Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gaston Glock: Socialist!

red_flagThere’s a complaint rollicking around in the latest lawsuit in the Real Housewives of Deutsch-Wagram story arc that’s called “Gaston Glock’s Nasty Divorce.” And it looks like the Woman Scorned has brought the weapons-grade accusations against Glock, his new popsie, and an international rogues’ gallery of shell companies and flags of convenience.

There’s enough in this multi-Harlequin-Romance-sized (and shape) complaint to entertain every gun blogger in America. And Austria. But we thought this one little quote was worth passing on:

89. Glock Sr. had to overcome substantial obstacles in order to meet this objective. The first and most obvious obstacle was that he had little experience with firearms in general, much less in designing or manufacturing them.

90. A perhaps more surprising obstacle was Glock Sr.’s Socialist political beliefs, which caused him to strongly dislike guns.

91. But Glock Sr. found a way to overcome his political beliefs, and his Socialism did not prevent him from producing a pistol. Nor did it prevent him from becoming an aggressive and highly successful Capitalist, amassing vast private wealth by selling guns, especially in the United States.

So Gaston Glock’s a commie? Or a bit bolshie, at least? And he’s accused of cheating people… over money? Color us shocked.

John Richardson at No Lawyers has the file, which we’ll also post here. It has one view of Glock history. John also has a link to Bloomberg minion Paul Barrett on the subject — one bolshie who “strongly dislikes guns” bashing another. Can we haz purges?


Perhaps we can all join in in a rousing chorus of the Internationale.  (Maybe on May Day). Until then, consider the life of a lawsuit in the American tort system, versus the life expectancy of Herr Glock, who’s approximately 86. Since there are literally billions at stake — not that anybody at Glock seems to have been counting the money honestly — this could go on enriching lawyers for generations. 

Somewhere, John M. Browning is shaking his head.

Lore of the Lorenz

Union Riflemen with two of the 300,000+ Lorenzes that saw service on both sides. Matthew Fleming collection via Civil War Times.

Union Riflemen with two of the 300,000+ Lorenzes that saw service on both sides. Matthew Fleming collection via Civil War Times.

If you go to a Civil War reenactment, you will see a remarkable thing: thousands of volunteers taking great pains to portray (and many of them, to experience, down to the taste of hard tack) the lives of the troops of the War Between the States. They have an eye for accuracy that stops just short of getting dysentery, or combat wounds (and having them treated with the ignorant brutality of 1860s medicine). They obsess over the weave of clothing, the embroidery of insignia, and, of course, weapons. The average reenactor knows a hundred times more about his rifle-musket or carbine than his actual Civil War ancestor did, and he and his friends will share their knowledge freely and openly with anyone who’s actually interested. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

And yet, you might come away with some not quite right ideas. The vast majority of Union portrayals carry the Springfield rifle-musket; the vast majority of Confederates, the Enfield. Yet both Billy Yank and Johnny Reb dipped into a deeper and wider sea of small arms. There were obsolete smoothbores — some of them retained deliberately, by regimental colonels’ preference — and penny packets of oddball breech-loaders, especially for the cavalry. Enemy weapons were routinely captured and turned on their former owners, especially by the Rebels. But the bulk of non-standard arms were imports. Even the Union, which had the only surviving national arsenal and the majority of civilian gun manufacturers who could turn their machinery to military arms contracts, couldn’t arm its recruits fast enough, and imported prodigious quantities of arms. One of the most significant of those was the Lorenz rifle. This image of a nice one was posted to a Civil War forum by Bob Owens:


The similarities to the Springfield and Enfield are evident. (Convergent evolution. A Messerschmitt has a lot in common with a Spitfire, Mustang or Yak-3, for that same reason).

The Lorenz was the service arm of the Austrian Empire, adopted in 1854. It was roughly equivalent to the 1855 Harper’s Ferry rifle-musket or its Springfield equivalent, or to its British contemporary, the Enfield. Since the Empire adopted a new Lorenz variant in 1862, distinguished more by superior metallurgy than by design changes, selling off the old Lorenzes to avid American buyers seemed like a good idea.

Civil War arms historian Joseph Bilby describes the arm and some of its variations:

Lorenz guns were acquired from several sources; the Hapsburg armories in Vienna and private arms makers in Vienna and Ferlach. The Lorenz rifle-musket had a 37 ½ inch barrel secured to the gun’s stock with three barrel bands. The gun was made with two styles of rear sights; a non-adjustable “block,” calibrated to hit a man somewhere on the body up to 300 schritt (paces), issued to line infantry (Type I), and a leaf sight adjustable up to 900 schritt issued to noncommissioned officers and skirmishers (Type II). Both types were imported. Captain Silas Crispin, reported a batch of newly imported .54 caliber as “12,384 of them having the simple block rear sight, and the remainder – 3,144 – being furnished with elevating screws, ranging up to about 800 yards.” It seems reasonable to assume that most bulk purchases of surplus Lorenzes, Union and Confederate, probably reflected the same ratio of sight types, as they seem to correlate with Austrian army issue patterns.

Lorenzes were marked on their lock plates with the last three digits of the year of production. For example “860” designates a rifle made in 1860. The Austrians adopted a new version of the Lorenz in 1862, with a steel rather than iron barrel. These were not imported, and guns with “863” and “864” with provenance to the Civil War are contractor guns made specifically for export. These contract pieces are usually threaded for standard US nipples.

Although walnut stocked examples exist, most Lorenzes were stocked in beech, stained dark brown. The Lorenz quadrangular socket bayonet featured a diagonal mounting slot. Both of these characteristics make it immediately identifiable on a dealer’s table at an antique gun or Civil War relic show.

(Bilby goes into it at greater length in Small Arms at Gettysburg).

The South needed anything, and they bought weapons far worse than the Lorenzes, which were made by a Great Power with substantial arms-making industries, and were only a few years old. (The British sold them, along with modern Enfields, rebarreled and percussion-converted rifles that started as 18th-Century Brown Besses). The North told themselves they were just buying the Lorenzes so that Southern purchasing agents didn’t get them — they wound out buying around two for every Rebel one — but wound up issuing them, anyway. In addition to surplus Lorenz rifles from Habsburg stock, the many small manufacturers that made Austro-Hungarian Army rifles sold new guns to the buyers as well. All in all, somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000 Lorenzes made their way to the USA. Some were bored out to the standard American .58 caliber (there are a lot of variations of this out there), and some were issued in the original .54. Most Lorenz rifles were bright-finished from the factory, like the one shown above, but some were blued or browned.

Civil War riflemen varied in their appreciation for the Lorenz, suggesting to historians like Bilby that the rifles may have varied widely in quality. He quotes some primary sources on the arm:

The Lorenz was well regarded by some troops to whom it was issued, including those of the 5th New Jersey and 104th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiments. Private Alfred Bellard of the 5th praised his .54 caliber Lorenz for being “short, light and very easily cleaned, “while Quartermaster James D. Hendrie of the 104th believed his outfit’s Austrian guns to be “very superior weapons, although not so well finished as the American arms.” His colonel remembered the regiment’s guns as “rough but good and reliable.” The men of the 23rd Pennsylvania were delighted to trade in their .69 caliber rifled muskets for Austrian arms, which they found to be “most efficient firearms.” An Illinois officer regarded the Lorenz as “although a little heavy, a fine piece for service.” Leander Stillwell of the 61st Illinois considered his .54 Lorenz “a wicked shooter.” Stillwell and his comrades “were glad to get the Austrians, and were quite proud of them.” The Suckers of the 61st carried their Lorenzes until June of 1863, when they exchanged them for Enfields.

Other Yanks were not as enthusiastic. In 1863, a Union inspecting officer condemned the Austrian weapons of the 47th Massachusetts Infantry. Lorenz rifle-muskets issued to western troops in the second year of the war seem to have been decidedly inferior to those issued the previous year. William E. McMillan of the 94th Illinois’ Company E wrote that his unit’s Lorenzes were “not worth much,” while the 100th Illinois reported that its .58 caliber Lorenz guns “are roughly and improperly made and cannot be called an effective weapon. The men of the 106th Illinois complained that the Lorenz was “miserably poor,” and the 120th Illinois classified its .54 Lorenz guns as “worthless.”

The 125th Illinois was issued Austrian rifle-muskets in .58 caliber of “which not over one-half were perfect…many will not explode a cap.” The 125th’s regimental historian complained that some of the Austrian guns’ nipples “were not entirely drilled out,” and some could not mount a bayonet without hammering it on. The 130th Illinois reported that “one-third or three-eights of these arms [Austrian] are defective.”

Like Colonel Penrose of the 15th New Jersey Infantry, who exchanged his men’s Enfields for Springfields on the battlefield, Major Robert L. Bodine of the 26th Pennsylvania rearmed his regiment on the field at Gettysburg. Bodine’s men came to Gettysburg armed “with the Austrian rifle of an inferior quality, and I desired toe exchange them for Springfield rifles; which was done without the red tape processes. Quite a number of them were taken from the Rebels. Like the Jerseymen of the 15th, the Pennsylvanians picked up several Confederate-made rifle-muskets along with the Springfields. Apparently unaware of the production facilities at Richmond, Bodine reported that these guns “had gone through the renovating process, and bore the Richmond C.S. stamp.”

Lorenz guns may well have gained a bad reputation from their association with older .71 caliber Austrian “Consol” or tube-lock muskets, which were conversions from flintlock. These guns, some of which were rifled, others not, were converted by a method devised by Giuseppe Consol of Milan. The Consol/Augustin system replaced the flintlock pan and frizzen with a two-piece priming chamber and installed a new hammer.

In the last year of the war, the union was trying to get rid of all it’s nonstandard arms, including the Lorenz, but the Confederacy was importing even more of these and other foreign weapons.

NEw Market Battle Map_ColonnaOne of the most celebrated Rebel uses of the Lorenz came at the battle of New Market, Virginia, in May, 1864, where among the Confederate participants were 257 cadets of the Virginia Military Institute.  Confederate Major General John Breckinridge committed the cadets only reluctantly, but he faced a larger force of Union men under Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel. Most (over 200) of the cadets were armed with Lorenz rifles. Ten cadets were slain, or died of wounds; another 57 survived wounds. At the battle museum there is a mangled Lorenz that was carried by a wounded cadet, displayed with his description of his wounding. The cadets had, bravely but unwisely, marched in ranks into the muzzles of the Yankees’ artillery. Poor fellow never got off a shot before Union shrapnel laid him low; when the rifle was disassembled for preservation in the 1990s his Minié-ball cartridge was found intact in the breech!

In Austria-Hungary, the later model Lorenzes were converted along a similar timeline to their American Springfield counterparts to breechloading, metallic-cartridge rifles. This produced the Wentzel rifle; mechanically it is quite similar to the Allin conversion that produced the Springfield trapdoor. But the American imports were disposed of postwar. Unlike Springfields made at Springfield, the Lorenzes (and imported Enfields from minor English smiths, and Springfields made by contractors) tended to be hand-fitted and not to have interchangeable parts — not optimal in a military arm.

Given the importation of something like 350,000 Lorenzes, and the haste with which they were disposed by the Federal Government, there are believed to be many thousands of original rifles still in circulation. (Others are believed to have been used as rebar in the construction of Bannerman’s Castle in New York; orphaned muzzleloaders).

You can usually find a Lorenz or two for sale on GunBroker. The bayonet, with its trademark angled slot, is somewhat less common than the rifle. The guns are common enough that they’re underpriced compared to Springfields and Enfields of similar vintage.

Given the wide distribution of fakes, however, we would have to urge one to exercise extreme caution with a Lorenz that purports to be of Civil War, especially Confederate, and doubly especially New Market, origin, and is therefore priced above market. (Bear in mind that the battle was a Confederate victory, and the fallen Rebels’ Lorenz rifles were presumably recovered by their own side and restored to the VMI armory or reissued). Even written provenance, as we’ve seen with the recent spate of Little Big Horn auctions, can be, shall we say, questionable. American documents of the period tend to refer to the Lorenz not by that name, but simply as “Austrian rifle.”

With the popularity of reenacting, the Lorenz has been copied in both high-quality and budget replicas. One dead giveaway of a modern replica is that the barrel is steel (like the later Lorenz Model 1862, actually), whilst an original Lorenz has an iron barrel. (unfortunately, the best way to test this is the spark test — not sure what nondestructive methods are available).

So that is a bit of the Lore of the Lorenz — a rifle that most haven’t heard of, but that played a significant role in a war half a world away from its origins.


OT: Various Amusements

Let’s Laugh at Ebola

We suppose you could say Ebola is not funny, but this document, given this timing, is definitely funny.

come to dallas bring your ebola

Indeed. Now that we have pestilence, can we have some famine, too? Throw in a dictatorial but inept leader, and we’ve got a three-dimensional taste of Africa!

And Let’s Laugh at Unemployed Journalists

Then, there’s this headline in the New York TimesYou have to have a heart of stone not to read this without skipping happily through the rest of your day:



Happiest of all at this news? The DNC phone bank, which just got 100 volunteer telemarketers in time for the midterms.

The Times has made cuts to its newsroom staff several times over the last six years. The paper eliminated 100 newsroom jobs in 2008, another 100 in 2009, and 30 more senior newsroom jobs at the beginning of last year.

Remember all the “grim milestone” reports they ran every time some poor bastard got whacked in ‘Stan, until their boy was president? Now it’s our turn. “Stalemate on 43rd Street: A Grim Milestone.” Heh. Still, there will be 1,230 of them still in the newsroom, counting wine reviewers and everybody, after the cuts. So there are still more of them to be disgorged. Come on, don’t you know The Party® needs you?

How they beat pirates, back then

Remember how, in history class, they taught you how they’re used to be a plague of Pirates of the world back in the 17th and 18th centuries, and then there were no more Pirates. They went the way of the Passenger Pigeon. Wonder why that was? Unlike passenger pigeons, pirates didn’t even taste good. But their extinction did, indeed, turn out to be wrought of the hands of mankind. Behold:

hanging pirates

An octet of gallows. Very handy if you have eight pirates all up for disposal at the same time! (No trials needed, pirates were understood to be hostis humanae generis).

Now, some people will complain that you can’t solve any particular piracy problem just by hanging pirates. You have to address the root causes of piracy (although, you have to admit, hanging them is pretty satisfying, just for the hell of it). But back in those days, we did that, too: we “addressed the root causes” by sacking and burning their villages. No pirates, no lairs, no piracy. Civilization 3, Pirates 0. And for centuries pirates were unheard of… until we stopped wringing their necks and started wringing our hands instead. Could there be a cause concealed in that correlation?

And nowadays we have technology for doing it better. Why, we could kill two plagues at one shot, as it were, by simply dumping the corpses of the Ebola immigrants in the pirate dens of Somalia.

And Then, there was this Nobel Peace Prize…

NobelUnlike the hard-science prizes, which require actual accomplishment, the Peace Prize is a popularity piece, presented by a platoon of Norwegian politicians who might have stumbled out of the Flamingo Bar in the TV series Lillyhammer. At closing time, somewhat the worse for bootleg booze. Their award usually is an binge on Stuff The Very Palest of White People Like, with an extra rich dessert of PC self-promotion and preening. And they were poised to do it again.

But from unhappy experience, our tame-Viking pols have learned that a rain of death can fall from the sky on random people when you give the Prize to someone who is young, callow, and utterly untested.  So this year, they vowed not to give the prize to an overhyped novice. They gave the award to a 17-year-old, instead.

You have to say this for the Peace Prize committee: generally, they prove that it’s not just American politicians who are assclowns.

And Speaking of Assclowns… the TSA!

tsa-bozoThere’s a meme going around… “You had one job! One job!” from some flick or other (for some reason we imagine Dr Evil delivering it to some inept underling in an Austin Powers movie, but that’s probably wrong). Lately, people have been saying that about the CDC, whose One Job of keeping Ebola out of our population fell by the wayside as social-engineering campaigns took precedence over dull old epidemiological biosurveillance. And they’re saying it (or should be) about Chuck Hagel, who’s trying to social-engineer smoking, drinking and carrying on out of the military, and engineer the first class of feminist infantry since Francisco Solano López ran out of men to draft in 1869 (look him up). But you know what we say about the TSA:

No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed by the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

TSA lives its bureaucratic life as if the Gods of the Copybook Headings depended on it alone to prove that statement true, always and everywhere. And if the TSA has One Job, it’s to keep armed terrs off airplanes, no? Well, Forbes says, “There is solid evidence that the TSA is not very good at this job, but spends a lot of money uselessly.”

Color us shocked.

How uselessly? Try the SPOT or Behavior Detection Officer program, designed to take the typical mouth-breathing TSA neckbeard and turn him into the miscegenation-product of Sherlock Holmes and Jeane Dixon. Forbes, again:

The idea behind SPOT is that government observers in airports can detect individuals who are intent on terrorism merely by looking at them and discerning behavioral clues. SPOT was begun in 2007 and employs some 2,800 TSA personnel.

Does it do any good? According to a report issued last November by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), it does not. “The subjectivity of the SPOT behavioral indicators and variation in BDO (Behavior Detection Officer) referral rates raise questions about the continued use of behavior indicators for detecting passengers who might pose a risk to aviation security,” the study concluded.

The GAO concluded that the TSA’s study purporting to validate this approach was badly flawed and recommended defunding SPOT.

So, they defunded the failed program, right? Eh, silly you, do you really think that? They actually expanded the program after learning it was a failure. This is the TSA we’re talkin’ about here, pilgrim: respect my authoritah!

Forbes also mentions the Rapescan machines, that the TSA spent over $1 billion on (not counting all the effort they put into training their perpetual Special Class of payroll patriots), and that were then scrapped.

Who’s the bozo now? Us taxpayers. Same as always.

Yep, the Airstrikes are Ineffectual. -Pentagon

FOOM!Well, we said airstrikes were going to be ineffectual (our actual phrase was, “designed to fail.” We pointed out where others, more influential than we are, said the same thing, even as the Pentagon bungled a simple website describing the strikes. We showed you reports that the strikes were ineffectual. We quoted the enemy saying they were ineffectual.

Now? The Pentagon admits they’re ineffectual. We guess that makes it official, and lets us crown your humble blog host as the Sage of Hog Manor, by his own hand, now that the latest flack’s latest Modified Limited Hangout has caught up with what we’ve been telling you for, we dunno, a month or so. The Washington Post:

“Airstrikes are not going to save the town of Kobane. We know that,” [Pentagon flack Rear Adm. John F.] Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing. “We all should be steeling ourselves for that eventuality.”

Kirby explained, with some apparent frustration, that the strategic goal of U.S. airstrikes in Syria is to destroy Islamic State infrastructure and prevent Syria’s use as a haven for operations in neighboring Iraq, not to save individual Syrian towns.

“There are going to continue to be villages and towns and cities that they take,” he said. “We all have to recognize that reality.”

Translation: “Hey, our strategy has been a complete failure. But give us credit for

If you needed any more proof that the US campaign, if “campaign” is really the word for the disconnected and fitful barrage of “kinetic message-sending” and STADMs (Strikes Targeted Against Domestic Media), is in the grip of woolly-headed air-power theorists, you get it in the next paragraph, where they admit that killing the enemy where he has troops in contact with friendlies (?) is an annoying distraction from the real main effort, blowing up stuff for the media hits.

The Pentagon considers the three days of strikes on militant positions around Kobane something of an interruption of its Syria campaign against Islamic State headquarters, oil refineries and command and control centers. The Kobane operation has been undertaken largely because the ground fight for the town’s survival has been broadcast live across the world from cameras just over the border in Turkey.

As far as the “US frustration with Turkey,” as the Post’s headline: “U.S. frustration rises as Turkey withholds military help from besieged Kobane” put it, what do you expect? The Turks are Islamists; Turkish de-facto dictator Recep Erdogan’s longtime ruling party differs from al-Qaeda and ISIL only on the question of means, not ends; and the form of their objection to US plans is that the US is not committed enough to overthrowing Bashar al-Assad and replacing him with an Islamist government, like the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

In other words, Erdogan’s troops will fight ISIL only in the service of something very much like ISIL. This is obvious to anyone who’s paid any attention to Turkey for the last dozen or so years, and seen Erdogan’s AKP/Cemaat Islamists consolidate power and conduct a decapitation strike against the biggest threat to their absolute rule, the Army, in a series of show trials.

But meanwhile, we’re sending million-dollar Tomahawks and $40k smart bombs to blow up pickup trucks and empty buildings, and Kirby’s irate that the press doesn’t understand that these strikes can only be… ineffectual.

We have said this before, but it bears repeating: so repeat after the WeaponsMan:

  1. PGMs, no SOF on ground, result misery.
  2. No PGMs, SOF on ground,  result misery.
  3. PGMs, SOF on ground, result happiness.

But that mantra is informed by the idea that you’re trying to actually win, not simply kick the can past the election to the next scheduled bugout.

And let’s loft another one up there for all y’all to take a swing at:

  • Any enemy that’s not worth utterly destroying, is not worth fighting.

A military exists to kill things and break people. It’s a blunt instrument’s blunt instrument; trying to use it to “send a message” is like trying to use a 16# sledge to tune a piano. You will have an effect on the piano, and sound will be emitted.

The Future of Army SOF: People

arsof_2022An interesting paper from the Commander of USASOC, LTG Charlie Cleveland, draws a roadmap for the future of ARSOF. We’re going to look at one aspect of this: what it means for people.

Our take is that it means that:

  1. In the future there will be more paths to ARSOF and a more diverse force in a real way, not in a bean-counting, scare-quotes “diversity” way.
  2. Senior uniformed leadership are prepared to prioritize people over procurement. Good luck on that, when you’re swimming against the tide DOD suits and Congress trying to stroke the large prime contractors for K Street payola, but it’s a noble idea.
  3. People are the major focus of development. SOF Missions are paid for in human capital and earn their keep in human interactions. General Cleveland gets that in a way that some of the guys who have spent their pre-GO careers in more kinetic, direct-action-focused areas of SOF have done.
  4. He very cleverly plans to differentiate ARSOF from the other services’ SOF in the human plane. The Navy’s always going to have us beat at the benchpress and on the number of MSM reporters on speed dial. The Air Force will always have the edge in finicky gadgets from Q. We can live with that, because we’re going to be the thinking branch.

OK, enough big-picture opinionating from a retired sergeant, whose career was more sight-picture than big-picture most of the time. Let’s examine one excerpts from ARSOF 2022, just to begin.

1. invest in human CapitaL

Our force is the best educated, trained and equipped special operations formation in the world. Our Soldiers are capable of succeeding in the increasing uncertainty of the 21st century battlefield.

The ARSOF Soldier is our center of gravity. To ensure that our operators will succeed in the future operating environment, we will recruit, assess, select, train, educate and retain only those Soldiers with the knowledge, skills and attributes to thrive in the most demanding conditions. To retain a decisive advantage over our adversaries, we will seek a variety of solutions to optimize our human capital, including: enhanced education and training and increased diversity of human capital. To ensure the health of our force, our focus will continue to be on the preservation of our force and their families.

The big take-aways we pick up here are, translated into plain English: “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, as we have proof it works, but we’ll do it more intensively”; “We need to open up the top end of the funnel so we have more variety coming out the narrow end”; “Everybody’s going to have to hit more books, and hit them harder”; and, the big one, “We’re going to spend whatever it takes.

There are very specific objectives that support this paragraph’s goals, including more PhDs and Master’s degrees in the force, and more and better language capability on a broad front: more native speakers, more DLI training, more immersion training — all of these are vital. There’s also a call for more high-level individual and collective training, including a proposal for a joint SOF training and exercise group that’s long overdue, and a proposal for a joint ground-services strategy task force that would call on the brainpower of the Army, Marines and SOCOM.

This is all good stuff, but expensive. To train someone to functional level in a foreign language takes a year at DLI or at least two months in total immersion in the target language area, each of which is very expensive both in dollar terms and in opportunity cost. (And for the very best, you want to combine the DLI book-learning approach with immersion. Nothing makes you functional in a foreign language as well as immersion does, but having a solid grammatical, historical and cultural background from the classroom can turbocharge immersive learning). We’d also note that students who had non-native-speaker instructors at DLI (common in the 1980s and 1990s in the Russian programs) came out with horrible accents and much lower performance overall in SF type language performance than their peers who had native-speakers in basic instruction.

We know you guys will want to hear more about other aspects of it, most notably the diversity stuff, and why we think it’s beneficial, not the “PC” kind of skin-deep bogus “diversity” that colleges are chasing their tails over, but we thought we’d keep the report down to a manageable size.

The report is located here. There’s an Army press release on it also. Expect us to have more to say on it in the days and weeks ahead.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Impro Guns

impro_gunsAnother title for this blog might be, “Bubba the Gunsmith’s Wide World of Wonder.” But they call it “Impro Guns” and its URL is This little information about who makes the blog, or why, but it features the improvised firearms often seen on The Firearms Blog.

The guns vary from crude zip guns that are arguably more hazardous to be behind than to be before, to rather sophisticated weapons that even feign manufacturer markings, serial numbers and even proof marks. They are made by tinkerers, criminals, terrorists and revolutionaries, mostly in places where governments take a totalitarian approach to firearms, but also in places where firearms are available, but criminals seek greater firepower than then can get over the counter.

There are artfully concealed guns, that look like cigarette cases or tire-pressure gages. There are even some guns captured in process, with drawings or process sheets, clandestine manufacture style:

improvised chinese guns process sheets

Impro Guns gathers all these without even falling back on the Khyber armorers in Darra Adam Khel.

A lot of them are blowback, pistol-caliber submachine guns. We’re reminded, again, of a prescient poster by Oleg Volk (that we can’t find, damn it) that showed something like a Sten and said something like, “If you ban guns, this is what crime guns start to look like.”


Guest Post: Jim Julia on Auctions & Integrity

James D. Julia has auctined many exotic and unique weapons, like this AR-10 prototype, over the years.

James D. Julia has auctioned many exotic and unique weapons, like this AR-10 prototype, over the years.

We contacted Jim Julia and he placed this in the comments of the Rock Island Auction Company’s guest post, which ran in this space. We are pleased to give Jim equal time and prominence. As with Rock Island’s post, we have only done light typo-fixing, formatting and grammar, and added a title and some illustrations . –Ed.

James D. Julia’s Response

Contrary to Rock Island’s misrepresentations of my company, we have a sterling reputation for honesty and fair dealing. We go out of our way to protect our clients and as you read further, you will see and perhaps agree with us that we do more than any other firearms house to protect our clients. It easy for one to say something like this but “the proof is in the pudding”. Firearms collectors are some of the savviest people in the business and results speak to our statement. In recent years, we have handled more high end, big name collector’s collections than any other firearms auction house on the planet Earth. We do not handle the greater number of firearms that is not our goal. We handle the greater number of high end, expensive, valuable firearms. In fact, for a number of years now, we have annually sold far more than any other auction house in the world. You do not get to do these types of things in this astute collecting world without having a stand up reputation and being fair and honest.

Rock Island’s trashing of me is not a great surprise and this is not the first time there has been an attempt to besmirch my company and my character through distortions by this firm.

I have been in the business for around 45 years and long ago I made the decision to promote myself and growth of my business by providing my customers with honesty, tremendous service, expertise, and the lowest commission rate in the trade. All of this does not mean I never make a mistake but it does mean I continually attempt to do what I feel is right. I realize that some competitors would rather attempt to bolster themselves by disparaging their competition and thus in their minds elevate themselves. In fact, this process of “trash talk” is unfortunately a mainstay in the political process today.

In regards to the collector/consignor RIAC references: The man is an older man from the Dakotas. He used to run a construction company and over many, many years his business employed a number of Native Americans. During this time, working with the Sioux Indians and other tribes, he acquired various items that had come down from their families. On occasion, according to his representations to us, there were cases wherein he saw and discussed a gun, but the family would not sell. In such cases, he kept a record of the gun included the SN along with the story the family related and he documented these observations in a written journal he kept.

The consignor/collector told us when visiting shows and gun shops, if he found a gun similar to one in his written journal that he would compare SN’s to see if there was a match. If there was, he bought it. He shared with us he had discovered a couple of guns recently that were in his original journal and they were now a part of the current consignment to us. It just so happens that the guns he bought from a dealer are those same guns that Rock Island mentions in their disparaging article.

When cataloging guns, we try to make full disclosure if there is provenance, it is noted in our descriptions. In those cases where the only information we have is the documentation from his written journal and/or stories he had received from the Indian families that was pointed out also.

The dispute at hand is over guns represented as being Indian related Little Big  Horn guns. This rifle, sold by Julia within the last year, was a documented LBH survivor (not captured, from the Reno/Benteen group).

The dispute at hand is over guns represented as being Indian related Little Big Horn guns. This rifle, sold by Julia within the last year, was a documented LBH survivor (not captured, from the Reno/Benteen position).

Last week, two people contacted our firm advising us that 3 of the guns offered had been in Rock Island and Little John’s auction within the recent past. As I noted above, the consignor/collector had previously revealed a couple were recent purchases. However in checking the 3 guns, I discovered a serious contradiction with one. After much consideration, I made a decision to withdraw the entire consignment from auction.
My actions were not those of a person conspiring to do wrong (as RIAC would have you believe) but on the contrary, highly conservative actions to ensure the right. The consignor/collector’s guns however are for the most part just as we represented them in our catalogs.

In regards to Rock Island’s other pontifications, they remind me of an old saying that my grandmother used to use about “the pot calling the kettle black”, which is of course an idiom used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.

I. Regarding RIAC implication that they always attempt to do the right thing and somehow Julia’s has done something wrong because they withdrew an item or items from the auction. This is thoroughly confusing to me and the sale of a recent Carbine touted by them to have belonged to Napoleon III gives me pause for cause. The Carbine I refer to was Lot #9 in their April 20th, 21st, & 22nd, 2012 auction. RIAC specifically states in its description, “Carbine made by famous Paris gun maker Gastinne Renette for Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Emperor Napoleon III”. The gun was estimated at $22,500-37,500.

The buyer, trusting RIAC’s representation, purchased the gun for what he thought was a bargain and later consigned it to us, hoping and planning to make a lot of money. With good reason, if the gun indeed had definitely been made expressly for Napoleon III, it would have sold for considerably more than what it had sold for at RIAC auction. Once consigned to us, in the process of our due diligence, we became concerned to as whether it truly was made for Napoleon III. Normally, a gun such as this owned by an Emperor would carry his regal marks.

(Weaponsman comment: This Napoleon III gun has been the wellspring of a rich river of controversy for years. Here it is involved in a Federal Case in 2007/8; it isn’t illustrated at that article, but one image appears at this NRA Museum article, and the listing when the gun went under the hammer — at RIAC, as Julia describes — in 2012. The Parisian firm that made the questioned gun, Gastinne-Rennette, was known for double guns of conventional and very unconventional design; as a retailer, at least, it was still in business to sell a weapon to a possible suicide in 1932, financier Ivar Krueger, supplied arms to le Résistance during the war, and after the passage of the heirs to the business in the postwar era, wound up being acquired as, rather sadly, a brand name of fashion accessories (link en français) –Eds.).

We shared this with the consignor, but the consignor being convinced that the gun was Napoleon III’s because RIAC represented it that way. He pleaded with me not to use the phrase “purported to be”. After a great deal of consideration and because an attached newspaper article stated it was Napoleon III’s, we elected to change the wording to, “according to a newspaper account”. Shortly after my catalog went up online including the infamous carbine, we were immediately contacted by an attorney. There had been a big court case involving the carbine some years back and during this case, this attorney was responsible for an in-depth investigation of the carbine. His investigation clearly and convincingly proved what we had suspicioned, and that was that the carbine never belonged to Napoleon III. The attorney in his letter to me indicated that I was third person that he had contacted over the years about this misrepresentation. I had to go back to the consignor and share my newfound information and suggested to him under the circumstances that while I could reprint an addenda explaining all of this, I felt it was in his best interest to simply withdraw the gun, which he decided to do. Out of curiosity, I reconnected with the attorney who had told me that he had previously contacted 3 people. I asked if by chance he had contacted RIAC before they had sold this very same gun and his response to me was, not once but twice and yes, he had provided them with exactly all the information that he provided us with but RIAC apparently refused to acknowledge it when they sold the gun with their previously claimed attribution. The consignor immediately contacted RIAC with the revelation of all this information, it was pretty difficult for them not to refund the money. Which is what they did. This is the same auction house with the “holier than thou” approach pointing their finger at my firm and implying that we are not to be trusted??? As I said, an example of the “pot calling the kettle black”.

II. Guarantees: Both Rock Island Auction House and my firm provide guarantees. But there is an extraordinarily dramatic difference between the guarantee provided by Rock Island and the guarantee provide by my auction house.

  1. Rock Island: Rock Island touts their guarantee as “a guarantee of the headline” of every single item in their premier firearms auction. Should that item not be as advertised in the items headline, RIAC will make it right via a full refund”.
    1. a) Please note: they did not mention regional firearms auctions. It is my understanding they guarantee nothing with regional firearms auction.
    2. b) In regards to the premier auctions, did you notice that they say headline only. What this means is that they guarantee the title only so if the title is “Model 1886 Winchester rifle”, the title only is guaranteed. Does that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that when you buy that rifle from Rock Island, they absolutely guarantee that it is Winchester and a Model 1886, but nothing else?
    3. c) So there can be no confusion as to what is guaranteed, under point 9 in their Conditions of Sale, it states “Guarantee. All property for sale is as is, where is. All sales are final. There will be no refunds and no exchanges. RIAC does not guarantee or make warranties on any lot sold”.

Please compare that with the Julia guarantee.

  1. James D. Julia: We provide a special limited warranty for all items that we offer at auction. We are currently unaware of any other major firearms auction house in the world whose guarantee equals or exceeds ours. Every firearms auction house that we are aware of has a similar Conditions of Sale as that of RIAC. Essentially caveat emptor, buyer beware, sold “as is, where is”. At Julia’s, we do not hide behind “caveat emptor”:
    1. a. Our guarantee which is the first item on our Conditions of Sale in the front of the auction catalog and states as follows, “Guarantee: We have attempted to make a consistent effort in cataloging and describing the property to be sold. The catalog descriptions carry a limited guarantee. It is a guarantee to protect you against major discrepancies that would have a major effect upon value. Under no circumstances do we guarantee against anything less than a major discrepancy that would have less than a major effect upon the value. This limited guarantee covers authenticity. It also covers any major restoration or repairs not described. Also we guarantee against fakes, reproductions or major fabrications.
    2. b. Our guarantee is good for 45 days from the date of the auction so that all buyers have ample opportunity to obtain the item, examine it, and verify that there is no major issues with their item. Therefore, if we had made a mistake with one of the items RIAC is pontificating about, our clients unlike RIAC’s clients (at least per their Conditions of Sale in their catalog) after proving our mistake would have full right for a full money back refund.

Julia’s does not hide behind caveat emptor but our guarantee is not the only thing that we do.

    1.  Special consultants and experts. Since we hold ourselves to a higher standard and guarantee all objects, it is extremely important that we are as correct as possible. To that extent, we hire special consultants to catalog our guns. These special consultants are some of the most knowledgeable in their specific field. Many are recognized in their field as authorities and in some cases are noted authors, most are also active in the trade. They hold not only the necessary scholarly knowledge but they are also able to detect between what is right and what is wrong while at the same time coming up with a reasonably intelligent estimate.

But the guarantee together with the considerable expense for hiring special consultants, still does not ensure perfection.

    1.  Review and solicitation of input. Any of you who have ever attended a James D. Julia Auction know at the very beginning in my opening remarks one of the things I clearly state is that if you are aware of a problem or issue that was somehow missed in our cataloging process be certain to bring it to our attention before we sell the item. If something is wrong, we will:
      1.  Put a note beside the lot indicating it;
      2. Make a correction in my catalog to be announced at the time of sale;
      3. Notify all absentee bidders of this new found issue;
      4. Post a notice on the website;

Our reasoning is that if our staff and our specific consultant missed something, surely one of the many hundreds of eyes reviewing the guns will pick up what we might have missed. If someone does come to us and tell us of a problem, we always thank them for bringing it to our attention. As I have said over and over here, we try to do the right thing.

III. Regarding RIAC Attempt to Vilify Us Because One of the Cataloguers Statements in their Description: Judging our company by one statement a cataloguer made in our catalog, “fool your enemies, sell them this great fake”, is rather farfetched. As I said early on, I have a number of consultants that provide my descriptions. It is expected from them that they will:

  1. a) Attempt to describe the item correctly;
  2. b) Point out significant problems and issues;
  3. c) If they question authenticity, bring it to my attention.

I do not read all the descriptions after they are written and had I read this description, I would have extracted that statement. I know that the cataloger was attempting to express to his reader that this was such a great copy that it would fool anyone. Many of my catalogers not only bring in scholarly knowledge and valued information but sometimes they inject what they consider to be personal or humorous remarks. Such was the case here. It has nothing to do with the implication of our honesty or lack thereof. Most nearly anyone who has done business with us for any period of time, who knows our firm, knows our reputation, knows our continued and sincere efforts to be honest would likely never think the worst in a statement such as this. on the other hand, if we were an auction house that from time to time were embroiled in questionable handling of things, were we from time to time sued by people for what we did or did not do, etc.; then that rash statement could have a far greater revealing implication.

In conclusion, RIAC makes a sweeping statement about fake guns which is untrue. When these guns were cataloged, our descriptions were based on information and facts we had concerning the guns and in most cases, these guns are exactly as cataloged. In one case, I discovered a significant issue and it was because of this that I elected to withdraw the items.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share the true facts of the matter as opposed to those of an envious competitor.


Jim Julia

Epidemiologist: Stop the flights now – The Washington Post

In the Washington Post, epidemiologist and public-health-school dean David Dausey says, close the US to epidemic epicentersnow. Why?

Individuals who suspect they have been exposed to Ebola and have the means to travel to the United States have every reason to get on a plane to the United States as soon as possible. There are no direct flights from the three most-affected nations, but passengers can transfer elsewhere, as [infected, infectious Liberian Thomas] Duncan did. If they stay in Africa, the probability that they will survive the illness if they have it is quite low. If they make it to the United States, they can expect to receive the best medical care the world can provide, and they will have a much higher probability of survival. So they are motivated to lie about their exposure status (wouldn’t you, in their shoes?) to airlines and public health officials and travel to the United States.

The incubation period for Ebola is up to 21 days, so a person could get on a plane the day he or she is exposed and spend three weeks in the United States or elsewhere before exhibiting symptoms. Then he or she could potentially infect any number of people here before the disease is properly diagnosed, and they are isolated or quarantined.

via Epidemiologist: Stop the flights now – The Washington Post.

Odds of that happening are approximately 0%. DHS, CDC, and the Department of State all subscribe to a vision that puts the rights of Duncan ahead of the safety of everyone here who doesn’t have ebola, yet.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Research Service takes a legalistic view:


CRS Insights

Increased Department of Defense Role in U.S. Ebola Response

Don J. Jansen, Specialist in Defense Health Care Policy (, 7-4769) October 1, 2014 (IN10152)

Increased Department of Defense Role in Ebola Response

On September 16, 2014, President Obama announced a major increase in the U.S. response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Department of Defense (DOD) submitted requests to Congress to make excess Overseas Contingency Operations funds appropriated for FY2014 available to support this effort. The requested funds would be used to provide humanitarian assistance, including:

  • transportation of DOD and non-DOD personnel and supplies;
  • coordination of delivery of supplies from both DOD and non-DOD sources such as isolation units, personnel protective equipment, and medical supplies;
  • construction of 17 planned Ebola treatment units; and,
  • training and education in support of sanitation and mortuary affairs functions to limit the spread of the Ebola outbreak.

DOD officials have stated that DOD personnel will not provide direct medical care to Ebola victims, but that non-governmental organizations are submitting proposals to the World Health Organization and other entities to provide health care workers.

Operation United Assistance

DOD operations have commenced pursuant to the President’s announcement. DOD has labeled the effort “Operation United Assistance.” According to a press report citing Defense officials at a September 30 press conference, an initial contingent of about 1,400 soldiers will be deployed in October with about 700 of those from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and the remainder will be combat engineers from other units. Troops are being trained in how to avoid contracting Ebola and other endemic diseases. Once these troops have arrived, Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of the 101st, will replace Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, as commander of the U.S. military response.

DOD Reprogramming Requests

DOD submitted two separate prior approval reprogramming requests dated September 8 and September 17 to the House and Senate appropriations and armed services committees. These would make available up to $1 billion for DOD’s support of the United States’ response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Some of the funding in the initial $500 million request also would be available to support continuing humanitarian activities in Iraq.

No new appropriations are requested. Under special transfer authority, DOD is asking for prior approval to reprogram funds from accounts that experienced lower than expected costs for planned activities. These funds come primarily from Overseas Contingency Operations appropriations for FY2014 where there were lower than expected maintenance costs and lower than expected civilian and contract personnel subsistence costs.

Congressional Approval Required

Under DOD regulations, the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees must provide written approval before DOD can effectuate the reprogramming. On September 24, $50 million was approved for immediate use. Committee staff stated that additional money will be released when DOD provides personnel protection policies, spending plans, goals, and a timeline for the mission.


So that’s where the money for the US operation to save Africa from Ebola is coming from: the “dividend” in the operations budget resulting from the completed bugout in Iraq and the ongoing one in Afghanistan.

The US operation to save the US from Ebola? There isn’t any.

Latest headache for gun banners: Ghost Gunner

Kevin de Leon is a California state rep who hates guns and the people who like them. Tonight, as we write this, he’s quivering in a puddle of his own urine, because de Leon, who coined the scary term “Ghost Gun,” now knows that someone — his own bête noir, Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed — has automated the completion of 80% lower receivers. Not just that, but he’s automated the completion of other tasks that can be completed on a very small CNC machine.

He’s taken a small but nonetheless novel step in the disintermediation of manufacturing. This will get a lot of press because it’s “guns,” which even reporters understand are Big Things, but it’s actually one hell of a lot bigger than that.

Ghost Gunner is a miniature CNC machine designed to automatically manufacture publicly created designs with nearly zero user interaction. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Defense Distributed’s first design is the venerable AR-15 lower receiver. Ghost Gunner automatically finds and aligns your 80% lower receiver to the machine, with simple installation instructions, point and click software and all required tools. Just follow a few simple instructions to mount your 80% lower receiver, tighten a couple screws (with simple tools we provide), and on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home.

As shipped, Ghost Gunner can manufacture any mil-spec 80% AR-15 lower receiver that already has the rear take down well milled out. Lowers with non-mil-spec trigger guards that are otherwise mil-spec are also compatible.

via Ghost Gunner.

Here’s the Ghost Gunner intro video:

We see it as potentially useful not only for its initial application, hogging out 80% AR lowers, but also for such tasks as engraving those receivers, and most especially for reprofiling 7075 forged lowers to the A1 profile for the retro rifles we’re building for our personal collection. Wilson says that the machine will produce any “physible” (a neologism? We like it) that can be milled within its size envelope (specs at the end of this post).

Exercise extreme caution if you plan to share one of these things. The ATF is trying to push helping someone or letting him use your CNC equipment as a manufacturing-without-a-license violation. And yet, they will not issue a manufacturing license unless you have an objective of making a profit by manufacturing, so they will not license a hobbyist under any circumstances.

In any event, we know we have enough work to keep one of these busy, and we want to support Cody’s project, so we put our money where our mouth is:


Unfortunately, we were caught napping and only learnt of this 1 Oct 14 introduction last night, 3rd October. (We made the order within moments of reading the FAQ on the website). So how far back in the queue did we wind up? Well, they planned to allow preorder of 10 units at $999, and 100 at $1199. Those sold out so fast that they added another 100 — which quickly went. Then they added 200 more @ $1299 — by this point, they’re only promising January 2015 delivery for the first 100 of these, with the 2nd block of 100 only promised sometime in “Q1 2015.” So one assumes some risk here (if you will recall, the government mobilized the Departments of Defense and State, which have nothing else major going on, to try to shut down Wilson’s last public firearms effort, the file repository at Defense Distributed). The risk was worth it to us, as we have a real use for the machine — experimentation!

Our unit was, #107 in the $1299 group, or #317 from the original release. Bummer, we’re waiting ’til sometime in Q1. Two more have sold since then, which by our math means $271,481 for Wilson and Defense Distributed (this is, of course, as of us writing this post on the night of 3 October. More are likely to have sold before you read it). When the 91 remaining Ghost Gunner units sold out, they will have taken in almost $400k — in a matter of days. That’s a measure of the pent-up demand for desktop manufacturing in the firearms realm. (Note that gunmaking equipment is not permitted by Kickstarter or Indiegogo, which are politcally anti-gun).

A bespoke CNC milling machine that needs to be programmed and tooled for a specific task, and that can then be operated by anyone who can bolt a part in a jug and press a button, is a device of remarkable potential. Will it fulfill that potential? We’re looking forward to telling you — sometime next year.

One of the advances in the Ghost Gunner, compared to other inexpensive CNC machines, is that when it is set up for a specific part it is capable of autodiscovery and autoalignment. For this, it does require the part to be conducted. While the machine can certainly mill Nylon 6/6 or other plastics, if they’re insulators, its probe can’t detect them. In that case the part just has to be touched off, like any conventional CNC.

The Ghost Gunner also has its own spindle — we’d call it “proprietary” because it’s not a standard off-the-shelf item, but it’s not proprietary, because they plan to open-source the design. That means it’s only a matter of time before hackers and makers embrace, adapt and extend it and the entire GG concept.

The concept bespeaks not just a machine, but also an infrastructure and an ecosystem, and it is all open source. (The machines run with TinyG code, but preferentially with their own open-source .dd file format). The .dd files can also be developed for any other CNC machine, by plugging in Machine X’s “specific parameters list,” and then the part can be run off in any shop that contains an identical Machine X.

The machine is well thought out for the deep pocket milling needed for gun work. On the other hand, it’s unlikely to be rigid enough to work with steel. And there’s a limit to size, both in terms of what size machining you can do, and in terms of what size part you can use. It’s unclear if the  part-size limit comes from the machine’s shroud or from its actual operation, but we’re guessing the latter at this point.

Considerable detail is available on the FAQ page.

GhostGunner Specifications

Machinable dimensions: 175 x 75 x 60mm (~6.75 x 2.95 x 2.35″)
Maximum part dimensions: 230 x 90 x 100mm (~9.05 x 3.50 x 3.90″)
Overall footprint: 330 x 280mm (~13 x 11″)
Weight: 20kg (~45 pounds)
Spindle Speed: 10,000+ RPM (Final Value TBD)
Collet: ER-11
Requirements: Windows 7 or higher. Mac version TBD.
Power: 110/220 VAC 50/60Hz (standard power cord).

Air Strikes Astray — what did we tell you?

mq9 and JDAMs

PGMs on an MQ-9 Reaper. If it only had a brain.

Repeat after the WeaponsMan:

  1. PGMs, no SOF on ground, result misery.
  2. No PGMs, SOF on ground,  result misery.
  3. PGMS, SOF on ground, result happinesss.

You will recognize the first case as the Clinton pinprick Tomahawk raids of 1998, and the aerial operations of the Kosovo war of 1999. The second, of course, fits Operation Gothic Serpent to a T. (Mogadishu, 1993). The third is Afghanistan, 2001.

So given two proven failure pathways and one proven success pathway, what did Washington do? Pick Failure Door #1. Result, misery:

U.S.-led air strikes hit grain silos and other targets in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern and eastern Syria overnight, killing civilians and wounding militants, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.

The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an Islamic State base, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no immediate comment from Washington.


The strikes in Manbij appeared to have killed only civilians, not fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria.

“These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people,” he said. He could not give a number of casualties and it was not immediately possible to verify the information.

via U.S-led raids hit grain silos in Syria, kill workers: monitor – Yahoo News.

We’re not really upset that some Syrian grain elevators did what grain elevators have occaisionally done entirely on their own, namely, blew up. That’s just collateral damage, and it’s not like any faction of Syrians are our friends these days. What’s upsetting is that this kind of warfare is ineffectual and does not damage the enemy’s centers of gravity or, really, just about anything about him.

We have chosen a mode of operations that is more or less guaranteed to fail.

But hey, we understand the Army is sending help to Iraq… a Division Headquarters. That’ll surely help. Hope they remembered the divisional band, because they might as well go under playing Autumn or Nearer My God to Thee.