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March 06, 2004


Doncha just hate archives, sometimes, Senator?

Especially when something like this shows up?

Not that I particularly care - but it does serve to show how hard it is to keep your history matched to your image. Not that this is all that damaging to his image - how he reacts to it will give us a teeny window into his character.

I had a life. Therefore, I can't ever run for anything - even dogcatcher.

And for all you Texians...

1836 Santa Anna's Mexicans overwhelm the Alamo, after a 13 day siege.


March 05, 2004

Gratuitous Gun Pic

I'll take two, please.


Barret's 25mm "Payload Rifle". It's a .pdf article, so you'll need Acrobat Reader.

by John on Mar 05, 2004 | Artillery | Rifles
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This one's for you, Wendell


My dad flew Hurricanes with No. 71 Eagle Squadron. Originally his was the only Hurricane with the Disney designed boxing gloved eagle although some other pilots were photographed with it. In the early 90’s there was a private group in England restoring an Eagle Squadron Hurricane and in going through some of my dad’s papers there was correspondence from them on getting the colors right. He didn’t have any confirmed kills, but thought he had gotten even for being shot down once. Evidently the only way to get out of a Hurricane is to roll it over on its back, he couldn't do it so he had to crash land it. I’ve got a picture of him holding a big piece of the fabric with the roundel on it that he saved from the crash. He also survived a mid-air in Arizona that killed the other pilot. He died in 1994 and I wanted to say a good word about him. I miss him.


How I spent my morning...

Since I'm getting sick, can't sleep, had to finish my self assessment for this year's assessment cycle at work... I decided to take out my frustrations on a couple of Bf-110Cs, flying my Hurricane.


Ahhhhhhhhh. Didn't lay a finger on me. (Yes, I had realistic gunnery, limited ammo, and vulnerability ON).

Today's historical tidbits...

In light of the cancellation of Crusader and now Comanche, I would point out that the Army (or Congress) has been buying things that seemed like Good Ideas At The Time But Ultimately Weren't for some time now.

1845 Congress appropriates $30,000 to buy camels for the Army

101 years later, Churchill, speaking in the town right-next-door to the place I consider my hometown, provided the metaphor that hung over two generations... The Iron Curtain, and threw down the gauntlet.

1946 Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech delivered in Fulton, Missouri.

And 234 years ago, 1770 Crispus Attucks and four others died in the Boston Massacre.

Hat tip - Strategy Page

March 04, 2004

Oops. I shoulda taken that left at Albuquerque

Today in 1945 Army Air Force B-24s accidentally bomb Zurich, Switzerland.

They were aiming for Aschaffenburg, Germany. Call it a near miss of, oh, a little under 300 miles. Kinda like, "Your target for today is St. Louis, Missouri", and hitting Lawrence, Kansas. Or Philadelphia, and you hit Boston, or Las Vegas and you hit San Diego, and for our Canadian friends, Ottawa but hitting Quebec.

Hat tip - Strategy Page.

March 03, 2004

In keeping track of the gun bills in Congress of late...

I have let Say Uncle and Publicola be my guide, as I'm waaay too busy at the moment to keep up on it minute by minute like those guys (and the people they linked to, as well) did!

Salute! And thanks, guys!

by John on Mar 03, 2004 | Gun Rights

More on rifle attachments.

The Commissar asks a question in a comment to the rifle pic below. The answer to his question leads to a new entry...

The Commissar had probably better stick to banking and aviation history...

The sharp pointy things don't interfere with shooting, though the
design of the Beaumont bayonet does reflect the muzzle-loading era when the
bayonet had to be offset so that the soldier could load the weapon.

No, the only bad ju-ju for the rifles in this pic would be if the
soldier firing the rodded grenade got excited and used a bullet rather than
a blank. That would cause some excitement, with minimum a bulged
barrel, and if the barrel didn't burst (they are pretty strong) the wood
might still shatter at the bulge, which would annoy the soldier and his
compadres. It happened often enough anyway when launching rodded
grenades that rifles no longer suitable for accurate fire were taken and had
the stocks wrapped in wire to prevent just that from happening.

Like the top rifle in this photograph, which is a SMLE with grenade discharger cup attached:

The other rifles are also British, second one down a SMLE with wire-cutter attachment, the next a No 4 Mk 1 with spike bayonet, and the one below that a No 5 Mk 1 Jungle Carbine with bayonet.

by John on Mar 03, 2004 | Rifles

Just to wash your eyeballs...

...from all the political stuff below, a gratuitous gun pic.

Top rifle is a Dutch Beaumont-Vitali, next is a Danish Krag-Jorgenson.
After those are a SMLE with the grenade discharger cup for supporting the rodded Mills Bomb, followed by a SMLE with a .22 cal Morris Aiming Tube (brass bit in the muzzle) training device installed, and on the bottom an Italian Vetterli rifle.

by John on Mar 03, 2004 | Rifles
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March 02, 2004

From USA Today...

...a little blivet on the UN has now decided that Saddam had no WMDs after 1994 (but did still have some programs up and running).

U.N.: Iraq had no WMD after 1994 By Bill Nichols, USA TODAY UNITED NATIONS — A report from U.N. weapons inspectors to be released today says they now believe there were no weapons of mass destruction of any significance in Iraq after 1994, according to two U.N. diplomats who have seen the document. The historical review of inspections in Iraq is the first outside study to confirm the recent conclusion by David Kay, the former U.S. chief inspector, that Iraq had no banned weapons before last year's U.S-led invasion. It also goes further than prewar U.N. reports, which said no weapons had been found but noted that Iraq had not fully accounted for weapons it was known to have had at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

The report, to be outlined to the U.N. Security Council as early as Friday, is based on information gathered over more than seven years of U.N. inspections in Iraq before the 2003 war, plus postwar findings discussed publicly by Kay.

Kay reported in October that his team found "dozens of WMD-related program activities" that Iraq was required to reveal to U.N. inspectors but did not. However, he said he found no actual WMDs.

Okay, this will be more fodder for the "Bush Lied" and similar thoughts crowd.

My take? This is closer to the police shooting someone waving an unloaded pistol or realistic toy weapon around - if the individual had complied with the police requests to put down the object, they wouldn't have gotten shot.

Similarly, if Saddam had complied with the requirements of the UN resolutions, he would still be relaxing in luxury, watching videos of his sons feeding people to industrial shredders, or personally shooting someone in the head, or kicking the stool out from under the feet of some poor soul whose wire-wrapped neck is suspended from a hook in the ceiling. All he had to do was comply, and he'd still be ruling.

Of course the Moonbat brigade will say this is Amadou Diallo all over again. I say it's the insane serial murderer loose on the streets with an empty gun or nice big knife - and the police did what they had to do.

The whole story is here.

A gratuitous gun pic.

It's a little big for the living room wall... but I like it.

by John on Mar 02, 2004 | Artillery

Deja vu all over again.

So, we're in a war. A longish one for us, comparatively. So, as we do anytime a war lasts long enough, what do we do? Rediscover Marksmanship. I can remember the abuse I took as a battery commander (especially of HHB DIVARTY) when I took the old riflery thing seriously. And pistolry (that really chapped the Staff), and machine gunnery. And grenadiers. And the fight to get to shoot LAAW trainers? Oh my! You'd have thought I was asking to qualify my medics in tank gunnery or something. And this was in a time when the Division G3 would put out notices telling people that we were in danger of getting dinged for not expending our annual allocations (including LAAW sub-caliber rounds). Needless to say, my battery was never on the bad-boy list for that. And, as we still had the trusty old M1911A1, and almost no one but my battery shot theirs, I had access to plenty of .45 ammo to indulge myself and wear out the barrels on my two M3 grease guns.

New topic - but related. Long-time (okay, six months) readers of this space will know that I see the culture of the Air Force as distinctly different from that of the other services. And it's not just that they are the baby service, it has to do with their way of doing business. Advances in aircraft design, performance and avionics have served to pretty much pull the enlisted Air Force member out of the line of direct fire, as we lost the need for gunners, on-board crew chiefs, radio operators, etc. While there were certainly still AF enlisted who went in harms way on the ALO teams, the Para-rescue guys and other elements of SOF, for the most part, the AF enlisted ranks stood on the sides of the runway and waved goodbye to the officers who went off to do the killing and sometimes dying. Well, that's changed - and we're back to something more akin to Vietnam for the Air Force, with bases in dangerous country, and direct fire combat (vice Scuds and such) the threat. Now the AF enlisted guy or gal, whether in the compounds in Iraq or, more likely, along the MSRs, (Main Supply Routes) is the one most likely to get shot at. And now the Air Force has rediscovered marksmanship. And it's rediscovered train as you fight, lest you fight as you train.

Those of you who read SGT Hook will know that he has blogged on occasion about going to the 'convoy range' where soldiers practice shooting from inside and on their vehicles. The Air Force is doing that now, too. As are the Marines who have always been big on marksmanship. I don't think anyone outside of SOF had been doing the creative shooting training now becoming routine for our warrior class. (Unrelated political aside - can you imagine how nervous this must be making anti-gunners? All those really well trained killers on the loose back here? Given how anyone involved in a shooting incident who ever served in the services is presumed to be a steely eyed gunman - now they ARE! Of course, as Jen Martinez notes, this is what they really are.)

I like it. Not because is validates my attitude as a commander, I don't need that, I know I was right. But because it validates my belief that the essence of military service are the warrior virtues and basic warrior skills - something that we lose sometimes when we're used as social engineering laboratorys, and we have to struggle to keep the flame alive. The fact that flame ever flickers rests squarely on the shoulders of the Officer Corps of the various services, and no where else.

It's good to see they're on the ball, for the most part!

March 01, 2004

The Castle Argghhh! Director of Tourism Welcomes...

Our visitors from the following domains and nations:

Network net, Commercial com, Unknown ip, USA Military mil, USA Educational edu. Non-Profit Organizations org, Canada ca, Japan, Netherlands nl, United States us,USA Government gov, Australia au. United Kingdom uk, Germany de, Norway no, France fr , Italy it, Belize bz, Finland fi, Belgium b, Switzerland ch, New Zealand nz, Israel il, Denmark dk, Sweden se, Hungary hu, Poland pl, Austria at, Brazil br, Singapore sg,Tuvalu tv, South Africa za, Old style Arpanet arpa, Mexico mx, Philippines ph, Slovak Republic sk. Russian Federation ru, Estonia ee, Czech Republic cz, Turkey tr, Greece gr Portugal pt. Spain es, Saudi Arabia sa, Croatia h, Argentina ar, Jersey je, Latvia lv, Romania ro, Yugoslavia yu, Luxembourg lu, Ukraine ua, South Korea kr, Slovenia si, Lithuania lt, China cn, Unknown tld, Bermuda bm, Colombia co, Dominican Republic do, Iceland is, Indonesia id, Thailand th , Unknown this, Ireland ie, Unknown unity, Togo tg, Costa Rica cr, Lebanon lb, Albania al, Turks and Caicos Islands tc, Malta mt, Bulgaria bg, Guatemala gt, Trinidad and Tobago, India in, Hong Kong hk, Taiwan tw, Syria sy, Cocos (Keeling) Islands cc

We especially welcome those visitors from new places, such as Syria, Turks and Caicos, Cocos, Bermuda, and we acknowledge the doubling of our visitors from China, from one, to two!

Welcome one and all - whether to the Castle or the demesne of She Who Will Be Obeyed, all are welcome here. Some day, some way, I'll have to organize a cyber shoot!

Time to push your Senators!

Published as a public service to gun owners and wannabe gun owners nationwide. Remember - don't rely on the firearms industry to help on this. They don't care about the AWB ban, and they don't care about gun shows. It's not their ox being gored there. News Flash Attention all Newsletter subscribers- the next 48 hours will determine the future of gun shows and gun collecting in the U.S. YOU NEED TO TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY, RIGHT NOW! As you know the Senate is debating SB 1805 to provide protection to the firearms industry against frivolous lawsuits being orchestrated by the gun ban lobby with the aim of putting all gun makers and dealers out of business through ruinous legal fees. After several years of work the NRA and pro-gun rights forces have gotten enough support to get that bill passed in the Senate, and it already passed the House by a large margin. Before voting on the frivolous lawsuit bill, anti gun extremists are trying to attach amendments that will kill it, or if it passes, will enact some of their pet projects to cripple gun rights. More amendments are being offered Monday (1 March), and they will be voting on amendments late Monday or Tuesday just before the bill comes up for a final vote. ONE MORE TIME!! CALL YOUR U.S. SENATORS IMMEDITELY, THEN FAX THEM If you can only email, that helps, but they REALLY need to get PHONE CALLS and FAXES in their Washington and local offices all day Monday and early Tuesday. The message is simple: "SUPPORT SB 1805- Frivolous Lawsuit Protection, but we are counting on you to DEFEAT any "assault weapon ban" or "gun show" amendments. According to our sources, it looks like the pro-gun rights forces in the Senate have the votes to pass the lawsuit protection bill. We think we have the votes to keep the "assault weapons and magazine ban" from being attached. It is NOT CLEAR if they can keep the McCain-Reed "Gun Show Loophole" bill from being attached to the frivolous lawsuit ban. This is the critical vote where your Senator must support gun rights. Before an election the will tell you about how they own guns and "support the Second Amendment" which is usually BS. Let them know you will judge their support for gun rights by how they vote on the "gun show" amendment and the final vote on SB 1805 to ban frivolous lawsuits. NOT ONLY NO, BUT HELL NO! to gun show restrictions! The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics studies in 1991 and 1997 proved that LESS THAN 1% of criminals get their guns from gun shows. They mainly get them from family, friends, or illegal sources. Gun shows are not a crime problem. The McCain-Reed bill is not just aimed at making sales by non-dealers at gun shows go through a background check. It is aimed at putting gun shows out of business, and implementing a process that will enable a de facto registration system for all firearms transfers between law abiding citizens. The next step will be to force newspaper sales and family member transfers into the dealer record system. This is the bill that will require everyone taking a gun to a show to register and provide ID. If anyone so much as mentions a possible sale or trade at a show, the transfer MUST go through a dealer, or they will be guilty of a felony, even if the transaction takes place months or years later, and nowhere near a gun show. This bill makes the show promoter liable for any illegal transactions at (or after) a show, a risk that no sane person would accept. In short, it will end gun shows in the United States forever. One aspect of gun shows that politicians may appreciate (or fear) is that they are a gathering point for political free speech among people with generally conservative beliefs. Besides looking at guns, people at gun shows learn how be politically active, meet candidates, register to vote, and organize to share information about candidates and their positions. Putting an end to such "dangerous" meetings is probably as big a goal of the gun grabbers and their allies as their attack on gun rights. It is imperative that every gun owner ONCE AGAIN, contact your Senators and tell them Vote YES on SB 1805, and vote NO on any amendments dealing with "assault weapon bans" or "gun show loopholes." The assault weapon and gun show provisions are not anti-crime measures, they are deceptive gun control schemes that are unacceptable to law abiding citizens. HOW TO CONTACT YOUR SENATORS- EMAIL ADDRESSES: This link will call up the NRA-ILA list of Senators and their sponsorship status. (it is a long one- you may have to cut and pste it into your browser window) Go to your state, and click on the envelope shape after your Senator's name. This will open up a window to select a prewritten email. You will have to fill in a form with your name, and address (so they can ignore mail from people outside their state). When you click "send message" another screen will open up and you will have to pick a subject and click "send" again before it actually goes out. This takes less than a minute, so please do it NOW! PHONE AND FAX NUMBERS Look in the blue pages of your phone books under U.S. Government and you will usually find both their Washington office and a local officer. Call and FAX to BOTH offices. They really do not pay much attention to names or details of your message- but mainly keep a tally of how many calls/faxes they get for or against an issue. Remember when you call- You will not talk to the Senator, just a nice staff member who really only wants to know what bill, and if you are for it or against it, so you don't need to be ready for a big debate. The message is simple: "SUPPORT SB 1805- Frivolous Lawsuit Protection, but we are counting on you to DEFEAT any "assault weapon ban" or "gun show" amendments. We apologize for taking up your valuable time, but if you like the junque we sell at, then you NEED to take action on this IMMEDIATELY. If the "gun show loophole" bill is passed, it will be the end of gun shows in the U.S., and probably make your collection worthless and end the hobby. This is THAT serious! Thanks for you time. John Spangler & Marc Wade
by John on Mar 01, 2004 | Gun Rights

Been Here, Done This

But not trying to land on a moving aircraft carrier. Ain't been there, ain't done that. I'll leave it to these guys.

The visit to Charleston

More on Charleston... first off - even though it may not seem like it (since what's funny is what went wrong) we had a Good Time. We'll go back. Plenty of things we didn't get to - like the Hunley, or Patriots Point. Knocked of a few others on the list - like Fort Moultrie and The Battery, as well as I think every gallery in the Market area.

Warning to non-Southerners... you might as well fly down there as drive (especially in the Midlands and Low Country). Why? Because except in the mountains and to some extent the Piedmont, drving in the deep south is driving in a green tunnel. You don't see much beyond the shoulder of the interstate. So you might as well save your time and fly, and rent a car at your destination.

Unless you like driving in green tunnels. Mind you, I envy the forests. Out here in the flyover we don't get near enough water to grow that many trees, much less that tall.

This is a good time of year to hit Charleston - especially after the blizzard (for these parts) hit just north of it - cuts the traffic tremendously. As the tour guide on the horse-drawn coach tour observed - 8800 parkings spaces, 4.4 million visitors. This time of year there are spaces available!

I'll let Beth blog the gallerys and what she liked. John had an artillery day! Seacoast mortars, Brooks rifles, Banded Brooks rifles, Dahlgrens, Columbiads, Parrots... the list goes on.

And here is the obligatory shot of cannon aimed at Fort Sumter (a bigger target that fateful day in April, 1861. The top two tiers of the fort were pretty much shot away during the war, and what was left was leveled down when Ft. Sumter was converted to an Endicott System coast defense fort during and after the Spanish American War. I really wish we hadn't scrapped virtually all the 14-inch disappearing rifles after WWII. I think there are two forts left with that armament, both on the west coast. I'm sure of Fort Casey, even if they are 'only' the 10-inch guns, and even then, they were recovered from Fort Wint in the Phillipines. Now if someone (are you reading, Bill Gates) would recover the mortars at Corregidor!

There is more to come - including our chance to pay big bucks to sleep in a college dorm room.

by John on Mar 01, 2004 | Artillery | General Commentary
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Charleston, South Carolina