RAR Soldiers in Vietnam. Note slightly different uniforms from Yanks, plus they’re armed with SLRs. (Many Aussies also used M16s, especially on reconnaissance patrols, etc., but the standard rifle was the 7.62mm SLR).
In 1969, Major D.K. Atkinson of the Australian Army suggested that Vietnam might be “The Unwinnable War” in the pages of the RMCS Journal, the professional magazine of the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham, UK. (Now — God help us — an institute of defense management). His British peers at the college, and the journal editor, had pestered him for insights about Vietnam. Turns out, he had them — he was straight off a tour in-country as an operations officer with the Royal Australian Regiment — but he also had insights that are just as functionally utilitarian today. For example, one of the downsides of a free press:
It is the lack of definition of terms and a lack of public education in the United States and in Australia which may prevent us from winning. Peace is an attractive word to everyone but does the word mean the same thing to a Communist Party member and to the well-meaning clergyman marching beside him in the same demonstration? It is in this field that national mass communications media can he of the greatest assistance, or do the most harm. At the moment. through either deliberate editorial policy, ignorance. or a plain desire to make money. the press inhibits our capacity to win.
An example of distorted reporting was the Viet Cong Tet offensive in January and February 1968. The majority of enemy objectives were known and allied forces were redeployed to meet the threat approxi- mately one week prior to the offensive. The 1st Australian Task Force moved from its normal base area in Phuoc Tuy province to cover approaches to Bien Hoa approximately 100 kilometres away. The ofiensive was a military disaster for the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. Returning from the operation after three weeks we had our first opportunity to read the world press. There was no doubt that by incompetent. inaccurate and hysterical reporting we s u l k e d a propa- ganda defeat. A typical example of the irresponsibility of the press was a front page headline in a Melbourne paper – ‘Australian Battalion Wiped Out.’ The three paragraph report gave details of a supposed action in which 7 RAR had been lost. The last sentence admitted that the report was unconfirmed. In fact, the battalion had five men killed.
He goes on to describe actions in country, including a day-long fight when an Australian unit thought it had latched on to a local force VC company, but had actually come to grips with a main force NVA battalion.
And he goes out with another poke at the media:
One of the first Viet Cong acts in the attack on Saigon was the ruthless massacre of the families of South Vietnamese soldiers in a barracks there. Presumably this act of terrorism was designed to further destroy the morale of the army. I saw many photographs of buildings full of slaughtered women and children; of soldiers crying over the dead babies in their arms. I didn’t see any of these pictures published in the national press. What I did see was the photograph of the Police Chief summarily executing a Viet Cong. It was not a nice picture and was extensively used in anti-war propaganda. But what that picture did show was the hate, the fury, the ruthless determination of these people to rid their country of the terrorists, stand-over men and murderers that are the Viet Cong.
Maybe one of our down-undrian readers can explain what a “stand-over man” is.
In the end, of course, the USA, Australia, and most of all the RVN all lost. Re-education camps, Montagnard massacres, and the Boat People all lay ahead.
The quotes are from Australian Army Journal, No. 253 (June, 1970), in which Maj. Atkinson’s article is reprinted on pp. 3-8. (Here’s a link to the magazine in .pdf).
We’ve had a few interesting developments in home and small office firearms prototyping lately.
The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, Part I
In a way, the 3DP revolution is over. The revolutionaries won. Every firm in the industry that we have personal knowledge of, from the great (exchange-listed Ruger) to the small (single-digit prototype shops) is using 3D printing in prototype development or even in manufacturing. For example, Ruger’s investment-casting shop, which also casts for competitors and other third parties, Pine Tree Castings, is directly printing lost-wax patterns on two industrial printers; time, energy, and recycling effort are all signally reduced.
The firms that are not using this technology are very small, practically one-man shops, and even they are often using 3D computer design tools and CNC. For the same reason that even the starving writer in his garret is hammering on computer keys and not his granddad’s Underwood: new tools have produced an explosion in individual productivity.
Productivity and Computer Technology
Computers directly enable productivity. For example, imagine this blog in the pre-computer (or even, pre-Internet) era. The “posts” or items would be typed on paper, then reproduced into a newsletter, and mailed to subscribers. It would lose immediacy and volume for sure; it would take us much more work to produce much less.
Computers also indirectly enable productivity by increasing information flow, both in terms of volume and rate. (An ironic by-product of that is that a whole new application for computers became necessary: tools to search, sort and amplify what is to any particular user his desired signal amidst all the noise (some of which is pure noise, but most of which is someone else’s desired signal). Economists have had great success in recent decades by describing economic activity in terms of flows, not of 18th-Century concepts like capital and labor, but of information. Freeing the flow of information from unnatural restrictions generally benefits the society and the individual. It usually scares the pants of some people, especially the ones who used to be able to control the flows.
Computers moved much more slowly into actual production of tangible products, but they’re there now, and making a similarly revolutionary change on the factory floor that Steve Jobs promised to “knowledge workers” in 1983-5 when he introduced the Apple Lisa and, later, the Macintosh Office. Some of those ideas misfired in their first implementation (early Lisas and Macs are collectors’ items today), but the marketplace iterated rapidly and effectively and still does.
Today’s computer manufacturing technology is still relatively primitive, when compared to its potential; we’re about where Steve’s “Macintosh Office” was 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, in Washington DC & Around the World
Just as manufacturing of products becomes disintermediated and dissociated from large integrating manufacturing/marketing/distribution organizations, we have our version of a Luddite spectacle. A bunch of politicians, most of them captive of the economic and political concepts of prior centuries, are making a childish display of themselves, and demanding restrictions on production and ownership of a product, firearms. But they are asking the impossible: guns can be produced under the most precarious of conditions by the most primitive of shops. They do this because they want to redirect anger and retribution away from the actual generator of the recent outrage, Wahhabi/Salafi Islam, and towards targets whose destruction they would find more personally gratifying.
The guy who last changed your brake pads and wiper blades probably has everything in his shop necessary to produce automatic weapons. In fact, another terrorist outrage you may not have heard about recently occurred in Israel where two assclowns inspired by Islam attacked a restaurant with submachine guns.
Back in February, more homebrew SMGs were used in attacks on Israeli cops.
The SMGs, made under embargo conditions in clandestine workshops in the lawless Palestinian territories, were improvised weapons. (One of which did fail during the attack. Testing is an aspect of manufacturing that technology can’t replace).
You certainly heard about the murder of left-leaning British politician Jo Cox, in the land of no handguns, Great Britain. Cox was killed with a crude improvised pistol based on an ancient US Army improvised guns manual.
This next picture is not a TEC-9. Take a good look! It’s a clandestine-shop knock-off open-bolt SMG, seized by cops in Canada last year. Restrict all guns and “prohibit” the scary ones, as Canadian laws do, and this is what anyone who wants a gun might as well build. He’s as well hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh?
Here’s a shot of Browning-style pistols produced in a one-house clandestine factory in Talcher, Odisha, India that was seized by police in the summer of 2015.
And here’s video of a (US, legal) home-built .25 pistol.
Here’s the build of the same (18 minutes). Tools used include a drill press, welding equipment and circular and saber saws. He does use some well-chosen cutting tools, like end mills and reamers, and uses a rifling machine of his own manufacture. ses At one point he improvises an end mill from a drill bit (per the plans he is using). He uses the name “Clinton Westwood” which we’re sure is what his mother named him; his YouTube Channel, Clinton’s Cheap Workshop, is full of must-watch TV.
Clinton’s new adventure is making a larger, 1911-styled .380 blowback pistol. He just started in April and has made good progress, so go to the YouTube channel, click Videos, and enjoy.
You might want to archive the videos, in case YouTube (which is owned by Google, which is either owned by or owns the Clinton — Hillary, not Westwood — campaign) disappears them and unpersons Westwood in the future.
The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, Part II
In another way, the 3DP revolution is over. Many of the revolutionaries of the first wave have gone much more quiet, perhaps because they’re involved in other things, or perhaps for some other reason. Maybe they’re under pressure from a lawless DOJ determined to find terrorists everywhere except among Islamic terrorists!
Cody Wilson? Tied up in a lawsuit, his new book, and the GhostGunner project. Now, the project isn’t idle. Here’s a new video posted this week on the GG2:
But RollaTroll is still with us (even if his last tweet was a Weaponsman link a couple weeks ago).
And the thing is, it doesn’t matter if some of the original founders of the 3D printed arms movement 3+ years ago have gone silent, gone Hollywood, gone to ground, or gone underground: a new generation is supplementing, and where necessary, replacing them. And the new generation is larger, and the generation they energize will be exponentially larger still.
The genie’s out, and anybody waving a bottle and muttering get-back-in incantations at this point just looks ridiculous.
The articles in the Vietnam-era Journal are of particular interest to Americans; Australian volunteers shared that less than delightful set of experiences with some of their Yank (or as they might say, “Septic”) contemporaries.
It’s very enlightening to look at tactical, operational and strategic problems through the eyes of professional soldiers from a friendly but very different country. And with the archives on this site, you can get that perspective on almost any period.
The archival issues are all .pdf files, which makes it a slam-dunk to handle them.
Proving that there is no honor among dictators, Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany attacked their sworn allies, Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union, on 22 June 1941, 75 years ago today. The German code name was Operation Barbarossa, invoking the nickname of the great German leader, Frederick I Barbarossa (an ill-fated king who led the ill-fated German contingent in the missed-it-by-that-much Third Crusade).
Barbarossa went all Germany’s way — at first. Here, an obsolete Soviet T-28 abandoned roadside in Lemberg (now Lvov).
It was a betrayal of Iscariot proportions (not that Koba the Dread was exactly Jesus Christ). Revisionists claim that Stalin was planning to attack the Germans ,and was pre-empted, but the historical record makes it pretty clear that wasn’t the case. Stalin not only didn’t see it coming, he slapped down those in his intelligence organs who did.
In something of a surprise, Murphy reprints two secret letters from Hitler to Stalin that he found in the published Russian sources, hitherto unknown in the West. In these, the Führer seeks to reassure the Soviet dictator about the scarcely concealable German military buildup in eastern Europe. Hitler confides to Stalin that troops were being moved east to protect them from British bombing and to conceal the preparations for the invasion of the British Isles. He concludes with an assurance “on my honor as a head of state” that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union. Some may question the authenticity of these letters, but they are difficult to dismiss out of hand. Assuming they are genuine, they add to what is perhaps the most bewildering paradox of the Soviet-German war: Stalin, the man who trusted no one, trusted Hitler.
And a few paragraphs later, Steury adds:
Gorodetsky’s argument dovetails nicely with the story told by David Murphy. Murphy massively documents the in-pouring of intelligence from all over Europe and even Japan, warning of the German military buildup for invasion. Insofar as this intelligence was used at all, it was to avoid any action that might be seen as a provocation. German aircraft were allowed to fly reconnaissance missions deep into Soviet territory; German troops were allowed to violate Soviet borders in search of intelligence. All this was intended to remind the Germans of the depth of Soviet resolve, while demonstrating that the Soviet Union was not about to attack. Moreover, Stalin was absolutely convinced that Hitler would attempt nothing until he had resolved his conflict with Great Britain. He was encouraged in this preconception by a well-orchestrated German deception operation—including the two letters to Stalin—that was, at least in part, personally directed by Hitler. Thus it was that Stalin was able to ignore the massive military buildup on his borders and to dismiss every warning of a German attack as disinformation or provocation, right up until the morning of 22 June.
In describing how intelligence was collected and reported to Moscow, Murphy chillingly documents what it meant to be an intelligence officer under Stalin by following the careers of three men. NKVD foreign intelligence chief, Pavel Fitin, whose agents reported on German plans for BARBAROSSA right up to the attack, served throughout the war, but was in disgrace afterward. Ivan Proskurov, an air force officer and head of military intelligence during 1939–40, insisted on telling the truth to Stalin. He was shot in October 1941. Proskurov’s successor, Filipp I. Golikov, suppressed or altered intelligence reporting that did not meet the Soviet dictator’s preconceptions. He prospered under Stalin.
That’s life in dictatorship, whether it’s Stalin’s, Hitler’s, or Chavez’s: suck up and move up. Stick up and get hammered down.
When the weather changed, so did German fortunes in the East….
…history showed once again that trusting and trying to appease a warmongering dictator is not really a smart long-term policy.
Even if you’re a warmongering dictator yourself. Considering how paranoid Stalin was — he’d just orchestrated the Yezhovshchina and all the great purges, and hollowed out his own party’s loyal middle management — the one time he chose to trust a guy, he picked Adolf freaking Hitler. And got a poke in the eye for his pains. That had to have shaken even Koba’s self-confidence.
As Chrenk notes, this led to:
by far the bloodiest stage of the bloodiest conflict in human history. Some 17 million of men (and a few women) under arms were to perish on both sides in the great meat grinder of the Eastern Front, in addition to over 20 million civilians.
It was also, as Hitler’s professional generals feared at the time (and as Steury notes in his book review, linked above), a complex error that that would lead to the “10,000-year Reich” being ground under the treads of Allied tanks about 988 years ahead of schedule.
It was barely days ago that 21-year-old Noah Goldstein graduated from New York City’s Fordham College, where he was active in the theater group as a set designer, and was highly visible for his mulicolor hair. (And no, it’s not Fordham colors, so it’s not a school spirit thing; beyond that, we can’t explain it).
Apparently, he was not visible enough. When he was hit and killed was not entirely clear, but it was 0315 when his dead body was found in a Midtown Manhattan intersection. The driver that nailed him didn’t stop.
Goldstein was found unconscious and unresponsive lying in the crosswalk at Broadway and West 61st Street at around 3:15 a.m., cops said.
He was trying to cross Broadway from east to west when he was struck by the vehicle that then fled north on Broadway, an investigation by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad determined.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, which was not far from Fordham’s Upper West Side campus.
At least in our jurisdiction, there are four possible reasons a driver that hits a pedestrian doesn’t stop:
He’s got warrants;
He’s a criminal alien;
Any combination of 2 or all 3 of the above.
It is also our first-hand and vicarious experience that illegals are likely to have problems with alcohol abuse, perhaps because of their high levels of American Indian blood. (There are biological problems for some Indians in metabolizing alcohol, compared to the way most bodies of Eurasian or African descent do). The two sorts of crimes in which illegal aliens are enormously overrepresented are alcohol-related misconduct like DUI and hit-n-run offenses, and child sex crimes (the latter, we have no idea why, it’s just the empirical result cops and lawyers see in the system).
The winners of our open borders game are these deadly drivers and daughter diddlers. The losers? Even if this one doesn’t track to an illegal alien, the losers of the open borders game include many other harmless kids like Noah Goldstein, seen sharing a laugh with his theater crowd.
In Egypt, they’re finally getting around to addressing Islamist-terrorist propaganda, and one way they’re doing it is sending two Al-Jazeera “journalists” — news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed Mohammad and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal — to the gallows, along with Asmaa al-Khateib, a “journalist” for Rasd, a Moslem Brotherhood front.
That’s, if they can get their hands on them — the journalists have reportedly bugged out and the court sentenced them in absentia.
The same trial also sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi, who did his best during his one-year reign, during which he seized absolute power, to turn Egypt into a Moslem Brotherhood Islamist state (with the support of a certain United States President), to death. It probably makes little difference for Morsi, as past trials have already sentenced him to death for terrorism and the Wadi el-Natrun prison break of 2011, to life in prison for espionage for Qatar, and to 20 years for arresting and torturing protesters and incitement to violence during his brief and bloody reign.
Naturally, American media are appalled that journalists should be held accountable for what they do. The New York Post:
An Egyptian court has sentenced six people, including two Al-Jazeera employees, to death for allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Morsi, the case’s top defendant, was also sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was ousted by the military in July 2013 and has already been sentenced to death in another case.
Saturday’s verdicts can be appealed.
The two Al-Jazeera employees – identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal – were sentenced in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after Morsi’s ouster.
The Brotherhood was also a banned terrorist group for most of Egypt’s history as an independent state. (Morsi was a member, and his brief and disastrous interregnum resulted from its unbanning). It’s also banned as terrorist organization in Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, as well as Russia. Note that Qatar, the national sponsor of Al-Jazeera and the recipient of the journalists’ pilfered secrets, is one of the few nations in the region that is Moslem Brotherhood-friendly.
As far as its ties to terrorists go, who murdered Egyptian President and Middle East peacemaker Anwar Sadat? An Islamist group, inspired by and closely aligned with the Brotherhood.
Say what you will of the Egyptians, they know exactly whom they’re fixing to hang.
Some of you who have hung out with us have seen this long gun and its cousins, and heard the story of how it came to catch a C-17 ride home wearing a GI souvenir tag, and palletized in a purpose-built wood box with a number of its brethren. Exactly how and why your humble blogger became the FFL Type 02 (Pawnbroker) equivalent for a remote and allegedly Taliban-infested valley is a story to be told face to face, but suffice it now to say that such a thing happened, and a variety of antique oddities lounge about Hog Manor in consequence thereof.
We are about the furthest thing you can imagine from expertise on British black powder guns, so our answer to the question in the title is more a matter of supposition and deduction than it is of confidence. But we believe the rifle to be a Pashtun copy, made at some unknown time by hand, probably by the gunsmiths of the Adam Khel tribe in their home city, Darra Adam Khel.
Some of the reasons are: the light-colored no-name wood of the stock; the uncertain-looking brass parts, which look more like they were cast by cottage industry than by a mid-19th Century industrial plant; the spiral seam in the barrel, where it was made by hand-forging a rectangular bar in spiral form around a mandrel; the flimsy sheet metal piece opposite the lock; the weird heads, threads and alignments of the screws.
On the other hand, the engraving is clear and without misspellings. Since many Darra gunsmiths are illiterate in any language, you frequently see mirror-image letters and other wierdness in inscriptions. The lock date (1869) is much too late for a P53 Enfield, but it could be a P59, a similar musket made in smoothbore strictly for the use of native troops in British India. So it could be a P59 that has, over the last near sesquicentury, become the host to many repaired and replaced native parts.
Click more to see some more of the uneven and sometimes crude construction, and many character-rich repairs, of this venerable firearm.
An understanding of terrain features is necessary for land navigation.
If you are in terrain with high relief (think of the Swiss Alps), then you’ll have no trouble at all.
Consider how terrain features look when you are on them. (The Army, whence we stole these graphics, also teaches you to visualize the terrain features by looking at your fist and hand. An example of how that do that is in this presentation).
A hill is easiest, and its a very common feature. From the summit of a hill, the ground slopes down in all directions. On the map, it is the center of a ring or rings of contour lines.
A depression is opposite of a hill. It is fairly rare, but in a depression the ground slopes up in all directions. Such a feature is rare because nothing shapes terrain as inexorably as water, and water seeks an outlet. If it does not find one, in due course, it makes one. Depressions either are in very very arid climates, have some means of draining water direct down out of the bottom, or evolve into lakes or ponds. On the map, a depression looks like a hill — a circle — except that it has tickmarks on the low side, the inside of the circle.
In a saddle, the ground is higher in two directions that are approximately 180º from each other, and lower in the other two directions offset at 90º from the high ground. On the map, the saddle is where the lower contour lines on a hill merge to also wrap around the adjacent hill.
A more common feature puts you in a place where the ground is higher on three sides and lower on one. Depending on the dimensions this is a valley or a draw.
We think of the grounds at Hog Manor as “level,” but they aren’t, really, it’s more an illusion created by the previous proprietor’s landscapers. You actually have to go down a half-flight of stairs to get to the garage, but from the same point, up a full flight of stairs to get to the Music Room over the garage. The half-flight is absorbed by a high ceiling in the garage, preserving the illusion of a building with all its modules on the same level, until you start doing mental math. It’s architectural trompe l’oeil, and is so common most people never notice it.
In the front yard, this non-levelness manifests as two almost level areas with a retaining wall in between. In the backyard, a variety of stone features try to conceal the slope, but the ancient 18th or 19th Century stone wall between lawn and wood betrays the true slope of the terrain.
So the real understanding of “level” is — compared to what? We grew up on a less level lot, where careless riding mower operation could (and did) roll the mower. We had a similar experience, learning land navigation in the hills and mountains of New England, and then going to Fort Bragg where one must sink or swim in a navigation environment with much less relief.
In that case, you have to learn to look straight in the distance in the various directions around you, and be able to see where the ground is higher and lower compared to your standpoint — even if the height difference is only a hand’s breadth or two. Once you visualize where it’s higher or lower, you should see just that on your map. In time and with practice, the correlation between map and ground gets to be second nature, and is only disrupted if you are in a new location with very different relief. Even then, the more experience you have, the more easily you orient in new physical environments.
Johnny Sanchez is a young (21) illegal alien, drug addict, and career criminal who’s been in and out of jail since first busting the border four years ago. Although he’s Honduran, he’s been exempted from deportation by the Presidentially directed moratorium on deporting criminal aliens who haven’t killed anybody yet — they’re too valuable as welfare beneficiaries and voters to incarcerate them or deport them over mere trifles.
…was initially arrested in 2012 for crossing the southeastern California border illegally, the Los Angeles Times reported. Authorities said they released him because he had no criminal history or previous immigration violations at the time.
He was arrested again in January on suspicion of domestic violence and twice in the ensuing months on suspicion of drug possession, officials said.
OK, so he’s a doper, a woman-beater, and, it turns out, a guy who, like most illegals, laughs at court dates:
After he crossed the border, authorities reportedly placed him under supervision and ordered Sanchez to report to them regularly — but he stopped doing so in 2014, the Times adds.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement never started the process of deporting him, spokeswoman Virginia Kice said, adding that the reason why was unclear. She told the newspaper it’s ICE policy “to focus on individuals who pose a public safety threat.”
There’s a million Johnny Sanchezes (actually, nearer 20 million of them), and they commit a third to a half of American violent crime. So why is this fine Producto de Honduras in the news, and not one of the 19-million-plus others?
He started a fire in a homeless/doper squat that burned five other bums to death.
The fire on Monday killed five homeless people. Four of the badly burned bodies weren’t found until Tuesday afternoon, when search dogs located them under a heap of debris on the second floor.
Sanchez was in some kind of fight with the others and lit the fire with the intent to kill, Los Angeles Police Capt. Billy Hayes said.
The suspect was charged Wednesday with five capital murder counts and was ordered held without bail.
Hey, he gave 150 firefighters something to do on a hot afternoon.
The LA Times has more grim details. Sanchez…
…was in the United States illegally and had been arrested three times in the months before the blaze in a vacant Westlake building where transients were squatting, officials said Friday.
Johnny Josue Sanchez, 21, started the fire to avenge a beating he took in a dispute over occupying a room in the building, a law enforcement source said.
Sanchez was among a group of people arrested by border patrol agents in 2012 for illegally entering the country at the southeastern California border, officials said. He was released a week later…
Under the executive amnesty.
As it happens, ICE has instruction to…
…not search for those who fail to report unless they have a criminal background or a history of repeated illegal entry.
ICE generally does not issue requests to law enforcement to hold people like Sanchez who are in the country without legal authorization but have no criminal history, Kice said.
The Los Angeles Police Department arrested Sanchez in January on suspicion of domestic violence, and again in May and June on suspicion of drug possession — most recently on June 8….
Which, for the record, was four or five days before he incinerated his druggie pals alive. (Fortunately, Hillary! can still count on their votes).
But it turns out that even if ICE had issued an immigration detainer on Sanchez, the LAPD is under its own orders to tell them to take a running bleeep at a rolling doughnut:
The Los Angeles Police Department stopped honoring immigration holds in 2014 …. Federal officials at the time warned the policy could lead to the release of dangerous criminals, but police said it would build community trust and encourage citizens to report crime.
How’s that working out for LA?
Never mind, they’re just killing the Americans that you can’t get Americans to kill.
The Times has more details the Fox News story skips, like the so-current tranny angle:
Acquaintances and law enforcement sources said Sanchez confronted a transgender squatter who entered part of the building he considered his territory. After being beaten by the squatter. Sanchez became enraged and set several fires near his room, the sources said. Sanchez’s assailant and a companion escaped through a window, but five other homeless people — three men and two women — died as fire engulfed the building, authorities said.
The Times also, to their credit, names some of the victims, although they do bury the names of these inconsequential Angelenos ocean deep in the story.
Jerry Dean Clemons, 59, and Mary Ann Davis, 44, were found in a back room on the building’s second floor, and died either from smoke inhalation or by being crushed when the roof collapsed, authorities said. The bodies of another man and woman were also found in the room.
A close relative said Davis and Clemons were from Ottumwa, Iowa, a town of 26,000, and had come to Los Angeles just days before the fire to join her son. The son was tentatively named as a fire victim based on his ID card, but authorities are awaiting dental records for a positive identification.
Fallen debris blocked escape for a fifth person who burned to death in a hallway, authorities said. The person remained unidentified Friday.
One of the dead was ID’d by other homeless by his street name, Jokerface. Joke’s on you, kid, and on all of us.
Speed was of the essence. To that end the LCS designs — both of them — sacrificed everything, especial combat firepower and survivability.
The ships, already far more expensive with vastly less combat power than the frigates they replaced, are going to trade away their one advantage — high speed in moderate seas — for some firepower.
BATH, Maine – The Navy spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fulfill its need for speed with a new class of fast and agile warships capable of zipping along at highway speeds.
It turns out speed is overrated.
The Navy has learned lessons from the light-and-speedy littoral combat ships: Upcoming ships will trade some speed in favor of more weapons and heavier armor.
Well, having more weapons than existing LCS ships isn’t hard, really.
Rear Adm. Peter Fanta, director of surface warfare, said the goal is to increase the offensive punch of all warships from the biggest to the smallest. For the littoral combat ship, that’ll begin with the installation of over-the-horizon missiles this summer.
“Each ship that I now have — I have to make more lethal because I cannot build ships fast enough, or enough of them,” Fanta told The Associated Press.
Two versions of the warships were sped into production to meet the Navy’s goal of an affordable, fast ship to operate in shallow coastal — or littoral — waters.
Affordable! They’re a half a billion a pop. And the latest round of the USN’s incessant tinkering might nearly double the price.
The ships, which are capable of topping 50 mph, utilize steerable waterjets instead of propellers and rudders to operate in shallow water.
They also are built to be equipped with swappable mission modules for surface warfare, anti-submarine duty or mine removal. That’s in contrast to larger, multi-mission ships like the 610-foot Michael Monsoor, a Zumwalt-class destroyer christened Saturday at Bath Iron Works.
But the gee-whiz factor was overshadowed by concerns over growing costs — the latest versions cost $482 million to $563 million apiece — along with criticism by the General Accounting Office that the warships were too lightly armed and too lightly armored.
Yep, we’re committed to a forty-something unit class of ships that can’t fight, but can run away, as long as the enemy doesn’t have guns, missiles or aircraft. So the Navy, no more willing to leave a bad design than a good one alone, is going to incur a bunch more expense grafting minimal armor and a missile system onto the currently unarmed ships.
You’ll probably want to read Commander Salamander’s grim, resigned take on this. There’s a lot of material in his post, including the shocking revelation that the new revisions to the Little Crappy Ship will push individual unit costs close to a billion dollars — and we’ll still be stuck with combat-worthless Little Crappy Ships.
In a possibly related update, he notes that the Republicans of the House have voted to continue to support Ray Mabus’s policy of naming ships after undistinguished, insignificant politicians. Maybe the LCSes should all be named after Ray, with Roman numerals; although many of his predecessors and many flag officers deserve to hang from the yardarms (if an LCS had yardarms) alongside him.