascinated.

Go for it, Gents.

If this post makes *no* sense to you, you're probably a new visitor, or a little behind. Start here.

Update: Whee! Chicken Soup for the Armorer's Soul - an email on this post:




Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 22, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

December 21, 2006

A new whatziss - reader supplied!

Reader Rick, a relative newcomer who likes the Whatziss genré poses us a challenge. Ladies and Gents: Whatziss?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Update: BTW, I didn't have a clue, never having seen one before. I'm going to let you guys run with this today, and then I'll put up a pic of the headstamp. That info will, with careful googling, get you to the answer.

The answer is, to me at least, fascinating.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 21, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

December 13, 2006

A new whatziss.

Prior to 1960.


Go for it. It's out there, in the usual places.

Oh, and the bullet is the correct bullet - the neck of the cartridge was damaged by the numbskull who used pliers to remove the bullet... and the color on the tip of the bullet *is* a clue.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

December 08, 2006

On the issue of whether to let officers be in charge of procurement or not...

...better known as the "Answer to the Whatziss" posed earlier this week.

Also known as the dangers of a college education.

This one.

The Great and Powerful Og got it right, as did Rick and Rod - it's a gauge. Pogue sorta fell into my visual trap (I figured people would try to find it to be a fuze) and stumbled into the answer backwards.

It's a gauge used to check fuze setters. It's post-WWII Brit, though the US has equivalents.

Gauge, Testing, Fuze Setter No 1

In use, looking sorta like this.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Expensive piece of kit, when procured, I don't doubt. It's made of tough stuff so that it can handle the use and still maintain it's dimensional integrity and accuracy.

So what's this got to do with the title of the post, you ask? Simple.

But you'll need to go to the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry to find out.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 08, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2006

Feh! Since I'm all bummed...

...about the Weblog Awards, I'm going to take it out on you guys.


Hosting provided by FotoTime

Post WWII. NATO, not Warsaw Pact.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 06, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

December 02, 2006

A reader-submitted Whatzis!

SezaGeoff, from Down Under, sends us this, and asks us, "Whatzis?"

So, whatzis?

It's out there. Geoff provided a URL, too.

Good luck!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 02, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 25, 2006

Okay, let's have a two-fer.

It's Saturday, hardly anyone visits anyway... except for you hard core types!

Okay - Whatziss? There are a few of you who have a real chance at this one.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Now, on this one, I'm just being flat mean.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Anyone who gets this one is a real geek brainiac when it comes to their militaria.
It *is* an ordnance item.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 25, 2006

November 21, 2006

The Sunday Whatzis, revealed.

Confused? Click here.

That's a bullet for the Nordenfeldt 1-inch anti-torpedo boat gun. The Nordenfeldt guns were an early type of machine-gun. Like the Gatling gun, they used multiple barrels and mechanical power to operate. Unlike the Gatling, the didn't last very long in the grand scheme of things, much less enjoy a renaissance when someone realized what electricity might accomplish when applied to the concept.

Here's a group of Brit tars training with one (though no feed hopper has been loaded).
Brit Sailors practicing with a Nordenfeldt machine gun.

The Nordenfeldt guns were developed between 1873 and 1878 and were very popular in Europe, especially amongst the sailors. They generally had four barrels in line horizontally and were fed by gravity-feed hoppers. You can see them with 5 barrels or as few as two. One advantage the Nordenfeldts had over the Gatling was that the mechanism was much easier to get to for the purpose of clearing jams. Plus, if the jam was too complex and the situation dire, you could simply disconnect the barrel and keep firing with the remaining barrels. Unlike the Gatling, which used a rotating crank to cycle the gun, the Nordenfeldts used a lever that was moved back and forth. I've seen both a lever in the vertical plane, on the left side of the gun, or a handle that moved in the horizontal plane, on the right side of the gun. The sailor on the left right (sigh, I suppose, in the future, I'll just submit all posts to CAPT H for editing before publishing) in the picture has his hand on the lever for this particular gun. The cyclic rate of fire was about 350 rounds per minute.

Here we can see some more sailors getting it on for the camera. This gun has its feed-hopper mounted.

Sailors manning a 4-barrel Nordenfeldt 1-inch Machine Gun, Mark 1

All that flailing about did affect accuracy a bit, but heck, they weren't used as sniper weapons.

The Brit National Maritime Museum has a wonderful copyright protected (way too expensive to buy permission to use) photo of a 1-inch Nordenfeldt anti-torpedo boat gun right here.

The Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds has a nice little four-barrel Nordenfeldt - which shows the lever nicely, too.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 21, 2006

November 20, 2006

So, why *does* the Arsenal of Argghhh! exist?

Lex has an excellent post that Fuzzy linked to yesterday, regarding Trolls.

In it, Lex notes what he's learned about some of the people who hang out at his place.

In my mind’s eye, I know the regulars here by what they love. CPT J is a warrior poet, his heart beats to the ancient rhythms. B2 and Sid saw the world as it once was, and think it still the best. Michelle likes a good sea story, Kris likes plane pr0n, Byron loves ships from the inside, Tim loves the whirl of the blades - prop or helo doesn’t matter - and the thrill of the hunt. Chap loves to think deep thoughts, while Skippy-san loves beer and (asian) women. Sim and Chris both like to fly, and they both love Oz, and who can blame them? unkawill loves heroes and the old ways, Brian and Nose like it when the pilots synch the props and remember fondly the stories of their youth. Subsunk loves the good fight and is a man after my own heart, FbL loves doing good, while AFSister likes to flirt but loves her boys. John Donovan loves him some guns, Buck still loves the Air Force even after all these years as Mark and Bill still love the Corps. Babs loves her young man Tim and would fight for him if it came to it and for my own part I’d never want to stand against her if it came to that, and there are many, many more and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but you get the point: I know you by what you love, and in a way I love you for it.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

John Donovan loves him some guns.


Excellent post, Lex. And you almost got me nailed.

I do love me some guns, ‘tis true. But I loves me the used guns… because of the warriors that *used* them.

Bring me no Arsenal-snazzy gleaming hunk of iron and wood, unless that’s all I can get.

Give me something that has hunkered in a hole with a fighting man. That hopped the hedge not knowing what was on the other side… that drew the steady bead or just blazed away in hopeless earnest.

Because it then becomes my connection to the warrior.

Marines on Tarawa.

Like these Marines at Tarawa, 63 years ago today.

It’s why I spent a long, hot, dark week in the bowels of the ex-USS John Rodgers, tripped excitedly through the Foxtrot moored in 'Dago, after having already clambered through the Midway.

Or I rejoice when an old warrior with a checkered past resurfaces. Or a weapon that figured in a clash of cultures, not just a clash of arms.

Why a jetsicle in the middle of nowhere, where once an air force base was will catch my eye, or that old german trench mortar standing forlorn in the once-bustling square of a now-dying town.

I wanna know how they computed the data.

It's why I'm as interested in the training devices as I am the real thing. Or how they ate. Or drank and passed the time. The people who cared for them.

Through them all I connect to the warriors who used them, and the people they touched. For good or ill, successful or no. They are my link to the past, and provide context to the future.

Like the Martini-Henrys on this wall, which provide a tangible link to this soldier and his mount, training for dismounted combat.

British soldier training his horse dor dismounted combat.

Just sayin’.

Oh, and because SWWBO sez it can.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 20, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 19, 2006

Okay, a lazy Sunday whatziss.

A couple of you have been at this long enough, you'll probably get it quickly.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Mebbe not.

Have fun snipe-hunting!

BTW - you can *always* submit things for future snipe hunts, if ya want...

Update. Hmmmm. Pre-1900. Mebbe that'll help.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 19, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 15, 2006

The Whatziss, revealed!

The question is here, if you need to catch up.

Al and MajMike were correct, it's a linker-delinker for disintegrating link machine gun belts. The markings are frankly not conclusive as to origin. They are not Brit nor US.

The three-pronged side links:

Machinegun belt-linking tool

The two-pronged side de-links. It really doesn't make linking any faster, but it sure reduces the stress on arthritic hands... Werekitten noted that it was a spreader - it actually does both - part of what I like about the cleverness of the gizmo. It squeezes to link, but flip it over, and it spreads to de-link. I shudder to think where you all might go with this.

Regardless - Bragging rights to Al and MajMike (though MajMike has some scale issues, not unusual with guys who have spent time running about in panzers).

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2006

A new whatziss!

I've got to go in early and stay late today, so here's a quickie for you...

What is this tool used for?

So, whatziss?

If that wasn't terribly helpful, try this.

If you think markings will help - here ya go! (large file if you're dialing in)

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 05, 2006

That tank, some more.

You guys are having fun with that. Since no complete consensus has built, I'll offer up these pics.

There's those pesky sponsons!

Here's a profile view.

Hmmm, what's troublesome about those vision slits?

Wait! I found a picture of the tank in service!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 05, 2006

November 04, 2006

A new challenge!

Since this is a Saturday, only the hard-core will show up.

ID this tank.

So, ID this tank!  What, you thought I was going to put the answer here?

by John on Nov 04, 2006

November 02, 2006

A new whatziss.

Apparently it's been too long, if we've got Dusty posting stuff trying to snark me...

Hosting provided by FotoTime


1. Your first instinct is... probably wrong.
2. Developed prior to 1945.
3. The colors are indicators.

Update: As I noted in the comments... Hmmmm, I need to think up a clever, misleading, red herring of a clue...

So, here it is. This will probably be of greatest value to CAPT H, or Damian, or possibly even Alan.

Update 2: Stunned into silence, eh? Okay. Another clue.

by John on Nov 02, 2006

October 22, 2006

Let's have a whatziss!

Okay, grognards. Whatta we got here?

by John on Oct 22, 2006

October 21, 2006

After the Early Halloween Post below...

...I owe you something soothing. If you find this more frightening than the post below it, you've probably wandered in here by mistake! You might be more comfortable here. 8^D

Just some stuff on the shelves

Just some random stuff on the shelves. Two cut-away Lee Enfields, one Brit, one Aussie (the Ozzie is on the right), Swedish battleaxe, German warhammer, some Hotchkiss ammunition (two old-looking brass-cased rounds upper right), military theodolite (center bottom), Enfield trainer rifle (wood and metal thing on the left).

by John on Oct 21, 2006

October 16, 2006

Connecting dots...

First, a picture, courtesy of Haji-o-matic, who comments from the 'Stan.

<b><a href=Hosting provided by FotoTime">

Note the Urban Combat uniform...

Finally, an article to tie it all together...

Now it's Bra-vo two zero By TOM NEWTON DUNN, Defence Editor October 10, 2006 ARMY commanders have secretly tested two GIRL troopers to see if they could join the SAS, The Sun can reveal.

The pair performed brilliantly, passing all the endurance tests on the Who Dares Wins unit’s notoriously gruelling selection course.

But they were pulled out at the last minute when top brass who expected them to FAIL realised they were about to SUCCEED.

It was decided the Army was not ready to face a row over dropping current rules which bar women from frontline combat service.

The Sun can also disclose that one of the two potential recruits was a British Asian Muslim — ideal for undercover SAS missions to combat al-Qaeda terrorism.

The soldier, who we will not name to protect her from attack, said: “We both proved we were just as good as any of the men on selection with us. I am confident we would have gone all the way.

“The problem was nobody in the Special Forces establishment thought we would get as far as we did. So they hadn’t thought through how to deal with that.

“It’s a shame because we were both very keen to serve our country at the highest level. And we could have done a good job.”

Read the rest here.

No comment, just postin'.

CAPT H went scouting, and found out where Haji-o-Matic does some of his surfing... or at least the source of the pic - Mitchell's Mausers. However, at $6,500 a copy, the Arsenal will not be adding one of these to the List.

by John on Oct 16, 2006

September 29, 2006

Brothers in Arms...

We need a gun pic.

Steyr-Hahn M1911 and Webley .25 auto

These two pistols have an unlikely connection. They were both taken from a German officer captured in the early days of the Normandy invasion by a soldier of the 29th Division.

The interest lies in the fact that one is Austrian, the other Brit, and they were taken from a German.

The story as related with the pistols is that the German's father fought in the young Rommel's division on the Italian front during WWI, where he acquired the Steyr. As his son went off to fight in WWII, he sent the pistol off to war again. The German acquired the Webley from a Brit commando officer (reputedly a Major) who carried it as a backup piece. Where? Dieppe.

The German officer then started to carry the Webley as *his* backup piece, though in the end he found it more prudent to surrender than use it. Accordingly, you won't find me using it as a backup piece... aside from being too small a caliber to be useful for much more than rodent-shooting, it has a bad track record... and I don't have a magazine for it, either. They are rather more rare in the wild than I would have expected. I was offered one, once - for $150, less more than I paid for the pistol.

by John on Sep 29, 2006

September 22, 2006

French Fusils

Since SWWBO and I will be attending the Gunblogger Rendevous in Reno next month (still time to sign up - you just missed the cheap room rates), I thought I ought to remind people that I don't just sit in the basement taking apart obscure pieces of ordnance to play 'stump the chump' with you guys. Hey, c'mon, Cam Edwards will be there. Rub shoulders with celebrities..

I do have bangsticks.

Since I finally got around to getting a French flag to put behind my French rifles, I thought I'd throw those up - and let the grognards have the easy task of identifying them. The pics do overlap, no extra credit for double-counting.

As Neffi would observe -it's an expensive way to show off your bayonet collection...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Hosting provided by FotoTime

We can skip the "only dropped once" jokes. They've been done before - and half of these weapons are Legion veterans, anyway.

by John on Sep 22, 2006

September 18, 2006

This one is for John of Oldguns...

...regarding his answer to question # 10549 - Carbine Double Size Trainer (located on this page, 3rd question down)...

How do you know it's a lazy Sunday at Castle Argghhh!!! and that SWWBO must be on the road?

Because this is on the deck, being cleaned (with all the kittty litter 'round here, *everything* gets dusty)

M1919 Trainer assembled

The Arsenal's double-sized, aluminum, M1919 cut-away trainer. Which was made for the Navy, btw.

M1919 trainer, field stripped

Now if John could just find me the bullets and belt that go *with* this... he *claims* to be a full service source for collectors... 8^)

by John on Sep 18, 2006

September 12, 2006

That Whatziss, con't. Solved.

I don't think this is going to help much - this is a toughie. But y'all like a good challenge, right?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

For some help, that brown stuff wrapped around the left end there... unwraps and is several feet long.

To save some confusion: The original post is here.

Hint Update: The brown stuff is *not* a streamer.

Final Update: Here's a SWAG (Silly-Wild-Arsed Guess): Some type of trip device, gas/smoke/flare? And Allen gets it. Experimental post-war Belgian trip flare. I wasn't expecting anyone to actually determine who made it. But I do like watching how you guys sorta wiki your way through a problem - though the clowns among you make this fun, too!

I have a feeling that in the future, we might get some more Bill-related aviation challenges...

by John on Sep 12, 2006

September 10, 2006

A new challenge...

Wolfwalker scored 100% yesterday - you guys are getting gooder!

I thought that one was pretty obscure, but you homed in pretty quick.

So, let's give this one a shot. Postwar. European. Also in the 1:1 range, a little smaller.

Get to work, brainiacs!

by John on Sep 10, 2006

September 09, 2006

Something to keep you busy today...

...for those that like to play.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

That's the whole thing. Just about 1:1.

So, what izzit? Who used it? How'd it work?

Hint: WWII.

Updated hint: No, it's not a flint striker for welding or somesuch...

It *is* a weapon component, though the item itself stands alone.

by John on Sep 09, 2006

September 08, 2006

Contrary to your expectations...

...this is *not* the back 40 at the Castle. Nor does it represent an unloading of the basement. Really. Honest.

Marines from B Company's 3rd Platoon stand next to one of the many weapons' caches they dug from the ground during Operation Rubicon in Mushin, Iraq, west of Habbaniyah. The Recon Marines unearthed hundreds of mortars, artillery shells, rifles, machines guns, ammunition and improvised explosive device-making materials. Marines found so many caches, they said they could barely make it 100 meters before discovering another buried weapons' site.

Marines from B Company's 3rd Platoon stand next to one of the many weapons' caches they dug from the ground during Operation Rubicon in Mushin, Iraq, west of Habbaniyah. The Recon Marines unearthed hundreds of mortars, artillery shells, rifles, machines guns, ammunition and improvised explosive device-making materials. Marines found so many caches, they said they could barely make it 100 meters before discovering another buried weapons' site.

Just sayin'. Really, Lee, it ain't. (That last is for my local Police Chief and fellow-Rotarian)

by John on Sep 08, 2006

September 07, 2006

The Whatziss, revealed.

Cutaway of an XM576 40mm Buckshot Grenade

1st off, a laurel, and hearty handshake to HDW for amusing the Armorer!

This is a cutaway of the XM576- the funny part is that Rey, who essentially got it right (though his correction made his answer worse), did so for *all* the wrong reasons. It is a hi-lo pressure grenade, meaning that the launching charge goes off in the cavity in the casing and bleeds off the gas (under much lower pressure) into the chamber to launch the grenade. This is how you can square having such large, complex grenades made out of lightweight materials, fired out of an aluminum-barreled gun and not be unsafe nor pound the gunner and gun to pieces with the recoil. The pic I posted yesterday was the shot cup, not the cartridge case. So, Rey - you got it right - if incomplete- and cited all the characteristics that *weren't* on display!

The is the initial version of the cartridge which was made in test lots only for lab and field evaluation. It consists of the open-mouthed plastic sabot seen here with the shot cup in the center. The shot cup contained 20 lead pellets, each 18-19 grains in weight. In it's final configuration, the M576, it has 27 pellets.

This is one of two rounds developed for the M79 so that gunners would have a close-in capability (the explosive rounds all required several meters of travel before they armed) for both personal defense and for close-quarters combat, such as clearing buildings or dense vegetation.

The first was a flechette or "Bee Hive" round which fired several dozen small darts. This was later replaced by the M576 buckshot round. With 27 "00" (aka "double aught buck") buckshot, this round was devastating at close ranges. The pellets spread in a cone 98 feet wide and 98 feet high at 300 feet and zip along at 882 feet per second. This round is olive drab with black markings.

We don't make them anymore, nor have we for some time. Early this year the Product Manager Crew Served Weapons at ARDEC (Armament Research and Development Center, aka The Armorer's Funhouse), at Picatinny Arsenal put out a sources sought notice for availability of a non-developmental 40mm short-range antipersonnel shotgun type cartridge that is compatible with the M203 Grenade launcher and one that can be fired quickly without precise aiming, with a high probability of producing casualties. In other words, they're looking for someone who is already making this round or something like it.

On a related note - I went out looking to find some pics and ran across this... idiot. The Armorer *strongly recommends* if you don't know what you're doing, stop doing it. Of course, most people who are like this idiot *think* they know what they're doing. If the story isn't just a fantasy - though the detail is pretty good if it is. This guy posted it in at least two places - the comments are worth reading, as is the peek into the minds of people who are clueless as to how dangerous some things are - even for people who do know what they are doing.

by John on Sep 07, 2006

September 06, 2006

A new challenge.

Okay brainiacs, get to work! First clue: Modern, and a touch larger than 1:1


by John on Sep 06, 2006

September 05, 2006

The Whatziss, answered...

It's a British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism. OFS got closest (and essentially correct) when he said "Acid ampule from a time pencil" though Eric's "Acid ampule from a mine" is different only in that it didn't contain the timing element.

Here it is fully assembled:

British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism fully assembled

And here it is in it's bits and pieces.

British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism disassembled

The color of the fluid in the ampule represented the time delay that would be effected when the ampule was crushed, running from a half hour to two hours, you can see what I mean with this picture of a complete timer kit.

Limpet Timing Kit

The limpet was developed in Britain during WWII in a process that continues today in the form of the Rapid Equipping Force. The REF is an organization charged with taking good ideas from just about anyone, testing them, and if they work, get them to the troops in the field while bypassing the normal requisition channels.

The limpet mine was developed by a Mr. Stuart MacRae, the editor of a journal called "Armchair Science," along with a then-Captain C. V. Clarke, all based on a phone call from the War Office. The first of these mines were made using parts purchased from Woolworths - details here.

by John on Sep 05, 2006

September 04, 2006

Okay - enough of a break.

C'mon, whatziss?


I'll make it easier - Allied, WWII. It's a component, you betcha.

It's just about 1:1. Just a touch larger.

Let your imagination run wild.

by John on Sep 04, 2006

August 28, 2006

Let's try something different...

Rather than me being all snarky and showing off I can stump you by controlling the variables (hardly fair) - I'm just going to slap this up there and let *you* guys show off what you know about what this is and how it works, vice "Can you figure out that this is an elephant when all I show you is a cellular slice from a polyp inside it's trunk?" like I usually do... Hey, I know I'm mean - but you keep coming back, so, we're like co-dependent, right? Don't forget to explain *why* a feature is there, not just that it's there. The whole purpose is to inform the curious.

40mm grenade

Extra credit if you figure out the proper nomenclature and nation of origin. I'm going to leave the comments open - but be honest - put your answer/description down and *then* read everybody else's. Block copying from a manual is okay, if that's how you achieve positive buoyancy for your bateaux, but I'll bring the best original answer (in my humble opinion) up into the post and leave it for the archives... just in case there's any egos out there who need a stimulus.


Okay, you guys need some help. How about the flip side? This is what SezaGeoff saw this morning.

The flip side

Bet it doesn't look like you expected on the inside... but the answer to why it *isn't* the M406 (like Doug thought) is clear to the true grognard. And Doug, aside from color - there are only two (related) things that cause the M406 to differ from this round.

Update: This is the M407 - the training version of the M406 HE round. The difference? Aside from the color of markings? The "ball" portion of the grenade. It's not serrated on the inside for fragmentation purposes, and it wasn't loaded with HE. The M407 was in turn replaced by the M781, which had a plastic projectile filled with a marking powder.

SezaGeoff, first out of the chute (and with the second pic to get him started) was the most thorough of you.

The fuze? It's an "all-ways" fuze - with a set-back and spin safety system that didn't allow the grenade to arm until it was a safe distance away from the firer - not that just shooting someone with the grenade wouldn't distract them... even if it *didn't* explode.

by John on Aug 28, 2006

August 25, 2006

The whatziss, answered.

This was a toughie. But y'all had fun with it, for sure.

It didn't help that the references that existed for it (sparse that they were)... are no longer available, a photo archive having been removed.

Aasen spigot mortar round - based on the Type C grenade?

It's a very obscure WWI spigot mortar round. Possibly French, possibly Belgian... possibly even Italian. No one seems to know for sure - or whoever does, isn't sharing that info on the web, and it's buried in the dusty stacks of a library somewhere.

The Castle actually possesses a spigot mortar, in the form of the German Granatenwerfer 16. We actually have two representatives of the genre, though the second is more properly termed a spigot launcher I suppose, being mostly intended for direct fire - the PIAT. You could have logically gone down that path, given what the PIAT rounds look like in comparison to the Whatziss. Doug did conjure up the Blacker Bombard.

The whatziss is generally considered to be an Aasen Type C grenade, modified to be launched from a spigot mortar, instead of thrown by hand.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Designed by Nils Aasen - who is generally considered one of the fathers of the modern hand grenade.

by John on Aug 25, 2006

August 24, 2006

Whatziss, con't.

For those of you who suggested periscope head - I can understand that thought process, as this photo of the Argentine-marked german rabbit ears in the holdings of the Arsenal shows.

But, wrong. Frankly, your creative answers in the first post are more fun than reality will be... sadly.

So, let's add this.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

You're first instinct (if it was like mine when I saw this for the first time) is probably wrong.

by John on Aug 24, 2006

August 23, 2006

A new whatziss.

I'm gonna be pretty busy today - see if you can figure out what this is.

I'll give you a starting place. WWI. Allied.


The answer is out there.

by John on Aug 23, 2006

August 21, 2006

The Whatzis, revealed...

Bgy57 comes in from nowhere (he's new to me, anyway) and nails it.

An incomplete Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2kg, better known as the Butterfly Bomb. Stop laughing like teenagers you immature weenies.

I was prepared to offer up this hint, and then this one, and finally this one, if needed. But it wasn't. We have a reader who knows his obscure WWII German bombs.

Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2kg

We were so impressed with it - we copied it ourselves.

by John on Aug 21, 2006

August 20, 2006

Maybe this will help for the Whatzis.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Then again, maybe not. Component of the same item.

Confused? Start here.

Hmmm, judging from the response... not.

Not artillery. More Dusty-like, but precedes Dusty by several decades.

by John on Aug 20, 2006

August 19, 2006

A new whatzis for a Saturday.

One thing this is not: a fragment. It is a component.

Of what?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

by John on Aug 19, 2006

August 18, 2006

The Answer to the Whatzis.

Eric finally got it. It's the "glasflasche" or glass bottle, that contained the "clark" poison gas in a German WWI 77mm shell.

Like in this picture.

German 77mm Blaukreuz poison gas round

Congrats to working your way through the problem. Of course, it was an *easy* one for this collection of geeks!

And no, I am *not* the John who posted it on Gunboards.

For more information on the subject - read the document that finally pulled it together for Eric.

by John on Aug 18, 2006

August 17, 2006

And now for something completely different in terms of a Whatzis...

Heck, I've even given you a *size* referent *and* I haven't pulled in close to remove all context. In case it isn't obvious - that's a nickel.*

Hosting provided by FotoTime

It *is* completely consistent with Castle Artifacts.

So, whatizzit - purpose, origin, etc. Yes it's on the net.

You may begin.

*I know at least *one* of you was going to answer "It's a nickel!" - so I took that away from you snarky bassids.

Update: Some hints in the hunt for the Snipe. Seek a German Clark in Belgium. And destroy him.

by John on Aug 17, 2006

August 16, 2006

The Whatziss, Day Three.

Today you'll get it. You're really very close and have the target bracketed.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This will put you over the top.

Okay. More help is needed. Try this.


And, we have a winner. MajMike, who finally divined the gizmo as the 21mm sub-caliber training rocket for the Brit version of the M72 LAW.

Thank you for playing our game.

Tomorrow - something completely different, and probably just as maddeningly frustrating.

Heh - these things make me look smart and all that - but anytime Bill puts up one of his challenges, I'm just as baffled as you guys are. Controlling the subject matter is to control the illusion!

by John on Aug 16, 2006

August 15, 2006

The Whatzis - day 2.

Mebbe this will help. Scale is 1:1.

C'mon - you can DO it!Mebbe this will help

Hmmm. Perhaps some color.

Goodness. This one is so hard (or you're so bored/tired of being toyed with/fill-in-the-blank) that you guys have retreated into a sullen been stunned into silence.

Here. Mebbe this will help. A "Magic Smoke" container.

by John on Aug 15, 2006

August 14, 2006

A new week, a new whatzis.


Go for it.

by John on Aug 14, 2006
» The Thunder Run links with: ~A Father's Prayer~

August 12, 2006

That whatzis, answered.

Okay, I was mean with that one. Starting with this, and then posting this unhelpful help.

But ya perservered, finally, with Chris and Trias getting it to a land mine.

It's a British No. 6 Anti-personnel mine.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

I hesitate to say this... it's 7.5 inches long, which will no doubt encourage... oh never mind. Now that Mike L can see the whole thing, he's laughing his butt off!

There *is* at least one reference to it on the web (two, now).

Developed during WWII as a low-metal, hard-to-detect anti-personnel mine, it's made of bakelite, and the only iron/steel in it is the safety ring. The legacy of the No 6 lives on in the Canadian Elsie mine (which is smaller, harder to detect and, like the No.6 pretty much just blows your foot off) which anti-mine intellectuals hate, and embarasses the Canadian elites. I was wondering if the Maple Syrup Contingent would catch on to that hint.

They got the idea from the Germans, who had their own little hard-to-detect blow-off-your-foot mine.

Gotta admit, while mines like this might be effective, they *are* a curse on the battlefield when the war is over, or at least has moved on, and that does need to be a consideration in mine employment - unfortunately, mines like this are most likely to be used by people who are also the least likely to generate and maintain accurate documentation of where they put their mines...

by John on Aug 12, 2006

August 11, 2006

The Whatzis, continued.

Though I don't think I'm really going to be offering much assistance...

I could have just posted this - but that would have been mean - to the PG-17C.

So, I'll offer up... this.

Yeah. That'll make all the difference in the world.

Just to be clear... it *does* explode. Canadian lefties would heartily disapprove of it - though this is *not* Canadian, there *is* a connection. Of sorts. In terms of concept.

by John on Aug 11, 2006

August 10, 2006

A new whatzis...

In honor of Blaster's return, we honor his request:

2 - Needs more blowy up type stuff.

Okay. Here's something along those lines. Let loose the snipe hunters!

Hosting provided by FotoTime


by John on Aug 10, 2006

August 09, 2006

And now for something a little different...

Reader-supplied gun pr0n.

Easy question: What are they?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Another shot.

Another variant.

Harder question (but not hugely so) - which commenter provided the pics of family treasures?

Gun Puppy Pr0n!

What's not to like? Gun Puppy Pr0n!

by John on Aug 09, 2006

August 08, 2006

Okay - enough teasing on the Whatzis from Sunday.

I just left you guys hanging yesterday, in order to give the "I only read Argghhh! from work" guys a chance at the Whatzis.

You really did pretty well. Owen got it quickly, and Captain H went a step further and emailed a link (chicken - won't post openly...) to a write up. They were the first to get it. And, speaking of that, CAPT H - upon further review, I withdraw my statement about this shell being Brit (as I was informed by the guy I bought it from) it *is* the French version of Armstrong's studded projectile.

Oh - and that *was* a shadow guys, not a notch, in the pic. That was just an artifact of taking the picture, not a deliberate attempt to mislead. This time. Owen - your size referent is... 3 inches. That's the nominal caliber. Some sources say 3.3, but that would include the studs, at least in my example.

Studded artillery projectile

Zinc, not a lead or copper stud - which strongly argues for it being french and not Brit.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This was an early method of rifling artillery - if you notice, the studs are slightly offset, and the studs themselves actually have a direction - the shell was fitted into deep grooves and rammed home. It worked well enough when the guns were new, and not badly fouled from firing... but it also only worked well with black powder. When more powerful propellants were used, the friction inherent in this process was too great and the studs just sheared off, and the flight of the projectile was unpredictable.

But with the acquisition of this piece, the artillery collection has representative examples of most major varieties of imparting a spin to the projectile. Now if I could only find an affordable shell with an *intact* papier maché sabot...

by John on Aug 08, 2006

August 07, 2006

The rest of the story - the M36's from Iraq.

Castle Argghhh! Salvage 'Я Us!

Owen having twitted us about our weapons being used against us and our Allies, and my pointing out it was old news... what with the pictures of the M36 Jackson in Yugoslavian colors - along comes Blake, who is doing with M36 Jacksons what Beauchamp Tower Corporation is doing with the USS John Rodgers - repatriating them, so they will do no more harm to American Interests!

Well, the Rodgers *was* serving American interests, and mine. By preserving her for us until we were ready for her!

Here's Blake's tale:

Blake and his M36B1 Jackson TD in Iraq


Well, we got our pair of M36's to the point where we feel like we can relocate them to the area where we're going to stage them for movement. We've got towing shackles in place, and we have the turrets and guns restrained so that I'm confident that we aren't going to have anything swinging wildly around in transit.

Some volunteers assembled by the Division Historian got the turret traverse on the M36B1 unjammed. Unfortunately, the driver's hatch is still stuck in the open position. If we rotate the turret clockwise, the turret bustle won't clear the open hatch. If we try to rotate the turret counter-clockwise the cannon barrel won't clear the hatch. Either way, we're stuck.

The problem with the driver's hatch is that there is a VERY robust spring-loaded detent pin which comes up through the top of the hull to engage an indent in the bottom of the driver's hatch hinge to lock the hatch open, and that detent pin is frozen in place. Nothing that we've tried has broken it loose, and I'm simply not willing to try to remove the hatch entirely by pulling the big pin/bolt on which it rotates, given the relative paucity of tools we've got available. Leave that for a later time. So what we've done is to get the gun itself into the elevation lock, then we've put a heavy chain bridle around the barrel of the cannon to keep the turret positioned with the gun facing forward on the center line of the vehicle. See the attached "ready to tow" picture. [Note the lavish accomodations in the background! .ed] It's not an ideal solution, but it's about the only one that seems workable, especially considering that I found the B1's turret traverse lock mechanism lying loose in the bottom of the hull today.

The M36B2 is in rather better shape. We've got the turret turned around over the back deck, and the turret traverse lock is mounted and engaged. Unfortunately, the travel lock for the gun barrel is badly bent and cannot be used, so again we've been forced to resort to a chain bridle to secure things. CSX, the railroad which provides us with service between Fort Campbell and our normal CONUS port of embarkation/debarkation, always likes to see some sort of external restraint on big rotating bits of a load, even if we DO have internal locking mechanisms engaged, so having the bridle in place will make
them happy. The elevation gearbox in that turret seems to be jammed, and
has no crank handle anyway, so I'm not worried about the gun shifting in elevation.

We've got some loose parts lying around, too. One of the engine hatch
covers fell off the B1, evidently because the hinge-pins sheared. Nothing wrong with it that isn't repairable, though, presuming that someone wants to put some time and a little money into the project. And in addition to the turret traverse lock I picked the elevation gearbox up off the turret floor of the B1. Now I have to find a stout wooden box or pallet for this stuff to to containerize it and ship it home. The B1 is in really poor material shape, both from exposure to the elements and from abuse/theft/neglect. The pictures of the gunner's position in the turret and of the hull interior are typical of the interior condition of the vehicle. The hull-gunner/radio-operator's position is completely stripped. Not even a seat frame left.

It's also interesting to see that these vehicles did not seem to have a full turret basket, as do modern tanks. There's a turret floor under the gunner and TC's position, but the loader evidently was expected to walk around on the tops of the stowage compartments at the bottom of the hull. Since this vehicle was built before the US bought into the idea of torsion bar suspensions for armored vehicles, the actual bottom of the hull is an unobstructed flat steel plate onto which one can install pretty much anything one wants. In this case, it appears to be mostly stowage for ammo. The M36B1 was designed for 11 ready rounds of 90mm in the turret bustle and another 36 semi-ready rounds in hull stowage, and the compartments under the floor are about the right size for 90mm rounds.

I'll attach some other photos of the M36B2 and such in a later e-mail.

At another location on this FOB there is an Italian CV 3/33 tankette, engineless, and without armament (originally, it mounted twin Breda machine guns,) but still in possession of all of its tracks and running gear. I'm hoping to have some pictures of that in the not-to-distant future. There's evidently a bit of a tug-of-war going on over the little thing, with more than one museum in CONUS trying to lay claim to it. I suspect that for the time being at least it's a matter of possession being nine-tenths of the law.

That's about it for the moment.



by John on Aug 07, 2006

August 06, 2006

Okay, vacation's over.

All those easy pics, with me telling you what they were, etc. That ends this afternoon.

Entertain me! Amaze yourself! Amuse your friends!

Whattaya think this is? C'mon - figger it out!


by John on Aug 06, 2006

July 25, 2006

Today is the Tomorrow--

--that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. And, since John's going all boat-y these days trying to prove that there's no anti-Navy bias around here (or he's got a bet going with Lex), here's some more about punt guns.

Note to trenchcoated googlers who were *not* looking for flat-bottomed skiffs: your lysdexia is worsening.

Here's what the Whatziss looks like In Context.

Dang the torpedoes--we'll blow 'em out of the water...

How's *that* for a Littoral Combat Ship?

Percussion caps made life a bit simpler for the market gunner, since he no longer had to worry about a black powder train going off in his kisser when he lit it.

I have an idea, Leonardo...

Here's the origin of the "Less Is More But Bigger Is Better" school of thought.

John--ever considered using pack howitzers as a wall decoration?

The Top Gun (to continue the Navy theme) is a ten-footer--you can pack a *lot* of bird shot into a barrel six-feet long. And, In Context...

You not only get 30 ducks at a shot, but you're propelled back to the dock without overexerting yourself.

Looks like some of the "artist's conceptions" of DD(X) I've seen (the Princess will get that one if she's been keeping up with Things Naval)...

Me? I'm not wild about solo gunning--I prefer hunting with several convivial companions...

by CW4BillT on Jul 25, 2006

July 22, 2006

Kewl Beans!

I'm taking next week off for travel to an exotic locale.

This photograph is relevant.

AA Action view from Hornet 14 May 1945 of kamikaze exploding over John Rodgers and is about to splash. NARA 80G331623.

AA Action view from Hornet 14 May 1945 of kamikaze exploding over John Rodgers and is about to splash. NARA 80G331623.

More to follow.

by John on Jul 22, 2006

The Gizmo.

Okay - here it is in it's entirety.

Field Artillery Trainer Mk3

It's a Trainer, Field Artillery, Mk3.

A pneumatic job, used during WWII.

On top - a "pantel" or panoramic telescope, which is used by the gunner to orient the tube for direction. Various adjustments to level the device, train it left or right, and to set elevation.

And the compressed air system used for launching the projectiles (though I *really* prefer Jim B's take on it). Used on a 1000 inch range, they had special maps and firing tables, and this allowed for training most crew operations except loading, or shifting trails - the big muscle movement bits. You laid the trainer just like a real gun, computed data just like a real gun, adjusted just as a Forward Observer would, etc. But it cost a lot less.

Back when I was a Lieutenant, we used the 14.5mm trainers - small cannons firing custom ammunition, They were way cool and I want one. There are some available, but they're in Israel, dangit. I can't afford the shipping, not to mention the import license.

by John on Jul 22, 2006

July 20, 2006

Yesterday's gizmo

Mebbe this will help.


Or not.

by John on Jul 20, 2006

July 19, 2006

Gun Pr0n.

Too much text. Need pics.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Everybody should have one of these.

What? You don't?

by John on Jul 19, 2006
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Show Trial #38

July 12, 2006

Some tidying up of loose ends.

In case of Moonbats, break glass, and grab the Armorer's Cluebat! (Down, Denizennes, sheesh!) 32 inches Moonbat-thumping reach - with a nice, cannon-like touch to the, ahem, barrel of the piece.

Alrighty then, moving on. Remember this "Whatziss?"

Go below the fold, to the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry, and you can see it in context.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jul 12, 2006

July 11, 2006


Toldja I'd have some Gun Pr0n for you guys.

It had a specific purpose and a specific name. And following John's lead, I'm only part of it--but it's the important part and you guys can probably intuit the rest...

As seen in <i>The DaVinci Code</i>...not!


I gotta go build a hill in the daylily patch. See everybody later...

by CW4BillT on Jul 11, 2006

June 21, 2006

Continuing the theme.

US Collimator, M1, seen through the howitzer sight

Mr. Pogue can no longer play in this round. He's too good!

MajMike gave me a start, when he started out with "collimating valometer..."

If he'd just substituted sight or instrument for valometer, he'd have been the winnah!

But Pogue got it mostly correct. A collimator. He said an early one, but it's actually the current Russian one (though this particular one was made in the Soviet era.) With guys like Pogue playing, and Frank, you'll understand why I didn't put up this picture. Of a US collimator. That would have been waaaay too easy for US Redlegs to get.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the theme this week (and into the next if it takes that long) is "Indirect Fire, How *Do* They Do That!?!" We're introducing most of the major components to get us there from the perspective of the guns. We've already met the Aiming Circle, used to "establish a common direction" i.e., get everybody pointing in the same direction. There are three components to that at the gun level. The aiming circle, the panoramic telescope (the gun's sight) and the Distant Aiming Point.

Let's face it. Infantry sucks. They have rifles, machine guns, hand grenades, and sometimes they stick sharp pointy things on their rifles (we know my problem with *that*!), and alla time they are wanting to sulkily sit around on terrain you'd just as soon they not squat on. They're uncouth, foul-mouthed, and smelly. And generally pissed off. But, if you want to keep them off your terrain, or get back the terrain they already befoul, you've got to deal with them, like any other pest.

But there's no need to actually get *near* them to do this. That's what your own infantry is for. No, you don't want to get near that many troglodytes all crammed into a small space - but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some nice target shooting. From a distance. With a terrain feature between you and them. Unlike the other arms (whom we love like brothers, I assure you) we artillerymen can actually hit things we can't see, and generally on purpose, too. Oh, sometimes we miss, but that's usually because a Lieutenant, of almost any branch, is involved. And besides, if they're tankers, who cares? That's what 'open protective' is for, right?

So, lets discuss the bits and pieces of how we Kings of Battle keep the Queen in Drag.

And, if you're still here and not ready to kill yourself - go behind the curtain to the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry, where this edition of Gun Pr0n will continue.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jun 21, 2006

March 21, 2006

Is this not cool?

Destroyer of Task Force18 bombarding Kalombangara and New Georgia Islands

Night color shot of a Destroyer of Task Force18 bombarding Kalombangara and New Georgia Islands. Woo-hoo! Get some, sailors!

by John on Mar 21, 2006
» The Yankee Sailor links with: More on Sailors Serving Ashore in Iraq

March 18, 2006

Gunner Zen

Kinda looks like a bottle-filling machine, doesn't it?

6 inch Gun Magazine aboard the HMS Belfast

It's a 6inch Gun Magazine on the HMS Belfast.

If your soul calls for a bigger pic, click here.

Here's the shell hoist to the turret, a different view of the magazine (essentially the other side). All that to feed this:

6 inch Gun breech on the HMS Belfast.

Again, if you needa big pic - click here.

As compared to the magazine of an Iowa-class BB... in this case, the Iowa. Need some sense of scale?

All *that* to feed this:

16 inch gun being loaded on the Iowa

by John on Mar 18, 2006

March 16, 2006


Okay, time for another "Whatizzit?" If I can keep it up, this might become a weekly schtick.

Up for your snipe hunt today is a really obscure and the Internet pickin's are slim. BIG CRED to anyone who gets it - with one possible exception, in a sense. If you served in the branches of the right armed force at the right time - you might well recognize it.

Two versions, same purpose.  Two rounds of ammunition.  On the left, the round and the casing.  On the right, the round (different version) in the casing.  In the center, a .38 caliber pistol round, in the foreground, a 1 Pound coin.  I'm being nice and giving you a size context!

Two versions, same purpose. Two rounds of ammunition. On the left, the round and the casing. On the right, the round (different version) in the casing. In the center, a .38 caliber pistol round, in the foreground, a 1 Pound coin. I'm being nice and giving you a size context!

Much credit for figuring out the probable purpose, Full Gonzo Credit if you can fully identify it. This is Real Grognard Stuff - unless you served in the branches of the right armed force at the right time.

Another view - also an important clue there - and the round on the right is similar.

Another view - also an important clue there - and the round on the right is similar.

Higher-res view - not that it will make that much difference, available here.

I'll put up hints as needed.

Mike L, Jim C., and Pete K. are *not* eligible to play, since I did a show and tell at work yesterday.

I tell ya, it's great to work someplace relaxed enough that when you tell your boss "I brought some grenades to work today!" their response is "Kewl! Show me!" rather than carefully backing away and calling Security... I wouldn't want to work in a place like the latter! Oh, and the grenades@work were on Tuesday, not yesterday. Just in case you were scratching your head trying to figure out how those things were big enough to be grenades. They aren't.

Now, after all that build-up, watch someone sail in and nail it early.

Update. Okay. Here's a hint that should seal the deal.

by John on Mar 16, 2006

March 09, 2006

Yesterday's "Whatizzit?"

As Neffi pointed out correctly, and Toluca Nole researched for you, was a replica 'Hand Gonne," recently acquired for the Arsenal.

The key bit of data I deliberately obscured was this - the touchhole. It would have made it *much* too easy.

Replica hand gonne

The key clue, after stating replica and better materials - was the fact that it was open at both ends... but not a tube.

It has a socket, where the pole that served as a stock on the earliest guns, was inserted. And this represents a leap forward in some respects from the earlier practice of binding them to the stock... though, in the end, we have in many respects returned to that method, once we figured out all the ergonomics, at least with bolt guns.

by John on Mar 09, 2006

March 08, 2006

What is it?

JMH will *hate* this.

One of the more recent acquistions for the Arsenal. Appropriate to the collection.

Mystery Item

Any takers?

Update: We need a hint. This is a toughie - I deliberately took the pic minus a key piece of data (which would have made it waaaay to easy for you grognards - I know you want a challenge).

Length: Approximately 9 inches/22.8 cm/0.001136 furlongs/0.7544 shyaku/6.858 cun. Diameter: Approximately 1.5 inches/3.8 cm/0.0001894 furlongs/0.1257 shyaku/1.143 cun. That gives you a sense of scale. Material: Steel.

Update: Time for another hint. It's a reproduction, not an orginal. And made of much better material than the original. It's open at both ends, but is *not* a tube.

by John on Mar 08, 2006

March 07, 2006

Snark me, eh? Really?

CDR Salamander has been watching Brit TV, and claims he found out what I *really* do for a living.

Heh. If I told you what I really do for a living, I'd have to cut your head off and put it in classified storage. You wouldn't like that. It's dark in the safe, and smells funny because of the stuff they put in there to keep the mold down.

Nah, Salamander... if I was in that bidniz, it would go more like this...

*Ahem, koff, koff*

[smarmy announcer/telemarketer/car salesguy voice]

Taking down a small country? Annoying neighbors? Revenooers snooping around the still? The Arsenal At Argghhhh! has all your pest-control needs in one stop!*

Aside from the usual selection of Small Arms, we also have a nice selection of Crew Served Weapons to choose from!

We have an extensive selection of spare parts! We service what we sell!

Need to recon that target, without getting your head shot off - we can help!

Gotta get through some wire to get to the bad guy? We've got your stuff. Worried about pursuit after dirty deeds done cheap? We can help! We've got stuff to get you in, stuff to knock 'em on the head quietly, and stuff to slow up the pursuit! All in one neat package!

Got people snooping by whatever it is you'd rather they not find? Got a defensive position you need a little coverage in the dead space for? Concerned about detectability? We have a whole selection of anti-personnel mines to choose from. Anti-armor mines by appointment only, please.

Need to be able to reach out and touch someone? Especially people who hide behind stuff so you can't just shoot them straight up? We have a wide selection of medium and light mortars to choose from, with a wide range of ammo choices!

Need help with data computation? We've got you covered there, too!

So, bit off a bit more than you can chew? Need some help with bunkers and armored vehicles? We've got a large selection of recoiless rifles and rocket launchers, and RPG systems that can meet your every need!

And don't let us forget our extensive grenade selection!

Need some extra reinforcement for that basement bunker? We got it. Have a mess of troops to mess? We got it!

And for you, CDR Salamander, today only - a special deal for the Naval Infantry! Straight from MoD stocks - the staple of Brit boarding parties for many years - the Lanchester!

Hosting provided by FotoTime

With bayonets!

So, call me. We'll do lunch.

[/smarmy announcer/telemarketer/car salesguy voice]

Oh, and, as usual. The Standard Disclaimers apply.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Mar 07, 2006

March 03, 2006

Since Owen's running around picking fights in the comments today...

...let's see if we can distract him with bright shiny objects.

Silly blog graphic and refrigerator magnet to the first person who gets this one.

What is it? Whose is it? When was it used? Bonus points for succinct dissertations!

So, what izzit?

Let's see if we can attract a lurker or two with this one.

by John on Mar 03, 2006

February 15, 2006

Okay - this is what the "WhatIzzit" is...

Okay, coupla days ago, we posted a teaser, asking "Whatizzit?"

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This was a toughie for most of you, with the bulk of you running down the rathole of the Type 89 Knee Mortar.

We gave you some hints - including the fact that most of the time, the answer lies in the Castle Archives or the photos of the Imperial Arsenal of Doom.

Owen Dyer, who asked me to do another teaser, got it right, in all the specifics, first day. Frank C. limped in a couple of days later.

It's a round for the WWI Granatenwerfer 16, highlighted in this Castle post.

The thing you had to figure out was the purpose of the smooth metal sleeve. The answer? This is a "bouncing" bomb. Due to the mud and general pulverization of the ground in the area of the trenches, lots of impact fuzed rounds didn't function, or buried themselves before exploding, making their impact minimal. Essentially, the smooth sleeve is a mini-mortar, containing a blackpowder charge which blows the bomb up into the air, where it will then function, getting around the soft ground problem.

That's it! For those of you who played, thanks! For those who didn't. Well, thanks for reading, anyway!

Oh! Wait! Vote for us!

by John on Feb 15, 2006

February 13, 2006

What Izzit, con't.

If you have no idea what this is about - click here and get caught up.

We actually already have a winner – Owen had it right his first pass, and provided his answer in that slightly pedantic, try-to-cover-all-the-bases fashion the Armorer is prone to.

The rest of you have been going down some rat-holes. It is NOT related to what you see in this picture – which is the baseplate of a Japanese Knee Mortar, and the left and center (with a booster not seen here) are the kinds of rounds you’d see fired from that. You can ignore that Mills Bomb on the right - this pic was used for a different post some time ago.

Nope, nothing you see here

Nor is it related to this type of implementation of this type of weapon (the one illustrated being a Brit 2inch mortar) – though it relates to a weapon of that class in employment.

No, conceptually, it’s more related to this type of weapon in implementation, if not in purpose.

Lastly – the Sekrit of most of these teasers – clues (or outright answers) to these things can be found in the photo galleries of the Imperial Arsenal of Doom.

That’s all the hints you're getting. Email your answers to

And Stuff Like This is why we think you should vote for us in the Best Master Gunnies competition! Only three days left! Early and often! <===Click that link! Once a day, every day! From home *and* work! At Internet Cafes! We think The BMG Trophy would look good on an Arsenal Bookshelf... but the only way *that's* gonna happen is if I steal it - unless you guys get really busy and start doing what Bill's been doing- borrowing other people's computers... of course, that would be wrong.

by John on Feb 13, 2006

February 03, 2006

Ooooh, too much politics and stuff. We need Gun Pr0n.

We need some pics of stuff in the Arsenal of Argghhh!

Like this:

Peeking Inside a cannon barrel

Or this:

Short barrel!

For CAPT H: Context.

by John on Feb 03, 2006

February 01, 2006

Y'know, it just ain't right...

Twitchy Bill's favorite 'small arm'

...when the holdings of the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh! include Bill the Rotorhead's favorite small arm (no ladies, not *that* one - see 27" zipper), as he opined in the comments of a post earlier this week:

Blake - The M3 was handy for cleaning out bunkers, but you had to get within fifteen feet of a firing port to do it properly. A 2.75" FFAR from 500 meters would do the same thing, albeit without that *personal* touch.

Heh. I *love* the M3. And we don't have one in the Holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh!. 2.75" FFARs we have. Two of 'em. One with a neat sectioned warhead.

Mebbe it *is* time to put up a Paypal Button to buy the Arsenal one of these.

by John on Feb 01, 2006

January 30, 2006

Vaporware from the Armorer...

...just to annoy Ry. Something else that will appear. Whenever I finish it.

Brothers in arms - the unlikely story of two pistols during WWII

But hopefully this week. A wholly unverifiable, but interesting, war story.

by John on Jan 30, 2006

January 29, 2006

Gun Pr0n!

Gun Pr0n - the Castle's Luger P08

Having been nominated for Best Gun Pr0n (and you *can still* vote), it's time for something I haven't done in a while - Gun Pr0n! One reason I haven't is because doing these right takes a lot of time and I haven't had a lot of time lately, and I'm a slug and like to sleep. I know. A weakness to be sure. This one took 12 hours total out of my life this week.

So, you've met the Castle Luger, Georg. You can check out his story here. You can get a sense of his prowess in the hands of a mediocre shooter here.

The basics of the Luger story are simple, though there are *several* good books out there if you are into geek-level detail. This is a blog, we'll skip that for a precis...

The Luger is one of the most distinctive and widely-recognized pistols the world over. You can thank WWI, WWII, and war movies for that. Well, that, and perhaps because the Luger Navy Model of 1904 introduced the world to the 9mm Euroweenie pellet, as Kim du Toit is want to call that round. Regardless of what I or Kim think, however, it is the most common pistol and sub-machine gun round, and the Luger Navy Model of 1904 introduced it to the world. Georg Luger was the designer of that bullet, building on his design of the 7.65 Luger round, which he developed after recognizing the need to make shorter, yet reasonably powerful rounds if automatic pistols were going to get down to a useful size.

The impetus for the development of the Luger pistol gathered steam in the period of 1890-1900. The gunmakers in Europe and the US were angling to land large military orders as the 1st rank armies of Europe were looking to modernize, and the US Army had discovered weaknesses in it’s arms in the Spanish American War. In Germany it was DWM, Mauser, and Bergmann; in England Webley &Scott, to name some of the major players. US interest came on the heels of the success of the European efforts.

What most people I’ve talked to don't know is that the Luger has an sorta-American connection. Georg Luger, the primary engineer, collaborated with the Hugo Borchardt to develop the first Luger pistol, improving on Borchardt's initial design by removing the balance and handling-destroying rear overhang and replacing it with a recoil link and spring in the butt of the pistol, vastly improving the handling of the pistol.

Submitted to the Swiss Army trials of 1898, it was adopted by the Swiss in 1900 as the Ordnance Pistol 1900. A quick distinguishing characteristic of the Swiss pistol is a grip safety that you don’t find on the German pistols - as you can see on these examples. The OP 1900 was chambered for the bottle-necked 7.65mm (called .30 Luger by us 'Muricans), and was as finely crafted a pistol as anything mechanical or chocolate the Swiss have ever produced.

Lugers were produced in Germany by primarily Deutsche Waffen Und Munitionsfabriken (DWM, the builder of Georg the Castle Luger), as well as Simson, Krieghoff, the Erfurt Arsenal, and Mauser. Vickers in England made them for the Dutch, and, as previously mentioned, the Swiss produced them at their Bern Arsenal. No one knows how many were produced due to destruction of German records during WWII, but the guesstimate is better than 2.5 million. Damn things still cost a lot for all that production!

The Kriegsmarine (Navy) was the first German adopter, in 1904, and it is they who gave us the Luger chambered for the 9mm Parabellum round, and a 6 inch barrel. The German Army adopted the Luger as the Pistole Model of 1908 in (drum roll, please) 1908, with a 4 inch barrel. Usually abbreviated P08, this is the version most of us are familiar with, though there have been many other models (see those books for geeks I was talking about). DWM produced the pistol until 1930, when it was taken over by Mauser. The Luger remained the German Army's official sidearm until the adoption of the Walther P38 in 1938, with production continuing through 1943, and issue continued throughout the war and beyond, in East German service. Counting the German variations of the P08, there were, IIRC, about 35 different variations of the Luger produced, and it has been produced in specialty runs at least as late as the 1980s, and perhaps more recently than that – but we all know I’m weak on stuff less than 50 years old…

The other relatively famous version of the Luger you might be familiar with is the Model 1914, the long-barreled version, sometimes called the "Artillery Luger" which was fitted with a long barrel that had integral long range sights, and was often used in conjunction with a wooden shoulder-stock/holster that locked onto the grip. It was for this pistol, in Air Force use, that the 32 round snail drum magazine was developed, as a way to arm pilots when the "Knights of the Air" took to shooting at each other before they got their machine guns all figured out. That pistol uses standard P08 components less the barrel and sights - and in fact, all Lugers produced for the German army have their grips slotted for the stock - even after they no longer made the M1914 or stocks.

Okay - so skip all the history carp and get on to the good stuff!

If ya wanna see him nekkid and exposed... and understand how he works, then come back, behind the curtain, to the peep show in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jan 29, 2006

January 23, 2006

Time for a gun post...

...and not just because we've been nominated at Countertop Chronicles for "Best Gun Pron" in the Gunnies, either!

A topic covered in the gunblogs, I know by Murdoc and others, as well as me... Metalstorm gets closer to entering service. This is an ugly little spud.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Next month a new high-explosive munition will be fired in Singapore and then tested again by the U.S. Army, heralding what may be a sea change in weaponry: a gun that can fire 240,000 rounds per minute.

That's compared to 60 rounds per minute in a standard military machine gun.

Metal Storm Inc., a munitions company headquartered in Virginia but with its roots in Australia, has been developing a gun that can shoot at blistering speeds, albeit in short bursts as each barrel is reloaded.

Company website with video click here.

Speaking of Murdoc, I'll let him have at this story.

Speaking of machine guns... take a look at the durability (not to mention reliability) of the latest rendition of that venerable old pig, the M60. Do me a favor - right click and save as - don't stream it. Right-click and save-as here.

I'll close this post with a picture of a new Castle Armory acquisition - a M1886 German Shrapnel round - that has a very interesting (to the Armorer) time fuze. Subject of a future post.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

by John on Jan 23, 2006

January 12, 2006

A new teaser.

In our post about the MSM's concern over the Army co-opting milbloggers as propaganda outlets, a fella who makes his living as a journalist STABO'd in, and donning his Bracers of Argument, put himself in the middle of the Circular Firing Squad that are the Denizens of Argghhh!.

I'd say it was a draw, and mostly entertaining for the spectators. While Owen is anti-OIF, one should not mistake him for a pacfist, or anti-war per se. You can read that for yourself in the debate in the comments. In the midst of flinging out his bon mots and wry observations, he let drop this little gem, which, of course, knowing me, could *not* go unchallenged...

b) I like to think I am something of an expert on small arms and my knowledge of most weapons goes a bit beyond familiar.

Oh, really? The Armorer could *not* let that go unremarked and unverified. So I set him a task (again, read the comment stream, towards the bottom of it).

I will happily concede that he certainly walks the walk, though he may not win the high hurdles at the Weapons Geek Trivia Contest. In his defense, I deliberately picked a very obscure bit of kit that almost no one who didn't use a PIAT in WWII would have recognized. And he did get there - which is more than anyone who participated in the original trivia contest can say. So Owen has Castle Cred as far as the Armorer is concerned.

But wait! There's More! As a condition of the challenge to Owen, I said he could have a go at us. His challenge is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry. Let us just say that the Armorer is *impressed* with Owen's challenge.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jan 12, 2006

December 12, 2005

Castle Artillery Pr0n

And now for something completely different, (ok, not really for longtime visitors), from the stocks of the Castle Armory. Since people who hide behind things but still want to sneak up on you (or even jump up, run at you and stick you with long pointy-things-with-sharp-edges really suck, people (i.e., artillerymen) thought up Shrapnel. In this case, a very specific artillerist, Major General Henry Shrapnel (though he invented it, I believe, when he was a mere Lieutenant).

So - from the Armory Holdings, a used WWI French Time/Impact Fuze. Of a type originally developed in 1889, this particular version is the 24/31mm Modele 1915, sitting in the nose of a 75mm Shrapnel round, seen here disassembled (albeit an empty round with none of the cool fiddly-bits).

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This is how you normally find them... with the nose of the projectile attached. In WWI, true shrapnel rounds (vice fragmenting HE now that the fact is that *all* fragments are called shrapnel) were essentially one-use mini-shotguns delivered over the target, where a small black powder charge in the base blew out a small plate, upon which were stacked lead or steel balls. The nose blew out, and the balls scattered like shot from a shotgun. Unlike the shrapnel rounds from the Civil War era, which suspended the balls in a matrix and then blew the whole round into pieces. Now when you read a WWI memoir that talks of the little puffs of white smoke from the shrapnel... you'll know what it means. It doesn't mean standard HE bursting in the air.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Since you rarely see these old "beehive" fuzes intact, here are two - one ready for putting in the shell, the other with its lead foil protective cover. The cannoneer punched a hole at the appropriate time mark (there is a spiral powder train in the body of the fuze) so that when the round was fired, flame from firing would flash around the projectile as it left the muzzle, finding entry at the punch mark, igniting the powder train. Hence the lead foil cover - the flame exposure is very brief, so the powder has to catch quickly and must thus be protected from moisture. They also had an impact component, that series of pointy-things inside of springs running down the middle, as shown in this cutaway drawing:

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Here's a graphic cutaway from a Victorian-era Brit ammunition manual that shows what these rounds generally looked like. This particular round in the drawing didn't have a "blow-away nose" like the round in the Castle holdings - it just blew out the brass fuze, which being a softer metal, shears out before the threads on the baseplate of the projectile did. If it was a "burster" type round, the central tube would be filled with powder - here it's a flash-tube to convey the flame from the fuze-function down to the charge in the base.

Here is a photo of three Brit rounds from the 1890-1914 era. The two on the left have bursting charges in the base - you can clearly see the brass flash-tube running down the middle to the charge in the base. The one on the right has its bursting charge up top - meaning it probably blows out the base or shatters the round. Shattering the round is most likely, since the balls would not have near the velocity (and would have a much greater dispersion pattern, which can be good or bad depending on the way the target infantry is arrayed). I'm guessing that one didn't last long in service.

Lastly: Don't forget to Vote For Us!

To close this completely - you can see some of these fuzes larger cousins on the "ready rounds" in this engraving of French Artillery from WWI, with a 155mm on the left, and a 270mm Mortar on the right - the rounds for that monster are fitted with the Beehive fuze. The engraving is from a book published just after the war, and is in the Holdings of the Castle Library.

by John on Dec 12, 2005

November 28, 2005

Okay, Okay. Context *Isn't* Everything.

'Pears that accuracy in writing code is also right up there.

Grumpf. There's more to this bloggin' thing than meets the eye. Especially if what's supposed to meet the eye *doesn't*...

F'r instance, if you dropped in here and clicked away at the links and didn't see this bit of etchery

Hosting provided by FotoTime

or the foundry's marque

Hosting provided by FotoTime

it's because I bollixed the code. Looks like I'm a magnet a$$ for stupid bit more of a tyro than I'd thought. Anyway, John got it in one--what a surprise. I never thought he'd recognize them in sunlight. And, for your edification, here's the context

Hosting provided by FotoTime

and--ta-daaaah!--the verification.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Soooo, how did the Water Battery's antiques wind up at Fort Lewis? Here's one theory:

Fort Lewis is in the state of Washington, the capitol of which is Olympia; Admiral Dewey's flagship was the cruiser Olympia. The night after the Battle of Manila Bay, some sailors from the Olympia were sitting around Emiliano's Cantina and one of 'em said, "You know, I'll bet we could score some points with the babes back in Olympia if we brought those two shiny carriage anchors back. I'll betcha it'll only take fifty of us to carry 'em back to the ship." So, the fifty sailors hefted the guns and were enroute back to the boat, but soon tired and decided they needed some additional porters. They left the guns and went in search of their other shipmates.

A Warrant Officer sauntered by, saw the guns, thought they'd look great on his lawn, tucked one under each arm and walked off.

As I said, it's a theory...


Anyhow, botching the code kinda serves me right for throwing in pix of bowling ball launchers. Next time, I'll stick with the really *good* stuff, like

Hosting provided by FotoTime

the Cobra gunner's view of the bombardier's station after the bombardier's been watching the Cobra get closer--and then remembers *his* guns are dummies.

Ummmm--*that's* a theory, too...

by CW4BillT on Nov 28, 2005

October 05, 2005

She who stutteringly brings up...

...feminine "sekrit-purpose" devices...

Iiiii Donnnn'ttt knowwww anyyythingggg abouttttt thingsssss that viiiiiiibrate

...(admittedly following *her* lead) later in the same thread complains:

*sigh* The quality of gun pron on this site has dramatically dropped.

Heh. *Who* dragged pr0n into this anyway? A pox on all yer houses!

Fine. I'll pander. How about a Wall of Muskets?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

From the Tower Armories, a souvenir of SWWBO's trip last week. Compares favorably to the Arsenal at Argghhh!, I suppose.

Where they've got us beat, however, is out in the inner ward! With things like this 24 pounder gun on a fortress carriage.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

by John on Oct 05, 2005

September 15, 2005

Big Gun Pr0n

The Arsenal at Argghhh! is more than small arms. We have grenades, mines, maces for trench raiding, comfort items... etc. We also have a relatively decent assortment of artillery ammunition (it *is* after all, the ammunition that is the true weapon).

Hosting provided by FotoTime

We even know where we can get one of these:

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The dummy training projectile for the Iowa-class battleships. They're in Idaho, and at around 1800 pounds each, they'd be a tad expensive to ship.

More importantly, perhaps, we don't have the proper gear in the Arsenal to schlep 'em around, either (including the surly sailor!).

Hosting provided by FotoTime

But someday... someday, when the dream tower on the bluff overlooking the river is built... I'll get *two* to flank the driveway!

Oh, and I should caveat, all of this is in compliance with the Standard Disclaimers®.

And for all these reasons and more... the nomination of Judge Roberts is important to both sides of the debate. Why? Because things like the New Orleans rather arbitrary confiscation of firearms are going to end up before the court.

by John on Sep 15, 2005
» Alphecca links with: Hey, Big Boy...
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Democrats shift focus in court fight
» NIF links with: Another Today
» Don Surber links with: The First Katrina Lawsuit
» PatriotVoices links with: Farewell to most powerful ICBM

September 09, 2005

Just for kicks.

Update: Visitors from The Galvin Opinion will find the Castle's Katrina stuff by clicking here. This post is actually one of the few non-Katrina posts this week! Of course, it's *all* good...!

What the heck, *more* gun pr0n!

Jordana of Curmudgeonry hosts the Carnival of the Recipes, the 56th iteration of SWWBO's idea!

Speaking of SWWBO - look who is posting a Lefty's Ideas... in a postive light! There *is* some common ground... and while I am *not* a fan of MoveOn, I'll credit 'em for what Amber posts on her diary.

On top of all that, SWWBO is a Concerned Citizen who also had a bemusing experience.

Heh, Castle Argghhh! - periodically, all SWWBO, all the time!

Kat, channeling La Malkin, is *not* interested in another commission, bi-partisan, blue collar, or otherwise. Me neither. I say show up at the polls with pitchforks.

Alan continues his assault, Day By Day.

While all the horror and heroism unfolds in the Southeast, there is *still* a war on, and *still* combat wounded - who need our assistance. Fuzzybear Lioness has more on how you can decorate your barren, pathetic walls and help at the same time.

Barb likes Ben Stein. So do we. Of course, then there's these guys. But it *is* New Orleans, I suppose. Mardi Gras forever...

Cassandra asks God to take away her Kool-Aid...

Were-Kitten, groggy from coordinating Red Cross Volunteer activities, did find time to take a quiz. My result:

I'm a Defender Ship/Base Defender... Gee, who'd a thunk?

"I am fiercely protective of my friends and loved ones, and unforgiving of any who would hurt them. Speed and foresight are my strengths, at the cost of a little clumsiness. I'm most comfortable with a few friends, but sometimes particularly enjoy spending time in larger groups."

Jack loses his router, and waxes philosophical (but not about the router).

Sergeant B calls out Spokane...

Soon-to-be 1SG Keith takes a cheep shot at the Castle in this otherwise blandly adequate, Inspected-for-your-OPSEC-safety post. Hey, Keith - pppllllpppppptttt!

by John on Sep 09, 2005

August 26, 2005

Gunfight Rulez.

Another oldie but goodie. I agree with these rules. I own a lot of guns, but I can't talk to you in detail about muzzle velocities, hand load specs, MOA, etc. I'm not that kind of geek. I'm all about hitting the target, center of mass, reliably, as quickly as possible, from uncomfortable positions.


USMC Rules For Gunfighting During War

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.

9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

9.5. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket."

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

12. Have a plan.

13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.

14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of your gun.

15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

16. Don't drop your guard.

17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.

18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

19. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

21. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

22. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.

23. Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a "4."

U.S. Navy Rules to Gunfighting

1. Adopt an aggressive offshore posture.

2. Send the Marines.

3. Drink Coffee.

Hat tip, Randy K.

On a only tangentially-related note: What Television Has Taught Me about Handguns from King of Fools.


by John on Aug 26, 2005
» Alphecca links with: Around Town...
» NIF links with: Bahng Chicka Bonck Beow
» TFS Magnum links with: Gunfight Rules
» SayUncle links with: Gunfight rules
» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 08 28 Sunday
» Rocket Jones links with: A List of Lists

May 16, 2005

A Post just for JTG

Since he's whining in email to SWWBO about less politics, more guns! (hmm, there's a political statement in there, somewhere).

So, JTG:






Wow. I used to have a *lot more time* for this stuff.

by John on May 16, 2005

May 05, 2005

A crying shame.

This little movie is going to make Sergeant B break into tears.

Click here for the horror.

Update: Due to extreme bandwidth theft, I have blocked the videos. Please drop me a line at the Armorer's contact email, and I will be happy to provide this video.

The attached note made *me* grind my teeth.


Please take a moment to look at this short video clip and feel free to use it for training, was put together by one of our Senior TACOM Small Arms Equipment Specialists at Rock Island who operated our Small Arms Support Center(SASC)in Balad, Iraq; essentially a "mini Depot" repair facility for all Small Arms...his comments are below.

This was done at the Ware Lab here at Rock Island to re-create the mistakes that continue to occur in Iraq. The troops screw the barrel into the 50 without pulling the bolt back to release the locking spring.

They then loosen the barrel up 3 to 4 clicks and attempt to fire it.

I would see between 5 to 8 of these guns a week at the SASC in Balad.

It destroys the gun, and can injure the soldier.

Dammit, it *ain't* rocket science. It's a failure of leadership. There is simply *no excuse* for blowing up a Ma Deuce because you don't follow proper headspace procedures.


Sergeant B sez (pulled up from the comments):

There are horror stories of M2s blowing up because of a failure to set proper headspace... Headspace is the "gap" between the face of the bolt, and the beginning of the chamber. The case of the round (the brass part that holds the gunpowder) is supported by the walls of the chamber (located in the barrel)... To comply with the laws of explosive force, the pressure of the gas created by the burning gunpowder in the round after firing will attempt to escape using the path of least resistance, normally down the barrel, pushing the actual bullet before it. This is the way it is supposed to work... Unfortunately, if the headspace has not been set, that force will blow out of the side of the cartridge.

As each round contains the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite, this causes devestating damage to the gun, and normally to the gunner and team leader as well.

I have seen guns where the receiver walls have been blown out, or severely deformed, cooling blocks shredded, and Marines flat on their backs as the Corpsman tried to disengage the backplate assembly from their chests...
In one instance, we were firing a "mad minute" also called a "Final Protective Fire" at 29 Palms. We were firing our M2s from tripods, and had our supporting AAVs beside us, with their turret mounted M2s. In the midst of the firing, I heard an explosion in the turret of the nearest AAV, and saw a three foot long bar go spinning down range. I grabbed the Corpsman, and ran into the back of the AAV, where I saw the track commander (who happened to be the brother of one of our platoon sergeants, sliding out of the turret. The track was filled with smoke. The turret M2 had exploded, and the bar that we had seen was the barrel of the gun. We grabbed the sergeant and dragged him out of the vehicle, and began checking him for wounds... He got lucky, and had minor burns, but no new holes.

Turns out that during the movement over rough terrain, the locking lug on the barrel extention (that holds the barrel into place) had broken off, and the vibration of the vehicle had unscrewed the barrel from the gun. The sergeant hadn't checked it before firing, and derned near blew his head off. This was one of the few times when a sergeant got his butt chewed by a corporal.

The very first thing you do after screwing the barrel into the receiver is check headspace and timing... This is Gunner's Law... Not perfroming this is a failure in leadership, and is almost criminal negligence, especially with the M2...

Thanks for the word, John.

by John on May 05, 2005
» Winds of Change.NET links with: Iraq Report, 09 May/05

April 29, 2005

Gun Zen

The crud has migrated to the chest, enough so that I finally conceded and didn't go into the office today. Via the joys of a wireless connection (and anticipating the event yesterday) I brought the work machine home and will be slaving away, anyway. Dang those suspenses. But, since I slept in, feel like crap, and gotta get this thing done - here's what I've got for you today, courtesy the Admiral of the Moat Fleet and the Blogfather.

Gun videos! Prolly ought to right-click and save-as, but do whatcha want...

Via Boquisucio: Fun with machineguns!

Remember Jaws? Where Roy Scheider shoots the scuba tank in the shark's mouth? I remember when I saw the movie thinking - that kinda steel wouldn't fail that way... but aluminum might. Well, someone has tested the theory. The shark prolly would have been unhappy, regardless...

And finally... *rubbing bald head, staring at nothing* "the horror... the horror..."

Did someone mention cannon? Cannon-cockers? Heh. Musta been me. No, wait - it was Murdoc - talking about the infantry of the 2nd Battalion, Eigth Regiment of FIELD ARTILLERY. AUTOMATIC!

But what's more important... besides that Jointness - is the ratio of 'Combined' (i.e., allied forces)... 3:1.

That, and the fact that they scored some eBay material there - all those Ba'ath Party medals!

by John on Apr 29, 2005
» Murdoc Online links with: Friday Cat Blogging, Murdoc Style

March 18, 2005

Oooo. Brass. SWWBO likes brass...

Roving Castle Picture Provider Randy K. went to the UK - and sent us pictures of pretties!

Like this very early version of the M79 Grenade Launcher.

The data plate sez: Combined wheellock and matchlock hand-mortar. The stock inlaid with engraved stag-horn Nueremberg Mark and maker's mark G.H. over a pierced heart on lock plate, about 1590. One of the few surviving grenade launchers of the late 16th Century.

The curators are obviously of the opinion the engraved stag-horn is what's important here. The Armorer would rather take a look at the mechanism.

SWWBO would allow one of these in the living room, you betcha!

Hi-res pic available, click here.

by John on Mar 18, 2005

March 02, 2005

Getting back to my roots.

In light of comments in the post below, it is obviously time to drag this thing back up into the light for all you not-long-time readers. This is just a periodic post for relative newbies to the site who don't realize the real reason I set this thing up was to share my collection with the world - and point out you don't know what the guy next door has in his basement... but that doesn't mean he's a nut. As the blog has morphed over time, now and again I've gotten a little too wrapped up in the politics and the war - and, well, yes, work, too - and I've strayed a bit from my roots. Well that and the great parties the Denizens throw in the comment sections now and again... Please don't stop, Denizens! It makes it fun when sometimes it's real work to maintain (fought off 1,780 spams today, for example... but 132 got through and had to be slain inside the Keep!).

With great hubris I too have made the mistake that many celebrities make - that my opinions on things political somehow matter more than others. Well, not really. This is more the equivalent of standing on a soapbox at "Speakers Corner".

Anyway - for you guys who are here because you heard that John of Argghhh! actually sometimes talked about guns and militaria - here's the navigation map to The Story So Far. They link to the appropriate archives by topic. I'm working a new post on the evolution of the Vickers Machine gun - but these things take time! In fact, here's proof - I have the collecting jones so bad that I actually tracked down this - an actual Australian Army inventory sheet - so that I could fill this (procured buck-nekkid empty three years ago) so that it looked like this.


Hi-res click here.

Anyway - here's some linkages to the discussions - where it says "The Arsenal" is a link to the photo-archive. (always available on the sidebar)

Sub-machine Guns
Machine Guns
Gun P0rn: A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly-bits.a>
General Militaria
Guns by Nation

And, of course, there is always the direct link to the Imperial Arsenal itself!

Visitors should also note the following caveats:

Periodic Goblin Warning (SM)

As a service to Goblins who are considering Seizing The Arsenal (this excludes LE types: y'all come with a warrant, knock [no no-knocks, please, the front door is expensive], take what the warrant specifies and we'll talk about it in court - just please take care of 'em, you know, periodic cleaning, oiling, etc. They're used to being spoiled like that) here is a periodic warning on Why Trying To Steal My Collection Isn't A Good Idea.

Note to thieves trying to figure out where I live: Once you do that, you've got to get past the living interior and exterior guard, the security system (hint, cutting the phone and cable WON'T help), and finally, if I'm home - me. WonderWife (TM) v3.x is also right handy with the Winchester M97 trench gun. I like that one because it's handy, will blow you into large chunks, but not pass through the walls of the house to annoy my neighbors. Hardwood floors, so clean-up is easy. I'm a reasonable fellow, if you surrender meekly or run away, that will be fine. Not interested in killing or maiming anyone unless you are dumb enough to attack me or my family. The furry members count as family, BTW. Do that, then I will clean the gene pool. Plus guys, impressive as it looks, it's not as valuable as you might think - and it would be very hard to move, since you would be flooding the market. Not to mention the fact that every dealer within a (classified) radius would have a list of serial numbers and descriptions within 24 hours (ain't the internet great?). Oh, yeah - did I mention that robbing licensees is a federal offense? The feds don't go overboard after little stuff, but whacking this collection would likely garner their interest - so choose your accomodations! Plus 'bangers won't like these - the ones that look like they can shoot a lot - can't, and many of them won't work properly if you hold them sideways like they do in the movies.

So, go find an easier target, eh? No - better yet - get a real job that has better fringes.

Periodic Disclaimer for anti-gunners and law enforcement surfers (I don't mind you LE types) Heck, I don't mind the anti-gun types until they start trying to send LE types to take 'em away... here we go with the Periodic Disclaimer (TM):

Everything you ever see in photos here that I own is fully legal to own, federal, state, and local - WHERE I LIVE! Your mileage may vary, such as living in the Borg Collectives of California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc. Though ya might be surprised to find out what's legal where you live. I am a licensed collector (which isn't a license to collect, just to receive via the mails), and that only applies to curio and relic firearms. Fortunately, that's about all I want to own. On these pages I will from time to time share my toys, much like Kim du Toit does.

by John on Mar 02, 2005

Gun Pr0n

I'm busy, got something working I may get to later, depending on how work goes!

In the meantime, to tide you over. Gun Pr0n. The STEN Mark II, product of Messrs Smith and Turpin, at ENfield. Cheap, easy to make, simple, and remarkably reliable sub-machingun the Brits and Commonwealth forces used during WWII and beyond. I've fired both a STEN and all the major versions of Thompson guns - while I prefer the .45 cartridge to the 9mm, I vastly prefer the STEN as a weapon for ease of carry and use. So - given my predjudices on caliber, it's not surprising that I am such a fan of the US M3 Grease Gun.

Click the picture for hi-res. This shows the weapon with bolt forward.



by John on Mar 02, 2005

February 25, 2005

The Answer

All righty then... yesterday I brought out the Arsenal's Chinese Type 51 copy of the Soviet Tokarev pistol. He was damaged during his career on active service, though not as badly as his previous owner who was deadlined and dropped from the reporting system.

And the answer? How many dings?

And the Lord of the Keep spake, saying, 'First shalt thou peer closely, seeking the places where metal is not, yet whereat it should be. Then shalt thou count those places where metal, due to energetic energy transfer, hath been made thinner, yet denser, than previous. Seek thou also the place where plastic no longer is where it once was. Truly, there shall also be a lessening of metal, and a increase in density there. When thou has done this aright - Then, shalt thou count to four. No more. No less. Four shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be four. Five shalt thou not count, nor either count thou three, excepting that thou then proceed to four. Six is right out. Once the number four, being the fourth number, be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Cap of Celebration towards yonder scruple, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.' So ends this reading from the Book of the Castle, Chapter Miniatus Armas.

Indeed. Four is the answer. Except when it is five. As it is. But not for this, as the 5th point of damage is on the side that is terra incognito - the Far Side of the Pistol, (a new album coming soon from Pink Floyd). The hit on the backstrap hit a pin which transferred the energy over to the other side, damaging that grip as well. Per the comments from some of you yesterday, you may recognize this staining pattern, as well. There's more than that, but it proved challenging to photograph with the time I have this morning.

by John on Feb 25, 2005

February 24, 2005

Okay - we did it with Bill, now let's do it with me.

Get yer mind out of the gutter.

This is the Arsenal's Chinese Type 51 Pistol, a copy of the Soviet TT33. Like "Hubert," Twitchy Bill's Trusty Steed, this pistol and its previous owner had a tough day at the office.

Unlike Twitchy and Hubert, the pistol's then-owner did not survive the encounter. Evidence of the encounter is visible on the pistol. How many hits do you see?

Click here for hi-res.

by John on Feb 24, 2005

February 23, 2005

OKay, let's answer that teaser...

The consensus (with some not-so-gentle shoving by the Armorer) was moving towards a Vickers firing lock. Some people picked up on the hint that when the Armorer does this sort of thing he's using pictures which are up in the Arsenal photo album... and paid attention to what folder was what.

Of course, in preparation for this, there was also some Maxim stuff in that folder...

Here is a Vickers lock and a Maxim lock side by side - and just as importantly - they are oriented as if they were in their respective receivers.

They are in the 'locked' position - ready to fire.

Some of you twigged fairly early to a Maxim-style lock (on the right in this photo, a Russian/Finn M1910). All Maxims, all calibers, use a lock that is virtually identical. There may be slight dimensioning differences based on calibers and materials, but they all follow this pattern.

The Vickers is a Maxim-derived gun - and the difference is in the lock. The Vickers shoots more quickly, and is smaller and lighter than equivalent-caliber water-cooled Maxims. And the secret to that is in the lock. Vickers took Maxim's design and left the extractor as it was (that's the part to the right side of the locks which strip, feed, and eject the rounds) and flipped the lock upside down. This made the 'break' of the knuckle in recoil all take place within the vertical space occupied by the lock - instead of breaking below the lock, like the Maxim does. Got that?

1. Strip.

2. Feed.

3. Eject.

This action is why you cock a Maxim-style gun twice... once to strip from the belt, second time to feed the stripped round to the breech, while stripping the next round.

A safety note. In the pics above, you see what looks like a cut-out in the extractor. That's actually a modification done to make the lock safe to handle. This was a training lock used by the Finns. These weapons are VERY DANGEROUS - aside from the Usual Caveats for firearms - WHEN HANDLING THE LOCK. Why? Because the lock contains the firing pin, firing pin spring, sear, and hammer - though you wouldn't recognize the hammer as such. Technically, it's termed a *tumbler*. Point being - if you have a round in the extractor, in front of the firing pin, and you trip the sear (not hard to do) you have an unsupported round that is going to explode. Wear your goggles and Interceptor if you are planning on running with these scissors.

In this picture, you can see how a Maxim operates - loading, firing, ejecting. In most machineguns - the action is straight line - reciprocating back and forth, with the bolt twisting to lock in the breech. On Maxim's guns - the lock stays in the vertical plane, but the actual 'locking' of the weapon occurs when the arm returns to horizontal. Then, upon firing, the barrel gets an initial rearward impulse that moves the recoil plates back along the sides of the locking arm, camming it to break, at which point the lock continues rearward against the action of the fusee spring, which sends the lock forward again to start the process all over again. Complicated. Expensive - but damned reliable, which is why the Maxim still serves in China, and the Vickers served in Brit usage until 1968 or so. But all that, with pictures... is the subject of a later eye-glazing post.

Let's take a look at the locks overlaid on a full-scale poster of the Soviet Maxim. If you click the link, you'll see the Maxim lock overlaid on the poster. Take a look at how the receiver extends down below the water jacket surrounding the barrel (the right side of the picture).

Now take a look at a Vickers. Although this picture doesn't show it that well (hey, excuse to take more!) the receiver on the Vickers is not much deeper than the water jacket - and the reason for that is the weapon ejects the spent brass through a hole right under the water jacket. A tremendous savings in strategic materials, weight, production time, and an increase in firing rate. What more could you ask? The Maxim is much deeper, hence heavier and more clumsy to lug around. I wish I had an MG08/15 to show the attempt to deal with that.

That then - is the genius of the Vickers modification to Maxim's design. Flipping the lock. Just look at the space it saves.

The drawings in this post are from Dolf Goldsmith's book, The Devil's Paintbrush - though the actual drawings are Ministry of Defense drawings from the MoD Pattern Room. Anyone who is *serious* about their machineguns parts with the lucre for those two books - which aren't cheap.

Vickers - The Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land.

Maxim - The Devil's Paintbrush.

Available from the publisher, and elsewhere, I'm sure.

by John on Feb 23, 2005

February 21, 2005


Here's a teaser for an upcoming series of posts I'm working on. Another multi-day fest of Gun Pr0n!

Anybody besides JMH and Neffi (c'mon guys, it's not like it's a challenge for you - this would be like having a pro player on a high school team) want to hazard a guess as to what this is? For? Etc? You two can respond email so you can still count your coup points...

I'll give you something I usually leave out - scale. This is a little larger than life size.

Update: Here's a really obtuse hint. Just cuz' SWWBO's gone and I'm feeling mean.

Otay. Here's another hint.

Yet another hint...

Final (I think) Update:

Okay - we're getting close now. CRFan - I'm jealous you've got an MG08/15!

Final hints - look at the pic, look at the pics below - and tell me which one you think is which - and why... because there is a key difference, and it is the key difference between any weapon with Maxim in it's name and a Vickers (vice a Maxim-Vickers... which, has Maxim in it's name, but sometimes you guys don't keep tips like that in mind). I dunno about you guys - this really wasn't intended as a "What is it?" post like I've done in the past - but this one has been fun for me.

Pic 1.

Pic 2.

Pic 3.

Pic 4.

Okay - one of 'em is a red herring for Phil! Wanna take a guess at what that is, Phil? It's not the obvious one...

by John on Feb 21, 2005

February 16, 2005

Bad Days.

Yesterday, SWWBO and I both had Bad Days. Bad Days in ways that are completely typical for the respective individuals.

You can read about SWWBO's here. Hey, she posted it! It's not like I'm talking out of school or something.

Anyway - she calls last night to chastise me for not answering my email. (That's related to her Bad Day) We get off the phone, and I go back to what I was doing, which was maintenance.

To shorten a short story further, I bayoneted myself yesterday. Yep. At least Dad got to shoot the guy who bayoneted him. That just would have made things more annoying in my case.

Dang. That hurts.

Bled like a stuck pig, too. Now I know, on several levels, what that means.

Anyway, there I was getting ready to clean up a Czech Vz24 Mauser. The thing's long enough without the attached bayonet, so off comes the John-sticker. Part of maintenance is bayonet maintenance, so I try to pull off the scabbard to check the blade. This is a nice, Predzuce 44 bayonet with a VERY SHARP TIP. And it's always had a sticky scabbard - which I may now look into more closely.

Anyway, sitting there, rifle all properly cleared and resting on the table, I'm trying to get the scabbard off (yes, bayonet-geeks, the blade was inserted properly - this is a spring problem) - while at the same time not wanting to suddenly have the blade clear, with my hands suddenly flying left and right - to knock down the rifles stacked there waiting their turn for the Armorer's attention.

Which means I'm putting a good effort into pulling apart - while at the same time holding together... which sets me up for my magical moment.

The scabbard gremlin - sensing victory - lets go, hoping for a game of 'pick-up-sticks-with-rifles' when I foil his evil plan. The counter-tension I've got going works, and nary a rifle is disturbed. The bayonet however...

It goes.

Not far. Only about, oh, an 8th of an inch too far, plunging the point into the knuckle of my right index finger. Who'da thunk that particular body part was so well supplied with blood? *I* certainly didn't!

This morning, it's a little, tiny dink. Hurts like hell though, since apparently it wasn't my Herculean effort at stopping the bayonet that worked... it was the bone inside the damn knuckle.


Still - I'd rather bayonet myself than have to admit that I sent some sappy love note to someone else's spouse... especially after having busted MY spouse for not responding to it... hee hee hee.

And, a Bad Day bayoneting yourself while cleaning your collection is better than being a liberal twisty-pants all wrought up over the fact that someone, somewhere, *didn't* have an abortion yesterday...

by John on Feb 16, 2005

February 07, 2005


The Castle does not yet have the resources, in both time and funding, for a display of this sophistication.

WWI German equipment at the National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia.

But it *is* nice to know that Great Minds think along similar lines.

The "Germanic Wall" in the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!, which includes Austrian and Swiss long iron. (Like I said, space is at a premium, so disregard the Brit sniper rifle and the Bren gun on the AA tripod...)

Hi-res version is here.

by John on Feb 07, 2005

January 31, 2005

I may be ugly, but...

Anybody remember the movie Blazing Saddles? Of course you do. Well, there's a scene where Alex Karras' character Mongo ("...just pawn in Great Game of Life...") doesn't like the way a horse is looking at him and decks the animal with one punch. Mongo is, of course, a fraction of the the horse's size and weight, but nevertheless slowly and relentlessly plods up to him, cocks his fist and BAM!...horsie go to sleep.

When I saw that again after several years in the Hog, I thought, "What a superb analogy. 'I may not be the prettiest thing you've ever seen on the battlefield, and it might take me awhile to get to the fight, but don't even THINK about letting me connect if we ever go toe to toe.'"

So John sends me this clip from Montieth, one of our more frequent and always-interesting reader/commentors. (Note: PLEASE Right Click and Save As to keep the bandwidth use under control)

OK...a couple of things. Yes, it's impressive but here's a couple of things to consider when you watch...

- The HEI round has about as much explosive content as the soldier's hand grenade, except that it's going about 3200 feet per second and 70 of them exit the barrels in your general direction every second (after the first second of firing and the the gun has reached it's full rotation speed).
- "General direction" is, actually, a misleading term. The gun has a mil dispersion of 5. In English, that means that at one thousand feet 80% of the bullets remain inside a 5-foot circle. As range increases, that circle widens in an essentially linear way--at 2K, 10 feet; 3K 15 feet; 5K; 25 feet. Sound like a lot? Imagine the assault platoon you're facing being able to throw, simultaneously, 70 hand grenades at you from a mile away and getting them all to land in the space of your mess tent...and when they hit they're somewhere north of supersonic.
- The GE/Philco-Ford cannon they came out of has, roughly, 6 billion moving parts. OK, maybe not 6 billion, but more than, say, your car's engine. So what. Wellllll...when I pull the trigger, the gun goes from a standing start to 3900 RPM in just under 1 second and fires from the barrel directly in line with the jet's fuselage centerline. When I release said trigger, the gun spins down to zero, reverses, counts the empty shells in the seven-barrel breech assembly until it senses a live round, and stops when the breech is reset with the next live round is in the firing 1.5 seconds. Next time you go for a drive, stop in the driveway and rev her up to 3900 RPM. See if you can do it in a second...then shut it down and see how long it takes to stop (much less reverse the crankshaft rotation)'ll probably take longer than a second-and-a-half. OK, I don't expect you to try to give your car engine whiplash (our visitors usually aren't DemocraticUnderground types), but you get my drift.
- Did I mention the thrust rearward the gun generates? 18,000lbs. With both engines producing about the same amount of thrust (which is why it takes us so long to get to the fight), well, thank God for keeps us airborne.
- The gun is loaded with special equipment that attaches to the front underside of the forward fuselage...we call it the dragon...and belts/links are not used. The bullets are fed into the system and carried along a conveyor that goes into the back of the ammo drum. The rounds are held by a groove in their cartridge bases on a helix assembly the corkscrews through the drum; the tips of the bullets are pointed at the center of the drum and when they reach the front of the drum are picked up and fed into the breech assembly as individual rounds. They travel through the firing sequence, are pulled from the barrel and placed back on the conveyor to travel back to the rear of the ammo drum and back into the helix. Elegant, closed-loop, beltless system.
- Of course, when the thing breaks it's freakin' spectacular. No, it doesn't explode, but the sudden stop of a mechanical jam can really screw up all that metal. Fortunately, most failures are in the electronic control system. When the jet senses the unload/recock process didn't work right (took too long(!), post-firing bullet count was off, etc.) you'll get a "Gun Unsafe" light in the cockpit. You play it safe and bring it back IAW emergency procedures but usually it turns out to be a bad chip or whatever. In the 20+ years I flew the jet, I can't remember a serious mechanical failure...and I think I would.

...and one last thing...
The GAU-8/A is NOT a is the Avenger. To equate the two would be like equating a 9mm with a .44 magnum.

So there you have 2 cents. Thanks again to Monteith and now John will get off my a$$...or not.


by Dusty on Jan 31, 2005
» Delftsman links with: the A-10

January 19, 2005

Gratuitous Gun Pic

Since I'm pimping Canadian ordnance today - let's go with a little eye-candy.

The Castle's Inglis Hi-Power. A Chinese-contract pistol that never made it to China, having been diverted for use by the Canadian Army. Complete with the Chinese stock-holster, and sporting custom wood grips. On display in the case, he sports his proper black plastic grips.

Hi-res here.

by John on Jan 19, 2005

January 13, 2005

Gratuitous Gun Pic

One of these would look good on the battlements of the Castle. Mebbe two.

A CIWS - not the Royal Navy sailor servicing it! Something for you sailors, today.

by John on Jan 13, 2005

December 22, 2004

Gratuitous Gun Pic

Hey, they may be ugly, and the MAS38 may have shot a worthless cartridge, but French SMGs weren't all bad.

The MAT49 at least folded up nicely.

Hi-res here.

by John on Dec 22, 2004

December 19, 2004

Gratuitious Gun Pic

I had a photo-essay planned for today, but some technical problems (like an unmountable boot sector) are getting in the way. So, while I deal with that, here's a shot of some of the pistols, artillery sights, periscopes, and other optics in the collection of the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!

Hi-res here.

by John on Dec 19, 2004

November 29, 2004

A little more Fallujah news.

Know someone who fought at Fallujah? Know someone who didn't, but is in awe of the fight and fighters? Know someone who likes to collect comparatively rare t-shirts?

Look no farther! The wife of a deploying National Guardsman has designed a shirt to fit your needs!

LollaFallujah 2004

Her eBay store can be accessed here.

Hat tip to Myron for the pointer!

Regular visitors to the Castle know about the Arsenal. And the fact that the Armorer generally eschews new firearms for those that have a firmly established history.

The Armorer is pleased to see that US troops serving in Fallujah share his tastes, and are making use of an oldy-but-goodie, the PPSh 41, the Russian 'burp gun.' Although, given the source of most Iraqi weapons, this one is probably actually chinese, the Type 50.

Hat tip to Chris C. for the pics.

Next, Strategy Page has two interesting bits on Fallujah:

1. Some analysis of how we went about it. Fallujah, the Plan Survived Contact with the Enemy.


2. Jim Dunnigan's thoughts on how Iraq may represent a tipping point in how Muslims are forced to view the world.

Update: Doug MacGregor continues his habit of not making friends. In the last link, he continues to show that truth-telling to power never is a very popular job that gets you promoted - just like John Boyd found out. Interesting views expressed herein - and I'm not in a position to strongly agree or disagree, but I find the viewpoint, well, interesting, and I freely admit I'm always having to fight with myself to keep an open mind and *not* get locked into a "Waterloo Mentality."

by John on Nov 29, 2004

November 22, 2004

Whitworth Cannon

I got a request in an earlier thread for pictures of the Whitworth rifled breech loader breech and bolt. Bolt in this instance referring to the round it shot (or at least I hope that's what the requester was after!).

I've got some stuff in the reference library - but I didn't have any good pictures of the breech mechanism to scan, so I went hunting on the web. And, as I expected, about all I could find was this, the most common photo of a Whitworth, from the Civil War. I found some other British guns, but none of those shots showed the breech to any good effect.

But joy of joys, after a couple of refinements in my Googling, I came up with these photos. They are from this website, devoted to the hobby of making and shooting miniature cannon. This may be the avenue the Arsenal has to go in order to indulge our taste in cannon.

Anyway, here are two pretty good shots of the Whitworth - in model form, made by a remarkable mini-cannon-founder, Ronald Nulph.

The Whitworth was a "screw-gun," meaning that it's breech block worked exactly like a screw - requiring multiple twists of the breech handle to close and seal the breech. Developed at a time before brass cartridges cases of that size were practical, they were plagued by sealing problems at the breech over time, in addition to some of the inherent weaknesses in the wrought-iron construction methods used.

These problems would so plague the screw-guns that first rank armies of the era went back to rifled muzzle-loaders until a solution was found in the form of the 'interrupted screw' breech and the french-designed DeBange obturation system. The interrupted screw breech (still preferred on large guns) with the DeBange sealing system allows for the breech to close and seal in a quarter-turn, vastly speeding service of the piece. The DeBange obturator was essentially a mushroom-shaped steel spindle that sat in the center of the breech block. It sat on a split ring, obturating pad (usu. a hard, heat resistant rubber or asbestos compound) with another split ring on top of it. The compression of firing pushed the mushroom back on the split rings and obturator, which bulged to seal the breech. The charge is initiated by a primer (looks like a large blank) inserted into the lock. Just like a rifle cartridge case, the brass case seals the lock, the pad seals the breech, the interrupted screw allows a quarter turn to seal, giving you a very strong, very fast breech for large caliber guns. The various forms of dropping and sliding blocks (as used on smaller guns and tank guns) give even greater speed - but at the cost of weight, which is why larger caliber guns use stepped thread screw breeches - with at least the exception of the German 155mm guns, which still use blocks. The stepped screw breech still soldiers on, however - as this picture of Redleg Marines sending a present via their M198 Howitzer to muji's in Fallujah amply demonstrates.

The diagram above is a DeBange interrupted screw breech in a naval gun. The cannoneers on the Marine gun would recognize the essentials of this breech.

The second part of the question was the Whitworth bolt. Bolt, in artillery parlance of the Civil War era, meant an elongated rifled projectile that did not explode - the rifled equivalent of solid shot (in this case, a 30pdr Parrot bolt).

The reason a Whitworth bolt is interesting is because the Whitworth gun (designed, incidentally by Sir Joseph Whitworth) used a novel method of rifling. Rather than cutting grooves into the bore of the piece to spin the projectile, the Whitworth gun's bore was hexagonal in section, and twisted down the bore to provide the spin to stabilize the projectile, and provide a predictable drift that could be offset in aiming.

Consequently, the ammunition had to be specially made to accommodate that - which gives you a projectile that looks like this.

Seen behind the bolt is a 12pdr spherical case (exploding shell) with a Bormann fuze.

Obviously, one of the last things the Confederates needed was a gun that required specialized ammunition. So, while the Whitworth was an accurate gun, it's propensity in it's wrought iron mode to explode without warning, and the requirements for specially-made ammunition, combined with it's relative lack of power made it a not terribly useful gun. But what Whitworth learned in the design of this gun and his rifles was carried forward part and parcel into the guns we cannon-cockers use today.

There, that should about cover it. I really could go on for pages, but this is a blog, eh?

by John on Nov 22, 2004
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Show Trial #24

November 21, 2004

So, what was it?

Bill the Rotorhead and Samuel Tai were the correct guessers (Bill first - but he had an unfair advantage, being our Casca, and is old enough to have crewed one of these, though he only admits to being a balloonist during the CW) with those of you who figured out bronze CW-era guns doing pretty well, too.

It's a rifled James 12-pounder, from the collection of the National Infantry Museum (album in progress, not much captioning as yet) at Fort Benning, Georgia.

by John on Nov 21, 2004

November 19, 2004

It's National Ammo Day!

If ya haven't yet, ya better go buy some! 100 rounds. Any caliber, any mix of calibers. More than 100 rounds. If you don't own a gun - go get one - or buy ammo for someone else! (In keeping with all the laws, folks, in keeping with all the laws!)

The little guessing game on "What is it?" is going well. Lots of good analysis going on. Montieth and Samuel are closest, though I was tempted to say it was a prop shaft coupling on an aircraft carrier... (you'll have to see the comments in the post below to understand why I might be so tempted...)

Here's another hint.

by John on Nov 19, 2004
» Aaron's Rantblog, aka Aaron the Liberal Slayer links with: Celebrate!

November 18, 2004

Oh, BTW -

Anybody wanna take a stab at identifying the weapon two posts down? Just for fun.

Just in case you need a hint.

by John on Nov 18, 2004

It's National Buy Ammo week, and I'm almost late for a meeting...

So, we'll default for now to a gratuitous gun pic, and a plug for National Buy Ammo Day - which is tomorrow!

by John on Nov 18, 2004

November 17, 2004

I'm busy, thank heaven Dusty showed up!

But here's a gratuitous gun pic, in anticipation of National Buy Ammo Day.

A close-up of the action of a Colt Revolving Musket, actually a key weapon (even dangerous as they were to the user), in Colonel Grenville Dodge's 1st Brigade, 4th Division holding the line on the first day of the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern to you Lost Cause adherents).

This weapon is in the collection of the National Infantry Museum. I know of one locally, and I'm trying my damndest to get in the owner's will.

by John on Nov 17, 2004

November 14, 2004

Monteith provides this dope about the Ferret.

You asked, Monteith answers. Between the two of us, we have the makings of a pretty good museum! Bring in Chris, and heck, we could probably make money!

Where do I start...

The Daimler Ferret is an outgrowth of the WWII Daimler Dingo and Daimler Armored car. The Dingo, being a LMG (light machine gun) armed scout car (2 man crew, 3 tons, wireless set, etc) and the Daimler Armored car being a 'wheeled light tank' as the role was envisioned at the early stage of it's design.

The Dingo came first and was used by the BEF in France. It was a purpose-built vehicle with a chassis and drive line arrangement built for war from the start vs a civilian light truck chassis being adapted by fitting an armored body (ala the Humber Light Recce cars or earlier Lanchester/Rolls/Crossley armored cars). The power plant was a Daimler 2.5 liter straight 6 engine driving through a fluid coupling, Wilson pre-selector gearbox and separate transfer box for forwards and reverse capability. Thus the vehicle had 5 gears forwards and reverse (get out of trouble as fast as you get into it, you know).

The Daimler Armored car was largely an expansion of the existing Daimler Dingo chassis to a 7 ton size and with a 3 man crew. The armament was a 2 pounder (40mm) AT gun and a coaxial BESA 7.92mm MG. There was also a Bren LMG for AA and close in defense work plus personal weapons. The Daimler armored car had a similar drive line to that of the Dingo including the 5 speeds forwards and reverse but instead had a larger 4.5 liter engine.

At war's end the Daimler Dingo and Armored Cars soldiered on, but around the end of the 40's a replacement was sought. The Ferret was an expansion of the basic design with some refinements and a larger engine. Daimler was approached to carry out the development of the prototype and production after the prototypes were approved. There were two main variants, a liaison vehicle that had no turret (pintle-mounted MG) and a scout version that had a 1 man manually traversed turret containing a MG. The drive line was just as similar as it's two predecessors, just updated in a few areas for details and easier servicing. The engine in this case being a 4.25 liter straight 6 Rolls Royce design.

All three vehicles have an individual drive shaft running to each wheel station allowing a lower overall profile as there is less requirement to fit crew and other kit above a large front and rear mounted differential. The transfer box is what contains the differential. The two WWII era Daimlers have standard frames with the armored bodies fitted to them whereas the Ferret has the drive line components directly mounted within a monocoque body(meaning the body is built to be a single unit), this allows a low height, but increases noise as the drive shafts and other running gear are with in the enclosed space of body with the crew. Power is transmitted to the 4 wheels which have reduction gearing in the hubs for a lower amount of torque exerted on the drive shafts for a correspondingly higher amount of torque where the rubber meets the road.

Normal crew is 2 men for the scout car version and 2-3 for the liaison version. Internal stowage arrangements are dependent on which role the vehicle is assigned. Wireless sets were standard kit with 2 sets and an intercom component as part of the radio sets. Early ferrets used WS 19 sets with WS 88's for liaison with infantry units. Later on they used the Larkspur series C42/45 and B47/48 depending on arm of service. Ferrets in the 80s used the Clansman series of radios and intercom sets.

The Ferret had two larger siblings for the heavy armored car role and wheeled APC (armored personnel carrier) role. Those being the Saladin and Saracen. The Saladin and Saracen have 6x6 arrangements that follow the ferret's configuration with individual drive shafts for each wheel station. The Saracen swapped the engine from the rear to front for reasons of easy debussing (dismounting, 'un-assing' in US miltary parlance) by the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry) carried in the back area.

As John stated in comments, the Ferrets were built from '53 to '71 and were used up through the first Gulf War. The British used them everywhere their forces needed reconnaissance and scouting including, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Germany, Aden, North Africa and Southeast Asia. Several Commonwealth nations also operate Ferrets to this day. The last Ferrets were disposed of following the Gulf War and make a very good choice for wheeled armor by the average collector. Prices range from $10K up in the US.

Photo's of all three are available here.

Plus details and movies of the Daimler Armored
car are at this place.

There is also a parallel set of movies on the Humber Armored Car.

Photos (with lots of interior shots) of Monteith's Ferret, as well as some of the more interesting vehicles that took part in the Veteran's Day parade are available here.

Oh, and did I mention... I WANT ONE!

by John on Nov 14, 2004

November 09, 2004

Okay, sports fans.

This one was tougher than I expected. It even disturbed the Commissar. Dunno why, though. It's Commie iron. Arditi and Captain H pretty well nailed it, with just a little help.

Here's your final clue to the challenge. New pics also added to the album. Apparently, not many of you have seen the inside of many tanks. And at least two of you who have, CW4Bill and the Instapilot, have only seen the interiors of tanks because you blew their turrets off, which does make it hard to get a good sense of the interiors, what with the altitudes, ranges, speed and all.

This beast is one of several vehicles kept around here so SOF soldiers can learn how to hotwire 'em, drive 'em, shoot 'em, and blow 'em up. Hey, if you know how to use the other guy's stuff, you don't have to bring as much of your own, eh?

by John on Nov 09, 2004

November 07, 2004

Some of you need some help...

...with the "Identify this tank" challenge. There has been one successful ID thus far.

Here's a clue:

And here's another.

by John on Nov 07, 2004

Tidbits from the National Infantry Museum

Which, being full of guns, with grounds full of artillery and tanks, is one of the Armorers favorite places to visit. The Armorer doesn't want to move here, but he does like visiting!

In the rotating exhibit section, to the right of the entrance, there are some OIF and OEF exhibits. Saddam's hunting rifle and ceremonial sword are in great company. The collection of the Infantry museum holds other relics of tyranny, such as Himmler's hunting guns and Goering's marshall's baton.

American infantry have thrown down numerous tyrants in their day. Assisting and assisted by their brother Anglosphere infantry, I would hasten to add. And, now and again, French infantry, when their government allows it. Ably assisting in this effort, and acknowledged by the museum, are their fellow-travelers, the Artillery and Armor.

The museum contains furniture the Armorer would like to have. Especially this piece for the living room. She Who Will Be Obeyed will allow it becaue it has a lot of nice brass in it.

And boy is the museum full of interesting little tidbits. Two Davy Crocketts. Several items the Armorer would like to add to the Funny Hat collection.

Developmental. rifles. all. over.

Mortars. Funny cars. And guns, guns, guns. What's not to like?

There's even a train!

If you are ever in Columbus, go visit Ft. Benning. See the Airborne School - and above all, visit the National Infantry Museum!

by John on Nov 07, 2004

October 21, 2004

The answer to the teaser...

Okay. The teaser I posted was pretty tough. A lot of thought went into most of the responses. If you're new to how I do this... *usually* not always, but usually, there are clues in the Arsenal photo album. In this case, the answer was there, as I had already uploaded all the photos while I was still doing a little research to flesh out the post.

It's a tround. From Triangular Round, seen here with a Brit WWI-era .303 MkVIIZ ball round. The Tround was developed by David Dardick, who developed a revolving pistol that could be magzine fed. Yep. A magazine fed revolver (see picture links below)

The tround uses a strong plastic (some sources also assert aluminum-reinforced) cartridge of triangular section. The gun is a revolver, but the chambers are open to the outside. The cylinder was wrapped in a casing (which is why in the picture below it doesn't look like a revolver), except where the cartridge was loaded and the case ejected, similar to the drawing here, from Chinn's series of books on machinegun development (ya want those books or CD if you are into machineguns). That's the innovation that makes it possible; the cartridge drops straight into the chamber through the gap in the casing, rotates in line with the barrel and when fired is supported by both the cylinder and the casing, which in combination act as the more traditional chamber.

Primer view. (click the link, you guys from Sixgunner - I do too know the bullet end from the primer end!)

The Dardick pistols and carbine were produced in Hamden CT, from around 1959-61 There were 3 different pistol models, and a carbine modification.

Model 1100: This came with two interchangeable barrels for the .38 Special and .22 Long Rifle. The barrel lengths were 3.0 inches. It could hold 11 trounds.

Model 1500: This also came with 2 interchangeable barrels for the .38 Special and .22 Long Rifle, but had 6 inch barrels and could hold 15 trounds. I have seen sources which also say the 1500 only carried 11 trounds.

Model 2000: The Model 2000 held 20 rounds.

Rifle Conversion: Remove the barrel and the pistol frame could be fitted into a stocked rifle.

Numrich/Gun Parts Corporation also produced Dardick pistols, but what little info I've found on that indicated they never worked reliably due to manufacturing flaws in cylinder timing.

There are three types of trounds, of which I have two. The first, and the kind I don't have, is really a carrier for the standard cartridge, which slipped into the tround. The second, of which the black one I used in the teaser is one, were purpose-built, with a primer, powder, and bullet integral to the tround. Tround are reloadable. Reloading would have been relatively easy, as there is no case expansion and thus no need for resizing or crimping. Simply replace the primer, load the powder and press the bullet in place. There is an internal cannelure in the case to hold the bullet and provide enough resistance for the initial pressure build to ensure a more complete powder burn and reliable tround-to-tround perfomance - though I have no idea how many times you could reload one.

The example in the Arsenal is a .50 caliber dummy, part of a bunch made for the development of a tround-loaded light machine gun in the late 80's early 90's.

The other tround in the collection is the one which had the most commercial success. It was developed for a drilling device for rock drilling. This is a salesmans sample. Sarco has 'em for sale I believe - they want $100 which is a heckuva lot more than I paid for mine at a gunshow.

Made of clear plastic, it has three ceramic 'bullets' in it, with a common powder charge and primer. To quote from Sarco's website:

Super rare 20mm rock drill cartridge - Dardik's only commercial success. This was a rock drill gun and if drilling hit a snag it shot three ceramic bullets in to the holes to pulverized [sic] the snag.

I think it was Gunner of No Quarters who asked me if I knew anything about trounds. Now you know pretty much all that I do. Sorry if I was a little slow, Gunner!

by John on Oct 21, 2004
» Quotulatiousness links with: If you read L. Neil Smith's books and wondered . . .

October 20, 2004

A little teaser.

This is the subject of an upcoming post.

Have fun.

by John on Oct 20, 2004

October 04, 2004

Extra-Super Serious Geek Alert!

WARNING-WARNING-WARNING-WARNING!!!! If you are easily bowled over by technogeeky jargon, just skip on down one. If high school physics broke your spirit, just keep on movin' on - if you think Superman comics are packed full of useful insights into how Newton's Laws and the Laws of Thermodynamics work... just keep on keepin' on!

Still here? You'll like this. The Instapilot will like this. Anybody wanna argue the math? [N.B. - it was sent to me, I didn't work this out]

We know the formula for kinetic energy is KE = ½mass x velocity2 . Now let's check in with the Movie Physics Guys.

So in their example, a small .45 caliber bullet weighing 15 grams and traveling at 288 meters per second yields is 619 joules of energy.

They further explain that if a man weighing 139 lbs (63.2 kg) were to fall off of a bed, it would yield roughly the same energy as being shot by that bullet; the difference being with a fall the energy is disbursed through the entire surface area of the man's body versus a bullet where the focal point is a tiny circle.
KE = ½mass x velocity2
KE = (.015kg / 2) x (288 m/s x 288 m/s)
KE = 619 joules of energy

Potential energy is defined to be PE = (mass) x (g) x (height), where the height is the vertical distance of the object from the ground and g stands for gravitational acceleration or acceleration due to gravity. Near the surface of the earth, g is a constant approximately equal to 9.8 meters per second per second (m/s2). You can use these formulas to calculate the total energy of the system by just adding up the forms.
PE = mass x gravity x height
PE = 63.2kg x 9.81 m/s x 1 meter
PE = 619 joules of energy

So taking this information, let's plug in the numbers of the Apache's M230 automatic gun ammunition. We have each 30mm round weighing 350 grams and traveling at 800 meters per second.
KE = (.3505kg / 2) x (800 m/s x 800 m/s)
KE = .175 x 640,000
KE = 112,160 joules

Now that's a little hard to wrap your army around... I mean just how much energy is 112,000 joules? Well, for starters it's 180 times the energy of the .45 caliber handgun bullet. So imagine 180 people all pointing .45 caliber handguns at this guy's body and everyone pulling the trigger all at the same time. Hmmm, yes...messy.

Furthermore, we can calculate just how high up this guy would have to plunge in order to release the same amount of energy as was released when he caught one of the Apache's 30mm rounds square in the chest...
112,160 = 63.2kg x 9.81 x height
height = 112,160 / (63.2 x 9.81)
height = 112,160 / 619.99
height = 180.9 meters (or 593 feet)

Now, taking our queue (sic) from the evolution of skyscrapers, I found an average 4.26 meters (13.96 feet) per floor. Thus this terrorist you see splattered all over Main Street in downtown Baghdad? He looks the same as if someone tossed his happy ass off a 42 story building.

And the best part? The Apache's 30mm gun is really a popgun compared to the 30mm gun of an A-10 -- same diameter slugs but they're much heavier and travel much faster. So should you be unlucky enough to eat one of the Warthog's tank killing depleted uranium slugs...
KE = (.91kg / 2) x (1500 m/s x 1500 m/s) = 1,023,750 joules of smack down
1,023,750 joules / 619 joules per .45 cal bullet = 1,626 people shooting you at once
1,023,750 joules = 63.2kg x 9.81 x height
height = 1,651 meters or 5,417 feet or a 1.02 mile freefall

But at a fire rate of 3,900 rounds per minute, the A-10's bullets will be more like Lays potato chips -- nobody's gonna eat just one. All you terrorist rats in Iraq and Iran better keep that in mind when you hear the whoop-whoop-whoop of helicopter blades, eh?

Hat tip to Cary!

by John on Oct 04, 2004
» There's One, Only! links with: Big Guns!

September 28, 2004

If you don't know what you are talking about...'s better to just shut up and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (This may be a punishing post for you guys on dial-up, I apologize in advance)

How 'bout the Amazing Kerry? Another one of those 'searing' memories...

"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," said Mr. Kerry, a veteran, according to the October issue. [Of Outdoor Life] "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."

Guess he had to have that because he threw away his medals. Oh, wait, those were someone else's.

Mind you, this fellow is sponsoring an Assault Weapons Ban that would have been more strict than the late, unlamented one. So, we expect him to know something about the things he wishes to legislate and regulate, right? Or to rely upon the advice of those who do. And to have staff who understand these things. Is that unreasonable?

Well, out here in the 'sphere, we right wing gun nuts (and prolly some lefty gun nuts, too) had fun with and pointed out his cluelessness regarding a subject near and dear to many voters hearts - such as the shotgun he accepted (and later returned) which would have been illegal under the awful wording of his law (but he and his staff said, "No, it wouldn't." but which most people, on both sides of the issue said, "Yes, it would, Senator." Then there is the fact that the laws are labyrinthine enough now that the well-intentioned gift of the shotgun was illegal, though only those of us who are 'into' guns apparently knew that - but that doesn't stop the good junior Senator from Massachusetts from wanting to add more to the pile of badly-written, feel-good, ineffective law on the subject.

So, what does the Senator (or his staff, depending on which version of events the campaign is putting out now) think is an assault weapon? According to the New York Times:

Senator John Kerry's campaign said yesterday that Mr. Kerry did not own a Chinese assault rifle, as he was quoted as saying in Outdoor Life magazine, but a single-bolt-action military rifle, blaming aides who filled out the magazine's questionnaire on his behalf for the error.

Leaving aside that I don't know of any double/triple/quadruple-bolt action rifles (Department of Redundancy Department alert), we find the Senator, as is his wont when things break the wrong way - blaming subordinates. And, from this, we are to infer that subordinates made up and supplied the quote? Or is there a program the campaign uses, that strings together phrases from the Senator's past speech to generate plausible-sounding verbiage for campaign questionnaires? Who is this "Campaign," guy, anyway? Can we speak to him? Did he write the Senator's legislation regarding assault weapons? We're beginning to think he might have... Oops, we can - because it wasn't the campaign speaking (I know the artifice, I'm being Safire-ishly snarky here) because:

Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the campaign, said Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, owns two guns, a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun and the rifle, which Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry "keeps as a relic" and had never fired. Mr. Meehan said the gun had no make or model markings on it and that Mr. Kerry "got it from a friend years ago," adding that such rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago and were used by the North Koreans and the Vietcong.

Okay, so which of you guys thinks that thing is an assault rifle? Five-shot bolt action rifles are now assault rifles? Well, in WWI and WWII they were, true enough- at least until true 'assault rifles' came along in the form of the German Maschinen Pistole/Sturm Gewher 44 (Sturm = Storm/Assault, Gewehr= weapon). So was the Springfield Model 1903 in the US Army. Sigh. And yet this gentleman and his underlings want to regulate this stuff. When they are clueless about it, other than "Guns are dangerous, and people can do bad things them... so we must regulate them, and, preferably, ban them altogether, because, well, like, you know, it's good for the kids and man-in-the-moon-marigolds, or something. And you people who want guns and stuff are too stupid to be allowed them, because, like, well, - you don't know anything about 'em and stuff, like, well, um, we do.

So, here's a primer, courtesy the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!, to help you guys tell the difference.

Chinese (Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, fill-in-the-AK-blank) Assault Rifle. (Though even this isn't - it's a semi, and doesn't have a bayonet lug).

Not Assault Rifle. But, it *is* on of those "rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago" a 1895-dated Imperial Russian Mosin-Nagant Model of 1891, M91 for short. (And I bet, if you clueless dolts had brain cells that make contact, there's markings on it... they just don't say "Chinese Assault Rifle" in english - but unless it's been scrubbed, it'll tell ya who made it, when, and where. And as far as I know, there aren't that many of the 'scrubbed' rifles in the US - since the ones that were scrubbed for clandestine use had their S/Ns removed, too. But - pull that action, and I'll bet you find proofs on the tang.

Hi-res here.

Plus, it's just a bit longer than those AK's and SKS's.

Just a bit...

Unless of course, it is one of the younger siblings of this rifle, the M38, without a bayonet, or the M44, with a built-in bayonet. Lot of them floating around in Korea and Vietnam, too. In fact, this M38 came home with a soldier from the Korean War, and the M44 came home from Vietnam.

M38 hi-res here.

M44 hi-res here.

Remember your pals, the French? Who said yesterday they won't play with you either?

This is a French Assault Rifle. Post-WWII, notice how nice and clean and shiny and unused it is.

It even has one of those dreaded bayonet mount-cum-grenade launcher-cum-flash suppressor thingys you don't like.

Hi-res here.

But it's still pretty short, Senator.

Hi-res for the MAS 49/56 is here.

Okay, Senator (and your underlings). Here's a test. One of these is a Dreaded Assault Weapon. One is not. Can you tell?

Hi-res for the M1903 is here.

Hi-res for the L1A1 is here.

by John on Sep 28, 2004
» Dispassionate Lib links with: Blogtopian Pen Pals

September 21, 2004

Random Cool Stuff from the Arsenal.

I've been too serious lately, and the Instapilot has been pretty busy. Time for pointless pictures of cool stuff in the dungeon of Castle Argghhh!

Like this compressed-air artillery crew trainer from WWII.

If you've got the bandwidth (or the time), and think that's a cool bit of kit, click here for the hi-res version.

And then this, for Mike at Sworn Enemy:

by John on Sep 21, 2004

September 14, 2004

Welcome back into the light...

Here are the weapons at the Armory of Castle Argghhh! that were subject to controls under the AWB, when in their original, military configuration, i.e., bayonet lugs, flash suppressors, and grenade launchers (all features eagerly sought by criminals):

Our M1A (in the middle).
Our L1A1
Our ROMAK (semi-auto AK clone).

Here are the weapons in the Armory that would be subject to banning by the strict interpretation of the bill (though the shotgun would be a stretch even for a liberal judge) that Senator Kerry is co-sponsor of:

Our Garand.
Our M1 Carbine, M1A, and Winchester M97 Riot Gun (top, center, bottom, in order)
Our French semis (the three on the bottom).
Our Tokarev carbine.
Our Tokarev rifle.
Our SKS's.
Our L1A1.

Here's what I could still own.

Our DEWAT Vickers.
Our DEWAT Maxim.

Under the law, both are reactivateable (izzat a word?).

If I were to acquire a registered base cup, our M2 60mm mortar would be legal in shootable condition, too.

As Charles Krauthammer noted (via Volokh in Legal Affairs), this isn't about safety, or crime. It's about boiling the frog, stone-souping the masses, desensitizing the public, for eventual confiscation. Which is why we will fight these fights again. Forever. Until/Unless they win - when the only way the fight will be fought again is as it was fought in 1776. Which is not really a Good Thing. So, we'll have to keep fighting 'em off, and fighting 'em off, and fighting 'em off.


Oh, and first time visitors to the Castle who find themselves shocked and horrified should probably go here, and read the Standard Disclaimer™ and stuff, before you grab the phone and ring up the ATFE. And first time visitors to the Castle who see an 'insta-collection' opportunity should probably also go read the Standard Disclaimers - especially the Periodic Goblin Warning™.

by John on Sep 14, 2004

August 28, 2004

The answer to the question...

If you need to refresh yourself on the question... go here.

Many good guesses, not just in the comments, but in email, from people who were afraid they might get ridiculed for being wrong... (this is *not* that kind of site - unless you get stupid and snarky first!). Lots of people (22 in all) played this time, and much good logic and knowledge was on display.

Pretty much everybody fell victim to what Douglas Adams spoke of in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: '.....where due to a tragic miscalculation of scale, the entire battlefleet was swallowed by a small dog.'

1. We had people guess this.

2. And one like this.

3. And this.

4. Mebbe one of these.

5. Possibly one of those.

6. Someone even suggested these.

7. Surprising me (as this would have been my guess a few months ago), no one guessed this.

The answer is in the Flash Traffic.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Aug 28, 2004

August 27, 2004

Gotta Love it!

...when readers provide you Gun P0rn. And of a type that will keep a certain subset of readers happy, too!

Click the pic for high-res.

One of the cooler-looking of the untested-in-combat tanks: Sweden's S-Tank, or Stridsvagn 103.

By the way, tank fans. Give this place a visit. Doug's Heavy Metal Gallery.

Hat tip - frequent commenter Monteith!

by John on Aug 27, 2004

August 23, 2004

Maintenance day, continued.

As mentioned earlier, yesterday was Maintenance Day at Castle Argghhh!, with much dusting, checking of rust-proofing, some rearranging, and, perhaps most importantly, some poking in long-overlooked corners.

One of those corners was the Ordnance Closet, wherein the Armory's store of artillery and tank projectiles, rockets and bombs, which are not normally on display out of space considerations (should we ever remember to buy lottery tickets and those, winning ones... watch out! Sadly, I doubt the Arsenal numbers any sugar-daddies or -mommas among it's readers). We were mildly distressed to find this, buried in the far-more-damp-than-I-realized corner of the closet. Looks like I need to either add a, or re-site the existing, de-humidifier.

So, as I was gonna hafta deal with it anyway, I decided it was time y'all learned more than you wanted to know about Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions - DPICM - which I will punish you with in the Flash Traffic.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Aug 23, 2004

August 02, 2004

This should be in the Castle Argghhh! motor stable...

Although, if the s/n can't be traced back to a Seabee unit, I might be tempted to reflag this little beauty. From Her Wonderfulness, Joanie, Da Goddess, comes this shot of a jeep I would love to own... and I will share more of these as the week progresses.

I don't know who the restorer is (anybody knows, lemme know) but he's a righteous dude in my book!

Click the pic for a hi-res view.

by John on Aug 02, 2004

July 22, 2004

Time for a moment of Zen.

Ahhhhhhhhh. I feel better now. Nothing like a little relaxing trip through the gun room.

by John on Jul 22, 2004

July 14, 2004

Answer to the "What is it"


The object in question is one of four darts contained in the bullet in this experimental bullet designed to improve the performance of what Kim du Toit calls the "9mm Euroweenie Pellet." The case is marked 9mm Luger. Well, actually, because it's cut in half, it's marked 9mm Lug. The darts are embedded in rubber.

Here is the cut-away with a standard Winchester 9mm, and here it is with an 8mm Mauser, just to keep you in scale.

So, those of you who argued for penetrator, or 'core' were correct, if you had a leetle teeny tiny scale problem.

In looking at everyday things since I posted the initial bit, I noted that the metal tip of a ball point pen looks very similar, and, so would a removable tip from a drawing compass, something one commenter got very close to.

Now - anybody know who made these? I don't. I got it off of Auction Arms some years ago and have no idea where it originated.

Oh! Yeah! The background - that's not pigskin. It's a really cheap blanket!

by John on Jul 14, 2004
» Les Jones Blog links with: Thursday Gun Links #25

July 12, 2004

Apparently my blogging jones is wandering aimlessly in the void...

...and I'm stuck with nothing to say. Politics has just gotten painful. Iraq is going better than the media will tell us, but there's no telling some people.

I'm not getting good jokes or juicy stuff in email - or the new classification regime has overclassified everything into non-usability.

So I'm stuck, as Homebru puts it, "Posting pictures of rusty bits of metal and saying "What's this?""


Some of you guys actually play the game, and it's kinda fun seeing how peoples minds work on the the problem.

Homebru didn't even come by, near as I can tell, for his special one. And no one tried guessing what the rusty gun in a field was... (it was a 20mm from a Colorado Air Guard F-100 fighter that crashed on Mt. Cirrus in the Rockies in 1967, that was re-visited in 1996. Sounds like a fun hike, actually). Homebru's challenge was, of course, a red herring. It was a picture of farm disks from Jacob Rose's website, here. Jacob takes some nice pictures.

So, my Muse having deserted me, I'm left to posting pics again.

This time at least, it ain't rusty.

Any guesses?

by John on Jul 12, 2004
» Les Jones Blog links with: Thursday Gun Links #25

July 09, 2004

Lets look at a cartridge, in detail, eh?

Click the picture for a hi-res view.

In this case, a Canadian-produced .577 cartridge for the Snider rifle. The Snider rifle is a transition rifle, the cartridge is a transition cartridge. The Sniders were the equivalent to the US Springfield Trapdoor or Austrian Werndl rifles, being a conversion of the muzzle-loading Enfield 3 Band musket and it's kin to a breech loading capability. The Snider had a 'flip-open' breechblock that opened to the side, the Trapdoor had a 'flip-up' action that opened upwards, the Werndl rolled to the side.

The cartridge represents the second generation of cartridges, when manufacturers were getting away from pin-fire and rim-fire to center-fire. This cartridge represents the bridge from the early systems to what we have today.

The details are in the Flash Traffic. Click on the thumbnails to open the slides and links - and I recommend you right-click and open them in a new window, so you can go back and forth.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jul 09, 2004
» Les Jones Blog links with: Thursday Gun Links #25
» Les Jones Blog links with: Thursday Gun Links #25

July 06, 2004

Answer to the last challenge.

Well, hats off to Captain H of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces, who, using all the tools at his disposal, and while in the midst of a move, got the right answer, correct in all details.

Gunner, with a little coaching, got there too.

The fact that I set this up for a tanker, well, so some of ya don't need to feel bad ya didn't get it.

Guesses ranged from tripods to rifle bolts. Good guesses all.

Oh, yeah. The answer.

76mm TP-T HEAT round for the US M41 Walker Bulldog tank.

TP-T HEAT = Training Practice-Tracer High Explosive Anti-Tank. Guessing the weapon system (not a requirement, extra credit to CPT H) was made easy because the M41 tank was the only tank we had in service after Korea with a 76mm gun.

Here's a shot of the markings.

by John on Jul 06, 2004
» Les Jones Blog links with: Thursday Gun Links #25

July 03, 2004

Here's one to keep you busy over the weekend.

High-res version is here.

Same rules as before. Answers in email.


Removing the asterisks and capped letters, natch.

by John on Jul 03, 2004

Answer to the Challenge.

Oddly enough, none of the usual characters were players this time. But we did have a new crop, two of whom got the right answer! Here's the original post.

Martin got in with the first correct answer, and Neil came in with the correct answer too, after thinking about it across a couple of emails.

Here they are, with a 12 Gauge blank for scale.

High res shot is here if you have the bandwidth.

Here's the 81mm, standing next to a round. Inserted. High-res shots here and here.

Here's the 60mm, standing next to a round. Inserted. High-res shots here and here.

These are WWII primers, made by Winchester. They look just like shotgun rounds, and are made the same way, but have a different, hotter burning powder in them.

Thanks to those of you who chose to try (or got there in time, as I know some of you were traveling this weekend.

by John on Jul 03, 2004

July 02, 2004

Viven-Bessiere Rifle grenade and launchers. Part 1

Nota Bene: this is a long one, and I've chopped it up into four parts.

Okay, as I have said before, people who are trying to kill you while you are trying to kill them suck. They’re supposed to just surrender, right? I mean, why can’t we all just get along – especially if you’ll do what I tell you! Anyway, once this whole blackpowder/gun thing got going, especially as the guns got better, people started doing things like hiding. And that sucks. Besides, they rarely come at you alone, and if you’ve got a single-shot rifle and all, well, gee, it would be nice to be able to get more’n one guy at a time, if you could, and ya know the penny-pinching bean counters who don’t ever *have* to do any of this fighting stuff, well, they think fancy guns are an extravagance, but they’re willing to spend some bucks on grenades.

But then that means you have to throw them, right? And back in the day, pretty much only Americans played baseball, a game that teaches you how to throw a long way. So the namby-pamby Europeans, decided to find ways to loft grenades without having to stand up and throw ‘em like a man, yet were cheaper than mortars, artillery and such. First they started out with stick grenades . Then they moved on with rod grenades, that you stuck in the barrel of your rifle, fired a special blank, and off it went. Of course, this required you to carry blanks AND remember to use them. If you didn’t, well, it ruined the rifle, and caused annoyance to yourself and those around you.

Of course, then we discovered that it ruined the rifle anyway, splitting stocks and such, as well as bulging the barrels, which required that stocks be reinforced, and barrels replaced. The Brits carried that the furthest, by wrapping ‘EY” (grenade launcher, so designated from rifles no longer accurate enough for issue use) rifles with copper wire, so when the stock split the grenadier didn’t get a faceful of splinters. The Indian Army, who carried forward the WWI Enfield rifle design into the 1970’s, went so far as to wrap their rifles with sheet metal. Well, the rod grenades are a different post, so to heck with them. Let’s move on to grenade discharger cups, and in particular, the French WWI version.

To save eyestrain on the main blog, I've broken this into four parts.

Part II, the story, con't.

Part III. The Launchers.

Part IV. The Grenades.

by John on Jul 02, 2004

June 18, 2004

Some more on weapons development.

This time, the XM107 Sniper rifle. Note to gun rights people: I know this brief plays into the hands of those who want to ban the .50 cal rifles altogether - the whole purpose of this rifle is long range materiel destruction. But before you excoriate me for posting it - they're already running with that meme and have this info. Save your typing skills for something else! This just gives you a window into how the Army does this stuff.

Click the pic to view the briefing.

by John on Jun 18, 2004

June 04, 2004

All right, another challenge...

...though frankly, it seems these are either too hard, and most of ya don't give a hoot, either.

Too bad. My blog, costs ya nothing but wasted moments of your lives...

And there is a secret those who do play haven't twigged to, yet.

So, what's this?

All ya win are bragging rights...

UPDATE: Here's a hint - all of the photos I use for the challenges (to be more specfic, the photos from which I snip the challenges) are in the Arsenal photos...

by John on Jun 04, 2004

June 02, 2004

Viven-Bessiere Rifle grenade and launchers. Part IV

The Grenades.

There were at least three types of grenade made for the V-B system. First, was the standard HE grenade, which US industry produced over 20 million of for the war. Next was a message grenade that was used by the French, but rejected by the US. Lastly (that I’m aware of) was a pyrotechnic grenade, used as a carrier for flares, star clusters, and smoke.

Like the launchers, the US V-B grenades were essentially the same as their French forbears. The main difference between the two versions of the HE grenade is that the US grenade was made out of malleable iron instead of cast (brittle) iron. Both grenades were serrated internally to assist fragmentation – and because external serration would increase gas loss (and matching range loss) during launching. As John Heinrichs noted in comments to the earlier post on the subject – many grenades were serrated externally to improve the soldiers grip, and that the serration was for that purpose – it being known that external serration was ineffective in assisting controlled fragmentation. The historical record is mixed. There are US records dating to WWII where it came as a surprise that external serration was ineffective – perhaps simply because if anyone had tested prior to that, it was unknown to the then-serving officers on the Board.

I suspect it’s all correct. Some people and manufacturers knew, some didn’t, and most didn’t care in any big way.

Anyway, back to the story… The grenades are about 2.5 inches long and 2 inches in diameter (you metric-types can do your own conversion…) and weighed 17 ounces or so, just over a pound. They had a range of about 200 yards when fired at 47 degrees, and a ‘danger zone’ of 75 yards from the point of burst. Since the range exceeded the bursting radius, the grenade was considered both ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’. The distinction being that an offensive grenade has a smaller bursting radius than its average throwing distance – i.e., it can be used by a soldier in the open, whereas a defensive (generally more powerful) assumes the user is under cover.

The pyrotechnic grenade (cylinder in the middle) was simply a carrier for combustable material, whether phosphorus or some other incendiary compound. They weren’t very effective and didn’t see much use.

Last, but not least, is the ‘message grenade’. Intended for use by cut-off units, it contained a tube into which a message could be inserted, and the grenade then fired. Upon landing, a small smoke charge would go off to make the grenade more visible. Several problems arose. The smoke charge was too small, consequently, it was hard to see. The fuze failed to function in soft ground. Until the somewhat mobile battles of late 1918, pretty much all the ground people were fighting over was soft ground from years of pounding. Lastly, if you were cut off, you couldn’t tell anyone you were going to be sending messages, so they wouldn’t be looking for them when they landed. If they were trying to get to you – same problem, exacerbated by the fact that cut-off and surrounded units are many times closer together as individuals on the battlefield… and getting hit with one of these things, well, sucked.

Here endeth the tale.

by John on Jun 02, 2004

Viven-Bessiere Rifle grenade and launchers. Part III

The Launchers.

There were essentially 5 types of V-B launchers in US service. To minimize the time between adoption, production, and issuance, the V-B launcher and grenades were adopted as-is. The only initial changes needed were the dimensional changes required to adapt to US rifle barrel/front sight profiles. When US production caught up there were 4 US- specific Marks of launcher adopted, though the Mark II was never manufactured.

1. The original was the French launcher. While US producers were tooling up to the new specs, the French produced 50.000 launchers for issuance made to the French specs, with the problems alluded to in the report above.
2. Mark I. Between the time the specs were determined and US producers were tooled up, the French produced another 50.000 launchers to the US spec.
3. Mark II. Not much is known about this one. It was spec’d but never adopted or produced.
4. Mark III. These launchers were stamped on the outside for which rifle they were intended to be used, and the launchers intended for the M1917 had a knurled band on them so that a soldier could assure himself he had the right launcher in darkness. (Trivia- the US issued more M1917 rifles during the war than M1903s). The Mark IIIs were like the original French launchers in that they had a straight slot milled in the stem and they slipped over the barrel and were shimmed in place.
5. The Mark IV had a spiral groove that hooked around the front sight and gave a more positive lock. The version for the M1917 rifle maintained the knurled band. My example is a M1917 version. The knurled band is eroded away by years of being buried on the battlefield, but it fits the M1917 easily, and will not fit the M1903. At least not with the effort I’m willing to put forth!

Part IV. The Grenades.

by John on Jun 02, 2004

Viven-Bessiere Rifle grenade and launchers. Part II

The French led the way with the ‘cup discharger” (as the Brits called them) style of grenade launching. The Brits, Germans, Russians, and the US followed them in close order. When US forces arrived in theater in France in 1917, we discovered that while it looked cool and impressed the ladies that you could stand up and toss a grenade 50 yards, the veritable sheet of lead the Germans were sending about 1 inch over the top of whatever cover you were behind tended to spoil your aim. So the US simply adopted the French version in-situ and over time made some minor changes in light of experience. The Brits, Germans, and Russians all developed their own launchers and grenades. I’ll cover the German discharger in a later post – and I’ll cover the Russian, too, if I ever score a launcher. I can cover the Russian grenades.

The British version (also a post for a later time) used standard grenades, with or without a special baseplate, and launched the grenades using the special blanks (in this case, Austrian) already developed for the rod grenades. The French, German, and Russian models were all bullet-through’ grenades, designed to be launched using standard ball ammunition, with the bullet passing through a tube in the center of the grenade. In the French version adopted by the US, the bullet also initiated the fuze, which is kinda cool. You could also load two grenades into the launcher and launch them together, with a concomitant decrease in range, but more fun in the target area (as long as you weren’t the poor dumb b*st*rd in it)

The upside of this type of launcher is that it used standard ball (‘ball’ being the technical term for regular bullets, being a holdover from when bullets were balls) ammunition and didn’t damage the bore of the rifle in the way rodded grenades did. On the debit side, in addition to putting all that weight on the end of the barrel (affecting accuracy should the soldier have to do some shooting beyond grenades) the god of recoil still demanded payment, sometimes in the coin of broken stocks. This is reportedly the primary reason the second recoil lug was added to the stock of the M1903 rifle in 1917.

The normal firing mode was to place the butt of the rifle on the ground, align the rifle to the target, and adjust for range by raising or lowering the barrel (pivoting on the butt for you snarky purists). The French went so far as to make special racks that you could load multiple rifles into and salvo fire. These racks had vernier adjustments and simple range tables, enabling more accurate (and comparative saturation) fires than individual soldiers firing their rifles, though obviously not terribly practical in the assault.

The US adopted the V-B system in July 1917 for use with the M1903 and M1917 rifles. Until production was established for US rifles, some number of Lebel and Berthier rifles with launchers was issued to US units, and came with some french trainers. Despite the usual grumblings from the Ordnance establishment regarding non-standard ammunition and weapons, the field commanders said “Tough shit, I want something, and all you offer is nothing, so suck it up, bub!” and took the rifles and went out and killed Germans with ‘em.

As is ever the case when you leave the troops alone for a minute, clever (but not necessarily technically competent) troops started adapting the Lebel V-B launchers to the US rifles. A surviving report from the 42nd Division covers the topic:

“Someone at the Ordnance Base re-designed the base of the French tromblon to that it would fit the muzzle of the Springfield rifle, but they failed to take into consideration the great difference in pressure developed by the propelling charge of the American cartridge. It seems that the Rainbow (nickname of the 42nd Div) was the first to receive this new brainchild and they were promptly issued to the infantry squads in the divisions. The next day many of the men were in the hospital and their rifles were beyond repair.”

Part III. The Launchers.

by John on Jun 02, 2004

May 28, 2004

Well, the challenge was waaay too hard.

Though the assorted guesses (well maybe less the squirt gun), indicated some thought and knowledge, they weren't even close.

The answer is in the extended post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on May 28, 2004

May 27, 2004

Since we had fun with the last one...

What's this?

by John on May 27, 2004

May 21, 2004

Recoiless Rifles.

Calliope asked some good questions, so here's some answers...

The conundrum was this: Getting better projectiles to kill tanks into smaller/lighter guns - preferably that the troops could carry themselves and not require motor transport. Especially light troops, like airborne forces.

What to do, what to do.

Conventional guns are tubes, sealed at one end. Open the sealed end, stick in your cartridge, close the breech, fire. Newton's observation that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction then takes hold. You send a lump of steel in one direction, the barrel wants to go in the other direction, less the impact of various inefficiencies such as friction and heat transfer from propellant to tube, etc. There are just limits to what you can do here. You can improve the performance of a given gun system by using shaped charges instead of solid shot. Of course, that presents a different problem, since shaped charges don't like to be spun. You can re-tube it to a 'squeeze bore' gun where you use special ammunition that swages away going down the bore, which will achieve a greater velocity, at the cost of greater ammunition cost and complexity and tube wear. You can be more efficient than that and put a sleeve, or sabot, around the smaller projectile and fire it from the same bore (the process used on most tank guns today). All of this is fine - except it doesn't make your gun any smaller, and aside from adding a muzzle brake to it, it really doesn't help your recoil any. If just improves performance of the existing system against more resistant targets.

You can use a rocket. Once the shaped charge was developed, that became practical. This time, instead of sealing the tube and pushing out a projectile, you seal the tube and let the gases vent out the open end. Same thing - only this time the projectile sits on the end of the tube and the tube flies with the 'jo. This is the concept used by the bazooka, and it worked, though you suffered some limitations in ammo types, because the state of the art at the time pretty much limited you to shaped charges, which limited the tagets you could attack. And the ammo was expensive.

So, what else can you do? Well, the first recoilless gun (Argghhh! I can't find my copy of Hogg/Batchelor's Artillery!) was developed during the 1700's. Not terribly practical, it would have achieved it's recoil-cancellation by firing the projectile one direction, and an equal weight of shot the other. Difficult to employ tactically, yes? But what if you could use the gases? Meter them out the rear of the piece, so that the thrust from that canceled the thrust from the projectile? And thus the recoilless rifle was born.

The rest is in the extended post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on May 21, 2004
» King of Fools links with: Cool Information

May 19, 2004

Answer to the gun stumper.

First off:

Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff Quaff... buuuuurrrrrp!

It is something old - if 1945 qualifies as old.

Here's the original question and the answers.

It's not a muzzle-loading cannon. That would be one hell of a counterbore if it was! (For those who don't know - a counterbore is when you drill in from the muzzle, making the bore larger than the rifled portion. There are many reasons this is done, but in black powder weapons it was mainly done to prevent cracking. It can also be done to repair muzzle damage, and that is often done in small arms. The russian arsenal rebuilt Mosin rifles are sometimes found with counterbores.)

Those who guessed/deduced artillery - you are correct, as far as it goes. There are too many lands and grooves for a small arm. They are also too pronounced. And, too flat at the breech. There was no forcing cone - which should have given it way that it was not a small-bore arm, either. The 'rusty' portion is flat. That would be one odd looking cartridge - for a rifle or a tank or artillery piece. Another option would be separate loading artillery - but their breeches have some other tell-tales, such as the 'swiss groove' - and they too still have a forcing cone for the initial ram and seating of the projectile.

There is really only one weapon that fits the evidence (and you had to be able to figure out that there was no forcing cone): a recoiless rifle. Where the cartridge sits unsupported in the breech and the rifling is pre-engraved on the rotating band of the projectile.

I told you you were going to have to be a geek to get it. There were some very informed guesses. I was impressed. Calliope - your brother made a good guess too - it does look like the sleeve that would engage a prop shaft. And John, you were correct - it uses an abbreviated form of interrupted screw breech block.

The 'dirt' in the bore? The rust-colored stuff is cosmoline. The crunchy particulate matter is welding residue from when the weapon was dewatted and the bits carefully rewelded to meet ATF specs to still be a "non-gun."

Here's a picture with a slightly different POV.

The weapon in question? A 57mm M18 recoiless rifle. Made by Firestone, in Canada (note the "C" serial number), in 1945.

by John on May 19, 2004

May 18, 2004

Okay, firearms aficionados...

What's this?

If you want a bigger version... here.

Most of you will get the generic aspect of what... I'm after the specifics.

No prize other than bragging rights.

by John on May 18, 2004

February 03, 2004

Small Mortars, Part 1. The Japanese "Knee" Mortar.

Okay, lets face it. If you are an infantryman, life sucks. It sucks because your own guys make fun of you (as long as there is room to run). When they get sloppy they accidentally kill and maim you. The pay ain’t that great, and living under canvas or in muddy holes just isn’t all that much fun. (These are many of the reasons I was an artilleryman, lending dignity to what was otherwise a vulgar brawl). Add to that the crappy food, full of sand, smothered in flies (mmmmm, protein!), and living in filth with nasty, inadequate clothing (while those b*st*rd quartermaster guys lived in requisitioned houses and replaced all their clothes all the time, not to mention running the bath and laundry, and always treated you like you were stealing when you needed to replace something), and amusing yourself by seeing how many rats you could kill with your bayonet while waiting for the bombardment to end, or for those flying a**holes to drop their bombs and bugger out for 3 hots and cot with nightcaps at the club.

Then. THEN there’s that other poor dumb b*st*rd who is just as miserable as you are and he’s trying to kill you in the bargain. On purpose, not just by accident, like your own artillery, tanks, and aircraft are doing. (But ya wanna know the dirty little secret? Except when it's for real, and sometimes even then, good chunks of it is fun. As long as there's no serious blood, on either side).

Anyway, people who try to kill you suck. And ones who are trying to do it on purpose, well, they REALLY suck. And not in that nice “lady of the evening” way, either. These people just really, really suck.

So, first they tried to kill you by stabbing you, hacking you, bashing you.

Like with this Georgian infantry officer’s sword, Saxon battle axe, or Swedish war hammer, all standing in for the thousands of years that most people who sucked were trying to do you in at close range. What’s a feller to do? Sharp pointy things, sharp-edged things, and blunt objects HURT.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Feb 03, 2004
» INDC Journal: "Documenting the Moonbat Swarm" links with: Another Warning and Something for the Gun Nuts

December 21, 2003

Ta-daaaa! PIAT P0rn!

Okay, ladies and gents, the wait is over. PIAT P0rn is here! Here you see Pete PIAT next to Carl the Gustav. (Yeah, I'm lazy, still haven't lugged Carl back to his shelf). While it was kinda covered in the comments to the original tease post below, we'll get into the down and dirty of Pete today.

I was going to direct you to a site that details a battle during WWII where a PIAT gunner won the Victoria Cross. But proud Canadian Dr. Funk beat me to the punch. To save you having to drop down, I'll just stick it right in here. Hat tip to Dr. Funk saving me any further work on that aspect (and a salute to PIAT Gunner Smith, I might add!)

Okay, so what did you do with a PIAT? You shot these. You shot them direct fire mode at point targets, like tanks, pillboxes, machine guns, etc. Or you shot them indirect fire at area targets out to 370 meters. A good gunner could hit point targets out that far as well, but the geometry of sighting could get a little complex - especially if you were trying to keep your head from getting shot off!

In Brit parlance, this is a bomb. It's a shaped-charge warhead, capable of defeating most WWII tank armor, if not the frontal armor of the last generation german tanks, certainly the top and flank and rear armor.

What were the challenges here? Well, number one, shaped charges do NOT like to be spun, it disperses the plasma jet that does the actual damage. So that ruled out a gun. Plus, this weapon was intended for leg (actual walking, non-motorized) infantry and airborne forces initially. So they tried to keep it a little bit on the light side. (It's still a monster to hump). So, how to make a recoiless gun without it being a gun - and yet able to absorb the recoil of a 3 pound projectile being sent with enough ooomph to travel 370 meters?

You make it a spigot mortar. With a whopping huge spring to absorb the recoil. And you stick what amounts to a .303 blank in the tail of the bomb, making the tail, in effect, the barrel.

With the rod retracted, you set the bomb in the flanges on either side of the hole. The base of the bomb is flared to fit these flanges and hold tight. The flanges served to hold it in place and align the tail for the rod. Holding in place was important when you were above your target, such as during the city fighting for Arnhem Bridge during Operation Market-Garden.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Dec 21, 2003

December 04, 2003

It's been busy...

But for you Regular Readers who are looking for new gun pics, I've got some stuff on the fire. I haven't forgotten you - I just had other things to do! Keep checking!

And thanks for hanging around (and even bugging me - you know who you are...) No! No! The rest of you - Do Not Bug Me!

by John on Dec 04, 2003

November 26, 2003

Maximizing the Maxim, Part VII - 2.

Good day, boys and girls! (Special handwave to Gunner and Sasa!) Two days ago we learned that the Sokolov Pulemyot Maxima, M1910, was HONKING HEAVY! And, as anyone who has ever schlepped a ruck, ammo, water, and weapon knows, troops don't like stuff that's heavy.

At all. So, in order to achieve that nearly 100 pound load for the gun, they took the thirty pound gun (with water) and put it on a 70 pound wheeled carriage.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 26, 2003

November 25, 2003

Maximizing the Maxim, Part IV

Okay, boys and girls. Today's installment in "Maximizing the Maxim" concerns ammo cans and the things you stuff in them. Let's start with the older stuff.

Here is a WWII era Finn ammo can. As you can see, it has a cloth belt, essentially unchanged since WWI in design. There is an outside chance it started life in the Imperial Russian Army, but that's not likely. If it started life as a sovietski, then it was early - as we shall see later in the post.

The belt has a metal starter tab, to help you get it through the feedblock. The canvas belt has brass spacers that serve to keep the belt tight enough to hold cartridges (though a stretched belt could be rehabbed by getting it wet and letting it shrink (with bullets IN it). Every fourth brass spacer is extended. This is mainly to give the person doing the loading a visual cue about how far forward to push the rounds. The belt is thickened at the leading edge, so that the leading edge is roughly the same thickness as the rear with the cartridge in it. This improves feed reliability.


Next (below) is a post-war Finn ammo can, marked with the now-familiar (if you've read all this series) SA mark.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 25, 2003

November 24, 2003

Max the Maxim, Part Kolme*

I suddenly realized I've been a bad boy! I never gave you Max's stats! Of course, none of you ever asked for them, either, so I guess ya didn't care that much or choose (wisely, I might add) to do some research on your own. Here are some relevant numbers to the following discussion of spare barrels and carriers, and future posts about ammo cans, belts, water and lubrication cans and finally, Max's "wheels," his Sokolov mount.

Sokolov Pulemyot Maxima
Operation: Recoil operated, water-cooled, full auto only
Caliber: 7.62x54mm Rimmed (7.62 Russian)
Ammunition: Heavy Ball M1930; 185 gr bullet, 50 gr charge
Muzzle velocity: 2830 fps
Capacity: 250-round fabric, steel, or aluminum belt
Weight: 52.8 lbs, unloaded (Honking Heavy!)
Weight: 99.71 lbs, approx, with shield and water (Honking Heavier!)
Overall length: 43.6 in
Barrel: length 28.4 in, 4 grooves, right hand twist
Rate of fire: 520-580 rpm
Effective range: 1000m (1100 yds)

Okay, we can shoot 1000 rounds in under two minutes. In about 4 minutes we'll have boiling water, and in about 5 minutes we're gonna need to change barrels. Plus, we're pounding the heck out of his innards. How many of you put 1000 rounds through a gun, much less 5 thousand? Plus, he's HONKING HEAVY! I know, I display him up on a shelf about 4.5 feet high. I had to take him down to take pictures. Then I put him back up. He's heavy! Anyway, now do ya see why Max has all this cool kit? So, let's move on to spare barrels and the carriers that carry them.

These are Finn carriers. The Finns were willing and able to spend some time and money on their stuff. Let's turn the page and look closer.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 24, 2003

Maxim P0rn, part Deux.

Greetings once again, Gun P0rn fans! Today we extend the discussion of Max the Maxim by showing off his accessories, the usually overlooked area of collecting firearms.

Nothing makes a bureaucrat happier than to increase the soldier's load. And boy, were Russians good at it! Loading up, I mean. Not that they have a lock on it. Take a look at US light infantry on the march.

Let's start with Max's nice leather handbag shall we?. Well, okay, it's his gunner's actually. But when it comes to things like this, we should consider the gunner to be Max's personal assistant. Isn't this just precious? This is the Finnish version. The Russians preferred a nice canvas and leather number.

That's just so special! So, what does the good personal assistant carry around with him? Well, let's go check!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 24, 2003

November 20, 2003

Update on Max the Maxim

For those of you who were in here before 7:30 AM CST today or last night - some new pics and info have been added to the Maxim post. It's at the very end - concerning the fusee spring and cover.

Hmmm. I wonder if "Max the Maxim Gun Porn" will get me linkers from Google looking for the magazine? Almost like all those guys around the 'sphere who were writing about the Paris Hilton XXX Video floating around.

I'd never do that of course. That would be bad.

Off to the Nut Mines supervised by Evil Squirrels! See ya later.

by John on Nov 20, 2003

November 19, 2003

New! Improved! Max the Maxim Gun Porn! What's not to like?

Alrighty, get ready for an orgiastic celebration of gun ownership. No humans were filmed nude for this feature.

Those of you, like Gunner and Ghost of a Flea, who have been following me since Beth and I first got started on Blogspot, will vaguely remember having met Max the Maxim before, when I blogged about helping all my lethal implements accessorize.

Well, via that post, you know Max's history. Let's lift the curtain on the newest Chippendale Dancer! A well-traveled M1910 Maxim Machine Gun...

Here he is, peeking from out behind the curtain...

Now shoo away the faint of heart and come behind the curtain for the rest of the show!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 19, 2003
» Boots and Sabers links with: Drool
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: My Kind of Maxim
» Electric Venom links with: The Letter Of The Day Is J
» Sophoristically Speaking links with: blog spotlight: john of argghhh!!!

October 19, 2003

Sunday GunPorn™

Okay! Today let's take a look at a sexy little number who actually hails from Poland, the Degtyarev Pechotnyi 28. This little number was the first Soviet designed (as opposed to inherited (?!?) from the Tsar. Using a modified Kjellman Frijberg locking system (hehehehehe - I love to toss that stuff around) the DP introduced a locking system still in use in russian and russian-derived machine guns. It uses a fat firing pin with recesses cut in the sides. As the pin goes forward, it cams 'flaps' out of the side of the bolt which lock the bolt in place when firing, and on recoil, the retreating pin cams them back out again. Fast, robust, simple to make, and not affected by dirt as much (too bad you can't say the same for the magazine!

Oh, you want less words, more picture? Okay. Here you go!

She's shown here with her little friend, a Polish-made TT-33 Tokarev pistol, made in 1953, that has a safety (unlike the original soviet pistol). His safety was built in from the get-go, not like the butcher-job safeties put on recent imports in order to get them past the ATFE inspectors.

Time to get funky - let's go behind the curtain....

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 19, 2003
» AlphaPatriot links with: Argghhh!
» Say Uncle links with: Uh Oh!

October 16, 2003

More GunP0rn™

I was busy yesterday, and will be again today, so my commentary will be light again (not that most of you come here for that...). Oddly enough, Misha links to my post yesterday, everyone comes here to look at the pictures, and goes back there to comment. Weird the way it works. Like reading your local paper and sending your Letters to the Editor to Time.

Anyway - as the discussion ran it's usual meandering way into a discussion of the various merits of which arm, which caliber, etc, Ironbear broke in with a comment "But absolutely nothing says "I love you" like a Carl Gustav M2 M550 round through the window..."

I was inspired. So here she is, that stocky little Scandinavian number, the M2 Carl Gustav 84mm RCL! So here's to you, Ironbear, GustavPorn™!

So, there she is on stage, all her bits covered, and the strap dangling deliciously akimbo on her shoulder. This little sweetheart was born in Sweden, and later emigrated to Israel. She came to the US after the IDF dumped her for another woman! Talk about miffed! She was dumped for her younger sister! She's still proud of who she is, and doesn't hide her identity from anyone.

Want to know more? Then come behind the curtain... no cover charge, no tip to the maitre 'd blog....

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 16, 2003
» Say Uncle links with: Gotta love it

October 15, 2003

A New Service! Custom Gun Porn™!

Having had requests from two of my loyal readers (and certainly Gunner is my most prolific commentator!) I've decided to add a new service to readers of this site. If, in perusing the Gun Pics™ you find something that interests you in more detail (and it can be stuff other than the guns, too) feel free to leave a comment or drop a note, and I'll be happy to work it into the schedule and show you dirty, nasty, greasy guns, up close and personal! Banned in many countries and some counties here in the US!

Today's inaugural effort is for Emperor Misha and Gunner. Sphagin's masterpiece, the PPSh41, Lahti's masterpiece the Suomi, and a french burpgun, the MAT49, designer unknown by me, but with an interesting feature of a fold-up magazine. To save space (and spare the eyes of the unknowing Gun Fearing Wussy who finds himself here by accident, and as an aid to my bandwidth-challenged readership (you know who you are, you niprnet types!), only one pic on the front, the rest will be "behind the curtain" in the extended post... no charge, and since WonderWife™ hasn't installed any Paypal thingy like she's threatend, no tips, either!

Here ya go, Master of the Universe!

A nice, 1942 PPSh41 and a complete, if missing the red star, M1936 helmet.
There's another shot here.

Now go behind the curtain for Gunner's pics!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 15, 2003
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: Gratuitous Gun Pr0n
» Say Uncle links with: Gotta love it
» Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon links with: Around the Bar...