Category Archives: Weapons Website of the Week

Wednesday Thursday Weapons Website of the Week: Burr Smith

This is not Burr Smith’s (full name, Robert Burr Smith) Facebook Page — he didn’t live to see Facebook, or personal computers for that matter — but it is a tribute page to Smith, an Army Airborne, Special Forces and unconventional warfare legend, set up by his son. Hey, how many guns can you ID from this grainy picture? (Four are easy, we’ll list ’em after the jump).

Smith was a member of the famous E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, jumping into Normandy on the night of 5/6 June 1944, and that’s not even where he became legendary.

Sorry for the day late and brevity, but… well, sorry not sorry. Go to the page. Learn about this guy. There are a few books about the secret war in Laos that will help you understand a guy who began there with White Star and was there on and off for about as long as an American was welcome.

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Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: NavWeaps.com

As a clever reader might deduce from the name NavWeaps.com, the site provides information on Naval Weapons, mostly from the classical 20th Century age of battleship warfare, but with an objective to cover the period from 1880-present.

Extensive technical information resides here: not only on naval guns from AA popguns to ship-shredding 18-inchers, but also on torpedoes, mines, depth charges, rockets and hybrid weapons.

While a lot of sites discuss the main armament of American, British and Japanese capital ships, few go deep into the secondary and tertiary armament of these vessels, and fewer still review the armaments of smaller combatant vessels, or any vessel of secondary seafaring nations, such as Russia, Italy or Austria-Hungary. This site doesn’t get every single gun on every single vessel… yet. But it does seem like that’s their ambition.

Looking at the rise and fall of great guns through history, it’s interesting to see how gun caliber, range, throw weight, and power rose from the dawn of the Dreadnought Era to peak in the great battleships of World War II … and has declined ever since. US Navy ships now have nothing greater than 155mm (approx. 6″) on the Zumwalt class, and 5″ guns on most cruisers and destroyers. (And the ammunition for the 155 is not being procured; the Navy instead wants to convert the Zumwalts to fire the ground forces’ 155mm guided Excalibur rounds, but their first cut at the costs for doing that is $250 million for the engineering, before buying the first bullet — and, of course, before the Pentagon’s usual cost overruns.

The “big gun” on the all-but-defenseless LCS class is a 57mm (~2.3″), also selected for Coast Guard cutters. So if the Navy that Ray Mabus built gets in a war with the Coast Guard, they’ll be at technological parity, at least.

But that was a long and bitter digression, and this post is really about NavWeaps.com. Along with the already-mentioned weapons information, there are some excellent historical articles on some aspect of naval warfare: for example, this one on German radar development.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Håkans Aviation Page

Håkan Gustavsson is a Swede with an unusual area of expertise: the peculiar subset of World War II fighter aces who flew and scored kills in biplanes. These two-winged holdovers from World War I often performed little better than their Great War forebears: they were slow, draggy, had open cockpits, were generally made from tube-and-fabric construction, and were armed with two measly rifle-caliber machine guns. They were sitting ducks for more heavily armed and much faster modern monoplanes.

Welcome to my site about biplane fighter aces, their aircraft and major aerial operations were biplane fighters took part.
The site also contains other aviation related subjects which I find interesting, including information about Swedish voluntary aviators from the Second World War.
If anyone could provide me with corrections/additions, feel free to email me!

 

via Håkans Aviation page – Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War.

We found one of the most interesting pages to be the one on Swedish volunteers in Finnish service. But in general there are more, and more interesting, biplanes and pilots involved in the war, on all sides, than we ever imagined.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: IC on the Record

This Tumblr, Intelligence Community on the Record, is a real-world resource for anyone interested in the US intelligence community. IC on the Record was created by the United States’ intelligence community Powers That Be to react to the public relations shellacking the community and the Obama Administration had taken since the Snowden defection; it remains live in the Trump Administration (we think. Last post was on 1/20).

(President Trump is widely seen has having fences to mend with the community, with both sides having a share of the blame, Trump for blasting the intelligence professionals and the community, which tends to be top-heavy with idle Washington bureaucrats, for leaking documents which appeared to frame Trump. Accordingly, it makes sense that his first vist to any agency was to The Agency (YouTube video of officials’ speeches; Trump beings about a half-hour in). It also makes sense that IC on the Record will survive any admin-change website purge.) 

In case you’ve been under a rock, an NSA contractor named Edward Snowden defected to the Russians under a smokescreen of revelations in the media, information calculated to embarrass, shame or disrupt national intelligence operations.

This was made possible, of course, by the overreach of said operations, increasingly targeted on US persons and increasingly abused for reasons beyond foreign intelligence; but to the irritation of insiders, only some of Snowden’s and his media and foreign intelligence service enablers’ accusations have been correct.

(It may be more irritating when the accusations are correct; the FISA court is clearly, for example, a rubber stamp that gives no serious consideration to the constitution or the rights of men, a statement that stings the expensive do-nothing court all the more because it is true. For example, periodically the FISA court rubber-stamps NSA dragnet collection of all American telephony metadata for another period… the actual rubber stamp is, of course, classified).

The site has information in the following categories:

  • Official Statements
  • Declassified Documents
  • Testimony
  • Speeches & Interviews
  • Fact Sheets
  • Oversight & Compliance
  • Video

Of these, the only one of real value is the  Declassified Documents section. Occasionally there is a nugget in congressional testimony. The rest of it is pablum and obfuscation written by PR flacks.

Many of the declassified documents are written by lawyers and they’re worth reading for the many fine-print and exact-terminology ways of obfuscating what their clients, the spymasters building their surveillance state, are actually doing. Here’s an example of that:

http://icontherecord.tumblr.com/tagged/statement

But one thing the tumblr did do is flag us to the DNI’s release of lists of the books and excerpts of the documents that were recovered by the sensitive site exploitation of Osama Bin Laden’s Abbotabad, Pakistan hideout. The third, and they say final, tranche of declassified (and translated) material from Bin Laden’s Bookshelf was published on 19 January 2017.

It includes, inter alia, this gem in a letter to two of Bin Laden’s sons (.pdf), that indicates (1) how sophisticated the Iranian intelligence services have become, and (2) how paranoid Bin Laden had become. (Well, serious people really were out to get him. Was it really paranoia?)

Note:

You and the brethren should remember any questionable action or observation in any hospital in Iran. If they inject you with a shot, this shot might be loaded with a tiny chip. The syringe size may be normal but the needle is expected to be larger than normal size. The chip size may be as long as a seed of grain but very thin and smooth. Notice if they take any of you for an operation, for good or no good reason, and inject you. Make sure to remember any comments about the reasons for setting you free.

Take notes of dates and times of any of such actions.

The Reason for Going to Peshawar:

There are instructions to all brethren to get out of Waziristan. It became clear that the region is well known to the enemy. Upon receiving this message, move immediately into Peshawar. I told the brethren to move their children to inside Pakistan if they fail to go to Peshawar.

We can’t guarantee you’ll find something fascinating like that in every document you pick up from the archive, but you just might.

Makes you wonder what they got that isn’t declassified.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Liberated Manuals

We’re going to be the soul of brevity on this one, because there’s no magic here at Liberated Manuals, it’s just one more source of public-domain military manuals.

They describe their raison d’être as follows:

This website is a comprehensive source of government manuals, in PDF format, free to copy, republish and distribute as you want. The goal of this website is to “liberate” government manuals from the dirty hands of CDROM selling mafia. All manuals are offered at no charge.

Sure, it’s an ugly and basic website, but on the gripping hand, it’s free stuff. What’s not to like?

There’s a list and a search function at the home page. Some of the manuals include (these are all .pdfs):

And one of our personal maintenance favorites:

There’s a lot more than just gun manuals, though. Go there and take a look around!

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: The Five Bravo

OK, this has absolutely zip to do with weapons. It’s another t-shirt company by combat vets with a sense of humor, 5 Bravo. (Well, one of the founders was a “small arms specialist” in the Army. Does that count?

The name at first puzzled us. Why “5 Bravo?” There’s an explanation on the site, it turns out.

“Embrace The Bravo” – ETB is the slogan for 5B in a very realistic standpoint. 5B originally meant bullets, bacon, beards, babes, and booze. Now the “Embrace The Bravo” movement has become so much more.

Hmmm… sounds like they’re selling t-shirts. NTTAWWT.

Here, they bust America’s smallest Stolen Valor case.

They also enjoy trolling trolls on Facebook right back. But mostly, they sell apparel, the sort that, well, we wore in Young Grunt Days, which are long behind us.

If you’re still a Young Grunt (or young at heart) you might just want some of these t-shirts.

But we get to the site every once in a while for the laughs. Most of the humor is in the “From the Inbox” section where they conduct countertroll operations. They explain:

As you may know, at 5B, we get a lot of hate mail in our inbox. We get a lot of awesome, motivational and uplifting mail as well, but you don’t wanna look at that. This is what makes us, us. Every day we scour through hundreds of messages hunting trolls for your humor and satire loving pleasure. We are experts in the craft of “Trolling the trolls” so every chance we get, we offer you these screenshots on a silver platter for your entertainment. People always ask us “5B, why don’t you put the names in there with them?” We believe in humor, not harm. We aren’t here to be negative or make anyone’s life harder. we just want to give laughs to millions of people as we do so well. Below, we have archived and will continue to post these EPIC troll messages in our “From the Inbox” section. We love the support, the comments and shares, so keep them coming and always “Embrace The Bravo”

This one is mildly NSFW.

One more such after the jump (not before because it’s full of NSFW lingo).

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Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Tom Scott’s Things You Might Not Know

Tom Scott is an engaging young Briton who gives you an occasional video — hundreds of them, and counting — under the titles Things You Might Not Know and Amazing Places

His entire YouTube Channel, which so far as we know — we have not seen all the  videos by any means — has little to do with weapons, is fascinating.

Here he tells the story of RAF Fauld, something we’ve been meaning to write about for years (we actually have a partially written post on this, but he hits the high point; Things He Might Not Know include that Britain participated in the Manhattan Project, and was in on the nuke secret from the very beginning, as was Canada. In fact, before the merger, the British project, code named Tube Alloys, was well ahead of their transatlantic allies. Churchill approved a-bomb development over a year before Roosevelt did).

There is the video up at the top, on Swiss water system redundancy. The Swiss were preppin’ before preppin’ was cool.

And there is this — one way nuclear tests are monitored by an internationally maintained infrasound system in remote Qaanaaq, Greenland.

And this — a university tramway whose brain is a repurposed Minuteman missile computer.

Even when he yields up the floor to a guest presenter, like Sally lePage here, the channel’s fascinating.

Yes, it’s not directly weapons related, but we suspect it will be right on target for many WeaponsMan.com readers. He’s got a couple hundred videos (151 Things You Might Not Know) so we’ll see you some time in February.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week — The Survival Gardener

Check out survival blogger/author David the Good at The Survival Gardener.com.

His focus on gardening, culturing trees, and managing water for economic production of foodstuffs is rare among survival bloggers, and he writes engagingly. To wit, in a post about managing water storage:

Mosquitoes can take a great idea and make it a health hazard. As new viruses sweep around the world, people are rightly concerned about the danger of harvesting rainwater improperly. Even old tires hold enough water to breed mosquitoes, so a rain barrel has the capability of breeding thousands of the bloodsuckers.

No matte how you define “survival,” he can hook you up. Maybe for you, coffee is not a luxury but a staple. Consider growing your own, if your climate suits the plant.

I have wanted to grow big piles of delicious coffee for a long time. Back in Florida I grew multiple coffee plants and even sold then in my nursery, but the climate wasn’t the best so I was stuck keeping my big coffee tree in a pot in the greenhouse or bringing it inside during frosts.

The one I planted by the south-facing wall of the house did well, though, and is still alive today so far as I know.

I did well enough with coffee, tea and yaupon holly that I wrote a little booklet on growing it, thanks to the additional help of Kona coffee farmer Gary Strawn (owner of Kona Earth coffee, which tastes amazing) who corrected some of my more exuberant ideas.

We’re not coffee drinkers, but we enjoy David’s presentation of practical means of securing nature’s bounty to yourself and your posterity. If you like this stuff, make his blog a regular read (and throw some coin his way for his books).

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Faulty Wiring

In New York City, where guns are outlawed, people still die unexpectedly young. This week, a fire’s box score of killed is incremented one, while the “only injured” tally decrements in turn. The New York Post:

The fire that killed a 1-year-old boy in Brooklyn this week has claimed another life, police said.

A 40-year-old woman died today from her injuries sustained in the raging 13th floor-fire at the Howard Houses on Wednesday.

Little Ivan Baez died in the 8:30 a.m. inferno, which officials determine was caused by faulty wiring.

Five other residents were also injured. The massive blaze gutted the family’s three bedroom apartment at the Brownsville housing complex.

A previous story has more details:

As flames shot out of a top-floor window in the 13-story building at the Howard Houses in Brownsville at about 8:30 a.m., a neighbor on the street shouted, “Oh my God, oh my God — she has a kid!”

Tiny victim Ivan Baez was covered in soot as a firefighter carried him out of the building.

“He wasn’t moving but they were trying to get him back,” said Angela Hoye, 31, of Queens, whose mother lives a floor below the fire.

“It’s sad,” she said. “I didn’t see him with any clothes except for a diaper or a pull-up and with a mask over his face.

The tot was rushed to Brookdale Hospital in cardiac arrest and pronounced dead at 9:37 a.m., officials said.

The flames completely destroyed the three-bedroom apartment and filled the entire floor with billowing smoke, officials said.

The apartment building appears to be largely welfare housing. 7 people, reportedly three generations of a single matriarchal family, lived in the three-bedroom apartment.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Waffensammler-Kuratorium

OK, we didn’t get this up on time due to other requirements (had to drive to Boston to pick up Kid who was coming in from the Midwest) and so we’re just throwing one out to you: the Kuratoriums zur Förderung historischer Waffensammlungen, which means “Trustees for the Advancement of Collecting Historic Arms”.

If the Awful German Language is not among your attainments, you can read the Awful Google Translation of the site instead. The intro says (our translation, not Google’s):

Collecting weapons — a Fascinating Hobby

Do you like to look at weapons in museums or displays, and wonder at he gunsmith’s art? Are you interested in their historical background? Then we at the Kuratorium zur Förderung historischer Waffensammlungen have the information you’re after.

Normally we’d say more about it, but time, you know? There are some excellent historical articles, in .pdf format, albeit in German, for you to find. Enjoy.