Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Ballad of the Ukrainian Berets

The Ballad of the Green Berets is one of the most well-known military songs on the planet. In 1966, it was actually the No. 1 song of the year on the popular charts, based on Joel Whitburn’s calculations; it stayed at the Number One position for many weeks as it was assaulted by classic pop from the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and all the other leading lights of 60s rock ‘n’ roll, not to mention the standards singers who were still charting occasionally, and the novelty songs.

Along with its 1960s popularity and its presence in the 1968 John Wayne movie, the Ballad has made a major mark on the world. It’s been translated into over 100 languages (somewhere, I have a CD with dozens of these recordings), most of them without credit or payment to the creators (about whom, we have a story). The latest of these translations? Ukrainian.

We mentioned that it was a huge hit in 1966, sung by an actual Green Beret, Staff Sergeant (SSG) Barry Sadler. Sadler wrote most of it, but a friend of his, novelist Robin Moore, got a co-writer credit for changing one verse (which is the story we promised, above). You see, in the original version, the bereaved woman waiting for her fallen Green Beret was a Saigon bar girl — a situation that would probably have been pretty true to Sadler’s life, if he’d been whacked in the war. Moore feared that that wouldn’t sell, and his contribution was the verse that begins, “Back at home, a young wife waits. Her Green Beret has met his fate…” and then it comes back to Sadler’s original closing, with the soldier’s son going SF, too. The only difference is that, with Moore’s help, the son was legitimized.1

Oddly enough, only the rock-pop stuff gets played on oldies stations, and not necessarily the stuff that was popular then. (Our working assumption is that oldies stations are as subject to payola as the rest of the ethically corroded music industry). You’ll never hear The Ballad of the Green Berets on the radio any more. It is, however, on several jukeboxes in the Fayetteville, NC and Clarksville, TN areas, along with its less-well-known B-side, The A-Team.

And it’s now playing in the Ukraine. We can’t follow the Ukrainian words well enough, but we enjoyed the version.

Notes

  1. When the late Robin Moore was a member of Chapter LIV, Special Forces Association, he told this story many times. He was the life of every party, and is missed by the SF community, despite the disaster that befell his last book about us — but that’s another story.

Congressman vs. Surveillance-Happy Secret Police

Hess: all your data are belong to us, and you're a criminal if you encrypt it.

Hess: all your data are belong to us, and you’re a criminal if you encrypt it.

In a remarkable hearing in Washington, would-be secret police from Federal and State law enforcement complained that encryption and the 4th Amendment stood between them and their desire for a lawless surveillance panopticon.

The speakers included an FBI manager with the surely-coincidental but very fitting name of Hess1, and a People’s Republic of Massachusetts prosecution commissar named Daniel F. Conley. Hess’s and Conley’s condemnation of companies like Apple and Google for making warrantless, suspicionless dragnet surveillance more difficult was too much for a California Congressman whose constituents (and contributors) include many of the tech firms’ executives and workers.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who described himself as a “recovering computer science major,” provided one of the most forceful counter-arguments. (He is just one of four House members with computer science degrees.) Lieu also is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves and served for four years as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Daniel T. Conley, prosecutor and antigun activist, hater of the Bill of Rights, especially #s 2, 4 &5.

Daniel F. Conley, prosecutor and antigun activist, hater of the Bill of Rights, especially #s 2, 4 &5. It’s anyone’s guess what the “F” stands for. His grade in high school civics, perhaps. He attended a law school that’s below the bottom of the US News rankings (Suffolk, “RNP”)

“It is clear to me that creating a pathway for decryption only for good guys is technologically stupid, you just can’t do that,” he said, underscoring that he found Conley’s remarks “offensive.”

[Lieu] argued:

“It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem. Why do you think Apple and Google are doing this? It’s because the public is demanding it. People like me: privacy advocates. A public does not want an out-of-control surveillance state. It is the public that is asking for this. Apple and Google didn’t do this because they thought they would make less money. This is a private sector response to government overreach.

Then you make another statement that somehow these companies are not credible because they collect private data. Here’s the difference: Apple and Google don’t have coercive power. District attorneys do, the FBI does, the NSA does, and to me it’s very simple to draw a privacy balance when it comes to law enforcement and privacy: just follow the damn Constitution.”

That’s something that surveillance creeps like Hess and Conley are unwilling to do. Follow the damn Constitution. Good on Ted Lieu for trying to hold them to the standard they swore to uphold, and then abandoned.

Conley has a hard time making eye contact, for some reason. Guilty knowledge?

Conley has a hard time making eye contact, for some reason. Guilty knowledge?

We don’t know about Hess, but Conley is not just a prosecutor, he’s also an anti-gun activist tied into the John Rosenthal astroturf circuit, including Stop Handgun Violence, Common Sense About Kids and Guns, and Rosenthal’s false-flag American Hunters and Shooters Association.

He authored one bill that would have enabled his merry men to conduct door-to-door searches and jail anyone with a firearm for a year and a half2. This is not a man in tune with the Bill of Rights.

Lieu cut him too much slack, blaming the surveillance problem entirely on NSA:

And because the NSA didn’t do that and other law enforcement agencies didn’t do that, you’re seeing a vast public reaction to this. Because the NSA, your colleagues, have essentially violated the Fourth Amendment rights of every American citizen for years by seizing all of our phone records, by collecting our Internet traffic, that is now spilling over to other aspects of law enforcement. And if you want to get this fixed, I suggest you write to NSA: the FBI should tell the NSA, stop violating our rights. And then maybe you might have much more of the public on the side of supporting what law enforcement is asking for.

The whole article is good, so you might want to go to Ars Technica and Read The Whole Thing™.

Where Rep. Lieu goes off base is when he suggests that NSA alone is the problem. NSA furnishes its global surveillance of Americans freely to law enforcement through regional liaisons in so-called “fusion centers.” The LEOs then systematically perjure themselves and even go so far as to invent nonexistent “informants” to obfuscate the origins of leads and tips that come from unlawful mass dragnet surveillance.

This was systematized at least 20 years ago, long before 9/11, as “Parallel Construction.” It came originally from the drug war, not from counterterrorism. But after 9/11 previously compartmented CT technologies were shared with law enforcement under Patriot Act authority and the Parallel Construction fig leaf; as happened with other Patriot Act CT authorities, the CT limitation of these investigations was never taken seriously, and NSA surveillance (and friendly foreign power surveillance, giving NSA plausible deniability of targeting Americans) has been increasingly focused on the routine targets of small-time prosecutors like Conley, including, in many cases, mere political opponents.

Update

Sure enough, before the story we drafted on Friday could even go live, Conley was back in Boston, fresh from calling for the overturn of the 4th Amendment in DC, to demand the overturn of the 2nd in other states (as Massachusetts has already done at home). As his adoring press scribe and fellow Democrat Evan Allen of the Boston Globe wrote:

Conley endorsed a slate of gun violence prevention strategies Friday, including universal background checks, restrictions on civilian use of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, and more research into gun-violence prevention

Translated into English that’s:

  1. Backdoor registration;
  2. Gun bans;
  3. Standard-capacity magazine bans; and,
  4. Tendentious “push”-research of the sort we’ve seen Bloomberg and Soros fund.

Any surprise that a guy with national socialist ideas about security and privacy holds national socialist ideas about guns? Airhead Evan Allen again:

The majority of Boston’s victims of gun violence are young black and Latino men from low-income communities, Conley said, and their murders — often committed outdoors by assailants that leave no fingerprints or DNA — are statistically the most difficult to solve.

Imagine that. A bunch of white Irish cops from the suburbs, and white Irish DAs from barely-accredited law schools, suck at solving and prosecuting minority gang crimes. Stop the presses!

“From an investigative standpoint, we’re looking at a simple equation: fewer available handguns equals fewer homicides solved at a greater rate,” said Conley.

Given that exactly zero of his perps — the exact same “young black and Latino men from low-income community” gangbangers that are his victims — are among the legal MA permit holders he wants to blame, or among the free people in jurisdictions outside his nightmare People’s Republic, and exactly zero of them own their crime weapons legally. Why, it’s almost as if criminals don’t obey laws, but that’s just crazy talk, right?

The strength of a state’s gun laws correlates directly with its rate of gun-related deaths, said Conley, citing a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Massachusetts tops the list with high legislative strength and low rates of gun fatalities.

NH: Nearly identical demographics, climate, etc. to Massachusetts. Significantly lower homicide rate. Why?

Hey Dan: HBYAN LMOGD EAZUL UNLQQ XBIST NCZOS HBYAN. Sincerely, the Editors.

Notes

  1. A certain politician’s deputy leader and amanuensis for his political manifesto, “My Struggle,” was named Hess. Coincidence? You be the judge.
  2. You can read Conley’s remarks in support of his bill at his Suffolk County Prosecutor’s Office website: http://www.suffolkdistrictattorney.com/remarks-of-district-attorney-daniel-f-conley-on-an-act-to-combat-gun-violence/

Friday Tour d’Horizon

It’s that occasion, where we throw together vro bunch of stuff and throw it at you before the weekend.

Guns

ITEM: Remember that AR-15 Model 601 mixmaster we posted this week? It sold for $19,875.00, far below the $34k buy-it-now. Our congratulations to the new owner, who can now either pay a lot to restore it to 601 purity, or just shoot the heck out of it as a typically priced full-auto AR. His gun, his choice. (Her choice? It could be. Guns are for everybody).

Terrance Kellom from an earlier arrestITEM: In Detroit, a local criminal wanted for armed robbery (and with a felony record for the same) was shot down by an ICE agent assigned to the interagency Fugitive Apprehension Team.

Family members and “activists” decried the shooting of Terrance Kellom. His father said:

 I can’t stand the police. They assassinated my son, right in front of me. That was an execution, right in my face.

ICE pointed out that his son was trying to brain the ICE Special Agent, Mitchell Quinn, with a hammer. (Details, details. Does that count as bringing a hammer to a gun fight?) The Detroit News was remarkably uninterested in the criminal records of Kellom père et fils, but dug deep into what they called Quinn’s “checkered past,” noting a nasty domestic violence case and a failed attempt at running for office.

ITEM: The Livens Flame Projector, an extinct and once-secret flamethrower that opened the Battle of the Somme, deserves a post on its own, based on this fifty-minute TV4 (UK) documentary. But here’s a teaser, along with the complete show.

Livens was a Cantabridgian engineer who joined up on the first day of the war. Later, when his fiancée’s name turned up in the list of missing from the RMS Lusitania, vowed to kill one German for every civilian life lost on the torpedoed liner. The secret weapon, used in one sector, so shocked the Germans when it was fired on 1 July 1916 that the offensive, stymied elsewhere with staggering casualties, was successful here near Mametz. In the video, in parallel to the time-limited archaeological dig, modern Royal Engineers build a replica of the Livens Projector and test-fire it.

livens_replica_test_fire

Usage & Employment / Lord Love a Duck

journo-now-im-a-victim-tooITEM: In Baltimore, it’s rioting looters versus journalists. Make that, “Wait Brother, I’m an Obama voter!” journalists. Can’t they both lose?

 

Military & UW Related

ITEM: Two Navy SEALs (is there any other kind of SEAL? So why do we say “Navy” SEAL? We dunno, but it’s the style). So, two Navy SEALs perished as a result of a swimming/diving accident a week ago today… in a swimming pool. The pool at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, VA, is used by various elements as the Combat Swimmer Training Facility, but is also used by some of the East Coast SEALs based there for regular aquatic fitness training. SEALs are, after all, prodigious swimmers, and a man doesn’t get that way without lots of intense, focused practice and sustainment.

The fallen SEALs are Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) Brett A. Marihugh, who passed away Sunday from injuries, and fellow PO1 Seth C. Lewis. They were found unresponsive at the bottom of the pool. Lewis remained unresponsive and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital; Marihugh was also unresponsive but his circulation and respiration resumed. Despite that, he had been without oxygen long enough that he could not recover.

The accident is a mystery — the two men who know what happened are dead — but the Navy is investigating it. If we had to speculate, we’d guess, and that’s all it is from any non-SEAL, that they were engaged in some kind of friendly competition at underwater swimming and/or breath-holding.

ITEM: The Navy is actually naming a new Burke-class destroyer for a Naval hero, instead of the usual Social Justice Warrior. What, did Ray Mabus retire? DDG-113 John Finn, named for Pearl Harbor MOH Lieutenant John Finn, is destined to be a proud ship.

ITEM: A Korean War casualty, Master Sergeant Francis H. Stamer, is no longer missing. Stamer was last seen the night of 1 Nov 50 as massive Chinese forces struck his unit, Mike Company of 3rd Battalion 8th Cavalry Regiment, at a village named Unsan in North Korea. Partial remains were identified as Stamer from a large cache of bones and fragments sold by the Norks to the US back in the 1990s.

To identify Stamer’s remains, scientists from [the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)] and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including two forms of DNA analysis; mitochondrial DNA, which matched his niece and Y-chromosomal Short Tandem Repeat (Y-STR) DNA, which matched his nephew.

Improved DNA technology has rescued the credibility of the lab, which was quite embattled in the 1990s (as the Army Central Identification Laboratory — Hawaii) for unqualified personnel and dubious results. They have successfully ID’d remains recovered from Korea and both world wars, and have gradually shortened the Vietnam and Korea MIA and KIA-BNR lists.

 

Mattson-top-SARCITEM: The increasingly disjointed and numbly-led DOD can’t organize Fight Club in the Pentagon catacombs, but it can deploy thousands of Sexual Assault Response Coordinators — so many of them that one of them, Heather Mattson (pictured), has to be named 2015 Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year. But, wait! The crazily-overfunded overreaction to this fashionable imaginary crime wave is so broad (no pun intended), that she’s just one of six, because all the other services, including the Coast Guard, have to have a 2015 Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year, too. Maybe they’ll have a SARC-off to see who gets the 2015 ESARCotY with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

Meanwhile, Ash Carter has plans to cut pay, health care and pensions, because after the DOD has paid for the absolute necessities, like Ms Mattson’s award, there’s nothing left for the frills like arms, equipment and training. And the money has to come from somewhere, so why not out of the troops’ hides?

ITEM: Yep, we’re broke, but we can’t stop the DOD Environmental Awards. It has its own website, which explains the difference between Odd Numbered Years and Even Numbered Years (you might think you didn’t need that. But 2015 is an Even Numbered Year, it says here). But at least they’re not giving them gold bars or anything(.pdf):

DoD recognizes each winner with a trophy, a Secretary of Defense cer- tificate of achievement, and an American flag that is flown over the U.S. Capitol by their senior Senator on Earth Day and over the Pentagon on Memorial Day. DoD recognizes honorable mentions with a Secretary of Defense certificate of achievement.

Earth Day, for Pete’s sake. No, really, that is not from The Duffel Blog or The Onion. 

ITEM: In other Ash Carter news, he had a phone call with German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen. According to a DOD release, the principal subject of discussion was the unilateral wiuthdrawal of a US aviation brigade from Ansbach, Germany (already mentioned here yesterday). Germany’s rifle problem did not come up in the brief conversation.

Off Topic

1956-Boeing_707_Ad_5_March_56ITEM: When in 1956 Boeing ran ads showing the launch customers for the Boeing 707, the first successful jetliner (not the first, that was the Avro DeHavilland Comet, but its success was… limited), there were five American airlines and two foreign flag carriers. (Sabena and Air France). Of the five American carriers, only american Airlines survives today. The other four (Braniff, Continental, Pan Am, and TWA) are all defunct.

Boeing also claimed that it developed the jet all on its own. Well, yeah, except for the Air Force tanker requirement it was also designed to meet. There was that. Today, the KC-135, which actually preceded the closely related but not identical 707 into service, is still flying, and is likely to be the last 707 variant in the air.

ITEM: And then there’s Lefty Gray. Lefty is 102, and known for his smart-aleck remarks.

“I asked Lefty what advice he had for people who hoped to be as old as him one day. He said, ‘How old am I?’ ‘102,’ I said. ‘Well, who the hell wants to get that old?’ “

And… à propos getting old:

Stuff you like to do, you still do it – just not so much. Stuff you don’t like, just don’t do it anymore! . . . Who can yell at you? Nobody!

And if they do, I can’t hear anyway.

May you have as much fun in your long life as Lefty seems to do.

Friday Tour D’Horizon

A Cynical View of the H&K G36 Problem

From a few months ago, by a smart Aleck named Riller.

Some Ammo Cross-Sections

Found on ARFCOM.

A Cynical View of Army Morale

The subject that’s practically been our theme for this week gets covered pungently at Ace of Spades. Read the Whole Thing™. They can’t understand why morale is so messed up, with so many from the Beltway Peerage working so hard on it. Us neither. For another cynical view, Dalrock.

NY TImes Discovers .mil Health Care Stinks

If they had any veterans on staff, they might have known that already. But it’s always Baby Duck Day at the Times when they interface with the services. Of course, they find the bad guys right away: military officers, who, in the Times caricature, are heartless, inhuman monsters, withholding health care from the needy.

This story actually revives a series that started almost a year ago and produces about a story a quarter, whether you need it or not. Considering that the Times seems to pre-write most of their stories, with a designated Good Guy and Bad Guy selected well in advance, you’d think they could swing a little more productivity than that.

Crime: Vault Heist in London

These pictures, from the Metropolitan Police tell the story.

From the outside lookin' in. (yes, it embiggens).

From the outside lookin’ in. (yes, it embiggens).

From the inside lookin' out.

From the inside lookin’ out.

A team of four to six thieves jimmied an elevator and rappelled down the shaft (a favorite drill — not — of CT units). They forced entry for the second time, into a basement that abutted the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit firm’s main vault, then they drilled their way through the walls of the vault. Once they were in, on a Friday night, they stayed for nearly twelve hours (during which they tripped an alarm, about three hours in). They came back, not that night but the next night, and spent eight more hours, presumably going through those safety deposit boxes.

The Grauniad has this graphic showing how it was done:

hatton_garden_heist_web

 

Like all the images, that embiggens with a click (probably not necessary).

And this juicy detail:

The gang that raided a safe deposit vault in the heart of London’s jewellery district were inside the building when police decided not to respond to an alarm that could have led them to interrupt the multimillion-pound heist.

The Metropolitan police said investigations were continuing into the decision not to send a police officer to investigate the alarm, which was triggered after the robbers had been inside the building for three hours.

The cops are pretty defensive about that, and probably should be. Note the various linguistic evasion “tells” in the following statement:

An alarm call from Southern Monitoring Alarm Company was received at the Met’s central communications command at 12.21am on 3 April, saying that an intruder alarm had been activated at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd.

The call was recorded and transferred to the police’s computer-aided dispatch system. A grade was applied to the call that meant that no police response was deemed to be required. An internal investigation is ongoing to identify why this grade was applied to the call in conjunction with the alarm company.

Ow. Sounds like Inspector Lestrade the Scotland Yard plod that was always having to call Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock’s a fictional character. Pity.

The TSA Continues to Excel

TSA PervReally? Well, maybe not.

According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.
“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”
Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.

The fix was in, and while a couple of the TSA miscreants (not all of them) were fired, the case was quietly broomed away, no one was charged, and the TSA refuses to release the videos and case reports, “because we believe it would be contrary to the public interest.”

Nobody good, decent, competent, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed in TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

TSA Again: Who’s Got the Gun?

A Federal Air Marshal, part of the TSA and determined to show it, left his or her firearm behind on boarding a flight.

Nobody good, decent, competent, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed in TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

DHS? ICE? Other Unhappy Fed? There’s a Tip Line

According to Federal News Radio, t goes to the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). TellMark@mail.house.gov. Use it wisely.

And Here’s Part of Why They’re so Unhappy

Here’s an edit of a cynical agent’s rewrite of one of the overhead tuskers’ resumes.

I am pleased to announce the selection of XXXXX as the new Chief of Staff for HSI. XXXXX comes to XXX office from HSI International Operations, where XXXX has served as the Operations Chief for the Asia-Pacific region (PLACE WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS AND CANT SCREW UP) since returning to HSI headquarters (CAN’T HANDLE THE FIELD) for XXX second tour (WHO GOES BACK???) in 2013.

Before XXXX current headquarters tour, XXXX served in several critical (SERIOUSLY? CRITICAL?) field office and headquarters positions. Immediately preceding XXX assignment with HSI International Operations, XXXX was the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Investigative Services in New York( IN OTHER WORDS, NO REAL INVESTIGATIVE GROUPS TO TRUST WITH AND WAS NEVER A GS) XXX has also previously worked on the EAD staff (MET PEOPLE) as a liaison and program manager (COULD MAKE POWERPOINTS), where XXX was responsible for supporting (MAKING COFFEE) the daily operations of the HSI front office. Other assignments included XXXX work on the Cornerstone Initiative (WAS MAYBE ASSIGNED AND DID NOTHING) and as a criminal investigator (COULDN’T MAKE GS OR A CASE SO WENT TO HQ) in Los Angeles.

XXXX’s extensive management (NEVER A GS OR REAL MANAGER?) and law enforcement experience (ARRESTED ANYONE?), coupled with XXX expertise in human, financial, and information resources (NOTICE NO CASE WORK???), make XXX an ideal (SERIOUSLY?) candidate to serve as Chief of Staff and to work with (MAKE COFFEE FOR) the HSI executive leadership in our efforts to move the agency forward (YEP..WE ARE A PRIME LE AGENCY..MOVING FORWARD WITH THESE WINNERS). Please join me in congratulating XXXX on XXX new position.

Sheesh. But according to Jeh Johnson, those guys are so dumb they wouldn’t knoe that they were so unhappy if those meddling kids in Congress didn’t break the Code of Beltway Omertà and tell them their morale’s for the birds.

Movie Reviews: James Jay Carafano

Analyst Carafano reviews a set of six movies about “thumping defeats,” and doesn’t even get to one of Hollywood’s Alamo retellings. We agree with him on most, including Khartoum, Zulu Dawn, Gallipoli and They Died With Their Boots On. We haven’t seen Dien Bien Phu, and we thought Hamburger Hill was not terribly good. He has trailers for most of the six at the review.

Poly-Ticks: 10 Anti-Gun Republican Senators Vote for Ammo Bans, ATF Gunwalking

A vote to confirm Loretta Lynch was a vote to continue the policies of the present DOJ. At her confirmation hearings, Lynch refused to swear off ammo bans or to stop gunwalking to Mexican cartels. It became clear that at least five Republicans had defected to the anti-gun side, and with Lynch’s confirmation inevitable, five more squished on over to try to get some liberal talking points before this year’s election. Most of them are the usual suspects; Mark Kirk votes the straight Democrat line on guns, chinless (and that’s not all-less) Mitch McConnell owes his seat to the Democrats who saved him from an actual Republican in the primary and never seems to stop paying them back, and Lindsey Graham has to vote how he has to vote because Harry Reid has photos of him and a [redacted], probably taken in Graham’s office in the Senate cloakroom closet.

If you want to know if your Republican Senator is one that doesn’t want pro-gun votes in 2016, The Hill has the story, with the list.

 

German Defense Minister: “No Future” for the G36

In a decision that echoed from Oberndorf to Berlin, Defense Minister of the German Federal Republic, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that the discussion is over — and so is the G36’s 19 year run as the standard rifle of the Bundeswehr. 

Heckler-und-Koch-G36-2

 

The rifle was beloved of HK fanboys worldwide, enough so that American fans kitbash G36 clones from HK SL8s and surplus parts of demilled G36s. There are many such on HKPro and on ARFCOM, and probably 99 other places on the net as well.

Here’s what the German paper Die Welt (The World) wrote about the ill-fated service rifle:

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen considers the standard weapon of the Bundeswehr, the Sturmgewehr G36, unusable due to massive problems with accuracy. “This rifle, so, the way it is built, has no future in the Bundeswehr”, the CDU politician said according to meeting participants Wednesday, after a meeting of the Defense Committee of the Bundestag [the legislature — Ed.]. At the present time, around 167.000 of these rifles from the firm Heckler & Koch are in troop use.

Von der Leyen is a member of the CDU, a center-right party who are normally the defense hawks among German politicians.

The technical problem that sank the rifle:

The phenomenon of the increasing size or shot groups and declining hit probability with a G36 heated by firing posed “a significant deficiency, from a military perspective,” an internal paper has been quoted by the media. The problems were of “significant combat relevance,” in that soldiers in combat could not be confident of engaging their opponents at 200 meters [and beyond].

A Google translate of that article is here.

This brings to an end a lot of debate on the rifle, at least in German officialdom (the debate will continue on the internet forever. Hell, we’re still arguing Brown Bess vs. Charleville nearly 250 years later). As recently as 2012 the MOD was defending the firearm, and as recently as this month, HK still was fighting to keep it alive.

The heat problems that ultimately sank the G36 seem to be different from the heat problems that cropped up in US testing of an Americanized version, the XM8 weapons system; in the end the XM8 was sunk less by technical faults than by the spastic nature of US small arms procurement, but it looks like the US GI may have been lucky to avoid the rifle.

What Comes Next?

What von der Leyen has not said is: what comes next? Germany has only a few firms that can make modern small arms in national quantities, including Rheinmetall and HK itself, but Rheinmetall does not have a current design. For fast re-equipping, the Heer will have to select some variation of the HK 416 or, something that must be unimaginable to Germans, select a foreign weapon like the SCAR or a Beretta.

The Belgian and Italian assault rifles have been getting better reviews than the unfortunate G36, and the HK416 has achieved some of the export success HK once wanted for the G36, selling to allies as disparate as Norway and the USA (for some SOF, some of whom aided its development, and the USMC’s Infantry Automatic Rifle program). HK claims that the G36 sold to 35 countries, but the only large adopters have been Germany and Spain.

Loss of the G36 program must have been long anticipated, as well as feared, at HK. Their last Bundeswehr G36 order was in 2012 for 3,770 rifles.

The future of highly leveraged HK is threatened, not necessarily by the direct financial consequences of this failure, but possibly by the psychological consequences of losing the home military market. In early April, the firm’s bond prices collapsed as the Germans neared this decision, despite assertions from the firm’s CFO that Bundeswehr G36 orders and refurbishments were a negligible part of the firm’s expected revenues. HK bonds had already collapsed, and never recovered, in September 2014, but the company continues to issue new bonds. They are a speculator’s investment at this time.

SWATting Comes to Rural NH

Rye, New Hampshire, is a well-to-do town on the New Hampshire Seacoast. It has about 5,000 people, about seven miles of prime Atlantic coastline, and a really nice golf course that has one hole played in full view of that ocean. It’s not Pebble Beach, perhaps, but it’s not bad; to give you a sense of the neighborhood, abutters include former Governor and Presidential Chief of Staff John Sununu and his family, and megaselling novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, etc.) and his family. (Brown is, on fact, a former member of the club, although now he’s a member of a different club in a nearby town instead, the details and circumstances of the change being Mr Brown’s business alone, not ours). We don’t golf, having quite enough costly, time-consuming obsessions already. But we do have family members in this club, and have dined there. It’s a nice place with a first-class staff and some very nice (and as you might imagine, successful) members.

So it’s not the sort of place one expects to have a SWATing. But we were in the Rye Town Hall on routine business when our sister-in-law texted “hostage situation at the Abenaqui!” (She may have used more exclamation points than that). This led to the clerks frantically looking up local news sites, and a bit of text goonery that was probably won by the Blogbrother’s dry: “Thats why I don’t golf. Too dangerous!” But it’s hard to overstate how shocking a “hostage” call feels here.

A meeting of roughly 80 members of the New England Club Managers was interrupted because of the incident, as someone called 911 stating he had two people hostage and had a knife and an explosive device in the club, according to Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh.

“Officers from the Seacoast area responded and searched the perimeter and notified management and evacuated the building,” Walsh said. “We verified that everyone was OK and no such incident happened.”

This Rich Beauchense photo from Seacoast Online shows just how chaotic a multi-agency response can be. Disregarding the various uniforms, the police cars alone are from Portsmouth, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, and State Police. There were more than that. But it was not as chaotic as it looks because all these agencies train, drill and respond together.

This Rich Beauchense photo from Seacoast Online shows just how chaotic a multi-agency response can be. Disregarding the various uniforms, the police cars in this shot alone are from Portsmouth, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, and State Police. (Newcastle, Greenland, and Fish and Game were among the other responders). But it was not as chaotic as it looks because all these agencies train, drill and respond together. The huddled citizens are members of a country club managers’ group that was meeting at the club when the call came in.

 According to emergency police communications, a caller or callers reported that a man had people “tied up” inside a country club building, that he “does have a weapon” and he made threats about there being a bomb on scene.

via Police swarm to false report of threat at golf club – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Within minutes, the cops knew that the call was probably a hoax, but they had to systematically clear the building at this point. NH State Police provided a bomb dog and handler, and some of the more athletic cops searched roofs, attics and basements of the club facility.

The police response was professional (note this guy's indexing and muzzle control -- a lot of the younger cops around here are vets, and others pursue training at the SIG Academy), but a lot of cops were tied up for a long time, and the meeting was disrupted. Beauchesne photo.

The police response was professional (note this guy’s indexing and muzzle control — a lot of the younger cops around here are vets, and others pursue training at the SIG Academy). But a lot of cops were tied up for a long time, and the meeting was disrupted. Beauchesne photo.

Now comes the painstaking part: trying to find the little waste of skin who phoned the hoax in. Unfortunately, highly publicized celebrity SWATtings have provided TTPs that some miscreant can follow, if he’s so inclined. And it’s remotely possible that this was some maleficent actor, making the call to time or measure the police response, in support of some future mischief.

But Occam’s Razor suggests that in most of these cases the doer is some narcissistic puk kid. Or someone with an irrational grievance against the target of the SWATting. In this case, the fact that the caller knew there was a meeting of club officials at the Abenaqui at this date and time, when the club has yet to officially open for the season,  strongly suggests the latter — and gives the cops a manageable shortlist of suspects.

SWD Weirdness: “Cobray Terminator”

SWD — which stood for SW Daniel, Inc. — is a company with an interesting history, from acquiring trademarks and materials in the Sionics / Military Armament Company liquidation, through an iteration called RPB which ended with the three partners in the Federal jug on various drug charges, to reorganization in Atlanta and a series of nasty cases with the ATF at that agency’s Waco-era peak of power. But mostly, they’re known for continuing the production of the MAC-10 and MAC-11 (and M-11/9) submachine guns and pistols.

But this is one of their most unusual, rarest (the seller says one of 1500) , and impractical arms the company, which never really made practical arms, ever sold. It is a single-shot open-bolt shotgun, and its history is political, more than technical.

The scary, submachine-gun looks were no accident.  The gun was designed to comfort the afflicted gun owners, and afflict the comfortable Acela Corridor liberals and their ATF minions.

Before we get technical, then, the political background. ATF and anti-gun activists like Erik Larson of the Atlantic1 considered the firm Public Enemy Number One for its MAC-based product line, and ATF declared its open-bolt semi-automatics to be machine guns; the company reacted by giving the agency a stick in the eye: open-bolt single-shot versions of the MAC that existed for no other reason than to see if the agency, blinded by rage and partisanship, would declare firearms that could only fire a single shot and could not be practically or economically converted into repeaters were, also, machine guns. (ATF did, and through judicious judge-shopping, made it stick in court. Inspector Javert, who at least had the black-letter law on his side, had nothing on the 1980s-90s ATF).

We’re not certain whether this single-shot shotty with the scariest of names (“Cobray Terminator” — “Cobra” being a kitbash of “Cobra” and “Stingray,” and “Terminator,” being, well, this was during Peak Ahhhnold) was another poke in ATF’s eye. Here’s the auction description of it:

SWD Cobray Terminator Slam-Fire Open-Bolt Shotgun in 12ga

This open bolt (slam fire) single-shot shotgun was one of the rarities of the 90’s, pre assault weapons ban. Open bolt firearms in general were banned by the ATF for further production due to the fact they could be turned into full auto with ease. This being single shot would not of course, but it still uses the same operation.

This particular shotgun is in excellent condition, both cosmetically and mechanically, with all mechanisms working flawlessly. The reciprocating barrel looks clean, inside and out. The firing mechanism is smooth, and the telescoping stock works great. There is some discoloration in and near the receiver, but it does not appear to be corrosion – just old grease or something. This would make an excellent collectors piece of the pre-ban era and something fun for the range. Only 1500 of these were ever produced, so snag yours now before it’s gone!

Technically, this is not an especially practical firearm. It is too light to be comfortable firing very much; too heavy, ill-balanced, and with too long a lock time to be of much use hunting or popping claybirds. It is barely more than an improvised zip gun, although the welded construction, the simple sliding stock, and the overall simplicity of manufacture make it an interesting subject of study.

Mostly, it, like the ravings of Erik Larson, is mostly a period piece that evokes a certain era, one when the anti-gun and anti-freedom forces were winning.

There are more photos at the auction, online: SWD Cobray Terminator Slam Open Bolt 12ga Shotgun : Single Shot Shotguns at GunBroker.com.

UPDATE

We didn’t know when posting it that Ian had quite recently taken a shot at it over at Forgotten Weapons. His video goes into depth on the weird and wonderful variation of open-bolt here (the firing pin is fixed, and the barrel is what the trigger releases). The video is highly recommended, even if the gun isn’t.

Notes

  1. Larson pumped the Atlantic article up into a book arguing the straight gun-control line of the day, Lethal Passage. In the book, he admits his bias but suggests any other bias isn’t reasonable; he’s a prototype of later anti-gun polemicists, like Bloomberg’s hireling, Paul M. Barrett. More recently, Larson writes popular history that’s so narrative-focused and free with sourcing that it approaches historical fiction — as does Lethal Passage, in places. (Larson seemed especially angry about the fact that a gunshop he profiles took pride in being a comfortable place for black gun buyers to shop).

First Aid: How to Tell When Jack’s Dead

There are different indicia for death, which lead to the discontinuation of life-saving efforts, depending on the situation. An individual who is in hospice care with a DNR (Do Not Rescuscitate order) in place can expect different treatment to a motor vehicle accident victim in the hands of professional EMT-Ps.

For people who are not medical professionals, the best advice we’ve ever seen comes from Louis Jordan (with an assist from composers Dick Miles & Walter Bishop Jr.) in 1947, when Jordan was at the peak of his popularity. While a lot of Jordan songs are really proto-rock-n-roll tunes, this one has a jazzy, big-band sensibility. (He called his unique style “jump blues”). It made #1 on the R&B charts and a respectable #21 on the pop charts. (Fun facts: Jordan had more #1s in all than almost any other performer — Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder edged him out. At one time or another Jordan posted a #1 on R&B, pop, and country charts — a rare feat).

It was recorded in October, 1946 and charted in ’47. Jordan passed away in 1975, nearly forgotten at the time, and his many recordings in the 50s and 60s stopped charting, but in the 40s he was a huge performer. It’s hard to tell sometimes when a Jordan song title used a common expression, or whether the song was why the expression entered the common argot. In any event, he’s a fun and talented performer, memorialized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a seminal influence. And his advice is as good in 2015 as it was in 1947:

If a girl is smilin’ at you
Even though there’s nothing said,
And you stand there like a statue —
Jack, you’ dead!

So hey, walk away from the glowing rectangle and go have some analog moments. Weaponsman.com will still be here when you come back.

 

Cooper’s Scout Rifle: Two Instances

In the 1980s, famed gunwriter Col. Jeff Cooper proposed what he called the Gunsite Scout Rifle. Essentially, it was a small, light, compact bolt action rifle, minimally scoped, with as much attention given to totability as to accuracy, and with firepower defined as a strong first shot rather than rapid-fire capability.

Here are two takes on that concept, one newer and one quite old:

two_nato_scout_rifles

Now, let’s look at Cooper’s definition, from the original American Rifleman article circa 1984:

It is much easier to specialize than to generalize, and the definition of a general-purpose rifle is a complex task. Let us attempt it by declaring that: a general-purpose rifle is a conveniently portable, individually operated firearm, capable of striking a single decisive blow, on a live target of up to 200 kilos in weight, at any distance at which the operator can shoot with the precision necessary to place a shot in a vital area of the target. This involved statement will not meet with everyone’s approval, but certain elements of it must be accepted before we proceed. Convenience is important. Power is important. Practical accuracy, as opposed to intrinsic accuracy, is important. If we add the desirability of ruggedness, versatility and speed of operation, and finally throw in a touch of aesthetics, we complete a workable set of parameters. Such a piece is eminently suited for taking the vast predominance of four-footed game, and equally so for men.

While Cooper is credited with the Scout Rifle concept, he spread the credit around by holding conferences where he solicited others’ opinions — and then gave them to ’em. (He was a forceful guy).

In 1983 a conference was convened at the Gunsite Training Center in Arizona to examine the subject of the modernization of rifle design. The members of the conference included gunsmiths, stocksmiths, journalists, marksmanship instructors, inventors and hunters. It was called the First Scout Rifle Conference (“scout” being the term settled upon for the definition of the new concept), and it adjourned with the objective of exploring all elements of design during 1984 and meeting again in October. When the second meeting was held much progress had been made. The project is not complete and at this point certain technical innovations remain to be perfected.

This idea has, of course, been somewhat supplanted by advances in gas guns, which are miles ahead of where they were in the 1980s when Cooper popularized this rifle, let alone in 1966 when he claims to have first gotten the idea, from the short-lived lightweight Remington 600.

But, of course, a small carbine is nothing new. Let’s check out the two in that picture. (The pic is on the dark side, but it does embiggen with a click.

Rifle No. 1: Ishapore Enfield 7.62 NATO

This rifle is an Indian-made Enfield Mk 4 modified to very nearly  Gunsite Scout requirements. It is converted to 7.62mm NATO, has detachable 10-shot magazines because the Enfield strippers for the rimmed .303 British round no longer work with the rimless 7.62 x 51.

It has most of Cooper’s preferred attachments, such as a long-eye-relief scope, a lightweight synthetic stock, and a muzzle brake that, according to the owner, “makes the guys on either side of you at the range really hate you.” One violation of Cooper’s principles is the complete absence of iron sights. In defense of the decisions by whoever modified this rifle, scope reliability has made Bunyan strides since Cooper first formulated his Scout Rifle ideas in 1966 or formalized them in 1983-84.

One of the most interesting features of this rifle is the apparent manufacture of some parts (including the entire bolt) from stainless steel. That’s not something one sees often on an Enfield.

Rifle No. 2: Spanish FR-8 Carbine

The FR-8 is a Spanish Mauser modified by Spain’s La Coruna arsenal into a 7.62 NATO carbine. This was an attempt to extend the utility of old Modelo 43 Mausers (a companion piece, the FR-7, was made from Modelo 1916 “small ring” Mausers). This happened as a backup, even as Spain adopted the select-fire CETME rifle. The FR’s iron sights resemble those of a CETME (or, to an extent, an HK), as does its flash hider and bayonet attachments. It loads only from strippers. This particular example has been modified in the interests of scope mounting, with both the safety and bolt handle having been altered in the interests of making this military rifle better suited to its post-retirement life.

The two rifles compared

Without shooting them, only a few notes can be taken of these rifles, but some distances do emerge. The Enfield has the legendary speed and smoothness of bolt operation for which the type is justly renowned. The Mauser has the legendary Mauser strength.

But then, the similarities: both are 7.62mm rifles with about 18-19″ barrels barely tamed by flash suppressors. Both were made by modifying full-size infantry rifles, and yielding a much handier firearm. Both of these rifles have been modified, sacrificing some of their collector value, in quest of some other value proposition.

Would they please Cooper? And is that even a good idea any more? Reader and sometimes commenter Nathaniel F. of The FireArm Blog posted a good roundup of some Cooper primary sources, along with some more recent and critical thinking about the bolt-action Scout Rifle’s remaining relevance.

When a Border Patrol can’t Patrol a Border

Entering American Sector Checkpoint Charlie… indeed, when a nation’s politicians (and both parties share this blame) move to disestablish a border, without disestablishing the Border Patrol, the predictable result is that its members just throw their weight around.

It’s on his way home where [engineer Terry Bresci] runs into trouble at a Border Patrol checkpoint.

“This Homeland Security agent has refused to let me go,” Bressi says in one of multiple online blogs [sic] at checkpointusa.org.

It’s for this reason he records every encounter with agents using five different cameras from inside his truck.

… some say the Border Patrol is going too far treating innocent people like suspects.

They’re frustrated, because they’re not allowed to stop illegal crossers or detain and deport criminal aliens. So they take that frustration out on the Americans who voted the pro-illegal politicians in. Often physically.

The Border Patrol knows Bressi. They’ve been hassling and threatening him for 13 years now.

“If we live in a free society, I don’t have to prove my existence or justify my existence to the government,” he says. “That’s what happens in third world dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.”

You don’t say.

In 2002, Terry Bressi was arrested on his way home from Kitt Peak.

At the hands of tribal police, working then with Customs and Border agents, Bressi says he was dragged, handcuffed and arrested for questioning why he was stopped at a roadblock along State Route 86.

In 2003, he brought suit against tribal police for wrongfully arresting and detaining him.

The case never went to trial, but Bressi ultimately settled for $210,000.

“They have no business, agents who cannot keep their emotions and their feelings with regards to people who disagree with what you’re doing, in check,” Bressi says. “They have no business interacting with people.”

Bressi’s crime, of course, is contempt of cop. Cops who are already frustrated and angry. Sometimes their frustration takes a physical turn.

[A] trucker attempts to stand his ground by invoking his right to remain silent.

Again, that’s perfectly legal.

There’s no apparent traffic violation or immigration concern. Still, without probable cause, agents smash out his window and forcibly pull the trucker to the ground.

His alleged offense: failure to identify himself as a US citizen.

The CBS TV station asked the Border Patrol for an on-camera interview, but they got a peremptory refusal. The secret police doesn’t answer to the media. And certainly not to the public. That’s not what happens “in third world dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.”

But others did comment in the station’s comments section, like Justine DeMadona:

I answered their questions “are you a US citizen, who is in your backseat?”(My 7 year old son) and yet I was still pulled from my car, stripped of legal firearm and detained while my vehicle was searched, nothing was found, nothing at all! No apology from the inconsiderate agents who made my son cry either. Coming home from 4th of july holiday. My son is now terrified of B.P. Good job B.P, way to waste your time and mine!

My son still comments when he sees BP trucks, “I’m scared of those people”, and I won’t be taking a vacation that will take me anywhere through a checkpoint anytime soon. Still reeling from this incident last July. Trying to file a complaint is an absolutely absurd process, you getting pointed in ten different directions only to be told you are complaining to the wrong person. The process to file a complaint is not easy, nor has it resolved by situation.

She makes the mistake of assuming that the secret police are embarrassed or ashamed that they terrified a 7-year-old. They’re actually delighted. What they want is fear, abject fear, and fear-induced compliance. Jaime Contreras is another person whose interactions with the Border Patrol have left him less than a fan:

Saw the segment but it showcased what everybody already knows. The report basically reminded me on how we’re literally being oppressed just because of our proximity to the border. If the checkpoint would be located at the intersection of I-10 and I-19 these incidents wouldn’t be tolerated. Since they take place in small rural areas the law enforcement overreach is more blatant and doesn’t ever get addressed. As many in Tubac say “Patrol the Border at the Border” . To add insult to injury taxpayers often see the bloated number of personnel manning the checkpoints and many instances they’re not doing much.

Stop and think about the last line for a minute, Jaime: do you really want these guys to be working harder at what they’re doing?