Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Weapons Wednesday - The Weapons of WEB Griffin

News broke today on Facebook that William E. Butterworth III, better known under his pen name of WEB Griffin pasted away. The world is a lesser place with his passing. He was to the U.S. Army what Tom Clancy was to the U.S. Navy.

He wrote an expansive series of novels that concerned the birth of U.S. Army aviation and Special Forces from the remnants of the Army of the United States after the 1946 draw down.

He was a veteran, earning a CIB in Korea. And my favorite books of his centered around the exploits of small teams of American SOF doing things way behind the lines that the dirty Commies wouldn't like very much.

And these guys were generally always armed with -1911A1s, M1A1 Thompsons, and cut down pump guns, generally of the Winchester persuasion. And generally one fellow would have an M-1 Garand, usually one with a National Match barrel.

Further more, it was evident in his writing that He certainly appreciated the shotgun sports. And fine over and unders. Very fine over and unders. One instance sticks out in my mind where a Colonel with a 16 GA Superposed Diana grade and felt like he had the peasant gun of the bunch. And the flip side of that was that several characters, in different series shot Winchester pumps and Remington auto loaders better than anything else.

In a way Mr. Butterworth represented the older version of American gun culture. A hearty love for the weapons they used in the service and a love of fine sporting guns with blued steel and walnut furniture. And also, a desire to bring home a war trophy from a vanquished foe. Lugers, AK-47s., etc. are all mentioned as coming in duffel bags in his books. That gets you a one way ticket to USDB Leavenworth today.

Recently, I got Jackie started on the "Brotherhood of War" series. Having friends that are both Army Aviators and SF guys, it's fun to read about their beginnings. And hell, the patriarch of the series is a long serving Cavalry man whom is just one of many in his family to have worn the uniform. That married an Army brat. I can relate.

If there is a Valhalla, I like to think that Cadet Wang opened the door for Mr. Butterworth and directed him towards the table by the fireplace where Tom Clancy was having a Scotch and looking at his notes.

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