The Special Forces Ranger Regiment

SF1CRESTSay whaaat? To US Army ears, that rings false. But according to retired officer and author Alfred H. Paddock Jr., that is very nearly what the first SF unit was called.

The unit, however named, was a very hard sell to Big Green, and conventional officers’ confusion did not help. The conventional warriors were confused about what special operations planners saw as distinct differences between the Ranger/commando operation on one hand, and special forces operations on the other. Rangers (then) operated in the enemy’s rear, but near the front lines, on combat and reconnaissance patrols of short range and short duration. SF units were envisioned as operating deep in the enemy’s rear, mostly “by, with and through” indigenous forces or guerrillas, often covertly or clandestinely, and of, essentially, indefinite range and duration. Entirely different personnel and training were required for the different tasks of unilateral Ranger operations and joint/combined/interagency Special Forces ops.

For several years a small cadre of WWII-experienced guerrillas and spooks tried to sell the idea of a permanent SF organization to Big Green. These included Col. Aaron Bank, BG Robert McClure and primary planner Col. Russell Volckmann, Col. Wendell Fertig, and Lt. Col’s. Mel Blair and Marv Waters. These guys were a who’s who of long-range SOF operations: Bank had done OSS missions behind German and Japanese lines; Volckmann and Fertig led Filipino resistance forces, and Volckmann had gone on to run guerrillas and agents into North Korea; Blair and Waters had slogged through Burma with Merrill’s Marauders. McClure, for his part, was an early proponent of psychological warfare, a high-functioning staff and intelligence officer who held several positions working for General Dwight D. Eisenhower in WWII and became, by happenstance, a leader then a fervent proponent of psychological warfare. McClure was, in the early 1950s, the founding head of the Psychological Warfare Center, which would sponsor the creation of Special Forces.

The First Ranger Company (Airborne) graduates from Ranger School, 1950. After training a rough dozen of these companies, most of which went to Korea, the school stopped preparing units and became the leadership school it is today.

The First Ranger Company (Airborne) graduates from Ranger School, 1950. After training a rough dozen of these companies, most of which went to Korea, the school stopped preparing units and became the leadership school it is today. (Yes, it embiggens to legible size).

In 1952, the Ranger companies established for the Korean War had been squandered by the leadership of the divisions to which they were attached; thrown away in WWI-style frontal assaults, they were disbanded after suffering over 50% casualties. (Some companies, like the 8th, suffered over 100% casualties). The Ranger school still existed, but Big Green didn’t want to see special units of any kind come back. If they did they wanted divisional commando companies, Rangers for short attacks in a Division Commander’s area of influence. But by and large, their attitude towards special units was negative. The Commander in Chief, Europe complained that “Rangers, as a whole, drain first class soldiers from infantry organizations.” His counterpart, the commander of the Army Field Forces had a different objection: “Envisioned special forces will in all probability be involved in subversive activities.” He didn’t want Americans doing that, especially not Americans identified as part of his Army.

On the other hand, some leaders wanted to see the Ranger lineage preserved in the Army, even if it was in a unit with a different mission. So when one early plan — having companies or platoons, each made up of Lodge Act volunteers from one of the various enslaved satellite states, led by American volunteer NCOs and officers — fell flat, a subsequent overhaul envisioned a unit of up to 3,000 men led by a colonel. Its mission was clearly an SF unconventional warfare/guerrilla warfare mission, and its operational element was a recognizable ODA, although still called by its OSS name, “Operational Group.”

That unit was initially defined as the “Special Forces Ranger Regiment.” By the time Big Green was getting on board, the first draft Table of Organization and Equipment no longer used the R-word. The unit was the Special Forces Group. The Rangers contributed two things: the disbandment of the Ranger Companies left some personnel spaces up for grabs (but not 3,000, which is how we got the current size SF group). And later, the Army Institute of Heraldry would assign the lineage and honors of the World War II and Korea Ranger units to Special Forces, along with those of the Canadian-American First Special Service Force. After the Ranger Battalions were established starting in 1974, it took them over a decade to get their history back!

You might ask, why doesn’t the OSS-derived Special Forces simply use the lineage and honors of OSS? Well, as a joint interagency wartime agency, the OSS does not have any history, lineage and honors, at least as far as the heraldry geeks at the Army Institute of Heraldry are concerned. Not that it matters. SF knows whence we were begotten.

The Special Forces Memorial Statue -- Bronze Bruce -- memorializes our sacrifices in war and peace, and has done so since the 1970s. Image: SFC Jason Baker, US Army SF Command, 2010.

The Special Forces Memorial Statue — Bronze Bruce — memorializes our sacrifices in war and peace, and has done so since the 1970s. Image: SFC Jason Baker, US Army SF Command, 2010.

A careful reading of Paddock’s rather dry book illuminates some other doctrinal and terminological dark spots, as well. For instance, how did the Operational Detachment Alpha get its name? Early draft papers by Bank and Volckmann, as we’ve noted often referred to the small SF team as the “Special Forces Operational Group,” reusing OSS terminology. (Bank was an OSS vet; Volckmann, who was a guerrilla leader in the Philippines, worked closely with Bank and other OSS vets in developing the concept, which drew on the OSS and British (SOE) experience in Europe, Africa and the CBI, as well as on the more informal, even ad-hoc organizations and concepts used by Volckmann, Fertig and the other Pacific Theater guerrillas). But “Group” had a specific meaning in Army lingo: a unit formed of two or more battalions, like a Regiment, but less permanent and more flexible. (Originally, a Brigade was a Regiment-sized field formation with combined arms: infantry, artillery and cavalry). Very large Support and Service Support formations are often organized as Groups. Some of these heraldic and historical distinctions have become moot with time, but Volckmann was trying to sell a new capability to a suspicious Army, who saw any kind of Special Forces or Rangers as a way to peel away the regulars’ best-motivated NCOs.

It is interesting to contemplate what would have happened to the SF/UW concept if Bob McClure and Russ Volckmann hadn’t been extremely skilled at the knife fight that was (and is) advancing a project in the Pentagon. Certainly all McClure’s psychological warfare experience, and all Volckmann’s hard-won guerrilla savvy (not to mention that of their officer brain trust) got a workout in the period from approximately 1947-1952. A fictionalized (but much livelier than Paddock’s) version of some of this history is found in the WEB Griffin “Brothehood of War” novel series from the early 1980s.


Paddock, Alfred H. Jr. US Army Special Warfare: Its Origins. Washington: National Defense University Press, 1982.

Miss America, 1907

1907, the year this pistol was made, was a hell of a year, perhaps not in the sense of 1861 or 1945, but a lot of things were happening. Theodore Roosevelt, the action-guy version of a polymath, was six years into his Presidency, and appointed an obscure colonel named George Washington Goethals to get the Panama Canal project rocking.

In the world of guns, soldiers and Marines were racking their Krags (and criminally long-lived Trapdoors) for the Mauser-based Springfields that put the USA back in the small arms game, even as ordnance officers pushed towards the Benet-Mercié as an ill-thought-out Maxim replacement in the novel role of machine gun. Overseas, single-shot black-powder turnbolts and rolling-blocks were being replaced, too, by smokeless smaller-bore Mausers, and Maxim and Hotchkiss were selling machine guns to the civilized world. And double-action revolvers were still replacing single-actions, while a whole new action concept, the semi-automatic pistol, was evolving to replace both.

gunbroker_colt_1907_listingsThe Colt Patent Firearms Company in Hartford, Connecticut, was in transition. There was a strong sense that auto pistols, like the designs Colt was buying from John M. Browning, were the wave of the future, but new double-action revolvers were more popular with most users, especially police, and demand for the old single-actions hadn’t yet waned. A search of GunBroker for “Colt 1907” gives us an unscientific sample of Colt’s production that year. Bisley and other SAA revolvers, including some in smokeless calibers like the .38 S&W Special; double-action revolvers including the powerful New Service; and both pocket and military automatics of Browning design. The breakdown is 7 single-action revolvers (one was off the bottom of the screen shot), 3 double-action, and three automatics, one of which is a Swedish model 1907 that was not made by Colt and probably not made in 1907 (but they’re cool guns anyway, and a half-ancestor of the Tokarev pistol). That’s 77% revolvers (54% thumbusters), and 23% automatics, rounded off. Colonel Colt, who passed away in 1862, would only recognize the single-actions as close kin to the gun made on his own watch. The automatics were just starting their long march to absolute domination.

Colt 1905 127 1907 trials 02

Which brings us to the vision of loveliness you see before you: Miss America, 1907. She was one of the 200 guns that the Army ordered, for the penultimate round of trials and troop tests that would weigh Colt’s edition of the Browning design against DWM’s version of Georg Luger’s. That makes her as historically significant as she is beautiful, little Miss America here.

Colt 1905 127 1907 trials 01

This gun was shipped on 17 March 08 up the river from Colt’s Hartford plant to Springfield Armory. It differed from the ordinary run of Model 1905 production, in that it had a different hammer, nearly vertical ejection, an extractor that functioned as a loaded-chamber indicator (a cavalry request), a grip safety (another cav request), Euro-style magazine release in butt, and a lanyard loop. It differed from the Model 1910 that would ultimately emerge as the military’s M1911 in the arrangement of the barrel and recoil spring (and the associated take-down procedures), the magazine release, the lack of a manual safety, the slide stop, and some other small details. Still, the lines of the future service pistol were firming up by this point.

colt letter of authenticationSerial number 127  has been painstakingly refinished by Turnbull. The rich nitre blue on the small parts (trigger, hammer, slide stop, grip safety, etc.) is striking as is the deep lustrous charcoal blue of the slide and receiver. Both Colt and Turnbull letters of authenticity are included.

It is hard to price a refinished gun like this, one with a premium refinish. (Indeed, Turturnbull invoicenbull does such a nice job you could argue it’s over-refinished). The conventional wisdom is that a refinished gun in as-new conditon is worth less than it was pre-restoration. But there are restorations, and there are restorations; one restorer might be Doug Turnbull and the other Bubba who usually drives the propane truck.

The auction has been bid to $9,000 and has stalled there, below the reserve, at this writing. It will be interesting to see where it goes. It seems to us that there are deep psychological barriers at certain round-number levels (of which the biggest seem to be $1k, $2k, and $10k). Maybe retailers are on to something when they price something at $999.99.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Elevators.

elevator_fallGoing down? Geronimo!

Yeah, we’ve featured elevators before, on 13 aug 13 and again on 5 Aug 14. So it seems like somebody gets croaked in or on an elevator about once a year, at least, in such a way as to come to our attention.

Eran Modan, 37, was visiting friend at The Espoir luxury apartment building in Brooklyn at 4.15am Friday when the the elevator, which may have been overloaded, began to jerk.

The Israel native had just entered and tried to get back to the lobby through doors that were ajar.

However, the elevator then suddenly jerked three feet downwards, giving the Israel native severe wounds on his head and chest.

Modan’s friend Mona Zarrin Ramsdell tried to resuscitate him, but he died at the scene.

Ramsdell told the New York Daily News that she saw the victim had signs of life, but said, ‘I could just feel his energy die’.

Remembering the scene that led to his death, she said, ‘His head was out but his body was in’.

via New York man crushed to death by elevator in luxury apartment building after trying to escape because it was stalled | Daily Mail Online.

Keep your hands and feet — and especially, heads — inside the ride at all times, kids.

What Percentage Are Infiltrators?

ISIL flagA horde of “migrants” or “refugees” — it is interesting to see that European press style is increasingly favoring the former over the latter — has been swarming across Europe, trying to leave various Islamic paradises and dwell amongst the infidels, or at least, leech off the infidel’s overly generous welfare state. A relatively small percentage of them are from Syria or Iraq; tey are the no-hopers of every whistlestop, or what would be whistlestops if the trains had kept running after the hated colonizers left, in the Middle East and Africa.

They are almost all men. For “refugees,” they have made no effort to save their women and children. And they are mostly young, military-age males. So the question arises: what percentage of them are infiltrators?

Pressure cooker bomb from Inspire Magazine. Click to embiggen.

Pressure cooker bomb from Inspire Magazine. Click to embiggen.

The answer may be, “it doesn’t matter.” After all, the Tsarnaevs were not inifiltrators; the pressure-cooker prestoopniks were radicalized by the internet and the Islamic Society of Boston, an extremist Wahhabi mosque. But let’s try to answer the question anyway. The number has to be somewhere between 0 (which is unlikely) and 100% (which is also unlikely. Most of these guys are looking for a handout, not a suicide vest, at least at the moment). But what do informed people say?

Well, back in SFQC, and again in the SF Operations and Intelligence Course, we were taught to expect one in ten refugees to be either:

  1. an enemy infiltrator;
  2. directly under enemy control for espionage or sabotage; or,
  3. in contact and passing intelligence information to the enemy, but not explicitly under control.

Of these, the Number 1s are the least common and the Number 3s the most. But these numbers are drawn from experience with war zone refugees, for example, like the Vietnamese who fled the PAVN mass murders in Hue in the Tet Offensive. War Zone refugees are a negative image of this current group — in beautiful downtown Bulletsville, your refugees are women, kids, and old men, mostly, with scarcely a military-age man among them. On a group that skewed demographically youthful and male, you’d expect a higher percentage to be active enemies. So let’s set 15% as our upper bound for folks that are starting out hostile. This is a conservative figure, because many of those fleeing ISIL are fleeing because they’re members of other, defeated, violent groups.

What does the recent migrant swarm attack on the Chunnel tell us?

[A]ccording to French officials, political activists embedded among desperate migrants in Calais were instrumental in persuading them to adopt more extreme tactics to break in to Britain.
….A Eurotunnel spokesman described the onrush as “a massive invasion and intrusion by a very large and co-ordinated group of migrants”.

Hooded migrants -- all young, all male, all mohammedan -- break into a truck.

Hooded migrants — all young, all male, all mohammedan — break into a truck.

A French emergency services spokesman on the ground in Calais said political activists were ‘co-ordinating’ the invasion.

He said: “They were very clearly helping to break down fences and guiding the migrants in a coordinated attack. They got into the south tunnel, and the service tunnel.” ….

The head of a major police union said he believed attempts to storm the Channel Tunnel were partly organised by British left-wingers.

Gilles Debove, from the union Unite SGP-Police FO, said: “This is being encouraged not by human traffickers, who wish to remain discreet, but by extreme left elements here to manipulate the migrants in the name of their ideal of imposing a country without borders or police. Among these activists are quite a few Britons.”

Describing the attack, a spokesman said: “It’s clearly an organised attack when it comes in such a large number, there are over 100 in this one group.”

“They arrived together and in a well-organised manner broke through the fences and all clearly knew where they were going.”

These guys seem perfectly law-abiding! Nah, there’s probably nobody that wishes France or Britain ill in that untidy scrum.

Still, it’s not all bad news for civilization.

Thirteen migrants have died trying to reach Britain since the start of the crisis in June.

An Eritrean man in his 20s, was killed on Wednesday and is believed to have been hit by a freight train near the tunnel entrance at around 1am.

Early on Tuesday morning a 20-year-old Iraqi man was crushed to death after apparently sneaking on board a lorry to reach the UK.

The HGV driver discovered the body in the back of his vehicle near Calais port as he inspected his load after he was forced to brake suddenly.

Well, there’s one mall or sporting event that won’t get shot or blown up.

If 15% is the high bound for the number of these migrants who are actually cuckoo’s eggs, what’s the low bound? Again, any estimate is of necessity fuzzy, but here’s a conservative-sounding one — in an op-ed by Ari Harow in the Los Angeles Times (emphasis ours)

Hungary and Slovakia have been vilified by many for rebelling against taking in thousands of refugees. Not only have they rejected European Union-imposed quotas, but both countries have made it clear that a mass Muslim migration would pose unacceptable demographic and cultural challenges. Their concerns are well founded, not only over integration but especially from a security perspective.

Lebanon’s education minister, Elias Bousaab, warned recently that two in every 100 Syrian migrants arriving in Europe are Islamic State fighters, sent to infiltrate a continent distracted by sympathy. If Bousaab’s conservative calculation proves accurate, it would mean that among the 10,000 Syrian refugees that Secretary of State John F. Kerry has pledged to allow into the United States in 2016, there could be 200 committed terrorists.

OK. With the high bound for infiltrators at 15%, the low bound is at 2%. Let’s assume the Good Samaritans welcoming these scorpions are blessed with a jihad rate at the low bound. What does that mean, for, say, Germany?

Bundeskanzler Angela Merkel has committed the Federal Republic to accept 1.5 million “migrants” — this year alone. Since these refugees are all young men, the nation is also on the hook for their immediate and extended families — about 7.36 million people. But wait! That’s on the old number of 920k migrants. What about the new 1.5 million? Then the family horde is 12 million people.

Worst case, 15% and all migrants and family members being equally likely to become jihadis, that’s 1.8 million jihadis loose in Germany. If 15% of the men alone become jihadis, then it’s a manageable 225,000 jihadis, or a mere 22,500 Mumbai-attack equivalents, or a trivial 56,250 equivalents of the Westgate Mall attack force.

Long before thousands of opportunistic attacks happened, Germany would get back in touch with its totalitarian past. Anyone who thinks that’s a good idea isn’t thinking things all the way through, and anyone who thinks admission of millions of mohammedan immigrants to Europe is a good idea is, ultimately, calling for this outcome.

But that’s the worst case, remember? Let’s look at Minister Bousaab’s number as a potential best-case. What would those numbers be?

Worst of the best case, 2% and all migrants and family members being equally likely to become jihadis, that’s only 240,000 jihadis. If 2% of the men alone become jihadis, then it’s only 30,000 jihadis, which means we’re turning loose in Germany only 3,000 Mumbai-attack equivalents, or only 7,500 equivalents of the Westgate Mall attack force.

Would they actually do that? Harow thinks so.

[M]ake no mistake, Islamic State and other enemies of the West are planning to exploit this chaos. In the last year, Islamic terrorists carried out major attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. And recently, three Americans on vacation thwarted an attack on a Paris-bound train.

Many Western leaders appear so self-satisfied with answering the call for refuge that they have fooled themselves into believing that their largesse provides a genuine solution. ….

The reality is that the only effective way to help those fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and the wider region is to cut off the source of that violence — in the Middle East.

The US isn’t going to do that. Nor will the EU. Getting goodfeels about refugees is a positive value for the leadership of these nations; actually preventing refugees doesn’t give them the same moral frisson. 

It’s a good time to invest in whoever makes the Polezei’s bullets — they’re going to need to start training. A lot.

Finally, remember that Bousaab’s number of 200 committed terrorists in the US was the best-case scenario. If the Bousaab numbers are not right, and the SFQC numbers are, we’re looking at 1,000 to 1,500 new Marathon bombers and Sudden Jihad Syndrome shooters. Say thank you to Secretary Kerry.

The South May Not Rise Again, But These Rebel Cannons Did

CSS Pee Dee (or Pedee) in a period illustration.

CSS Pee Dee (or Pedee) in a period illustration.

They rose clean out of the Pee Dee river, where archaeologists found them and plucked them out of the river 150 years after a Confederate crew threw them overboard rather than surrender them to Sherman’s Yankees. With the cannon safely consigned to the deep where 1860s technology had little hope of finding and raising them, they then scuttled their ship, also called the Pee Dee, or maybe the Pedee — named after the stream where it was born and died in 1865, in whatever rough and ready orthography its rough and ready rebel crew might use to write its name down.

The guns were a captured Union Dahlgren gun, a 9″ caliber (~2.3 cm) smoothbore, and two Confederate Brooke rifles, one of 7″ (~1.8) bore and one of 6.4″ (~1.7).

This 7-inch Brooke rifle was captured by the Union on another Confederate ship. (Source: Wikipedia).

This 7-inch Brooke rifle was captured by the Union on another Confederate ship. Note the prominent band around the breech.  (Source: Wikipedia).

Brooke guns, designed by a Confederate naval officer, were characterized by a rough-finished cast iron barrel (internally bored and rifled) and one or more bands of wrought iron reinforcing the breech. It was a Rebel lower-tech answer to the Union Parrott gun, which Southern foundries  couldn’t reproduce. It was an accurate, dependable arm, well-liked by the Confederacy’s artillerymen and naval gunners alike.  Some quantity of them survive, but most of the survivors have been stripped of their heritage.

The Dahlgren gun was the product of Union Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. The 9-inch gun was a Union Navy workhorse, with over 1,100 accepted from many foundries, including southern foundries that made the guns for the Confederacy after secession. The Dahlgren is famous for never having blown up in field service, in part, perhaps, because Admiral Dahlgren blew some up deliberately experimentally in development.

All these guns would have been served by a crew of ten to twelve men each.

Aside from being coated in mud and muck, the recovered cannons were in surprisingly good condition and are more or less “ready to rock and roll,” said Jonathan Leader, South Carolina’s state archaeologist, who helped lead efforts to locate the remains of the sunken CSS Pedee [sic]. Receding waters left the third cannon (a 7-inch Brooke rifle) exposed, and the gun is a bit corroded as a result, he said.

CSS Pedee Cannons

The three cannons, recovered. They will be conserved by the same facility handling CSS Hunley. Foreground and rear under the excavator are the Brooke rifles. They can be identified by the bands around the breech. Right middle-depth shows the characteristic curved, almost organic profile of the Dahlgren gun.

The recovery of the cannons marks a milestone for Leader and his colleagues at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Between 2009 and 2012, the state archaeologist worked with several institutions, nonprofits and local volunteer organizations to find parts of the ship, including the cannons, and figure out how to get them out of the water. The task of plucking the guns from the river was facilitated by a grant from the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence.

Archaeologists also located the site of the Mars Bluff Navy Yard, where Confederate troops and local volunteers built the CSS Pedee and several smaller boats during the Civil War. But the discovery of the CSS Pedee’s cannons is particularly special, Leader told Live Science.

Typically, victors scour the battlefield after a fight, and anything useful is hauled off and used again in future battles, Leader said. After the Civil War, cannons and other weapons were gathered and moved to various federal depots. Piled together and taken from their original context, objects like cannons became anonymous, Leader said, losing what he called their “important connections to battlefields, military actions and communities.”

brookerifleBut that is not the case for the CSS Pedee’s cannons. Thanks to historical records and oral histories from locals, a lot is known about how and where these cannons were used and who operated them, Leader said. The last time the Confederate warship’s cannons were fired, they were pointed at Union Gen. William T. Sherman and his troops, who were advancing into North Carolina, he said.

Fearing the ship would fall into enemy hands, Confederate soldiers threw the cannons overboard before they “scuttled,” or deliberately sank the CSS Pedee. The dredged-up weapons serve as a direct link to that moment in history, Leader said, noting that reclaiming the cannons felt like a “handshake over the ages.”

via Blast from the past: 3 Civil War cannons pulled from river | Fox News.\

The cannon will take about two years to conserve. The point of the conversion is to stop any extant corrosion, and prevent corrosion from restarting once the cannon is exposed to the oxygen-rich air of the atmosphere.

Once conserved, the guns will be on display at a new VA hospital under construction in Florence, South Carolina.


  1. WMBF News
  2. Brooke Rifles at Civil War Artillery.
  3. Dahlgren at Civil War Artillery.

German Invader With Russian Defender’s Rifle?

Where this grainy photo appeared in Daily Mail recently, in support of a story on grave-robbery in the East,  the caption was: Arms: The items being gathered by collectors often include rifles similar to these being carried by these German troops running on the Eastern Front in 1941. But have a look at this picture.

Germans -- Eastern Front -- 1941

The picture is a familiar one, it’s one editors seem to always go to for an Operation Barbarossa shot. But look at the rifle in the hands of the lead soldier! It’s a Russian rifle, specifically, a Tokarev SVT-40 (below) or possibly an SVT-38. An SVT-40 is shown below. The SVT-38 has the cleaning rod on the right side of the stock instead of under the barrel, and has a slightly shorter metal hand guard.

SVT-40 tokarev

So… is this a Barbarossa pic, and the German has merely helped himself to a Russian bangstick? Or are these guys, perhaps, Finns? The Finnish Army used both German-style helmets (which was their standard) and Russian rifle, including Tokarevs, which they captured in massive quantities in the Winter War. Indeed, most non-import-marked Tokarev rifles you find in the USA come from about 5,800 pre-’68 imports from Finland, and bear the “SA” cartouche of the Finnish Army.

kennblaetter_fremden_geraetsThen again, every army in the world uses foreign and enemy weapons if necessary. The Nazis, always short of arms for their oversized army, systematized the use of foreign weapons, and actually issued many foreign weapons, from pistols to tanks, and issued them German logistics numbers and printed German-language manuals. The SVT-40 was known to the Wehrmacht as the Gewehr 259 (r.) with the “r” standing for russich, Russian; the SVT-38 was called the G. 258 (r). But these designations were not assigned until December, 1942, according to the official document, the Kennblätter fremden Geräts.

Either way, it’s an interesting picture, possibly staged (In combat photography, how often is the photographer out in front of the infantry?) and possibly not.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Rough Sex

Joseph Danclair mugshotHey, it happens to us all the time. After a good romp, the chick won’t wake up. No, wait a minute, that doesn’t happen to us. It happens to Joseph Danclair.

Joseph Danclair, 36, told police the victim, Antoinette Marin, 43, never woke up after a night of drug use and rough sex.

“Mr. Danclair is innocent. Put that in the Daily News on the front page,” Danclair told the paper before being held without bail at his arraignment. He said he only wanted sex with the women.

It’s pretty weird but it’s a one-off, right? Maybe the guy’s on the level and he just has a somewhat kinetic love-making style. Are we going to throw away the key because he made one mistake?

Uh, two mistakes?

Danclair is also expected to be charged with murder in the death of a second woman, Chrissy Bevelaqua, 34, who was found naked in a Brooklyn hotel….

“Both of the victims have trauma to their neck area and both of the rooms were left in similar fashion,” Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry said Friday, referring to the dead women.

via Brooklyn man charged with murder in death of woman at hotel – NY Daily News.

OK, we’ll admit that looks pretty bad for Mr Danclair. We blame the wide availability of handguns, and his criminality…

The suspect…  has 28 prior arrests, mostly for drug possession but also for robbery and kidnapping.

…OK, mostly his criminality. But still, 28 small crimes like robbery and kidnapping, and just two dead women, it’s not like this guy is incorrigible, is it?

Danclair is also expected to be charged with rape in connection with an Aug. 23 attack on a woman he picked up at a Starbucks in Union Square, sources said.

Danclair took the 34-year-old victim to an abandoned building on Blake Ave. in Brooklyn.

“She realizes, this is not good,” a source said.

But by then, it’s too late.

Once they reached the third floor, Danclair ordered the woman to take off her clothes, sources said. He then struck her with an object, had sex with her and made her snort what she believes to be heroin, sources said.

“He also made her crawl up and down the steps,” a source said.

At some point, Danclair fell asleep, and the victim grabbed his phone, fled the building and took a cab to the 73rd precinct stationhouse.

DNA evidence matched Danclair’s, sources said.

Investigators believe Danclair raped a 41-year-old woman in Manhattan in Sept. 2010, Aubry said.

OK, so two killings, and two rapes, and 28 priors.

Why wasn’t the key thrown away about 25 crimes ago?

The Insurgents’ Superior Information Operations

We’re referring, of course, to the American insurgents, in 1775. Who do you think we meant?

First, let us set the scene

Lexington ReenactmentAt the time of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the colonists and the Crown had long been at odds, and British governors and forces were on the defensive, defending, in part, knots of Loyalists who maintained their allegiance to the King in the midst of teeming revolutionary fervor all around.

The occupation of Boston in 1768 and the Coercive Acts of 1774 had cranked up the heat in the Colonies without, as King George III intended, restoring the Pax Britannica in the restive colonies. War was in the air, and both sides took a logistic view. There can be no war without arms stockpiles, so a period of arms raids — by both sides — ensued. The natives could produce their own individual weapons, and small arms then as now were easily smuggled. But cannons and their powder and shot were harder to hide and harder to move under pressure, and the British believed that such arms in the hands of the Colonial militia had more potential for being used on Redcoats than on the ostensible threat, the Indians of the frontier. A series of carefully planned and firmly executed raids, partly by foot but where possible delivered by Britain’s unmatchable Royal Navy, began to secure these arms — for safekeeping, officially.

The Colonials fell upon small and ill-defended armories and garrisons, and spirited away guns, powder and shot. In some places they ran the Crown courts that had been established by the Coercive Acts, and the British magistrates, military officers and governors completely out of town. This occurred in 1774 in Worcester, Massachusetts, which became a major logistics hub for the incipient Revolution; in December, 1774, colonists tipped off by Paul Revere compelled the surrender of Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: the one officer and three-man skeleton crew chose not to go out in a blaze of British glory when faced by 400 armed militiamen. The British, coming from the sea, ultimately retook the fort, again bloodlessly, but the cannon, powder, and shot were gone to points unknown.

Sitting in occupied Boston, besieged (figuratively) by throngs of desperate Loyalists who had abandoned their property and fled the restive countryside for the protection of a line of red coats and Brown Besses, General Thomas Gage, the military and civil Governor of the colony continued to send strong infantry raids to collect militia weapons. He would have mixed results in this. He knew he couldn’t touch Worcester — it was too well defended, and too far away. But he sent some 240 men under Lt. Col. Alexander Leslie to seize the cannon reported to be at Foster’s blacksmith shop and forge in Salem in February, 1775, and detailed an even larger force to take the arms of Lexington and Concord, and with luck, to lay hands upon high-value targets thought to be there, including Sam Adams, in April.

Period map from the Exeter Historical Society via Donna Seger's blog.

Period map from the Exeter Institute via Donna Seger’s blog Streets of Salem, which has a great write-up on Leslie’s Retreat.

Leslie, a man of sufficient prominence to have been painted by Gainsborough, was landed by the Navy in Marblehead, but got into a jam on arrival at the Salem town limits on 26 Feb 75. A small, cold river divides the two towns, and at the time, there was a drawbridge over it and broad, swampy banks that channelized the Britons’ apparoach. The drawbridge was raised and a throng of militia lined the far side of the river, radiating hostility. They were militia, but they outnumbered Leslie’s Regulars, and the New England militia had spent the past year drilling, which was evident to Leslie and his men. And they had news for him: the cannon and munitions he had come to gather had been moved beyond his reach. In any event, he had orders to go to Salem and inspect a blacksmith shop, not to start a war, and a tense, drawn-out negotiation, using a minister as a go-between, gave Leslie a face-saving out: the bridge was lowered. And his command marched 50 rods (about 250 meters) into Salem, fulfilling his orders to go to Salem and see the blacksmith shop. By now, there were no cannon. The Redcoats turned about, and marched back. (There was for decades a bar/restaurant at approximately the high-water point of Leslie’s advance in Salem called Leslie’s Retreat, with a sign illustrating a powdered-wigged Redcoat in full retreat, Revolutionary themed decor and corny Revolution-themed names for traditional American comfort food. Alas, it closed this year).

Which brings us to April and Lexington and Concord, where no face-saving compromise obtained. We assume you are familiar with this weapons raid gone bad.

The Information Operations War

All this did not happen in a vacuum, but in an environment characterized by aggressive and pervasive attempts to manipulate men’s minds; long before the first shots were fired, the information operations war was on. It began with the Coercive Acts, which were meant to make the Colony of Massachusetts and the City of Boston in particular pay for the property damage of the Boston Tea Party. The four acts had a number of terms offensive to the colonies, but none more than the Administration of Justice Act, which gave Crown servants absolute immunity from civil and criminal law. (This was a response to the Boston Massacre trials, at which the Redcoats were acquitted, but Parliament was outraged that hey were ever charged). At the same time, Parliament passed a Quebec bill which not only restored the Catholic Church in the Francophone province, but also ceded it the western territories of the American colonies.

The first propaganda stroke was renaming these Acts, as a group of five, the Intolerable Acts. In addition, individual laws begat contumacious names: the Administration of Justice act became the Murder Act. As far as we know, no British magistrate or officer got away with murder under the act, but they could have done, and in Information Operations, perception is the war. This was a win for the insurgents. In time, even Britons and historians came to call the four Coercive Acts in particular the Intolerable Acts. It’s interesting that the Intolerable Act designation for the Quebec Act, though, didn’t really stick. Perhaps the issue of the Quebec border was not as immediate as some of the other laws’ restrictions, like closing the Port of Boston or suspending town meetings. Perhaps Quebec ceased to be an issue when British defeat moved its border back to the Great Lakes from the Quebec Act’s Ohio River.

But the biggest propaganda stroke came after Lexington and Concord. Each side had a different story to tell — even today, any historian who claims he knows who fired first is standing upon quicksand — and several audiences to tell it to. The most important audience comprised one man in Westminster — King George III. Closely behind him, as IO targets of both sides, were the factions in Parliament. In addition, there were outlets in Britain more sympathetic to one side or another; just like today’s insurgents and criminals, Sam Adams and his men had their partisans in newspaper offices in 1775. But getting word to England from the colonies then was worse than getting traffic to a space probe today. With no instantaneous communications, physical letters took time to transit in the sailing ships of the day: a month for a fast ship, a month and a half for an average one, two months if you weren’t lucky — that is, if the ship got through at all. Every voyage was a roll of the dice, and some were destined to come up snake eyes. As a rule of thumb, the trip west was a couple of weeks longer than the eastbound voyage, due to the eastward set of prevailing winds in the Northern Hemisphere.

While planning an attack that would avenge his defeat at Lexington and Concord, Gage wrote a series of reports spinning the fight and withdrawal as best he could, and dispatched it in a welter of other paperwork — you can’t have an Empire without paperwork — in the ship Sukey. Kevin Phillips writes:

His further instructions were only that any mail to the Massachusetts agents in London was to be seized. However, using the British mails was not what [Sam] Adams and [Dr. Joseph] Warren [head of the provincial Congress, and architect of the IO campaign] had in mind.1

They put their version of the story in the hands of John Derby of the Salem shipping and mercantile Derbys, and Derby, too made for England. He was four days behind Sukey, but in his own much faster schooner Quero. Unsure whether Gage had gotten word to London before him, Derby anchored Quero at the Isle of Wight 28 days after sailing, then snuck his dispatches through the Royal Navy homeport of Southampton and to the Massachusetts agents in London. What he brought them was dynamite: in Phillips’s words, the “first and most persuasive explanation of Lexington and Concord.” The agents knew who their friends were: liberals like the Lord Mayor of London, and certain newspaper editors.

Derby need not have worried. By the time the poky Sukey dawdled up the Thames, bringing Gage’s instructions to intercept the agents’ mail and his own after-action report, the Colonial version of the tail had monopolized the London newspapers for two weeks. His defensive, self-serving report looked even more defensive, and his attempt to muzzle the colonials’ communications channel was, at this late date, seen not as an IO masterstroke but as a guilty man’s cover-up. Meanwhile, Gage’s attack, on the colonials at Bunker/Breed’s Hill, carried the position, but at a terrible cost (one quarter of the British officers lost in the entire war, which lasted until 1783, died in April, 1775).

thomas_gage_john_singleton_copleyAny fair study of General Thomas Gage shows a decent, honorable and competent man in a very difficult position. (The Bunker Hill bloodbath resulted largely from the tactics of William Howe).

It is a measure of the effectiveness of Dr Warren’s propaganda campaign that Gage is remembered in America as a cruel monster, and in Britain as a bumbling incompetent. Given the weight of primacy in psychology — we tend to believe what we heard first over what we hear later — the importance of speed and of memorable labeling in information operations is clear.


  1. Phillips, Kevin. 1775: A Good Year for Revolution. New York: Penguin, 2012. p.13.

Seeing Double?

We dunno. We think we like the Arsenal double-pistol better, but you have to admit these are easy on the eyes:


It’s just a pair of decent custom 1911s… on Gunbroker… but wait… one’s a perfect mirror image of the other. You know, for when you go run IDPA stages dual-wielding like an action hero.

Oh, wait, IDPA doesn’t allow that? Sissies.

Here’s the GunBroker listing blurb:

If perfection saw double it would be this: a perfectly inverted pair of Jones 1911s.


Cabot Guns is committed to doing the things others believe to be impossible. Unlike other manufacturers, Cabot doesn’t stop simply with mirrored control surfaces and a reversed ejection port. They engineer their pistols to be perfectly inverted true-copies of one another, going so far as to reverse the rifling in the left-handed model to guarantee smooth, true felt recoil and follow through directed towards the shooter’s palm.These guns feature everything you’ve come to expect from ultra-premium craftsmanship; precision checkering at the front and back straps, a national match grade barrel, finished with blued steel, artist crafted cocobolo grips, and gold bead front sights.

These are sold strictly as a pair.

Model :Jones Mirrored 1911
Caliber : .45 ACP
Action : Semi-auto blowback
Feeding : 7-rd magazine
Barrel : 5″
Finish : High Polished Blued

“They are sold strictly as a pair.” Yeah, do you think someone would go, “Er, I want the left one only, please?”

In case of jihad, break glass:


Now for the bad news. (You knew there was going to be bad news, right?)

Yeah, it seems that all you guys who couldn’t afford last week’s Johnson MG semi conversion can’t afford this, either.

In fact, you’d need to afford three of the Johnny guns to play in this league, as the fixed price is $26,500.

But if you ever wondered what Gulf Arab princelings with diplomatic immunity buy when they’re gun shopping, this may be the answer.

Here’s what Cabot Guns says about the Jones 1911:

The Jones 1911 is Cabot’s flagship pistol, the gun that started an obsession, and the project during which we re-wrote all the rules. The introduction of Cabot Guns and the Jones 1911 to the firearms market has done more than turn heads; it’s turned the industry upside down.


This is the base Jones.

Our history as a firearms manufacturer begins during the recession of 2008, with the economy slowing and the primary customers of our manufacturing facility – Penn United Technologies – tightening their belts, the engineers, machinists, and nano-technologists at Cabot found themselves with some extra time on their hands. From men and women who dedicate their lives to servicing the needs of America’s precision-demanding aerospace industries, sprouted the idea to apply that same attention to detail, near excessive dedication to quality control, and pride in our craft to the creation of the perfect firearm. We’re a company with deeply seeded American roots and an unwavering commitment to American prowess; there was no question as to which firearm we would produce – it had to be the Browning pistol, model 1911. We’ve introduced more than “just another 1911” to the firearms community, we’ve created the new standard in precision pistols – we’ve brought the 1911 into the 21st century.

It takes more than machines to make art, more than precision to create perfection; we’ve understood this since our beginnings over 40 years ago. Penn United’s founder, Carl Jones, was a man with an unmatched belief in American excellence. A passionate innovator and stalwart supporter of American industry, Carl taught us that by perfecting our craft and investing in our people; we could not only be the best in the world at what we do, but that we could in fact build the impossible. This is our promise, this is our creed, and this is our livelihood. We’ve poured our souls into creating the Jones 1911. Hold one. As it warms to your grasp you will feel the welling pride of American excellence that it represents.

The design, manufacture, and perfection of the Jones 1911 is a process we’ve approached without regard to time, cost, or materials; our only concerns are to “do it right, do it better, and to do it American.” Where others create their firearms using forged frames and cast slides, Cabot starts with a solid block of American 4140 Billet Steel and uses computer controlled machining and EDM technology to shape our frames and slides – progressing then on to precision grinding machines to create perfectly consistent fits which leave no tooling marks on our final product.

The Jones 1911 is as innovative as it is historic. One glance and you clearly see the pedigree of the 1911 embodied in the Jones – one stare and you come to realize that it’s a revolution in firearms manufacturing. We’ve pioneered a precision technology for sophisticated industries, a feat which not only enables us to guarantee the precision-fit of the Jones 1911, Though we never intend to become a high-volume manufacturer, we continuously strive to improve on the perfection that is our product.

If you’re ready to meet the new standard of excellence in the engineering and elegance of the 1911 pistol, Mr. Jones waits to greet you. Say hello to art in action.

Please also see our ultra premium Jones Deluxe 1911 model, perhaps the most beautiful 1911 ever crafted.

The guns are a unique combination of high tech and handcraft. The technologies include CNC Machining, EDM wire, EDM Sink, CNC Jig Grinding, and CNC Surface Grinding; the polish is done by hand, and their claim is that there is no tooling mark on their pistol — anywhere. They further claim that the high-tech machining gives them a perfect fit and perfectly interchangeable parts without hand fitting. That leaves the gunsmiths to concentrate on the art of the pistol.

Cabot has a history of making out-of-this-world 1911s, with grips of meteorite metal or mammoth tooth, or a slide of Damascus stainless. The prices are also firmly orbital. A base Jones 1911 will leave the well-heeled pistolero less well-heeled to the tune of $6,450. The one-of-a-kind exotics make the Jones look like a bargain.

Exercise for the reader: imagine John M. Browning back from the dead, and seeing this. Is he more likely to be wowed by the worksmanship, or bemused that nobody has completely replaced his century-old design? You know if he had miraculously lived all this time, he would have kept designing better and better guns. Imagine what he could do with Cabot’s manufacturing technology — this guy who made his prototypes, mostly, with files and other hand tools.

Brown Deer Matter!

Recently, this unlucky yearling was gunned down from the road in West-by-God-Virgina. And the Natural Resources Police (i.e., game wardens) posted this image on their Facebook page. There were a mass of violations here: the deer was shot out of season, in somebody’s private yard, from a motor vehicle on a public road, and its carcass was just left there to rot.  (In most cases, if wardens get to an animal in time, the department donates the meat to homeless shelters or other nonprofits, and some game butcher usually donates his  time and skill to prepare the carcass. We don’t know if that was done in this case).


No, you’re not An Operator because you can blast Albinobambi from a moving pick-up. You’re just a sphincter muscle in vaguely humanoid form.

The albino deer was well-known to locals, who were incensed by the drive-by, reckless shooting of the animal.

About Albinism

Albinism in deer, like in humans or any other mammal, results from a recessive gene that makes the recipient offspring unable to express melanin, the only pigment mammals have. Individuals who inherit a single albinism gene from one parent are “carriers”; individuals who inherit the gene from both parents are albinistic. This has consequences for the animal, as it has less protection from predators (deer depend on freezing in place and relying on camouflage as a first response to predators), certainly including poachers. And albinistic individuals lack the melanin defense against ultraviolet light; evolutionary biologists think that we humans evolved colored skin as our ancestors shed their ape hair (our nearest primate cousins, the chimps, have near-albinistic white skin, but colored hair), and that albinos are a genetic allele that’s a throwback to humans’ earliest days.

Could that ever be Fair Chase?

It may be sporting to shoot an albinistic deer. We probably wouldn’t, just on general principles — Platinum Bambi’s got it hard enough out there. But it’s absolutely not sporting to shoot it the way these jerks shot this animal. From a truck? A moving truck? In a residential area? Without any regard for where the bullet is going post-Bambi?

Crime and, if not Punishment, at least, Apprehension

On 27 Sep 15, the NRP posted:

West Virginia Natural Resources Police are asking the public for assistance in locating two men in a grey truck who shot this albino deer from their truck on Rt. 17 in Boone County at approximately 5:00 p.m yesterday.
Please call the District 5 office … message us on Facebook, or click the link to report online.

Between witness descriptions of the poachers’ truck, a small gray pickup, and tips received by the DNR cops, they had their three yahoos charged two days after making the first post:

NRP Officers in Boone County have solved the poaching case of the albino deer, charging three individuals.
West Virginia Natural Resources Police would like to say thank you to Boone County 911 and the West Virginia State Police Intelligence Unit for their help.
Most of all we would like to thank the public for their assistance in solving this case!

A neighbor of the landowner noted:

This happened right up the road from where I live. The people drove by and shot it right out of someone’s yard. The owner of the property was in his garage and he saw the people drive by and shoot it, but he couldn’t see the license plate on the truck.

This is the first year the NRP have had their Facebook page up, and it’s already paying dividends. While we can’t pretend to understand the yahoos that shoot deer from trucks, the cops can catch them by activating their social networks. Somewhere, someone that’s not a fan of poaching intersects with someone who heard these trigger-happy bozos boast, and whammy! Albinobambi is avenged.

Naturally, wags have to comment: “Brown Deer Matter!” and “They only do this for big bucks and albino deer!” but the cops vehemently disagree. And a cursory look at their page shows that they put up a picture of just about every poached deer they come across, and enough details to jog a guilty conscience, or at least, to get people listening to truckborne nimrods’ boasts.