Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Weapon Wednesday - Warfightin' Seaplanes

World War Two military aviation always elicits an excited response from the hobbyist. Superforts. Mustangs. Hellcats. Liberators. Dakotas. All come to mind when classic war birds are mentioned.

And they were all great airframes. That served well. And help the Allies wing their way to victory. 

But an oft overlooked airplane flew from '39 in RAF colors all the way to the Japanese capitulation. 

An ungainly, slow, lumbering lightly armed amphibian. That helped sink the Bismarck, helped stop the Kido Butai, sank 40 U-Boats, and fished an untold number of water logged sailors and airmen out of the drink. 

Click to Embiggen
Yeah, she looks good in the mid war scheme. The Consolidated PBY first flew in 1936. And was finally retired from active military service in 1982, flying for the Brazilian Air Force as a SAR bird. 

And more awesomely, a few still serve today, fighting wild fires. 

As my love of the 10mm and .357 SiG illustrate, I like odd ball things. No one would think of the PBY as being a glamours war planes. But she served ably and well in every theater of WWII. 

Other than finding the Bismarck,  one could make two cases of what was the Cat's finest hour.

The Aleutians Campaign and Guadalcanal. I highly recommend The Thousand Mile War by Brian Garfield concerning the Aleutians. A fascinating look at a theater that has been all but forgotten in the modern historiography of WWII. 

And, during the gloomy fall of '42, intrepid VP pilots covered their Cats in black paint and set out at night to try and interdict the Tokyo Express. 

What else is a Naval Aviator to do when the nearest Fleet Carrier is running towards Australia with a scared black shoe Admiral in charge?

"Joe, did you think this would work this well?"
Solo PBYs would venture out at night. And try to sink any IJN shipping they came across. They were pretty successful. Successful enough to hold the line until the fast battleships and Admiral Lee could show up. More than a few never made it back to their tenders. Victims of marauding Zeros, AAA, and just plain bad luck. 

And that is a special kind of bravery. To climb into a long range reconnaissance aircraft. Strap it with a bunch of ordnance. Exceed max fuel capacity. Trust those big Wasp Radials to get you in the air. And venture towards Harm's Way. 

Black Cats and Dumbos by Mel Crocker is a great review of the fightin' floatplanes. 

A few Cats are preserved in museums across the country. But I think the best memorial to these lumbering beasts are the handful that still fight raging wild fires. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tsundoku Tuesday - Tank battles

Tsundoku -to buy books to stack with other unread books. (Japanese).

In lieu of a Tinkering Tuesday today we will have a book review. Funding has been slack for projects as of late. Something about a mortgage and vacation.

So, today I will give y'all an interesting title to pursue. But first, as always, a bit of backstory.

In 2007, after a brief senior trip to CENTCOM, I came home and for lack of anything better to do went to the local community college for a year. Something about my senior year GPA prohibiting me from attending, well, anywhere else.

And I signed up for Western Civ II, MW, 0830-0945. Having somehow earned a college credit for Western Civ I in high school.

Pictured above: stock photo recreation

Dr. House was your typical older academic. Like Stephen Ambrose, but without the plagiarism. That being said, when not hung over, or napping, he was very interesting. And I came to find out that he was also an author.

A very good read. And well researched. Exceedingly so.  It is not an exciting read of massed armored formations fighting to determine the fate of Eastern Europe. It is a plodding study of the world's largest tank battle. And you'll be better for reading it. If you're a specialisted and/or history nerd.

To keep it gun related, there is chapter devoted to the employment of Soviet anti-tank rifle formations. Most fascinating.

You can buy it here. I'd read it again. Or, in keeping with today's theme, it would look good on the shelf.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Military Monday - A gallant last cause

America has always had a fascination with noble lost causes. General Warren at Bunker Hill. General Lee at Gettysburg. General Custer at the Little Big Horn. The -96 to present Atlanta Braves. And speaking of the Braves, let's talk about Hammering Hank for a minute. And not the undisputed Home Run king.

Captain Henry Elrod, USMC, was a Marine fighter pilot. And more than that he was a warrior. He recieved the Medal for his actions concerning the defense of Wake Island in early December of 1941.

A most dashing fellow
Wake Island was the first objective the Imperial Japanese Navy assaulted that had any sort of coordinated defense. A small Marine detachment, the Navy forward basing dudes, some Army commo guys, a half strength Marine fighter squadron, and a couple of PanAm guys blunted the Japanese war machine for nearly a month.

A fucking coward of a desking driving ring knocker couldn't even summons the moral courage to risk a relief operation. William Pye should have never worn stars. As the naval actions around Guadalcanal would soon bear out.

I truly belief Frank Fletcher could have snuck in under cover of darkness and evacuated the garrison. I often subject my long suffering wife to this rant. Generally with an epilogue of I would have rigged the airstrip with time delay munitions.

The defense of Wake Island was lionized in the American media. In my opinion, it warranted every gallon of ink spilled describing it. A short battalion of Marines, a handful of airplanes, and a whole bunch of guts fought off attack after attack. Courageous PBY crews snuck in and out to fly out the wounded and vital pieces of intelligence concerning the Japanese order of battle.

The Wake detachment was ably led and had good morale. They never believed they were going to be defeated. Which I believe is part and parcel of their mystique in American history. They inflicted losses far greater than the preponderance of forces would indicate.

They were brave men. While not necessarily regulars, these were men who joined the military prior to Pearl Harbor. Armed with '03 Springfield rifles, -1918 BARs, -1911A1s, and a smattering of -1928 Thompsons they held the line against a large, professional foe. And did so with skill and valor.

In the dark days after Pearl Harbor, the United States could take great pride in every day Wake held against the Rising Sun.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday Stories - A recap, A small rant, and A schedule

Imagine, if you will a approaching middle age aspiring gun writer. And you give him a Saturday off.  He'll wake up and start pounding Bud Heavies. And then get showered and dressed. And then get in the car and venture up to the college town of the big state school.

There he'll reunite with old couple friends
Pat punched above his class. So did I.

He'll watch one of old roomates get married.
Fritz and I can shotgun clays and beers

And then he and some brother from the dear olde fraternity will go to a college bar
We ditched the wives somewhere. I think we all made it back to the hotel.

So, a good time was had. But the problem with such shenanigans is they put you behind at work. And being behind at work puts you behind every where else. So, sorry for the lack of content.

Today's Sunday Story will be very brief. I can be pedantic when it comes to firearms. Springfield Armory Inc, not the Government Aresnal, makes a copy of the M-14 called the M1A. It's a fairly good rifle. But it not an M-14. Nor is it an M-1 Garand. Sorry Cletus, it ain't. And yes the Army and the Navy, at great expense to the taxpayers, have pulled a bunch of old M-14s out of warehouses, put them in EBR stocks and sent them to the Sandbox.

Some work good, some not so much. But the National Match M1A I have on my rack ain't gonna win the damn GWOT. Please either buy the thing or give it back to me. I don't need a lecture on the supposed shortcomings of the 5.56mm round when I've got other; hopefully paying customers on the counter. 

Sorry Cletus. 

But, it's still a pretty rifle that shoots hella good with irons. 

This week we're gonna talk about the defense of Wake Island, the PBY Catalina, the tactical advantage to OC, and shoot the P-95 some more. Hope every one had a nice weekend. 

Oh, and go through Kevin some money. He's a good dude. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tinkering Tuesday: One Riot; One Riot gun

The Model 12 is an icon in American shotguns. A fine hunting arm, the skeet version the favorite of shooting sports greats, the military version serving in several wars, and the police riot gun being carried for a century.

Winchester made nearly two million of them. So it stands to reason that more than a few wind up in pawn shops across the country looking a little sad. 

The shotgun above had lived a hard life. It started life as a Model 12 Skeet. And then was fitted with a Cutts Compensator. A very popular accessory for the well to do hunter prior to interchangeable chokes. But an eye sore today.

Posted next to a beer can for scale

A coworker purchased the gun with an idea in mind. To saw it down, remove the offending Cutts and send it off for Briley chokes.  Being a Skeet Model, it had a long barrel to begin with. So, hacking off a Bud Heavy can worth of outdated garbage would still keep us NFA legal.

Post saw filing. Buy American. 
And thus we sawed. Detached the barrel and magazine tube from the receiver, it was an easy cut (no pun intended) with a hack saw and then some file work. A Dremel took care of the rest. After we were done, the gun looked good.

Finished product
I generally don't like hacking on old guns. But this old Model 12 was no longer even a hanger. With a little bit of work, it will be a good banger one day.

And in the mean time, it will be a decent riot gun if the ghost of Frank Hamer visits West Georgia and needs some fire power.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Free Form Friday - Death is Easy; Duty is Hard

Sorry for the prolonged absence. Work's been busy. But banking that sweet sweet over time so as to bring y'all more quality gun content. And I've been devoting a lot of online time towards pushing various links to download 3d guns. Because don't tell me what to do. Death to tyrants. Justice for Lavoy.

All that aside; enjoy the following. Bud is a dozen State Troopers I've known. He's some how related to Jim and Jake, just not sure how yet.

The State Patrolman was clad in khaki. Not pressed per say but obviously well tended. He wore a Smith and Wesson Model 27 in a low slung basket weave holster. The holster hung low but not ostentatiously so. It was worn at the location a man who might have to draw in a hurry just as soon as he hopped out of a car might wear his gun.  Or by a man who might have to shuck his gun to jump in a rain swollen river after a small child might have to do. Bud Charles had done both. And lived to tell about it. Bud was man who wore a gun to work every day. Actually, we wore three. The Model 27, which he still referred to as the Highway Patrolman because, damn it, Smith and Wesson made good guns with good descriptive names.  Damn lawyers. On his left ankle was an airweight Model 642, not quite a Chief’s Special but just as reliable. And with the current collector frenzy of good working guns, Bud couldn’t quite bring himself to actually wear his Chief’s Special on his ankle anymore. But if anyone asked it was because the old Model 36 (those damn numbers again) was a heavy sumbitch with an exposed hammer. The 642 and 27 could share ammo if it came to it. Bud kept six  Federal 125 grn .357 JHP in his Model 27. 

Yes, the rest of the patrol was carrying a Glock in either .40 S&W (worthless) or in .357 Sig (damn near worthless), but, Bud in his career had been more frequently to put down hurt moose than shoot bad guys and that’s where the old magnum six shooter reigned supreme. He carried three HKS speed load which were loaded with 158 grn .38 Special +P LSWCHP, the old FBI load, which was probably the best damn people stopper this side of 230 grn .45 ACP or that new fangled 10mm Buffalo Bore stuff. Sidenote, Bud, when having consumed a beer or eight, would go on at length how the 10mm was the best pistol cartridge ever, how the S&W 1076 was the best duty pistol ever, with apologies to John Browning, and how those damn women FBI agents should have just been given old Model 15s if they couldn’t handle the 1076. He also would go on and say that he would probably be called Stumpy before too long because of how much fun the 10mm was to reload for. A face full of Glock parts would be totally worth it for 2,000 FPS out of an autoloading handgun in a real cartridge.  Oh, yeah, his third gun. His jesus gun. His “shit if I ever use this things are bad” and also “damn, it came down to me using a Glock” gun. He stuck a Glock 43 in his vest. If he was in a fight, shot both his wheel guns dry, what have you, he could get the itty bitty Glock out and have seven rounds of .380 ACP to make a last stand of it with.  Bud considered the .380 ACP about useless, but hell, putting a small fast bullet in somebodies belly might make them reconsider bashing his skull in or something.

So those were the three guns that Bud carried. He had carried an M-9 Beretta in the Army as an MP (hated it) and carried a M-1911A1(loved it) as a National Guard MP. Until he deployed to the Sandbox after 9/11. He then carried an M-11. Which, for a 9mm autoloader wasn’t terrible. He also used to great effect on a couple of supposedly friendly a Benelli auto loading 12 gauge. Which damn, did thing end a fight in a hurry. 
Which brings us to our present situation.

Bud’s khaki shirt was covered in mud and blood. His 642 was dry. His Model 27 had no shit been shot out his hand by the jihadi fuck with an AK clone inside the school. The fucking local cops, more used to giving tickets to passing motorists than real police work, had fled. Things were pretty damn bad for Bud. A beer seemed really damn good right now. But hell, it was only 11 o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday. His Dad, a legend on the Patrol had served with a man who had policed the state with old Captain Dillard, who might have been the meanest sumbitch to ever wear a star on his chest and the big hat. Somewhere deep down in Bud, something called duty rose up. He took off his tie and bandaged his hand. Thankfully, it was his right hand, which he could still use his trigger finger and not fuck up what he had to do next. After bandaging his hand, he fished out his jesus gun. Seven rounds of .380 were sent pretty damn quickly towards the main door way of the small school. Bud rolled out from his concealment behind the bushed. Beating feet to his cruiser he yanked the Mossberg M590 out from its dash rack. He dumped two boxes of double ought buck in his pockets, hoping it wouldn’t come to that because of all the kids. He quickly worked the pump to eject the eight rounds of buck out and threaded in 8 slugs. Big .67 caliber chunks of lead that fucking ended fights in a blast of brimstone that instantly sent a miscreant to the diety of his choice. More importantly, the Remington Sluggers defeated most body armor, which those damn jihadi bastards seemed to be wearing the way they had taken round after round from the school resource officer’s .40 S&W pistol. Damn, Dennis was dead. Shit, they were going fishing Saturday and Dennis owned the boat. Fucking goat fuckers.

Bud rose from the cover of his cruiser. A jihadi was moving forward with his AK-whatever the fuck torwards him. The big ghost ring sights made the shot easy. The boom from a real mankilling weapon was deafening. But Bud had put on his electronic ear muffs. One dead bad guy for sure. Bud was pretty sure that he had killed one with a .357 JHP to the head earlier. And Dennis was most concise when he said six terrorist had hit his school. Good man, Dennis.  That meant the odds were a bit better. Bud had gone up against three men once and lived to tell it. Hell, and the boys from A Barracks and there damn tactarded AR-15s couldn’t be too far away by this point. Bud stepped through the glass door frame. The glass having already been shot away by the Jihadis when they made their entrance. Screams down the main long hall guided him. He took a guess and assumed that the bad guys, after suffering two causalities, would retreat inwards.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Weapons Wednesday - Death to Tyrants

The Constitution does not grant citizens of this fair Republic any rights. It codifies rights that the Federal government can not impede upon.

I am a Second Amendment absolutist. And yesterday I reckon I became a 1st Amendement absolutist.

I may have violated the 1986 FOPA on my personal FB page. And I have zero fucks to give.

I may have posted detailed schematics for a full auto sear for an M-16. Sort of escalating from a 3D printed single shot .22 pistol.

I recommend every one go and join Defense Distributed and help the cause. Cody could use all the help we can give him.

Also, I'm gonna up the ante just a little bit more.

Go watch this video.

Read and download this TM concerning improvised munitions.

And read and download every one of these files here.

Death to Tyrants. Whether they be gun grabbers or enablers of suppression of thought.

I was unable to travel out west to support the Bundy family. I was unable to help Lavoy Finicum.

But I'll be damned if I stand by and watch this happen.

I am not a chest bumping three percenter. I can actually see my feet when I stand up. But I draw my line here.

Somber Sunday

 So, been wearing a badge for seven months now. I enjoy it. Have had good days, fun days, bad days, and even dare I say it, boring days. Tod...