Here we see a Short-Magazine Lee-Enfield in .303 British that had a very curious history.
It was issued to a member of the Reserve/1st Garrison Battalion, Essex Regiment (formed in 1881 from the amalgamation of the 44th East Essex Regiment of Foot and the 56th West Essex Regiment of Foot) which fought at Le Cateau and Ypres before being sent on Winston Churchill’s attempt to knock the Ottomans out of World War I at Gallipoli. The unit came away relatively unscathed from the fiasco and went on to fight at Loos, the Somme, Cambrai, and Gaza.
However, our SMLE was left behind somehow in the evacuation of Gallipoli and was captured in very good condition by the Turks. Sent to Constantinople as a trophy, the Turkish Government had it engraved near the lock in gold in Turkish “Booty captured in the fighting at Chanak Kale.”
Enver Pasha then presented it to Emir Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi (then a Turkish subject representing the city of Jeddah for the Ottoman parliament and the guest of Jemal Pasha in Damascus) in 1916. It was then inscribed near the bayonet mount “Presented by Enver Pasha to Sherif Feisal” in Turkish.
T E LAWRENCE 1888-1935 (Q 73535) Lawrence in Arab dress seated on the ground. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source
Then came Captain T. E. Lawrence, a junior British intelligence officer from Cairo to instigate rebellion in Arabia against the Ottomans. Meeting Feisal 23 October 1916 at Hamra in Wadi Safra, Lawrence supplied the leader with some nice, fresh .303 rounds (the Brit was fond of carrying a a M1911 Colt .45 ACP on his person and a Lewis gun in .303 in his baggage).
As the Lawrence/Feisal partnership blossomed to full rebellion against Constantinople, the Arab leader passed his Turkish trophy Enfield to the wild, blonde-haired rabble rouser on 4 December 1916 in a meeting near Medina.
Lawrence carved his initials and the date in the stock and carried the rifle till October 1918 when Damascus was captured .
The gun has five notches carved into the stock near the magazine, with one in particular marking the death of one Turkish officer taken with the gun. After the war, the rifle was presented by then-Colonel Lawrence to King George V, passing to the Imperial War Museum upon the regent’s death.
The former princely owner, of course, became King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria of Iraq and was played in David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia by Alec Guinness.
A similar rifle (without the ‘Enver’ inscription) was given by the Turkish Government to Abdulla, Feisal’s brother, and is now in the possession of Ronald Storrs.
The IWM has a second Feisal trophy rifle in their collection as well.
The Turkish Model 1887 rifle was the first of a series of rifles produced for the Turkish Army by Mauser of Germany. Its design echoed that of the German Gewehr 71/84 service rifle, being a bolt-action weapon with a tubular magazine beneath the barrel.
This particular rife, made in 1892, was presented by the Emir Feisal to Captain WHD Boyle, Officer Commanding the Royal Navy Red Sea Squadron, in recognition of assistance rendered during the Arab Revolt against Turkey. Boyle later inherited the title of Earl of Cork and Orrery and rose to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet. He commanded the Royal Naval forces engaged in the Norwegian campaign in 1940.
Marked as follows: 1. Sultan’s Tugra stamped on top of chamber 2. Turkish proofs stamped on right of chamber 3. Arabic inscription commencing with 1308 (date) stamped on left of body 4. stamped on bolt 5. gold inlay on top of barrel 6. Arabic inscription commencing with 1326-1330 engraved on silver scroll-shaped plaque let into left of butt (detached).
Why were these Mausers and Enfields so treasured? Well, they were modern magazine fed bolt-action rifles and the standard gear in the desert just wasn’t.
The Ottomans armed the local Arab tribes with surplussed U.S. Providence Tool Company-made Peabody-Martini Model 1874s chambered in 11.3x59mmR blackpowder. (Though in 1912 Austria’s Steyr converted a lot of these into 7.65mm Mauser with the resulting kaboom risk, making the M74/12 which served through WWI with various guards and rear line units, freeing standard rifles for the front.)
As for the Brits, they gave their new Arab allies old 1870s Mk II Martini-Henry breechloaders taken from Indian troops headed to France and Egypt– who were themselves reissued new Enfields.
The real “fighting Irish” deciphered. Bone strikes and palm strikes, not the knuckles. Makes sense.
National Firearms Museum:
These scaled-down Mannlicher-Carcano pattern bolt-action carbines were intended for Italian Fascist Youth training, ssed by the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB), 1926-1937 and the follow-on Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL) through WWII. Intended to only fire a 6mm blank cartridge, these diminutive “ballila” pieces were also fitted with an equally small folding bayonet at the end of their 14-inch barrel.
The youngest of these groups intended to receive training were only 6-8 years old and were mustered as units called Figli del Lupa (Children of the She Wolf.)
The seed corn. Their motto: Libro e moschetto, fascista perfetto (Book and rifle, perfect Fascist)
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and Coast Guard Station Rockland Me training with an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and 47-foot motor life boats.
The Jayhawk helicopter is painted yellow to represent the “chrome” yellow paint scheme that Coast Guard and Navy helicopters used in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Examples include the Sikorsky HO3S-1G used from 1946 to 1955 and the Sikorsky HO4S used from 1951 to 1966.
It is one of 16 aircraft in the country during the centennial celebration of Coast Guard aviation. Altogether, three different Coast Guard aircraft types, including the Jayhawk and Dolphin helicopters as well as the HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane, are receiving historic paint schemes representing various eras of Coast Guard air power.
The first Marine Corps snipers in Vietnam often found themselves using rifles forwarded from stateside shooting teams, such as this classic Model 70 with it’s huge 14x Unertl Sniper.
While Marine snipers after WWII were stuck with Korean War-vintage M1C Garands with offset mounted 2x optic, competitive rifle teams in the Corps eschewed the M1C for special order target model rifles such as the Winchester Model 70, for use in National Match events.
The example Ian with Forgotten Weapons above has a serial number that places it in the 1956 era and was owned by a retired Marine colonel who was Captain of the Marine Corp rifle team at Camp Pendleton around that time.
One Marine who came from just such a rifle team environment and went to Vietnam, where he used a similar Model 70 (with an 8x Unertl) for a time was Gunnery Sgt. Carlos N. Hathcock II, who won the Wimbledon Cup trophy at the 1965 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio with a M70.
SOGNEFJORDEN, Norway (Oct. 2, 2016) Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) ships ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbón (flagship), NRP Alvares Cabral, and FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein sail through the Sognefjord in Norway.
The Spanish Navy’s Almirante Juan de Borbón (F102) is the second ship of the new F-100 class of air defense frigates and is well-equipped with a SPY-1D phased array “mini-Aegis” radar suite, 48 VLS launch cells and a 5-inch gun in a compact 5,800-ton package (how come we couldn’t have ordered 48 of these for the LCS design!?).
The Portugese Navy’s 3,200-ton NRP Alvares Cabral (F331) is a Vasco da Gama-class fast frigate of the popular German MEKO 200 type and is more modestly equipped for ASW and ASuW action with a suite of guns, torpedoes and Harpoons.
As for the German Navy’s FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F 264) she is a handy K130 Braunschweig-class ocean going corvette of some 1,800-tons. Armed with a 76mm gun and RBS-15 antiship missiles, she is a modern day fast attack craft and would surely prove her worth in combat among a craggy coastal littoral such as the Norwegian coast.
As noted by NATO: SNMG1 is one of four multinational, high readiness groups composed of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability and help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits and enhance interoperability among Allied naval forces. They also serve as a consistently ready maritime force of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).
Of course, it reminds me of this painting of a very different time, but the same coast.
“Task Force of Two Navies” Watercolor by Dwight Shepler, USNR, 1943, depicting U.S. and British warships in the Pentlant Firth during an operation toward the Norwegian coast, coincident with the Sicily invasion, July 1943. USS Alabama (BB 60) is in the lead, followed by HMS Illustrious and HMS King George V. Three British carrier-based fighters (two “Seafires” and a “Martlet”) are overhead.
Let’s face it: the U.S. Coast Guard has an icebreaker crisis that has been brewing since the 1970s. From WWII through the Ford Administration, the U.S. had the largest military ice-breaking fleet in the world. Then came the inevitable retirement of a host of 8 aging breakers, built for the Navy and armed like destroyers, which were to be replaced by four new 399-foot Polar-class ships.
Well, those four became only two as a result of 1970s budget crisis and they linger on as broken down occasionally functional vessels. Icebreakers take a beating.
Instead of building new heavy icebreakers to military spec, one Congressman wants the Coasties to buy the 12,000-ton Aiviq, an American ice-hardened anchor handling tug supply vessel owned by Edison Chouest Offshore.
Completed in 2012, the commercial vessel is pretty sweet, but in the end had trouble in Alaska trying to do its thing to the point that the cutter USCGC Alex Haley, a medium icebreaker, had to step in as a safety net.
Now, with Shell’s decision to halt Arctic oil exploration, the owners want to sell the gently used $200 million vessel to Uncle Sam for $150 million and a Republican (who has gotten some pretty big contributions from those involved with the ship) is all about it for the Coast Guard– even though the ship isn’t really an icebreaker, isn’t built to military specs, and failed in its only deployment.
“It’s my belief that the Coast Guard would benefit greatly from the initiative taken by Congress to provide funding—without drawing from existing Coast Guard priorities—to minimize the vessel gap, by leasing a medium icebreaker,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, pimping the Aiviq.
Coast Guard Adm. Charles Michel isn’t impressed and said of the vessel, “This is not a pick-up game for the Coast Guard. We have very specific requirements for our vessels, including international law requirements for assertion of things like navigation rights. … This vessel does not just break ice …”
However, money talks, so there’s that.
Meanwhile, the Duffel Blog nails it: