Category Archives: Unconventional Weapons

Caching your Guns for a Civil War, Parts I and II

Many people are talking about the possibility of a civil war. Some people are acting as if one is going to happen. The intersection between those sets is almost zero.

Part 1: Some obstacles to caching

Three can keep a secret, if two are dead. All the Haganah underground operatives kept the secret of this cache in Northern Israel. It was discovered by accident after they had all died.

Three can keep a secret, if two are dead. All the Haganah underground operatives who knew the secret of this cache in Northern Israel took it to their graves. It was discovered by accident in January, 2014, after they had all died. (Story at The Blaze with links to Israeli media, some in Hebrew).

First, if you live in a state with licensing and registration, you’re screwed. Even if they don’t have all your weapons in their files, they know you have weapons. They can come and shake down your home and curtilage at their leisure. Registration and Licensing doesn’t solve crimes, and it certainly doesn’t prevent them. It is one thing only: a cheat sheet for confiscation.  For that, it’s the cat’s pajamas.

We’ve heard a lot of bravado about boating accidents and long-ago sales to a tall short black guy with red hair and freckles. You can pull this off in one two-pronged case: no one else at all knows about your weapons and your plans, and you can resist intense interrogation. (Unless you have been trained in interrogation resistance in a resistance training lab, you probably can’t). This is completely without torture or threats to relatives, both of which will be available and in use in a civil war. Those two techniques can usually break even the trained resister.

Second, don’t rely on Oathkeepers bluster (another word beginning with “b” also fits). They mean what they say now, but things will be different then. Police will have no problem cracking down on you because (1) most cops will follow any plausibly legitimate authority; (2) human beings are born to rationalize; and (3) you’ll be demonized long before you’re raided. They won’t whack you, they’ll be whacking your indescribably monstrous straw man evil twin.

Every totalitarian state in history made liberal use of the ordinary cops for its political roundups, and no police element has ever mutinied or walked off the job when faced with that task. For example, the Gestapo and SS did not need to round up the Jews in occupied France: the ordinary French beat cops were glad to do it. None of them was ever punished; they transferred their loyalty seamlessly and unquestionably from the 3rd Republic to Vichy to the occupying power to the 4th Republic. Likewise, the Weimar cops became Nazi cops, who in turn became East or West German cops, and now unified Federal German cops. Hitler? Stalin? Who cares, we can retire at 45 with a good pension, and no one will miss a few Jews.

Third, don’t expect most people to back you. For every active resister, there are 20 dedicated, clandestine supporters. For every dedicated supporter there are 20 active and open collaborators. You active resisters will be outnumbered 400 to 1 by the Quislings. And even they will be a minority. Most people will hunker down and try not to be involved. The side that pressures them will get their loyalty and compliance — as long as it outpressures its opponents, and as long as the pressure is applied.

Still wondering why civil wars get ugly, fast?

Fourth, if you’re fantasizing about this civil war, stop now. We’ve seen civil wars, and we’ve seen how a place can go from civilized to Hobbsean state of nature in jig time. The American Revolution has been sanitized in our history but even it, the cleanest and most civil of civil wars, was unbearably nasty. The victors wrote the history; the losers, the Tories or Loyalists, took ship. Or died. After losing everything. A new Civil War might look more like the last one, with new Mosbys, Booths, and certainly new Andersonvilles. Or it might resemble the Spanish Civil War, or the French Revolution. When Americans unhappy with government think of the French Revolution, they think of their opponents in the tumbrils. Remember the fate of Robespierre and the Jacobins was no different from that of the Girondins or the Bourbons. Remember that practically none of the Old Bolsheviks died of natural causes.

But if, after all that, you still want to be prepared for survival or resistance, read on. The lessons learned you are about to receive here are distilled from thirty-plus years in the practice of insurgency, UW, FID, and COIN, and a very great deal of study. They also incorporate the lessons learned from a sensitive — once, highly classified — strategic cache program that was meant to arm clandestine stay-behind forces and the resistance armies they would raise.

Part II: The Enemies of Cached Weapons

The enemies of your cached weapons, dear insurgent, are many. They are rust, and its valkyries water and air; construction and development; discovery; documentation; human frailty; and obsolescence.

These weapons, buried during the League of Nations mandate and recovered only last year, were well preserved.

These weapons, buried during the League of Nations mandate and recovered only last year, were well preserved. Careful packaging and Israel’s arid climate protected them from Air, Water and therefore Rust.

Rust is a term for corrosion in ferrous metals. Essentially, iron plus air (especially damp, moist air) yields iron oxide, which is everything steel is not: weak, crumbly, almost worthless (well, you can make an incendiary mixture with it. But your guns are not the best feedstock for that; it’s not like rust is hard to come by).

You protect weapons from rust with permanent coatings like paint or parkerizing, temporary coatings like grease, vacuum-bagging them if you have the capability, and storing them in naturally or artificially dry places.

Even non-ferrous metals and supposedly “stainless” metals will corrode in the right conditions.

Water is principally a problem because of its propensity to accelerate rust. But it also has two other properties: it tends to wick into almost anywhere, and if it’s flowing, it can wear through anything. The Grand Canyon? That’s nothing but applied water and time.

Air is a problem because it contains all the ingredients for rust except the iron: water vapor and oxygen. It also can contain pollutants that accelerate corrosion.

Development is a threat to a surprising number of caches. Europeans periodically wake up to a news story of a cache of weapons or other stuff from the Cold War or World War II. The Nazis cached hundreds of tons of arms for a Werwolf resistance that fizzled out, partly because the Nazi state’s defeat made its ideology much less compelling, and partly because all four Allies had no compunction at all about shooting Werwolf suspects, even children. These unused caches get unearthed in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic by urban and rural development all the time. They’re usually old, forgotten, neglected caches in bad shape.

Apart from concealment, which was often good, the Werwolf caches were a pretty good example of how not to conduct a strategic cache program.

While some hazards are easy to defend against — you can “set ’em and forget ’em” — defense against development requires long-term curation. If a cache is implanted, someone must monitor it, and when development encroaches, move it. Therefore, the caches that are discovered are the ones that are haphazardly monitored or that were implanted by defunct organizations that never took up, or failed at, monitoring.

It is also helpful to emplace caches in locations that are away from either axes of likely future development, potential high value positions or targets in civil or general war (such as key terrain), or potential bivouac locations of hostile forces.

Discovery is the accidental location, exposure, or penetration of the cache, not as a result of counterguerrilla or counterespionage activity, nor as a result of development-related excavation. Your likely discoverers are hunters, hikers, and, especially, kids.

Guard against it by placing the cache on difficult terrain, and concealing the cache well.

There appears to have been no documentation of the Haganah cache. It was concealed well enough that the discovery came almost 70 years after the Haganah's clandestine war was won.

There appears to have been no Documentation of the Haganah cache. It was concealed well enough that its Discovery came almost 70 years after the Haganah’s clandestine war was won.

Documentation is a double-aged sword. It allows for the recovery or relocation of caches even if no responsible individual is available (a real risk in UW). It is useful in the demobilization phase after victory has been achieved; or in an underground or dormant phase after a major defeat. But it also allows hostile forces to find and recover caches, or even worse, surveil them and roll up networks.

To counter these risks, documentation should be kept to a minimum and safeguarded, possibly with such measures as clandestine writing and encryption. Cache reports should never be transmitted by or filed on computers or electronic devices. (Assume all computers are bugged).

Human Frailty (memory and weakness) is what happens to most caches — not to put too fine a point on it, somebody rats them out.

The way to combat this is to enact strict positive vetting, need-to-know, and compartmentalization. No one should even know that there are caches unless the person’s trustworthiness has been established beyond doubt. No one should know any more about caches than he or she needs to, and that information must be given to the smallest practical number of people. And finally, no one should know about caches not relevant to his cell, mission, or location.

Obsolescence is the final problem with caches. If, mirabile dictu, things are so well packed and preserved that they’re not at risk, the canny old wizard we call Time still has one ace up his sleeve: obsolescence. You don’t know where it’s coming from; small arms development proceeds by a pattern of punctuated equilibrium. You can’t tell when technology will overthrow your stored ordnance. Rebels who buried their guns in 1800, or in 1900, would still be armed like a national army forty years later, but if they buried their guns in 1840 or 1940, they would dig up a bunch of very outdated hardware in 1880 or 1980. (We were, in fact, digging up — for inspection — caches planted in the 1940s periodically through the 1980s). But small arms performance plateaued enough in the 20th Century that the guns are the least of your worries. A guerrilla band armed today with Garands and MP.40s would still have considerable lethality, but there’s no hope for the crystal and tube radios of the 1940s for practical field communications. Likewise, medical equipment stored even a decade ago has been replaced in the real world by improved devices and products of new research.

There is no easy way to combat obsolescence. You have to be prepared to service the cache as we did during the cold war, a difficult and expensive undertaking fraught with risk to the servicer, the cache, and the security of the program.

To be continued in Part III: Types of Caches and IV: Cache Best Practices

We will learn that, as useful as it may be to consider the risks above, you’re going to find that if you want to use the cache or caches, you’re going to have to accept considerable risks beyond those. Indeed, the use of the cache is ever in tension with the security of same (a tradeoff with many, many parallels in the insurgent’s world).

And anything you can do can get you scarfed up. No pressure, though.

Look for Parts III and IV next week.

How Diplomacy Guarantees Nonproliferation

FOOM!

FOOM! What could possibly go wrong with encouraging desperate nutcases to build bombs.

Anti-military politicians love diplomacy, and ascribe to it incredible powers. For instance, consider the President’s statement on the Iran framework:

Good afternoon. I am pleased that the United States and Iran yesterday reached agreement on the text of a framework document on Iran’s nuclear program. This agreement will help to achieve a longstanding and vital American objective: an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Persian Gulf.

This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world. It reduces the danger of the threat of nuclear spreading in the region. It’s a crucial step toward drawing Iran into the global community . . . This agreement represents the first step on the road to a nuclear-free Persian Gulf. It does not rely on trust. Compliance will be certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States and Iran have also agreed to ease trade restrictions and to move toward establishing liaison offices in each other’s capitals. These offices will ease Iran’s isolation.

Except… while that does have an eerie echo of what President Obama said about Iran, it actually is President Clinton’s 1994 statement about the nearly identical deal he cut with North Korea, “the first step on the road to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.” We rather naughtily went in and changed the country name and geographic references — which appears to be what Mr Obama did to update and adapt to Iran Mr Clinton’s historic agreement. You know, the one that guaranteed the Norks would not get nukes.

How’d that work out?

Pretty much the way every Nork hand in the Agency, State and the think tanks predicted: thanks to Clinton’s supine policy (and Bush’s equally supine policy that followed) the Norks got their nuke faster than ever, with our aid. And now they claim to have set off an H-bomb.

Without his TelePrompTer, we suspect the President can’t distinguish an H-bomb from an F-bomb. And the Iranians — how are they doing on integrating in the world community? Oh, they just destroyed an embassy.

They were uncivilized when Leonidas fought them, and they’re still uncivilized today.

Hat tip, David French, who noted the “eerie similarity”  of the two sets of empty rhetoric. Is anyone expecting anything but an eerie similarity of outcome?

China Deploying Blinding Lasers?

An interesting report. If it’s true, it indicates something that should surprise no one, except for everyone in the State Department, and everyone in the current administration’s Pentagon: China will do what Chinese leaders think is in China’s best interests, not what they are obligated to do by International treaties.

China’s military has equipped its forces with blinding laser weapons in apparent violation of an international agreement signed by Beijing.

“China has been updating its home-made blinding laser weapons in recent years to meet the needs of different combat operations,” the official military newspaper PLA Daily reported Dec. 9.

We’ll have some photos from that report, with the nomenclature of each weapon, embedded here.

PY132A Blinding Laser Weapon

PY132A Blinding Laser Weapon. (Yes, that’s its official name).

A State Department official expressed concerns that the weapons appear to violate a provision of the United Nations 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The convention includes a 1998 Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons banning their use in combat.

“The United States is committed to the CCW and expects all parties to uphold the convention and its protocols,” the official told the Washington Free Beacon, using an acronym for the 1980 convention.

The United States seems to have a remarkably woolly idea of what exactly treaties do.

The most common Chinese laser weapon appears to be this WJG-2002.

The most common Chinese laser weapon appears to be this WJG-2002.

China agreed to follow the prohibition in 1998, according to the convention’s website.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman did not respond to an email request for comment about the laser weapons.

WJG-2002, displayed as components

WJG-2002, displayed as components

Jack Daly, a retired naval intelligence officer who suffered eye injuries in 1997 from a laser that was fired at his helicopter by a Russian intelligence-gathering ship near Port Angeles, Washington, said he is concerned the Chinese laser arms could end up in the United States.

We well recall the incident (and the Flash and other high-priority traffic it caused). But if his biggest worry with these things the risk that Bubba and J.D. gon’ get aholt of one, well, he just reinforced about a million stereotypes of intelligence officers.

Here's the WJG-2002 in use by a People's Liberation Army soldier.

Here’s the WJG-2002 in use by a People’s Liberation Army soldier.

“The U.S. already has a problem with laser pointers being directed at in flight aircraft,” Daly said. “If these laser guns make their way here, we are very likely to see aircrews actually blinded during flight and possibly worse.”

via China | Laser Weapons.

Making a blinding weapon is a challenge, but it’s not rocket surgery. Turns out that the Chinese, capable rocket surgeons that they are, have made quite a few different versions of them, and have been promoting them at international trade shows for years.

This one also has a name that suggests a treaty violation: BBQ-905 Laser Dazzler

This one also has a name that suggests a treaty violation: BBQ-905 Laser Dazzler

The Price of Expeditionary Potential: Ranger Dies in Live-Fire Exercise

Andrew Aimesbury official photoThis one strikes close to home. This young man was from a few miles from stately Hog Manor, and at 21 he was a tabbed, combat experienced Ranger leader… a man at the top of one craft with several pathways to greatness ahead of him. But all that potential greatness never came to pass, because young Andrew Aimesbury got whacked in a training accident.

It’s a risky business, folks. He planned and rehearsed the live fire with his team and the rest of the guys, and something went wrong, and now he’s 21 forever.

May God have mercy on his soul.

Cpl. Andrew A. Aimesbury, a Strafford native and Dover High School graduate who died Wednesday after suffering injuries in a live-fire exercise at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Aimesbury, 21, was seriously wounded during the exercise and airlifted to a treatment facility where he died from his injuries, the Army said.

The Army has released few details about how Aimesbury was injured. A spokesman said only that the incident is being investigated.

Aimesbury was a Ranger team leader assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia.

“Cpl. Andrew Aimesbury was an exceptional Ranger leader and an extraordinary man. He was universally liked throughout the battalion for his competence as a warrior and his caring nature. This tragic event has affected us all and our hearts break for his family. Cpl. Aimesbury will always be a member of 1st Ranger Battalion and his memory will make all of us better men,” Col. Brandon Tegtmeier, commander of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, said in the press release.

Aimesbury is survived by his parents, Carl and Karen Aimesbury, and his sister, Abigail, all from Somersworth.

via NH Army Ranger dies after injuries suffered in live-fire exercise | New Hampshire.

Like we said, this strikes close to home. Somersworth is close enough to home for the Blogbrother’s family to own property there; it’s a working class old mill town full of salt of the earth Americans, and we’d bet any amount that Andrew’s family are like that.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

That verse, everyone remembers. They were the quatrain of Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen that Binyon wrote first. He was a marvelously talented and notably hard-working poet, despite being the Poet Laureate of England, and yet these lines came to him with little effort. As if they came from some supernatural source.

Here is the closing of the poem, We think that, although less well-known, the closing is also powerful.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Stand easy, Ranger. Your name is now inscribed on the Regimental Roll of Honor for all time; your star will be bright when we are dust.

Ultra Rarities: Dardick 1100 and 1500 Pistols

In the history of firearms, one of the obscure yesterday’s “weapons of tomorrow” whose morrow never dawned was the Dardick “tround” (triangular round) system. The idea was for the weapon to use special trounds, or tround adapters that took a round of conventional fixed ammunition — .38 Special, for the standard Dardick, although an attempt was made at a .50 Dardick gun for aircraft usage. There was also a triplex tround.

dardick_ammo_display_01

The ammunition’s unusual sectional shape made it easy, at least in theory, to design feeding mechanisms.

Dardick never successfully commercialized his product, instead surviving for some years on R&D money from the military.

A seller at GunBroker has not one, but two, of these for sale in a single auction: a Model 1500, the most common Dardick (although “common” in Dardick terms means there may have been three dozen made), and a rarer Model 1100.

dardick_1100_01

I don’t think it gets much more obscure than this! Up for auction are my two Dardick pistols and small collection of Trounds, pamphlets, etc. Both are original and complete.

The more scarce of these two is the Model 1100. It is said that only 40-50 firearms total were ever produced by the Dardick Corporation and only a small handful of those were the Model 1100, one of which was presented to JFK by David Dardick. This 1100 has not been test fired with live ammo but functions/cycles flawlessly in both double and single action.

dardick_1100_02

The Model 1500 is complete but will need some work to get it running smoothly. As it sits, the cylinder and other components rub on the frame and do not rotate/cycle without assistance.

dardick_1500_01

Both pistols have the complete adjustable sights and fully functional firing pin selector/adjustment features in-tact. These pistols have NOT been refinished and the factory etched/white information is clear and not painted over on the barrel and receiver of each.

Included in the collection are a selection of several live Trounds (one .38 HiVAP, Two Well Busters, a .50 caliber and a standard Tround with what appears to be a smaller projectile than the usual .38 projectile, possibly a .32?). Also included are an original box for the Model 1500 and several original/old stock pamphlets and booklets.

via Dardick 1100 and 1500 Pistols : Other Collectible Guns at GunBroker.com.

dardick_memorabiia_01

The initial bid requested on the auction is $5,000. There are two ways of looking at this. It’s a lot of money for a couple of guns you’ll likely never have ammo to fire, that’s one way. And then there’s the other way: two guns from a remarkable dead-end lineage of firearms history, guns which personify 1960s Space Age firearms design, for about the price of one relatively common WWII rarity like a Johnson or a modern replica like Ohio Arms Works BAR.

Only you know if it’s worth $5k to you. We regret we can’t buy every firearm we feature in these pages. (Hmmm… how long till we qualify for a reverse mortage, we could monetize the Manor….?)

Rhodesian Mine Ambush Protected Vehicles 1975-80

We’ve mentioned before that long before the US decided it needed vehicles that could survive mines (or, technically, whose crews could survive mines — one mine FOOM and anything that came on its own wheels is leaving on something else’s). the Rhodesian Army invented, developed, and mastered the concept, on a shoestring budget.

The vehicles were called Mine Ambush Protected or MAPs, and a confusing variety were improvised and made in unit workshops and national steel-working firms from about 1972 to the end of the war.

These vehicles might be entirely lost to history, if not for two things: the cruelty & corruption of the Mugabe regime which produced a global Rhodesian diaspora; and the obsessive-compulsive tendencies of combat-vehicle modelers, who pursue the most minute details with a singlemindedness that Javert himself could only envy.

Between the proud Rhodies, wherever they may fetch up these days, and the fiddly autism-spectrum anoraks who seem to breathe a heady mixture of detail and toluene, plenty of information about Rhodesian vehicles is at hand (and more is emerging regularly).

The best place to begin is wargamer John Wynne Hopkins’s page. He has done an intensive study of these vehicles.

The Problem

This photo illustrates the problem:

Mercedes 4.5 under tow

The slick-sided Mercedes 4.5 ton truck hit a land mine enroute out, and is being towed back to base. Hopkins (from whom we light-fingered the photo) explains that this is a convoy of 5 Independent Company, Rhodesian African Rifles, enroute back from a trip in support of the elections for the brief (and internationally unrecognized) compromise Zimbabwe-Rhodesia government in January 1979. Their efforts were futile: American President Jimmy Carter and British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington had agreed to support only “one man, one vote, one time” elections as demanded by the nominally Communist kleptocrats who led the two guerrilla movements.

5 Indep Coy RAR convoy forms up at Derowa Mine for ‘Muzorewa’ elections Jan 1979. … Unfortunately, one of these pookies [mine countermeasures vehicle — Ed.] could not be spared on the journey out, with the result that the 45 seen being towed hit a mine (2nd in the convoy), as did a mobile surgical unit second from back. No casualties, thank goodness, although the driver of the 45 was severely shaken – the anti-mine armour had only been fitted the day before to an almost new vehicle.

Of course the driver was shaken! The mine went off right in front of him (vehicles in Rhodesia were right-hand drive).

Anti-mine armor on vehicle chassis or floorboards was an interim step; the definitive Rhodesian vehicles were full MAPs, but there were never enough to eliminate the use of slick trucks.

There are basically two classes of Rhodesian MAPs: transport/utility vehicles, and mine-clearing vehicles.

Mine Protected Transports

As you might expect from the improvisational, highly decentralized Rhodesian Army, a wide variety of vehicles were made, with some of the more exotic and lower-density ones appearing in elite forces’ motor pools.

We despaired of ever sorting these out, but Don Blevin came to our rescue (via Hopkins) with a great chart of the main variants, based on the three chassis they were produced on: the Nissan 2-ton commercial truck, the Mercedes 4.5 ton, and the Mercedes 2.5 ton Unimog.

We joined the two sides of the drawing and cleaned it up a bit. Don Blevin illustration.

We joined the two sides of the drawing and cleaned it up a bit. Don Blevin illustration. It embiggens thunderously.

This chart makes it look nice and neat. It wasn’t, though, because there were modifications and special purpose vehicles like weapons carriers and wreckers. Here’s some more Mercedes variants (same source):

rhodie_mercedes_4.5_variants

And if you have a hard time keeping the Mercedes family straight, wait till you check out the utility Unimogs.

rhodesian_rodef_25-unimog-drawings1

As you’ve seen from the initial image, a truck could take a TM-46 hit and still be survivable — it was luck of the draw based on where the blast took the vehicle. The truck in that picture was probably soon repaired and back in the field.

Mine Countermeasures Vehicles

If the Navy can use minesweepers, why can’t the Army? That simple question lay at the moment of conception of the Pookie, the principal Rhodie mine countermeasures vehicle. (There were others, built on the same principle.

A somewhat forlorn Pookie on display. From a photo essay here.

A somewhat forlorn Pookie on display. From a photo walkaround by Steve Barrow here.

There were never enough to keep earthen roads open, so vehicles ran in convoys — another lift from naval experience). The Pookie’s equivalent of a naval minesweeper’s nonmagnetic hull was its very low ground pressure, too low to trigger an AT mine. It could trigger anti-personnel mines, and anti-tampering devices attached to the secondary fuze wells on AT mines.

Between 1972 and 1980, it is estimated that more than 600 people were killed and thousands more injured by landmines on hundred of kilometres of roads and runways in Rhodesia. The toll would have been much higher but for the invention of Pookie, a small detection vehicle designed to travel ahead of military and civilian convoys and light enough not to detonate anti-tank mines.

Pookie, originally designed and developed by Ernest Konschel, an engineer and farmer from Rhodesia, was constructed on a lightweight chassis and carried a one-person armour-plated cab. The cab had a V-shaped undercarriage designed to deflect any blast away from the driver and to combat centre blast mines. The wheels were positioned some distance from the cab, again to protect the driver in the event of detonation by offsetting the seat of explosion, and they were housed in Formula One racing tires, apparently bought in bulk from the South African Grand Prix. Wide with low pressure, they exert a minimum ground force. The vehicle was propelled by an engine from a Volkswagen Beetle that was capable of taking Pookie to mine detection speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour. Two drop-arm detectors were mounted left and right and equipped with a detection system that bounced magnetic waves into the ground as well as an acoustic signal to indicate metal.

On first trials, Pookie detected every metallic mine and went on to prove itself both reliable and safe. Even though Pookies did detonate anti-personnel mines and several booby-trapped anti-tank mines in action with the Rhodesian army, this was only at the cost of new wheels and rim replacements, but no serious human casualty.

Only one Pookie operator lost his life during the vehicle’s long service. His tiny cab was hit by a lucky RPG-7 shot, and his number was up. Pookies shrugged off small arms, and a tank mine detonation only disabled the vehicle, blowing off one or more sacrificial wheels, but the operator survived — shaken and temporarily deaf, usually. None of the Pookies ever ditecyly tripped a TM-46, the Soviet anti-tank mine that was the Rhodesian terrorists’ primary weapon, but they did .

The initial detector used coils that were contained in long cylinders that could be lowered parallel to the surface of the road, or raised for transport.

The Pookie Today

The source of the above quote was this feature in a counter-mining journal by Willie Lawrence, which goes into detail about how wartime Pookies have been rehabbed and updated with ground-penetrating radar for detecting the improved (if that’s the word) anti-magnetic mines that international mine-clearing groups are dealing with today.

And the concept has been extended today with countermine vehicles like the Meerkat (caution, many spammy popups at that link). But the Pookie stands out as an example of brilliant simplicity, enabled as much as its designers were restricted by the fact that the Rhodesian Army had no choice but to run lean and on a shoestring.

What to Make of Paris so far (not much), and of Status-6

Tomorrow's HeadlinesWe’re not going to bite at analyzing the Paris attack while it’s still not all wrapped up. Unlike the guys whose output is already set for tomorrow’s newsstand (image right), we are not under a deadline on this. We’ll just offer several points and move on to news from Russia.

  1. Initial media reports are almost always wrong. This has been ameliorated somewhat by the press’s discovery that they can pluck stuff off twitter, instead of from the twits on their staff. Some press don’t get that — NBC, for instance, had Bryant Gumbel all concerned about the fate of Al Gore’s Who Wants Me To Be A Bigger Billionaire telethon. (Gore fans, relax; ManBearPig lives).
  2. Initial body counts are almost always high. This attack seems rather poorly synchronized and disorganized compared to the record holder among these small arms attacks, the one in Bombay. Ergo, this attack is probably not going to break Bombay’s record body count (160).
  3. The attack is visibly and obviously another amish attack mohammedan sacrament. As a GEICO ad might say, if you’re an imam you incite murder, that’s what you do. That means tomorrow you can expect stern warnings about the coming backlash against peaceable Muslims. These backlashes are always descending, but they never seem to take tangible form — they’re vaporware. Kind of like peaceable Muslims.
  4. We’ve already seen the usual politicians unleash their Platitude Generators,  Crises For Use in, Mark VII, talking about “our shared values.” Know who doesn’t share those values? If you guessed the schmos with AKs and the splodydopes in guncotton waistcoats, give yourself a cookie.

And that’s all we’re going to say about it, right now.

Meanwhile, in Sochi, Russian Federation….

Because something really interesting happened in Russia this week. A “leak” showed a classified briefing slide about a previously unannounced underwater-launched weapon. The “leak” has been extensively promoted on government-controlled news site Russia Today (rt.com).

Status-6 leak

That’s a leak? On a state-controlled broadcast?

The slide describes a stealthy, 1.6-meter diameter, long-ranged torpedo which carries a ~5-20 megaton nuclear and radiological warhead, designed to persistently irradiate entire regions of a coastal target nation. In fact, Status-6 has a claimed autonomous range of over 10,000 kilometers, which really puts it more into the class of an autonomous undersea vehicle — if it’s real.

According to the slide it can be carried by two new Russian sub types, which just saw themselves elevated on free world target lists. The warhead is supposedly capable of both nuclear destruction and of persistently irradiating an entire enemy coastline, suggesting a dirty bomb or cobalt bomb. The US and USSR agreed in principle during the initial 1970s talks for the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty not to deploy such doomsday weapons, but they never wrote that into the agreement, and the treaty has lapsed.

It turns out, Bill Gertz wrote this program up based on a Pentagon leak to him two months ago, noting that the DOD had code-named the Russian port-buster Kanyon.

Russia is building a drone submarine to deliver large-scale nuclear weapons against U.S. harbors and coastal cities, according to Pentagon officials.

The developmental unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, when deployed, will be equipped with megaton-class warheads capable of blowing up key ports used by U.S. nuclear missile submarines, such as Kings Bay, Ga., and Puget Sound in Washington state.

The US has dismantled all of its multi-megaton warheads as part of the Obama Administration’s program of unilateral nuclear disarmament. It retains a small stockpile of 1.2 megaton B83 bombs, but those too are scheduled to be decommissioned.

In the Soviet era, a torpedo called T-15 could deliver a megaton warhead to a harbor. All such torpedoes are believed to have been decommissioned, but Status/Kanyon is a more capable, modern update of this old Soviet concept — if it is real. Gertz notes that, despite indicators of coastal mapping by Russian AGI vessels, deployment of a strike UUV is probably years away.

Using such a warhead against a civilian target is arguably a violation of international law, but that doesn’t seem to faze the Russian leadership. If the warhead even exists. If the torpedo or AUV really exists. Because a propaganda leak is equally effective if the “secret weapon” is real, or if it is notional.

Of course, if it was a leak, and this is something real, the guy responsible is probably going to be a test pilot on one of these torpedoes. Hals und beinbruch, Ivan.

Why the “Leak”?

This “leak” appears from here clearly as a brush-back pitch thrown at the United States and its allies. Yet it seems likely to be counterproductive, if that is really its intent. It would raise the stakes of antisubmarine warfare, a much neglected field in the shrinking US Navy, and inspire countermeasures that Russia really, really wouldn’t like.

But we’re probably looking at it the wrong way. That’s not leaked for our benefit. Its target audience is, in our estimation, inside Russia. The message is: we are strong, we are invincible, nobody had better mess with us. It is a bluff, yes, but he’s bluffing his own people, not the Americans.

For Some Good Information

In addition to Bill Gertz’s column mentioned above, read Jeffrey Lewis’s posts at Arms Control Wonk:

Don’t neglect the comments. He has some astute and technically proficient commenters.

He also wrote a column in Foreign Policy that transcended the usual soporific house style:

At the risk of understating things, this project is bat-shit crazy. It harkens back to the most absurd moments of the Cold War, when nuclear strategists followed the logic of deterrence over the cliff and into the abyss. For his part, Putin seems positively nostalgic.

What sort of sick bastards dream up this kind of weapon? Whether or not the Russians ever build it is almost beside the point. Simply announcing to the world that you find this to be a reasonable approach to deterrence should be enough to mark you out as a dangerous creep.

Of course, then Lewis makes his own bat-guano-crazy argument, that rather than develop a military response to this thing, or (giving him the benefit of the doubt), in parallel to the military response, we need to “think about making better use of international norms against nuclear weapons.” Yes, because Vladimir Vladimirovich is as impressed with “international norms” as his role model Josef Vissarionovich was with the Pope.

Cyber Gun Aimed at Low-Information Generals

This image comes to you from the US Cyber Command’s booth at the AUSA convention, basically like SHOT show for the Army, complete with a keyword where the Chief of Staff sets the tone and introduces the buzzwords for the next year.

army_cyber_rifle

Wuzzzat he’s holding? A phased pulse rifle in the 40-megawatt range? Not exactly. This year, the Chief’s thunder has been stolen by that futuristic gadget, the Cyber Rifle. It’s a promotional gimmick from — who else? — the Army Cyber Institute at West Point. Appropriately enough it has been promoted by tweet.

It can open doors!

And zap drones! (If the Army gig doesn’t work out, they could sell this thing to every celebrity wedding planner from Malibu to Montauk).

The Cyber Gun isn’t a real weapon, although as you can see from the close-up, it’s built on AR-15 receivers. It’s more of a technology demonstrator, but even more than that, it’s a capabilities briefing in memorable, physical form. Captain Brent Chapman (the grinning fellow wielding the “rifle” in the “bunker lights and door” video) built it from COTS components, including a Raspberry Pi1, Wi-Fi module2, Kali Linux3, and Yagi antenna4 (since those may be terra incognita to some of our more firearm-oriented readers, there are definitions in the notes). It cost $150 to buy the parts, and 10 hours to build and test the Cyber Rifle.

Captain Chapman wasn’t entirely breaking new ground here. A very similar rig, made for mobile penetration testing, is in this 2013 blog post. Of course, it doesn’t look like a rifle.

So why does the Cyber Rifle, which is really a simple computer running some hacking tools with an antenna, look like a rifle?

Well, we mentioned how the Chief of Staff uses his speech to give impetus to ethe Army’s newest, shiniest buzzwords. No buzzword is shinier, now, than cyber. The Army has created a Cyber Branch (it took 35 years for SF to get a branch, but we didn’t offer the possibility of non-fighting slots for Academy grads that incline that way), and has selected its initial cadre of officers and NCOs. And here’s how we know that cyber’s a big deal with this Chief of Staff:

COS Milley visits ARCYBER

That’s the new boss, Mark Milley, in the Army Blue uniform, an outfit that looks like it’s on loan from the guards at Lenin’s Tomb. (He’s got a lot of sparkly baubles. Which one is the Hero of Socialist Labor?). Gen. Milley looks a bit bemused by the whole thing, but cyber is big with Big Green (source).

One of the many stories written about the Cyber Rifle in the last few days hints at the reason:

All of the tech was placed onto the rifle frame, making it easier for senior military leaders to appreciate.

“Easier for senior leaders to appreciate…” gee, that sounds a lot like “Generals are thick, make it look like a rifle or they’ll never understand how a computer can be an offensive weapon.”

But they wouldn’t really say that, would they?

Well, here’s another story with a quote from Capt. Brent Chapman:

The rifle shape, meanwhile, is mostly for kicks. ” By putting all of this stuff on the rifle frame, it also makes it very easy for senior leaders to consume,” Chapman says. “Aim. Shoot. Crash. “

In a last-ditch defense of Capt. Chapman’s career, he said that before General Milley visited his display; the Chief of Staff didn’t inspire the statement.

As far as we know.

Notes

  1. A low-cost single-board computer made originally to promote programming education to kids. Same idea (single-board comp) as Arduino, but oriented to programming, not sensing and control of physical stuff.
  2. This is the same circuit that’s in your phone and computer for getting on your WiFi network. It’s available in various forms, a USB dongle is usually used with Raspberry Pi and other small circuit boards. To support the Yagi, you need a dongle that supports an external antenna.
  3. Probably best explained by Adafruit:

    Kali Linux is a distribution especially aimed at penetration testing and network security applications. (It’s a successor to Backtrack Linux.) Kali isn’t intended as a general-purpose desktop OS for end users. Instead, it’s a collection of useful tools for monitoring, exploring, and attacking networks. It comes out of the box with tools like Wiresharknmap, and Aircrack-ng, and is particularly useful in situations where you just want a disposable machine/installation with some network tools.
    This is the software that runs on the computer, it includes the operating system and integrated hacking tools.

  4. A Yagi is a highly directional antenna array that works best for a narrow frequency range (or a single frequency). In fact, if you’re of a certain age, you’ve seen or owned one: the traditional TV antenna. The Yagi has a long axis, which is structural, not electronic; it is crossed by orthogonal elements, one of which is the actual transmitting element (or driven element, a dipole), one of which (behind the dipole) is a reflector, the remainder of which are towards the direction of transmission (or direction of the transmitter, for a receiving antenna) and are called directors.
    The thing on the nose end of the Cyber Rifle that looks like the rostrum of a sawfish? That’s the yagi, and the black nubs are the elements — the rearmost one is the reflector, the one just before it is the driven element — the only one wired to the transmitter — and all the ones forward of that are directors. WiFi is a perfect application for a Yagi because of the known, fixed frequency. (It would also be an antenna you’d consider for GPS meaconing, for the same reason).
    Fun fact: The Yagi wasn’t invented by Yagi, a Todai professor. It was invented, mostly, by his colleague Uda. But Yagi wound up with the credit. Make of that what you will.

     

Jihadi go FOOM. Awwwww.

The Molotov Cocktail, so named in the 1930s as an insult to the then-foreign minister of the USSR, who was doing all he could to put the concept of World Revolution into action, is a deceptively simple weapon.

Naturally, anything so deceptively simple tends to deceive the simple. And no one is so simple as a violent Arab, the mathematically somewhat-short sum total of many generations of the cousin-marriage inbreeding that passes for mate selection in their boy- and goat-preference ranks. (The mean IQ of Arabs is in the 70s and 80s — from a full SD below the global mean, to on the threshold of retardation in the civilized world). Seldom has the typically low-IQ lack of safety culture been more apparent than in this image:

pali_disco_inferno_01

Burn, baby, burn! It’s a Disco Inferno!

Does he know any other dance moves? Well, yes; there are larger and other pictures of Hot Head here going around.

Kevin Williamson of National Review writes and provides credit to the photographer, who had to get his nose full of roast jihadi to get these pictures:

A news photograph from Hazem Bader, who chronicles newsworthy doings in Israel for Agence France Presse, inspired a good deal of guilty giggles on Tuesday: A Palestinian thug mishandled his Molotov cocktail and managed to set fire to his T-shirt and then to his keffiyeh, which had his compatriots scrambling to put out the flames dancing on his head. That was not the sort of halo that the holy warrior had in mind at all — martyrdom, yes, inshallah, but not right now. Like all decent people of good will, my first reaction was: Serves you right, ass. And then a smidgen of guilt: If you’ve ever seen a human being burned, you don’t wish it on anybody. Not even these Jew-hating jihadi bums.

via Palestinian Self-Immolation — Metaphor for Palestinian ExperienceNational Review Online.

We have to disagree with Kevin D. Williamson of National Review here; we do wish it on this scumbag, and all his family and friends. They can burn now with their ineptly produced and handled Molotovs, or burn later in their Iranian sponsors’ nuclear fires, or burn still later in the fires of Hell, for all we care. But while they’re dancing and burning before us now, we’ll enjoy the show.

And if he dies after a month in a burn ward — with some Israeli doctors working their hearts out to try to save him, probably — we’ll celebrate that, too.

Happy Jihad, crispy critter. You deserve every scar and every burning (see what we did there?) nerve ending.

This is not that rare an occurrence. Here’s one from 30 November 2013 in East Jerusalem.

pali_disco_inferno_02

The indifferent look of our flamer’s buddy on the left sums up Arab brotherhood. Oh, snap, there goes Abdul. Ah well, Allah willed it. The shaheed workout: feel the burn!

‘Cause it’s a disco inferno. More cowbell!

In previous Molotov cocktail coverage here (with updates, because we’re curious like that):

  • 04 Sep 12: Another victim of Hollywood special effects. We cover both the crime of the moment by a guy named Daigle and the history of Molotovs in general here. (Funny coincidence: here’s another molotov case with an NH angle and a detective named Daigle. The three firebombers all walked with probation — it was a MA court. The mastermind did get 15 years). Molotov Daigle later tried to escape while he was awaiting trial — like his other criminal enterprises. He pled guilty (that link has details on how non-mastermind his crime was — pro tip: the beer bottle that forms your assassination weapon should not match five in your trash can) and is probably out by now.
  • 22 Oct 12: When Guns are Outlawed… tells the story of two separate knucklehead Molotov attacks in California and Virginia.
  • 03 Mar 14: When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have Molotov cocktails. A brilliant but troubled Georgia Tech grad student of Iranian extraction seems to have used one in a grisly suicide attempt on 9 Feb 14. Saamer Akhshabi died from his injuries on 6 Mar 14. (We had noted short days before that “the odds are against young Akhshabi’s survival.”) Note that his professor’s page has been edited to remove the reference to Akhshabi’s possible mental illness that is in the pre-demise version quoted in the WeaponsMan post.

Dropping Acid: Low-Tech Terror With Corrosives

(There are no pictures with this story. If you must see the survivors of these attacks (and the perps, for that matter), follow the links. –Ed.)

The President says the USA is the only nation that has mass shootings. (He’s wrong of course, the US only has two or three in the top ten, with places like Korea and Norway beating our own criminals’ worst efforts). But be that as it may, Britain, which certainly has fewer shootings per capita than the United States, has an epidemic of another crime that we don’t see much here, thank a merciful God.

That crime is acid attacks. Imported to the UK by the jihadi contingent of Britain’s turbulent Pakistani minority, these attacks were once strictly contained in the Islamic underworld, but have now spread to the native English, Welsh, Irish and Scots criminal classes.

It’s become so common in Britain now, that it has got its own entry in the catalog of crimes: “Conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid.”

Here are just a few, pulled from a single newspaper (the Daily Express) to obviate the risk of duplication:

  • 3 Sep 15: Former boxer turned drug dealer Anthony Riley (26) was convicted of the 14 Aug 14 attack on his ex-girlfriend, beautician Adele Bellis (23). Riley, unhappy about Bellis leaving him, hired Jason Harrison (27), who owed him £10,000, to throw sulfuric acid in Bellis’s face. A detail:

Riley had tested the strength of the corrosive acid by dangling a live mouse into a jar and laughed as it died.

Both men were convicted of “conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid,” among other crimes.

  • 19 Dec 14: an 80-year-old moslem, Mohammed Rafiq, was jailed for 18 years for arranging a revenge attack on a 19-year-old (!) ex-girlfriend that left her with “devastating” scars. Several non-moslem co-conspirators went to prison, too. The judge said that such attacks are common in some other countries, but “rare in Britain.” Really?

So, a century-plus of gun restrictions including a near-two-decade-old outright ban on handguns, and Old Blighty’s still waiting for the promised restoration of Eden.

But they did manage to import this cultural practice in the last decade or so. All part of the diverse vibrancy of tapestry, or something like that.