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July 21, 2006

The Whatziss Gizmo, continued.

You guys really have pretty much gotten it. This pic will prolly cement it for you.

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Huh. Mebbe *this* will help.

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by John on Jul 21, 2006

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 07, 2006

A Firearms Whatziss!

Why not? You guys have been working hard on all the obscure stuff.

Not that this isn't obscure, in it's way.

Your first instinct is probably wrong.

The usual questions: Who used it, what is the whole item (not just the closeup portion), etc.

It's on the net, in several places, too - not a complete cypher.

Update: Okay, John S, the gun dealer who *sold* me the rifle, gets it correct.

Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield, No 1 Mk V. An experimental rifle that led to the No. 4 Mk1 of WWII fame.

Fuller view of the receiver here.

Hi Dbie!  How're ya doon?

This is the rifle that usually holds the rifle-mounted barbed wire cutter. Which it *never* did in service I might add - I just have more stuff to stick on my No. 1's than I have rifles...

Jim B's crack about Australia is actually on the mark - many of these rifles *did* find their way to Australia - this one did. It sits in a No 1 Mk III stock (incorrect for the rifle, technically - the Mk V had an extra reinforcing band and one-piece upper handguard) marked to the New South Wales police.

by John on Jul 07, 2006

July 06, 2006

Whatziss help.

You guys have *actually* hit all the component elements of the answer. You just have to figure out which ones from the clues.

I will acknowledge I inadvertently misled you with the scale referent. The artifact in question is at least 60 years younger than the grenade.

Here's another pic to help you on your journey.

C'mon, you can do it!


Frank got it - Riot Control round, in this case a French "baton round" that fired a hollow rubber ball from a 37mm launcher - similar to this gun.

What's interesting about this one is that it's a 12 gauge blank inserted into a larger caliber plastic case, vice the aluminum cased more classic design of this Brit baton round in the Castle holdings. Fairly low velocity and hits with a sharp sting. I've been hit, in training, with a baton round from 50 yards. Not fun. Certainly, getting hit at close range in the wrong place can cause (and has) fatalities or serious injury. There are rules of engagement covering these weapons as there are any others.

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by John on Jul 06, 2006

July 05, 2006


C'mon, impress me!

Go ahead, give it yer best shot. You guys with the right kinds of jobs (i.e., daytime surfing ability) are getting pretty good at this stuff.

Okay - here's a little bit of help for scale. That's a german "egg" grenade.

MajMike hits the closest - but isn't there yet.

by John on Jul 05, 2006

July 02, 2006

Continuing the Whatziss from yesterday...

You guys haven't figured it out yet, but the random darts you're throwing into the underbrush have, in fact, produced a few yelps.

1. WWI
2. German
3. While not body armor, it was worn by German troops.

In service it would have had this orientation on the soldier - if he was right-handed.

What am I?

Or like this, on a left-handed soldier.

And would have been found in the kit of certain members of Stosstruppen units.

by John on Jul 02, 2006

July 01, 2006

Whatziss for a Saturday.

This item is complete, less the straps that fit the slots.

For full credit: War, Nation, Purpose.

It's 9 inches across, measured diagonally.

So, whatziss?

Perhaps another view will help.

by John on Jul 01, 2006

June 30, 2006

Whatziss for the smarty-pantsed crowd.

This isn't as unfair as it looks.

1. It's been mentioned on this site, in conjunction with these kinds of posts, within living memory, even of those of you who slay brain cells with alcohol with reckless abandon.

2. It's been pictured on this site, in other contexts.

3. It's about 1/3 the size it appears to be in the pic.

C'mon, impress me!

Go ahead, impress me.

Oh, here. A hint.

Update: Okay, Monteith got it. Striker spring for the Mills bomb (this one a No 5). Was hazarded as a guess on this post, is seen here with the striker, and has been viewed before (in context) in this pic.

Okay. That was an easy one. Let's continue the adventure. Tomorrow I'll put up something a little more challenging.

by John on Jun 30, 2006

June 27, 2006

What the heck.

Bill having snarked me today, and his Whatziss having been figured out pretty quickly - let's try another one. Following Bill's rule of showing the whole thing, sorta.

But while this has been alluded to in posts in the archives, it has not been pictured.

So, whatziss?

So, Grognards - whatziss? Purpose, nomenclature, etc.

by John on Jun 27, 2006

June 26, 2006

A hint! A hint!

For yesterday's Whatziss?

You guys are sniffing all around it - though many of you are *right* next to it - you are looking at it 3200 mils (180 degrees) off.

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This hint is in keeping with that, in grammatical, if not rhetorical, terms.

I see Gwedd finally got it! Neffi knows his grenade butts, as he amply demonstrated.

This would have been clue #2 of the day, had it been needed.

But that's it - the ring puller used by Mills Bombers.

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This one being a No 5.

by John on Jun 26, 2006

June 25, 2006

Otay - For a lazy Sunday while I paint...

...what used to be Prodigal Son's Crib, but will soon be the Armorer's Retreat, you guys can puzzle out this thingy.

Yes, it's on the web.

Last century, prior to 1950. This is a battlefield recovery.

So, whatziss?

Think expansively. Rapidly.

It's hard to see - but that straight part to the left ends in a hook.

by John on Jun 25, 2006

June 23, 2006

The Whatziss from yesterday.

I was trying to catch that wily old tanker, MajMike, but uncharacteristically for a tanker, he wasn't willing to just rush into a trap.

He has potential.

I was hoping he'd run with an expectation he'd set the day before (the best deception plans work by manipulating your opponent's expectations) about what I might be trying to do.

Y'know, that he'd guess it was this, or this, or this


Then, I'd whisk away the picture mask and reveal it for what it really is.

WWI Brit Trench Maul

A WWI British trench raiding tool. A locally fabricated trench maul.

Scale? You guys are *always* whining about scale. The white paper the maul is sitting on is a standard paper towel. There. Scale.

by John on Jun 23, 2006

June 20, 2006

Continuing from yesterday...

...who wants to step up to the plate and figure out what this is? Or at least make funny guesses?

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by John on Jun 20, 2006

June 19, 2006

Ha! Bill only *claims* to have an easy Whatziss...

This one really is - and sets the tone for my theme this week (assuming my client doesn't flog me like a Brit sailor stealing grog by trying to get 6 weeks out of me in two weeks (we're going to have a one month break as this contract ends before the new one picks up where we leave off...)

So, to give yourself a break from Bill's conundrum - Whatziss?


There is a group among you (two, actually) who have a really unfair advantage.

And, as far as I know - this is the first picture of this type on the 'net...

Update. Wrong. Now there's two pictures. Y'all need some help. Bill's gonna slap himself when he finally sees the light. Unlike me, if we ever figure out what Bill's gizmo is...

Anudder update:

So, revealed! A Circle, Aiming, M1, of WWII vintage.

So, the Mistress of Argghhh! spanks the boys - and especially the two former artillerymen, Bill and Frank, who have *no* excuse. Bill especially. I *know* that Bill has 'Taken the azimuth of Fire Out of the Orienting Line' (TFOOL) and 'Subtracted the Azimuth of fire from the Declination constant' (SAD), taken the resultant number, applied it to the Upper (recording) motion, turned the Lower (non-recording motion) to either sight on the stake that marks the Orienting Line, or, in this case, 'floated the needle' to align the site on magnetic North, to then, using the Upper (recording) motion to sight on the panoramic telescope of base piece, while giving the command "Battery Adjust, this instrument, Refer!"

Frank might not have gotten that far, so we'll give him only a minor downcheck.

That's what a floating needle looks like through that little window as you are alinging your aiming circle (director, in Commonwealth usage) to magnetic north. The fact that the needle isn't level, nor aligned on the reticle is a function of how sensitive the needle is to my honking great big watchband.

by John on Jun 19, 2006

June 14, 2006

Whatziss, Part the 3rd.

Need to catch up? Part One. Part II.

Keep thinking!

Okay. Now you have a little scale.

All are components of the same item. Though one of them in a counter-intuitive fashion.

Update: Enthusiasm for the answers aside, Geoff is wrong (though cleverly trying to double-think the double-thinker) and MajMike is correct, though incomplete.

You actually have all the data you need to figure out more thoroughly which one it is, now.

But I'm feeling magnanimous, so here's another clue.

by John on Jun 14, 2006

June 13, 2006

Whatzis, Part II.

Okay, MajMike got close, but CAPT H nailed it on Whatzis, Part 1.

Driving band. Your inspiration was supposed to be Captain Minie, whose famous bullet used expansion of the base to engage the rifling. For those who are clever, you've already deduced *what* the thing might be in toto.

Now, in order to drag this out and have some cool posts on miltech, (at least *I* think so) we'll work our way through figuring out which one of whatever it is.

I provide this:

So, what is this?

So, what izzit?

by John on Jun 13, 2006

May 23, 2006

A new Whatzis?

While we wait on some more clues from Murray for his offering, I"ll give ya this one.

1. The scale is off, on purpose.

2. It is a quintessential Castle Artifact.

That'll get ya started. More clues standing by as needed.

So - whatizzit?

I won't be surprised if this one gets figgered out pretty quick, actually.

by John on May 23, 2006

May 21, 2006

New Whatziss? Challenge.

In the tradition started by Owen, another guest "Whatziss" this time provided by Murray, of Silent Running.

Mind you - I'm clueless on this. Murray is a former soldier of New Zealand, who now works on the worthy goal of eradicating Gnomelessness. He's also working on a new house plaque for Castle Argghhh! which we anticipate will be rather kewl. Ah, our ego knows no bounds!

Anyway - here's the object in question:

What the bleedin' helk izzis?

Another view.

The gridded background in the shots are 10mm squares, btw.

And the rather cryptic clue Murray provided...

What is it, why did it cost $15,000 to replace and what sort of "wings" did I earn doing it?
by John on May 21, 2006
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

February 12, 2006

Militaria Challenge.

Owen Dyer, a mildly leftish anti-Iraq-War contrarian who collects kewl stuff himself, dropped in yesterday and griped that I hadn't done a "teaser" contest lately. His interest? He sponsored our last one!

So Owen, this one's for you:

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Rules - email your answers to I'm turning comments off so you grognards don't spoil it for everyone.

I want to know what it is, what weapon system used it, and what is unique about this particular bit of kit. The answers are on the 'net, if your google-skills are up to it.

by John on Feb 12, 2006

February 06, 2006

Fort Leavenworth Militaria Show

Saturday, SWWBO and I were off to St. Joe to do a little shooting. On the way out, we stopped at the Fort to put the horses out and muck the stables (we're back into poop-scooping because of a labor dispute at the Federal Prison. We hire inmates as staff at the stable - a good deal for both sides. I don't have to scoop poop, they get to spend their days at the stables doing work that is a little smelly at times, but hardly onerous.). Anyway, on our way in we see signs to a militaria show being held at the former Officer's Club, now grandiosely titled the Frontier Conference Center.

Not having been to a pure militaria show in a long time, we decided (yes, guys, with SWWBO's urging even) to attend.

Great show! Saw people I hadn't seen for a while, like Neil, the source of many of the bayonets and not a few rifles in the Arsenal, Jim Gebhardt, former co-worker who has provided many of the reference books in the Library - he has a sideline of translating russian books. Jim is also a gadfly of local media, like I am. And lots of cool stuff to look at and interesting people to talk to. A lot of re-enactors, too - more on that later.

One problem with militaria shows is they are *always* pricey. Mostly because it's collectors doing the selling... being collectors and not dealers, they tend to over-value their stuff, probably overpaid for it, and don't really want to sell it, anyway (like me!). But their spouse wants some of that crap outta the house.... "Gee, Honeybunch Snookums, no one was buying today, I don't know *what* the problem was..." is the usual line when they get home, and the stuff they *bought* gets snuck in later, under cover of darkness.

SWWBO had her usual good eye, and pointed out a 1999-2000 edition of Jane's Armour and Artillery for $35. Good price? You bet - take a look at Amazon for the current edition, or the same one I got. eBay isn't much better - though it *is* better. Thanks, sweetie!

If anyone wants to earn the Armorer's gratitude, snag a relatively recent Jane's Infantry Weapons (oh, heck, old ones are good, too) and donate it to the Library of Argghhh!

But that wasn't the best part. Besides seeing all the kewl stuff and running into old and current friends - I ran into two young Lieutenants just back from Iraq.

The two in US uniforms are our returning vets.  The two in Brit uniforms (the two gents on the right) are Brit Para re-enactors who got drool all over the Castle PIAT

They were dressed out in WWII kit (and these gents were all of 10 days back from the Sandbox) one as a 35th ID troop (on the left), the other as a 1st ID troop (in the center). Both are artillery Lieutenants in the Kansas Guard who served as advisors to the Iraqi Army. And they got to see some really cool kit that is just sitting around in warehouses over there. Not too mention go on patrol with their Iraqis, arming themselves with a STEN gun... too cool, the Armorer's head almost exploded from envy.

They found lots and lots of old WWII era Brit stuff, some WWII German, and lots of more modern stuff as well. I helped them identify much of their kit they weren't sure of, showed them how some of it (like the WWI Brit artillery plotters) worked, and mostly listened to their tales from Iraq.

Brit soldiers in training during WWII.  They are armed with a PIAT and a No.4 rifle.

These guys found 200 (yes, that's 200 out of the 11,500 total produced) PIATs. While they couldn't find a legal way to get any of them home (they could have had a good start on college money for their kids if they could have) they did bring home some parts... and most importantly for the Arsenal - they brought home original CANVAS! The Castle PIAT has been dressed in repro canvas... but is now *proudly* decked out in original canvas... and that with an OIF connection. As you know, that is exactly how the Armorer likes it - stuff with some history, rather than pristine, made, stored, and never used! It's also cool to have some more stuff in the Castle Collection that has dust from the Land Between The Rivers clinging to it.

The Castle PIAT sporting his new duds! The repro canvas on the table.

Having spent all that time bloviating with the LTs, (I am not a journalist... I didn't get their names, much to my chagrin - but, hopefully, they'll visit the Castle and drop me a line) I decided to do more than talk the talk, but I would walk the walk, as well. I went home, got the PIAT and some of the more portable Vickers kit, and went back.

The Castle PIAT in the hands of a renactor.  Cleaning up the drool was *not* easy!

THAT attracted some attention - not just from the LTs, who were pleased to see some of their stuff appreciated and utilized, but the Brit Para re-enactors... well, let's just say no one had seen a PIAT in the flesh and the Castle PIAT got fondled. A lot.

And I made some new friends... and some of the Castle holdings may make a few road trips to regional re-enactment events. Especially the PIAT and Vickers.

And I think next year, I'm going to rent a table (hey, it supports the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society) and do a display myself. Because that was just fun last Saturday.

Thank you for your service, Lieutenants - not just to the Castle PIAT, but more importantly, to the state, the nation, and hopefully, the Iraqis. We'll close with a shot of the baby-faced Lieutenant, who managed to do what I specifically warned him not to do - get the propelling charge for the PIAT stuck in the bomb (which took the combined intellect of SWWBO and I to get back out! - Oh shut up, no 'intellect' snarks!)

10 days back from Iraq - gad they look *young*.

by John on Feb 06, 2006

December 29, 2005

More militaria stuff...

Yesterday's post having hit a chord with some, here's a follow-up...

Obviously, aside from eating, you have to drink. The Castle Collection has *several* items in it related to drinking... heavily, in some cases.

Since this is a photo-heavy post, I'm going to put the rest in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Dec 29, 2005

October 19, 2005

Wednesday Wandering

One of the more interesting aspects of being the Officer of the Guard is that you get to chat with the troops pulling duty in between their shifts. I operated on the assumption that everybody opens up, even to an officer, over a cup of coffee at o'geezitzdark in the morning--I was usually right. F'r instance, one Balkan February eve I was trading "What I do in Real Life" stories with a couple of fellow-sufferers after we'd gone into the Guard Shack to thaw out from the thirty-below-zero ambient atmosphere and got this gem....

"One of the jobs I interviewed for was a teaching position in the local grade school. The interview went well, but I had a few things I needed to get straight, so when the interviewer asked, 'Do you have any questions?' I answered, 'Let me see if I've got this right...

" 'You want me to go into a room full of kids and fill their every waking moment with a love of learning. I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits.

" 'You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons and raise their self esteem.

" 'You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job.

" 'You want me to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all students pass the state exams, including those who don't even show up with any regularity or complete any of their assignments.

" 'You want me to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap.

" 'You want me to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

" 'You want me to do all of that with a piece of chalk, a couple of books, a bulletin board and a big smile and do it on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps.

" 'You want me to do all that and you expect me not to pray?!?' "

Heh. H/t to "Shayla, the Double-Digit Midget."

by CW4BillT on Oct 19, 2005

October 06, 2005

Militaria, kewl stuff, 1 ea.

I see that the SCOTUS kerfuffle and the right-wing's bizarre melt-down (does the Left *ever* get this hissy in it's intramurals?) has driven the war from the media. Add to that the OPSEC restrictions on the deployed milblogs making them less compelling, and I see the milbloggers are sinking slowly in the Ecosystem, as Miers,, sucks up the linkage. Greyhawk bucks the trend.

I've not taken a stand on Miers. I'm slowly, painfully learning that my sense of politics, etc goes beyond 'tin ear'. Besides that, I can't compete with the stuff that Cassie puts out, so what-the-heck, at the moment, why bother? I'll watch and wait for the hearings.

Flip side, I don't feel near as compelled any more, either. Hence the return to more root-like stuff from the past, and even if the linkage is drying up, the visits aren't, so we're not driving everyone away, even if we can't get Dusty to stick his nose in anywhere, lately.

So - as I noted before, the List of Arms at Argghhh! has been essentially frozen due to budget considerations... but we can still squeeze out a shekel or two for the 'other stuff' I like.

Arriving yesterday - a French M15 Adrian helmet. The French were the first to put steel pots on their soldier's heads, and many US troops wore them (mostly the black troops we had serving with the French) instead of the Brody-style pie-plate helmet from WWI we're generally used to seeing. Both those photo links are from this excellent website of WWI photos. I've got several flavors of Adrian brain-buckets, but not an early version, with the riveted skirt and plaited leather chin strap. One of the interesting things the French did after the war was provide veterans with a brass plate that could be riveted to the helmet on the visor that said, in french, "Soldier of the Great War, 1914-1918." I finally got one, on eBay in an auction where the normal collectors were absent so it was affordable. This particular veteran was, I'd guess, Catholic. The Crucifix is not standard equipment. The flaming bomb is the symbol of the Infantry.

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Two other things are interesting about this helmet - the corrugated aluminum ring that is part of the sweat band, between the band the and helmet shell, and the fact that this is a tiny helmet. I have a huge melon, so all helmets, even the custom-made kevlar I was issued, look small on this head... but this one must be the absolute smallest sized one. I'd post a pic of it sitting on top of my head, but I'd get sued by someone who busted a gut laughing...

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by John on Oct 06, 2005

September 30, 2005

The Militaria Bar of Argghhh!

Since the Castle Exchequer is busy funding universities and accelerated payoffs so that one day the Master and Mistress may actually, perhaps, stop doing the 7-6 drudge, additions to the Arsenal have been slight, as pretty much all the cheap firearms to be had already reside in the racks, and the remaining (plenty of 'em, to be sure) residents of the 'want list' are, well, not cheap.

This doesn't mean that the Armorer is totally bereft of new toys and gadgets. Rather, it means he's filling in the corners of the other bits and pieces of soldier-related stuff he likes to get.

Here is the Bar at Argghhh!

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Its been featured before. It even drew an aghast email from a GFW! For the record, we took the GFW's warning to heart. The Bar is no longer in the kitchen. It's out in the living room, so the rifle is handy when I feel the need to shoot out the talking head on television. Of course, I don't do that very often anymore... see opening paragraph.

The bar is home to a Boer rifle captured during the eponymous war by New Zealand soldiers. The brass scope is a brit artillery sight from the same era. One the end of the bar, the rectangular thing on the overhead part is an Australian "Two-Up" game stick and coins. Hanging from the end there are two tin cups, one Brit, one German, similar to the ones these gents are sharing. We've got rum jugs, beer bottles, schnapps glasses (all legit, battlefield recoveries) and trench art.

This week, I got a new gizmo. More properly, two gizmos, nestled at the bottom of the ABCA bud vase there (which currently serves as a swizzle-stick holder) - the little bullet-looking things.

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They're German-made, having "Bavaria" stamped on them. They were made for English-speakers - they have "Take a Shot" embossed on them. And they're cool, almost like a Babushka doll - one has 4 tiny shot glasses nested in it - the other is a lighter (needs a wick and flint, but it's otherwise in great shape).

I just knew you wanted to know. Oh, and SWWBO - they were cheep, too!

Update: Per BCR's request.

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Now, you need to get the labs working on that matter-transference gizmo we've talked about!

This one is for SWWBO!

Both contain 4 shots of Especial, 2 shots Cointreau, 2 shots Grand Marnier, and by that time, a little mix. Prosit!

by John on Sep 30, 2005
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

September 09, 2005

Since Boquisucio needs help..

...with his Rangefinder ID, here is the Castle's Barr and Stroud Rangefinder that is part of our Vickers kit. Also in the pic are a Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle and a PIAT. The Gustav and PIAT are for use against people who drive tanks or hide in bunkers. People like that, well, they suck. Of course, the sorry jerks who gave the PIAT to the Brit soldier in WWII suck too. But that's a different story.

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Next up is a sample of the Castle Argghhh! LRS, Looter Repellent System. Rabbit ears (German made, ex-Argentine) for target acquisition, sniper loop w/rifle for retail responses, Max the Maxim should a more robust response be needed.

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The minefield sign doesn't hurt, either.

by John on Sep 09, 2005

August 09, 2005

John Is Still Alive

And he still has my e-addy. I guess this means I'm *off* probation, cuz he sent the following my way:

In response to Damien Cave's essay in the New York Time, which asked the question "Where Are the War Heroes?", I've declared the week of August 7 through August 14 WAR HEROES WEEK on my blog. I will be featuring stories about the heroes of the War on Terror, some from my website AMERICAN HEROES, and some new stories.

Heroes like Paul Smith, Medal of Honor, do receive some publicity from the Old Media. But there are others, like Capt. Kellie McCoy whose only recognition may be in the press release issued by the military. I hope to change that, just a little, by featuring these men and women this week.

Chuck Simmins
You Big Mouth, You!

I like the way Chuck thinks...

by CW4BillT on Aug 09, 2005

July 27, 2005

Hmmm. Changing programs, checking guns, and surplus sales..

...when you rename a program, it's usually because it has garnered enough bad publicity that you are trying to drop the baggage. Which means, of course, as an analyst, you dig deeper to see what's being hidden.

Sounds like they do that elsewhwere, too.

I see that Gunner noticed, as well.

While we're doing this - let's link to Alphecca's Weekly Check on the Bias, too! (Worth it for the pics alone!)

Then there's this - calling all old farts! Remember those old Desk, Double Pedestal, Steel, that inhabited the Dayroom, CQ station, First Sergeant's and CO's offices?

Guess what! For Three Thousand Dollars - you can have a restored one! Yessireebob! Courtesy, Restoration Hardware! As observed in the email revealing this Decorator's Dream:

Remember the gray/cream colored steel "Desk, Double Pedestal" that furnished every Army Orderly Room? Restoration Hardware now refurbishes and sells them for $2000! And, you can get a recovered Army swivel chair for $1195!

$3300 for your den to look like a 1985 CQ dayroom. There's something ironically funny going on here. The DRMO staff are all driving Porsches.

Hee! I know better - my ratty unrefinished desk cost me $30 when I bought it at Fort Sill 10 years ago...

Yessir! I already got me a Tanker Desk! And better yet, it still has the markings on it from the old Pershing Missile PM office!

If you want one of your very own, just click here!

by John on Jul 27, 2005
» CDR Salamander links with: Changing names....using up ink...

July 19, 2005


...and our ranks diminish by yet one more.

Pax tibi, Westy.

H/T Bloodspite.

Jeff Quinton has more.

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

by CW4BillT on Jul 19, 2005

May 03, 2005

Another good justification for capital punishment

Oh, crap...

I've heard of only one thing worse than this. The even-more-heinous act was middle-of-the-night phone calls to Air Force wives whose husbands were flying in Vietnam, callers masquerading as USAF casualty notification officers telling them their husbands had been killed over Hanoi. That happened to our next-door neighbor. Even though she knew this was a harassment tactic by the anti-war crowd (probably parents of today's average Daily Kos denizen), she was momentarily panicked...and who can blame her?

Now, most of the ladies knew that this wasn't how the process worked and it sounds like today's family members are savvy enough to not fall for this sort of thing, but what kind of mind dreams this shite up?


by Dusty on May 03, 2005

April 28, 2005

Off the dime.

SGT B. of The Gun Line had been pretty quiet recently, so the other night I visited his site to see what he’d been up to, and to see what his collection of commenters had to say about his piping. While browsing the comments, I came across a familiar name: Huntress.

Huntress was the callsign of the AWACS bird patrolling off the East Coast. I’d worked a couple of joint ops with the Eye-in-the-Sky crews during the eighties and nineties, and, wondering if Huntress might be a new milblog started by an old associate, I stopped by.

Whoops. Entirely too pastel for a milblog, even an Air Force one. Blogger chick, I thought, then started to read the post I’d bumped into.

I was dead wrong. Not a blogger chick, a Lady.

And the Lady was hurt--she’d just lost a friend.

Stream of consciousness. Sadness, anger, grief. Outright misery. And a kick in the butt that finally got me to do this…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’d like you, my new friends, to take a short walk with me to meet some of my old friends. They’re waiting for us at Fiddler’s Green. This way. I’ll talk as we go, okay?

Now, for the benefit of you denizens and visitors who aren’t quite sure what--or where--Fiddler’s Green is, I’ll give you a quick briefing. Fiddler’s Green is a waypoint, a rest halt for us military types who have stepped out of the Dance and started a longer journey.

It’s a place where we can kick back and have a last beer or two before continuing to our final assignment--The Proprietor set it up as kind of a decompression chamber for us uniformed types after we’ve passed through the various hells…

And, since Fiddler’s Green serves only beer, and we’re only visiting, The Proprietor has allowed me to drag the ‘rita-matic along for the Ladies.

Oooop--forgot to mention that General Order #1 is different here: No Tears. Mouring time is over--this is a party, not a weep-fest.

Heh. We’re there already. Toldja it was a short walk.

See those low tables under the trees? The kids wearing those two patches? Well, mostly kids…and a couple of older guys who only got here ‘bout a month ago…

Please click on Extended Entry to continue...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by CW4BillT on Apr 28, 2005
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Getting off the Dime
» Villainous Company links with: The Enemy Within

April 23, 2005

Come Saturday Morning...

Hmmmmm--lessee what we’ve got in the box o’ ‘trons…

[*rummage*] [*rummage*] [*snap-crackle-pop*]

Hmmmpf. Did a TINS already. Haven’t done a Boz in a while…

[*peers back downweek*] Heh. Got a li’l religion, there…yeah, why not?

[*rummage*] [*blows dust off ‘trons*]


I’ve always gotten along well with our various chaplains over the last thirty-plus-years, although I have a suspicion that one or two thought I’d been inflicted on them as a test of their faith…

MAJ Ray ___, our chaplain in Boz, and I got along great--we were both Calvin and Hobbes fans and he was the only guy I’d ever met who could drink more coffee than I can and not go into terminal twitches.

His coffee mug was an extension of his left hand. It held enough coffee to keep Rhode Island awake for a week.

Ray was in the habit of dropping in to check the Flight Status board to see who was already up and who was scheduled to launch later, so he could personalize the Insurance Prayers, then he’d chat for a bit and bug me about hopping on the Butmir [the military airfield serving Sarajevo] Shuttle. If I was busy, he’d leave his mug on the counter to indicate he’d be back and then pop next door to see what the grunts were up to. One Friday morning, he dropped in, listened to me chatting with the Ops NCOIC in Taszar, put his coffee mug on the counter and wandered off.

Next morning, one of the ‘Hawk drivers came in for his briefing and remarked, “What’d ya do, win a trophy?”

Chappy Ray’s mug. Still on the counter.

[*light bulb*] Trophy.

[*light bulb*] The CG had just presented the Commander’s Cup to one of the flag football teams.

[*light bulb*] Heh. The Chaplain’s Cup.

I opened up my dot-mil, plugged in some addresses and composed the following:

-----Original Message-----
From: Tuttle, William CW4
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 10:59 AM
Subject: Chaplain's Cup Award


The prestigious "Camp Comanche Chaplain's Cup" (an award regarded in some circles as being on a more exalted plane than the Commander's Cup) was presented to the TF Pegasus Flight Operations Section in a simple ceremony conducted yesterday morning. The Cup, according to tradition, was constructed at some time during the preceding millenium by a highly-trained artisan of the Aladdin Corporation in Nashville, Tennessee, who (some say miraculously) used only a single piece of extruded polymeric material in its creation--it did not evolve, contrary to popular belief.

The Cup, which is capable of containing the contents of an entire urn of DFAC coffee (regular or strong), is a simple clerical black in overall appearance, with a central motif which, also according to tradition, is an accurate rendition of the pattern of the cloak issued to St. Martin of Tours, patron saint of soldiers deployed to chilly climates. The Cup possesses the extraordinary capability of recognizing the temperature of whatever substance is placed within its central receptacle and of sustaining the appropriate level of molecular activity to maintain that exact temperature for an indeterminate, albeit considerable, length of time--how an apparently inanimate object possesses the ability to accomplish such a feat remains a mystery to this day.

The Cup was presented to Flight Ops personnel in recognition of:
· their fortitude in enduring random bursts of static and miscellaneous side-lobe interference caused by demonic possession of certain FM radio frequencies and
· having a collective patience of saintly caliber in dealing with questions such as, "Is there a flight going to Butmir tomorrow and am I on it?", "Is that local time or Zulu?" and "Is there a helipad behind the PX at Eagle?"

The Cup, with its tastefully-understated Post-It Note inscription, will remain on display in Flight Ops until such time as another TF Pegasus section can surpass the exceptionally high standards achieved by Flight Ops or the Chaplain remembers where he left it.

[*click*] Send.

Responses ranged from
“Never, ever overload my Inbox with anything like this ever again. Ever.”
(Our Maintenance Officer)


“See me. ASAP.”
(The Flight Surgeon)


Mr. Tuttle,

I will be over later this afternoon. Thanks for the laugh.


Knowing full well that all of MND-North would be on tenterhooks wondering about the fate of the Chaplain’s Cup, I toggled Reply All and typed:

Yea, brethren, upon this date there did appear unto the OIC of the Flight Operations a minion of the Lord, and in his appearance, the minion was like unto that of the Chaplain; like that of the Chaplain was the appearance of the minion of the Lord.

And the minion appeared before the OIC and spake thusly unto him, saying, "Hi, Chief--wherefore resteth the Cup which was given into thy charge?" And the OIC replied to the minion of the Lord, "Behold! Here it is before thee; the Cup resteth before thee upon this slab of polished wood which hath been hewn from the oak-tree."

And the minion of the Lord spake again unto the OIC, saying, "This is indeed the Cup; hast thou then introduced any abominations therein?" And the OIC replied to the minion of the Lord, saying, "Full well thou knowest, o minion, that I am of an age which is an age beyond the ages of the thirtysomethings, and so may not abide such things as is the drink of the thirtysomethings; decaf and café latté are as naught within my sight. Verily, I say unto thee that here before thee upon this slab of polished wood which hath been hewn from the oak-tree, the Cup resteth pristine, as it was when first it appeared unto me."

And the minion of the Lord spake yet a third time. And the third time he spake, he spake thusly, saying, "Thanks, Chief. The Cup is now required of thee, that it may resume providing sustenance and comfort unto me." And the minion of the Lord took up the Cup into his right hand; with his right hand he took up the Cup. And, as the minion of the Lord took up the Cup into his right hand, he withdrew from the sight of the OIC.

And, as the minion of the Lord withdrew from the sight of the OIC, the minion of the Lord spake yet a fourth time, saying, "By the way, got anything going to Butmir tomorrow?"

[*click*] Send

by CW4BillT on Apr 23, 2005

April 12, 2005

And after the MRE?

Did things change? What lessons did the Staff learn? Well, about a week before we were to scheduled leave (but didn't--long story), the following e-mail appeared.

For Those Who Know, you're right. 'Way, 'way late...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: BRS Eagle ISSO SUPV
> Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2002 10:32 AM
> Subject: Bunker SOP
> Attached you will find a presentation detailing bunker procedures. Please
> ensure all personnel in your organization has this information. Remember
> that you are not assigned to a bunker, in the event of an attack you go to
> the nearest bunker. There are chem lights inside the bunkers near the
> entrances, if you are the first person to arrive at the bunker, break open
> the chem lights and read the instructions in the bunker.

> [E-Signature Deleted by BillT]
> [Name Deleted by BillT]
> Force Protection NCO
> <>

So, what did those souls curious enough to meander over to the bunkers and scope out the instructions find?

No chemlights, but the following instructions were posted:

"Ako ste upoznati ili imate bilo kakve informacije o mogucim prijetnjama SFOR osoblja ili objekata kontaktirajte SFOR predstavnika na broj 035-814-245. Predstavnik koji govori engleski jezik ce biti na raspolaganju 24 sata svaki dan. Predstavnik moze pozvati prevodioca ako je potreban, ali vi morate priloziti ime, broj telefona i vrijeme ponovnog kontakta. Hvala vam na vasoj saradnji."

English translation? Heh.

[click on Extended Entry]

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by CW4BillT on Apr 12, 2005

Recipe for an MRE*

*as in “Military Readiness Exercise”—not as in “Mummified Ration Enclosed”

Before the troops go anywhere, the Army spares no expense in acclimatizing and familiarizing them to the weather and terrain in which they will be operating. The "final exam" for deployment, designed to test the mettle of the men and the skills of the staff is the Military Readiness Exercise. F'r example:

Troops assigned to the Middle East for scheduled summer deployment are trained at Fort Dix, NJ, in the dead of winter; troops going to spend the winter in the Bosnian central plateau went to Fort Polk, LA, in July.


1. Place eight 100’X40’ circus tents (festively striped in yellow/green or white/green) in the center of a 2,000-acre bowl named COMANCHE. Add three Task Forces totaling 1,300 people (1,275 male and 25 female), a Mobile Field Kitchen and stir. Marinate in a hurricane for five days and residual six-hour thunderstorms for an additional two weeks.

2. Sprinkle in hot-and-cold running flies, mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, black widow and brown recluse spiders, scorpions, snakes and three-inch cockroaches that bite. Fold in rainbow-hued mold spores and a zillion frogs that will only eat butterflies. Shake constantly to insure that the spiders have unimpeded access to duffel bags and cots.

3. Remove flavor and caffeine from coffee concentrate and place them aside for later use. Maybe.

4. Add mud that sticks like Superglue and twenty Porta-Pots. Remove the toilet paper from half of the twelve Porta-Pots designated “Male” in order to encourage paper conservation. Place the now-excess toilet paper in the remaining eight designated “Female Only” in order to encourage basic personal hygiene. Instruct contractor to clean “Female Only” facilities twice daily and “Male” facilities only on odd-numbered days. Add eight field showers and designate half of them “Female Only.”

5. Separate Division Headquarters into two distinct halves and sever all direct links to any remaining chain of command. Remove all headquarters staff personnel to another location named EAGLE (a mile away if you take the shortcut through the swamp or five miles away if you follow the road) and house them in air-conditioned barracks with four contract mess halls, three launderettes, two PX MiniMarts, one Cajun snack bar and seventy assorted vending machines; remove all COMANCHE vehicles (with the exception of several M-1A1 tanks in desperate need of a lube-job) and send them to EAGLE. Padlock the steering wheels and bury the keys.

6. Insure all Headquarters staff personnel e-mail vague instructions “for immediate implementation” to COMANCHE counterparts and then depart for a two-hour lunch. Instruct commo personnel to disconnect TacLAN the instant any incoming COMANCHE e-mail is detected.

7. Sift a Recycle Nazi into COMANCHE who insists that all trash be separated into one of six different recycling categories; insure he studiously ignores the fact that all collected trash winds up in the same 65 cubic-yard open-top dumpster, where it is compacted by its own weight into a cohesive, albeit gooey, mass. Spray dumpster with Viagro for Houseflies™ and park it midway between the Porta-Pots and the Mobile Field Kitchen to provide the flies a rest area in their commute between the two. Leave the dumpster there for three weeks. Uncovered.

8. Advance all scheduled events by between 5 and 24 hours; tell no one until 5 minutes after the new event-time, then issue conflicting orders for immediate implementation to each separate Task Force and depart for a two-hour lunch. Chill the non-potable water in the field showers to 50°F and warm the potable water in the ‘buff to 115°F.

9. Grate everyone’s nerves.

10. Place 50% of all COMANCHE Task Force personnel on the Night Shift and remove mufflers from all generators within 100 meters of the tents; this will insure that, between the noise at night and the heat during the day, nobody will get any sleep worth mentioning.

11. Hold 0900-1100 Task Force briefings and 1500-1700 Task Force AARs at Division Headquarters every day; complain loudly that half the occupants of EAGLE have the sniffles because the air-conditioners are permanently set at 65°F.

12. Insure no one in either section of the Division staff answers any COMANCHE-generated e-mail between 0700 to 0900, 1100 to 1300 and 1700 to 0700.

13. Bake at 98°F and baste at 97% humidity. Garnish with twelve genuine Bosnians, who walk around explaining to anyone still conscious, "Bosnia is *not* like this. This place makes Sniper Alley look like nude beach." Issue brand-new black berets to 70% of authorized personnel for mass "Happy Birthday Army" photo op. Insure that 60% of berets are PX Kiddie Korner rejects (too small), 39% are the size of DeLorenzo “Grandissimo” bar pies, and the remainder are issued to people who are unalterably convinced that the beret is supposed to be worn with the flash centered 6” above the highest point on the left ear. Have all personnel fall in on the runway just as the UAV begins its final approach.

14. Serve on soggy cardboard trays decorated with multicolored mold spores. Separate leftovers into six different recycling categories, place them in the open 65 cubic-yard dumpster and mix well. Add the caffeine removed from the coffee concentrate in para 3 in order to keep the flies completely wired.

by CW4BillT on Apr 12, 2005

March 28, 2005

A Differential Theory...

[ed: this has been around, morphing bit by bit, for a looong time. And it's passed over the internet in waves, too. But it will be new to many of you non-military types, and it's always funny to us people who wear/wore tie-dyed clothing!]

...Concerning US Armed Forces Encountering a Snake in the Area of Operations

Sarge B. is waxing philosophical on the essential differences between the services with regards to the myriad uses of Sergeant. However, there are more fundamental differences in the services, particularly with regards to close encounters of the reptilian kind...

Infantry: Snake smells them, leaves area.

Airborne: Inadvertently squashes snake with 80-pound rucksack during PLF.

Armor: Runs over snake, laughs and looks for more snakes.

Field Artillery: Kills snake with massive Time-On-Target, utilizing three Forward-Deployed Artillery Brigades with DivArty in Direct Support. Also destroys recently-restored 8th Century monastery as unavoidable collateral damage. Mission is declared a success and all participants, to include cooks, mechanics and clerks, are awarded Silver Stars. [Only Good Cooks get Silver Stars, the rest get Bronze. ed]

Combat LifeSaver: Wounds snake in initial encounter, then works feverishly to save snake's life. Story headlines front page of the Sunday “Stars and Stripes.”

Supply: Posts notice to the effect that all anti-snake equipment is on backorder.

Cook: Snake sneaks into chow hall and dies of food poisoning. [see Bronze Star, above. ed]

If your Service, Branch, or Military Specialty has not yet been outraged, Click Extended Entry/Flash Traffic and it will be...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by CW4BillT on Mar 28, 2005

March 07, 2005

How to get on the "Insider" list at the Castle.

When you travel, and visit cool museums, or just see tanks, guns, and airplanes on display someplace, send the Armorer pictures. Individual or CD, for the 'Virtual Museum" tours the Armorer is constructing. The Armorer can deal with prints, too - (though Wal-Mart and other places will digitize 'em for yaz!). Like Jack at Random Fate, or SangerM and others have done - now we add...

Randy K. - currently gallivanting through the UK, who sent these teasers from the Imperial War Museum (a museum housed, appropriately enough, in the famously-named former Bedlam Mental Hospital...

The 15-inch Guns out front:



Data plate.

A bit smaller, more intimate, a wakizashi blade:


Data plate.

Thanks, Randy!

by John on Mar 07, 2005

February 18, 2005

Don't try this at home...

This is a little something I sent to Blogfather earlier today, reacting to his comments on the Summers Show Trial--you know, the one where the Harvard president has his entrails removed and displayed as a trophy, Hannibal Lecter-like, by the PC crowd.

Anyway, here's the post. presented in its entirety. This may be a suicidal act, I dunno; depends on how SWWBO, AFSister, and other fellow travelers react...


I thought your female scientist's post, well, sad.

She's right...with diversity, no matter how hard they try, the legacy population can't help but think, "OK, why was he/she hired, for competence or correctness?" When an incident similar to the Summers kerfuffle occurs, the innocents are usually well within the frag pattern of the PC bomb that detonates in the public consciousness.

That said, the hazards can be quite a bit more significant outside academe. There have been female pilots whose grade books were pencil whipped just to get them out of training and into the field. They are now dead, killed in training accidents that damn near everyone saw coming. People will deny that vehemently, but it's true. And before you wave the BS flag over what you may view as an overgeneralization, I will be the first to admit that most female flyers are equal to their male peers...but had some of the dead ones been males, we would have never let them get as far as they did. Social engineering has a price that's never paid by the engineers. So far, society is willing to pay it.


by Dusty on Feb 18, 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 13, 2005

Regarding Jeremiah...

See "Heh," below - about "pussified" soldiers, and another post last week, I don't even remember that one - but it's the one where I confessed I collected dolls?

Yep. I do. Of men in skirts, too.

And for those of you are are trying to read what's in that very tiny sliver of the Library At The Arsenal - here, try this one, it's easier to read.

I like G-Scale trains, too - especially the narrow gauge working trains in 1:20.3.

Nope, good luck trying to figure out most of the titles on that wall of the Library. This doesn't even touch on the heart of the Library - the History and Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, which is contained in the Annex off from the Arsenal, in the Donjon.

by John on Feb 13, 2005

February 09, 2005

Answer to the Trivia Quiz

Well, most of you got the unit right...the unit he SUPPORTS, not the unit he's assigned to. The latter would be: Det 1, 4th Air Support Operations Group, Camp Ederle, Italy.

Yup. He's an Enlisted Tactical Air Controller with the 173rd.

The big-@ss ruck is something we've been nugging away at reducing for a number of years. Needless to say, we've got a ways to go. Good news is, the 70+ pounds of different radios and batteries is being reduced to a more manageable size with the PRC-117F (mulit-band, programmable, lighter, etc.) Putting one on the Secretary of the Air Force (at that time...), just after we got back from Albania supporting TF HAWK, when he stopped by Mannheim (HQ for the 4th ASOS, the squadron that sets up and runs the ASOC at Corps) did a lot to get the point across...his official escort becoming the USAF Chief of Staff two years later didn't hurt either.)


by Dusty on Feb 09, 2005

February 08, 2005

Three guesses as to what this guy does for a living...


by Dusty on Feb 08, 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

February 05, 2005

To keep ya occupied while we return...

All right, for those of you swimming in the moat (no peeing, it upsets Bill and the other Moat Monsters) just a reminder.

Keep an eye out for these:

I like useful militaria. This is a Confederate Navy 'torpedo' (that's what they called mines, back in the day). The one in this picture is located in the Civil War Navy Museum in Columbus, Georgia.

The moat is liberally seeded with them. No diving or boating.

by John on Feb 05, 2005
» Sworn Enemy links with: "Window Shopping" And Wishful Thinking

January 05, 2005

Welcome to the Ice Storm.

Feather-merchants that we are who work at Fort Leavenworth - the impending (now all around) ice storm closed the Fort at noon yesterday, to reopen at noon today - and it's now closed all day because of the ice, and ain't nothing we're doing there worth dying for or denting the empennage of the transport.

It was the Castle's turn to lose power. We've dodged that bullet in all the previous winter/wind storms, but our number was up. Working from home is tough, too, when the power is out - and when it comes on, the cable is still down (broadband access at the Castle) and you don't remember the number for the alternate dial up... obviously, we're back now, it only took about 3 hours - much better than the tens of thousands in Kansas City still without.

Anyway, while SWWBO and I were waiting for the power to come back and the sun to come up, we played Scrabble in the kitchen - by the light of the Brit Airfield Lantern in the Castle's collection - which also provided some heat as our temps went (and are still going, outside) south. Who said militaria can't be useful? Think what I coulda done with a flamethrower!

Yeah, yeah - SWWBO won. She always does at Scrabble because we don't play with a time limit on turns, so she sees the tricksy ones. If we played speed-Scrabble I might have a chance!

by John on Jan 05, 2005

January 04, 2005

Gratuitous Militaria Pic

Working on some gun stuff, don't despair!

One of the "honey-do's" (happy Mike?) from last week was moving the dry bar from the kitchen into the living room. You remember the bar - it's the one with the New Zealand-capture Boer Mauser on it - that caused one of my few moonbat explosions.

I lied! I did put up a gun pic!

Anyway, one of the things we've been doing is demilitarizing the living room (pulling out the cannon balls and such) but obviously, we haven't completely disarmed. We took the opportunity to put some of the more interesting bits of militaria out there - on the bar. It's very Anglosphere, with some German and French to add a touch of flavor. Brit rum jug with Aussie drinking cup (from Tobruk! - the cup, not the jug), the Boer Mauser, brit gun sight (the telescope thing) two lamps made from 2inch mortar rounds, Brit and US trench lanterns, things like that.

In addition, we have a candy dish/peanut dish that is a bit of French trench art - a WWI 75mm shell casing with an Artillery cap badge on the front, and "Verdun 1918" on the back.

The one bit of that stuff I like the best though is a WWII era bud vase (we're using it for swizzle sticks) that I call my "ABCA" vase. ABCA meaning the America-Britain-Canada-Australia alliance formed in WWII and still in force today.

Why do I refer to it like that? Simple. It's comprised of a Canadian-made 2pdr shell casing, with US-made .50cal rounds, Brit MkVII .303 rounds, and an Australian cap badge. It came from Australia, and it kind of encapsulates the effort required to prosecute WWII. It's also a nice conversation piece, should we start entertaining the ISO's (International Student Officers) around here.

by John on Jan 04, 2005

December 27, 2004

I'm taking the week off.

Sadly for you, not from blogging, but from work... which of course means that the "Honey-Do" jar will figure in my week, as SWWBO is not taking the week off, just today, and I must pay for my effrontery!

Shortly, I will take a short break for my monthly turn at "Meals on Wheels" as doing my bit for one of my Rotary Club's service projects. I do the Meals bit monthly as a penance for my absolute refusal to ring bells for the Salvation Army. I have an irrational dislike for the bell ringing and simply will not participate. This should not be construed as putting me in with the retailers who no longer allow the Salvation Army to ring bells in front of their establishments... it simply means that I simply dislike the whole concept as a bunch of annoying humbuggery and won't do it. My father, by contrast, happily does it with his club. And, since the local charity on whose board I sit coordinates closely with the Salvation Army to not duplicate services, I can say that my relationship with the Army is just fine.

Gad, that certainly ran away from where I was going...

I was am gonna do a bit on Snipers. Well, indirectly. I'm really doing a bit on how snipers suck. They get in the way of doing your job - like peering over the parapet in order to get an idea of what the other guy is up to so you can kill him before he kills you - except that he gets these guys who can shoot really well, and then puts a scope on the damn rifle, and lets him hide behind a steel shield and shoot at you! Like, really! What's that about? Hasn't the damn bad guy learned his job is to either die, run away, or surrender? Not resist?

Anyway, there you are, a young sub-altern in a trench needing to keep an eye on the other fellow, in a sniper-infested section of the battlefield. And you aren't some rich dandy who is a member of a fashionable regiment with independent means. You're just a guy who was a school teacher during the week and a Territorial (Brit equivalent to the National Guard) on weekends. But, you work for an Army that serves a notoriously penurious government. Heck, this government at times even required Regular soldiers to pay for the ammunition they consumed in combat... needless to say, you aren't going to score any fancy stereoscopic 'rabbit ear' periscopes like those fellows on the other side have.

Nope. You'll reach into your nearly empty pocket and buy something cool yourself, or settle for what they give you.

If you're settling, you're getting something like this: A #9 Mark II Trench Periscope.

Simple gizmo, just like the ones you (or at least I) remember from cereal boxes in the 60's. A simple tube with two mirrors, tall enough that your head wasn't sticking over the parapet when you were peering through it.

It was designed with the intent that you could use it with binoculars, by putting one optic on the shelf and peering through it. It was well thought out, I think.

It hinges in the middle to make it easier to store and carry. There were sliding doors to protect the mirrors from mud and dust, and it has doors behind the mirrors to make replacement easy, as well.

It was still a fragile bit of kit. Sometime down the line, I'll show the American equivalent, and some of the other periscopes that were in use in the World Wars.

by John on Dec 27, 2004

December 24, 2004

We're off!

To see the family in Missouri today and tomorrow. I might check in, I might not, it depends. So - if I don't, all y'all have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas, however you choose to celebrate it!

SWWBO, putting the finishing touches on the tree at the Castle!*

The Arsenal does possess a few artifacts relative to the season.

Implements of conviviality: Rum jug, cups, beer bottles, glasses. All WWI and II veterans.

Hymnals. From a while back, when it was okay to say, "Merry Christmas!"

Most importantly,

A "Sweetheart Bible," with steel cover plate (to protect the heart, when worn in the breast pocket of combat clothing).

Containing the New Testament.

And dedicated by Iola, to Joe, for Christmas 1944 - Joe was a soldier in the 101st Airborne, who spent Christmas fighting the Germans at Bastogne.

Just as this year, we have soldiers standing guard, doing dangerous things, in dangerous places, trying to help some people rise above the tyranny that ruled them for so many years.

*For you nit-pickers out there - the tree-topper no longer leans drunkenly, either.

by John on Dec 24, 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 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

November 01, 2004

Take It Down! Chaff! Flare!...

Wuff. Oi. Ouch.

The post below is what is known, in fighter squadrons, as a "F**k-S**t-Hate Debrief." You have been a buffoon and everyone in the flight knows it. No one died but you could have killed them. The recipient could be Blue 4, one of the element leads, the flight lead, or even the IP (but that's usually rare). In short, idiots deserve to be called same on occasion...nothing personal, just part of the culture.

In this case, someone has defecated in the Armorer's mess kit.

Remind me not to do that.


by Dusty on Nov 01, 2004

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

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 15, 2004

Something of a bleg...

Have no fear, I'm not eschewing firearms altogether, I'm just expanding the horizons for interested visitors to the Castle.

As noted below - I've got this patch collection. I've been working with interested parties here at Fort Leavenworth to work up a few rotating displays for Bell Hall (the Command and General Staff College building) and perhaps in other buildings throughout post, just to add some more historical ambiance to the oldest continually active post west of the Mississippi (founded in 1827 - on the WRONG SIDE of the Missouri River - a story in itself). One theme, for example, is "Supporting Deception in War" using the patches of the Ghost Divisions, created to reinforce the German's perception that Patton's Ghost Army was real. Can you imagine trying to pull something like that off today, with today's media presence and the ability to disseminate information? Helluva challenge!

Anyway, in this patch collection, the Army Groups, Armies, and Corps were complete (except the 1st pattern 11th Corps). The Armored divisions were mostly complete (and are, now - with proper WWII patches). The Cavalry divisions were complete, less a WWII 1st Cav - which I now have. When I say complete, I mean in terms of the basic patch for a unit, and a WWII or earlier version. You will find that over time, the divisions have had variant patches that used the basic patch and overlaid color, patterns or devices that would distinguish among the brigades, artillery, engineers, etc. I don't have anywhere near that level!

I have a very complete assortment of Army Air Force/AF patches - all the numbered Air Forces, etc. As mentioned below, I have the Marines.

But the Infantry Divisions have been pillaged. It's obvious from the folders these things are stapled to that they once existed in the collection, but for some reason, a previous owner/thief/whoever, savaged the Infantry Divisions. Didn't touch the Service Commands. Or the Occupation Forces. Not even the Frontier Defense Commands...

Here's a list of what's missing. If you've got any of these lying around, drop me a line - I can score 'em off eBay, but I thought I'd try blegging and see what came up. WWII is preferred (olive drab borders vice dark green, and the back of the patch doesn't glow under a blacklight) but I'm not that picky and don't expect you to vet 'em unless you are making me pay for 'em! And if yer unscrupulous - I've got a blacklight. Though any fellow collectors out there with advice and warnings, feel free to chime in via comments or email!

Prefer free (d-uh) but not averse to paying postage or other reasonable fees, either... The list of what I'm looking for is in the Flash Traffic!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Aug 15, 2004

Shoulder Patches

Click the pic for hi-res.

As I mentioned in some previous posts, I have a shoulder-patch collection that was passed on to me by my father, who had gotten it from someone who thought he would appreciate it (and know what to do with it) while he was in his last job before retiring from active duty. It gathered dust, and got in the way, so he tried to give it to museums - but all various museums wanted to do was cherry-pick various themes, and not take the whole thing. Not wanting to deal with all the eaches, he passed it on to me.

I found out the same thing. The Cavalry Museum at Fort Riley would be happy to take the Cav stuff, the Patton Museum at Fort Knox the armor stuff, etc. Well, I didn't want to deal with the eaches, either. So, the two boxes of patches on manila folders continued to gather dust and take up space.

Since current finances dictate not adding much to the Arsenal while Son & Friend are in college, and cars need replacing, etc, I decided to pull out the boxes and assess what was really there.

Pretty neat, if you are into that sort of thing.

Hundreds of patches. Army, AAF/AF, Marine, Navy, ROTC, State Guard HQs. Not just shoulder patches, but chevrons, service/wound stripes, skill badges, etc, including some WWI examples. Amazingly complete grouping of WWII Army patches (less the Infantry Divisions, more on that later).

I've decided I'm going to start posting these in bits and drabs. And, seeing as how the reference books are going for $100 used, and the new one recently out at $56, I'm contemplating an e-book. One you could print the pages out to take with you to shows, if you are a collector, saving wear and tear on these expensive books. I dunno. Just thinking. I kinda got inspired by the Old Fart patch thing.

Let's take a look at that, for example. Many people don't realize that the Marines have flirted with shoulder patches off and on during WWII and beyond. I think they dropped the idea as just too, well, 'Army'. But that didn't stop 'em from developing a full set when they were thinking about it. As near as I can tell, I've got a pretty complete gathering of the WWII/early post-war designs.

For example, here is a sheet that contains the genesis for the Recon Bn patch. It's the one on the lower left - originally designed for the Raider Battalions, which are the predecessors of today's Marine Recon. The others, clockwise, are the Defense Battalions, Paratroops, and Service & Supply.

Here are two examples of designs for the 1st Marine Div, 2nd MARDIV, Marine Barracks, Londonderry, and 5th Marine Brigade, WWI.

I'll post more as the mood seizes me (well, some right away in my next post, actually!)

by John on Aug 15, 2004

May 06, 2004

Since the news has been, well, depressing...

I think it's time for pictures of Arsenal Artifacts. Besides, I've been playing with the new camera - proving only one thing. That quality pictures are a function of the photographer, more than they are the camera. This is a good camera, Canon EOS Digital.

Anyway, I have this item up for your consideration. The german WWI spigot mortar, the Granatenwerfer 16 (literally, Grenade Thrower).

Spigot mortars get their name from the fact that instead of a barrel, they have a rod, more technically, a mandrel, onto which slips the round. The tail of the round acts as the barrel. These things are not light, and this one does not have it's full baseplate that contained the traversing table. The round slips all the way down the rod, unlike the picture. This is a battlefield recovery round and I haven't finished the cleaning/preserving action in the tail, so it's blocked by corrosion. Doesn't take much, the tolerances here are pretty tight. The advantage of these weapons is that you can fire many different sizes of warhead, since you aren't constrained by the barrel dimensions. Your constraint is range, due to differing weights, which can be accomodated by different charge sizes, just as in a tube weapon. The other advantage is simplicity of manufacture - you don't have as many precision measures, especially in the munitions, as you do in tube weapons. It also means you can have people who don't normally make weapons build 'em. This one was built by the (in Europe at least) famous toy manufacturers, the Gebrudern Bing. (Bing Brothers) in Nueremburg.


For a close up, click here.

Max Range : 350 meters
Min Range : 50 meters
Total weight : 38 kg
Distribution : 1916 , 12 per infantry regiment , 24 in 1918
Crew: 2 men.

Simple to use. Using a compass, orient along a known azimuth. Then when you compute data, it goes to the gunner as a left or right deflection from the 0 line. Based on range, and round, select a quadrant elevation, and set that on the scale on the side of the mortar. Load the round, pull the lanyard, ready to go for the next one.

by John on May 06, 2004
» Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon links with: Life & Times of Madfish Willie

February 18, 2004

A little change of pace...

Okay - in hopes to inspire Mike the Bartender who is a very busy man these days, I offer a mix of militaria.

On the left, a cup-discharged grenade I believe to be Belgian. If anyone can provide more information, and, even better - pictures of the launcher, well, that would be too cool.

For the Bartender at Madfish Willies - a schnapps glass. Recovered from a collapsed german dugout in the Verdun sector. Whether by the heat of the blast, or the pressure it was under while buried - it's slightly deformed, and that dirt on it is resistant to gentle cleaning methods. Any glass restorers with advice on that would be appreciated - whether in the comments or via email. I'm not interested in restoring the shape or polishing it back to a shine - I just want to clean up the dirt a bit.

by John on Feb 18, 2004

December 11, 2003

An unofficial, very unscientific poll...

Okay. My muse has deserted me. I can't decide what to do next for Gun P0rn.

So, I'll let you guys chooose. Leave your votes in the comments. I don't feel like setting up a sidebar poll. I'd rather hear ya, so to speak.

Some Options to start ya thinking:

Nation themed: German, French, US, Brit (Commonwealth), etc.

Type themed: Enfields. Mausers, subguns, semi-autos, bolts, etc.

Detail: Specific weapons, with as much detail as I can muster, such as I did for the Maxim.

Previous examples can be seen here.

I've got pistols, I've got grenades, I've got mortars, I've got lots of stuff. What kind of stuff would you guys like to see next? Feel free to check out the arsenal for ideas (just click on the Castle in the sidebar).

by John on Dec 11, 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 19, 2003

Is this like breathlessly cool or what?

I want one!

Hat tip to Strategy Page.

by John on Nov 19, 2003

November 11, 2003

When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend, Part 1.

All right, it's Veteran's Day. Veteran's Day started out as a commemoration of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The cessation of WWI armed hostilities. The war didn't officially end until the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, and the hostilities continued, breaking back into open warfare, into WWII. So, for all us Vets out there, it's WWI weapon day at Castle Arrgghhh! Even as we speak, I'm working on the Rifles of the Major Combatants! I'm going to keep this post at the top today, so if you check back to see the new stuff, just scroll down!

Update: Having had some time to think about it - I'm also going to include some of the little things in the life of the soldier. Today is about the warrior who puts life and limb on the line - and while I am going to showcase a lot of the weapons, I'm going to dig into the other boxes, and show you some of the other stuff of day-to-day life. So, start coming back mid-afternoon (got a business meeting to deal with first!) and see some more little bits and pieces of the life of the soldier.

Okay - what do all the things in this picture have in common?

Give up? They are all grenades, and they were all used during WWI. Many Nations went into WWI with grenades that required lit fuzes (though not the Germans). They came out with grenades we'd recognize today. I thought I would share a bit of my ordnance collection with y'all. Normal disclaimers apply - it's all legal where I live, which wouldn't be true if I lived in California - while they are all inert, they are not full of MT-5 epoxy filling. For the record, since I never intend to use them, if I was moving to California (I can't imagine why, I'd have to leave some guns behind) I wouldn't object to filling them - although persnickety collectors have a cow over that. Which is okay - they are allowed to have a cow. Or a moose. Anyway - let's lookit some engines of destruction!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Nov 11, 2003
» Backcountry Conservative links with: Veterans Day
» AlphaPatriot links with: Ordinance Lovers
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: Grenade Pr0n

We interrupt this broadcast... talk a bit about trivial things. Trivial until you realize that the soldier's life is 98 percent boredom interspersed with 12 percent stark terror. Yes, I know it doesn't add up. The terror has a magnitude all it's own. Ask a vet.

Anyway, what do you do while you're sitting in the trenches waiting to go over the top or repel some asshole trying to ruin your day?

Easy. You pick your lice, treat your trench foot, and repair your uniform. With stuff like this:

On the left, german louse powder. Original. On the right, US foot powder, original, dated October 1918. It didn't make the war, obviously. Of course, if it did, it wouldn't be sitting in my collection, either? In the middle, a 'housewife'. That's what the troops called their sewing kits.

by John on Nov 11, 2003
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: World War I stuff

November 08, 2003

This is just a tease...

While I work on the rest of the post...

Suffice it to say it's about grenades and WWI. Modified Gun Porn™ is back!

Update: I'm still working on it! Hadda get that military geek stuff done, first!

Last Update: It's done! Of course, unless you came here directly from a bookmark, you know that already, since it's the first post of Veteran's Day!

by John on Nov 08, 2003

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 18, 2003

What do you see?

According to a guy in Kim du Toit's email about Lugers what came to mind when he saw a Luger was "...was the image of its barrel pressing against some innocent's head." Hmmm. While I can understand his point, I see something different.

I see one pistol that encapsulates German military experience from the Great War to the reintegration of East Germany. Yes, from this picture I can tell this weapon spans the whole era. How, at a glance?

He has imperial proofs, aluminum base magazine, and the trigger is hot blued, not strawed (strawed is when the steel is in-the-white with some color from heat treating). More pics behind the curtain, even if I don't feel like blogging in a lascivious manner today. I'll do that tomorrow, with the DP-28 post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 18, 2003

October 14, 2003

A picture to please BradySchumerStein...

...because the weapons represented are in what would be their favorite mode for 'red state' voters, emasculated.


On top, in the background is the receiver area for a WWII-era Browning M1919 MG instructional cut-away. Yes, much larger than life. It's functional and complete, less the baseboard and the belt w/plastic bullets. Anyone know of some big red plastic bullets laying around, lemme know!

To the right of that is the butt of the DEWAT M1908 Madsen LMG, with the monopod for sustained fire.

Next in from from that, still on the right, the DEWAT M1919A6 is peeking his head up.

Next in is the DEWAT BAR. I may still yet spring for one of Ohio Ordnance's semi's.

In the center is a cut-away SMLE No1MkIII*. This is a beautifully done job.

The long wood thing is the haft of my saxon battle axe. The steel shaft is the haft of me swedish warhammer. Both of which can be seen to better effect here, along with the pretty SMLE cut-away and an australian armorers cut away, that had to have the barrel replaced to bring it into the country. Even though it wasn't shootable as-is, ATF still classifies the receiver as functional (not me, baby!) and therefore the overall length was too short.

by John on Oct 14, 2003

October 12, 2003

Scary Gun Pic o' the Day

Yesterday was a light blogging day. There were chores to do in the Household of the Imperial Armorer and Armorerette. Vet visit to keep the Exterior Guard™ in fighting trim. Pictured here is the Guard Captain training his new Scout.

Wonderwife™ v3.x's computer had serious virii problems stemming from the visit home last week of Good Kid™. Good Kid™ is now known unofficially as PCW™* for blowing up WonderWife's™ machine. Recovery operations here are nearly complete, with minimal overall damage, except the destruction of a day in my life.

Wonderwife™ also had many Coupons of Clever Parasitism™ from Shaitan's Department Store™, (Kohl's) which had to be redeemed before expiration. This required the printing of $123.00 in Imperial Scrip so as to ensure the $90 of Marketing Tool™ didn't meet a Fate Worse Than Death™, i.e., Expiry Without Redemption™ (Hmmm, didn't Martin Luther gripe about that, what with that indulgences thing?) As the Imperial Armorer scored a new Omelette Pan of Creamy Goodness™, this was okay. Then, attendance was required at our favorite local eating and imbibing establishment, the Barry Road Outback, where everyone does know our name, and our drinks are waiting for us by the time we get to the bar. Much good conversation ensued with our pals behind the bar, who make the girls of Coyote Ugly look like hags - before the first drink! And sometimes the Proprietor, Roger, will spring for a drink, and Once in a Blue Moon™, dinner!

Oh, I was posting a gun pic, wasn't I? Okay, here 'tis.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 12, 2003

October 10, 2003

Okay, gun pic - kinda.

I owe you guys a gun pic today. Loyal Readers® of this space know that I don't just collect and shoot guns. You also know that I actually prefer soldier-used weapons to "two-tone yuppyguns," my idols at Kim du Toit and Boots and Sabers notwithstanding. Hey, there's room in the hobby for all of us. As Madison said in Federalist #13.5.6x, "In my Second Amendment there are many rooms." True, he was blitzed when he wrote it, and his coach driver edited it out, but it was there, trust me.

Anyway, not just the weapons, but all the fiddly bits that go with them. To that end today, I give you the contents of the Vickers Medium Machine Gun Gunner's case.


From the top, leather gunners case, fusee spring, oil can, spare lock, spring balance (for measuring spring strength), pull-through, driver/pliers, multi-purpose wrench, wire mesh cleaning 'gauze' (brit term), another pull-through, muzzle protector, and the leather pouch containing spare springs, pins, and whatnot. I have two of these, both pretty much complete, one is just brand-new, never issued (boo, hiss) and this one, well used (yay!). Some point down the road, after Great Kid® returns the digital camera, I'll do a spread on the platoon parts chest (you may run away screaming now).

by John on Oct 10, 2003

October 09, 2003

Evil Implements used by crabby soldiers.

Trench warfare sucks (well, actual warfare sucks in any form - laser tag in the desert is fun). The high-muckety-mucks alla time want you to sneak over to the Other Guy's trench and do a snoop and poop and find out what General Patton's "Other poor dumb bast*rd" is up to. (Which is probably plotting about making you *his* poor dumb bast*rd, the bast*rd!)

Anyway, unlike patrolling in a fluid environment (see 'snoop and poop' above) getting through trenches is a pain. First, you have to low crawl through the muck to get to the damn wire, invariably stepping on some poor dumb bast*rd who forgot to duck three weeks ago and is a little ripe. Then, using some damn clumsy gizmo attached to your rifle (making it heavier, of course) you have to cut that stuff. Okay. Fine. Yer through. Now what? Well, dammit, if one thing is true about trenches its that they are full of people, running from Zeebrugge to Switzerland. So ya can't just bust a few caps, take out the guards, snatch a prisoner or two, clean up any papers and code books and skeddadle. No, ya do that, and some sorry bast*ards with a machine gun are gonna open up on ya, or their buddy hiding behind a shield is gonna take potshots at you while *his* buddy is dropping HE on your butt, or throwing grenades.

So, ya hafta be sneaky. And, frankly, ya don't like these jerks, cuz, well, here ya are out in No Man's Land when you could be home back in the world knocking back brewskis and banging babes and making babies to take care of you in your dotage. And, since you want to get home and do that stuff and *have* a dotage, unlike that poor dumb bast*rd we mentioned earlier, you have to be quiet.

What to do, what to do.

Ya do this:

Ya take a nice piece of wood, put a heavy lead top to it, stick four sharp spikes coming out the sides at the cardinal points, and one more on the top, so you can poke the poor dumb bast*rd with it. Then, because the damn shavetail loot is pissy about property accountability, you stamp the thing "Royal Inniskillings" so any dumb bast*rd who found the thing in his trench would be sure to mail it back to you. Yeah, right. He's gonna keep it. And since it's stamped in the lead part, he'll just mark it hisself. You just see if he don't!

Yep, that's what you did. That way you can be quiet, and get back to that dotage thing.

by John on Oct 09, 2003
» The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler links with: How to Have Fun in the Trenches
» Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon links with: The Adventures of Madfish Willie
» Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon links with: Happy Hour Madness
» Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon links with: The Best of Madfish Willie

October 07, 2003

Something a little different today.

The heart of today's pic is my Barr and Stroud No. 12 Rangefinder. This was used by the platoon leaders of Vickers MMG (medium machine gun) platoons to determine ranges to targets, so the guns could fire on them in defilade, or directly if they had to. Someday I'll do a long, boring post on how to hit things you can't see. I describe what's in the picture in the extended portion of the post.


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Oct 07, 2003

October 06, 2003

Okay, one pic before I head out.

This is a shot of my 81mm mortar, with the fancy sights, also used on artillery. Note the weld in the tube. (Can't shoot, LE/Shocked anti-gun persons!) I also don't have a base cup for it, though I'm making one (no firing pin, BATFE-types). The grey thing on the right is a Canadian 3inch training mortar. The bottom is cut out so that the round, when dropped, falls at your feet. Keeps the crew in position, too. 3inch mortar rounds are heavy.

You can also see the breech of the 57mm M18 Reckless Rifle to the left. Behind, from top to bottom are a US 3.5 inch bazooka with inert round, a PLO RPG-7 (thats a 7, no suffix, meaning iron sights, no rail for the scope). There's a B-40 rocket stuck in it because I hadda put the rocket somewhere. Next is a brit Mark X fencing musket, which is a spring-loaded pogo stick you used in bayonet training. next under is a Czech M98/22 Mauser. Barely visible between the M18 and the mortar is the front barrel-band of a Czech VZ-24 mauser. Next is an Egyptian FN-49 (not a Century hash job for those who know what I mean), and finally, one of my various variants of the Brit SMLE. Ya can barely see the next thing, which is a Swift Training Rifle, also Brit.

See ya later!

by John on Oct 06, 2003

October 03, 2003

Giving Anti-Gunners the Willies

Which is something I just love ta do! This is a shot of The Imperial Arsenal of Doom (tm). Nota Bene the Interior Guard Force (the ones with the glowing eyes on the steps - vicious killers, all - especially note Lucifer's Handmaiden, the Dark One, Barney of Glowing Eyes)

You are staring past the Balkan/Slav wall at the Vickers medium machine gun. Above the Vickers are the platoon spare parts chest on the left, the indirect firing accoutrements on the right, and the platoon rangefinder center high. You can't make 'em out that well, but behind the box on the left is a Browning M1919A6 machine gun, Madsen M1908 light machine gun, and a BAR. On the right is a Carl Gustav M1 84mm reckless rifle, and a PIAT.

This photo was taken after cleaning up from the sewer back-up. Fortunately, because I display the Vickers in a faux trench mode, it's actually sitting on a pallet reworked to look like duckboards in a trench, and wasn't immersed in goo. And, because I'm crippled and lazy, the sandbags (vietnam era, I missed out on getting some nice WWII ones) are filled with woodshavings, not sand - just in case some anti is concerned I'm building a bunker here. Not that I haven't thought about making an addition to the house, and adding a whole new concrete gun room, that would look like, well, a bunker!


The Standard Disclaimer (c) applies.

by John on Oct 03, 2003

October 01, 2003

Scary Gratuitous Gun Pic

This is what happens when you let an Infantryman play with nukes. They develop the Davy Crockett. While it's not quite true that the blast radius exceeded the range - you didn't have a lot of area to work with! Yes, that little thing on the ground in the right rear is a nuke. Well, not that actual one,of course, since it's in the Watervliet Arsenal museum (well worth the visit if you can get there). So, no, I don't have one - but I wish I did (with an inert warhead, I'm not stoopid!)

by John on Oct 01, 2003

September 28, 2003

As a Redleg...

...and having a strong interest in the technology of war, I have a projectile collection, as well. I used these things when I was teaching tactics and military history to Field Artillery officers, and still lend bits and pieces of my kit for displays in the local area.

These are my older bits - civil war projectiles, all battlefield recoverys. I really like the sectioned shrapnel shells, showing the balls in the supporting matrix, and the details of how the fuzing operated (obviously not that well on these!).

The shells are Union. How to tell? The balls were generally all the same (though the south did have some odd side-loaders due to technical issues in small manufactorys) general design and shape and used the same fuzes. The discriminator right here is the supporting matrix is yellow - sulphur. As sulphur is a key ingredient in black powder, the south didn't have the luxury of using it in this manner. They used pitch, instead. So, if it's yellow, it's Union. Have fun with that, those of you who think the outcome of April, 1865 was a bad thing. I'm glad to be a Yankee, thanks - even though the only family I had fighting in the Civil War were on the losing side - one on staff with Bragg, the other a member of the Orphan Brigade.

by John on Sep 28, 2003

Giving BradySchumerStein a break today.

Regular readers will be now have deduced I'm an artilleryman. I'm other things, too, but a Redleg is my core self-image as a soldier. And while I collect Tools of the Trade (tm) for soldiering in general, I also like to get cool bits of artillery kit. This is one such item. Don Sensing of OneHandClapping and I recently tried to outgeek each other in this field, talking about HE data computation, using a site stick, working the Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree is what gunnery students in at Fort Sill called the color-coded meteorological data form. Simply put, the Met Data Form was used to take met data and compute the corrections that needed to be applied to basic firing data to account for weather. This gizmo is a Swiss mechanical computer to do the same thing for the 105mm fortress gun. Yes, I figured out how to use it. Pretty cool.

by John on Sep 28, 2003