Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Further Improved Gluty AP-9 3D-Printed Pistol

Back in July, most of the bugs were worked out of the Shuty MP-1 by its designer, Derwood. With some help from Warfairy, who customized a lower design for the project, Derwood had redone the upper, improving the ejector in the 9mm pistol that uses Glock magazines and barrels. Here’s the July video, again.

But it’s not in Derwood to rest on his laurels, so there’s a new version, which he’s calling the AP-9. No files yet (if you follow the link in the video above to YouTube, the links to the old files still lead to working files).

It appears that he made changes in the recoil system, primarily, and the stone-simple ambidextrous magazine release system has been reprinted in a lighter-colored material, possibly nylon. Presumably, this new version retains the improvements noted in last summer’s firearm, but adds further improvements.

The upper receiver is changed relatively little, externally, but is definitely a new print. Left side view:

The biggest change seems to be the replacement of the original recoil spring with an AR-like buffer and large diameter spring. This required an end-cap and buffer tube assembly (which could conceivably be a single print, or perhaps is a simple end cap threaded for a buffer tube) which is new to this variation.

Meanwhile, career bureaucrats and political-appointee holdovers at the Departments of State and Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seem to have doubled down on their commitment to stop the signal. Lotsa luck with that.

Police as Oppressors: the Filipino Case

Flag of the Philippine 2nd (Collaborationist) Republic, 1943-5.

A few weeks ago, we mentioned in passing something we thought everybody always knew: that civil police were, in just about every case in history, just as willing to serve a totalitarian government as the republican one that preceded it; and that incidents of cops failing to fall in line, being, in effect “oath keepers,” were individual, idiosyncratic, and rare.

It turned out not everybody “always knew” this, and we tossed out a couple of references to German WWII practice, in which the rubber (truncheon) of the Final Solution met the road (Jews being herded into boxcars, or just shot into mass graves) at the hands of the conventional Ordnungspolizei or the Einsatzgruppen that were formed, largely, from reserve police formations. They were far from the only cops who were very far afield from police work in 1939-45. If you look, you will see that Weimar Republic plainclothesmen made the transition effortlessly to Gestapo and subsequently to Stasi in case after case.

But if we’re going to say this applies generally, we ought to provide more examples. So let’s consider the Philippines, a multi-island nation that was a sometimes restive American territory from 1898 to 1946, with a brutal Japanese occupation reigning from 1942-44.

Constabulary Special Agent badge, period unknown.

Prior to the outbreak of the war in December, 1941 (Philippine Islands targets were hit on 8 Dec 41), the United States had tried to build up native military forces, including very backward and primitive naval and air forces, and a large, modern, well-equipped and quasi-military national police force, the Philippine Constabulary. But after the war, the Constabulary per se was not reconstituted. Why not?

Because it went over, more or less in toto, to the Japanese occupation authorities and served them, against its own countrymen. In addition, many of the Filipino soldiers accepted Japanese parole to leave POW camps and join the Constabulary. Their tasks were not only normal police law-and-order duties, but also COIN and population control.

In July, 1946, the US and the new Republic of the Philippines together met their prewar schedule for Filipino independence. At that time, the islands were still recovering from the effect of the war, which included at least four separate devastations: direct damage done by Japanese occupation; economic ruin produced by the US naval (mostly submarine) interdiction and blockade during the occupation period; physical damage done by US bombing; and the broad swathes of destruction that attended the US campaign to defeat the Japanese occupation in 1944.

Immediately prior to Philippine Independence, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the US Army Forces Western Pacific produced a Report on “P.I. Rehabilitation.”

Here is what the report says about law and order in the Philippine Islands, prewar:

Pre-War – Crime statistics for the Philippines before the liberation the Spring of 1945 are not available in the Philippines. As far as is known, records were destroyed during that war. However, it is generally agreed that the Philippines was a law-abiding nation before the war, with lawlessness of the present type mainly confined to the provinces of Sulu and Lanao in Mindanao. The national police force was the Philippine Constabulary, with cities such as Manila, Baguio and Zamboanga having their own police forces.

The Philippine Constabulary had been built for 50 years by the Americans — sometimes carefully, sometimes haphazardly. Sometimes the Americans mentored the Filipinos in their own image, and sometimes they dismissed them as primitive half-savages of a hopeless race, expecting little of them. As tension in the Pacific ramped up in the 1930s, American mentoring got more serious and more professional.

Americans were confident that the Filipino Army with the US Army elements in the islands could hold the islands against any likely Japanese attack. When they were proven wrong, they thought that at least those Filipinos from the Army and the Constabulary who had fought alongside the Americans — as Macarthur always called his troops during the campaign, the Filamerican Forces — would be loyal, and form a core of resistance.

They were wrong.

This Japanese Occupation badge is for the collaborationist Manila metro Constabulary. Most police had no problem switching badges.

During the war, the Japanese reorganized the Constabulary and it soon became infamous throughout the Philippines. The Constabulary was dissolved upon the liberation of the Philippines….

Not only that, but individual members of the Constabulary were called out for war crimes, and mere membership in the wartime occupation Constabulary has been found by US courts to constitute disloyalty to the degree that it erases any previous or subsequent honorable service. Here are some quotes from a 1994 appeal, rejecting a Filipino’s claim for veterans’ benefits:

In this case, the veteran was a member of the PC, also known as the Bureau of Constabulary, which was an organization established by the Imperial Japanese Government with their puppet Philippine Government to administer the Philippine Islands during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The veteran’s membership in the PC is clearly shown by the evidence of record, although he attempted to conceal such PC service in a March 1945 Philippine Scout affidavit. …. This March 1945 affidavit, however, is of no probative value, in light of the numerous subsequent statements and affidavits in the record, by and on behalf of the veteran, which indisputably establish the fact of the veteran’s sustained service with the PC during the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands.

Of record is a November 1945 Report of Proceedings of a Board of U.S. Military Officers (also referred to as a Philippine Scout Loyalty Board) convened to determine whether the veteran, a Philippine Scout, served under the Japanese or Japanese Puppet Government in any capacity. The veteran furnished sworn testimony to the effect that he began his service with the Japanese in mid-January 1943 in a constabulary academy, from which he graduated in early March. Thereafter, he was assigned the duties of a patrolman and was issued a rifle, serving in that capacity until he “escaped” in September 1944.

The board recommended that he be discharged from service without honor with a character rating of less than “good.” In January 1946, military authorities approved the findings of the board of officers….

For political reasons, the war crimes trials of the Constabulary men and leaders never happened… indeed, none of the Filipino collaborators was ever tried, and all were amnestied in 1948. There were several reasons for this, but one is that the cream of the Filipino native elite was disproportionately represented among the Quislings; the men and women of the resistance tended to be at the other end of the socioeconomic status scale.

In addition, it was hard to tease out who was who, because some patriots had pretended to collaborate in order to collect intelligence for the resistance; other, more cautious, types had had a foot in each camp for reasons of expedience, rather than espionage.

And a Macarthur postwar report noted, in a chapter on resistance activities, that the prewar Constabulary provided the cadre not only for the occupation Constabulary, but also for some guerrilla units; one type comprised:

…guerrilla units … of purely local origin, under the leadership of prominent civic personages or former Constabulary, which sprang up more or less spontaneously to combat the immediate threat of uncontrolled banditry.

The Constabulary men in resistance were widely outnumbered by those in collaboration. Still, with former Constabulary men in important roles on both sides, the peculiarly Filipino solution, where the organization was disbanded and the  individuals amnestied, was probably the most practical solution, even though it remains controversial. (The organization itself was re-established in 1959, and disbanded again in the 1990s).

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Half Marathons

A young woman collapsed and perished at the end of a road race that she’d run last year with no difficulties. Frantic, expert attempts to resuscitate her were unavailing, and only on autopsy was it clear why: she’d had a massive abdominal hemmorrhage. She’d have been just as dead if she’d already been in the ER when it happened.

The Scranton mother of three who died after completing a half-marathon suffered an internal hemorrhage, the Lackawanna County coroner has reported.

Lindsay Doherty took up running a couple of years ago and trained for Sunday’s Scranton Half Marathon.

At the end of the 13.1-mile race, the 36-year-old married mother of three young children crossed the finish line and collapsed.

Medics rushed to Doherty’s side and tried to resuscitate her. She was taken by ambulance to Geisinger Community Medical Center’s emergency room, where she died a short time later.

Lackawanna County Coroner Tim Rowland told The Times-Tribune  that an autopsy Monday showed Doherty suffered an intra-abdominal hemorrhage. He ruled the manner of her death as natural.

via Married mom of 3 dies at end of Pennsylvania half marathon.

Death comes to us all, and no one is guaranteed his or her Biblical three score and ten. She was a religious believer who put her labor where her faith was, raising money for her church, and perhaps that will be some small comfort to her family in this time of shock and sorrow.

And may all of us live our lives in the knowledge that they’re not guaranteed.

What’s Happening in SF Arms Today

There are a number of things going on right now, some of which may be trends.

More and Heavier Weapons

When we joined SF, while there was plenty of access to weapons that were heavier/more specialized / foreign, what an ODA carried was 12 M16A1 rifles (if we were fortunate enough to have 12 guys and zero empty slots, which happened… let’s just say, rarely). Soon, they gave us two M203s so we didn’t have to keep bumming M79s that Big Green wanted to get rid of.

Since then, the trend has been to push more and heavier weapons down to team level, giving the team increasing mission-driven options.

Background

By the start of Afghanistan, we had SOPMOD I M4A1s, two of them w/203s per ODA, 7.62mm (M24) and 12.7mm (M82A1) sniper rifles, and had just gotten M249 SAWs. We borrowed everything else or bought it out of theater-specific money: AT weapons, a full suite of suppressors, etc. (Suppressors were part of SOPMOD I but ours got stuck in the pipeline and we got 2/team after deployment).

We had claymores and toe-poppers, and in 2003 had to turn them in because some drone in the foreign service had made an unwise promise to the ghost of the least consequential Briton in history, with the possible exception of Boy George, to wit, Princess Diana.

Demolitions have become more urban-centric lately. Your average SF demo man can rig a door to blow in two seconds flat, but send him into a forest to blow down trees for an abatis, and you’ll see him sneaking peeks at reference material.

With the evolution of the war, the weapons evolved rapidly with many more versions of precision rifle appearing, the Mk17 SCAR with several barrel lengths, and variants on the M4 / Mk18. We finally got M240s, M2HBs and Mk 19s of our own, rather than borrowed from Big Green. And bigger weapons yet began to ride our vehicles, notably M134 Miniguns and some SOF-specific weapons.

Where We Are Now

The basic weapon remains the M4A1 with several different uppers available.

Changes since Your Humble Blogger retired include free-floated rails systems, much better general issue 5.56 ammunition negating the need for Mk 262 77-grain, HK grenade launchers partly replacing the Mk 19 (the HK’s a much better weapon), and Mk 44 (currently Mod 3) replacing earlier iterations of Miniguns.

Pistols are a special purchase of the Glock 19, Gen 3, with the MOS slide and the Docter optic as previously used atop some SOF ACOGS. Not all teams in all groups mount the optic, but if the loggies have done their job, they have them available.

For what it’s worth, the Dillon-made Miniguns are preferred over the original GE ones because they’re easier to handle — which is relative; it’s a very difficult and intensive weapon to maintain. “The way that GE attaches the backplate, it feels like it’s trying to rotate in your hands” said one guy who attended a maintenance school which was “nowhere near enough time” on the miniguns. The M134 nomenclature is still used, but only when the gun is mounted for aerial use (for instance, as a helo door gun). This is operator-level maintenance disassembly of a Mk 44, NSN 1005-01-576-3284:

Haven’t seen that many parts since BAR days! Note the armorer’s breakfast of champions: Starbucks, Krispy Kremes, Gatling Gun.

Contrary to normal Hollywood practice, the Mk44 is not an individual weapon for a muscle-bound refugee from WWE, but a vehicular weapon. If it has an Achilles’s Heel, it’s the electrical system. The Navy specified paper fuses, and it’s not easily to tell when a fuse is blown… the first thing an SF armorer or 18B needs to do is replace the fuses with similar value ones from the vehicle maintenance shop. Because it’s a 24v system, it adapts readily to military vehicular or aircraft electrical systems, but is harder to install in nonstandard vehicles. (It can be, and has been, done, but it’s a pain in the neck). The weapon system, complete, draws 2,500 watts of power.

After juice problems, the next most common reason for a Mk 44 going silent is ammunition exhaustion. It burns a lot of rounds at a rate of about 3,000 / min cyclic. (The rate is selectable but that’s the standards). It’s often installed in a Mk49 CROWS, which is relatively trouble-free compared to the gun itself, but can also be fired by a double spade grip on the backplate, and that’s one of the more common ways for SF to use it. Found on YouTube, SF at the range:

Basic load is a multiple of 3,000 round ready canisters. (The Vietnam-era 1,000 round cans seem to be obsolete). The cans need to be changed before you shoot up the last rounds in the approximately 14-foot long (~4m) flexible feed chute, or reload will be a slow and exacting experience, and if you are under fire your teammates will call you hurtful names.

Even as the SCAR has fallen out of a favored position as the doorkicker-gun-par-excellence, there’s word that Big Green is buying a quantity of them, and they are being relabeled the CAR because the S in SOF Combat Assault Rifle no longer applies.

SF and all ARSOF loves it when Big Green buys something that we pioneered, because it means we can get more with regular Title 10 appropriated funds and not use our MFP 11 SOF money for that. Sure, it’s all the same tax blood coming from the same taxpayer turnips, but the finite pool of SOF money has to buy everything from TF 160’s next space age flying thing to improved foreign-language training classes. As you can imagine, the fly guys and the language instructors (not to mention futuristic communications and ISR-device users) get bent out of shape when we “misuse” what they know is “their” money merely for stuff to kill the enemy with, which they point out that we can do perfectly well with two sticks of wood and 18″ of twine. So when we get guns that are shared with the big Army, it’s better for everybody: we think it often gets them better guns (they sure liked lightweight 7.62mm machine guns), and we know it gives us more cash to spend on our other priorities that are less in-demand among the general purpose forces (who have their own track record of killing the enemy, after all).

Where We’re Going

That’s anybody’s guess. Wider issue of the .300 BLK upper has been a matter of controversy inside SF — some are strong for it, some oppose it. The guys that have it have been dealing deadly execution with it. But SOCOM has reportedly solicited offers for 25 thousand .300 BLK PDW/CQC kits: with a side-folding stock and a 10-inch .300 BLK upper.

There’s no real interest in piston uppers or 416s. Fanboy stuff for the civilian tacticool community, really. Nobody’s shown us a data-driven test that documents any significant improvement. (Remember, the 416 was bought by SOF ~15-20 years ago to solve a short barrel reliability problem that’s now well-licked in DI weapons).

Magazines are prosaic but they’ve come many miles. We’ve gone from having only a couple of decent magazine choices to a great quantity of types of solid, reliable, consistent-feeding magazines. The days that you had to run steel HK mags because the issue mags sucked so bad are long behind us; even the issue mags don’t suck. The HKs are still good, but why pay the dollar and weight premium? Magpuls are good, too — the Marines are standardizing on them — and they’re not the only good polymer option.

There’s also no real interest in a reversion to 7.62 in any of the current platforms as a standard, baseline weapon. Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria are a bit unusual in offering lots of long-range engagements. Unless their predeployment training dropped the ball (which some units have managed to do), our riflemen across the board are far more lethal than the enemy anywhere inside the 800m envelope. The enemy still deploys (apart from MGs and snipers) weapons that are outranged by our rifles, mostly 7.62 x 39 weapons with short-radius open sights; the AK platform fails to exploit the accuracy potential of its cartridges.

With the war continuing, we may not see major fielding but we’re going to see lots of improved developments. We are currently in a place where some of the last decade’s developments need to be digested and promulgated. We’re not sure where the soldier of 2117 will be fighting, but the odds are pretty good he will be fighting with a weapon that launches metallic projectiles from the shoulder and weighs about 6 to 10 pounds. As has been the case since about 1617.

Wait, French CT is Going to 7.62 x 39? Whaaaat?

This brief story suggests that the French Gendarmerie’s national CT organization, the GIGN, is replacing their HK 416s with CZ 806 Bren 2s… that’s possible.

Except that the article is quite explicit that they’re going to a new round: the Soviet 1943G 7.62 x 39 mm intermediate round. This guy:

The French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) has ordered a new standard issue weapon.

It has selected the Bren 2 assault rifle from Czech company CZ. The company told Shephard at the SOFINS exhibition that the GIGN has selected the 7.62 x 39 mm version of the rifle and placed an initial order for 68 units earlier in 2017.

Additional procurements are slated to take place in the near future with the aim of replacing the majority of the H&K 416s currently in service.

Supposedly, the caliber decision was made early on, before the rifle decision, and in fact, long before CZ entered the competition.

The decision to adopt the Bren 2 was the result of a process that began in 2015 after the Paris attacks in January that year. Faced with terrorists equipped with bullet-proof vests, French gendarmerie and police intervention units found that 9 mm weapons had little efficiency in such situations and that 5.56 mm ammo lacked the necessary stopping power.

The CZ spokesperson said that the GIGN identified a need for a new weapon able to fire a heavier bullet. The 7.62 x 51 mm calibre had the suitable characteristics but the weapons for this calibre were considered too heavy and bulky for efficient close-quarter combat.

Thus, GIGN decided to evaluate assault rifles chambered in the 7.62 x 39 mm calibre instead and undertook trials throughout 2015 with a variety of weapons.

The CZ 806 Bren 2 does have a French connection already. It was developed from the CZ 805 Bren with a view to the French rifle competition, but it was not ready in time. The French adopted the 416; the Czechs adopted the Bren 2 in place of the earlier Bren, and the rifle has had some export success.

But the 7.62 x 39 mm round decision rang so false to us that we initially assumed that this article was an April Fool’s Day joke. It can’t have been, though: it was published 30 March.

Not to mention, the 7.62 x 39 mm model is … well, look at it. It was spawned in the cauldrons of the five Lee Sisters: Ug, Home, Ghast, Beast, and Gnar.

Anyway, you can Read The Whole Thing™, and form your own opinion. So far we’ve found no support for this at CZ, on French government sites, or, in fact anywhere. Can anyone confirm or deny this story?

Wednesday Weapons Website[s] of the Week: Maple Leaf Up

There are actually not one but three Maple Leaf Up sites: one died with its owner, but still contains valuable information; one is a thriving forum spun off from that first website; and another is a profit-making venture independent of the others.

The name was a natural for Canadian Military History. Before the Maple Leaf was the Canadian Flag, the Maple Leaf Route was how units, men, and supplies got to and from the Canadian forces at the front in Northwest Europe. Because the Canucks might be fighting in any cardinal direction at any given time, the road to the front was marked with the sign, Maple Leaf Up, and the road back to the rear, the depots, England, and Canada with Maple Leaf Down.

All three attempt to tell the story of the all-but-forgotten armed forces of the Dominion of Canada in the Second World War. Our favorite is actually the moribund, old, original website, MapleLeafUp.net. Unfortunately, the original founder Geoff Winnington-Bell, passed away years ago, and the promise of the site was never entirely fulfilled.

1. Our Favorite: MapleLeafUp.net

Here is Winnington-Bell, describing his site and plans.

MAPLE LEAF UP is a private Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the all-volunteer Canadian Army Overseas in World War II.

We represent that generation of young Canadians who voluntarily risked their lives in Overseas Service in this tumultuous war, now all but forgotten. Many served, although not nearly enough; and too many paid the ultimate price for their honour. In doing so, however, their courage forever cast Canada as a nation willing to endure any hardship to ensure that the cancer of fascism shall not plague this fragile world of ours.

We remember these men, by the things they did and by the tools they employed to win their remarkable record. Through our efforts in preserving the vehicles, weapons and equipment of this historic era, we endeavour to perpetuate the memory of this trying time and of these magnificent men, who volunteered to serve their country at a cost inconceivable to Canadians facing the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Canada’s contribution was out of all proportion to the scanty population of the country at the time, and deserves to be memorialized. To put things in perspective, on D-Day the US covered two beaches, the UK two, and Canada one. By war’s end, there were whole divisions of Canadians in Northern Europe (and another in Italy), never mind the Canadians at sea or in the RCAF or RAF (there were even some Canadians who fought in the US forces. There always are). At the outbreak of the war in 1939, though, the Canadian population was just under 11.3 million, less than 10% of the American, and less than 25% of the British. Canada’s GDP imbalance with its allies was even stronger.

The Canadian standing army in 1939, the Permanent Force, was 5,000 officers and other ranks… practically a rounding error of the strength of her European enemies, and yet, she still managed to send a very significant force to fight in Europe. How Canada got from 5,000 men equipped with Great War hand-me-down weapons to fielding mighty forces on land, sea and air within five years is a story for the ages. Here’s the overview from the site:

Frantic calls went out across the country to the units of the Active Militia to begin mobilizing for the coming conflict; and to industry at large to gear up for war production.

Many still hungry from the lean years of the recent depression, men from all walks of life all across the country dropped what they were doing and flocked into the headquarters of their local regiments to volunteer their services to king and country. Some showed up to parade dressed in the moth-eaten uniforms their uncles or fathers had worn in 1918; others with nothing but what they had on their backs.

In the beginning, there were no uniforms, boots, kit or weapons for them, save a few well-worn leftovers from WW1. It did not matter. The men came anyway, possessed of the same spirit which had carved this country out of an unforgiving wilderness only a few generations before. From the city and the farm, from the small town, the mine and the vast wasteland of the Canadian Shield, they brought with them a unique, quiet determination to finish the job their fathers had begun only a few years before. Their Monarch and their Nation had asked them to help; they set aside the tools with which they had carved a life and a living out of a harsh world, and prepared to face an uncertain future whose only acceptable object was… Victory.

At the same time, our industry was setting up for wartime production, on an unprecedented scale. Vehicles, tanks, ships, aircraft, small arms and more poured off the assembly lines after a short, hectic tooling-up. While much of what was produced was adapted from British designs, all had a uniquely-Canadian stamp to it which denoted quality and reliability. Many examples survive today, and it’s because of this we’re able to bring you this web site, such as it is.

And our soldiers marched on, first to England in 1939, and hence to hitherto unknown environs such as Dieppe, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. It is not generally well known that until April 1945, a scant few weeks before the end of the war in Europe, the First Canadian Army was comprised entirely of volunteer troops. Canadian formations in both Italy and Northwest Europe consistently fought well-understrength through the balance of their wars, while hundreds of thousands of healthy, uniformed troops languished at home at the behest of a government lacking the will to impose overseas conscription. This, too, was as uniquely Canadian as was the tenacity and endurance of our fighting men themselves: the volunteers of the Canadian Army Overseas.

There is a Canadian spin to it, of course. The voluntary nature of Canadian service pre-1945 has less to do with Canadian public-spiritedness, and more to do with Canadian multiculturalism. Francophone Canadians were not interested in fighting for Great Britain, as they saw it, in either World War. And as far as fighting for France was concerned, they were as likely to sympathize with Pétain, the collaborator, as De Gaulle, the resister.

While many French Canadians rallied to the Red Ensign (Canada’s pre-’67 flag) and fought voluntarily for Canada, it wasn’t the perfectly-proportionally-represented minority depicted in modern Canadian war films. Canadian politicians and soldiers had to lead their French-speaking fellow citizens to war, they couldn’t order them.

Two things Maple Leaf Up does cover that are little credited elsewhere: Canadian war production and Canadian-specific vehicles.

But the site deserves to be read, as a look at the many great (and often unknown, especially to Yanks and Brits) contributions that Canadian soldiers, sailors, scientists and industrialists made to victory.

2: Interactive: MLU Forums

The Forums of the original site thrive today with Canadian and worldwide interest in history, arms, and equipment. Dedicated restorers (mostly Canadians, but there are Britons, Yanks and Australians involved, too) of Canadian military vehicles and artillery abound. Indeed, there’s some great antitank guns and other artillery represented here.  Here’s a 17 Pounder chassis (no tube; he has has a dummy built for display) that was recovered for restoration by Rob Fast in Western Canada in 2011. The 17 Pounder (which was about 3″ or 77 mm caliber) was the best antitank gun fielded by the Allies during the war. It was usually used with a full-caliber solid shot, but HE rounds and subcaliber APDS/T were also available.

There’s even one Australian, Tony Baker, who says he uses a 1942 Ford Canada CMP artillery tractor as his daily driver.

3: Plenty of Content: MapleLeafUp.ca

MapleLeaf Up .ca calls itself “The Canadian Military History Web Magazine.” The best thing about this site is that it has a goodly number of war stories by Canadian WWII vets.

We were surprised by how interesting the story of the Canadian memorial atop Vimy Ridge was.

It took designer and sculptor Walter Allward 15 years from commission to consecration — using stone from Diocletian’s Palace. He always said the idea came to him in a dream.

The Canadian gains at Vimy were one of the rare accomplishments of the Battle of Arras, a typically unimaginative attempt to exchange soldiers’ lives for yardage of wasteland.

And here all these years, we thought Maple Leafs were just flags and the Toronto hockey team.

Taken together, these sites remind one of the days before the media-hound Trudeau clan, when Canada was a world power in the physical world, and not just the hockey rink and in NGO circles. It’s a reminder that for every 1%er Canadian one meets in a smug NGO expat enclave, Helping The Little Brown People by living like Cecil Rhodes with lots of ill-treated servants, there’s the 99% heritage of lumberjacks, voyageurs, and the sixty-eight survivors of the Newfoundland Regiment at the Somme (Reminder: we’ve got to write about them one of these days), even though the Newfies were technically not yet Canadians at that time — theirs was a separate Dominion, coequal with Canada and Australia, until later.

 

Broken Arrow Update: “Clear cut” Self-Defense, No Charges for Defender

Zach Peters used this AR15A2 or clone rifle to defend himself, his father and their home from three armed home invaders, in the unincorporated outskirts of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (a Tulsa suburb), on 27 March.

(Previous WeaponsMan coverage: They Brought Brass Knuckles, Knife to a Gun Fight (28 Mar 17); Broken Arrow OK Follow-up: Home Invasion as “Bad Decision.” (31 Mar 17).)

After an investigation, county police and prosecutors have termed it a good shoot, and announced that Peters will face no charges. The robbers’ accomplice, Elizabeth “Liz” Rodriguez, will still face a half-dozen charges including three counts of felony murder for the foreseeable deaths of her partners in their mutual criminal enterprise.

The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office held a joint press conference on Monday and updated the press about the investigation and pending charges stemming from the deadly home invasion that happened in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma last week that left three teenage suspects dead and one in custody.

“We support of our citizens… the right to bear arms, and to defend their homes in this county. And in this such case, we feel strongly that that’s what took place here.” Sheriff Elliot said.

The shooting left three young men dead. The men had broken into a home outside of Tulsa on Monday March 27. They first burglarized the home on that morning, and then returned to the home a second time. The second break in ended when they woke up the homeowner, 23-year-old son, Zach Peters.

This is a new version of the story of the crime, but it was the story that Sheriff Chris Elliot told at the press conference, based on his department’s information. Rodriguez has said that they loaded up loot from the garage after breaking in there, and then the men went around to break in the sliding patio door in back.

Rodriguez believed that there were expensive items in the house, according to a witness Elliot chose not to name “because of an ongoing investigation.”

The intruders have been identified as Maxwell Cook, 19, Jacob Redfern, 17, and Jaykob Woodriff, 16. The intruders were wearing masks, and one was armed with a knife and another was carrying brass knuckles.

These names have been spelled several different ways. Two of them were shot dead in the kitchen, and one was shot there and one, believed to be Jacob Redfern or Redfearn,  collapsed on his accomplice’s getaway car and died.

 

 

 

 

Four minutes after Zachary Peters’s 911 call, the Wagoner County SD was on the scene; Broken Arrow city police responded at the same time and assisted. The three criminals were beyond medical intervention.

“It is the opinion of this office that Zachary Peters acted justifiably and in accordance with his rights as an Oklahoma citizen when he used deadly force to defend his home from the … burglary perpetrated by (the three decedents), and allegedly by Elizabeth Rodriguez,” First DA Jack Thorpe said. Thorpe also expressed the condolences of the DA’s office and law enforcement to the families of the dead, stressing that his sympathy was for the criminals’ families, not the late unlamenteds themselves.

We note that one of our readers, an attorney, reviewed OK’s felony murder jury instructions and thinks that these murder charges might not stick. It may be that Thorpe and Elliot are overcharging Rodriguez a bit. If so, they’re sending a message to the Tulsa criminal community.

Rodriguez has also admitted that the four had robbed many other homes — and expressed anger that Peters dared to be home, and was such a bum as to shoot her friends rather, apparently, than letting them beat or kill him. 

Not how the world works, kid.

“I won’t take responsibility for the murders, I won’t. I feel guilty, but I don’t feel responsible,” Rodriguez said in an interview with ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir.”

This appears to have been a local TV interview that was then “nationalized” by dubbing Muir’s studio questions over the no-name local reporter’s on the scene.

“I know what we did was stupid and wrong,” she said. “I don’t blame him… I understand why he did what he did. I mean, I do to an extent.”

Police say that Rodriguez planned the burglary, drove the three men to the house, and waited outside to drive them away. Rodriguez is believed to have made deliveries to the house, and knew the homeowner by name.

Deliveries of what, they don’t say.

District Attorney Jack Thorpe intends to see that Rodriguez does take responsibility for the deaths of the three men. And his office will not press charges against Zach Peters. When asked if that decision not to prosecute Peters was difficult, he said no. He described it as clear cut.

via Police Announce Fate Of Homeowner’s Son Who Killed 3 Home Invaders With AR-15 | Tribunist.

The press, who appear to sympathize entirely with the late unlamented Wealth Redistribution Technicians, don’t seem to grasp that an OK county is not going to back the criminals and charge the victims like a New York City DA would.

Andrew Branca would advise a potential self defender to “know the law so you’re hard to convict.” As Andrew explains it, the law comprises the black-letter statutes, but also court decisions and model jury instructions; over time, these always introduce subtle changes, and sometimes gross ones: they can even twist the law as practiced to the polar opposite of what the plain wording of the law says. We would add to his three legs of the pedestal that holds up the Scales of Justice for a home or self defender a fourth: the political. The political climate of a jurisdiction (NYC versus exurban Tulsa), and even the political ambitions of a given prosecutor (does the name Angela Corey ring any bells?) can give an extralegal twist to a legal proceeding.

Andrew, a lawyer who, in our opinion, loves the orderly and just administration of the law, may not incline to recognize these randomizing factors (after all, they take control out of the hands of a lawyer and client). But we’re not really free men until a Zach Peters can save his life in New York (or Newark, or Boston, or…) as readily as he can in freedom-loving Oklahoma.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have iPhones

In New York City, where guns are functionally outlawed, a child who loved one of her possessions well but not wisely is dead, her family mourning.

This is one of the most senseless and heartbreaking of all the senseless and heartbreaking deaths we have recorded in this space.

A New York teen who dropped her cellphone onto subway tracks was struck and killed by a train when she tried to retrieve it, police say.

Dina Kadribasic, 13, jumped onto the tracks shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday at the 63rd Drive-Rego Park station in Queens, about two blocks away from her home, The New York Daily News reports, citing police.

Queens is heavily Hispanic now, mostly Puerto Ricans who have been in New York for generations, but this used to be a Jewish neighborhood, where you’d see old-timers with numbers on their forearms. Kadribasic is a Balkan name, but that just as easily could be a family that’s been there since before the fall of the Habsburgs, or one that came after the 1990s implosion of Yugoslavia.

Police said Kadribasic was attempting to climb back onto the platform when an R train rolled into the station and was unable to stop in time. Emergency responders rushed her to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where she died, police said.

via Subway hits, kills girl, 13, trying to get her cellphone off tracks.

There was no word on the condition of the phone. As it turns out, there is a way to get your stuff back if you drop it onto the tracks, it’s just not widely known. The New York Daily News notes, in their article on this accident:

MTA officials cautioned riders Sunday night to flag down subway staff if they drop something onto the tracks instead of trying to retrieve it themselves.

They have the equipment and knowledge to retrieve your phone, handbag, or other New York fashion accessory (Glock .40?) safely.

There’s also a better way to survive this situation (on the rails, train entering station) than just struggling futilely to pull yourself up onto a platform, if your upper body strength isn’t adequate to the job. Two, actually.

  1. Cross to the oncoming side, where a train usually isn’t coming at the same time. (This doesn’t solve the problem, exactly; but it buys you time).
  2. When you hear the train coming, run down the tracks away from it. The train will probably stop in the station, so you just have to get clear of the station. There is usually some space after the end of the platform for workers to shelter, as well.

These are counterintuitive solutions for most people and only work if you’ve thought about them in advance. Most people who have come down into trouble can only think about going back up out of trouble.

Bear these in mind, lest you ever repeat the unfortunate Ms Kadribasic’s sad accident.

Let’s Play Army-Marine Juxtaposition

OK, let’s start with a story from Army Basic Training. An official story from Army.mil, no less.

A bedtime snack for basic trainees? Nutrition experts with the Military Health System say it’s not coddling; it’s a way to make sure the nutritional needs of new recruits are met, preventing injury today and promoting healthy warfighters tomorrow. The problem is many recruits arrive with poor vitamin D status, which might make their bones vulnerable, leading to fractures and subsequent high dropout rates.

“Stress fractures occur after unaccustomed activities or overuse, such as wearing boots or carrying heavy loads — common during basic training,” said James McClung, Ph.D., deputy chief of the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army’s Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts. “Up to 18 percent of recruits suffer from these stress fractures. Women beginning training with poor vitamin D status are particularly vulnerable.”

McClung said about 60 percent who suffer these types of injuries end up dropping out of the military altogether, and those injured who make it through can suffer long-term health effects. A new fortified snack bar developed at Natick boosts calcium and vitamin D levels, making trainees less vulnerable to the fractures.

“Our test soldiers eat these bars each evening,” he said, “and we are seeing marked improvements in their nutritional status and their bone health. An added benefit may be better performance during physical training before the next morning’s breakfast.” McClung said eating the bars reinforces education for choosing the right foods and learning when to consume them for the best performance.

On the one hand, they’re tuckin’ ’em in with a chocolaty licky-chewy these days in Army Basic. Lord love a duck.

Perhaps with smoke breaks gone, they can introduce… recess?

On the other hand, the docs argue that when they tried to provide nutritional supplements in their native state, recruits wouldn’t ingest the nasty stuff. The only way to get Recruits Joe Tentpeg and Jane Snuffy to choke the stuff down was to wrap it in chocolate, disguising it as something edible.

Then again, on the gripping hand, if there’s an organization on the planet that could make chocolate unappetizing, it’s the Army. Look at that package again, especially its distinctive [adjective] brown color. Yes, the Army can wreck chocolate. Anyone remember John Wayne Bars?

Now, if you’ve read this far, and you’re a Marine, you’re gloating at the soft, coddled doggies who don’t go to a real man’s boot camp that puts hair on your chest (which is, incidentally, why women Marines have uniforms with high collars). But wait: here’s another story, from the very same source:

Best practices for training: Marine drill instructors review Army training methods

Can the Lean Mean Marine Performance Bar be far off?

Enjoy your chocolate, kids. And get off our lawn.

Let’s Dive Deeper on the CZ 122

One of the CZ 122 images from Pazdera’s book.

The CZ 122 we recently mentioned here is a bit of a mystery in the United States, as it was never imported here; some were brought to our friends in Canada, but only a few; and the modern rimfire pistol is not available even in Europe now. What happened?

We turned to a relatively recent book by Czech weapons historian David Pazdera, Legenda Jmeny CZ, or in English, A Legend Called CZ. This coffee table sized book is an illustrated history of CZ from the 1930s to date, with a few sparse areas and holes conforming to issues of Czech historiography, but extremely comprehensive coverage of Cold War and post-Cold War CZ products. Sure enough, Pazdera has the CZ 122 covered on pages 325-328. We were on our way out the door on a road trip and couldn’t bring Pazdera’s mighty doorstop of a book, nor had we the time to fire up the Fujitsu and scan the relevant pages properly, so we photographed the pages and précis the information here.

The CZ 122 was the product of designer Stanislav Buran, who was not actually a designer, but the head of a manufacturing engineering section. The project began in the 1990s with the idea for a “simple and cheap” .22 rimfire pistol, to plug a longstanding gap in the CZ product line. But his initial design was a far cry from the pistol that finally reached production. The CZ 94, prototyped in 1994, looked much like any of the last century or so of sporting .22 automatics, with a hint of Woodsman or Hi-Standard ancestry, and a splash of modern Eurodesign:

The CZ 94 is described by Pazdera:

It was a simple and cheap pistol of the lower sporting category, usable for fun shooting or target practice. It had a fixed barrel, and unlocked (blowback) breech, a single-action trigger mechanism and an internal striker mechanism, The  magazine capacity in the final version was 10 rounds. Particularly unusual was the magazine release on the front side of the frame inside the trigger guard.

Buran continued to develop the idea of a simple, inexpensive rimfire pistol, with the help of Vojtech Anderle. It evolved through several prototypes. One thing that changed — a lot — was the magazine catch, which first moved to the classic Euro/Hi-Standard position at the base of the grip, and then to the classic Browning position at the junction of the trigger bow and the grip frame.

As you might expect for a design that began with a manufacturing engineer, production engineering and cost control were in the design mix from the start as CZ 94:

It’s assumed that for manufacturing, a frame of aluminum alloy or plastic, of which (the plastic) another set of parts might also be made. In addition, there was also expected to be frequent application of stamped sheet-metal parts (trigger, disconnector), and parts from the Kadet small-caliber adapter (barrel, extractor, firing pin, magazine) and from the standard CZ 75 model (hammer, sear).

In 1995, the pistol was extensively redesigned by industrial designer Vojtech Anderle, who drew six sketches, from which one was selected, leading to six more design studies based on that. The final styling was incorporated into the CZ 122.

In the CZ 122, compared to the CZ 94, the angle of the grip was changed to 108º,

The frame of the new model got a slide release. For that reason, the weapon got an old-fashioned magazine release at the base of the magazine well. The barrel was pressed or molded into the frame.

Initial tests found the plastic-framed prototypes more reliable than the alloy-framed ones, but “for technological reasons” the alloy frame was selected. In 1998, designer Petr Pöschl was tasked to finalize the pistol and bring it to production.

The CZ 122 was produced from 1998 to 2002, and then again from 2004-06, but only 6,192 examples were manufactured. All have the alloy frame. The breakdown between European-mag-release and Browning-mag-release production is unclear.

Pazdera says this about the design’s benefits:

The modern design of the CZ 122 Sport Pistol was meant in part to be reminiscent of a modern service pistol, but the weapon was also able to feature a series of sporting features: fully adjustable LPA target sights, single-action trigger mechanism with an external hammer of the sporting type, and a trigger with a straight tongue and screw-adjustable travel.

If it was such a carefully designed pistol, why weren’t more of them made? The pistol performed well — usually. But it was finicky about ammo, and launched into a glutted market full of established target pistols.

The accuracy potential of the weapon was solid, for example during tests carried out during the year 1996, it was possible to achieve groups of 25 mm (tn: less than 1″) at 25m (highly dependent on the ammunition used). The weakness of the one-twenty-two was inconsistent reliability. This compared with the strong market positions of quality competitors had as a consequence unsatisfactory sales numbers, which led the Uhersky Brod company to definitively wrap up this program in the first half of the first decade of this century.

In the modern era, of course, CZ-UB is a profit-making enterprise, and a slow-selling pistol is a waste of manufacturing resources. Worse, a pistol that is prone to fits of unreliability and that is finicky about ammunition — even though that’s not a rarity in the rimfire market — risks the reputation CZ has built up for almost a century. As a result, the CZ 122 is a rarity, enjoyed by those who’ve found the right ammo, and coveted by CZ collectors.