Jerry Miculek, Stoner 63, enough said

I’m just going to drop this right here.

The Big E’s 1938 Airgroup, in Technicolor!

Back before World War II broke off for the U.S. Navy, carrier airgroups were very logically laid out and, very colorful. Before 1941, the Navy had just eight carriers.

*The original Langley (CV-1), converted from a collier and relegated to seaplane tender duties in 1937.
*The Lexington and Saratoga (CV-2 and CV-3), converted from canceled battle cruiser hulls after WWI.
*Ranger (CV-4), the country’s first purpose-built carrier
*The three new 25,000-ton fleet carriers, Yorktown, Enterprise, and Hornet (CV-5, CV-6, CV-8) respectively
*And the budget 19,000-ton USS Wasp (CV-7).

To keep the squadrons of aircraft assigned to these carriers organized, they were established into carrier air groups whose squadrons were typically named after the flattop’s hull number. For instance, the Enterprise Air Group, (later Carrier Air Wing 6, only decommissioned on 1 April 1993) included “Fighter Six” VF-6 (a fighter squadron made up of F3F-2 & 3 aircraft), “Bomber Six” VB-6 (a squadron made up of BT-1 dive bombers), “Scouting Six” VS-6 (a scout plane group equipped with SBC-3 Helldivers), “Torpedo Six” VT-6 (armed with TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bombers), as well as an Air Group Commander (flying a SBC-4), and some utility aircraft.

These air-groups had distinctive markings for their craft, which not only made it easy to tell which group and squadron it was in, but also the formation, and individual USN Bureau number (serial number) for the plane.

For example:

click to bigup

click to bigup

The image above is from LIFE magazine (Hattip D Shelly), 1938. It is of a SBC-3 Helldiver scout bomber getting ready for takeoff from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) during maneuvers off the coast of Hawaii in September 1940. It is from Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6).

This plane, bureau number 0542, was soon pulled from front line service (as were the rest of the cumbersome Helldivers). This airframe was kept around until 1944 as a trainer.

The blue tail indicates this aircraft is from the USS Enterprise. The red chevron on the top of the wing and the bottom of the cowling are the colors of the first section, made up of three aircraft, out of six sections in a squadron. The cowling being painted only on the bottom indicates this is aircraft number three, which would fly on the left-wing of the section leader when in a “V’ formation. It’s number, which you cannot see, would be “6-S-3″ for Sixth Carrier Group, Scouting Squadron, aircraft #3

Also, the rear observer looks exceptionally non-plussed.

Incidentally, the Curtiss SBC-3 Helldiver, built in 1935, was obsolete as soon as it left the factory. While it would have been useful over the skies of France in WWI, any fighter of its day could have cleaned its clock. In fact, it was the last bi-plane built for the US Navy and Marine Corps. Slow (230 kts) and not very maneuverable, the plane had a short 150-200 nm radius of action as a scout plane and was pitifully armed with just two 30.06 caliber M1919 light machine guns (one forward and one rearward). It could, however, carry a half ton of dumb bombs.

Click to bigup

Click to bigup

Here we see a Northrop BT-1 dive bomber of Enterprise’s ‘Bombing Six’ squadron, BuNo 0681. This one, according to the plane, from the “6-B-10″ you can see its the Sixth Carrier Group, Bomber, 10th aircraft.

These BT-1’s were even worse than the Helldivers. Although colorful and at least a mono-plane, they had exceptionally bad low-speed maneuverability, which made them about the worst choice for a carrier aircraft in the world. The Navy accepted just 56 of these troubled planes. They were soon replaced by the much more effective Dauntless SBD in 1940.

dive-bomber-trailer-title

These planes, however did appear in the 1941 film Dive Bomber, with Errol Flynn. Apparently the footage was already ‘in the can.’

Big up

Big up

Here we see a beautiful formation of Douglas TBD-1 Devastators of “Torpedo Six” from USS Enterprise off Hawaii for battle fleet exercises. The TBD-1 was a new plane, entering service in 1937. While just 130 were built, they made up the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s torpedo bomber program in the first part of WWII. The thing is, as one aviation writer termed it, they were Not-so-Devastating. Barely able to keep above 130 kts when armed with a usually non-functioning Mark 13 torpedo, these planes had an effective radius of action of just 200 miles. Some 41 Devastators are famous for their suicidal attack on the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Midway in 1942, which caused no damage to the Emperor’s forces. Not a single TBD-1 survives to this day although the location of five wrecked ones are known.

www.richard-seaman.com
Here we have a (more than 50% replicated) Grumman F3F Flying Barrel, N20FG (1938 built Grumman F3F-2 Model BuNo 1033) that is owned by Chino Warbirds of Carlsbad, California, in a photo by Richard Seaman taken at the 2008 Planes of Fame Airshow. The plane is marked in the same paint scheme as the Enterprise group’s “Fighting Six” VF-6 squadron. Just 137 of these chubby fighters were produced, and soon were replaced by the F4F Wildcat. These chunks had a single .30 caliber machine gun and a single .50 caliber gun, and, while maneuverable, could only make 260 kts at best possible speed.

It would have been suicidal going up against a Zero in one of these. Gratefully, they spent WWII in training and utility duties.

t39 centennial of naval aviationjpg
As an homage to the Enterprise Group, here we see a US Navy T-39 Saberliner painted in the same scheme as the Enterprise‘s 1938 Strike Group as a retro throwback during the 2011 Centennial of Naval Aviation. The Saberliner, used by the Navy since 1962 in a number of variants for expedited cargo delivery, RIO, undergraduate flight officer and bombardier/navigator training, has been retired this year. This plane, BuNo. 165523 formerly of VT-86 aboard NAS Pensacola, was delivered to the AMRAC boneyard 22 May of this year– still in its distinctive scheme. As such, it is the only plane painted in the colors of the USS Enterprise’s pre-WWII Carrier Six group currently in the military’s inventory.

To all, salute.

MOUT in a city of 20 million? Plan on it

The U.S. Army is shitting its pants over the prospect of future wars in a city that looks like something out of Blade Runner.

Paging Phillip K Dick...

Paging Phillip K Dick…

“When the Army looks to the future, it sees cities. Dense, sprawling, congested cities where criminal and extremist groups flourish almost undetected by authorities, but who can influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state.

And the service is convinced that these “megacities” of 20 million or more people will be the battleground of the future.

The problem from a military strategists’ point of view, however, is that no army has ever fought it out in a city of this size. So in thinking through the issue of what to do about the coming age of the megacity, the Army’s Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) got together with US Army Special Operations Command, the chief of staff’s Strategic Studies Group and the UK’s Ministry of Defence in February to explore these types of urban operations.

“There is no historical precedent” for these kinds of operations, Brig. Gen. Christopher McPadden, ARCIC’s director of concept development and learning directorate, said on Aug. 28. “We really have to figure out the scope and scale of the kind of operations we’ll have to participate in.”

The rest here at Army Times  (including feedback from H.R. McMaster)

A man and his superball

The Gadget, the nuclear device to test the world's atomic bomb

Physicist Norris Bradbury sits next to “The Gadget”, the nuclear device created by scientists to test the world’s first atomic bomb, codenamed the Manhattan Project, at the Trinity Site in Alamogordo, New Mexico 16 July 1945. Just three weeks later an operational device was dropped on August 6, 1945,  over Hiroshima, in the Empire of Japan. Four weeks after that, World War Two ended.

All sides of the Mexican Drug War agree, the 1911 is the gun for thee

Found these three images in the past few weeks while pursuing through images of Mexico’s ongoing drug war, which is pitting hyper-violent narco cartels against overworked (and often corrupt) police and military forces, while independent vigilante groups find themselves– at times– arrayed against both in an effort to keep their towns and villages intact.

One common thread among all sides, is that the Colt 1911 and its variants (which include the Obregon and Trejo, both of which were 1911-ish guns made in Old Mexico for generations) seem to be the go-to hardballer in the conflict.

 

"A vigilante member of the community police spits on the ground during a shootout after taking over the village of Paracuaro in Michoacan state, January 4, 2014. Some 100 gunmen of the community police from different towns, riding in a convoy of trucks, entered Paracuaro and disarmed the police to gain control over the town in an effort to rid the area of the Knights Templar cartel (Caballeros Templarios), according to local media. Michoacan has been rocked by repeated explosions of civil unrest in 2013 and vigilante groups have sprung up in the region which complain that state and federal police are not protecting them from the gangs." AP Photo. Note the well-used 1911 and the perfect trigger discipline. This gun has been around the block. (click to bigup)

“A vigilante member of the community police spits on the ground during a shootout after taking over the village of Paracuaro in Michoacan state, January 4, 2014. Some 100 gunmen of the community police from different towns, riding in a convoy of trucks, entered Paracuaro and disarmed the police to gain control over the town in an effort to rid the area of the Knights Templar cartel (Caballeros Templarios), according to local media. Michoacan has been rocked by repeated explosions of civil unrest in 2013 and vigilante groups have sprung up in the region which complain that state and federal police are not protecting them from the gangs.” AP Photo. Note the well-used 1911 and the perfect trigger discipline (with the hammer down). This gun has been around the block. (click to bigup)

 

Mexican federal police with a "cocked and locked" 1911-style pistol in the best Fobus holster $20 will buy.

Mexican federal police with a “cocked and locked” GI 1911-style pistol in the best Fobus holster $20 will buy.

 

Mexican Army's Narco War Museum: A captured 1911 colt with Versace grips (Photo by Ross McDonnell)

Mexican Army’s Narco War Museum: A captured 1911 Colt with Versace grips (Photo by Ross McDonnell)

 

Bonus: A pair of 1911 Narco pistols captured by the Federales, complete with Republic flag grips, El Jefe slide scrolls, and brass suppressors. You are welcome.

Bonus: A matching pair of 1911 Narco pistols captured by the Federales, complete with Republic flag grips, “El Jef”e slide scrolls, and brass suppressors. You are welcome.

 

 

A joint U.S./Japan AIP Diesel Squadron?

James Holmes at National Interest has a lot to say about the Sōryū-class submarines of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. These diesel boats are not your grandpa’s old WWII-era smokers. Equipped with the best Air Independent Propulsion tech that could be licensed from the Swedes, these X-tailed, 4200-ton boats are large (275-feet overall), capable (6100 nm range, modern combat sensors, 30 torpedoes/sub-launched harpoons), and can remained submerged for weeks if needed, all while remaining quieter than many of the world’s more expensive nuclear-powered attack submarines. They are also a comparative bargain at $500 milly a pop, while the current U.S. SSN runs a few times that even in the most optimistic figures.

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Sōryū-class submarine Hakuryu (SS-503) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled port visit, Feb. 6. While in port, the submarine crew will conduct various training evolutions and have the opportunity to enjoy the sights and culture of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Christy Hagen/Released)

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Sōryū-class submarine Hakuryu (SS-503) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled port visit, Feb. 6. While in port, the submarine crew will conduct various training evolutions and have the opportunity to enjoy the sights and culture of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Christy Hagen/Released)

The JMSDF has plans for ten of these (and currently has half in service already), but Holmes is suggesting something else.

“In short, Soryus are optimized for plying the China seas and Western Pacific. Those are precisely the waters the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard singled out as crucial in the 2007 Maritime Strategy, the sea services’ most authoritative statement of how they see the strategic environment and intend to manage it. Soryu SSKs are proven platforms manned by experienced mariners who can bequeath their knowledge to their U.S. comrades. That makes these boats a logical common platform around which to build a combined SSK squadron.”

More here :

Home invasion survivors sue to overturn last handgun ban in U.S.

saipanmap

A Navy veteran and his wife are suing the government of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands to force the territory to repeal its ban on handguns.

The suit, brought by David J. Radich and his wife, Li-Rong, is challenging the commonwealth government’s anti-gun policies, particularly its total ban on handguns and refusal to issue permits for long arms. This comes after the couple suffered from a home invasion that left Li-Rong severely injured. Following the attack, the Radich couple filed for Weapons Identification Cards with the CNMI Department of Public Safety in July 2013, required to own one of the few long guns allowed in the territory.

However, with their WICs still in limbo, the couple filed suit Sept. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern Marianas Islands, claiming their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights are in violation.

And after looking at what some Second Amendment scholars had to say, and talking to Radich’s attorney, me thinks they just might be on to something there.

Read the rest in my column at Guns.com

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