Men of action in coffee-stained crackerjacks, 104 years ago today

These are not the kind of guys you want to pick a fight with.

NHHC NH 100612

Ensign Schuyler F. Heim and other members of the landing party from the South Carolina-class battleship USS Michigan (BB-27) preparing to disembark, 22 April 1914, at Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Their white uniforms have been crudely dyed for camouflage purposes. Heim is wearing an M1912 pistol belt and magazine pocket, with a very newly issued M1911 automatic .45cal pistol in a swivel holster. The immense First Class Boatswain’s Mate beside him wears the M1910 dismounted cartridge belt for the Springfield M1903 rifle. Note additional ’03s in chests on deck.

BB-23’s career was cut short by the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922 and she was decommissioned in February 1923 and broken up for scrap the following year.

Heim went on to become a commodore and was in command of the Naval Air Station on Terminal Island in 1942, resulting in a bridge named in his honor crossing the Cerritos Channel at the Port of LA that remained in service until 2015.

No word on what became of the Hulk BM1.

The last duel in France, just 51 years ago today

On 21 April 1967 French politicians Gaston Defferre and Rene Ribiere met at the private residence of Neuilly-sur-Seine to conduct the duel over a petty matter of public honor. Fought with epees, the men were deadly serious and in the four-minute combat, Defferre wounded Ribierre twice on the arm. After the second wound, the engagement was stopped by the combined intervention of the duelists seconds, and Defferre declared the winner.

Peaches and Pound Cake

Story Corps has this great bit of relation from PFC Roman Coley Davis, who grew up in a small town in southern Georgia.

After graduating from high school in 2004, he joined the military. By the time he was 20 years old, Roman found himself 7,000 miles away from home, in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan — one of the most remote outposts in the U.S. war there. At StoryCorps, he told his friend Dan Marek about his family and his time in Afghanistan.

After the military, Roman enrolled in culinary school. He used his GI Bill to attend Le Cordon Bleu. He’s now a chef, based in Arkansas.

The final Navy carrier deployment of the F-18 Charlie has concluded

A sight that will go unseen moving forward, barring Marine air units deploying with carrier groups:

Photo US Navy

From Scramble Magazine:

On 11 April 2018, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 Blue Blasters (‘NE-4xx’) arrived back home at NAS Oceana (VA) after a three-month deployment with CVW-2 on board the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

The F/A-18C squadron embarked on 5 January 2018 the Vinson. The deployment marked the sundown cruise of the US Navy F/A-18C Hornet.

CVW-3’s VFA-131 Wildcats (‘AC-3xx’) and and CVW-8’s VFA-37 Bulls (‘AJ-4xx’) still operate the legacy F/A-18C Hornet but these squadrons will not deploy anymore with these types.

VFA-34 will transition to F/A-18E Super Hornet in the upcoming months, likewise followed by VFA-131 and VFA-37.

 

Fooling with sticky plastique

Making friends and influencing people with some M118 Demo Charge, aka Flex-X (the military version of Detasheet or Primasheet, a PETN-based rubberized sheet explosive) via this 1960s Army training film

As a bonus, here is a period piece on electric priming, because you really need one to have the other

Now that’s a sweet PDW

PTR just showed off this beautiful HK33-style roller-locked .223 factory SBR– the 32P PDWR.

It comes standard with a Magpul stock and sports a PTR forend designed to allow the mounting of pic rails for accessories. Overall length in this configuration is under 30-inches.

Price, TBD, plus stamp

The Cricket Ball grenade

This bad boy seemed like a good idea at the time it was invented, but the lengthy fuze and the fact that it was thrown to some of the most capable hobby bowlers in Thrace gave it an Achilles heel.

From the AWM

The Turkish 1914 model hand grenade, better known to the Australians as a ‘cricket ball’ grenade, was developed by Tufenidjieff, according to an August 1915 translation of a Turkish handbook by the Intelligence section of the Headquarters Unit, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Manufactured by the Kalafat Yeri Foundries at Constantinople, they formed an essential part of the Turkish Army’s capability.

The spherical bodies of these grenades were about 73 mm in circumference and made from cast iron, the body being divided into equal rectangles and dimpled on the insides to assist fragmentation. They were filled with 100 grams of TNT (described in the translation as ‘Bombiet’ by the Turks) and provided with a fuse protected by a copper tube; the fuse – 2 grams of fulminate of mercury – is lit by a friction material, described in the booklet as being similar to that “put outside the safety match boxes”. The fuse is capped on the exterior by a screwed bronze cover provided with a belt hook.

The handbook then describes the method of use: “The man holds his rifle with his left hand and the grenade with his right hand. He uncovers the fuse with his right hand; he rubs the fuse on the match sheet hung on the right or left of his chest, [and] throws it to the desired place. It explodes in 19 seconds as the pieces of the grenade are dispersed in a circular and upward direction, the thrower must find a cover if possible.”

The 19 second timing of this fuse explains the ability of Australians, often noted in accounts such as the battle of Lone Pine, to grab a Turkish grenade and hurl it back.

More here.

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