Monthly Archives: March 2016

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Financial Advisors

Ami Forte Morgan Stanley crookTrue, this grinning bankster chick didn’t kill anybody. She just ripped off a widow of some $400M — after sleeping with the woman’s husband (wonder what he died of? Did they do a thorough tox on him?).

But that’s OK, because the in-the-bank’s-pocket arbitrator awarded the ripped off widow almost 10% of what Sunshine here and the bank ripped off. Well, that’s all okay then.

Three years ago, Ami Forte was Morgan Stanley’s top woman adviser, managing more than $2 billion and was a high-flying member of the bank’s exclusive Chairman’s Club.

Now, after losing a brutal arbitration case this week that cost her and the bank $34 million for making excessive and unauthorized trades in the account of her now-dead client and alleged lover, she’s been kicked out by the bank.

“It’s not us, and it’s not Wall Street in general. It’s that one bad actor.” Yeah, keep telling us that.

Forte, of Palm Harbor, Fla, who joined the bank in 2000, was out just days after an arbitration panel found that she was responsible for years of improper trading, industry Web site Advisorhub.com first reported.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ruled on Monday that Forte, 58, and her manager, Terry McCoy, were found to have made 12,000 improper trades and pocketing $40 million from the account of Roy Speer, the co-founder of the Home Shopping Network, who died in 2012.

They didn’t even have to give back all $40M that Morgan Stanley’s own owned-and-operated arbitrator said they stole. They got to keep $6M — a 15% commission on theft. Hey, when was the last time Morgan Stanley, or anybody, offered you 15% on anything?

Sorry, that’s a special deal for insiders. And you’re not one of ’em.

Speer’s widow Lynnda accused Forte of carrying on an affair with Roy until at least 2011. She had originally sought more than $400 million, and is looking to collect lawyer’s fees in Florida court.

via Top Morgan Stanley adviser’s ugly fall from grace | New York Post.

Of course, because it’s a New York paper, and stealing outsiders’ money by financial manipulation is the big industry in a company town, the story is all about how bad this is for poor Ami Forte. It’s like, fired by Morgan, what does she do now?

She’s probably already back at work. She’s displayed the character everyone has learned to associate with Goldman Sachs, and they’re hiring (they need someone to fill in stealing from the customers whilst Ted Cruz’s wife is out on the campaign, after all). Hell, the Clinton Foundation is hiring, and so is Chelsea’s husband’s son-of-Federal-inmate- hedge fund.

The Actual Mutiny of General Harbord’s Russians

Mutinous Russians, from a contemporary French paper (however, this may illustrate Russians in Russia despite the Western steeple. Note Maxim and Mosins).

Mutinous Russians, from a contemporary French paper. (However, this may illustrate Russians in Russia despite the Western steeple. Note Maxim and Mosins).

This post assumes you read yesterday’s, in which James G. Harbord met a near-mutinous Russian unit at an unnamed location in France, and was (to say the least) unimpressed with them.

It turns out, the French, desperately short of cannon fodder by 1916, had offered the Russians armaments — in a dope deal, for which the Russians would provide the cannon fodder. The professional officers were against it — Russia had a lot of manpower, but not so much that they could give it to the French to waste, as French generals had wasted their own. But the Tsar was in favor of the deal, and so it was concluded. In time, there were going to be around nine Special Brigades of Russians in France. The one concession to military professionalism was that the Russians would serve under their own officers to brigade level (what the French originally proposed to the Russians, and would propose again to the USA when America entered a year later, was to expend the Russians as individual replacements in French units. The war would have lasted to 1928 on those terms, unless the Germans made it to Paris again).

Monument to the Mutineers. The slogan is "Down with War" (or "with the War").

Monument to the Mutineers in the cemetery at La Courtine. The slogan is “Down with War” (or “with the War”). Source.

These Russians were not volunteers; they were draft levies, sent to fight on foreign ground for a foreign nation, in an era that can only be described as the very nadir of military leadership. The first two Russian brigades were armed and equipped by the French, and were thrown into the Nivelle offensives, and decimated just as the French were. This botched offensive is what led to the mutinies of 1917 in the French Army; the Russian units actually held together longer and more loyally, until they got word of the February Revolution. They formed soviets (committees) and took votes. (Surprisingly, one of the first votes was to participate in the next offensive, although it was a narrow decision; the offensive went the way of previous ones, lives expended for nothing). They did not so much overthrow their officers with this soviet structure, as they undermined them, by setting up a parallel, independent leadership cadre.

Ethnic tension played a part in the Russian units’ lack of cohesion. There were a number of ethnic Poles (Poland not existing at the time, but being divided between Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary), including some among the “Russians” in French military cemeteries (.pdf). And there were a significant number (several hundred in one brigade) of Estonians.

Russians at Courtine, June 1917. Source.

Russians at Courtine, June 1917. Source.

That was the chaos Harbord visited in late October, 1917, as described yesterday. It is uncertain what camp he visited, but circumstantial evidence suggests it was Camp Militaire at Courtine.  For example, a timeline of the Russian mutiny suggests that on December 20th the camp was occupied by American engineers. By then, the mutinous Russians had been divided and the volunteer Russian Legion departed for the Salonika front.

A VIP (who?) reviews the troops at Courtine. The Russians' French rifles are clearly visible. Source (same as above).

A VIP (who?) reviews the troops at Courtine. The Russians’ French rifles are clearly visible. Source (same as above).

Some timelines suggest that, the Russians mutinied days after Harbord’s visit, but most French sources seem clear that the mutiny happened and was put down earlier.  But the timeline also suggests that the Russians were disarmed and the ringleaders incarcerated, and that conflicts with Harbord’s eyewitness testimony that they were still armed, and truculent if not mutinous, in late October.

Of the Russian troops, some asked to be allowed to continue to fight. That’s the source of the Russian Legion; there was also an Estonian Legion formed. An attempt to form the surviving mutineers into unarmed labor units seems not to have been pursued in depth. Some former Russian soldiers opted to go home; and others opted to leave the Army, but remain in France. Quite a few Frenchmen today have a Russian-sounding last name thanks to these mutineers of a century past.

Harbord had at least one more encounter with Russians:

A day later we had General Gourko, of Russia. He is a small man, black mustache and goatee, otherwise cleanly shaven, where from the name I had looked for a bearded blond giant over six feet in height. He commanded a brigade of Cossacks in the war with Japan, a cavalry division just before the Great War, and has since commanded an ArmyCorpsandthenanArmy. Goodtastedidnotpermit that he be asked as to his views of his present government exactly, but I inferred that his sympathies are with Vancien regime. He spoke quite desparingly of present conditions in Russia and said a few weeks would probably either see the bottom absolutely touched and Russia gone entirely to pieces, or would see a betterment in conditions and the nation pulling itself together again.

His mission was to arrange for the entry into American service of some hundreds of Russian officers, regulars, professional soldiers, left stranded by unfortunate conditions in their native land, and judging from actual reports liable to assassination at any time by their men. Naturally, the matter of citizenship, language and other reasons bar this ambition to lead American troops in the Great War.

Still a day later we had General Zankevitch, another Russian general, the titular Chief of the Russian Mission in France, who came on the same errand as Gourko, and with the same result. The Russian Mission; was any other event in history so productive of Missions as this war? The Parsons Mission, the Baker Mission, the House Mission, the Mission with us, the French Mission to the United States, the British ditto to the ditto; a Mission at each Headquarters, the Mission from Bolivia which wishes to come to us, also the Japanese Mission, etc., etc. Our Mission to Russia last Spring; our present Mission there; all those Missions from the four corners of the earth trying to borrow money of the opulent and unarmed United States. “Mission” and “Liaison” are the two words which this war has immortalized, to which at these Headquarters may be added “Coordination.” Little Zankevitch had little chance to present his case for the Russian officers, for the C. in C. had to catch a train for Paris, which he did and took Zankevitch with him. NOTE Y

One of the Russian mutineers was a young sergeant named Rodion Malinovsky, who would be a Marshal and Minister of Defense of the USSR amidst the Cold War, in the 1960s.

And finally, perhaps this is why we feel such great affinity for Harbord:

Colonel Dawes, with whom I have many tastes in common, and I had decided to have luncheon together at the Tour d’Argent, eating Duck No. 48921, I believe, and then go to Brentano’s and pore over the old books. Dawes is fond of Napoleonana, as I am also. He is a man of great wealth, some millions I understand, and he bought what he saw that he liked. He tossed into a pile book values that would have been the earnest subject of prayerful deliberation with me for half a year, left a hundred dollars with Brentano for the afternoon’s work, and gave me about half the books he bought. Old rare editions, “History of the Bastille,” “Martyrs of the Bastille,” etc., etc. We went to his room at the Ritz and gloated a few gloats and then attended Mrs. Ambassador Sharp’s tea for the Army.NOTE X

Any man who gloats a few gloats with a friend over acquiring a few books is a friend of this blog, and perhaps on the astral plane where the long-gone General and the bon vivant Colonel Dawes find themselves now, will take some joy in knowing that we have gloated a few gloats over our venerable copy of the good general’s letters.

Notes

  1. Note Y. Harbord, pp. 204-205.
  2. Note X. Harbord, p. 199.

Sources

Harbord, Maj. Gen. James G. Leaves from a War Diary. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1925. Downloadable files available here: https://archive.org/details/leavesfromwardia00jame

La Courtine 1917. Multiple pages (French language). Retrieved from: http://www.lacourtine1917.org/

Some 3D Printed Firearms Updates

It’s been a long time since we did one of these updates, so here are a few things we’ve picked up here and there.

Print Now, Rest Later

Here’s a practical print task: a 3D printable cheek rest for an AR-15 pistol. (Well, to the extent that an AR pistol is practical). As we understand it, if you shoulder the weapon (say, with a SIG brace) you are violating the SBR laws, but if you’re cheek-resting you’re all tickety-boo. This image is a rendering; a final print will have some striations to it, from most printers using the most common 3DP technologies.

3D Printable AR pistol cheek rest

Checked as of last night, the files are here: https://www.sendspace.com/file/386tvq

Happy printing & shooting.

About those striated parts

One of the problems with 3D printing, especially the Fused Filament Fabrication / Fused Deposition Molding type that is common, is that the parts often display layering, striations, and other artifacts that add up to a lousy surface finish. There are several ways to smooth 3D prints.

These include:

  • Mechanical Smoothing — this can be sanding or particle blasting; each has its pros and cons. Sanding is limited in how small a part you can do, bead blasting in how large. Bead blasting always produces a matte finish, although the coarseness or fineness of the finish depends on the blasting media. On a part large enough to be practically sanded, sanding can produce a finish limited primarily by time and the cost of skilled labor.
  • Chemical Solvent Smoothing — this involves exposing the part to solvent vapor. For example, for ABS, acetone vapor either cold or hot (hot vapor has definite safety limitations and concerns, but can produce a superior finish). Acetone doesn’t work with PLA as it’s not acetone-soluble. Acetone also reduces the strength of the part: its stiffness is reduced, and it fails under a lower load.
  • Finish Coating — for a cosmetic finish, a thick paint can be used to fill layer striations. This will, often enough, loop you back to sanding. This is cosmetic only and subject to wear.
  • Epoxy Coating — this does require some skill to pull off, but both fills and reinforces the part. This can be important with some liquid-based and powder-based laser 3D printers whose parts tend to be brittle; coating them with epoxy can make the printed part, in effect, a shear web and form inside a tough, flexible epoxy shell. This is good when the part needs to be employed as is, and not so good if the part is intended to be, say, a sacrificial casting pattern. (In that case, for lost-PLA casting for example, use one of the other procedures). Smooth-on sells an epoxy that’s optimized for this type of use and has several how-to and application videos on the web page.

For more information:

  1. Lindsey Frick in Machine Design on “How to Smooth 3D-Printed Parts.”
  2. Smooth-on’s gaudy page on their XTC-3D 3D Print Coating has lots of examples and tutorials.
  3. Here’s Make Magazine and Instructables with a pair of acetone-vapor tutorials.
  4. And here’s the story of a guy who went whole hog and built an ultrasonic vapor fogging chamber in hopes it would increase the strength of his prints (it actually weakened them). There’s a link in that article to an Instructable on building his fogger, too.

100 Rounds from a 3DP Pistol

Remember the original Liberator (well, the original 3D Printed Liberator, not the original original Liberator)? It was only good for a few shots. (Unless you were the New South Wales Police, and printed it without reading the instructions, in which case it blew up first shot). What use was it? But as Franklin said on being asked that of the invention of the French aeronauts, the Montgolfier brothers, “What use is a newborn baby?”

Well, here’s a 3D Printed pistol that has fired 100 rounds and is still going. 3D printed AR lowers long ago beat that number, but here’s a pistol that’s all 3D printed on consumer equipment, except for the mandatory weight and firing pin.

100-round-songbirdWe’re not sure whether this colorful print of this James R. Patrick design wants to be a toy, or whether it wants to be a Glock when it grows up.

A Practical Print for Almost Everyone

What’s this? It’s an AR Hammer Block. Use it when you want to function-check that lower you just monkeyed with, without running aground on the Scylla of letting the hammer slam into your expensive piece of aluminum (very expensive if it comes with a stamp), and the Charybdis of using your delicate pink (brown, whatever) thumb to intercept the falling hammer.

printed AR hammer block

A great, practical print. (The website it’s advertising is for a training device to use with your SIRT, not available to the general public yet). Hmmm… the “files” link at PrintedFirearm.com, went to a malware site: adf.ly! And downloaded a malware .exe! We’re not giving you that link.

OK, here’s another one instead, by Charles Lacey:

AR trigger pull test block

Files here, Grabcad is not a malware site: https://grabcad.com/library/ar-15-trigger-pull-test-block-all-set-for-3d-printing-1 (You do have to join Grabcad to download files, though).

Lacey also has a chamber flag, or as he calls it, a bore flag, on Grabcad, and a couple of Magpul mag floor plates, including a whimsical Flying Tigers version. We leave finding those as an exercise for the reader.

Large Format Printed Pistol Now Speaks Glock

shuty mp-1 pistolWe’ve showed the Shuty MP-1 before, a 3D printed pistol inspired by the designs of Luty. The pistol made a splash in the media some time ago, with the usual alarums and excursions, dogs and cats lying down together, and all the usual drivel you usually only hear in an election year. (This happened twice, actually — in February 2015 with the original Shuty, and in February 2016 with the improved MP-1).

Less publicized has been the Gluty — as you can see from the image below, it’s a Shuty reengineered for Glock mags. The image tells us it’s been printed but we’re not aware of how successfully it has been test fired — unlike the Shuty.

Gluty 3DP pistol

One of the biggest limitations of the Shuty is its magazine. Adapting to commodity Glock magazines is the easiest way to increase the magazine capacity of  this novel firearm. At the same time, the original files, with their included magazine files, allow the creation of a firearm where even the mags are unobtainable.

Of course, that still leaves the barrel as a tough nut to crack. Shuty and Gluty use the standard pistol barrels.

Printed AR Lower

This FOSSCAD JT Vanguard has been around for a while. This recent print, in ABS thermoplastic, shows some of the strengths of the design, and how the venerable AR form factor has had to change to adapt to these new materials and new processes. First shot shows it with an upper in the white. The grip and magazine are also printed.

FOSSCAD Vanguard JT ABS

The grip is also ABS. We’re not sure about the materials of the mag, and wonder if the buttstock is printed also. This next picture shows you just a few of the changes, including the bulkier pivot area, the much beefier buffer tower, and the thick reinforcements along the receiver outboard of the trigger group.

FOSSCAD Vanguard JT ABS CloseThis picture shows the trigger group in place. The reinforcement is clearly visible.

FOSSCAD Vanguard JT internal

There have been experiments with printed trigger-group components, but so far, they haven’t been very impressive. Materials and processes need further improvements.

Exotic Lower-stock Bipod Combination

This is the Atlas AR-15 lower, by WarFairy CAD. It has a certain FN P90 vibe to it. It’s meant to be used with a free-floating barrel and suitable handguard/rails system.

WarFairy Atlas

When one looks at some of these designs, one is reminded of Donald Sutherland’s character in The Dirty Dozen, impersonating a general. “Pretty, but can it fight?”

Atlas Files: https://www.sendspace.com/file/6f0cfo

Finally — MakerBot Hates You

MakerBot continues its extreme antigun position. How extreme? A design for a powder knob for a Dillon progressive reloader was banished to 404.

Funny, their 404 page says, “There is nothing awesome here… yet.” Well, there was before they deleted it!

MakerBot does not want our business? Transmission received.

Consider Ultimaker. Ultimaker advertises on PrintedFirearm.com, which is an interesting site to check from time to time. Beware of any of their links to adf.ly. Two we observed were both delivering malware yesterday, and probably still are.

Need a Shooting Mat?

Midway Half AcreMidway USA is having a sale on shooting bags and mats right now. They have them in all sizes — this is the big daddy, which is called (in classic marketing hyperbole) the Half Acre. It’s actually six feet by almost three (72 x 34″), not counting the flap at the front. It’s padded with foam, and tough enough to use on a gravel shooting point. You can take it home and rinse it off on the deck or driveway and then hang it up to dry for the next outing.

Half Acre, to go.

Half Acre, to go.

(Personally, having set a shooting mat or two (and a rucksack) on fire over the years, we’d position the rifle a little more forward, but that’s us). It folds up into a smaller, although not exactly compact, package. If you want to get smaller than that, they have a wide range of of smaller ones.

We like mats like this, even though we don’t shoot much from unimproved firing lines these days, and our personal forlorn hope is to have everything for a range trip in one bag. We used a mat in the Army (and got ribbed for it, but we didn’t get as dirty as the guys ribbing us).

The good news from Midway is that this mat is now on sale for $90 — $40 off the regular price. In fact, all the Midway mats are on sale right now, including this one at over 60% off, although reviewers note that it is really more of a packable ground cloth than a shooting mat (none of the padding that the higher end mats feature).

Midway’s convention for sale prices is bold red type. After writing this up, we wound up not buying the mat after all, but seeing as how we were at the website anyway, we dropped a hunge on gunsmith tools. (They have a Weaver screwdriver/punch set and a steel Baker block on sale). Can you ever have too many gunsmith tools?

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Ivy-League Educations

handcuffs_1While some individual Ivy League grads are alright, they’re about as uncommon as ones that are as far gone as Thomas Gilbert Jr., who tried to expedite his inheritance of millions by the simple expedient of blowing away his dad, the guy who made the money. (For once, a real murder that’s like the ones on TV, and not two dope dealers working out territorial issues, a bugged-up armed robber with a trigger-finger twitch, or a pimp dismissing his least productive ho).

He did this, naturally, in Manhattan, NYFC, where guns are outlawed. Funny how that works. Now he’s acting nuts to beat the rap. Given the cluelessness of the typical New York judge, that just might fly.

The Princeton grad who allegedly shot dead his millionaire hedge-fund dad refused Wednesday to emerge from his cell for court and, when his lawyer tried to persuade him, bizarrely requested a meeting with Cablevision.

“My client refused to come to court, my client would not give me a reason why,” the defense lawyer for Thomas Gilbert Jr. told Justice Melissa Jackson in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Attorney Alex Spiro continued matter-of-factly, “He asked me to provide information about Cablevision. He would not explain why he needed to speak to people at Cablevision.”

Jackson ordered Spiro to turn over to prosecutors additional information about the psychiatric defense he might use at trial.

But Spiro argued that his hands were tied as Gilbert Jr., 31, was refusing to meet with defense experts.

ADA Craig Ortner pointed out that Jackson had ruled after a hearing in December that Gilbert Jr. was fit to proceed.

via Princeton grad accused of killing dad refuses to appear in court | New York Post.

You know, around here, if you refuse to come out of your cell to go to court, a team of the biggest correctional officers, how shall we put this, winkles you out? Persuades you? You may wind up straitjacketed and gagged (that’s the judge’s call, and it’s not one our judges fear making), as well as bruised, but your keister will be in the defendant’s chair when order in the court is called. For a supposedly brilliant high-SAT Printhtonian, this guy looks less crazy than stupid. Unfortunately, the judge seems inclined to let him get away with it.

Somewhere, Harvard guys are sniffing that of course Princeton (and Dartmouth, and Cornell) murderers get caught first time out. Conversely, Haaaahvahd men build on their superior networking and brown-nosing skills to become serial killers. (Kaczynski, ’62).

NYPDMeanwhile, elsewhere in NYC, outlawing guns has worked so well that the police want to withdraw behind the hulls of armored vehicles, for their own safety. They’re also doubling down on the tech boondoggle, Shotspotter, a pervasive audio/video surveillance system. They don’t seem to solve any murders with it, but what they have discovered is that the public is so alienated from the PD (and vice versa), that most shots fired in the city are never called in to 911.

In case you were wondering where NYPD was going with the Community Policing initiative, this seems to be the answer — to the cemetery, to bury the thing. Instead, they’re going full Robocop.

General Harbord meets the Russians, 1917

MG James Guthrie Harbord orihMajor (later Lieutenant) General James Guthrie Harbord was a career Army officer who entered the First World War as a Colonel on the staff of his mentor and great friend, General John J. Pershing. He served in important positions, as the commander of the 2nd Division briefly, but perhaps more importantly as the commander of the Marine Brigade during the bitter fighting at Belleau Wood. His most vital position, though, was as the chief of the Services of Supply, tasked with transporting, feeding, housing and equipping an Expeditionary Force that was intended to be 500,000 men — but came to be more nearly two million. They were supported mostly via steam power by ship and train, but sometimes by the newest and most venerable modes of military transport, the new motor vehicle and the ancient horse, and some cargoes even crossed the Atlantic under sail.

Fortunately for us all, at a century’s remove, Harbord was a firm believer that The Right Sort of People™ like himself ought not to be hampered by the censorship demanded by operational security, and he wrote copious letters home to his wife. (Emma Ovenshine Harbord was herself a general’s daughter, which might explain, beyond Harbord’s definite abilities, how a man who was not an Academy graduate reached such elevated positions in the Army of a century ago). Unwilling either to submit his letters to censorship or to leave his wife in the dark — he admired her sharp mind — he wrote her copious, long and frank letters, and sent them via the friends-and-family courier network, outside of channels. For her part, Emma Ovenshine Harbord saved the letters and the General was able to prepare and publish them in book form as Leaves from a War Diary in 1925.

Best of all, whilst we are working off the lovely-smelling vintage copy we found in an out of the way bookstore for little money, you may read this wonderful book — and it is a wonderful book, for reasons we will get to before we get to the Russians of the post title — at archive.org, or download it there in any of a number of ebook formats, including fascimile .pdf, .mobi (used by Kindle among others) or .epub (used by ibooks among others).

A Glimpse of Harbord’s Character

As Harbord was traveling around France — with General Pershing, who had just received a promotion — he had occasion to comment on the General’s loss of his campaign hat. The loss itself is fairly humorous, involving the language barrier, a portrait painter and a servant’s misunderstanding, but it is when the General seeks a new hat that the letters give a glimpse of two Harbord characteristics — a lively humor, which makes his letters a delight to read, and a strait-laced reserve:

After waiting a few minutes longer the concierge located the chauffeur who was supposed to have gone for the hat and belt, waiting at the corner. He had not gone for them at all, getting the idea in some way that the directions given him minutely by the General that afternoon were only intended to be acted upon when office was closed and that he was to drive the Chief around that way to get his property after he left the office. The General took the A.D.C’s hat and belt and we got away, leaving the latter to get his baggage and follow by the train next day.

St. Nazaire was reached next morning about seven, and after a breakfast in the station restaurant, and half an hour trying to buy a hat that would fit the Chief better than his A.D.C.’s, he pointing with evident satisfaction to the fact that his size was one- eighth larger than that of any member of his party,—to which I was tempted to reply that none of the rest of us had quite so much reason to have a large hatband, not having recently been made General of the Army, but I did not say it. He bought a Q.M. hat. I loaned him a gold hatcord, and we left St. Nazaire about nine for a run up through Brittany to one of our field artillery training camps, to return by a different road and another camp.1

And Let’s Meet the Russians

The First World War was a war of grand coalitions, in which the Russians, whose big-brotherhood to the fractious Serbs had produced German big-brotherhood to the obstreporous Habsburgs, which is to say, the whole war in the first place, did figure. And some Russian troops were present on the Western Front (by the time the US entered the war, France and England were bled white by trench war and dullard leadership; they needed warm bodies from anywhere). But by the American entry into the war, the Russian Empire had collapsed, and Soviet Russia had yet to take hold; we find ourselves in the chaos between two Russian Revolutions. The Russians show up, and this situation has had its impact on their discipline, as senior officers negotiate the politics of a Bastille Day parade.

The War Office asked originally troops for the Fourth of July and the Fourteenth, the latter the Day of the Bastille. Then they wakened to the fact that they had other allies who might wonder why Americans were invited on the Fourteenth and they not. The British, the little brunette Portuguese; the slippery and commercial Belgians; the Russians now in a state of discipline where they have had to be withdrawn from the front line, and a captain can enforce no orders until the president of the company has viséed them,—they are all Allies like ourselves, not to mention any wandering Cubans, Japanese, Liberians, Brazilians, Servians, Roumanians and Montenegrins that might blow along, and not omitting our ally that “sella de banan,” all of whom are enlisted in the sacred cause of Democracy like ourselves. So they decided to omit Allied participation in the Day of the Bastille, and invite US for our own Day.2

How Harbord formed this opinion of the Russians by June 1917 was unclear; it may have been by hearsay, rather than by direct observation. But by October, 1917 he was able to observe them first-hand, and his observations were, if anything, more negative than his prior opinion.

28 October 1917
To-day we ran out about forty miles from Bordeaux to a camp where we are thinking of putting one of our divisions if they get to coming fast. It is now occupied by a small French garrison and a brigade of Russians. When the Russian Empire fell Russia had a division of soldiers on the Western front,—good soldiers too, it is said,—but they raised the red flag, murdered some of their officers, and started the same idea of military command and administration by committees that has ruined their army at home, and had to be withdrawn from the lines. Withdrawn they began to murder, burn and plunder the surrounding country, General Petain told General Pershing that he had sent them away from the Zone of the Armies. We later heard of them as having been divided in two classes, the good and the bad. The former were sent to where we saw them to-day. The French officer in command has black Senegalese troops.3

OK, so these are what the French consider the good Russians that Harbord is about to describe.

We asked something about the Russians not working, the camp being in rather a low place with the drains stopped up and overflowing. He said they would not work, and could not be made to work. Starving them was suggested, which he said would not bring them to terms. It was then suggested that lining them up and shooting every hundredth man would probably bring the remainder to their senses. We visited the stables, for the Russian brigade has 900 horses with it, and found the horses poor and uncared for, standing in mud to their fetlocks. I never saw a dirtier place than that camp. Finally, in our conversation, it developed quite incidentally, in speaking of them, that they still have their rifles and ammunition, and that the French have never disarmed them. That put a different phase on why they will not work. No wonder, when they outnumber their guards and are armed with rifles, that they do as they please. It had never occurred to us, General Pershing or myself, that they had not been disarmed when they were sent away from the Zone of the Armies. It is something we cannot now understand. They are not only armed and refuse to work, but the French are paying them wages, their usual pay. We certainly do not see things from the French standpoint.

As we left the camp, two Russian colonels approached and introduced themselves, one being the Chief of Staff and the other a regimental commander. Both wore decorations given them by the empire, and the regimental colonel a Croix de Guerre bestowed by the French. The General, the staff officer said, had gone to Paris to see when they were going to allowed to go to the front. Our General asked if he thought they had discipline enough to be allowed to take over a secteur of the front, to which he replied yes. J. J. P. then delivered him a few remarks on a state of discipline which permitted a camp as filthy as that, and the reply was that it was just like that when they took it over from the French. They have committees to run the administration of the companies; dictate how much work if any shall be done; how much drill there shall be; the function of the officer being to command at drill, purely a tactical role. Drunk, absolutely drunk with liberty!4

He had one more Russian sighting, that very day.

We returned to Arcachon, a very attractive little summer resort city on an arm of the sea, and had luncheon. Several Russian officers, well dressed and prosperous-looking, and wearing empire decorations, were in the dining room. We had a fine luncheon and were about to go when the proprietor with much groveling and apologizing asked the General to write in his Golden Book. Then a very nice-looking girl who spoke English, and said her mother was English, asked if he would not write in hers, and he did: “To my fair Ally!!!!” Smooth!5

What became of these displaced Russians was not known to us. It seemed likely that most of them returned home, perhaps as individuals more than as units, and some stayed in France among the flow of White Russian exiles for which interwar Paris would be known. (We actually did find out, and we have the story for tomorrow).

The Russians made one more impact upon Harbord, when one of their officers proposed that the US Army take their officers on board. As this excerpt is already very long for a blog post, we’ll address that one tomorrow — at the same time, 1100 Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

After the war, Harbord served as President Wilson’s fact finder in matters of the Armenian genocide in Turkey, and after retiring from the military became President and later Chairman of the Board of the Radio Corporation of America, RCA, where he was succeeded by an engineer who would go on to have considerable military impact himself, David Sarnoff. He published a second book, and his Armenia report is an important primary source on a bleak moment in human history.

Notes

  1. Harbord, pp. 183-184.
  2. Harbord, p. 82.
  3. Harbord, p. 191.
  4. Harbord, pp. 191-192. As far as the suggestion of a reduced decimation goes, the French Army used similar measures on mutinous units that year, executing selected ringleaders or just random troops.  J.J.P., of course, refers to Pershing.
  5. Harbord, pp. 192-193

Source

Harbord, John G. Leaves from a War Diary. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1925.

What’s Cooler than a Suppressed FN SAW M249S?

What’s Cooler than a Suppressed FN SAW M249S? Well, how the same gun plus Jerry Miculek? Yep, we’re talking about Louisiana’s fastest-shootin’ son, king-hell competition and exhibition shooter Jerry Miculek, yielding a suppressed semi SAW, popping silhouettes at a few meters.

As God is our witness, if we had to face three bad guys that close with only a SAW, when we got finished distributing the 216 virgins, we’d then weld a bayonet lug on the gun.

For next time, you know?

If you can’t see it here you can probably pick up the movie on YouTube.

We’ve wanted one of these SAWs since FN announced it, and this video does not make us want it any less. It looks like they’re shipping now — at least, to reviewers.x

Sacred Sunday

Today is a day sacred to the world’s Christians. Easter represents the date of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, three days after His execution by crucifixion.

It is, those of a scientific bent will tell you, something that is literally impossible. But that is, of course, the nature of a religion: the test of faith is not that you believe something logical, observable and therefore obviously possible.

Every religion tasks its votaries, then, with believing the impossible. As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ was dead as a stick of wood, until He wasn’t. Not only that, He still lives. And, moreover, He came offering us that same deal — life, after the end of life.

Not everyone wants to be part of that belief group. Others have their own faiths, and if you examine yours, you may find that it asks you to believe the impossible — and you do.

Perhaps it’s heresy, but we’ve seen enough good people of all faiths and none that we think almost anyone may do God’s work, whether he knows it or not. We may not be in the same army, as it were, but it’s nice to think we’re interoperable with one another. And almost anyone can fall under the sway of the mirror image of the benevolent spirit we are pleased to call God.

We don’t talk about faith much, here. We have a lot to be humble about on that score, and we are diffident about preaching for that and other reasons. But today, we confess we believe something that’s literally impossible.

We are looking forward to some good gun stuff in this week’s blog, some of which is already written.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Google Maps

Since the demolition of the house, Google has corrected their map. Better late than never, eh?

Since the demolition of the house, Google has corrected their map. Better late than never, eh? Unless you’re Lindsay Diaz. She’s still screwed.

On the plus side, nobody’s dead, wounded, or going to jail, which we can’t say about the usual When Guns Are Outlawed feature. But that doesn’t make this any less a story of calamity.

Imagine getting a call to say that your house is gone. As if it was nuked. And then it turns out it was demolished by a company that was sent to raze a house a block away, but trusted a bad Google map — and refuses to take responsibility.

(Which, to be fair, Google also refuses to do. “Don’t be evil,” is so 1990s, you know?)

Alan Cutter and Lindsay Diaz each owned half of a duplex at 7601 and 7603 Calypso Drive in Rowlett, a town right outside Dallas, Texas. The house had been hit by tornadoes over the holidays, but rather than completely rebuild her half, Diaz had planned on simply repairing it. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen.

Hours after applying for a builder’s permit this Tuesday, Diaz received a distressing call from Alan Cutter’s wife. Diaz tells KERA News, which had been following her story in its series “One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life,” that Mrs. Cutter was frantic, and when she asked what was going on, Mrs. Cutter told her that “a company came and demolished the house by mistake.”

Sure enough, by the time Diaz pulled up, all that was left was a concrete slab and the wrecked remains of what used to be her home.

WFAA, an ABC affiliate in Dallas, reports that Billy L. Nabors Demolition was scheduled to tear down a house at 7601 Cousteau Drive. The company is blaming Google Maps for the error, which sounds convenient, but if you enter “7601 Cousteau Drive” into Google Maps, it directs you to 7601 Calypso Drive.

via Wrong home accidentally demolished based on a Google Maps error | New York Post.

Whoever Billy L. Nabors is, doesn’t seem like “stand-up guy” is among his accomplishments. Or he’s getting (bad) advice from an attorney.

If Nabors and Google don’t step up quickly, a bunch of lawyers are going to get involved, which is just going to make everybody more angry and intransigent. And make the lawyers that much richer, which is just fine with the courts, which are 100% run by lawyers.

The Pointy End of Gunwalker

This is how Operation Gunwalker, by which the ATF and its political allies sought to induce a violent crime wave in Mexico, looked from the viewpoint of some of its victims, like US ICE Special Agents Victor Avila Jr and Jaime Zapata. In the ambush reenacted in this video, Zapata was mortally wounded and Avila wounded.

The US media find the ATF managers and political appointees who conspired with them to bring about this result and more to be congenial fellows. Such congenial fellows that they barely even cover any aspect of this story. This video is from the British satellite news station Sky News, which, unlike ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, ICE or FBI, thinks these crimes are worth investigating.

ICE had the surviving agent’s back.. if by “had” you mean “knifed.” Both the director at the time, John T. Morton, and the director today, Sarah Saldaña, went out of their way to back up their fellow bureaucrats, who armed Zapata’s murderers… and to screw over Avila and his family, and the survivors of the martyr Jaime Zapata.

And then, there’s the ATF’s share of the blame. In the video, whistleblowing ATF agent John Dodson doesn’t sugar coat it: “We are,” he sadly admits, “the very people that killed Brian Terry.” And, it turns out, Jaime Zapata.

“There is a sense here in Congress that the full extent of the gun walking scandal has yet to be revealed,” the Sky News presenter says, in between Congressional and Senatorial interviews.

We concur.

“Victor Avila is also certain that there is more to come out. He is convinced that his case, where weapons were transferred from the US to a Mexican cartel, must in some way be linked to the wider scandal.”

We concur.

We’ll give the last word to former Special Agent Avila: “Absolutely, it’s a cover-up.”

No, we’ll give the last word to his wife, Claudia: “It’s going to come to light.”