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The World’s Foremost Homicidal Psychopath: Hitler’s Wartime Rifle by WILL DABBS MD

Young Adolf Hitler was an otherwise unremarkable Austrian child. A Catholic priest rescued him from drowning at age four.

Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Braunau am Inn in modern-day Austria. He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and his third wife/cousin, Klara Polzl. Three of his siblings died in infancy.

This terrifying-looking dude sired one of the greatest monsters who ever lived.

Alois Hitler, Adolf’s father, was quite the player. He was the illegitimate son of a common woman named Maria Anna Schicklgruber. Alois changed his name from Schicklgruber to Hitler in 1876. Hitler means “one who lives in a hut.”

Alois Hitler earned some prestige as a German civil servant.

There were tainted allegations that Alois’ father might have been one Leopold Frankenberger, a young Jewish man in the household where Maria was employed as a housekeeper. However, the possibility that Der Fuhrer might have had a Jewish grandfather, tantalizing though it might be, is likely apocryphal.

Hitler had a hard life under the iron hand of an abusive father.

Alois tomcatted among sundry wives and mistresses before nominally settling down with Klara. He was a hard man who beat young Adolf regularly.

Klara Hitler, shown here in the 1880’s, was a simple woman who adored her children.

By contrast, Klara was a doting mother who cherished her son. Alois breathed his last over a morning glass of wine at the Gasthaus Wiesinger in 1903 at age 65. Adolf was fourteen at the time.

Klara’s death when Adolf was 18 was a defining moment in the young man’s life.

Adolf was almost pathologically attached to his mom, and her death from breast cancer at age 47 came as a terrible blow. His mother’s kindly Jewish physician, Eduard Bloch, attended Mrs. Hitler for free as they lacked the means to pay for her care. He was rewarded decades later in 1940 with permission to emigrate with his wife from Austria to the United States.

Dr. Bloch ultimately settled in New York City. Hitler called him a “Noble Jew.”

OSS interviews with Dr. Bloch after he arrived in the US formed the basis for much of the intimate understanding we had of the reclusive dictator.

By 1940, being Jewish in the Third Reich was becoming hard. Their release at that time in history was truly remarkable. Bloch was subsequently interviewed extensively by the Office of Strategic Services in an effort at gathering usable intelligence regarding Hitler’s worldview.

Now It Gets Really Weird

Adolf Hitler, shown seated on the far right, by all accounts served honorably on the Western Front during WW1.

Hitler had a tale of his service in World War 1 he would relate to friends at dinner parties. He served as a runner in the trenches and earned the Iron Cross before ending the war as a Corporal. After a protracted period without hot food, a field kitchen set up in the stretch of the trench where the young Gefreiter served and began doling out black bread and boiled cabbage.

WW1 was unimaginably horrible. The deprivations Hitler and his comrades endured are difficult for the modern mind to comprehend.

Hitler waited in line to get his helpings, enraptured by the prospect of his first hot meal in weeks. His tray piled high with steaming cabbage he dropped down alongside his mates and prepared to dig in. In later years, Hitler described what he subsequently heard simply as the Voice. This disembodied Voice told him to stand up and walk around the corner.

Adolf Hitler began hearing voices in his 20’s. He purportedly shaved his robust handlebar mustache into the more familiar Charlie Chaplain version so as to accommodate a gas mask.

He glanced about and could tell that no one else was privy to the spectral command. However, the Voice alarmed him, so he gathered his Mauser 98 rifle, stood up, and walked around the corner of the trench. The moment he rounded the corner, a French howitzer round landed where he had been sitting, killing everyone nearby. The young German Corporal was dazed and deafened but otherwise miraculously unhurt, inexplicably spared by a disembodied Voice heard only by him.

Regardless of your personal stance on the subject of demonic possession, Adolf Hitler makes a compelling argument for it.

The Voice came to him many times after that as well, frequently awakening him from sleep in a state of abject panic. Adolph Hitler claimed that tale spoke to his inspired role as an agent of Providence. In retrospect, I do not debate the spiritual genesis of der Fuhrer’s supernatural protection. I might simply assert that the origin was perhaps more diabolical than divine.

Hitler would relate a tale of the disembodied Voice guiding his actions at social events later in his life.

Here’s the event in his own words–“I was eating dinner in a trench with several comrades. Suddenly a voice seemed to be saying to me, “Get up and go over there.” It was so clear and insistent that I obeyed automatically. I rose to my feet and walked twenty yards. Then I sat down to go on eating. Hardly had I done so when a flash and deafening report came from the part of the trench I had just left. Every member in it was killed”

The History of Hitler’s Combat Rifle

The M98 Mauser was arguably the most influential bolt-action rifle ever built.

The brainchild of German firearms visionary Peter Paul Mauser, the Model 98 rifle the future dictator carried during WW1 was an evolutionary development of earlier Mauser designs. The Germans made more than nine million copies in eleven different arsenals. The gun remained in German service through 1935.

The same basic action went on to become the Model 98k that served the German Wehrmacht throughout the Second World War. The Model 98 Mauser ultimately inspired millions of similar weapons. Rebarreled versions were widely used by the Israelis during their War for Independence.

These German troops are shown billeted in China during the Boxer Rebellion.

The 98 Mauser’s first combat use was during the Boxer Rebellion in China from 1898 until 1901. While not primarily remembered as a colonial power, Germany coveted colonies of its own in the latter parts of the 19th century just like everybody else on the planet. However, events soon to develop in Europe swallowed these ancillary pursuits up in the maelstrom of total global war.

The Gun

The complex rear sight on the M98 Mauser was calibrated out to 2,000 meters.
The M98, like most weapons of its era, fed via stripper clips.

Hitler’s Model 98 was a manually operated, magazine-fed, controlled-feed bolt-action rifle. The gun had a conventional open front sight and a tangent-type rear sight known as the Lange Visier. The weapon fed from 5-round stripper clips inserted from the top.

The M98 Mauser was engineered to be safe in the event of cartridge rupture. As the M98 was developed in the waning years of the black powder era, dealing with the pressures generated by smokeless propellants demanded extra care.

The M98 bolt included three locking lugs. Two lugs performed primary locking duties while the third lug served as a backup in the infrequent circumstance that the other two sheared under the extraordinary pressures generated by the gun’s advanced smokeless cartridge. This third lug did not typically support firing pressures unless the primary lugs failed.

The M98 Mauser was a superb design.

There were two holes bored into the base of the bolt that were designed to direct escaping gases out the bottom of the gun and away from the firer’s face in the event of a cartridge rupture or primer failure. There was additionally a secondary component to the design that safely routed violent escaping gas down the locking lug raceway and out a cutout exit hole in the event of failure.

The controlled-feed action of the M98 Mauser ensured reliable operation no matter how the weapon was oriented.

The M98’s controlled-feed action was composed of a large non-rotating extractor that engaged the rimmed base of the cartridge as it left the magazine and firmly managed the overall travel of the round throughout its cycle. This oversized component gripped the case positively until the empty cartridge struck the ejector and was discarded. There was also a scant cam built into the rear portion of the receiver bridge that gave the action a little boost at the final portion of the bolt-opening phase.

Ruminations

The M98 Mauser saw widespread use everywhere the Germans fought.

The timeless 98 Mauser armed the German military through two simply spectacular global defeats. At least eighty million people lost their lives in World Wars 1 and 2. Throughout it all, the Mauser 98 remained a remarkably competitive Infantry combat tool despite the breathtaking pace of technological evolution.

This dashing young man matured into arguably the most repugnant human being who ever lived.

Adolf Hitler was arguably the most successful psychopath in all of human history. Others were responsible for larger body counts, but they were typically motivated by some misguided effort to establish a social utopia for the masses. Stalin and Mao, black-hearted devils that they were, generally killed out of stupidity.

To quote Indiana Jones, “Nazis. I hate these guys.” All sensible folk despise Nazis.

By contrast, Adolf Hitler was the very embodiment of evil. He stole territory and murdered millions driven by the baseless idea that he was just better than everybody else. While hating people has fallen out of fashion these days, it yet remains perfectly OK to despise and denigrate Nazis in books and movies.

Adolf Hitler was what we call down here in the Deep South “a serious piece of work.”

Speak up against Japanese wartime atrocities and you might be a racist. Call out Palestinian terrorists and you’re likely a bigot. However, it will forever be cool to hate the Nazis. As the diabolical face of the whole sordid mob, Hitler remains the modern era’s alpha thug.

Though he orchestrated the Holocaust, Hitler never bothered to tour a concentration camp. When Heinrich Himmler did so he purportedly fell ill.

Adolf Hitler was terrified of cats and would eat as much as two pounds of chocolate in a day. He regularly abused cocaine and, despite inspiring one of the worst genocides in human history, never once visited a concentration camp. Hitler collected tens of thousands of Jewish artifacts intending to create a museum to an extinct race after the war.

Adolf Hitler’s nephew served with distinction in the US Navy during WW2.

His nephew, William Patrick Hitler, served in the US Navy and fought against the Axis during WW2.

Adolf Hitler was actually a fairly talented artist. His works command impressive prices when they rarely come available. Most are owned by governments.

Hitler failed to gain entry into art school in Vienna twice. For a time he was destitute and lived in a homeless shelter.

Does this look like a guy with one nut who injects himself with bull semen? That would actually explain quite a lot.

Tales persist that Hitler had a single undescended testicle and was regularly injected with bull semen to enhance his virility. Regardless of whether that stuff was true or not, by his own admission, he did hear voices others could not. That makes him schizophrenic by definition.

People get called crazy all the time. Adolf Hitler, by contrast, was the real deal.

The term “crazy” is mightily overused these days. So are comparisons of contemporary politicians to the unhinged Nazi Fuhrer. In the alpha lunatic Adolf Hitler, however, we see just how deep man’s capacity for darkness can become. No matter how you slice it, that guy was a lunatic.

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A Winchester MODEL 1902 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SINGLE SHOT in CALIBER 22 SHORT-LONG

Winchester MODEL 1902 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SINGLE SHOT CALIBER 22 SHORT-LONG C&R OK .22 Long - Picture 2
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Winchester MODEL 1902 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SINGLE SHOT CALIBER 22 SHORT-LONG C&R OK .22 Long - Picture 7
Winchester MODEL 1902 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SINGLE SHOT CALIBER 22 SHORT-LONG C&R OK .22 Long - Picture 8
Winchester MODEL 1902 BOLT ACTION RIFLE SINGLE SHOT CALIBER 22 SHORT-LONG C&R OK .22 Long - Picture 9
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Colonel Rex Applegate Sometimes you get a chance to meet a legend. by SHERIFF JIM WILSON

Colonel Rex Applegate

For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col. Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.

Rex Applegate graduated from the University of Oregon in 1940 and immediately accepted an Army commission as a 2LT in the military police. He had already been involved in training when, in 1941, he was recruited to what would become the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) by the one and only COL “Wild” Bill Donovan.

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was designed to get our operatives (the other side has spies, we have operatives) behind enemy lines to do whatever it took to ruin the enemy’s day. Throughout World War II, OSS agents were behind the lines gathering information, forming resistance groups, burning things down, blowing things up and, in some cases, shooting people. It is my understanding that most of these agents were volunteers from within our own military units, and it was Applegate’s job to get them trained.

The OSS school was set up at Camp Ritchie, near the location now known as Camp David, the presidential retreat. Spycraft training involved, among other things, the use of explosives, hand-to-hand fighting, knife fighting and gunfighting. And our operatives had to learn these techniques in a mighty short time. Applegate brought in seasoned experts in the various fields and worked with them to develop teaching techniques that would get the job done quickly.

One of the most interesting instructors with whom Applegate was involved was the Englishman, Capt. William E. Fairbairn, who was best known for teaching fighting skills to the Shanghai police and as the designer of the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife. Fairbairn was also an advocate of point shooting in close-range encounters.

At some point during this time, Applegate also became friends with J.H. FitzGerald, of Colt’s Firearms. Fitz, as he was called, modified a Colt New Service, in .45 Colt, for Applegate. The gun barrel was cut to 2 inches, the hammer spur was bobbed and the front of the trigger guard was cut out. Decked out in a set of ivory stocks, the right side of the revolver was engraved, “To Rex from Fitz.” President Roosevelt, once needing an extra bodyguard, is supposed to have said, “Bring me the fellow with the big Colt in his pocket.”

As a result of the training that he performed in World War II, Rex Applegate wrote a book on all of the aspects of fighting called “Kill or Get Killed.” The book is still available and is a great resource for anyone interested in improving their personal-defense skills.

Following World War II and retirement from the military, men like Rex Applegate and Lee Echols were tasked by our State Department to work both in Mexico as well as
South America teaching modern police techniques. Of course, we know now that this was just a CIA cover (the OSS had become the CIA by this time) to keep an eye on the Communist movements in those areas.

During his sojourn in Mexico, Applegate was in the habit of carrying a Smith & Wesson 2-inch Safety Hammerless revolver chambered in .38 S&W. This was the model that had an internal hammer and a grip safety on the gun’s backstrap, commonly called a “lemon squeezer.”  Rex told me that he chose this particular handgun because it was small and easily concealed. Unfortunately, he had to defend himself with the little revolver, and the old .38 S&W cartridge did not stand up to the task. Supposedly, an associate armed with a .45 semi-automatic resolved the issue.

As a result of this encounter, Applegate began to campaign for Smith & Wesson to incorporate the internal hammer and grip safety into its then-new Chiefs Special, in
.38 Spl. The gun came out in 1952 and was called the Centennial to celebrate the manufacturer’s 100th anniversary. Although the grip safety has been dropped from the company’s line, the Centennial evolved into the Model 40, 42 and 640 of today.

Rex Applegate was a life-long advocate of point shooting for close-range defense work. While Bill Jordan did his point shooting while standing erect, Applegate used a bit of a crouch as part of his technique, although it wasn’t nearly the deep crouch that Jelly Bryce and the FBI used. And, like the rest, Applegate taught the use of sights when the fight occurred at any distance.

Rex Applegate always dressed and acted like a retired college professor or country banker—quiet and dignified. I never heard him brag or boast, and his manners were impeccable. But, you could look into his eyes and know in your heart of hearts that you did not want to poke this particular bear.

An American patriot—that was Applegate.

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