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August 07, 2004

Today is range day at Castle Argghhh!

Wherein the Armorer will take his old high school pal and pal's 17-year old son out to do some shooting. Pal's son is from his first marriage to a Hungarian woman - who took son with her when she returned to Hungary. It's son's first time in the US, and he's got some interesting Euro-views. But he's enamored of things military, and the AK-47 in particular, so today we'll let him shoot the Arsenal's representative of the species.

Click the pic for hi-res.

As for myself, I will fire it as well, indulging myself in this little travesty - shooting it with an RPG-7 sight attached. Yes, it fits the rail. The rail is the standard Warsaw Pact rail...

This Mistress of Argghhh! is spending the day working the office of a horse show, otherwise she'd be bustin' caps with us.

by John on Aug 07, 2004 | Gun Rights

August 06, 2004

The Puppy Blender makes a cogent observation.

...Westerners tend to forget it, but it was a few key technologies -- primarily steam navigation and repeating firearms -- that made the era of Western colonialism possible. (See Daniel Headrick's The Tools of Empire for more on this).

It is, no doubt, as hard for American and European mandarins to imagine being conquered by Chinese troops equipped with superior weaponry as it was for Chinese Mandarins to imagine the reverse, two hundred years ago. Will our mandarins be smart enough to learn from that experience? That's the question, isn't it?

In short - yes, Glenn, it is. Anyone remember Heinlein's Revolt in 2100?

Read the whole thing at TCS.

by John on Aug 06, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Ghost of a flea links with: Winston, No. 5

Gun Rights Symposium

Some of the leading lights of the Gun Rights debate (on the pro side) got together in 2003 to produce a counterweight to the predictable conferences conducted by the UN on the subject of global control of small arms.

There is a 56 minute DVD available here, for $16.95 (including shipping)

If you'd like a preview of the DVD, go here.

I've ordered one.

Hat tip to Dave Kopel via NRO.

by John on Aug 06, 2004 | Gun Rights

A nice, succinct takedown.

Far less wordy than I would be on the same topic. While I don't quite agree with all of it in the details, I like Starbanker's general thrust.

A taste:

Come to think about it, the Democrat wars have all turned into quagmires in this last century. Our troops are still in Europe since WW II, bogged down in a diplomatic stalemate that prevents the President from ordering an immediate redeployment because of European vetoes in the form of restrictions on transit of war material and troops.

While I'm not sure I agree with this particular premise in it's entirety, I hadn't really thought about our lingering presence in Germany in this regard. Go read the rest, here.

Neener Neener Neener!

This is *my* basement, not yours!

Sorry, just feel an ugly need to gloat this morning for some reason. I'm sure it will pass.

Just a different perspective on my M2 and M19 60mm mortars and a few rounds laying around.

As ever, click the pic for hi-res.

by John on Aug 06, 2004 | Artillery

August 05, 2004

Think the Assault Weapons Ban made you safer?

Yeah, I know - not many of you who read this blog think that way... but who knows who wanders in from time to time?

Well, I know someone who *isn't* safer because we banned hi-cap mags, and bad combinations of bayonet lugs, grenade launchers, and pistol grips (read about how the drive by bayonetings and grenadings dropped from 0 to, well, 0?)

So, who *is* being injured and inconvenienced?


Heartless Libertarian is on the case.

by John on Aug 05, 2004 | Gun Rights

Now ain't this some cool sh*T?

Spray on armor for vehicles. Gimme summa dat!

Yep. Spray.on.armor. But lighter.

Acrobat Reader req'd.

Get some, Marines!

Hat tip to Mike L.

August 04, 2004

Hear Hear!

From Kate at The Last Amazon, comes this good news!

Hoo-ah! Let 'em make their point in court. Here. In accordance with their oath.


As the Amazon notes, 1 down, 2 to go.

The War to end all Wars.

Not all the voices are yet silenced.

From the Telegraph today:

Four of the 23 known surviving veterans of the First World War have led a service commemorating the 90th anniversary of the conflict's outbreak.

The veterans, who are all over 100 years old, met at the Cenotaph in London for the 11am service, which was also attended by Lord Kitchener, the great nephew of Field Marshall Kitchener, who commanded British forces during the war.

Three of the men arrived in wheelchairs, but William Stone, 103, walked unaided as the group carried wreaths to lay at the memorial in Whitehall.

The men were Henry Allingham, 108, from Eastbourne, East Sussex; Mr Stone, from Watlington, Oxon; John Oborne, 104, from Porthcawl, Carmarthenshire; and Fred Lloyd, 106, from Uckfield, East Sussex...

...Following the Last Post and a minute's silence, the four men laid wreaths in memory of the 750,000 British soldiers killed between 1914 and 1918.

Mr Lloyd, who lost both his brothers in the war, served with the Royal Veterinary Corps at the Somme by taking horses to the Front.

He said before the ceremony: "War is not a wonderful thing to be remembered, but those who died must never be forgotten. I'll be there for the lads."

Ladies and Gentlemen, I say to you:

Henry Allingham

William Stone

John Oborne

Fred Loyd

To this list I add:

Daddy Jack

(John Timothy Donovan, 2LT, FA, National Army of the United States, though he died some years ago. My Grandfather.)

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

Daddy Jack, this one's for you.

The full story is here.

by John on Aug 04, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Little Red Blog links with: Gratitude and Respect
» Kilabe's Hive links with: The March of Old Soldiers!

Since Jeff Quinton is doing all the work...

...and I've more-or-less decided to not jump on every event that comes down the pike, since there are usually more people, with more information, and more time than I have already doing it - I'll be lazy and do it this way...

If you want a good wrap-up of what was going on in the world of counter-terrorism yesterday with those busts in England, you could do a lot worse than let Jeff Quinton of BackCountry Conservative be your news aggregator!

by John on Aug 04, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Backcountry Conservative links with: Wednesday's Terrorism Wrap-Up

Time for another moment of Zen

Continuing the showcasing of Da Goddess' photography skills, we have today's sample.

Nothing like a rear view of a Browning M1919A4 in a vehicle mount with a loaded belt providing a color splash. Feels like home. Those of you who know what I mean, know what I mean. Those of you who don't, well, it's a soldier thang. Ignore the obviously-fired primers. It's a display in San Diego for heaven's sake!

Click the pic for hi-res. I may have to make that a wallpaper!

by John on Aug 04, 2004 | Machine Guns

August 03, 2004

My first bleg...

Well, aside from Spirt of America...

So, who wants to buy *this* for the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!...? The grounds could use a Noon Gun.

by John on Aug 03, 2004 | Artillery

Time for a Red Ensign Moment

As a Red Ensign blogger, it's time to go rattle 'round the ring and see what my fellow wavers of the red flag have to say...

Paul, at All Agitprop All The Time, laments that the Canadian Forces, may have set the stage for the future fall of the Afghan government....

Our Leader, Nicholas of The Ghost of A Flea and the Western Standard Blog, gives us an American moment... the reopening of the Statue of Liberty. He balances this with a discussion of Star Trek. Let no one doubt, the Flea is a serious nerd. But most importantly, he wishes to strike at the heart of JfK's finances...

Dr. Funk, a well known Canadian Slacker (look at his posting frequency!) makes a point of observing that not all Germans were enamored of Hitler. A little late in the game, perhaps, but they tried, and, most of them, died.

There are a curious number of Pauls flying the Red Ensign. Paul of Ravishing Light wonders if comedy writers are in a quandary regarding the outcome of the upcoming November event...

Chris Taylor (not the same guy I wrestled in college, I think) of Taylor and Company has two posts that caught my eye - on regarding Simcoe Day, a day that honors an interesting man, and another regarding North Korean prison camps.

The Tiger In Winter likes Thomas Sowell. So do I.

Alan of Gen X at 40 has an interesting Google Moment. May he have many more. As he is a source for cannon pictures and video - may he have many more!

If you need a Farenbabble 911 hit, Jon at Blogulaciousness is your man. The post below that has a pretty funny picture.

Myrick, like many other Canadian bloggers of late, has an interest in Sudan. But you should go up and see what he has to say regarding Korea, as well.

The Monger boggles at someone who actually dared to criticize Socialist Medicine as practiced in Canada. There's a great line buried in there. Go read it. Then go down one post and see Monger's suggestion for the Kerry Campaign.

Kate, the Last Amazon, um, does not like John Kerry. At all. But in a civl way. Kate's a gun-chick, too, btw. Kewl.

Ray, Der Raging Kraut, also noticed Kerry. I noticed in the pictures on Der Kraut's site, Kerry salutes badly. He should have gotten some instruction from those Marines he met at Wendys. Ray observed something else - Kerry tells us his four months with the Swift Boats means "He knows War." Y'know, it occurs to me - almost every combat soldier in the US Army and Marine Corps knows a hell of a lot more about war than John f. Kerry by Kerry's own standard - if four months quals you to be Prez, then the soldiers and Marines of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are a hell of a lot more qualified than John f. Kerry is...

Just sayin'.

ith, and Absinthe and Cookies, channels Tom Delay to call Kerry to task about his work ethic.

Occam's Carbuncle notes that the Dems down here are trying to use the same smoke and mirrors technique used by the Conservatives Up North. Here's hoping that it's as successful - but that unlike our friends up north, our opponents down here don't learn... (assuming there *is* learning going on in the Great White).

Welp, since I'm the next entry on the Red Ensign blogroll... well, you're here, eh?

by John on Aug 03, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Ghost of a flea links with: Red Ensign moment
» Raging Kraut links with: Red Ensign Standard

August 02, 2004

Battle - from an artist's perspective.

From Trying to Grok I came upon this story - written by an artist (artist!) trying to record what is going on in Iraq. It is his recollection of the recent Battle of Bacqubah.

Welcome to the Brotherhood of War, Mr. Mumford. You've got metal. And you're a pretty good artist, too!

Way to go, Dana - it's been a long time since we served together, and I see you haven't slacked off a bit.

But more importantly, perhaps - way to go Sarah... I know how tough it is to read about battles you have had loved ones in. During Tet 68 I watched the nightly news hoping that Dad would never be in the picture... and hoping to catch a glimpse of him, too.

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.

The Commissar is feeling a little twitchy right now...

... at least he should be, since he works in one of the buildings listed in the weekend terrorism alert, Our Man In the Politburo is getting to experience what the troops doing routine patrols in Iraq feel like after a while... it's all familiar, but it's different. And you feel all the eyes on you, and that 'twitchy' feeling between the shoulder blades as you try to go about your normal routine.

Here's hoping it's just chatter, anyway!

Update: According to the headline to this article... Our Hero and his comrades-in-spreadsheets are manning the barricades! Don't piss off no banker!

Victor Davis Hanson nails it as far as I'm concerned.

Two paragraphs that really jump out at me:

July has been a bad month for our civilization. Islamic terrorists right out of Gibbon's pages on Attila are caught with heads of their victims in their refrigerators in Saudi Arabia — while Britain and the United States squabble over the extradition of an Islamic fascist whose career was dedicated to convincing Muslims in the West to destroy the United States while whining that infidels were occupying the ancient caliphate. In fact, the opposite is true: Detroit is the largest community of expatriate Arabs in the world outside the Middle East. Emigrants flock to gracious hosts in Michigan to live under tolerance and freedom impossible in their own Arab countries.


So for the record: More Arabs go to the West than Westerners go eastward. Most U.S. troops are leaving Saudi Arabia; billions of American dollars flow to Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. We have even given billions to that wretched Arafat kleptocracy and saved Muslims from Kuwait to Bosnia. U.S. jets, not deranged riff-raff from Afghanistan, stopped Milosevic. There is no legitimate complaint of the Arab world against the United States — any more than Hitler had a right to Czechoslovakia or the Japanese to Manchuria. Just because the Japanese whined that the cutting-off of U.S. petroleum forced them to bomb Pearl Harbor didn't make it true.

Of course, as far as Islam in general is concerned (based on the published writings of the Imams and other scholars), and Wahabists in particular, this is perfectly normal. They are supposed to come here in numbers. Because then the Umma, and with it Sharia, *must* be elevated and honored above any and all local custom - and be allowed to rule, as is their divine right. And those of us who don't submit, well, at best we can hope for dhimmitude.

Update: Upon re-reading, I see this could be interpreted as a call to deport the Muslims living in Detroit, or elsewhere. Not true, nor what I intended. You could also read it as a suggestion that most of the people coming here are coming for the purpose of establishing an Islamic state in North America. Also not what I mean.

I suspect most of the immigrants to the US come here for precisely the reasons that Hanson suggests, which are the reasons people have flocked here since the boats first started docking (less the slaves): freedom and opportunity. Something that doesn't exist under the Islamic states of the middle east - though they purport to live under the rules of what they claim to be God's blueprint for humanity (which begs the question - why does the anti-theocratic left seem to almost like these people - and do seem to like in preference to anyone who can quote from a bible?) They just want to work, raise their kids, and live a decent life free of bombs - whoever is tossing them around. It's the Islamo-facists opportunists who come after - for the purposes of causing trouble and expanding the reach of the Umma, by whatever means, that give me pause.

Can someone tell me the difference, in real terms other than military impotence, those types, the ones who call for the establishment of Sha'ria as the supreme law of land *anyplace* muslims reside, regardless of numbers, are any different from the Crusaders we are all supposed to be ashamed of?

Wahabism Delenda Est!

The whole piece is here, at National Review Online.

I love it when readers help out...

... and provide content! This has been around before, in various guises, but I thought that there are probably at least 3 of you who haven't seen it yet...

Why Men Are Just Happier People

What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put.

The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can be president.

You can never be pregnant.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

You can wear NO T-shirt to a water park.

The rest is in the Flash Traffic.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Aug 02, 2004

August 01, 2004

On the nature of heroes, and how society chooses who to mythologize.

I've waited to blog this until I knew what I wanted to say. I've come to a conclusion, I guess.

The creation of heroes in any society is pretty much a product of the media, and/or clever hype - as tempered by what the populace wishes to consume and assimilate.

It's hard to assimilate, however, if the story isn't out there. And the only place this story seems to be is the blog-world, which, while growing, is still an insular place, with it's continents of like-thinker-linkers among the general firmament of the Internet.

Who is the hero? How do we measure that?

Is it PFC Jessica Lynch? Who was a soldier in a marginally-led unit who was captured in a convoy ambush with an apparently unserviceable weapon (see 'marginally led,' above) and the subject of a dramatic rescue?

Who, if you Google her, will generate over 300,000 references? The leader being her very own domain and the website thereat? (No slam intended to Ms. Lynch - as far as I know she's never pretended to be what the government and media initially portrayed her as, and she'd be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity - I have NO quarrel with her... her story is just illustrative of what I talking about).

Her website opens with this poem from a 12-year old:

This Poem was posted on the Jessica Lynch Forums and touched me so much I had to include it on the Main page, it was written by 12 y/o Candice Malone of Virginia Dear Jessica this poem is for you.

An American hero
Jessica from what I hear you are really cool,
I also hear you want to be a teacher at an Elementary school.
You left your country to fight in danger,
you were trying to free people who were filled with anger.
You are now all over TV you have become an American hero,
when I compare you to any superhero in the world you win 10 to 0.

After her website, we find the UK Guardian, United Justice, Time Magazine, the BBC, NBC, New York Daily News, and ABC news heading out the first page.

By contrast, do a Google Search on SFC Paul Ray Smith, and you'll get circa 12,000 entries. Led by bloggers. AlphaPatriot, Winds of Change, *then* you'll get to SFC Smith's eponymous posthumous website, the Fallen Heroes Memorial, Bryan Strawser's blog, Enter Stage Right, Free Republic, GOP USA, and, finally, The Final Roll Call, a list of the casualties.

I quit after 5 pages of Google hits. Not once did I see a 'major news outlet.'

Such is the nature of 'news.' The government made the announcement, but hasn't pushed it. The 'nets choose to ignore the story. It's not 'news.' Hey - it's their business, one assumes they know what 'news' is. And a dead white guy ain't news.

It's just a Medal of Honor. The nation's highest award. Possibly to be awarded to a dead white guy. No big deal. Happens all the time. Good looking blonde chicks (maybe raped!, they added breathlessly) getting rescued by Special Operators - that's news. I got it. They get to decide who the heroes are going to be... unless we make our own choices. I choose to work for SFC Smith. Jessica has all the help she needs.

LEADERSHIP: Medal of Honor Awarded for Iraq Action

October 23, 2003: In today's world, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that one man can make a difference. Paul Ray Smith is on the way to becoming the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart fought their last battle in Mogadishu on October 3, 1993.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, SFC (Sergeant First Class) Smith was a platoon sergeant/acting platoon leader in the 1st Brigade's B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion attached to the 2-7 Task Force. Bravo Company was in contact with Saddam's forces nearly every day during the second phase of the campaign. After a pause below As Samawah and Karbala, the drive on Baghdad from the south carried the 2-7th into Saddam International Airport.

On the morning of April 4, the Task Force was inside of the airport and several enemy soldiers had been captured, so a containment pen had be to quickly built. There was a wall 10 ft tall paralleling the north side of the highway, on the battalion's flank just behind the front lines. Smith (whose callsign was 'Sapper 7') decided to punch a hole in it, so that the inside walls would form two sides of a triangular enclosure and the open third side could be closed off with rolls of concertina wire.

Smith used an armored combat earthmover to punch through the wall and, while wire was being laid across the corner, one of the squad's two M113s moved toward a gate on the far side of the courtyard. The driver pushed open the gate to open a field of fire, revealing between 50 and 100 enemy soldiers massed to attack. The only way out was the hole the engineers had put in the wall and the gate where the hardcore Iraqis were firing.

What happened next was equal to Audie Murphy's legendary World War II heroism. Iraqi soldiers perched in trees and a nearby tower let loose with a barrage of RPGs and there were snipers on the roof. A mortar round hit the engineers' M-113, seriously wounding three soldiers inside. Smith helped evacuate them to an aid station, which was threatened by the attack as well.

Smith promptly organized the engineers' defense, since the only thing that stood between the Iraqis and the Task Force's headquarters were about 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics. A second M113 was hit by an RPG, but was still operational. Dozens of Iraqi soldiers were charging from the gate or scaling a section of the wall, jumping into the courtyard.

Smith took over the second APC's .50-caliber machine gun and got the vehicle into a position where he could stop the Iraqis. First Sergeant Tim Campbell realized that they had to knock out the Iraqi position in the tower and after consulting with Smith, led two soldiers to take the tower. Armed only with a light machine-gun, a rifle and a pistol with one magazine, the trio advanced behind the smoke of tall grass that had caught fire from exploding ammunition.

Smith yelled for more ammunition three times during the fight, going through 400 rounds before he was hit in the head. Shortly before taking the tower and gunning down the Iraqis inside, Campbell noticed that the sound of Smith's .50-caliber had also stopped. Campbell figured Smith was just reloading again.

The medics worked on SFC Smith for 30 minutes, but he was dead.

According to the citation, his actions killed 20 to 50 Iraqis, allowing the American wounded to be evacuated, saving the aid station and headquarters (as well as possibly 100 American lives). Fellow soldiers credit Smith with thwarting the advance of well-trained, well-equipped soldiers from the Special Republican Guard, which was headed straight for the 2-7 Task Force's headquarters (Tactical Operations Center), less than a half-mile away. The battle captains, commanders and journalists huddled at the operations center were trying to protect themselves against tank fire and snipers in the nearby woods They had no idea about the possible onslaught of Republican Guard from the nearby complex.

Smith, a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, was a 33 year old from Tampa, Florida. He left behind a wife, a son and a daughter.

Like it or not, Private Lynch was a mostly passive participant in the battle and aftermath that have brought her fame, and perhaps (one hopes) some fortune, as well. As long as she can refrain from playing the victim card - she can be a 'little h' hero in my book, along with every other soldier who got stuck at the sharp end.

SFC Smith? Well, he was just another soldier doing his job, eh?

No story here. Move along. We like our heroes alive, pretty, and with nice hair.