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March 20, 2004

As proof I am working on another ammo post...

...here's a 'screen shot' of one of the pics I've taken for the series.

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The breech end of a Chassepot needle-gun, with a genuine Chassepot cartridge in the tray.

by John on Mar 20, 2004 | Ammunition | Rifles

March 19, 2004

Ammunition, part the first.

Ammunition. What is it? The Webster's defines it thusly:

am·mu·ni·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (my-nshn) n.

1. Projectiles, such as bullets and shot, together with their fuses and primers, that can be fired from guns or otherwise propelled.

2. Nuclear, biological, chemical, or explosive material, such as rockets or grenades, that are used as weapons.

3. An object used as a missile in offense or defense: Rocks were my only ammunition against the bear.

4. A means of attacking or defending an argument, thesis, or point of view.

Okay, so I've been promising to discuss ammunition. Teased you with a picture.

Let's get started. At the beginning. JD - the above paragraph was for you, I'll be covering 1-3, and if you keep being grumpy about no gun pictures, 4.

As artillerymen have known forever - the weapon is what hits the target. The rest is a delivery system. Ammunition is consumed by delivery systems.

As the bumper sticker so fatuously notes, "Mean people suck." It's true now, it was true 160,000 years ago, too. Creationists who don't like dating like that - work with me - it's funnier this way. Bullies have been around as long as people have been around. Even before we climbed down out of the trees and tried that walking upright thing.

D'oh! was out doing a little gathering near the present day village of Herto, in what was to be known eventually as Ethiopia. He'd done pretty well, and had a nice little woven-grass baggie of nuts to his credit, that he looked forward to using to entice M'arg's father to let him do a little foolin' around with her tonight.

M'untz is out looking for food, too. But he prefers to harvest the harvester's harvest. Rather than actually bend over and pick all of the goodies himself, he prefers to bend over the prostrate body of his unconscious/dead victim and pick up the bag, once. Lazy b*st*rd.

So, D'oh!, happily anticipating the night's frolicsome promise, comes into a cleared area in the verge of the forest - and sees M'untz. M'untz has been waiting, knowing that D'oh! always comes this way, having slept through the anti-terrorist briefing - the part where they say vary your routes daily. M'untz, a hulking brute of early Homo Sapiens Sapiens, stood there, slapping his yet-to-be-named-thus knobkerry in the palm of his left hand, grinning evilly.

D'oh! realizes this in Not Good. Last time this happened, D'oh! had bruises that lasted weeks, and he still had a knot on his forehead from a previous encounter with M'untz's knobkerry. Running was no good. D'oh! was fat and slow. M'untz was a ponderous runner - but have seen how fast a rhino can go when it gets up to speed? D'oh! also knew that M'untz wouldn't just take the bag and leave. Some weird concept of honor drove M'untz to think of himself as a hunter, and he had to take down his prey, which meant D'oh! was going to get thunked on the head again. D'oh! really wished that M'untz would go hit something eatable, fresh meat was so much better than what was left after the hyenas left a carcass.

Necessity being the mother of invention, and with terror fueling an adrenaline rush, D'oh! had an idea. Since people who beat on you suck, and people who beat on you with a club REALLY suck, the thing to do was to try to get them before they could reach you with the club. Hmmmmm. Space. Distance. Range. Rock. Rock! There was a nice rock nearby. D'oh! reached down and picked it up, hefting it experimentally (though the concept of experimentation not being known yet, D'oh didn't recognize the pattern).

M'untz started across the clearing, again with that evil grin, this time the knobkerry held up and ready for the knock on the head.

D'oh seized the moment and hurled the rock. However, being the first human to ever throw a rock, he threw like a girl. [Hey! Baseball hadn't been invented yet - *everybody* threw like a girl] The rock went sailing harmlessly over M'untz's head, landing with a rattle and crash in the bushes behind him. M'untz wasn't sure what had just happened, but he knew there had been a Perturbation of the Force. And THAT pissed him off. So he knocked D'oh! on the head and killed him. Picking up the bag of nuts, M'untz went off munching happily with visions of a naked M'arg doing really interesting things by the fire tonight dancing in his head.

Since M'untz was a self-absorbed bully, he never thought anymore about the rock. Since D'oh was dead because of no training in the use of rocks - his idea died with him, not to be raised again for another 10,000 years, when a distant descendant of his, B'art, would actually kill a distant descendant of M'untz, and the idea of launching weapons at your enemy/prey would be born, squalling and squealing, into the toolkit of people who wanted fresh meat, or were just mean and wanted other people's fresh meat, or who needed to defend themselves against people who wanted their fresh meat - even back then, the police didn't always get there in time, Constable B'arney being more common than Officer K'ojak.

In our next installment, we'll skip 150,300 years and get to gunpowder, since I currently don't collect any weapons that don't use chemical energy to hurl the rock. Suffice it to say that whole projectile thingy went through a lot of development, to include the application of mechanical advantage (a concept first introduced by B'art's pal M'artin, with the invention of the sling), through spears, atlatls, bows and arrows, catapults, and other such stuff.

So, here it is. The first projectile weapon, found near the village of Herto, in Ethiopia.

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by John on Mar 19, 2004 | Ammunition
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Just a reminder...

There's still fighting going on in Afghanistan.

2 American Soldiers Die In Afghanistan

2 others hurt in fighting with 'anti-coalition' forces

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Two American soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in fighting yesterday in central Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.

At least five enemy attackers were killed in the battle, officials said.

In a brief statement, U.S. Central Command said the American soldiers were accompanied by troops of the Afghan National Army when they were attacked by "anti-coalition militia" in a village near Tarin Kowt.

The Americans were not identified by name or military unit.

Because of the location, the fighting did not appear to be directly related to reports that a senior member of al-Qaida, possibly Ayman al-Zawahri, had been cornered near the Afghan border.

The battle in which the two Americans were killed happened in Oruzgan province yesterday afternoon, the Central Command statement said.

After being fired upon, the American soldiers fired back, killing at least five and wounding an undetermined number of others, the statement said.

The wounded Americans were evacuated to Kandahar airfield for treatment.

The extent of their injuries was not disclosed. Their names were being withheld until relatives could be notified.

Baltimore Sun March 19, 2004


March 18, 2004

Coming soon to a Cambio near you...

The new Spanish currency.

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Unrelated note: Recently unexplained seismic activity near Burgos has been determined to be El Cid Campeador spinning in his grave. Has the blood of Castile thinned so greatly?

March 16, 2004

Bob Zangas, USMCR, KIA.


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The War to Help the Iraqis Help Themselves Despite Themselves claimed several more US and other victims last week. While I lament them all, I'll concentrate on one.

Bob Zangas, LTC, USMCR. I didn't know him, though I do now, a bit. I never read his blog until it was pointed out to me by CAPT H - my loss, though I hardly have time to read all the good military blogs. But this is a voice that the blogosphere will miss.

Observant, witty, articulate, and ironic. And filled with a sense of humor and a zest for the mission.

Bob didn't have to be there this time. He'd done five months there during the war with his Marine Reserve unit. He volunteered to go back and work for the Coalition Provisional Authority. And right after that stint - he was coming back again with his unit. Bob was a father of three. But he gave that up to try to give the Iraqi people a chance. Too bad some of them are so mired in the CE900's that they don't want another chance - they just want the tyrant back.

Semper Fi, Bob.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance. In Memoriam.

And we follow, in celebration!

See? Ya didn't believe me, didja?

But I am too working on an ammo post! See? See?

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Hiding in there are representative examples of just about all the small arms types of ammo. Not all, to be sure, the Gyro-jet is certainly missing, but it's a pretty good sample nonetheless. There's rim-fire, black powder, needle-gun, gas-seal, grenade launcher, blank, drawn brass, wrapped brass, paper/brass, etc. Enough to give you a pretty good feel for the development. Now, since people write whole books on the subject - this is a tough post to write!

by John on Mar 16, 2004 | Ammunition

Ah, to have so few cares...

That, or someone murdered some of my puppies this weekend! Whiskey and Houdini (on the right) catching a few zzzzzzs during the little sunshine we had this weekend.

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A little window...

...in how we are training people for Iraq. I used to o/c this kind of stuff. In this place.

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TCS article here. Nice job of writing, I think.

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Happy Birthday, Ring Knockers!

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Even though I am a Gamma Delta Iota who graduated from the first Land Grant college west of the Mississippi, I think the academies are important institutions to each of the services, even if I do rag on the pre-1980 grads about having collegiate GED's instead of accredited degrees. Yes, that's right folks - until the very late 70's, the academies did not bestow conventional degrees. Not that it mattered - all the 'good schools' took the academy certificates as 'good enough for government work' for graduate school purposes.

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March 15, 2004

Since I owe you guys a gun pic...

...and I'm working on new related post (on ammunition) I offer this as a palliative - but if you want a discussion of it, go to Murdoc Online, Glock-bandwidth sucker that he is, and give him some hits for the discussion of the subject (assuming you don't go there all the time anyway...) After all, Everyone is Entitled to His Opinion. It sez so on his masthead.

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Hat Tip to CPT H for keeping me on the axis.

by John on Mar 15, 2004 | Rifles

March 14, 2004

Hmmm. Food for thought.

But I *like* Welshmen!

Putative STRANGE CITY LAWS from the UK:

Chester

You can only shoot a Welsh person with a bow and arrow inside the city walls and after midnight.

Good to know. I don't like walking long distances and I'd hate to start early!

Hereford

You may not shoot a Welsh person on Sunday with a longbow in the Cathedral Close.

But that's where the only clear shots are! Oh, and can I use a pistol?

Liverpool

It is illegal for a woman to be topless in public except as a clerk in a tropical fish store.

I have a sudden hankering for tropical fish...

London

No cows may be driven down the roadway between 10 AM and 7 PM unless there is prior approval from the Commissioner of Police.

How do they handle the bars closing? A lot of guys are leaving with cows, even if they don't think so (yet)!

York

Excluding Sundays, it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow.

Dang it! I really don't want to spend my Saturday's chasing them down. But I can always use a pick-me-up after Church!

by John on Mar 14, 2004 | Historical Stuff
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