What’s Up? Doc!

OK, we already showed you Doc’s first flight, cut short by an indicator light (better safe than sorry in a 70-year-old, fiendishly complex airplane). But this video by professional videographer Scott Slocum was shot from a chase plane (an RV-8? Not sure), and it is, in places, breathtaking.

You can click on the “vimeo” link in the lower right to go to the Aero Media Group’s website and see some more of Scott’s fine work. Along with some cool sailing stuff, there’s P-40 and B-17 video also.

But here’s one more B-29 video: Doc’s sister ship FIFI, the Commemorative Air Force’s bird, shot this year also, in amazing crepuscular light.

If we had a B-29, we’d want Scott and his camera in the chase plane. Wouldn’t you?

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Houses

house crashThere he was, minding his own business, driving down the road, when the house hit him.

Wait, what?

Oh, OK. He hit the house. Probably wasn’t on the road then, eh?

At 10:25 p.m. Saturday, police received a 911 call for a report of a “loud bang” on the lawn of 220 New Road, according to a statement released by the Newmarket Police Department. When officers arrived, police observed a single vehicle had left the roadway and crashed into a home at 220 New Road.
The only occupant of the vehicle, William Morley, 30, of 28 Cedar St., Newmarket, was rushed to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, and was pronounced deceased at the hospital at 11:30 p.m.

via Newmarket man dies after crashing car into house – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

The sad thing is, even if you are such a failure as a driver (or such a prodigious consumer of Judgment Juice) that you go swanning about slamming into parked homes, you still are an odds-on favorite to live if you just wear your jeezly seat belt.

To die in a crash like this requires either bad luck in the Book of Job range, or broad-based and multidisciplinary recklessness. Or — a remote possibility with a 30-year-old, but a possibility nonetheless — he could have been suddenly incapacitated at the wheel by a medical issue such as a heart attack.

Are You on ISIL’s List?

List-Home-banner-1You know, that list of 8,000 names they’ve instructed their splodydopes, machete-meisters and generally murderous mohammedrones to go kill?

CounterJihad claims to have a copy of the list. You can go to this link and enter your name and email, and if Hadji has spelled your name right, when he put you on the list, they’ll give you an up, and instructions on how to request an update from the Sword and Shield of The Party the partisan political police previously known as the FBI.

CounterJihad reports:

ISIS has released another kill list of people with names and addresses it says it has targeted. This list contains over 8,000 names worldwide and more than 4000 Americans.

The FBI is investigating the list but has not at this point notified the people included on it.

We have a copy of the list that law enforcement is using. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the list, or the ability of ISIS to deliver on their threats– but we do think it is fair for Americans to know if they are listed and be able to query the FBI as to the status of the investigation.

They’re also using the list request as a way to sign you up for their emails. We signed up because we’re interested in the civilizational jihad that they report on.

To our great disappointment, we were not on the list. We’re going to have to redouble our efforts.

Shoot Like an Egyptian! Two Rare Rifles, One Auction.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the great European empires that had ruled most of the world continued their retreat from Africa and Asia, and many new nations became independent. Other nations which had longer if interrupted history of independence — Egypt is at issue here — found themselves realigning away from former colonial or commonwealth “protectors” and pursuing more nationalistic ends.


This often produced, especially when home-country nationalists returned from education abroad full of hopeless, emotional Marxian economics, a reach for self-sufficiency in all things (including armaments) that seems, in retrospect, irrational to the point of insanity. But Egypt tried to develop indigenous weapons including surface-to-surface missiles and transonic jet aircraft; naturally, it also tried to make its own small arms, as did such other gunmaking powerhouses as the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Indonesia.

Egypt, having chosen a mathematically insupportable course of action, then dialed up the strange in its selection of inspiration: its homegrown weapons were based on Swedish prototypes. The Misr or “Egypt” submachine gun was a simple and direct copy of the Carl Gustav M45B, but for rifles, Egypt made a modified copy of the Swedish Ljungman AG42B — at first. 


The rifle’s similarity to the AG42 is clear, up close or at a distance.


Early Hakeem rifle, chambered in 7.92/8mm mauser. One 10 round magazine and bayonet. The bayonet is missing the locking screw but is otherwise in good condition. Bore is in good condition with strong lands and grooves. Overall finish is good or better. Not too many dings from being in an armory. Imported by Century Arms International (small import stamp on barrel just behind the muzzle brake). The Hakeem was produced between 1950 and 1960. According to my research, this is an early model Hakim with minimal production stamps all in Arabic Script. Later production guns would have duplicate information engraved in English as well as Arabic. The information I have found also states that the bayonets were only produced during the first year.


The bayonet’s similarity to the Swedish version is clear.

The second rifle looks, at a glance, like an SKS, but that’s mostly just an artifact of the copy of the SKS’s bayonet and stock, and the use of the same cartridge.

Hak-n-Rash-07 Hak-n-Rash-08

Egyptian Rasheed carbine chambered in 7.62 x 39mm. 10 round magazine, and folding bayonet. Ladder sight marked in Egyptian. Left side stamp marks: Serial number in what appears to be both Arabic and English, “Rasheed Made in UAR” then also in Arabic script. Bore is in excellent condition with strong lands and grooves. Bluing is in excellent condition. Wooden stock shows normal wear for an armory weapon with small dings and scratches, armory mark painted on the butt.

Action's clearly a scaled-down Hakim.

Action’s clearly a scaled-down Hakim.

That mark appears to be the Arabic numeral “3”.

The action is a bit tight against the magazine and causes the bolt to drag a bit too much preventing full lock up. A good gunsmith can fix this problem.

via Egyptian Duo: Hakeem Rifle & Rasheed Carbine : Semi Auto Rifles at GunBroker.com.

The initial bid asked for this auction is $1600 for the pair.

Rifles and Reliability — 70 Years of Progress

Let's play with found data, shall we?

Let’s play with found data, shall we?

In an interesting commentary that accompanies the third in an ongoing series of videos he did on Winchester’s also-ran G30M rifle and related prototypes, Ian McCollum at Forgotten Weapons reports these results from the 1940 Marine Corps tests of then state-of-the-art M1 Garand and Johnson semi-automatic rifles.

Ultimately the trials were won by the Garand, with the G30M placing third in total malfunctions and broken parts. This had involved 37 different tests and more than 12,000 rounds through each rifle. The Garand had 1,480 total malfunctions and 49 parts broken, replaced, or repaired. The Johnson had 1,547 and 72 respectively, and the G30M 2,864 and 97 (roughly double the number of problems as the Garand).

These numbers are indicative of just how far we’ve come in firearms reliability in ¾ of a century. This table shows (assuming 12,000 rounds as our denominator, which is close enough because our purpose here is comparison) that as reliable as those rifles were for their day, hey were pretty buggy by today’s standards. Looking at the percentages really makes the data pop.

Assuming a “malfunction” equals a stoppage, we’ll label those percentage of stoppages and we’ll label the parts breakages “failures.”

USMC Rifle Test 1940





% #



1480 12.3% 49 0.4%


1547 12.9% 74 0.6%
Winchester 2864 23.9% 97


Now, those numbers are good for the era! As you might expect, the Garand, which had had the most development, was the most reliable, with the Johnson closely behind. The Winchester prototype, designed by Ed Browning and updated by David Marshall Williams, was about twice as prone to stoppage and breakage as the Garand, but as you can see if you watch Ian’s video of these rare prototypes at the Cody Center, they were pretty raw, hand-tooled prototypes and probably could have been further improved with more time. Like the Johnson, though, they were out of time, pursuing the pretty-darn-good M1 Garand in an adoption stern chase in which they had no chance of overtaking the leader, unless they were really strikingly better at something. But the advantages of the Johnson and Winchester designs were small, and on key reliability numbers they were at a disadvantage.

But the think that really struck us is, how much less reliable these 1940 weapons were than a modern AR or AK. While many other things have been improved in service rifles since the 1940s, rifle reliability is probably the greatest. Yes, you can seize up an M4 pretty good if you burn through hundreds of rounds on cyclic rate, but you’d be doing immediate action a lot more often on a World War II era rifle.

This is borne out by data from the many, many M16 and M4 tests. For example, in the worst M4 test ever, the notorious and outlying 2007 extreme dust test, ten M4s fired 6,000 rounds per rifle with 1.4% stoppages. (You can download the .ppt of the test results at this post at The Firearm Blog).


And this number was over 4x the number of failures in an earlier iteration of the same test, a result the Army Research Lab has never explained insofar as we know.

Now we can’t compare the 1940 and 2007 tests directly and say that the M4 is nearly ten times more reliable than the M1. But we are pretty confident that an apples to apples test would show the new rifle as significantly more reliable.

It is also our experience, although we can’t back it up with bench data, that the current rifles like the M4 and the AK-74 are substantially more reliable than 1950s and 1960s rifles like the FN-FAL, H&K G3, and M16A1.

Of course, if you want reliable cycling, it’s hard to beat the rifle the Marines used as a control in the 1940 tests — the US Rifle Cal. .30 M1903, your basic turn-bolt Mauser action.

This is completely aside from the points Ian was making in his great series of videos. Certainly the Marines, like every armed service, tried their best to give their servicemen a rifle that was the State of the Art, and their combat performance with that rifle bears out the judgment of their ordnance officers and the Commandant at the time. That the Marines no longer carry the once-beloved M1 just proves that today’s ordnance officers and Commandant are still trying to  give their servicemen (and now, -women) a rifle that is the State of the Art.

In monarchies, the passing of a monarch is often announced with a cry: “The King is dead. Long live the King!” Maybe that’s how we should think about service rifles? The 1903, M1, M14, M16 and now M4 have all worn the crown. One day, the M4 will pass on to the museums and some future counterpart of Ian will study it, but a new King shall sit upon the rifle throne.

via Forgotten Weapons, which you guys are reading every day… right?

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Wooden Panels

That’s what it was, witnesses agree: a green, 6½-foot wooden panel which came sailing down under a clear blue sky and slammed into a man’s head. The New York Post says:

Sources say the victim, described as a male between 60 and 70-years-old, was walking northbound on Fifth Avenue near 30th Street around 4 p.m. when a green, six and a half foot wooden panel became loose from a surrounding safety wall and struck the victim in the head. The man fell to the ground near the road, bleeding.

The panel pulled off from a safety wall. God does mock our pretensions from time to time, doesn’t He?

“There is a lot of blood on the ground,” an on-site worker said. “They put sand on the ground to cover it up.”

Witnesses said two women attempted to keep the man awake while another man diverted traffic.

The victim was reportedly groggy, but remained alert and conscious throughout the entire ordeal and was transported to Bellevue Hospital by emergency units for further evaluation.

The condition of the victim was unknown at press time.

Deception, Red Army Style

Karsniy MaskirovschikThere are many disciplines in intelligence, including all of the intelligence modalities or “INTs,” counterintelligence (which can be defensive or offensive, strategically and operationally speaking), and deception. The Anglo-American deception related to D-Day, which was first revealed in depth in the 1970s in books like Anthony Cave Brown’s Bodyguard of Lies, is probably the most familiar deception operation known to our readers. But the Russian history of what they call maskirovka evidences a durative doctrinal history continuing more or less unabated from Tsarist times through the entire Soviet experience, to the Russian experience in the Near Abroad today.

Some of this may be based on Russian cultural characteristics: never be simple or straightforward when complexity is a possibility! But it’s too pat and too glib to dismiss maskirovka as simply Crazy Ivan doing his thing. Ivan’s not crazy, he’s clever; and his thing has largely worked for his country under overall leadership of widely varying outlook and, frankly, quality, against enemies that were even more variable yet. \

David M. Glantz, COL, USA, Ret., is the editor of The Journal of Slavic Military Studies which was formerly, in Cold War days,  a USG-sponsored review of Soviet Russian military doctrinal, historical and theoretical professional publications. A couple of months ago, he brought forth an early Soviet maskirovka publication, Krasniy Maskirovchik, from 1923:


Glantz’s analysis of this document was posted at the occasionally interesting War on the Rocks website a couple of months ago.

The word “maskirovka,” like its counterpart “razvedka,” which encompasses the broad realm from tactical reconnaissance to all levels of intelligence, is typically Russian in the sense that it describes a wide range of actions aimed at deceiving enemies in peacetime and wartime. As such, it encompasses every deceptive measure ranging from simple camouflage through sophisticated strategic deception. Even though later Soviet and Russian military theorists would supplement this term with broader new concepts such as obman [fraud] and zhitrost’ [cunning or ruse], at the time this magazine was published, “maskirovka” was the catch-all term applicable to anything done in peace or war to fool any real or imagined enemy.

For more from Glantz, on other subjects, and more on history including some new-ish thoughts on Stalingrad, an awkward and hard-to-navigate archive of The Journal of Slavic Military Studies is available online. We did find some articles free to download, but some of the .pdfs came across deformed. (In that case, we found that the HTML version was legible).


Bubba “Mills” an 80% Lower

The Continuing Adventures of Bubba the Gunsmite have taken a new direction, towards home manufacture of the venerable AR-15. To Bubba’s surprise, it did not work.

Bubbas 80-percenter

Bubba does spend an inordinate amount of time at his gun smiting bench in a state of surprise.

That’s one to challenge the Association of Firearms Toolmarks Examiners. Identify that dog’s breakfast. If you can.

Possible reasons for this outcome:

  1. It’s Bubba. Say no more.
  2. Made in Colorado, where standard capacity mags are banned, but operating metal-cutting machinery while stoned out of your gourd is perfectly legal.
  3. Bubba was fibbing when he compared his hands’ grip to a vise.
  4. Al alloy + Judgment Juice™ +  drill press = this monstrosity.
  5. He took thalidomide whilst pregnant with an AR-15.
  6. New MA(ura) legal AR: no parts interchange with a real one, and it can’t shoot.
  7. This is the good one, you should have seen his first ten attempts.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: WWII after WWII

wwii_after_wwiiOne of the greatest things about being a kid growing up in the 1960s, was the “Army Navy store”.  As late as 1975, 30 years after VJ Day, these stores were still full of piles and boxes of new equipment that had been made for World War II, but then disposed of afterwards because, with the war over, no one was going to need to equip an army of millions of men any time soon.

It was a boy’s paradise — everything from huge, double-sized BAR mockups to M1 Rifle grenade-launcher sights, new and in the wrappers or cosmoline, all for a minute percentage of what Uncle Sam had paid for them.

Bigger things were sold off, too: after the war, air races featuring leftover fighters were common. One race pilot, Tony LeVier, bought an F-5 (a photoreconnaissance version of the P-38) for, if we recall right, $1,500 and entered it in these competitions. He had his choice of hundreds of the planes; the vast majority, the ones that didn’t become race planes or rich men’s toys went to the smelter.

Transport planes, available for pennies on the dollar, launched almost all postwar airlines. Warships went into mothballs, but auxiliaries had short, expendable careers hauling freight and launched many a Greek shipping fortune. The reuse of all this valuable leftover World War II kit is the point of tonight’s Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week, WWII After WWII.

Militaries, of course, reused World War II gear in many ways themselves, and for a very long time. And the superpowers and colonial powers delivered their surplus tanks and artillery pieces to their allies, colonies, or new states with which they wanted to curry favor. The Israelis used (extensively improved) Sherman tanks in reserve units as late as the Yom Kippur War of October, 1973. And here’s a wartime Soviet SU-100 — just captured by these -2) Houthis in Yemen in 2014.

Yemeni Houthi captured Su100 2014

That SU-100 photo comes from onight’s remarkable Wednesday Weapons Websit eof the Week, which is called “WWII After WWII” and tries to document the long tale of consequences for World War II weapons and their makers, from Navy carrier tests of the German A-4 (V-2) missile, to the decline and fall of aircraft makers Curtiss-Wright (made from the merger of the two earliest American aircraft industrial firms) and Brewster. Curtiss-Wright made a series of bad product decisions that ultimately left it with nothing to sell. But with Brewster, the leadership was so bad (and so crooked) that the quality of decision-making barely registered among the reasons for failure. They hired con men (released from prison!) as salesmen, for one thing: never a solid basis for a going concern, that.

We’re not surprised to see trade unionism also implicated in Brewster’s demise:

The lowest point came on 23 August 1943, when the local United Auto Workers union at the plant went on strike, breaking the overall nationwide “no strikes until victory” motto. The strike was due to petty gripes between union security guards and US Coast Guard personnel patrolling the base. The saddest spectacle was a horrifying interview that the local union boss, Thomas de Lorenzo, gave to the Washington Post newspaper. He stated with no shame that he was fine with American troops dying because of the strike, as long as union privileges were preserved. The national UAW quickly distanced itself from the strike which ended shortly thereafter. (de Lorenzo’s big mouth attracted IRS attention and he was later jailed for income tax fraud.

For all that we’re willing to believe the worst of the UAW, under the labor-friendly Roosevelt Administration almost all wartime industrial plants were unionized, and apart from some difficulties with the mine workers, American union leaders and union men did their part and produced for the war. In this, as in so many things, Brewster was unique in its ruin.

Henry Kaiser actually managed to turn Brewster around, to a degree. But when he was called on to more urgent tasks, it collapsed back into incompetence and ruin, a tale told well by WWII After WWII.

It’s not all tanks, airplane factories, and German missile technology at WWII After WWII. If you’re interested in small arms, here’s some insight on the postwar careers of the British Lanchester submachine gun (which sailed on into the 1970s with the Royal Navy, and had several foreign connections), and the German StG 44 in Africa, and an interesting case study of German weapons in Viet Cong use.

Difference Between SEALs and SF (Serious)

Here’s a recently retired SF LTC describing the (we’d say “a”) key difference between SF and SEALS. Probably good for the general public, who’ve seen a lot of frogman propaganda (some of which makes the frogs themselves roll their eyes) lately.

We’d also like to note that he misses one of the big differences, and that’s that SF is primarily a terrestrial operation. Sure, we do air or maritime ops to get to work, but the SEALs have a maritime capability that is quite literally without equal, not just in the United States but probably in the world. (Some of our NATO allies have some excellent maritime SOF capabilities, but they’re different from what the frogs inherit from their UDT ancestors and have developed in some amazing directions).


OK, we’re having trouble with the embed code, the video can be seen on Business Insider, maybe we’ll have time to hack at it this evening.