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June 15, 2008

A lazy Father's Day at Castle Argghhh!!!

I got up, did some tweaks to the new workbench. Posted some. Mowed most of the lawn before the rain hit...

Saw Kung Fu Panda...

And then... a little M1919A1 crank-gun action. The inaugural firing of this piece, which has been in the Castle holdings for some time, but which I was unwilling to fire until I had a headspace and timing gage.


The Browning MG (Semi-auto crank gun) of Argghhh! before...


The Browning MG (Semi-auto crank gun) of Argghhh! after...

I shot short belts. The stuff is expensive! And yes, I do have the T&E mechanism, but since I was firing downhill, I wasn't using it.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jun 15, 2008 | TrackBack (0)

June 5, 2008

Tease for an upcoming post.

And a whatziss, if you've an interest.

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jun 05, 2008

May 21, 2008

The Castle's Dreyse M1907.

The Dreyse M1907 in the Holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh!

Okay, I said I was going to shoot it and post about it. Well, I shot it. But not enough to post about it, because the pistol suffers from what many semi-auto pistols suffer from, especially old ones - bad lips.

Yep, bad lips.

Just to refresh, the Dreyse is a smallish, .32 ACP (7.65mm) semi-auto that weighs in at 24 oz and is 6.25 inches long. It was designed by Louis Schmeisser, and it was named after Nikolaus von Dreyse, inventor of the needle gun. The holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh! include a needle gun, though in our case it is a French Chassepot, developed in response to Herr Dreyse's weapon. The pistols were built from 1907 until 1915 by Rheinische Metallwaren und Maschinenfabrik, Sömmerda, Germany. They made over 250,000 of them for the private, military, and police markets.

[Update: Realizing I've not really given you any size cues, unless you're a gun geek already - the two bullets in the picture above are the .32 ACP and .45ACP. I know, that doesn't really help, either, unless you're a gun geek. So... click here and you get a picture with some size cues, complete with a US Quarter coin for those not into visual caliber-gauging. From top to bottom, with a bullet for each (except the .25ACP Webley on the bottom) are a Desert Eagle in .357 Magnum, a Remington-Rand M1911A1 in .45ACP, the Dreyse, in .32ACP, and the itty-bitty Webley, in .25ACP.]

The pistol is well made, and bears a resemblance to the 1900 Browning - though internally it is very different in it's mode of operation - one of the reasons it is in the Castle holdings. It has what I think is a needlessly complex trigger mechanism, and it operates differently from Browning designs in that the barrel is fixed in the receiver, and the bolt recoils out of the receiver, vice the recoiling slide and pivoting link of more conventional (and longer-lived, more widespread) designs. One can't help but think this *feature* didn't really serve well in the dirt of the trenches. Unlike most semi-auto pistols, which you grasp at the rear to pull back to load and cock the weapon, on the Dreyse you grasped the front at those serrations and pulled back - to me, that is *not* an optimal approach. And generations of subsequent designers and users agree with me, I think. Overall it's a fairly simple pistol, (excepting that trigger) though getting the spring out can result in launching the bushing 50 feet if you're not careful (said the voice of experience).

Dreyse M1907 at max recoil.

So, get to the "lips" bit, screams the peanut gallery. Simple. The magazine has bad lips. They're damaged and misshapen enough that it won't hold more than one round. The spring (another Usual Suspect in magazine failures) is in fine fettle however. When I took my thumb off the second round I'd loaded, it promptly launched both rounds at my face, hitting apogee about two inches away...

Badly worn lips on the Dreyse M1907 magazine.

You put more than one round in the magazine, and they all just pop right out. It will hold exactly one round. This doesn't lend itself to a fun day of shooting, either. The magazine lips are curse of semi-auto pistols, and the source of many reliability problems associated with them. This type of pistol is also picky about what kind of ammunition you shoot - wrong bullet shape, they won't feed. Wrong bullet weight/powder charge or improper grip of the pistol by the shooter, and they won't cycle fully. Problems revolvers don't suffer. But people like the magazine capacity of the semi-auto... and if you know what you're doing, they work pretty well.

Back to the magazine. With so little lip left to work with, the only reason that magazine isn't going into the metal recycling bin is because it's an original magazine, with all the markings that European makers like to put on the bits and pieces of their work, and tossing it would reduce the value of the pistol. But the Triple-K Company specializes in making magazines for obsolete weapons - so we'll get the old girl shooting again, just as we ordered a magazine from them for the Castle's Webley in .25 ACP.

And *that* will be another post. So, in a sense, I got two posts out of this malfunction.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 21, 2008

May 15, 2008

Taking down Barney.

Two Denizenne's of Argghhh! went shooting recently, resulting in the timely demise of this paragon of evil...

So sorry, Barney.

Well, there were obviously *some* problems here. So, use this GTA (milspeak for Graphical Training Aid) to help Brab out.

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If that one is too hard for you to read, click here.

And, if she's left-handed... that would be this GTA.

I'm sure she'll tell us she was aiming for the bowtie.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 15, 2008

May 10, 2008

Let's have a whatziss!

So, what *is* that thing clinging to the front lens of this aiming circle - what does it do?

What the heck, it's Saturday, I'm going to be busy, so are you, if the server logs are any indicators over time.

This is a Soviet-era aiming circle. They loved to make complicated aiming circles. They made pretty accurate instruments, too - with one artifact that made them less precise than western circles. The Russians based their circular measurement on a 6000 degree circle. Western armies initially used 360 degrees, like a standard compass (which is less accurate than the Russian measurement) but later shifted over to mils, of which there are 6400 in a circle. That being determined by the fact that a circle of 1 kilometer diameter has a circular measurement of 6400 meters - meaning that one mil of movement left or right describes a movement of 1 meter at 1 kilometer. This gives a nice easy way to determine all sorts of things when surveying, or aiming cannon. The Russian approach is slightly less accurate - but they tended to make up for that will volume of fire.

The aiming circle is essentially a simple theodolite - an instrument designed to measure angles, whether vertical or horizontal.

Orient the aiming circle on a known direction, whether using surveyed lines or a built-in compass to orient to north (applying that declination constant, of course - a measurement that accounts for the deviation of magnetic north from true north, as well as local and instrument variations, only good for the local region, but that's a long boring post I won't bother you with...).

Once you've done that, you can then apply the principle of "opposite interior angles are equal" and lay your guns so that all are pointed the same direction. Another somewhat boring post I probably won't write, but ya never know, I might get grumpy and decide to punish you with the gory details.

Anyway - this Russian aiming circle has an attachment on it, not normally used. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to its purpose? I will give a clue that should help out 'Murican artillerymen - the US approach to this problem was both simpler, yet periodically required depot-level services.

Here are two more pics, to help you in your pondering. A largish one.. And this one:

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The item whose purpose you're trying to identify is the gizmo on the left side of the intstrument. What looks like a black knob is in fact an eyepiece. What looks like a silver knob on the right, is *also* an eyepiece - and the main one, that you look through when sighting the instrument. The gizmo we're concerned with is in fact hooked on to circle in such a way it blocks the main viewer completely - since for the purpose of the gizmo, it's simply a convenient place to mount it so that you can level the gizmo. The silver knob in the middle - *that's* a knob. They key clue here is... the plane of view of the gizmo is perpendicular to the plane of view of the basic instrument.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 10, 2008

April 25, 2008

This being ANZAC day... a little something else for the Gunnies who visit.

Staying alive in the trenches. While helping the "other guy" fail in that activity. This was the source of much ingenuity, such as these Aussies in an outpost in the trenches at Gallipoli.

Australian troops using a trench-mount for the SMLE to annoy the Turks at Gallipoli.

The Digger on the right is using a periscope to spot for the Digger standing on the left who is using a trench mount to remotely aim and fire his rifle.

The other two are killing time, thinking of home and wishing they were elsewhere - but they're ready... three bayonets-mounted rifles lean against the trench wall in the center.

The Castle Armory counts in its holdings a slightly more polished version of that trench mount. While my personal opinion is that this is probably a reproduction that includes original parts, construction of these mounts varied widely, and it's possible that this is a true original. But the Castle Exchequer *paid* as if it was a repro, and it is represented here as such.

The Castle's SMLE Trench Mount.

Simple enough - strap your rifle into the frame, insert the periscope, load and cock the rifle, slide up over the parapet... and then fiddle the 'scope until you can properly see the sights. Wedge the scope to hold the sight picture... and start looking for targets.

Downside is that you do have to pull it down or crawl up a bit to reload, which means you usually have to refiddle the periscope.

I've not had a chance to shoot it in this configuration, not yet having found or built a suitable place where I feel I could conduct that experiment safely, without danger of a shot going high and off-property. I have had a chance to get exasperated by the periscope, however!

For those of an interest - a larger format version of the SMLE Trench Mount can be had by clicking here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 25, 2008

April 21, 2008

Since we're so full of God and Guns the last few days...

...might as well have a gun, I'm thinking. Just in case any varmints want to sneek around the demesne at night... we've got that covered. Romanian AK-clone, Czech night vision sight. I've got the battery pack, too, but haven't figured a battery source or work-around.

The Castle's Romanian semi-auto AK-clone sporting a Czech night vision sight.  Just the thing for all sorts of varmints that skulk around the demesne in the hours of darkness.

Larger version available here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 21, 2008

April 16, 2008

Arms Room Update.

I think I owe the Gunnies something... and what the heck, there's an Easter Egg (in the computer software sense) in there, too.

One of these things is not like the other!

And for those recoiling in shock and horror - anything you see in that picture is legal where I live, in the condition it's in - which means things that look like full-auto, aren't. They're either deactivated/dummies or semi-auto. Which means, for example, that Carl Gustav in there has a bore-sized hole in the barrel (thoughtfully cut so that the cheek pad covers it) and that PIAT was removed from the NFA list years ago, and transfers as a Class 1 firearm - just like a rifle. The recent scary story from Florida notwithstanding (last bit in this post here), your chances of finding shootable ammunition for a PIAT are effectively zero. The hosers in Florida who were "firing" their PIAT into the lake were probably thinking the firing pin (which is huge, and is *also* the recoil mechanism) was "spring-launching" whatever they were launching for projectiles. Which, based on my experiments with tennis balls, means about 50 feet. With something as light as a tennis ball. Heh. I've even asked around the people I know who have some idea of what's available on the international market for things like this... and live ammo for a PIAT isn't on the list. Hence why the Feds took it off the NFA list, lo those many years ago.

The artillery projectiles in the picture are all inert, too. Nothing at the Castle explodes. We live there for heavens sakes, and have cats! Aside from being illegal without some serious documentation, it's just dumb to have a risk like that. Want to guarantee the Fire Department will show up and roast marshmallows while your house burns? Tell 'em you've got live artillery rounds in there. Or hand grenades. Lose your home *and* go to jail. Good luck with the insurance company, too.

Want to spend a longer time in jail? *Don't* tell 'em. Then you'll really get to spend some quality time with scary men who see you as their Marilyn Monroe.

Same pic, larger format - click here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 16, 2008

April 7, 2008

Some guys just don't have any class at all.

I mean, c'mon. Okay, I got this.

And he's got this:

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And this.

Okay, I admit to a *leetle* bit of envy...

But the indoor rifle range is just... pretentious, yannowhutImean?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 07, 2008

April 4, 2008

Princess Crabby Demands it.

Really. She did. In the comments of yesterday's H&I Fires.

Therefore, we must comply, right?

Well, in her multiverse, anyway.

A new whatziss.

Not a component. Complete. Not a demurely applied pasty or blur in sight (except for jpg artifacts, tough noogies). Okay - it *isn't* in its storage box, but hey, *that* has a pretty revealing label which would take away the fun. Well, my fun, anyway.

C'mon, somone knows what this gizmo is!

Just a Whatzis for your Friday-no-doubt-sequing-into-the-weekend pleasure.

Go for it. Amusemaze me!

Oh, if you think it will help - larger pic available here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 04, 2008

March 28, 2008

The Whatziss, revealed!

Blake got it right.

Magazine loader, for the Bren gun.

Bren gun magazine loader.

You may all kiss his ring.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 28, 2008

March 26, 2008

Let's try an easier one.

Easier one what? Whatziss, after that poser Bill embarrassed me with...

So, whatziss?

The only clue I'll offer this early is that it is soooo last century.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 26, 2008

March 19, 2008

Tossing Javelins

Many of you have probably seen this video of a Javelin missile being fired at a fully combat-loaded T-72 tank.

One of the things to notice is the little object that flies into the air above the smoke cloud. That would be the turret - the part normally containing guys like MajMike (Sorry, dude, hadta say that).

Continuing that theme - at 28 seconds into it, you see the tank get hit from a rear angle... at 37 seconds, you see a small eruption of dirt on the right side of the frame. That would be the turret landing...


All in all, the thing looks like this when the smoke clears.

The rest of it is somewhat scattered about.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 19, 2008

March 17, 2008

Tidying up.

On the lingering Whatzis's...

Yes, that last bolt, unidentified until shown in it's bolt carrier - belongs to the Castle's Desert Eagle Mk VII in .357 Magnum.

The Desert Eagle in the holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh!

I got that pistol back in the late 80's, I was just tickled at the thought of a gas-operated handgun. You have to give it the right fodder, and grip it firmly, or it won't function reliably - I'll say that much! No light loads. I'll do a Gun Pr0n expose' on that pistol sometime in the future, if life will slow down just a touch.

Okay - the "sausage maker" whatziss...

Lombard  centrifugal gun. US National Archives.

It isn't a kitchen appliance. It's a "powderless machine gun".

During WWI, the Army needed lots of weapons, fast. So, the word was spread that anyone with a design for anything remotely like a machine gun should bundle it up and submit it to the Army for evaluation. Every garage tinkerer had an idea - none of which would best John Browning's design, to be sure, but there were some oddities!

Meet the “Lombard Centrifugal Gun”, the invention of a Mr. Levi W. Lombard of Mattapan, Massachusetts. An article from the Repository, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania reported in it's March 18, 1918 edition:

Powderless Machine Gun Tried

Boston March 8: A powderless machine gun that will fire from ten to fitly bullets a second, is the invention of Levi W. Lombard of Mattapan, and Earl E. Ovington, of Newton. The latter will be remembered as one of Boston's first aviators.
The gun is in effect nothing more than an enlarged slingshot. A company has been incorporated to manufacture them. The gun action is simple. It is a revolving disc, which emits bullets after they have traveled on its surface. The machine fires round bullets. Those used in the tests had steel bearings. The shot is fed into a hopper at the side of the gun and as the disk
revolves it throws the bullet at a terrific force through a slot.
The test was made at the Wakefield Police Range and the gun proved its effectiveness by piercing three-eighths-inch boiler plate at 200 yards, and cutting through a two-inch door from the same distance.
The first gun was operated by electricity. Its inventors, knowing that only a limited power can be obtained from this source, will operate it by steam at its next test.

More below the fold, in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 17, 2008

March 14, 2008

Finishing up this week's Whatziss.

I know, I still owe an answer to Part 1 of last week's. Get over it. If you missed the beginning and part two, click those links. This one was just too geeky. Couldn't even get people to mock it!

So, while there was some talk of SKS's, artillery, tanks, and the M240 machine gun, the bolt on the left in the original post was that of a Romanian AK47 clone. So you got that - and credit is given for the PSL, once I knew what it was... Here it is in context, in it's bolt carrier.

Pretty much everybody got the one in the middle - it's the bolt from an M16-style rifle. Here it is in the context of it's bolt carrier.

Nobody got the twisty one.

Here it is in context of it's bolt carrier.

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Larger picture can be had by clicking here.

Now the grognards ought to be able to nail it.

A simple example of setting an expectation and letting it drive your analysis. Kinda like the way politicians use intel...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 14, 2008

March 13, 2008

Well, we had some good tries.

And we do seem to know our M-16/M-4/AR-15 bolts.

We're a little unclear on the the others.

Yes, they're bolts.

Here they are in profile.

C'mon, you're getting closer!

Keep workin' it. You're one for three. Well, except for Pogue. He's two for three...

For a larger version: click here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 13, 2008

March 12, 2008

Work gets in the way sometimes. So, a Whatziss!

Or email does. I was going to do a nice, longish post this morning, but a small blog-controversy got dropped in my lap this morning (blast and heat from something going on in comments over at Blackfive) and my response ate my blogtime today.

So, I'll go with something a little shorter, for the gunnies who still visit.

Heh. This post is, in a weird way, tangentially related to that derailing email this morning...

So, what are they - and which ones do they go with.

Simple enough, and both easy and hard. Hard depends on how much a geek on the topic you are, and which rabbit holes your geekiness takes you down.

1. Are they all the same thing? If so, what are they? If not - well, what are they? Careful how you decide your sets for the Venn diagram.

2. After you've figured out what they are - what are they components of?

There's sneakiness hiding in there. I am the Armorer after all, and that's a trait when it comes to the Whatziss'

And I know, I owe you an answer from last week's whatziss. Blame Cannoneer #4, he who sent me the blog-ambushing email this morning!

If you just *have* to have a larger version of the pic - click here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 12, 2008

March 9, 2008

Partially answering the Whatziss...

Why? Because I'm going to be on the road this week, with daytime meetings followed by evening skull sessions to digest the results to take into the next days meetings. IOW, I'm gonna be busy, so I'm spending time today pre-building posts for the week! So my two-fer post is going to end up... two answer posts!

And to make it worse - in reverse order. Of course, thinking about it - I'll probably have faster access at the hotel. Just not the time.

Okay - the question was -

What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you see this picture?

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The first thing that pops into my mind was a shorter version of what TmjUtah said:

The second pic? That boy is young and full of optimism. Let him hit forty or so and he'll remember well every single 'nade he fired from the shoulder.

For me, it was simply "Ouch."

Yep, it's a young soldier, in a clean uniform, in a staged photo from a training manual. He's demonstrating one of the ways to fire a Mills Bomb from a rifle. Given the little axiom of "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" firing the not-terribly-light Mills Bomb from the shoulder like that is going to involve some serious recoil.

Never having fired a grenade of that weight (1 pound 11 ounces) from the shoulder (but having fired rifle grenades) I don't know if the kick will be enough to knock him over in that stance, as Ry suggested, but I do know I would probably have my feet positioned differently. Of course, one would hope they had done this before writing the manual, and perhaps that is the optimal stance. I dunno. I've got a SMLE, and I've got rodded Mills Bombs (better known as the "Rifle Grenade, .303, Mk 23", and I've got grenade-launching blanks... but sorry, I'm not going to test it for you. But I will go into more detail on the subject in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry if you've the interest.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 09, 2008

March 7, 2008

The Brit's new sniper rifles.

L115A3 Long Range Rifle, made by Accuracy International

For a readable version of that graphic - click here.

The L96 sniper rifle and the L115A3 Long Range Rifle are used by military snipers in all the Brit Services.

Designed to achieve first-round hit at 600m and harassing fire out to 1100m, the Accuracy International L96 sniper rifle has been upgraded with a new 3-12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.

The L115A3 Long Range Rifle fires an 8.59mm bullet, heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96, and less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.

Sniper Rifle L96

Calibre: 7.62mm
Weight: 6.5kg
Length: (adjustable) 1124-1194mm
Muzzle velocity: 838m/s
Feed: 10-round box
Effective range: 900m, harassing fire 1100m

Long Range Rifle L115A3

Calibre: 8.59mm
Weight: 6.8kg
Length: 1300mm
Muzzle velocity: 936m/s
Feed: 5-round box
Effective range: 1100m plus

Hmmm. Me want. H/t, Jim C.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 07, 2008

Let's have another obscure item for a Whatziss...

And it's not a close-up of a fromkitz gear, edge-on, that is only 2mm big but photo'd to appear ginormous, either.

Just in case Bill shows up.

So, whatcha think this is?

Let's make it a two-fer. What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you see this picture? I'm guessing your answer will tell us something about you and your life to date.

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 07, 2008

March 5, 2008

If it's Mattel, it's swell!

Just for fun.

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 05, 2008

February 24, 2008

A busy Saturday.

First up was a planning meeting for the next Rotary year (starts in July) with the new board and incoming President, that shot the bolt for the morning. Good meeting, in that "all volunteer" board kind of way.

The afternoon, well, that was time for a little putting the Demesne to the purpose *I* had in mind when we bought it last summer - a place to exercise the Arsenal of Argghhh!

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I tootled over the creek to put up the target stand about 100ft away. I brought out the L1A1 (Brit parts kit built on an Israeli-made inch-pattern reciever), the M1A (which sits in beater wood and currently has the grenade launcher on it, since that's how I display it), and the O.R.C. (Bushmaster Optics Ready Carbine, an M4 clone, which SWWBO got for Christmas, but has yet to pull a trigger... no reason to let it sit idle, besides the scope needed some tuning to the rifle). For some fun plinking at the spinners, I brought out the Arsenal's wartime-capture P38 and the Castle's Luger, a pistol which served the Imperial, Weimar, Nazi, and East German governments.

L1A1 at 100ft, irons sights, standing, supported.  This rifle, or this rifle and the ammunition I was shooting, has.. 'issues'.

First up was the L1A1. I knew it was going to shoot low, the front sight post was extremely high, and I was right it shot low and to the right. More disturbingly, out of six rounds, at least three bullets tumbled, as you can see in this pic. I quit firing at that point. Milsurp weapons are always a crap shoot, and some, shoot crappy. I was using remanufactured ammunition, too - but it was the same ammo I was shooting in the M1A, however. I'm going to have to slug the bore and do some tweaking on the L1A1. Anyone with similar experience is invited to share their collected wisdom on the subject.

M1A group at 100ft, standing supported iron sights.  The flyer lower center is from a different rifle.

Since the center of the target was still available, I used it for the M1A. Shooting standing, supported, iron sights. Have I mentioned I *like* the M1A? If I were going to go shoot in the competition in Colorado in May, this would be the rifle I would take. Nine rounds, no flyers. The one in the lower right is one of the flyers from the L1A1. The M1A and I are tuned together.

Bushmaster ORC, an M4 clone.  I was aiming at the center of the cutout.  100 ft, standing, supported, with 2 power scope.  1st group is to the right.  Adjusted the scope, the next group.  Adjusted again, the 3 shot small group where I wanted it, if by then I was getting a little impatient with the trigger...

This is from the Bushmaster ORC. I was aiming at the center of the cutout in the picture. 100 ft, standing, supported, with 2 power scope. 1st group is to the right. I adjusted the scope, yielding the center group. Adjusted again, and the 3 shot small group went where I wanted it, if by then I was getting a little impatient with my trigger pull. The 25 degree temp may have had something to do with it, too.

The pistols were just for plinking. I've not shot the P38 since I bought it. If it didn't shoot any better for it's previous owner than it did for me... I understand why it got captured. The Luger shot just fine, as it always does.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 24, 2008

February 19, 2008

I didn't really take the whole weekend off...

...we did have a winter storm blow through that caused us to lose connectivity to the satellite. We got around 8 inches of snow in about 5 hours. The fluffy, heavy, wet stuff. Fortunately, it came with enough wind that it didn't build up too much on the trees, which haven't had a chance to recover from the ice storm yet.

Saturday, I did take off to get some work done 'round the Castle while the weather briefly permitted. That involved schlepping all the downed limbs from the ice storm of December and building a funeral pyre for them. It's green wood, so it took all day to burn the debris of the 6 trees in the immediate area, what with cutting them up and piling them on, and keeping the fire hot enough to burn green wood without too much smoke (it was all Chinese Elm).

Sunday, we got hit with the snow, and the temps were back in the teens. So, I worked on the Vickers guns in the basement.

Vickers guns, before I got working.

I have two versions of the Vickers, the corrugated water jacket and the later smooth water jacket. I keep them (generally) in WWI configuration for the corrugated jacket gun, and WWII Indirect Fire configuration for the smooth jacket. Both are ex-Turkish guns. The smooth jacket sits in an Australian WWII tripod, the other in the original Turk tripod, which sits higher, and has provision for an anti-aircraft extension in the long leg of the tripod. Purists are gouging out their eyes already, as I've got mixed parts and bits from all the users of the Vickers - Brit, Aussie, Kiwi, South African, Canadian, and Indian, too. Part of the appeal of the gun to me is all the users, and the true interchangeability of the parts. Purists are also tearing their hair at the anachronism on the corrugated jacket gun as currently displayed... Let's see if there are any purists present who will point it out...

These particular guns are dummies made by Sarco. As such, they have thicker-than-original sideplates, and do not have the recoil plates installed. The reason for the thicker sideplates is so that the recoil plates *cannot* be installed, making it much harder to rework the guns into a shootable condition. They are also minutely longer than the original receivers, so that the locks will not come far enough forward to actually strip a round from the belt. The Vickers/Maxim locks (Vickers on the left, Maxim on the right in the linked picture) are fully capable of firing a cartridge without the cartridge being in the chamber. The firing pins on the locks have been nipped, so that they won't protrude through the lock - but since the locks can be removed, idiots and the ignorant could still get themselves in real trouble.

Another artifact of this particular ATF-approved design is that the maker didn't want to do to the extra effort to drill and tap holes for the "check lever," which is a prominent component of the Vickers gun. It served to help regulate the firing speed of the gun and to prevent the charging handle from moving too far when the gun starts to wear. Simply put, they didn't come with the guns. The guns were also missing the tripod stop (which was a Brit variation not present on the Turk guns). While all the other bits and pieces were present, some weren't in the best of shape, so I spent the day cleaning and repairing and doing some arranging in the display. I'm going to build some stepped shelves to put the gunners kits and platoon parts chest, etc, on.

So, I went digging into the bits and pieces I've been collecting for 11 years now (I started after SWWBO gave me the early version of the gun for Christmas before we got married) and spent a lazy afternoon epoxying on the check levers (after some judicious grinding off of two bosses that would have fit into the sideplate), cleaning up some rust that was starting to show through the paint, replacing water plugs that didn't have the heat resistant scales on them with ones that did. And more stuff like that. I'll behead some screws to put in the screw holes on the check lever mounting plates - because I'm too lazy to drill and tap, too.

I then swapped the WWII gun so that it faces the wall, and a visitor can see the dial sight and clinometer of the indirect fire configuration (as well as the gunner's end of the gun) and the WWI gun is facing the viewer, to give them access to that view. I then arranged a good chunk of the bits and pieces around (there's more, believe me) to add visual appeal and provide props when I drone on about the guns to unsuspecting visitors. Still plenty of work to do, but I thought I'd share a window into the slow progress on the Arms Room of Argghhh!

Vickers guns, after I was done working.

If you'd like a little closer a view, click here.

Oh, and if you'd like to own a shootable Vickers - there is one available right now. Aside from not being legal in Kansas (and because it's a sideplate gun, possibly not in Missouri, either - though an original would be), the price is one reason why I don't own any shooters.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 19, 2008

February 3, 2008

I haven't been a complete slug this weekend...

It was just a busy week, with the Dole Institute panel discussion, and several other evening events, plus I'm working a new task that is just sucking up the brain cells as I get up to speed as the powerlifter running with the gazelles...

So, yesterday I joined two of my good Rotary buddies, Beau and Jim, to set up a WWI-themed table at the Fort Leavenworth Militaria show yesterday.

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The young gent on the left is Beau. Ladies and gents - meet a guy with more stuff than I have. Beau's coolest contribution to our table was his collection of rare M1911's. As in - he has an M1911 .45 that was made by the Canadian company North American Arms... one of 100 they made before the war ended and the contract was cancelled. Oddly enough, I was too excited about all the other stuff to take a picture... Beau also had his Pedersen Device...

Pedersen device installed in a M1903 Springfield Rifle.

...complete with holster, transit case, magazine and boxes of ammo...

My contribution was the Castle's Auld Vick, the corrugated water jacket version of the Vickers Medium Machine Gun, in a WWI configuration.

Since I had both Gunner's kits, the platoon parts chest and other stuff out for the display, I went through and did an inventory of the parts I had - and found I actually did have the spares I needed to bring both guns up to full (legal) spec, and to get the WWII smooth-jacketed gun into WWII indirect fire condition, and the WWI into a more complete Great War config.

So I spent this afternoon swapping parts, replacing parts, and in general playing... Armorer...

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Life is good - at least until the Nanny State decides that even deactivated guns are too dangerous for mere mortals. Even ones they trusted with nuclear weapons..

I really was having fun - even if that pic up top looks like I was contemplating the horror of another Clinton Presidency with a Democratic House and Senate to run roughshod over everybody and everything... which I say because I don't trust the Republicans to fight as hard as the Dems do when they're out of power...

Hey! How'd politics sneak inta here?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 03, 2008

January 4, 2008

Argghhh! My eyes! My eyes!

This is one way around the "Ugly Black Rifle" predjudice of anti-gunners.

The AK-47 version... (gotta love that stock sock...)

Pretty in Pink...

More frighteningly... the California-legal M4 version...

Prettier in Pink

To restore your manliness... click here and read about Crazy Einar's choice of the 10 manliest firearms, subimitted by JTG.

I should mention that today's choice for ice breaking (the pond will now support the weight of the horses) was driven by ammunition constraints - I used the Castle's historically and regionally appropriate M1884 Ramrod Bayonet Springfield Trapdoor Rifle.

M1884 Ramrod Bayonet Springfield Trapdoor Rifle.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 04, 2008

December 21, 2007

Unscientific Firearms Testing.

When your internet access is slow, television blows, and what the heck, you own a farm with a pond, gotta get water for the horses, own a few guns, and have some time on your hands... what's an Armorer to do?

Well, go shoot, of course. But for a noble purpose! To break up the ice on the pond so the horses can get to it to drink...

At the same time, I can show off the Castle's newest acquistion... SWWBO's Christmas present. That's right, guys, I got my wife a rifle for Christmas and it was *appreciated!* I bask in the green glow of your envy. KCSteve and Heartless Lib excluded, since they found similar women. Heh. Ya shoulda seen the reaction at the office when I told my compatriots of my gift-giving acumen. The opinion was universal that I was making a HUGE MISTAKE. Hah.

So, meet SWWBO's new bangstick. She's been wanting a "black rifle" for a long time. She likes the SKS (especially the Albanian) but she was hoping for something with a little less kick, but still serviceable as a varmint gun - the coyotes around here have been sniffing around the chicken/guinea coop, and the cats like to sneak out now and again, and SWWBO wants to be able to deal with predators should the need arise.

Her new farming implement is a [ Armorer's note - the designation having caused some questions, this section has been added to] Bushmaster XM15-E2S, according to the receiver. Cabelas, where I bought it, called it an M15S. As a reader noted, Bushmaster doesn't market any such beast - but they do have the O.R.C.©, or Optics Ready Carbine, which is what this rifle probably is.], essentially an M4-clone with a Picatinny rail sporting a TruGlo aimpoint-style sight. With the intechangeability of uppers and lowers in the M16 universe... who knows? I'm not so interested that I'm going to ak Bushmaster if they're using XM15 lowers with their O.R.C.© uppers.] Just in case she feels the need to get up close and personal, this is a post-ban rifle with a bayonet lug, though getting a bayonet isn't really in the plan. A laser, perhaps, but I don't see SWWBO suddenly feeling the need to use cold steel nor go commit drive-by bayonetings...

So, here's SWWBO's new farm implement:

SWWBO's Bushmaster M15S

If you'd like to see it a little closer... click here.

Okay, on to unscientific experimentation. Which rifle/caliber choice works best for breaking up the ice - at least this particular form of ice, being a couple of inches thick, but not really rock hard. Now, if you recall last week I mentioned that I had already done a little ice-breaking, using my 1916 dated Mosin-Nagant M91 and my SVT-40 carbine (which might be an actual carbine, or might be one of the fakes that came out of Finland, the provenance is murky on the issue). One of the reasons I decided to try it at all is that with the ice storm, walking down the rocky hill to the edge of the pond was treacherous. With the rifle I could stand on top of the hill, on level ground by the gate, and break up the ice without risking my ample behind and limbs clambering down the hill carrying an axe or pick.

Here's a look at the Castle IceBreakers.

The fodder being used was Sellier and Bellot 7.62x54R 180 grain ball. The 5.56mm for the Bushmaster was Black Hills Ammunition 55 grain ball. I'll have to try softpoints next.

This is the target area.

One a whim, I shot 10 rounds from the SVT, and 20 from the Bushmaster (hey, I *said* unscientific).

The is the result - 7.62 on the left, 5.56 on the right. In overall terms, the 7.62 dd a better job... but both would have been sufficient for the purpose - especially as the horses enlarge the holes themselves. If you're curious about the partial melt on the pond - it's spring fed, and the way the spring empties into the pond causes a current against the bank on this side of the pond.

So, there ya go, a quick and dirty examination of what tools to use for ice-breaking out at Castle Argghhh! If this was MIssouri, and the Castle Vickers or Maxims were functional... much less the Carl Gustaf or M18 recoiless rifles...

To close this out - below the fold in the flash traffic/extended entry I've posted a picture of a Sarah BradySchumerRodhamStein nightmare...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 21, 2007

December 6, 2007

That whatzis, revealed.

Reader "Bystander" gets it 95% right in his response to this post, which is a continuation of this post.

This is a RPG-7 close-up view, the part in the upper left corner is the trigger group (typical silver-ish finish) with the safety in view.

The metal band in the middle is one of the 2 metal rings that secures the rear sight of the RPG-7 to the launcher body. The rear sight can be seen in the lower right corner, slighly off-centered to help right handed shooters. (the RPG7 isnt ambidextrous)

The sling visible under is of the russian Canvas type and has the same rivets that AK Series weapons use. The small part visible at the lower left is probably the "rear" grip.

Yes, and no. We're not exactly sure what its designation is, actually. As we'll show in a bit, and perhaps some of you smart guys will have an answer. And the "safety" that Bystander refers to is in fact the hammer - the RPG is fired via a percussion cap.

But constructively - yes. It *is* an RPG-7.

A -7, not the much more commonly seen RPG-7V, which has provision for the optical sight. This launcher does not. The visual puzzle I posed in the first post was simply of that portion of an RPG launcher you don't normally see - the portion of the barrel that is covered by the heat shields. In yesterday's post, aside from the close-up, the only thing I did was orient the picture in a way that again, you weren't used to seeing a launcher - though many, if not most of you, have never actually seen an RPG launcher up close anyway. This example came without the wood scales that normally cover the front and rear hand-grips. For display purposes, I have a set of modified East German scales I use. The interesting aspect of that is... the grips on this version *do not* scale correctly to other RPG-7s. Both grips are slightly smaller, the front grip more so than the rear grip. And the actual structure of the foregrip is different, too.

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The provenance provided with this launcher when it entered Castle stocks in the late 1990's was that it had come out of Israel and was of home-made Palestinian origin. This was plausible, as it came from the same container that held the Carl Gustav 84mm recoiless rifle in the Castle Arms Room, which, while Swedish-made, has clear Israeli markings on it. But there was no documentation to support this, just the word of the importer, repeating what I assume the Israeli brokers told him.

All of this came up recently, when a Marine Gunner dropped a note on me asking if I could give him pictures of the launcher. Among his many other duties (the Armorer worships the ground a Marine Gunner walks on) he puts together books for deploying Marines on the foreign gear they may encounter while deployed. He was looking for some decent pics of RPGs and stumbled into the Armory of Argghhh! Which had a (admittedly) crappy pic, and did I have any good ones? I didn't. So I took some for him. And we had a back and forth about the launcher - the gist of which I supply below the fold in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 06, 2007

December 5, 2007

Answering the Whatzis...

Didja know that HomefrontSix can toss large rocks into the central US from that island in the Pacific she lives on?

I've been duckin' 'em all week, as her annoyance with me grows over my laggardly tidying up of that loose end.

Those of you who said weapon barrel were correct, as far as that aspect went.

No one was even close on *which* weapon barrel.

And that was because I showed you an aspect of it that is usually hidden from view.

And I'm not going to answer it yet. Because I have faith in you. I know you can get this, complete.

C'mon, you know what this is!

So, go for it.

There's still one metaphoric wing left, Lia.

8^ )

Oh, that would be *this* Whatzis.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 05, 2007

November 24, 2007

Time for a whatzis!

So, what izzit?

Hey, I even gave you an indicator of *scale*! This is a gimme!

One caveat - Nick, you can't play.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 24, 2007

November 8, 2007

The Whatzis, coda.

Okay - what's the whatzis?

Meet the Black Knight, a semi-autonomous robot combat vehicle built as a corporate venture by BAE, and currently being evaluated as a technology demonstrator by the Army.

BAE's Black Knight.

A larger version is available here.

Here's a little context for you:

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Smaller than a Bradley, bigger than a HMMWV. And unmanned. It's controlled by a guy inside that Bradley. And has the ability to operate on it's own, in a limited fashion, for navigation. It does use many Bradley components.

Both of those elements are why that muzzle brake is bunged. It's hard to control a remote control vehicle using a TV screen.

Speaking of the gun... those of you, like Pat, who were zeroing in on 30/40mm chain guns, especially the Alliant TechSystems ones, were sniffing very close. ATK did indeed make that muzzle brake, out of aluminum, as a one-off for BAE.

The gun isn't real. It's decorative. Because the Army isn't quite ready yet for armed semi-autonomous robots that are armed and armored like that. What's that you say? SWORDS, the armed robots currently in Iraq? There's no autonomy there. They do what human controllers tell them to do - not what a software algorithm thinks might be a good idea.

Oh - and yeah, it was too out there in the wild for you to find. But now it's out there much more clearly, from a photographic standpoint.

And all you fellas should walk with your heads hanging in shame.

Because Homefront Six GOT IT!

Yew rawk, gurl!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 08, 2007

November 7, 2007

The Whatzis, day 4, the pain continues.

In the brief bit of time between finishing my expense voucher and heading back to the airport to head for Vegas and the Blogworld Expo, I better put up another installation of the Whatzis saga before HomeFront Six crawls through the digital pipe and grabs me by the neck and shakes me like a puppy.

Okay. We'll change tack here. Yesterday I gave hints as to the *mount* this thing was in. Let's take a look at the running gear of what this thing is mounted *on*.

Mebbe that will help.


Okay, I'm sure this will make it clear to everybody!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 07, 2007

November 6, 2007

Whatzis... day the third.

Okay, let's help Home Front Six out a bit.

Here's a more full context.


Ah-ah-ah! You're leaping to conclusions, those of you with a little knowledge.

It is *not* one of these, however much you may wish it so.

And tomorrow, in the reveal, I'll explain why that muzzle brake is bunged up, too.

You may continue.

Oh, you are going to be sooooo annoyed with me. More than you are already. Rod - I really *am* going all "De Sade" on you with this one.

By the way - have you been to the Project Valour-IT auction site yet? C'mon - bid against people you know and like, instead of faceless strangers on eBay! Someone already skunked me out of the Chris Muir cartoon - but I bid the weasel up to $1001 dollars, so s/he hadda want it, eh? And Maggie - that only helps the AF Team, so I needed your $500 to help offset that...

Oh, and while you're at it - skip lunch today at that over-priced restaurant and donate that money instead to Project Valour-IT. You know you want to.



Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 06, 2007

November 5, 2007

Whatzis, Day 2.

Snerk. Really made HFS wait. Hey, I slept in - I'm on the night mission schedule.

Okay, here's a bit more context.

C'mon, this isn't that hard...  besides, I'm just doing this to set up a post.

So, yeah, it's a muzzle brake. And yes, it's kinda bunged up - which is usually not characteristic of muzzle brakes, since they aren't a component of digging tools.

But what's the system it's a component of? And yes, it's out there.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 05, 2007

November 4, 2007

Okay - let's have a Whatzis today.

I've received a complaint that there has been too much toothsome chewy faux-intellectual discourse (or maudlin self-pity) 'round here of late, so here's a Whatzis for you today.


You may begin.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 04, 2007

October 28, 2007

Finally, again. Well, not really finally.

Y'know, like, it's going to change again. And again. And I'll probably have to expand it.

In fact I know I will, it just got mostly done and I'm still short two racks.

It went from this and this to this and this.

Then, we installed this.

And it became time to load the Arms Room of Argghhh!!!

So, step in the door, then turn to your right, head down the hall, turn around and look back up towards the door.

The Exterior Guard took a tour of the internal defenses.

And the Arms Room hosted our first visitors. Not local collectors and shooters, nor the Armorer's local buds. Not famous and not-so-famous Gun Bloggers. Nope, the first visitors to the Arms Room of Argghhh! were gurls. SWWBO hosted a very small gathering at the Castle this weekend - and Wendy, Tammy, Stacy and SWWBO were the first to visit the mostly-loaded (though still not organized for proper display) Arms Room. They were closely watched by the Exterior Guard and sniffed for contraband (or treats) prior to exiting the Arms Room.

But, 'tis finally done.

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Mostly. Kinda. Well, there might be *some* things needing doing. Expansion, even. Just sayin'.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 28, 2007

October 26, 2007

I'm thinking we need some gun pr0n...

In two flavors...

Some machineguns... I'll let the Vulture Brothers talk about 'em in detail if they'd like - since they all used 'em at one time or another.

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Second, some manly guns. Midgets, mind you, but manly nonetheless. Some M119's, grown weary in service in Afghanistan, awaiting the tender loving care of the rebuilders.

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The latter pic is provided by a sekrit correspondent in the 'Stan, who will remain forever nameless, at their request - which is sad, because they sends us the nicest pictures! She's a nice, tidy piece, if a bit quirky.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 26, 2007

October 8, 2007

I'm off to catch a plane...

...and because we don't have internet access (dial-up is *not* internet access anymore) until later this week, and I've been busy moving the Arsenal, posting has been light, and this is all I'm probably going to get up today, until I hit the hotel this evening.

But, 'tis done.

The Arms Room has gone from this, to this...

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Now, the display cases don't have their tops yet, and the rifle racks aren't installed, but loading has commenced, and the place is secure... because with the movement of the Arsenal, we are now prepared to Repel Boarders. Well, we would be if I had inserted a feed strip into that Hotchkiss.

Hotchkiss 'Portative' machine gun, in the dismounted role, also mounted in Brit tanks of WWI.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 08, 2007

October 7, 2007

"Khyber" Rifles and Pistols.

The Afghans are long known for their "home workshop" firearms production, where they make excellent copies of commercially-made weapons that have fallen into tribal hands over the years - especially British weapons.

They are usually visually correct dimensionally (though the parts may not interchange with the original weapon copied), they usually have little signs on them that cause experienced collectors of the originals look twice - such as markings in the wrong places, markings that have reversed letters in them, or, in the base of barrel proofs - markings in the wrong order, or a mix of markings from different arsenals, etc.

There's enough of them that they're a collecting niche in and of themselves, and Joe, the recently-returned Man in the 'Stan sent home what is probably a Khyber pistol.

John Spangler, who is a reader and frequent commenter in this space (he likes to play the Whatziss') is also a collector who takes his passion so seriously that he makes a living at it (always good to go spend money with John, just click here). He also runs a question and answer board on his website.

In March of last year he got this question:

# 11744 - Afghanistan Khyber Pass "Enfield" Pepperbox Copy
Carlisle, PA

Enfield - .36 - 4'' - Rusty - THERE IS NO SERIAL NUMBER ON THE WEAPON. - The weapon appears to be a ''pepperbox'' style percussion cap pistol with six barrels. The caliber appears to .36 Cal. On the left side of the weapon is a crown with VR underneath the crown. Under VR is Enfield and the date 1857. The weapon was purchased in Afghanistan in the Spring 2005. I have not been able to find out any information on Enfield manufacturing a ''pepperbox'' style percussion pistol. Any information about this weapon is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Sir- As with many of the guns found in Afghanistan purported to be antiques, they are not always what they seem. I am not aware of Enfield making any pistols like that ever. Khyber pass guns will be found with all sorts of impossible combinations of markings. This is sort of similar to someone with a rusty 1983 Chevrolet, but putting Model T Ford, or Cadillac Escalade trim on it and hoping someone will buy it. John Spangler

Why is this of interest? Well, Joe and Jeff aren't the only Afghan hounds who hang out around here. I got this email late last week. And it concerns *exactly* the same pistol type in the question above - this one with a different date on it.

Armourer-san: Khyber Garage Camel Cavalry Speciall, sent back during last year's trip to Bagram. Pretty much the same paperwork experience as your ISAF correspondent, though I understand the rigmarole has increased here (I'm back in Bagram for a spell). Same collection of vendors at the bazaar - the guy who sold me the Beast remembers me and is trying to sell me a companion piece.

No last names or email addresses please! - my people think I play piano in a Kabul cathouse and my Employer frowns upon this type of discourse.

So, lets take a look at this thing.

Khyber Pass Pepperbox pistol

Yep, that's a pepperbox pistol all right. Pretty massive one, too. Kewl.

Here's a look at it from the side. Pretty classic pepperbox styling, but there were two things that caught my attention right away. We'll come back to those.

Let's toss the markings up here.

Khyber Pass Pepperbox pistol markings.

The two visual cues that caused my warning light to start flashing was the relative crudity of workmanship - one thing the Armourers at Enfield Lock were was meticulous, with great attention to detail and generally high-quality workmanship. The two things that attracted my attention was the lack of crispness to the lines of the barrels, and the pretty flimsy looking trigger guard. But, hey, the trigger-guard might be a replacement, and the barrels have a lot of holster wear, which tends to smooth edges. But the workmanship and tool marks on the receiver are pretty suspect, too. I've not had a chance to dig out my inspector's mark reference - but *each* of those barrels should have proofs on 'em. And as near as I can tell, they don't. One reason they wouldn't is because some of those barrels aren't bored true, they're off-center. Which means they wouldn't pass an Enfield inspection, much less proofing.

But to me it's still a collectable piece, simply because of the whole story surrounding Afghanistan.

Update: Dug out the reference, The Broad Arrow, by Ian Skennerton, and the ownership mark, the crown - is actually a Georgian crown with a Victorian cypher. There were two styles of crown, one for kings and the other for queens. The orb in the crown is what points quickly to a Georgian crown, and the number of balls on the top layer of the crown points to the George III version of the Kings Crown. The V.R. matches the date, but the crown actually pre-dates the production of percussion weapons in British service. The E-crown-1 inspection mark should actually be Crown-E-1 where the Crown E represents Enfield, and the number represents an inspector (most that I have seen are two-digit, btw, which just means... that's what I've seen). If it were a weapon built under George III, but reworked under Victoria, the markings would reflect that - I have several such weapons in the collection, that jump eras between Victoria, Edward VII, Georges IV and V and Elizabeth. Oddly enough, no William IV's!

In the pics provided, there are no proofs anywhere, and the Brits were positively tenacious about proof-marks, with lots of 'em.

All that taken together - argues for forgery. But like I said, that doesn't deter me, as long as I'm not paying "original" prices!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 07, 2007

October 5, 2007



Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 05, 2007

September 26, 2007

Okay, let's answer the Whatziss.

Here it is, complete.

Italian Benaglia Rifle Grenade.

The Italian Benaglia Rifle grenade, a rod-grenade used against the Austro-Hungarians and Germans in WWI. This example is battlefield recovered from the high alpine battlefields, which is one reason it's in such good shape.

Ya know what it really is?

An excuse.

After all, I've got an Italian rod-grenade. But no Italian rifle to display it with. Therefore, a WWI Italian rifle must be acquired, or this will simply be... lacking, bereft, incomplete.

And we can't have that.

Want a slightly larger view - click here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 26, 2007

September 25, 2007

Continuing the Whatziss

Okay, another component.

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And some context.

All the bits and pieces are from the same piece of kit.

Wonder what's going on? Start here, then go here.

Oh, you guys are no fun at *all* today. Here. See if this helps.

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 25, 2007

September 24, 2007

Okay, you guys need some help.

We're struggling with the Whatziss. (Click here to catch up)

Here's some context, if not much scale.

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 24, 2007

September 23, 2007

It's Sunday, time for a Whatziss!

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So, let your imaginations run free, and those of you who takes these things seriously... get to work.

Part 1 - what is it?

Part 2 - which era?

Part 3 - of those things that comprise the universe of what it is, which type system might it work with?

Part 4 - Which specific system is it a component of?

Ready on the right? Ready on the left? You may commence guessing! Or googling, as fits your idiom.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 23, 2007

September 13, 2007

A whatziss.

Something to keep you busy while I struggle with the Vault Door and travel to the National Capitol Region today. A new whatziss!

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Go forth - search. Or just snark. That's fun, too.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 13, 2007

August 31, 2007

Yer still payin', part 3.

NevadaDailySteve, in the comments to the Stokes Mortar Whatziss, gave up on the object in question, and chose to focus on the item I was using for a prop to hold the fuze level.

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So, keep going. Gimme some specifics, people.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 31, 2007

August 30, 2007

The Whatziss, day 2.

Well, I had a decent night's sleep, after spending $181 on a new mask. But, we're still gonna play this out.

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Here's a larger pic, not that it will do you much good.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 30, 2007

Gunblogger Rendezvous Guest of Honor Named -

This year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous will be donating all money raised to Project Valour-IT.  Major Chuck Ziegenfuss of TC Override will be our Guest of Honor.

For more information on the Gun Blogger Rendezvous check the Rendezvous site,
and the Mr. Completely blog.

Any publicity you can get out that would encourage Gun and/or Milbloggers or readers/commenters to attend would be greatly appreciated.

It is a small and informal event that allows everyone to get to know everyone else, so you get to put a face to the bloggers you've been reading!  It's a great lot of fun hanging out with an amazing bunch of folks!

SWWBO and I went last year, and intend to go this year - though the job situation (mine, not hers) may get in the way, with a TDY complicating things.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 30, 2007

August 29, 2007

I'm grumpy. You're paying.

Recruit Private Gunner ate both my CPAP masks yesterday. That meant, essentially, that I've been up all night, because I really can't sleep without the damned thing.

Then, finding that CPAP masks are not conducive to good intestinal health, he had diarrhea all over one of my favorite shirts. Teach me to leave it on the floor.

So, since you have nothing to do with my problems today, I'm going be progressive and make you pay for it.


No, you can't just say,

No, you can't just say, "countertop" and expect credit. What's on top of the countertop?

Oh, yes there is!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 29, 2007

August 25, 2007

Emails like this are fun.

I get at least one email a week along these lines - last week it was about our Carl Gustav from a guy who is making a replica for Airsoft combat games.

The Arsenal of Argghhh!'s 2inch mortar. I’m a collector of ww2 British militaria, and have run into the “too late to find cheap militaria” wall. I collect ww2 Commonwealth/British military items, and was quite happy to find your website with the abundance of photos of weapons and vehicles. I found a couple of shots of a British 2” mortar that I’m using as a general reference for building a replica for a ww2 British Para display. Do you have any additional close up photos and dimensions for the mortar? I would be greatly appreciated.

Also. I am under the impression that you are based out of Leavenworth , KS . Is this true? I work for defense contracting firm in [deleted for OPSEC], so I’m in town daily. I’d be interested in establishing a militaria based relationship with your and your buddies if possible.


{Someone in my Office}
Leavenworth, KS

I responded:

Snerk. Yer gonna be surprised.

John of Argghhh!

He responded thusly:

About what?

Why would he be surprised? Simple. All he had to do when he was writing that email was stand up, step out of his office, turn left, walk ten feet down the hall to the central corridor, turn left, walk 30 feet down to the next corridor, turn right, walk down that hall to the 5th office, and say, "Hey, can I look at your 2" mortar?"

He figured it out pretty quickly (we don't hire no dummies where I work - heck, Dusty used to work for us before he decided flying delivery trucks was more fun than flying a desk - and neither of us knew that until after I'd invited him to post here - different office in a different city -but same firm.)

OH, THAT John Donovan! Now you know I’m a closet militarian.

Amazing what you don't know about the people you work with.

Since I was at home letting the Exterior Guard do their thing in the back yard when I got his first email, I sent him this when I got back to the office:

I've got the mortar in my truck. See me when you get back from wherever it is I saw you headed when I drove in.

John of Argghhh!

Now, If I'd decided to dig out the transit box for the mortar, I would have just carried it in and stuck it on his chair. But since I didn't do that, he stopped by my office and we went out and transferred the mortar out in the parking lot.

Oh, and for Those Who Care About Stuff Like This - it's deactivated, so it's not a weapon, so no rules, corporate or otherwise, were broken in the genesis of this post.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 25, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2007

A simple whatzis...

Simply identify all the items in this picture. Sorry to block the pretties with that hogleg on top, Neffi...

This one will be easy for the geeks, challenging but doable for naifs.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This is another pic of what's available in the markets of Afstan. Stateside, my budget and the availability of that type of pistol haven't matched yet. Over there, it probably costs what a Happy Meal does... Just another reason I can't go to Afstan!

For people like Wolfwalker, who *like* the big-sized pics - click here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 24, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

August 18, 2007

The Whatziss, revealed!

A Laurel, and Hearty Handshake to Old Fat Sailor and Mongo for getting it right. It is, indeed, a round for the WWI 3" Stokes mortar.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

This woulda been your next clue if we'd needed one.

But OFS and Mongo took care of it.

Interesting method of fuzing, eh? Right before you hang and drop the round, you pulled the ring, inserted the round, and let it go - the lever flipped free as it cleared the tube, and off it went.

The Stokes mortar is essentially the first modern mortar. I could write a learned treatise here, but heck, real weapons geek Bruce Canfield has already done so - if you'd like to know more about the Stokes - simply click here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 18, 2007

August 17, 2007

Hah! You thought I'd let you off the hook.

Nope. Even though you don't care, based on the number of responses, we're going to keep plugging at this whatziss.

After the whining about size, I gave you a larger size. Now I'll add a touch of context.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

With an even larger view of the gizmo available by clicking here.

It *is* a fuze - you've gotten that much. But you've not gotten it quite right, yet.

Update: Perhaps this will help.

Update 2: Mebbe *this* will help. Prolly not, but who knows? Actually, it should, if you can connect the dots.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 17, 2007

August 13, 2007

The Whatziss, enlarged.

Since *some* people were all whiney about it.

Try again.  It's probably not your first guess.

I'll help a bit. *Not* Warsaw Pact. Nor from any of the nations which comprised the Pact at any time during their turbulent histories.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 13, 2007

August 12, 2007

It's still too hot to do anything except watch the grass wilt.

I'll get another picture of the whatziss for all you size mavens out there...

As a placeholder - how about you identify the weapon this woman is aiming in this AP photo?

What rifle is this woman aiming?  AP photo.

My first instinct was incorrect.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 12, 2007

August 11, 2007

A lazy, too-hot-to-work-outside Saturday Whatziss...

Go ahead, make my day.

Oh, you'll figure out *what* soon enough - but the question isn't what is it - it's whatziss a component of?

Gotta make it something of a challenge...

Update: Hmmm. Since JMH is unhappy with the size... try this.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 11, 2007

August 5, 2007

The Whatziss, solved!

Some serious artillery geeks showed up yesterday!

This *was* going to be the final clue...

Nope, still not a keg, despite HFS's fevered imaginings...

"bgy57" and Heath got it correct - though Heath hedged his bets by choosing both options for base-boosted artillery rounds. BGY's only hedge was scale-related.

It is indeed the rocket motor for an artillery Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP) - in this instance, 155mm. Here's a pic of a sectioned Brit version (generally the same as the US except for nomenclature, I believe).

Sectioned Brit 155mm Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP) round.

And here's a closeup of that round, focused on the motor.

Cross section of a Brit Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP) motor section.

RAP rounds where developed to give artillery greater range. You fired them with max charge, the motor lit off, and the round went further than a standard round would with the same amount of powder and elevation. The trade-off was increased cost, reduced payload (amount of explosive) and accuracy. The rockets just didn't burn as predictably as you'd like. But you got some more range. Oh, and there was the sort of thing that annoyed people like Heartless Libertarian and CAPT H - if the rocket motor *failed* - whether by not igniting at all, or an incomplete/intermittent burn - it's impact point became pretty much random along the line of fire. Of course CAPT H and Murray are always asserting that artillery impacts are *always* random, but that's just the envy-fueled lunatic ravings of soldiers jealous that they have to actually *see* their targets to hit them, so we pretty much ignore that. Which is another gripe they have.

RAP didn't last that long in the inventory, as we discovered that "base-bleed" projectiles, which have a little pyrotechnic package in the base, gave us almost the same effect without the cost, complexity, accuracy issues and payload reduction associated with RAP. Rather than boost the shell, base-bleed reduces drag caused by the partial vacuum that exists right behind the base of the projectile - the pyro packet burns, producing combustion gases that fill the partial vacuum, thus reducing drag and gaining you an increase in range.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 05, 2007

August 4, 2007

Continuing the Whatziss...

Keep at it, boys and girls. If you're new to this - start here.

Any new ideas?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 04, 2007

August 3, 2007

Let's have a whatziss!

Go ahead, speculate

Go ahead - guess away.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 03, 2007

August 1, 2007

Solving the Whatziss...

Casey and OFS get constructive credit on the main item, though they were only *close* not quite correct - in that their answer was correct, if essentially incomplete.

The items in the second picture of the Whatziss post are the *waterproof liner* and gasket for a mine horn. And yes, Casey, essentially they are little batteries-in-waiting, which, when crushed by contact with a ship, the chemicals mix to make a battery, setting off the mine. More specifically, this ship crushes the lead horn, which cracks the vial of sulfuric acid inside it, the acid then running down a tube and into a lead-acid battery which until that point contains no electrolyte. That fires up the battery, which detonates the explosive.

Earlier forms of this type of detonator had horns filled with sulfuric acid, surrounded by the mixture of potassium perchlorate and sugar. When the horn was crushed, the acid mixed with an ignited the perchlorate-sugar mix, and the flame exploded the charge. Here's the complete picture, minus the part (the actual horn) that I've used as a "Whatziss" in the past:

German naval mine detonating horn

In complete context, so to speak (well, absent the whole lying on the sea-floor waiting for a ship to brush it thing) is a typical german naval mine - drop the thing from the minelayer, it drops to the sea-floor, and then releases the mine on a tether to float below the surface, waiting for that unsuspecting victim.

German Naval Mine

Now, the first item in the whatziss, that was just there to be there and not really intended as a challenge - it was similar to posting a valve spring from an engine all by itself and asking you to identify it. I'm not *quite* that mean... Bar shot? That didn't occur to me - not just because I knew what it was, but I've never seen bar shot with a valve on it before. MunDane, who made the only semi-serious attempt, offered up a condenser, possibly from a small steam engine.

It's a component (about 17 inches in length) of the pneumatic guidance system for a V1 "Buzz Bomb," that fell in the Kentish countryside in 1944.

No, I didn't expect anyone to get that. I looked hard, but there's nothing on the 'net that showed it - though I did find it in an exploded drawing I have in a book - well, that's not on the 'net, eh? That was just there because I thought it would be fun to put it up there and see how creative you guys go.

The *most* creative (yet predictable) answers were thankfully emailed me.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 01, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

July 31, 2007

Anudder whatzis...

No, not this. That would just be cruel.

You'll never get it.

No, rather than that one, we'll go with this one - with which I have high expectations for some *very* low comedy. Remember the Rulez, plz. And this *is* a legitimate whatzis fully in keeping with Arsenal holdings...

No, really - now that you've made your tawdry jokes - whatzis?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jul 31, 2007 | TrackBack (0)

July 30, 2007

The Whatziss... concluded.

I'm in a rush - I've got to get to the farm, collect S'mudge and take her to the vet, get her back out there and then myself off to work.

But I will answer the Whatziss that has vexed you all for the last week.

Part one. Calling it a manifold was remarkably close, in a sense. The center of that star contained... explosives, and the arms were... we saw in the second picture - fuze holders, all of which were wrapped in...

...the item from the third picture, which was the shell of the...

German Discus Grenade

WWI German discus grenade, which was thrown like a discus, and had all those fuzes on it to increase the likelihood of a successful detonation.

But in reality it's a pretty small, ineffective grenade that is typical of the inventiveness displayed as people were struggling with ways to get more and better ways to kill people in soldier's hands during the war.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jul 30, 2007

July 28, 2007

Okay, it'll be a slow day, I'll continue the torture...

Here's another piece of the puzzle of the whatziss...

Here, mebbe this'll help!

This might jog a few memories - especially of those who have no doubt been reading, but not participating thus far.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jul 28, 2007

July 27, 2007

Continuing the Whatzis.

Okay, as I expected, you guys figured out the Ideal loading tool.

But you had trouble with the second part.

Okay - here's more info.

Not that it will be all that helpful...

Not that it will be all that helpful - but who knows?

Well, Jim C knows, because he dropped by the office yesterday and forced me to reveal it - so he can't play this one anymore.

Suffice it to say it's *not* an early socket wrench, as he offered up!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jul 27, 2007

July 25, 2007

The farm has been making me a slug on my signature topic... let's do a double-whatzis today.

An easy one, and a tougher one.

First up, submitted by AFSis, is the one I suspect will be easier for the grognards among us - I got it right out, though AFSis wouldn't give me credit until I got a specific detail correct. For this one, if you get the specific detail, that will be extra credit.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The second is an item in the Holdings of the Armory of Argghhh! Go for it - though there are some among us who may actually get it pretty quick.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The answers are out there, on the web.

And if this proves too easy - I have an impossible one in reserve...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jul 25, 2007

June 27, 2007

Castle Argghhh! Range Complex.

I mentioned to Bill in the comments on another post that I would be taking my M2 Aiming Circle and trotting it and some aiming posts out to do an unofficial survey of the demesne. One reason to do that is I believe that the fence lines on the east side have been adjusted to the advantage of my neighbor to the east (by mutual agreement with the previous owner) - and I think I know why, having to do with the movement of his cattle herd to water. I have no problem with it - but I want to establish the property line to see if I need to get an actual survey in - as I don't believe that land will be running cattle for that much longer, the owner having moved into a nursing home two weeks ago, and the family member taking over wants to subdivide and sell for housing, I'm suspecting. Good luck getting water meters...

Anyway, Bill said to give Neffi an Instamatic and have him do an aerial survey. So I did.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Castle Argghhh! Range Complex*. Heh.

Castle Argghhh! Range Complex

Slightly larger version here.

Tank Table VIII doubles as Neffi's landing area. Prolly ought to check in with the tower on approach, Neffi.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jun 27, 2007
politburo diktat 2.0 links with: John Donovan’s new home

June 14, 2007

A new whatzis!

Okay boys and girls - what's this?

I'll give you a hint - it's *not* Victorian, despite all that shiny brass.

For you guys always whining about scale, and context and stuff - here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jun 14, 2007

May 28, 2007

The Whatziss, answered.

The funny part is, AW1 Tim actually got it first, but then essentially reneged.

CAPT H got it fully correct. It's an AT-3 Sagger missile. More accurately, it's an armorer's training cut-away of one, this particular one out of East Germany after the wall tumbled.

Armorer's training cut-away of the AT-3 Sagger missile.

If you're interested in the flow of this Whatziss, click here and follow the links around.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 28, 2007

May 27, 2007

Continuing the pain...

...of the Whatziss. To catch up for newbies - start here and follow the links (meaning you need to read the comments, too).

Here's another little detail shot.

Later today I'll put up a comprehensive clue.

You guys are working it pretty well, really.

Update: HomeFrontSix reminds me - I *did* promise a more comprehensive picture. Truthfully - I don't think it's going to help much...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 27, 2007

May 26, 2007

The Whatzis, continued.

Well, this has been fun, if perhaps a bit more erotic than I anticipated. Confused by that? Ah, well, you'd best check out the comments in *this* post then.

Okay, in this pic, there is a clear clue. Well, it would be clear to me, anyway.

Remember - these are all views of the same military artifact.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 26, 2007

May 25, 2007

The Whatziss, continued.

To get caught up, go here. Mind you, you should follow that link for Rivrdog's comment alone!

Okay, this Whatziss is like the Indian legend about the six blind men and the elephant, except in this case, you *all* get to see the clues out of context together and compare notes as you are going along, vice each getting a unique piece. I haven't figured out how to torture you that way...

Okay, next snapshot up for bids -

Here's a view from the side of the same area.

This will actually be a great example of a "forest for the trees" kind of thing - once we get far enough away from the object - it will become perfectly clear for most of you.

Yesterday's shot *was* of a component of a guidance/aiming system, albeit *not* a gyro as posited.

'rrRRp! Oops. Excuse me. (If that doesn't make sense, then you didn't pay attention to the second sentence of this post... so it's your fault you're confused.)

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 25, 2007

May 24, 2007


This one will be painful. Maggie won't like it at all. Prolly take us into the weekend for those who wish to play.

I can't wait to see how inventive you clowns get...

A small, but key, section of the gizmo. Without it, well, that would be telling.

No, I don't really expect you to get it from this clue. I just want to see how imaginative you guys get!

I'm pretty sure you'll think it's kewl when it's over, though.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 24, 2007

May 18, 2007

The Whatziss, continued concluded.

To catch up - start here.

Interestingly, the closest anyone got was John S. Except he was answering the questions not asked. The two things I said I *could* have asked you about, but didn't, because they would be too hard (I thought) were the ones mostly correctly identified. The round gizmo is a check gauge, and the long, skinny thing is, in fact, a barrel-wear gauge. The only thing John got wrong was caliber - it's a wear gauge for .30 cal barrels, not .50. But since no size context was provided, John wins the Non-Contest! Of course, John really *is* a capital "G" Grognard.

The rest of you were inventive, entertaining, clever, and wrong, though some got tantalizingly close.

Let's see if this helps.

I realize that some of you will immediately think - "Hey! That works within the context of my guess!" True enough. Just remember I said... you were wrong, thus far.

Update! We have a winner. Dan. It is indeed, an early WWI British grenade, the Grenade, Hand No. 12, commonly referred to as a "hairbrush" or "jam tin" grenade, for obvious reasons.

For the label side, click here.

Or is it? Finding one of these mostly intact, much less in as good a condition as this - is almost the Holy Grail of those who collect grenades. If you do find one out in the wild, and the person who has it knows what it is, you're talking many hundreds of dollars.

I know better than to try to sneak that by SWWBO.

These were not what is called 'artisan' grenades (though the Holdings of the Arsenal *do* include a couple of French examples of artisan grenades), manufactured in their generally poor-quality-and-reliability tens of thousands by all sorts of people and entities during the desperate early years of the munitions shortages on the Western Front. This was actually a 'sealed pattern' grenade, meaning there were blueprints, specs, etc. It used that pull-ignitor to light off the fuze train (missing in this example). In addition to the fragmentation plate, the box was filled with scrap metal to make it more useful. It had a very short service life, it's funny looking, not that many were made, it's relatively fragile... so of course guys like me want one.

This is a reproduction. Or at least that's the best assessment of people far more knowledgeable than I. And it was presented to me as such - and it didn't cost hundreds of dollars as a result. I got it from an honest chap in England. I could lay out the details of why it's a reproduction, and go through the discussion of whether it was created as a favor or with malice - but I don't need to - that's already been done, for those who care to study further.

Go ahead, take a look - which one does *this* one look like? If it *isn't a fake - well, then my son will get a little more money than he expected when he liquidates the holdings of the Arsenal after I start tapping kegs at Fiddler's Green.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 18, 2007

May 17, 2007

This looks like fun!

If I'm in town, and not hanging around the Jersey Barrens, I'll be visiting! But first, Gun Pr0n! In support of the D-Day Commemoration at Forbes Field (see below) - I give you a never-before-seen Artifact in the Arsenal Holdings. A WWII, German-marked MG42, sitting in a postwar German MG3 lafette (or tripod in English). Yes, this *is* legal where I live, being a non-shootable dummy. It's a high-quality dummy, but is only dangerous if you drop it on your foot - it's way too clumsy to be a club. It might not be legal where *you* live - but, well, that's your problem.

Here's a left side view - with the added bonus of a shot of Sergeant of the Guard Kiki.

A look up the kilt - showing the fire control arrangements..

Hee! I see some of you turning green already. Whether from envy or the sick-to-your-stomach feeling a GFW from the Brady Campaign might suffer at the knowledge that private citizens would possess such horrible stuff, deact or no.

D-Day Commemoration at Forbes Field June 2

World War II will come to life in Topeka on June 1 and 2 during the 7th Annual Heartland Military Day at the Kansas National Guard Museum, at the main entrance of Forbes Field. “German” and “Allied” troops will show what life was like during World War II through dramatic reenactments and encampments. All events are free and open to the public. The event will commemorate the D-Day invasion and the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Preparation for Heartland Military Days begins Friday evening, June 1, with camps being constructed and participants wearing WWII uniforms. All re-enactors are invited to participate. A locally owned WWII Sherman Tank and Tank Retriever will be on display along with tank crew veterans of the Normandy Invasion, who will reminisce about their time inside a Sherman Tank and their personal insight into the battle. Vehicle owners, re-enactors, gun and uniform collectors should contact Gary Nicholson at 785-242-7839 to enter their display.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 2, re-enactors will be living the life of World War II troops in the encampments on the museum grounds. There will also be an extensive display of World War II and Korean War era vehicles and equipment, which have been meticulously restored by their owners. Mock battles will be staged at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the museum grounds featuring German and American soldiers. Between battles, visitors may view the equipment and visit with the individuals who do the restoration work and study the history of the war. In addition, there will be a Civil War display, World War I display, World War II display and a uniform display spanning from the Mexican War to present.

The museum features Kansas National Guard history displays and weapons. Other displays inside the museum focus on Kansas Army and Air National Guard participation in conflicts including the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo. Weapons are also on display for those engagements, which have been assigned to the museum from the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama . Outside displays include 1/4 ton Jeep, 2 1/2 ton and 5 ton trucks, M-60 Main Battle Tank, M-109A5 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer, M-110A2 8 Self Propelled Howitzer, M-113 Personnel Carrier, M-42A1 Duster Twin 40 mm Anti-Aircraft gun, UH-1 Huey helicopter, OH-6 Cayuse, AH-1 Cobra helicopter, OH-58 Kiowa helicopter, CH-54 Skycrane helicopter and a recently restored F-4D Phantom II jet fighter.

Museum board members and volunteers will operate a food stand Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Kansas National Guard Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is always free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Jack Elliott at the Kansas National Guard Museum (785) 862-1020.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 17, 2007

May 16, 2007

Let's have a Whatziss, shall we?

Oh, sure, I could be mean. I could ask you to identify this. But I don't even want to *think* about the whining that would ensue.

And yeah, I could ask you whatziss? But you'd probably whine some more.

So, how 'bout this?

C'mon, put yer fevered imaginations to work and destroy corporate productivity the world over.

If you're a real, true, grognard - you'll get this. If you're a capital-G Grognard, one before whom other grognards grovel, you'll get it's true essence.

And if you're that Grognard, you'll know what that means.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 16, 2007

May 8, 2007

The Whatziss, answered

Okay, even though I provided some pretty clear hints to some individuals in conversation (heck, I gave 'em the answer, pretty much) no one got close on this one, nor has anyone been trying, so I guess it's time to answer it. Well, the Moat Monster answer at least involved water.

German sea mine fuzing horn

This is a German naval mine contact horn. Made of lead, with an acid ampoule in it, when a ship brushed up against one of these it would deform the lead, crush the ampoule, and initiate the fuze.

Now you know what those little fiddly bits on mines look like close up. Well, at least German WWII ones...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 08, 2007

May 6, 2007

In honor of the Milblogger conference... a particularly obscure Whatziss!

Which means someone will prolly get it immediately.

Give it your best shot.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on May 06, 2007

April 22, 2007

Yesterday's Whatziss... explained.*

Okay, the Usual Suspects® weighed in with several answers, in keeping with their métier, with the discussion revolving around bomb fuzes. Those with a more modern heritage being a little sceptical of the whole tail fuze thing, which was strongly put forth by others with a more historical bent or who's knowledge of the subject is more from books than experience - what I alluded to in my post.

Heh. The pic with this post should get Oldloadr all full of misty-eyed remembrance. Dusty, too.

Bill and Casey opened the bidding at tail fuze, WWII or earlier. The Instapilot weighed in with geekoid corrections (my kinda guy!) and discussed modern fuzes.

Heh. Funny you should mention that. Sitting on a shelf, among other avian products, a visitor to the Arsenal would find this:

Fuze, Bomb, Nose, M904E2, in hte holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh!

A Fuze, Bomb, Nose, M904E2. Note all the integrated arming/fuzing stuff as Dusty pointed out.

Others were more into the historical bombs (this *is* the Arsenal, after all, we like auld stuff (hence why Bill and Dusty have posting privileges, both being older than the Armorer)!

With the Instapilot providing geekoid corrections, Casey chimed in to make his point and reclaim some geek status. He was all after pointing out that, technical nomenclature aside, he was talking about arming vanes, like you would find in bombs like this Brit one, a 250 pounder from WWII, or this fuze, percussion, aircraft, bomb, tail, No. 30 Mark III, which I would note is integrated in ways that the Instapilot was suggesting wasn't the case for older fuzes that he was familiar with.

Though, in fact, Casey was really talking about something more like the AN-M64 500lb General Purpose bomb, a standard piece of ordnance of the USAAF/USAF for many years, with these two options for tail fuzing.

Oh, and why does the Armorer have a modern inert bomb fuze in the Arsenal? It was fate.

Okay, we went through all that for a reason - the big reveal!

Remember this line from yesterday's post?

Let's see whose experience leads them where on this one.

It took you exactly where I expected, given those that chose to play (including MajMike's contribution).

And... yer wrong.

Keep trying, boys and girls.

Well, you're not completely wrong.

You've got function nailed in fact.

But you're way off on application.

*Not really.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 22, 2007

April 21, 2007

A new whatziss for a lazy Saturday

Actually, that's a misnomer. Saturday is the lazy day for the server, being the lowest traffic day. Which suggests you guys are busy (as well as not surfing from work...)

So, whatizzit?

Let's see whose experience leads them where on this one.

The only hint I'll start you with is - this is *so* last century.

Update: The mystery deepens... here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 21, 2007
links with: Picture Puzzle: A new whatziss

April 20, 2007

Sandman's Whatziss. Really, whatziss?

Yesterday, I put up a pic that Sandman6 (a deployed Marine) sent in for a whatziss challenge.

Truth - the thing stumps me, because it if's what Sandman says it is - it's a completely new version of that type of bolt to me.

Sandman says it's the bolt to this:

Chinese (?) AK variant.

Roughly double-sized pic here.

To see the rest of the carrier - click here.

This is the bolt and carrier from one of the Castle's Romanian WASR rifles.

Certainly, the Whatziss looks like an AK-style bolt and carrier - but I've never seen one like that - and I've thus far been unable to find a pic or diagram of an RPK bolt and carrier. Mebbe one of you guys in the Sandboxes can get a gander at one?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 20, 2007

April 19, 2007

Time for a Whatziss!

It's Patriot Day - let's see who knows their firearms parts...

So, whatziss?

This is reader-submitted by a young deployed Marine who hangs at the Castle when the bandwidth allows. The focus isn't the best, but doesn't really detract that much. Give the guy a break - he's deployed!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 19, 2007

April 14, 2007

As penance for the post on the Department of Peace...

...the Armorer of Argghhh! proudly presents... Gun Pr0n!

An expose of the fiddly bits of the Castle's Vulcan Arms V10-45, seen earlier this week, here.

Here he is, field stripped to his basics.

Field stripped V10-45

Slighty higher-res version here (that better, Brab?)

Looking deep into his guts, a look at the fiddly bits of the lower receiver.

The upper receiver and bolt assembly. There is a nylon buffer there, to keep the bolt from slapping the rear of the receiver.

Really, in concept, there is little to distinguish this design from the M3 grease gun, the major differences being the Grease Gun is tubular, and the V10's bolt wraps about the barrel at the breech (shown open here), saving overall length in the same manner the Uzi does.

But it's a bit clunky for a pistol. Vulcan does make a carbine version, but that didn't interest me. I'd get a 9mm version for SWWBO, except she thinks they're ugly, and wants something prettier.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 14, 2007

April 6, 2007

Accessorizing in the Arsenal

As we've modfied our spendy-habits to allow us to do things like put Kid Through College, Pay Down Debt, and attend the Milblogger Conference, addition of firearms to the Arsenal Holdings has been greatly slowed.

I've contented myself with doing some accessorizing. In this case, the Castle's CUGR.

The Castle's AK-clone with it's new scope.

By adding a nice Saiga VEPR POSP 4x24 V range finder scope. I know, I know, stamped reciever rifle with a scope... better not bang it too much if I want it to hold its boresight.

For those with the bandwidth - here's a higher res version.

I've been slack on gun/militaria/ordnance pics of late. I'll try to make up for it.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Apr 06, 2007

March 28, 2007

Scaring the GFW's...

In yesterday's post about the latest firearm follies on Capitol Hill, the comments veered off into territory sure to make GFW's* queasy and ill-at-ease. Not that we haven't done that before...

Talk about scaring the nor- er, regular folk!

Oh, I noticed that USA Today put that item as a no-context small bit as the next to the last item in column 1 on page 11A. Right next to the "Beware of the Leopard!" sign... At least it was in the A section!

Anyway, NevadaDailySteve brought up the fact that he has a Polish Radom Vis-35 that a family member brought back from WWII.

Which inspired me to link to this Post from the Past. I really *like* my Vis-35.

Which caused Steve to submit Reader Pr0n! Which is good. We like it when readers provide content (No worries Corporal Bristol - I'm working on yours!).

Steve sent this email:

Yours looks to be in better shape. I thought about getting mine re-blued but I've been told that would somehow make it less desirable to C&R collectors. I bought this and the Walther from my father-in-laws estate (he's still alive but in an assisted living center) because I couldn't let them go to someone they didn't mean anything to.

The trigger pull is pretty heavy, I've shot .44 magnums that didn't pull that hard, but it is getting easier the more I shoot it. I don't know if it's because I'm getting used to it or because it's loosening up (Elmer, my father-in-law, never shot it once he brought it back so it never had
a round through it in nearly 60 years.)

Steve's Vis-35.

First off, I commend Steve for keeping them in the family, so to speak. Second, his unknown advisor is correct - don't reblue a historical piece. Just take care of it. This one, as a wartime bringback, has greater value than all the pretty arsenal reworks like the one I own - it has no import marks. And for real collectors, who know the ebb and flow of arms imports into this country will know that even without provenance, a Vis-35 that has no import mark is most likely a wartime bringback, because mass importations out of Poland didn't happen until *after* all incoming arms were required to have an importer stamp.

BTW - don't buff off the stamp on your weapons - it would make them illegal.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 28, 2007

March 9, 2007

The Whatziss... answered.

...Not! I don't know what it is either - though I agree with those of you who saw it as an azimuth measuring instrument, that might somehow use the sun. All I do know about it is that it's WWII, Soviet, and it dovetailed on to something else, probably an azimuth base of some sort.

This next one, however, I *do* know what it is.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Here's another picture for you people who get so wrapped around scale...

One hint - it's a component of something, not a stand-alone.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 09, 2007

March 8, 2007

A new whatziss...

So, tell me - what *is* this?

A new whatziss!

I'll be more charitable than usual... here's two more views. One. Two.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 08, 2007

March 5, 2007

A new whatziss.

No subterfuge. No hiding things. All markings revealed.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Headstamps here.

They probably aren't what your first thought is - I wouldn't make this *that* easy!

Or would I?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Mar 05, 2007

February 27, 2007

Let's have a photo post...

First off, a little moment of Gunner Zen - this would look good sitting in the Inner Bailey of Argghhh! It would take a crane to get it there, but it would look good.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Now I'm going to go all Naval. Here's one to make a Cold Warrior's trigger finger all itchy.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Sailors - is this just good driving, or an oops-about-to-happen? What's up with this? Somebody didn't want to rig the breeches buoy, and preferred to step deck-to-deck?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

SWWBO would let me have a room like this in the basement. She likes all that brass 'n bronze!

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Lastly - let's see who's got their ship recognition down...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Update: Okay, we've got the class of the ship. The aircraft are Fairy Gannetts (in front) and Sea Venoms in the rear. See if that helps figure out which ship she is. It should narrow it down to only one user, in fact.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 27, 2007

February 22, 2007

Michael Yon has a new one.

Fox News Story here.

And, of course, I can't open Yon's website, thanks to Fox readers swarming it.

So, as of now, nothing to go with but this picture.

Michael Yon's Mystery Weapon #2.

First thing that pops to mind is the XM47 US riot control grenade - which are roughly that size. They're made out of rubber, and have a blow-out hole in them. When you throw them (don't hold on too long!) the plug blows out and the gas expels in a jet, causing the grenade to skitter around, building your CS cloud faster than the standard grenade. I used them a lot on the HHB 35th DIVARTY when evaluating their annual training in the mid-late 80's.

You can see an excellent example of them here at

Whattaya you guys think?

Update: Another weapon that comes to mind is the warhead for a RAW (Rifleman's Assault Weapon) -type weapon.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 22, 2007

February 15, 2007

Whatzis - idiot people with unsecured wireless connection edition.

SWWBO and I are at Donovan-Central, the massive Keep of the Empire of which Castle Argghhh! is but an outlier.

However, the Emperor is a true conservative, and has only dial-up, which caused me concern from previous experience that posting, especially with pics, would be dfficult.

Hah! There are no less than 4 wireless hotspots overlapping this location. 2 are secured. 1 uses at least MAC address filtering. And one is wide open, waiting to be taken advantage of.

So, I am. Note: You may not care to encrypt your network, but you should at *least* restrict who can just willy-nilly login on your network....

But, you Whatzis junkies benefit. This one is in honor of Dusty and his recent spate of posting.

Oh, sure, this is an easy one... but I want details, not the easy generalities.

Strut yer stuff, Oldloadr prolly has the inside track on this one.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 15, 2007

February 13, 2007

Mike Yon's Mystery Weapon.

Via Blackfive, I got through to Mike and Mike sent me the hi-res picture. (mind you, that's a large file).

These are my thoughts.

Based on the hi-res, a couple of observations. Certainly narrows things down.

1. The stock is wood. So would the trigger appear to be. I'm not even sure that trigger is functional.

2. Foregrip is wood. No big deal in and of itself.

3. The sights - they're elevation-adjustable... which means that it's not a SAM, not that I really thought it was because those would be silly sights for a SAM, anyway.

4. For it to credibly be a RPG/Rocket launcher - that rear end would need to have mating surfaces for the warshot. That rear opening is too close to the shooter's shoulder otherwise.

5. For it to be a reckless rifle, it really has to be missing its breech and venturi, for the same reasons in 4.

6. Laser designators/blinding weapons/acoustic sensors don't need elevation-adjustable sights.

Absent more pics, or a description of materials - I'm leaning really hard right now to a locally fabricated trainer for RPG/Rocket launcher gunners. Possibly even Junior Jihadis.

I've got an RPG-7 that was made in Palestinian workshops - this is entirely credible as a local-fabrication item.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

You can see it in the picture. Yeah, I know, that's a B-40 round stuck in it. Sue me.

That doesn't mean it couldn't also be a usable launcher - but right now I'm really suspicious of the trigger, from a function perspective. And, no provision for a safety... of course, French rifles used in WWI and WWII didn't have safeties either. Spare me the jokes. Yes, I mean you, MajMike. And before you say it could be on the other side - the sight is on this side, the shooters thumb (most likely digit for dealing with the safety in this regard) is on this side. Also, unlike an RPG launcher, there doesn't appear to be any provision for cocking. So, it could be electrically fired, like the US bazooka, but I don't see any provision for batteries (which *could* be on the other side).

Regardless of it being a trainer or some locally made launcher - that thing is intended for RPG-style combat, or training for it. I'm pretty sure of that.

So, grognards, what do you think?

Update: It would be a hoot, if, as several readers have commented - that this thing is a Jihadi Spud Gun. Sometimes, we do need to shave with William of Odham's razor...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 13, 2007
Murdoc Online links with: The mystery weapon

February 8, 2007

A Hi-tech Whatzis

This actually has a little relevance to a thread-meme-topic-thingy very recently, but that will likely not help any one...:-) Go for it.


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by Denizens on Feb 08, 2007

February 7, 2007

Twin Whatzis Closeout

Seems a little slow this week, so I better get this done before everyone forgets about it.

This was the update to the orginal....

First the rest of the bridge story. Every tank in the company approached the bridge in the same tracks, trying not to churn up the ground too much. Unfortunately, that caused a real problem where they pivoted to line up with the bridge. The result?

It took an M88 and another tank to free the one in the back.

As for the gun, here it is on it's stand at the AF Armament Museum:

Higher-Res Here
Display Plate Here

As I said, I have reason to suspect the display plate is wrong, but I can't honestly say one way or the other. For my part, I think you all got it right, and this is wrong, but who knows?
It is after all, the Armament Museum and you'd expect the folks there to know, eh?

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by Denizens on Feb 07, 2007

February 6, 2007

Twin Whatzis Redux'd

This here seemed to confuse a few, but not all.

The AVLB (Armor Vehicle Launched Bridge, M60 Chassis) was often stood "up" just to make life easier for the crew to work on the launcher, which was sometimes parked inside for work:

When deployed it looked like this:

Animated .GIF here. (about 1MB, wait a few secs for it to start. To stop on any frame, click the browser stop botton. To restart, click Refesh.)

As for the gun. Here's the carrier:

Higher-Res Here

Z'at help? ;-) --SangerM

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by Denizens on Feb 06, 2007

Heh. It would appear the Armorer has helper-gnomes in the Beehive state...

Sanger is getting his revenge on me with his Whatzis number two. I've got that puppy id'd at the T-number, but he's holding out the M-number and a specific aircraft type that he admits he can't find on the 'net either. Sheesh. Dude gets grumpy when he loses a few and is writing a thesis.

However, Sanger, has an interesting guess for *my* Whatzis...

Bottom side of the top part of a lugar?
Heh. I dunno, I don't think I wanna contemplate too hard what the bottom side of the top part of a lugar looks like. Some things only the missus should know, eh?

Then there's my little helper bee. Here I was gonna post a new pic today that would help *some* anyway, and he goes along and gives you all the google-fodder you could possibly use.

Sigh. [shakes head]

Rod, I believe, was the first (well, no, John was the first, with his oblique guess for me which didn't thus spoil the thing too quickly), Rod was the first to put it into words - Pedersen Device.

Better known, actually, as the US Automatic Pistol, Caliber .30, Model of 1918.

Yep. Pistol. All part of the deception plan to hide what we were doing from the Germans. Made easier by the fact that it shoots a .30 caliber pistol cartridge, virtually identical to the French .30 Longue, IIRC.

The "automatic pistol" hiding in the body of a bolt-action rifle was the brainchild of John Pedersen, of Remington Arms. Development started before the US entered the war and was a private venture on the part of Remington. Having been following the war, Mr. Pedersen was struck by the inability for troops to effectively fire on the run while crossing "No Mans Land". He started down the path that would lead to such weapons as the Browning Automatic Rifle and Chauchat machine gun. The difference is Pedersen figured that he wasn't going to be able to sell the Army on a whole new rifle design, so he decided to develop a drop-in adaptor that would convert the existing rifle - and at the same time preserve it's hi-powered, long range capabilities.

This led to his gizmo, which replaced the bolt of the standard Springfield with a long bit of kit consisting of a complete firing mechanism and a small "barrel" for the small round. In effect, the "device" was essentially a complete blow-back pistol minus a receiver/grip using the short "barrel" of the device to fit into the longer chamber of the M1903 Springfield. The mechanism was fed by a long 40-round magazine sticking out of the rifle to the top right, and could be reloaded by inserting a new magazine. New sights were provided at the rear of the device. The system did require one modification to the rifle however, a hole had to be cut in the side of the bolt area to allow the ejection of spent rounds. You may have seen some of those - M1903's with an elongated oval cut out of the side rail. We have one in the Arsenal, though it's one of the ones that was reworked during WWII with a regular scant stock and green parkerizing.

In early 1917 the Pedersen device was tested and ready for production. Pedersen took his weapon to show the Army. He first fired several rounds from what looked to be a standard M1903. Then he removed the bolt, inserted his pistol, and fired several magazines at a very high rate of fire. The officers were astounded at the relative simplicity and performance, and immediately clamped a SECRET label on the whole thing. As I noted, snooker the Germans, the Ordnance Department named it The US Automatic Pistol, Caliber .30, Model of 1918. Plans were initiated to start production of modified Springfields, listed as the US Rifle, Cal. .30, Model of M1903, Mark I. The intent was to have 500,000 ready for the 1919 Spring Offensive. The use of the Pedersen Device in the 1919 Spring offensive was to be in conjunction with the full combat introduction of the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Pedersen's gizmo was also designed to to fit the US Rifle, Model of 1917 (the American Enfield - which was actually used in greater numbers than the Springfield), and the US Rifle, Model of 1916 ( The Remington Mosin Nagant). Neither of those were ever put into production, although samples of both were made.

With the end of the war, production slowed, though it continued to 1920. Technology overtook the Pedersen device (which we'd know a lot more about had the war continued to 1919) and the BAR and Garand in tandem rendered the Pedersen obsolete. After they were declared surplus, they were all heaped in a large pile... and burned. Most of the Pedersen's in private hands are survivors of the fire - and show varying shades of fire damage. Estimates range up and down, but the current best guess is there are about 250 or so survivors in museums and private hands.

The Armorer got to see one this last weekend at the Fort Leavenworth Militaria Show. It is owned by a buddy of the Armorer, and the Armorer is going to get to... *shoot* it. Neener Neener Neener! My buddy has over 700 rounds of ammo. No, we're not going to shoot all of that. We'll shoot a hundred or so, and reload. Heck the ammo's valuable to collectors.

More, and better, pictures will come at a later date.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 06, 2007

February 4, 2007

A Twin Whatzis

I tried out a bunch of whatzis candidates on the expert first, and both of these went unidentified, at least as far as I know, so here you go...

Whatzis #1:

Whatzis #2


[Armorer's note - just because Sanger put this up doesn't excuse you hosers from the *other* Whatzis still working. Slackers.]

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by Denizens on Feb 04, 2007

Okay, let's answer that whatzis, and pose a new one.

Watching the comments is like using silent interrogation. Just stay quiet, and you guys will just keep talking and talking and talking... and you usually find, and sometimes reject, the correct answer.

Casey, Trias, and ibm all were mostly correct. This is the guts of an "offensive" anti-personnel grenade. Ya, ya, all grenades are offensive to their targets. In milspeak, an "offensive" grenade is one designed to be tossed by a fellow who might not be able to take cover from it's effects, such as an attacking soldier, so those effects are minimized, both blast and long-range fragmentation. Defensive grenades are presumed to be thrown from cover, and hence are designed to have greater local and longer-range effects.

The whatzis are the guts of an unidentified euro version, which would have a plastic outer casing. The interior sphere is aluminum, and the ball bearings/bb's are glued to that shell.

The body of the US egg grenade on the right is included for scale purposes, the fuze in the grenade on the left is from the one on the right - vets will recognize a training fuze from the light blue spoon. Well done - you guys really did pretty well - but would do well to heed JTG's warning about me, too. [/evil smirk]

Here's your next challenge. Ready? Set? Go!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 04, 2007

February 2, 2007

The nicely obscure whatzis...

As I expected, you guys collectively pretty much nailed it, if missing some of the fiddly details. It is in fact an airbrushed photo for an advertising brochure.

J. Walter Christie was a pretty talented designer of tanks. But, as happens to many people with talent, he got a little messianic now and again. That photo represented one of those ideas which just couldn't get out of his head.

He was fixated on developing a light tank that could be carried under a plane. You'd spin the tracks up to high speed, then the plane would skim along the ground, the tank would touch, the pilot (or tanker) would release, and voila! Aerial deployment of tanks.

Oddly enough, the Army never showed much interest in the concept, much less actually designing an aircraft capable of it. I'll let the pilots among us discuss all the technical reasons why even if technically feasible (an arguable question for the tech at the time) it's such a bad idea from so many perspectives. Not the least of which is flying some lumbering transport aircraft just feet above ground that is anything flatter than a runway.

That's a drawing of a M1940 Christie tank (which was never built) grafted on to a picture of a YB-17 as already determined by the Smart Guys in the comments.

Well done.

And now for something complete different.

So, whatziss?

You guys are always whining about scale, etc - so here's some context.

Here's a larger view, as if that's going to help.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 02, 2007

February 1, 2007

This is a nicely obscure whatzis...

Yadda yadda if you get the aircraft. That's easy.

Anybody got the skinny on the whole thing? What're we looking at here?

Impress me with your skilz.

Yes, I do.

Mind you - I just stumbled across this, it ain't something that was stuck in the brain housing group as actual knowledge or anything.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Feb 01, 2007

January 30, 2007

Gun, Grease, SA M3A1, w/acc, 1 ea.

That is the Whatziss. Well, that's not true. The Whatziss is a *component* of this.

Now, it's not a grease gun like this.

No, not that at all. Though you can see where the GI naming inspiration came from. That, and perhaps the fact that it often was a mechanic's weapon, especially recovery vehicle crews. And tank crews. And, well, anyone who was authorized a subgun vice a rifle or carbine.

Nor is it to be confused with a sub-machinegun, .45 caliber, M3A1, either, like that one up there. Because, since the one in the Arsenal Holdings is shootable, well, that would be *BAD* if it were a Sub-machinegun, .45 caliber, M3A1, since the state of Kansas declines to allow it's citizens to own functional fully-automatic weaponry, though the state to the right (when facing north) that is about 1.5 miles away, does. What's really funny about that is that the state to the right of us is where the event occurred (the Union Station Massacre) that caused the State of Kansas to get it's panties in a twist about private ownership of fully automatic weapons... even though the people who were using the fully automatic weapons in the state to the right were criminals and not likely to give a hoot about the law that Kansas passed. But that's a post of a different color.

No, that's a Valkyrie Arms SA M3A1 (SA not for Springfield Arsenal but rather Semi-Automatic) and is officially classified as a rifle. With short (dummy) display barrel, long barrel, and fake suppressor barrel that apes the OSS Silenced Grease Gun. The fake suppressed barrel was the Whatziss. To be a rifle, it has to meet certain barrel-length requirements, hence the long barrel. To meet the requirements of the Ugly Rifles That Scare Me Assault Weapons Ban the stock also had to be fixed. Though, with the lapsing of that law, apparently I can now send the weapon back to Valkyrie and they could retro-fit a collapsible stock. At least they offer the service, and I assume they don't want to go to jail. They actually make a pistol version now, which allows the short, original barrel, and has no stock, but, frankly, especially with a full magazine, I can't imagine that wouldn't be rather awkward. I assume that the barrels for the pistol have a different threading for the barrel - or idiots out there will buy pistol barrels for their carbines and create illegal weapons.

The Armorer will not, as he does not wish to move to 1300 Metropolitan Avenue from his current address, which serves his modest needs just fine.

The original grease gun came into being because of WWII. Colonel Thompson's fine M1928 series subgun was the only weapon of it's type in mass production when the war opened, but, while a sturdy and reliable piece it was heavy, very complicated to manufacture (requiring lots of skilled machinist time perhaps better spent on other things) and, as a result, expensive. It was also machined from solid billet steel, which was, well, somewhat wasteful of a strategic material, considering how much had to be machined away. Photos of a finished receiver available here, at Philadelphia Ordnance.

In it's ultimate form, the M1A1, the Thompson was greatly simplified - but still just too dang expensive to produce in terms of cost, time, and skilled workmen. There was a war on. Something Had To Be Done.

After a brief flirtation with the Marlin-Hyde M2 sub-machine gun which took too long to produce good prototypes, along came the M3 Grease Gun. A metal tube, some stampings, some welding, and the only serious machining being the barrel and bolt. Sanger thoughtfully provide a nice picture of the M3A1 while we were discussing, among other things... the Whatziss.

Firing from an open bolt (most subguns do, so that heat won't cook-off a round in the chamber) it was cocked with a lever on the side, which, in service, tended to catch on things, bend, and otherwise annoy the user. The safety was the ejection port cover, which had a flange that projected down into a hole in the receiver. Cocked, with the port cover open, the thing was dangerous... something that probably is weighing heavily on the minds of these German POWs in Brittany.

Some product improvements were made, resulting in the M3A1. The cocking lever was dispensed with, and the user just opened the ejector port cover, and stuck his finger in a hole in the bolt and pulled it back to cock it. The stock was modified so that it could be used as a wrench for removing the barrel (required for cleaning). One end of the wire stock had a socket for a cleaning brush, the other had a slot for cleaning patches. There was a metal doohickey (official term) that served as a magazine loader. The weak point of the M3 guns were the magazines. Instead of being double-column, double-feed, they were double-column single feed - which made them a bitch to load and caused some jamming problems. The gun had an oil reservoir and oil brush in the pistol grip. All in all a handy weapon, cheap to produce, and simple to use and maintain.

And it lasted a long time - the last combat hurrah of the M3A1 was Desert Storm. The Armorer also carried one when he was a battery commander, trading his M1911A1 (a nice 1943 Remington Rand) with the VTR driver for his Guide Lamp (a division of GM that made grease guns) M3A1.

It's fun to shoot, with a slow, steady beat that will allow a good shooter to shoot single shots as needed/desired. The longer barrel makes the .45 ACP go farther a little faster, and what it hits stays... hit, and is usually distracted by same. Hence my desire to carry one while I was a Battery Commander. If I needed to defend myself, I probably had even bigger problems in the battery area and wanted a weapon that would really influence my surroundings.

The semi-auto in the Holdings of the Arsenal of Argghhh! languished in lay-away for a long time, and is as-yet unfired. But, come better weather, the M3 will make a trip to the range - along with a really rare bird a buddy of the Armorer owns - a Pedersen device. Yes, boys and girls - the Armorer is going to shoot a weapon very very very few people have shot. A semi-auto M1903 rifle...

I did find this cool video of a silenced grease gun being fired in the Phillipines, and this video of an M3A1 being fired in a range - note the use of the finger to cock and the slow rate of fire.

For you Airsoft aficionados - here's the Hudson Airsoft Grease Gun being fired with "blue gas" and with "green gas".

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 30, 2007

January 29, 2007

The Whatziss... Day 3.

Mebbe this will help.

Confused by what all this means - you've missed this post, then.

Okay, y'all are there.

More on it tomorrow. Larger format pic here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 29, 2007

January 27, 2007

Okay, let's get back to basics.

First - the answer to the cockpit whatzis was... Yak 3. Congrats to Gwedd and HomeFrontSix(!).

Turn yourselves loose on this one.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 27, 2007

January 13, 2007

A whatziss of a different color.

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

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

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

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

Just to be kind - hi-res here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 13, 2007

January 9, 2007

The T-95, yesterday's Whatziss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 09, 2007

January 8, 2007


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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 08, 2007

January 5, 2007

The Whatziss from yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M50 Ontos

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


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 05, 2007

January 4, 2007


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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Jan 04, 2007

December 26, 2006

A new whatziss.

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

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Someone's bound to overthink it, however.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 26, 2006

December 22, 2006

The Whatziss, continued.

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

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

Go for it, Gents.

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

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




Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 22, 2006

December 21, 2006

A new whatziss - reader supplied!

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

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

The answer is, to me at least, fascinating.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 21, 2006

December 13, 2006

A new whatziss.

Prior to 1960.


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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 13, 2006

December 8, 2006

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

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

Also known as the dangers of a college education.

This one.

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

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

Gauge, Testing, Fuze Setter No 1

In use, looking sorta like this.

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

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

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

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows �

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 08, 2006

December 6, 2006

Feh! Since I'm all bummed...

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


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Post WWII. NATO, not Warsaw Pact.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 06, 2006

December 2, 2006

A reader-submitted Whatzis!

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

So, whatzis?

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

Good luck!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Dec 02, 2006

November 25, 2006

Okay, let's have a two-fer.

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 25, 2006

November 21, 2006

The Sunday Whatzis, revealed.

Confused? Click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 21, 2006

November 20, 2006

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

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

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

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

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John Donovan loves him some guns.


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

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

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

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

Because it then becomes my connection to the warrior.

Marines on Tarawa.

Like these Marines at Tarawa, 63 years ago today.

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

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

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

I wanna know how they computed the data.

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

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

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

British soldier training his horse dor dismounted combat.

Just sayin’.

Oh, and because SWWBO sez it can.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 20, 2006

November 19, 2006

Okay, a lazy Sunday whatziss.

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

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Mebbe not.

Have fun snipe-hunting!

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 19, 2006

November 15, 2006

The Whatziss, revealed!

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

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

The three-pronged side links:

Machinegun belt-linking tool

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 15, 2006

November 14, 2006

A new whatziss!

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

What is this tool used for?

So, whatziss?

If that wasn't terribly helpful, try this.

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 14, 2006

November 5, 2006

That tank, some more.

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

There's those pesky sponsons!

Here's a profile view.

Hmmm, what's troublesome about those vision slits?

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 05, 2006

November 4, 2006

A new challenge!

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

ID this tank.

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 04, 2006

November 2, 2006

A new whatziss.

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Nov 02, 2006

October 22, 2006

Let's have a whatziss!

Okay, grognards. Whatta we got here? Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 22, 2006

October 21, 2006

After the Early Halloween Post below...

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

Just some stuff on the shelves

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 21, 2006

October 16, 2006

Connecting dots...

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

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

Note the Urban Combat uniform...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The problem was nobody in the Special Forces establishment thought we would get as far as we did. So they hadnt thought through how to deal with that.

Its a shame because we were both very keen to serve our country at the highest level. And we could have done a good job.

Read the rest here.

No comment, just postin'.

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Oct 16, 2006

September 29, 2006

Brothers in Arms...

We need a gun pic.

Steyr-Hahn M1911 and Webley .25 auto

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 29, 2006

September 22, 2006

French Fusils

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

I do have bangsticks.

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 22, 2006

September 18, 2006

This one is for John of Oldguns...

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

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

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

M1919 Trainer assembled

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

M1919 trainer, field stripped

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 18, 2006

September 12, 2006

That Whatziss, con't. Solved.

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

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

To save some confusion: The original post is here.

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 12, 2006

September 10, 2006

A new challenge...

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

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

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

Get to work, brainiacs!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 10, 2006

September 9, 2006

Something to keep you busy today...

...for those that like to play.

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

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

Hint: WWII.

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 09, 2006

September 8, 2006

Contrary to your expectations...

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 08, 2006

September 7, 2006

The Whatziss, revealed.

Cutaway of an XM576 40mm Buckshot Grenade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 07, 2006

September 6, 2006

A new challenge.

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


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 06, 2006

September 5, 2006

The Whatziss, answered...

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

Here it is fully assembled:

British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism fully assembled

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

British WW2 SOE Limpet AC Delay mechanism disassembled

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

Limpet Timing Kit

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 05, 2006

September 4, 2006

Okay - enough of a break.

C'mon, whatziss?


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

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

Let your imagination run wild.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Sep 04, 2006

August 28, 2006

Let's try something different...

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

40mm grenade

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


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

The flip side

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �

by John on Aug 28, 2006

August 25, 2006

The whatziss, answered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! �