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The 411 on the new FN High Power (not the Browning Hi-Power)

I dropped by FN’s booth at SHOT Show in Las Vegas this week to get the scoop on the new FN High Power pistol line.

Not just a restart of the old FN/Browning Hi-Power, the new 9mm guns have a 21st-century flair to them, with a 17+1 magazine capacity, ambi controls, texturing on the frame, better ergonomics, and FN 509-pattern dovetail sights. They will be available in three variants including the standard black model, one in FDE– sure to be a hit with modern FN owners who collect that genre– and a true stainless steel model. 

Each will ship with two sets of grips.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Tall Ship Getting it Done

The buque escuela BAE Guayas (BE-21) is a 1,300-ton Class A Tall Ship operated by the Ecuadorian Navy. Built in Spain in the 1970s to a design similar to the circa 1930s Blohm & Voss segelschulschiffs (like Gorch Fock, USCGC Eagle, and the NRP Sagres) she is a direct sistership to the training ships Gloria (Colombia), Simón Bolívar (Venezuela), and Cuauhtémoc (Mexico).

A steel-hulled three-masted barque capable of hoisting 15,200 sq. ft. of canvas with a 700hp Detroit diesel “steel topsail” for when the wind is calm, she is beautiful, akin to a flying cloud on the water.

With a crew of some 155, she can carry 80 naval cadets and is frequently used in trips overseas to show the country’s flag and has visited over 60 countries in the past 40 years, cruising in excess of 500,000 miles on 30 training cruises from Vladivostok to Boston.

However, she is still a naval vessel, with a small arms locker, and capable of conducting real-world missions in required. Case in point, she just popped a narco sub roaming in the Eastern Pacific.

The tall ship’s crew boarded the vessel, impounded a cargo of moody blow, and arrested four including three Ecuadorians and a Colombian.

All in a day’s work.

Bravo Zulu, Guayas.

Happy 80th Electric Acorn

The U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Division was activated 10 October 1941 at Schofield Barracks, Wahiawa, Hawaii, where it is still in garrison.

Entering combat against the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, where members cracked open armories and used their rifles and small arms against IJN aircraft hitting the barracks, the division went on to a very tough war, suffering 5,432 casualties in its rapid advance from Guadalcanal– where they were the Thin Red Line– through the Solomons and Luzon.

25th Infantry Division Troops Burn Out A Japanese Pill Box At Baguio In The Philippines On 23 March 1945.

Then came the Korean War (10 campaign streamers, 14 MOH recipients), Vietnam (12 campaign streamers, 23 MOH recipients), and Cold War service. They have also been heavily involved in Iraq and Afghanistan (five Meritorious Unit Commendations).

M60 machine gunner of the 25th Infantry Division, 1968

Exercise Team Spirit 83 South Korea, 25th Infantry 

US Army (USA) Specialist Fourth Class (SFC) Theodore Amell, 2nd Platoon (PLT), Bravo (B) Company (CO), 1st Battalion (BN), 5th Infantry (INF), 25th Infantry Division (ID) (Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT)), scans the horizon with an M21 sniper weapon system for threats while on patrol near Mosul, Iraq. The SBCT is assigned to Task Force Freedom supporting Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The M21 system is made up of a 7.62 mm M14 rifle with specially selected and hand-fitted parts and a scope.

1-21 infantry 25th ID Gimlet battalion continue training at PTA on Hawaii Island, April 2019

I Dig Oddball European Semi-Autos

As you know, I go all giggly for curious European autoloaders. For example, I give you this fine spaghetti pistola of Mr. Giuseppe Nicola Galesi that I recently came across at GDC:

Based in Brescia, Italy, Galesi was in operation from about the mid-1920s to about the mid-1960s, where the GCA of 1968 likely cut off their exports to the U.S. and forced it out of the market.

The above specimen is a Model 9, a little 8/7/6+1 shot pocket gun based on Browning’s Model 1910 that was made in .22 LR, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP cal. Using synthetic grips, they were offered in blued and chromed models with a 3.25-inch barrel, a frame-mounted manual safety, and basic fixed sights.

More on the Galesi firm, here.

Remember the Reason Today

Keep in mind today the real reason why the mail doesn’t run, public employees have a three-day weekend, and why your mailbox is full of tasteless fliers.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) commissioning pennant, used 15 November 1932, currently enshrined at the Indiana War Memorial. (Photo: Chris Eger)

Happy Tea Day, care for a brew up?

National Tea Day is observed in the United Kingdom every year on 21 April to celebrate the drinking of tea. With that in mind, check out Wargaming’s Richard Cutland and The Tank Museum’s historian James Holland on how British armored vehicle crews managed to carry on with the national pastime while in the field.

Navy to consign Bonnie Dick to the scrappers

200716-N-WD349-1423 SAN DIEGO (July 16, 2020) Sailors depart the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) after combating a fire on board. On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jeffrey F. Yale/Released)

After an epic four-day fire that captured headlines around the world and scorched or flooded 11 of 14 decks, the Navy has decided that USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) will not be going back to her Pascagoula birthplace for a $3B/5-year rebuild, or get a cheaper $1B conversion to a non-combatant hospital ship, command ship, or submarine tender, and will instead be decommissioned, stripped of all useable components and materials to keep her sisters in service, then sent to the breakers.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her.

“Although it saddens me that it is not cost-effective to bring her back, I know this ship’s legacy will continue to live on through the brave men and women who fought so hard to save her, as well as the Sailors and Marines who served aboard her during her 22-year history,” Braithwaite said.

As noted by USNI News, “Decommissioning the ship – and the inactivation, harvesting of parts, towing and scrapping the hull – will cost about $30 million and take just nine to 12 months.”

Of ominous note, the loss of BHR will go in the books as the worst U.S. Navy casualty in terms of tonnage, even eclipsing the destruction of the battleships USS Arizona (BB-39) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) at Pearl Harbor.

As for a replacement? The well-used Tarawa-class gators USS Nassau (LHA-4) and USS Peleliu (LHA-5), whose keels were laid in the 1970s, have spent much of the past decade growing rust and greenery in the backwater of Pearl Harbor’s lochs. Bringing either one back– Peleliu has only been sidelined since 2015– would surely be a headache, especially for their crews as their huge CE boilers by all accounts didn’t age well, but may prove a useful stopgap until the current America-class LHA pipeline can take BHR’s place in the Western Pacific.

“Harry Greene flies his Boeing Stearman Kaydet Primary Trainer airplane over the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, May 30, 2016. Greene is a helicopter pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and an aircraft enthusiast in his off-duty time.” Note Peleliu and Nassau in the foreground. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

One of these things is not like the other…or is it?

U.S. Navy destroyers and torpedo boats at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, prior to World War I, between mid-1908 and early 1914. The original photograph was published on a tinted postcard by the Pacific Novelty Company, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, California, at about the time it was taken.

Courtesy of R.D. Jeska, 1984. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.color Catalog #: NH 100034-KN

These ships are, despite the caption on the card (from left to right): USS Lawrence (Torpedo Boat Destroyer # 8); USS Goldsborough (Torpedo Boat # 20); and USS Farragut (Torpedo Boat # 11).

The 246-foot Lawrence, at a whopping 400-tons, was a giant compared to the 198-foot/255-ton Goldsborough and 214-foot/279-ton Farragut. However, all three vessels, regardless of their designations, had the same armament of two 18-inch torpedo tubes angeled over the bow and a couple of small 6-pounder guns, as well as the same ~30-knot speed.

The gap between DDs and TBs would, nonetheless, grow widely in the coming years.

Determined Warrior

Some 20 years ago today, on 12 October 2000, while she was being refueled in Yemen’s Aden harbor, the Ingalls-built Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67), was attacked by terrorists who left 17 sailors dead and 39 others seriously injured, damaging the ship to the point that she was almost lost.

Her crew endured, and the lessons learned from that attack have helped mold current DC and topside security protocals.

Today, almost a quarter-century after her commissioning, USS Cole is still very much on active duty.

An extensive tour of the “Determined Warrior,” below:

Unfurling the Fish on the Hoosier Boat

200925-N-AY957-050 GROTON, Conn. (September 25, 2020) – The Virginia-class submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789) arrives at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. Sept. 25. Indiana returned to homeport from its maiden six-month deployment in support of the Navy’s maritime strategy – supporting national security interests and maritime security operations – in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Bianchi/RELEASED)

Note the boat’s (unofficial?) fish banner, including the traditional 19-starred Indiana Torch, sonar muffs, and a Mk48. It varies a bit from the sub’s official crests, which includes silhouettes of the famous battleships that carried the state’s name in the 20th Century, but still covers much of the same bases.

Also, nice to see that the iconic UDT frogman shorts are still very much a thing with rescue divers.

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