When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Gravity

Wait, didn’t we just have one of these? Ah, we did, but this one’s a BASE jumping fatality. Well, actually, it’s three fatalities in two incidents… including one guy with 2,500 BASE jumps.

Item: 14 Jan 16, Flagstaff, AZ. Wingsuit fatality.

Gerry Mooney's original poster (From Asimov Mag 1977). Available here.

Gerry Mooney’s original poster (From Asimov Mag 1977). Available here.

29 year old Matthew Kenney told a Phoenix TV station last year, according to another station, KSBW:We get a bad rap from everybody because there’s a lot of misunderstanding as to what we do. They just think we are crazy adrenaline junkies that are jumping off cliffs with primitive parachute technology, when really what we do, if practiced properly, is pretty safe and pretty cool and pretty fun.

Fast forward to this year:

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that it is devising a plan to recover the body of 29-year-old Mathew Kenney.

His body is trapped in a crevice about 600 feet below where he jumped Tuesday in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness – a rugged, desolate landscape that is hard to navigate, sheriff’s Lt. Bret Axlund said.

Kenney hit a rock wall. Once crews reach his body, they will examine his equipment, Axlund said.

Hitting a rock wall at maybe 150 mph wearing nothing but a jump suit, a lightweight brain bucket with a GoPro on it, and an optimistic smile. The deputies who climb or chopper in better bring a basket.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a BASE death without someone praising his skill and experience:

Kenney’s friend, Matt Frohlich, said he was an experienced, talented jumper who had traveled around the world. …

“It’s a pretty big hit to the community,” he said. “It is sad.”

You’d think they’d be used to it by now.

And if this is what happens to the “experienced, talented” jumpers, how does anybody ever survive his time as a green newbie?

ITEM: 23 Jan 16, Big Sur, CA double fatal.

wile_e_coyote_gravityActually, this couple survived their jumps from the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. It wasn’t the jumps that killed them at all, despite the bridge’s mere 280-foot height. It was unpreparedness for what they’d encounter on landing. KSBW again:

[Victim Mary “Katie”] Connell completed a BASE jump on Wednesday, landed near the ocean, and got into trouble when a large set of waves came.

“She lands right about the area where the Bixby Creek feeds into the ocean,” [Monterey County Sheriff Steve] Bernal said.

Connell was engulfed by waves and vanished from the surface. Her partner realized she was in trouble and jumped after her.

He ripped off his parachute and helmet after jumping from the bridge and before diving into the water, Bernal said.

Some other media said her partner jumped off the bridge without his parachute, which is just silly; he jumped, landed, and then took off his parachute and gear, like a sane man.

And then he dived into the waves slamming the rocks, like an insane man.

Other media have identified her partner as Finnish national Rami Kajala, a veteran of 2,500 BASE jumps and owner of a wingsuit company, RavenBase.com.

A friend of theirs said that they were:

…experienced jumpers and were operating well within their limits.

Ah, but were they? The site has a very small LZ, right next to the raging Pacific. The same natural majesty that makes it beautiful makes it very dangerous.

VA to WWII Combat-Wounded Vet: “Prove it. Again.”

VA-veterans-affairsIn our opinion, Legal Insurrection (great law blog, and where we first encountered Andrew Branca of Law of Self Defense fame) writer Kemberlee Kaye buried the lede of her story in the closing paragraphs, here:

Embroiled in scandal, mishandling like Limpert’s case magnify the Veterans Administration’s growing list of ineptitudes.

Last year, $142 million in bonuses were awarded to VA employees despite the wait time for veterans needing assistance increasing more than 50%.

Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, contended the VA scandal was not, “as widespread as it was made out to be.”

Do Read The Whole Thing™ as it recounts how the VA has kept demanding Emil Limpert provide more documentation — including affidavits from the guys who were killed when he was wounded in the Phillipines in 1944.

(In fact, read the comments, too. There’s a great comment there by frequent commenter here redc1c4. More than one, actually).

Limpert is a rare vet whose records were really destroyed in the 1973 fire in a records warehouse in Overland, MO, a suburb of St. Louis. (This is a common claim by Vietnam phonies; while a lot of WWI, WWII and Korean era Army and AF records burned, in fact, no Navy records (including USMC) were lost, no records at all with discharges after 1960 (Army) or ’64 (USAF), and the National Personnel Records Center has built shadow records for many of the affected vets)

Fortunately for Limpert, proving his service should be routine for a decent researcher. The National Archives probably contains his unit’s “morning reports,” which will show him as Present for Duty up until the day he was evacuated to the rear for medical treatment. (Indeed, someone in the LI comments notes that documentation of Limpert’s service is readily found online).

Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell has a typically pithy comment. And Jonn is right. If Emil Limpert was a blowfish claiming some nebulous twauma, VA would be showering him in Richie Rich levels of coin.


Larry Wayne from Tennessee found this, and posted it in the comments to Jonn’s post:


Emil Limpert’s enlistment record. VA Nuclear FAIL in the megaton range.

Update II

This screen shot of his discharge papers apparently ran on a local TV station. We found it in the British paper, The Daily Mail. It looks all in order to us, and Lists the General Order Dates and Numbers for his PH and Combat Infantryman Badge. The General Orders will also exist in the National Archives.



Tell us again that the payroll patriots at the VA rate $140 million in bonuses. Pull the other one.

How to FOOM! a Springfield

Here’s a Springfield M1903A1 rifle that’s been subjected to a bit of the ol’ FOOM.

M1903 fired with 8mm "S" Patrone

As the image’s text makes clear, the cause of this kinetic reversion to kit form was chambering and firing a German “8mm” cartridge, which is what American users called the 7.92 x 57mm Mauser cartridge for most of the 20th Century. The nominal .317 bullet of the German “S-Patrone” has two possibilities: it can swage down to .308 and exit before pressure peak exceeds the strength of a Mauser action (which is what the ’03 is), or, well, not. This image is what “not” looks like.

The plate is from a remarkable manual that collects images and lessons learned from a variety of American small arms: TM 9-2210 Small Arms Accidents, Malfunctions & Causes, dated 1942. A digitized version is available from archive.org.

The weapons are those that were common in US service in the years before the manual’s date: Springfields, the 1917 Enfield, the Browning machine guns, the 1911.45 caliber pistol, and the 1917 .45 caliber revolver. The M1 rifle is notable for its absence, six years after its original acceptance. (Perhaps GI’s hadn’t kB!’d enough of them yet).

Apart from the .30 caliber weapons, whose 7.62 x 63mm chambering was a comfortable fit — at least, until fired — for the 7.92 x 57 round, you couldn’t blow these guns up by putting the wrong ammo in. You needed to use proof rounds (which shouldn’t ever pass into troop hands) or bad ammo. Here’s an illustration of some Springfield barrels that were fired with bore obstructions.

Springfield Rifle Obstructed Barrels

The original text explains what each bore obstruction was, but the archive.org file is missing a significant number of pages, and so does not. Obstructions can include cleaning rods or materials, grease (as in Cosmoline for storage), or a previously-fired bullet from a squib round. (See the bullet seized in the barrel, third barrel from the top).

Even the oversized S-Patrone might only have cause a bulged barrel, if it were a conventional jacketed lead bullet. If it was the late-war jacketed steel bullet, the pressure wasn’t going to be sufficient to swage it down — and the receiver and barrel wasn’t going to suffice for retaining  the barrel.

In addition to user-operation problems, the Springfield Rifle was also plagued by manufacturing deficiencies. The manual contains a number of illustrations of barrels and rifles destroyed by faulty manufacturing, particularly excessive temperatures (in manufacturing).

Springfield Overtemp Barrels

The manual advises the would-be investigator that a key indicator of this type of failure is that the barrel has burst whilst the cartridge case does not show such markers of overpressure as a bulged case, blown primer, or separated case head. If the case appears normal in all respects, chances are good the round made normal pressure, and the gun failed for some other reason, probably metallurgical.

 Cracked rifle barrel -- bad metallurgy

Likewise, a barrel that fails due to obstruction has a way of telling you how it happened. An obstruction near the chamber causes such a rapid overpressure that the case head usually blows out and the receiver of the firearm suffers. An obstruction midway down the barrel leads to a bulge, if a bulge is enough to release it; otherwise it leads to a blown-out barrel. And an obstruction near the muzzle usually just causes a split.

Despite the missing pages, this obscure manual is a worthwhile read. Along with these shattered Springfields, there are similarly enlightening pictures and tales of busted Brownings and pranged pistols.

We’re willing to digitize & host a better copy, if we can get our hands on one. (The UWORL hosts a Fujitsu book scanner).

Russian OSV-96 12.7x108mm Sniper Rifle

To put things in perspective, the Barrett M82A1/M107 fires the Browning 12.7 x 99mm round; the case of this one is about 3/8 of an inch longer. These pictures of a Russian analogue, the OSV-96, come from former Weapons Website of the Week KardeN, via Imgur and Reddit.

Karden OSV-96 01

How big is it? Here it is next to an AKSU.

Karden OSV-96 02

But, it folds for convenience and portability.

Karden OSV-96 04

Here’s a look at the welding on the receiver, and the takedown latch. Looks like it locks overcenter to provide both solid grip when locked, and quick release.

Karden OSV-96 03

And here’s a close-up of the magazine being released. The mag release is the familiar type from many Russian weapons, like the AK and Tokarev rifles.

Karden OSV-96 05 Mag Release

One more shot — the bolt mechanism, with some AK DNA in there, and some other stuff. The wedge-shaped locking lugs suggest a very strong mechanism.

Karden OSV-96 06 bolt

The whole thing looks like a product of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Works — not overly well-finished, but perfectly fit for purpose. Kind of like a Barrett, that way, actually.

He has some 80 pictures of this rarely seen rifle on his site, with a brief (Russian language) explanation of each.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Trains

german train crashIn Germany, where strict gun control is the rule, at least nine people died (two remain missing) in a gruesome head-on train collision this morning. German news magazine Der Spiegel has posted online a transcript of the press conference with the Transport Minister, the local Chief Emergency Physician, and other officials.

Here’s the key information from the first two paragraphs (bottom two if you read the whole thing), in our quick and dirty translation.

Dear reader, this morning a serious train accident took place near Bad Aibling in southern Bavaria. At least nine people died, as two local trains collided together head on. The trains of the private line Meridian were operated by the Bayerischen Oberlandbahn, which belongs to Transdev.

According to the most recent press release from the police, there are 18 seriously injured and 90 lightly injured [people\. The accident happened at 6:45 AM on the single-track railway between Rosenheim und Holzkirchen.

Two persons are reported missing, also; that would seem to bode ill, but sometimes accident survivors wander off and are not initially counted by first responders.

german train crash2So far, there’s no idea why the accident happened. The rolling stock is reported as new; the stretch of track has an automatic-braking system if a train violates a signal (although the signals themselves are not automatic, but under human control). There has never been any trouble on this stretch of line, and the crews were qualified (in one locomotive, a trainee was under instruction by an experienced instructor.

On the other hand, the accident happened on a curve in a rural, wooded area. The opinion of the investigators so far is that the engineers would not have had time to brake; there would just have been a momentary sighting of the other train before impact.

The two trains contained a total of three data recorders, two of which had already been recovered this morning. Heavy cranes were enroute to the site, as were investigators. Unlike the United States, which has one Federal agency to investigate all interstate transport accidents, Germany has a dedicated agency of railway investigators.

Most likely possibilities at this time are a simple human error (i.e., somebody didn’t set the signal when one train went into this rail segment), or a systems error (some previously unrecognized hole in procedures and processes). But we won’t know until the investigators have had time to do their systematic work.

What we do know is that almost anything can kill a human being — including the train ride to work on a Tuesday morning.

Bad Aibling (actually, its suburb Mietraching) is a name that may resonate with former American GIs, as it was the site of a significant electronic operations field station for the duration of the Cold War and up to 2004. The American installation was built on the site of a former POW camp, which was built on the site of a Luftwaffe training (not operational) airfield.

After the Cold War ended, Balkan instability prevented the originally-planned closure of the station. When the US departed, the mission and control of the site was handed over to the German Federal Intelligence Service, but for fifty years Americans served and lived in the small community.

We regret the loss of life — and note that more people have now died in German trains in 2016 than in the worst mass murder in Chicago this year (which was, as it happens, committed with a knife or knives, and remains unsolved.


According to the CBC, the count of dead is now 10, and one person remains missing. Utility boats were being used to ferry injured survivors across the Mangfall river to waiting ambulances.

An Early Assesment of WWI Tanks

wwi_tanksWe happen to have a hard copy of this old book in the Unconventional Warfare Operations Research Reference Library (UWORRL) here, but we’re pulling this scan of Page 163 from the Library of Congress.

The document source is listed below the excerpt.

It’s interesting to us how well this newsman’s assessment from 1919 — when the din of battle had barely died out, and the grief of the survivors had hardly begun — holds up a century later.

ACTUAL battle scene (above). of French tank going into action, while behind it a line of French infantry is moving up to its support . It would be too much to say that tanks won the war, but it can safely be said that the final allied victory would have been greatly deferred had it not
been for the incalcuable service rendered by the tanks. Not only have they broken down defenses that would otherwise have been almost impregnable , but they have saved thousands of lives by screening from hostile fire the lines of infantry that followed them.
(© French Pictorial Service.)

(At left)–British armored car about to start on a reconnoissance . Note the projecting muzzles of the guns at front and on the side. The damaged cdndition of the tree trunk indicates that the woods nearby had been swept by shellfire.
(© British Official Photo from Underwood & Underwood. )

Below is a huge German tank captured by the French and repaired by them. While of enormous size, the tanks which the Germans built after the British had proved the value of that weapon were too ponderous and unwieldy to be of great service to their forces.
(© French Pictorial Service.)

via American Memory from the Library of Congress.

The last picture, a very famous picture of a German A7V in captivity, may be of a tank captured by Britons, from the graffiti upon it.

To us, the most interesting thing is the American reporters’ complete omission of the role American tanks played in the 1918 offensives; had this been more widely reported, perhaps the Tank Corps would not have had such a hiatus between 1919 and 1940. (As it is, Armor didn’t become a basic branch for US Army officers until the 1950s. That’s the US Army for you, two centuries of tradition unmarred by progress).


The New York Times. The war of the nations : portfolio in rotogravure etchings : compiled from the Mid-week pictorial. New York : New York Times, Co., 1919. Retrieved from: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/np_item.pl?collection=sgproto&agg=sgpwar&iss=19191231&page=163

PDF also available here at WeaponsMan: WWI Tanks.pdf

Watch as an AR Builds Itself

This is the most entertaining stop-action animation since Gumby.

No, wait a minute; this is more entertaining than Gumby ever was. Click the video and watch an AR put itself together in the time of a network TV commercial — 15 seconds.

Beats hell out of the ads actually on TV right now. (Politician X’s captive super-PAC: “Politician Y is a crapweasel.” Analysis: True. Pol Y’s super-PAC: “Pol X is a horse thief and cheats at cards.” Analysis: also True).

Bet you can’t watch it only once.

A Side You Might Not Know of a Company You Do

If you think you know Beretta Defense Technologies, the professionals’ side of the 15th-Century gunmaker… do you recognize this?


That state-of-the-art looking sniper rifle is a Sako TRG M10 bolt-action sniper rifle, availble in the three most common Western sniper chamberings: 7.62 NATO/.308 Win; .300 Win Mag; and .338 Lapua Mag. Beretta says this about that:

The TRG M10 is a bolt-action sniper rifle that is available in multiple calibers, manually operated and shoulder-fired, as well as magazine-fed. It has a high-capacity magazine and fully adjustable stock that make it a multi-functional system in a single weapon, suitable for many different situations. The M10 sniper weapon transforms from a compact medium range precision tool into a full-bodied sniper platform capable of engaging targets out to 1500 m and beyond–in minutes and virtually without tools.

Currently TRG M10 offers three different calibers (.308 Win, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua Mag) and all these in multiple barrel lengths. Each of the calibers feature a high-capacity magazine. There are also three standard color options to select from: Stealth Black, Military Green, and Coyote Brown.

The folding stock shown on this example is an option. And the M10 is far from the only BDT sniper rifle; there are four separate sniper product lines, ranging from a light law enforcement Tikka T3 in .223 up to this Goliath in .338 LM.

That’s one of the things we learned stooging around Beretta Defense Technologies’ new website  today. BDT represents several other Beretta-owned brands including Benelli, Sako (as above), and Steiner (Optics).

Of course, Beretta has a whole line of pistols, for which it’s probably best known in the USA, as well as several carbines.

Aside — We’ve never understood why so many are eager to badmouth the M9. It deserved its selection, given the competition at the time, and back in the 1980s when they selected it we were very pleased. (Some military units had already jumped the gun and been using them, bought with a forerunner of MFP-11 money). Yes, there was the debacle of the locking blocks, and that shook the gun’s reputation badly. But once they got over that, M9s were back to running really, really realiably).

It’s almost as if familiarity with the M9 has bred contempt. And in some people, it’s such great contempt that they don’t even consider more modern weapons, like the PX4 or the new striker-fired APX.

End of Aside.

It is a mystery to us, as well, why Beretta’s rifle- and pistol-caliber carbines haven’t gained more sales.

Finally, the BDT website is a gateway into Beretta’s armorer courses, conducted at Beretta HQ in the People’s Republic of Maryland, or at various agency sites nationwide.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Improvised Knives

MonopolyJailNew York City’s Rikers Island jail is where the scum of the city awaits trial. And recent relaxations, which have allowed gang members to congregate together and face off with opposing gangs, have produced a bloodbath.

The number of stabbings and slashings at Rikers Island and other city jails spiked by 49% in 2015, records show.

There were 131 such attacks last year, compared with 88 in 2014. The majority of the assaults are because of gang disputes, records show.

At the same time, the number of inmates in solitary has dropped by 56%, from 423 in 2015 to 188 at the start of 2016, according to Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte.

Longtime jail bosses say there is a direct correlation between the drop in solitary and the increase in violence.

Inmate advocates contend that the 23-hour-a-day punishment is inhumane, and say it was being overused to compensate for a lack of staff.

via EXCLUSIVE: Stabbings, slashings at Rikers spiked in 2015 – NY Daily News.

“Inmate advocates” tend to be the criminal gangs and the attorneys who work for them.

Mayor De Blasio tends to support the violent inmates, not the victims, but has poured $125 million into corrections, mostly on criminal-coddling measures, but not completely; he has also applied funds to hiring to close staff shortfalls.

“…there is clearly progress, and we’re going to keep investing until we get it right.”

These guys aren’t committing assaults and murders because they’re starved of investment, Bill. They’re doing it because they’re lacking in humanity. They’re criminals, FFS.

“The Department of Correction should be more concerned with the victims of violent assaults and not the anti-social predators and gang members’ mental health,” said recently retired union official Sidney Schwartzbaum, who represented top jail bosses for 18 years.

“What about the health of the victims?”

Hey, we’re sure Big-Bucks Bill has a spending program for that, too.

US Military Cutbacks: Shot and Chaser

Shot: USAF Dumps Airborne Training

With all the discussion we’ve just had about how the Air Force’s priorities are not National Defense priorities, let alone the priorities of the ground combat Services, we hear that the USAF has decided to save money by cutting the USAFR C-130 wing at the former Pope AFB (now Pope Army Air Field at Fort Bragg).

Soon to be a rarer sight at Bragg: SF troops doing a routine static line drop.

Soon to be a rarer sight at Bragg: SF troops doing a routine static line drop without combat equipment (“Hollywood”).

The airborne units at Bragg (82nd Airborne Division, much of 18th Corps, and various US Army Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command elements) will now have to truck or bus 230 miles (3 ½ hours by charter bus, 5 hours by Army truck) to Charleston, SC, and the Air Force will condescend to fly the paratroopers back to Bragg while the trucks or buses convoy back empty. Meanwhile, a second set of trucks and buses will have to be spotted on the DZ… or maybe the guys can just walk back from the field.

What the USAF is hoping, of course, is that the paras will stop jumping so damned much. They need to use the money to pay for the cost overruns on the F-35 program, so that there will still be jobs at LockMartNorGrumBoeing for retired flag officers. For some values of the word, “job.”

The SOF guys will just contract lift, with a sigh of relief. Working with AMC’s rigid regulations and inflexible aircrews is always exasperating anyway.

The 82nd and 18th elements will jump less, sacrificing currency and proficiency to reduce the negative effect on training (and, naturally, training budgets). So we’ll wind up with more jump accidents, a dry term that often means some guy is dead on the DZ with injuries that defy description, or off to the ICU screaming, with his hipbones in his eye sockets (which is only a slight exaggeration).

The wing at Bragg, the US Air Force Reserve’s 440th Airlift Wing, is going away; the Air Force isn’t even helping the displaced reservists find new jobs. The US Air Force Reserve’s commander, Lt. General JJ Jackson, is visiting the base, but appears to be going out of his way to snub the second-class airmen of the 440th.

Jackson, the chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, will be on post to speak to Fort Bragg leaders, but he did not plan to meet with members of the 440th as of Friday afternoon, several airmen said.

“He has no intention of meeting with the airmen under his command,” one of them said. “That should tell you the level of leadership being demonstrated by him.”

Sounds like he’s enough of his weasel that his fourth star’s a lock.

The full story is here (WRAL) and here (Fayetteville Observer).

Chaser: But That’s OK Because Training is No Longer a Priority

Wait, if training isn’t a priority, what is? Well, what would you expect from a never-served politician and bozo like Ash Carter? Something like this:

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”

The Pentagon defines resilience to climate change as: “Ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.”

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it.

We have military assistance and aid operations that are being bungled in many nations, and direct combat operations being bungled in Libya and the Iraq/Syria theater, procurement bungled nearly everywhere, and operational readiness and maintenance at Grand Duchy of Fenwick levels. And so what do the pitiful pols in the puzzle palace promote as policy?

The directive is loaded with orders to civilian leaders and officers on specifically how counter-climate change strategy is to permeate planning.

“This involves deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planing by DoD to provide for the continuity of DoD operations, services and programs,” it states.

“The DoD must be able to adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military,” it adds. “Mission planning and execution must include anticipating and managing any risks that develop as a result of climate change to build resilience.”

Climate change must be integrated in:

• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”

• Training ranges and capabilities.

• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

• Defense education and training.

• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”

• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”

How’s about we “assess the risk to US security interests” posed by incompetent political hacks in policy positions, like the author of this idiotic diktat, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, the bozo that signed off on it, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, or the stumblebum architect of the whole laughable enterprise, Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

But hey, as you read this, Frank Kendall is fapping to the news that the carbon footprint of C-130 paratroop and heavy-drop training at Fort Bragg is headed towards zero.