What a waste of fine Infantry!

The Ghosts of the Somme

97 years ago today, nineteen Allied divisions went over the top in an all out assault on the Somme.  When the sun set at the end of the day, 20,000 men lay dead.  Another nearly 60,000 were wounded, many stranded in no-man’s land.
  Stretcher bearers dared the machine gun fire to bring the fallen back to safety and medical aid, earning two of the nine Victoria Crosses awarded that day.  Wounded were recovered for the next seven (!) days from this day’s assault, and then found that there were only 10,000 hospital beds for the 60,000 wounded.

The 1st Newfoundland Regiment had to leave the safety of the trenches 200 yards behind their own front lines, because the closer trenches were choked with dead.  The German machine guns mowed them down: the Regiment suffered 90% casualties in minutes.  Newfoundland may never have recovered from the loss of so many of its sons.
It was said that day that Lions were led by Donkeys. The ghosts of those lions are seen in this astonishing video from the battle.  You see one soldier shot just as he goes over the top.  His body slides back into the trench.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

The Somme was perhaps the most stark example of the futility of the Great War.  By the end of the battle, a million men were dead or wounded.  For this cost, the Allies pushed the front lines six miles towards Germany, a cost of 31 men per foot gained.

This was the day that Europe committed suicide.  It’s been a long, slow motion self-immolation, but that is now fair complete.  Sic transit Gloria Mundi.

Stolen from


All About Guns

Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope in Caliber 22LR

Now this is what I call a rifle!

Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 7

Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 2
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 3
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 4
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 5
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 6
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 7
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 8
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 9
Kimber Model 82 Super America, Blue 22.25 - Bolt Action Rifle & Leupold Scope, MFD 1983-88 - Picture 10

N.S.F.W. War Well I thought it was funny!

"T" Bomb

It’s True!

A toilet was used as an aerial bomb during the Vietnam War


US Navy photo
On November 4, 1965, some Vietnamese came across a very strange object that looked as if it had been dropped from the sky. Was it a bomb? Well, it had tail fins and a nose like a bomb. But it was white, and shaped like – a toilet?
It was a toilet in fact. It had been dropped by a VA-25 A-1 Skyraider on a mission to the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam. It had come from Dixie Station, an aircraft carrier base in the South China Sea. The plane’s pilot was CDR Clarence ‘Bill’ Stoddard.
As Stoddard approached his target, he began preparations for attack. He read the ordnance (list of weapons the aircraft carried) to Forward Air Control. At the end of the list, he read ‘and one codenamed Operation Sani-flush.’ What was Stoddard talking about?

US Navy Photo

The story of the toilet drop was told by Captain Clint Johnson, the pilot of another VA-25 A-1 Skyraider. The toilet was a damaged one that was going to be thrown overboard anyway.
But some plane captains decided to rescue it, dress it up to look like a bomb, and drop it in commemoration of the 6 million pounds of ordnance that had been dropped by the U.S. Air Force.
The Air Control team said it made a whistling sound as it came down, and that it had almost struck the plane as it came off. A film was made of the drop using a video camera mounted on the wing.
Just as the toilet was being shot off, Johnson said,’ we got a 1MC message from the bridge, “What the hell was on 572’s right wing?”
There were a lot of jokes with air intelligence about germ warfare. I wish that we had saved the movie film.’
When the Vietnam War began the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, which had been introduced into the U.S. Air Force in 1946, was still being used.
It was a medium attack aircraft based on an aircraft carrier. There were plans to replace the Skyraider with the A-6A Intruder jet-engine attack aircraft.
Nevertheless, Skyraiders participated in the naval attack on North Vietnam on 5th August 1964, as part of Operation Pierce Arrow. They struck enemy fuel depots at Vinh, where one Skyraider was damaged, and another was lost.
By 1973, all U.S. Skyraiders had been transferred to the South Vietnamese Air Force. The A-6A Intruder replaced it as America’s principal medium attack aircraft.

All About Guns

The Owen Submachine Gun

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Image result for the owen smgHere is the Designer of this strange looking but effective SMG
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Owen, an inventor from Wollongong, was 24 years old in July 1939 when he demonstrated his prototype .22 calibre “Machine Carbine” to Australian Army ordnance officers at Victoria Barracks in Sydney.
The gun was rejected for two reasons. The first was because the Australian army, at the time, did not recognise the value of submachine guns.
The second was the basic construction of the prototype was completely unsuited as a military weapon, especially as it lacked a proper trigger or any safety device, was of small calibre, and the “magazine” was effectively a giant revolver cylinder which could not be exchanged to reload.
Following the outbreak of war, Owen joined the Australian Army as a private.

Private Evelyn Owen Circa 1941

Gen. Sir Harry Chauvel lined up with a group of officers for practice with an Owen gun

Christmas parade in Sydney, 1942

 New Britain, April 1945

In September 1940, Owen’s neighbour, Vincent Wardell, discovered Owen’s prototype in a sugar bag.
Wardell was manager of a large steel products factory at Port Kembla. He showed it to Owen’s father who was distressed at his son’s carelessness, but explained the history of the weapon.
Wardell was impressed by the simplicity of Owen’s design. Wardell arranged to have Owen transferred to the Army Inventions Board, to re-commence work on the gun.
The army continued to view the weapon in a negative light, but the government took an increasingly favourable view.
The prototype was equipped with a “magazine” which consisted of a steel ring drilled with holes for .22 cartridges, and this was revolved through the action using the power of a gramophone spring. This arrangement later gave way to a top-mounted box magazine. This better allowed shooting while prone.
The choice of calibre took some time to be settled. As large quantities of Colt .45 ACP cartridges were available; it was decided to adopt the Owen Gun for it.
Official trials were organised, and the John Lysaght factory made three versions in 9×19mm.38-200 and .45 ACP. Sten and Thompson submachine guns were used as benchmarks.
As part of the testing, all of the guns were immersed in mud and covered with sand to simulate the harshest environments in which they would be used.
The Owen was the only gun that still operated after the treatment. Although the test showed the Owen’s capability, the army could not decide on a calibre, and it was only after intervention from the higher levels of government that the army ordered the 9×19mm variant.
During the gun’s life, its reliability earned it the nickname “Digger‘s Darling” by Australian troops and it was rumoured to be highly favoured by US troops. General Douglas MacArthur proposed placing an order for some 45,000.

Production and use

The Owen went into production at the John Lysaght factories at Port Kembla and Newcastle.
Between March 1942 and February 1943, Lysaght’s produced 28,000 Owen Guns. However, the initial batch of ammunition turned out to be the wrong type and 10,000 of the guns could not be supplied with ammunition.
Once again the government overrode military bureaucracy, and took the ammunition through the final production stages and into the hands of Australian troops, at that time fighting Japanese forces in New Guinea.
Approximately 45,000 Owens were produced from 1942 to 1944.[1] During the war the average cost to manufacture the Owen submachine gun was $30.[2]
Although it was somewhat bulky, the Owen became very popular with soldiers because of its reliability. It was so successful that it was also ordered by the United States and New Zealand.
 New Zealanders fighting in the Guadacanaland Solomon Islands campaigns swapped their Thompson submachine guns for Owens, as they found the Australian weapons to be more reliable.[4]
The Owen was later used by Australian troops in the Korean and Vietnam Wars,[5] particularly the scouts in infantry sections. It remained a standard weapon of the Australian Army until the mid-1960s, when it was replaced by the F1 submachine gun.


The Owen has a simple blowback design, firing from an open bolt. It was designed to be fired either from the shoulder or the hip.
It is easily recognisable, owing to its unconventional appearance, including the top-mounted magazine, and the side-mounted sight required to allow the firer to aim past it.
The placement of the magazine allows gravity to assist the magazine spring in pushing cartridges down to the breech, which improves feeding reliability.
Another unusual feature is the separate compartment inside the receiver, which isolates the small-diameter bolt from its retracting handle by means of a small bulkhead.
This prevents dirt and mud from jamming the bolt, and makes the Owen a highly reliable weapon. Foreign dirt entering the gun would collect at the back of the receiver, where it will drain out or be expelled through a small opening.
When tested, the Owen gun was able to continue firing despite being dipped in mud and drenched with sand, while a Sten gun and a Thompson also tested stopped functioning at once.[6]
In jungle warfare where both mud and sand were frequent problems, the Owen gun was highly regarded by the soldiers.[7]
To facilitate cleaning, the ejector is built into the magazine, rather than the body of the gun. This allows the barrel to be removed rapidly, by pulling up a spring-loaded plunger in front of the magazine housing.
After removing the barrel, the bolt and return spring are removed in a forward direction, completely dismantling the gun. Like the Sten, and Austen, the Owen had a non-folding wire buttstock, but also had pistol grips.
Two horseshoe magazines were constructed in the field, of 60 and 72 rounds. Little information exists as to the success of these experiments.[8]
In 2004, an “underground weapons factory” was seized in Melbourne, Australia, yielding, among other things, a number of silenced copies of the Owen submachine gun.
These had magazines inserted underneath rather than overhead, and were suspected of having been built for sale to local gangs involved in the illegal drug trade.[9]



  1. Jump up^ Bardwell, James O. (1995). “The Owen Gun”. Machine Guns News (4).
  2. Jump up^ “Submachine Gun Becomes Pistol by Detaching Butt.” Popular Mechanics, November 1945, p. 75.
  3. Jump up to:a b c “Owen SMG (Owen Machine Carbine)”. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  4. Jump up^ Larsen, Colin R. (1946). “Chapter XII — Guadalcanal”. Pacific Commandos: New Zealanders and Fijians in Action. A history of Southern Independent Commando and First Commando Fiji Guerrillas. Wellington: Reed Publishing. pp. 93–103.
  5. Jump up^ “Kokoda Track Tours – Home”. Kokoda Historical. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  6. Jump up^ “Owen Machine Carbine vs MP 40 and STEN Submachine Gun (1943)” on YouTube
  7. Jump up^ Barber, Graeme. “Owen and Austen – The WW 2 ‘Aussie’ Machine Carbine Story”Mainland Arms. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  8. Jump up^ “History of the Owen Machine Carbine (OMC)”. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  9. Jump up^ Brendan Nicholson, Daniel Ziffer (23 July 2004). “Submachine-guns found in weapons factory”The Age. Melbourne.
  10. Jump up^ McNab, Chris (2002). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. ISBN 1-84013-476-3.
  11. Jump up^ Scarlata, Paul (20 April 2009). “Small Arms of the Koninlijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger, Part 2”. Shotgun News.
  12. Jump up^ Small Arms (Museum exhibit), SaxonwoldJohannesburgSouth African National Museum of Military History, 2012

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