This image from the VDKM, the Lithuanian national archives, shows infantrymen of the newly free Lithuanian Armed Forces mugging with a (Bactrian?) camel reportedly seized from the Bolsheviks. The photo comes from Kaunas (Kovno), in 1919.
Note the mix of German and Russian gear with Stalhelms and Mauser 98s very present. The camel jockey, meanwhile, sports a Mosin.
The Lithuanians, who later benefitted from Allied military missions and inherited a lot of surplus Tsarist gear, also managed to land lots of the Kaiser’s swag as well. This gave them a very peculiar arsenal from 1919 through 1939.
Still, they probably just had the one camel.
This flak-damaged M1911A1 .45-cal pistol and cap badge were worn by USAAF Sgt. Roy Zeran, 97th Bomb Group, when his B-17 was shot down on November 20, 1942, during WWII. It stopped a piece of shrapnel that would have likely ruined more than the slide of his pistol.
I recently got to handle a minty correct 1943-issued Remington Rand and matching holster, reportedly used by a B17 bomber pilot during the war. It was an honor.
Opening 35 years ago this week, the film Red Dawn brought World War III to a small American town.
Of course, as actual Warsaw Pact military gear was hard to come by in 1984 California, director and directed by noted Hollywood gun guy John Milius — legend has it that 1911-toting bowling purist Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski was partially based on him — had to improvise. This meant that semi-auto Egyptian Maadi ARMs and Finnish Valmet M78s were made up by Stembridge to look like Soviet AKMs (although the Reds at the time had been increasingly switching to the super-secret AK74) and RPKs. Likewise, even though you can buy MiG-29s and T72s for chump change today, they were hard to find during the Reagan years, which led to some very unusual vis-modded vehicles and aircraft.
Even the smocks worn by the faux Russki Guards Airborne troops were something unique to the movie. While at the time the VDV was heavily involved in Afghanistan and did indeed wear camo smocks (the one-piece KLMK), Milius and the gang only had access to grainy photos that left shading and color up to the imagination.
Example: Actual Soviet KZS “Sun Ray” pattern camouflage of the late 1970s and early 1980s, seen in two different lights.
And the late pattern KLMK over-suit, which is a little brighter.
Contrast this with the Red Dawn film camo:
Of interest, Kaplan’s in South Africa used to make the Milius-pattern stuff in the 1990s.
“Heavy fog covers the flight line as a Navy Fighter Weapons School F-5F Tiger II adversary aircraft is prepared for an early morning mission. Referred to as Top Gun, the school provides air combat maneuvering (ACM) training for Navy and Marine Corps pilots. The F-5F is painted to simulate a Warsaw Pact camouflage pattern, 8/15/1982”
Police trade-in guns are often a good deal. Carried often, they have cosmetic issues such as a worn finish and grips. Cleaned infrequently, they often have crud build-up in nooks and crannies such as the takedown lever and sight grooves. However, these guns often only got taken to the range infrequently– even departments that are very conscious of training and stay on top of qualifications only shoot 3-4 times a year, running about 50 rounds during each event. This means that, while a police-issue handgun after a decade of use (during which it was probably only issued for something like 2/3rds of that time) may look gnarly, it probably is a low mileage gun with well under 5,000 rounds through it.
I’ve collected several police surplus firearms over the years including a former California Highway Patrol S&W .40, ex-Italian Carabinieri Beretta 92S, a Policía Metropolitana de Buenos Aires-marked Ballister Molina .45, and a former Spanish Guardia Civil Star BM– and they all shoot great.
With all this being said, Big Tex Outdoors has a deal on LE trade-in Glock 22 (40S&W) and G19 (9mm) models. Both of these third-gen guns come with 3 mags and night sights for a decent price ($300s).
The G19s seem to all have come from the Asheville (NC) Police department. Don’t ask me how I can tell…
No word where the .40s came from.
Anyway, just passing on the deal.
A thin but undeniable thread throughout U.S. Naval history is getting in a little bit of MW&R while underway via some shooting sports, primarily with shotguns. Now to be clear, I am not talking about stubby riot guns used in security and by response teams but rather long-barreled field guns.
While many ships in the 19th Century carried a few such smoke poles for use by hunting parties to add some variety to the cook’s pot, in modern times these firearms have been more relegated to use in shooting clays.
While the ships of the future are still in the artist’s rendering stage, hopefully, they may have a sporting shotgun or two onboard– using biodegradable clay pigeons and non-toxic bismuth shotshells, of course.