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MII Board clears HITRON shoot

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Phillips, a precision marksman at Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, shows a group of VIPs the weaponry used at HITRON during missions Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010. The VIPs were at HITRON to view an advanced screening of an upcoming episode of Top Sniper featuring HITRON on the Military Channel Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bobby Nash.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Phillips, a precision marksman at Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, shows a group of VIPs the weaponry used at HITRON during missions Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010. The VIPs were at HITRON to view an advanced screening of an upcoming episode of Top Sniper featuring HITRON on the Military Channel Thursday at 9 p.m. EST. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bobby Nash.)

The U.S. Coast Guard last week announced the fatal shooting of an Ecuadorian man was in accordance with U.S. and international law and fully complied with the agency’s tactics and procedures.

Javier Darwin Licoa Nunez, 35, of Ecuador, was killed during a law enforcement operation 195 miles north of the Galapagos Islands Aug. 30, 2016. The USCG’s Major Incident Investigation Report made public this week found that Nunez, part of the crew of a suspected “go-fast” cocaine smuggling boat, died from fatal internal injuries caused by bullet fragments after a helicopter-borne Coast Guard marksman fired 10 rounds into the engines of the vessel while attempting to stop the craft.

More in my column at Guns.com.

A battered relic of Saipan

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Click to big up 1800×301

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Japanese Arisaka Type 99 7.7x58mm bolt action rifle with grenade damage and inscribed presentation plaque captured at Saipan 16 June 1944. The “mum” is present on the receiver, a rarity in an of itself. This rifle recently came up at auction with an estimated price of $1,500.

Via Rock Island Auction

The right side of the buttstock has a small brass plaque that reads “AT 0440 ON THE MORNING OF 16 JUNE 1944,/AN AMERICAN INFANTRYMAN JUST LANDING/ON THE SHORES OF CHARAN-KANOA BEACH,/SAIPAN, THREW A HAND GRENADE AT A/JAPANESE SNIPER, KILLING HIM INSTANTLY./THE FORWARD STOCK OF THE RIFLE/WAS DAMAGED BY THE EXPLOSION./PRESENTED BY/COMMANDER WALTER BANTAU, USNR”.

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Hearing Protection Act ‘thwips’ past 100 sponsors in the House

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A bill that would remove suppressors and silencers from National Firearm Act regulations is picking up momentum on Capitol Hill.

The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act was introduced by GOP sponsors U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina and Rep. John Carter of Texas last month and aims to deregulate suppressors as a safety measure to help promote their use in protecting hearing. Enrolled as H.R. 367, the measure picked up its 100th co-sponsor last week.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Drone boat suspected in attack on Saudi frigate

As noted by Defense News:

The Houthi boat that attacked and hit a Saudi frigate Jan. 30 in the Red Sea, reported earlier as a suicide boat, was instead carried out by an unmanned, remote-controlled craft filled with explosives, the US Navy’s top officer in the Mideast said.

“Our assessment is that it was an unmanned, remote-controlled boat of some kind,” Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet and head of US Naval Forces Central Command, told Defense News in an interview here Saturday.

The attack on the frigate Al Madinah appears to be the first confirmed use of the weapon which, Donegan said, represents a wider threat than that posed by suicide boats and shows foreign interests are aiding the Houthis.

Donegin is concerned “first that it is in the hands of someone like the Houthis. That’s not an easy thing to develop. There have been many terrorist groups that have tried to develop that, it’s not something that was just invented by the Houthis. There’s clearly support there coming from others, so that’s problematic.

“The second is the explosive boat piece — you don’t need suicide attackers to do a suicide-like attack. There are certain terrorists that do things and they get martyrs to go and do it. But there are many others that don’t want to martyr themselves in making attacks like that and that’s pretty much where the Houthis are. So it makes that kind of weaponry, which would normally take someone suicidal to use, now able to be used by someone who’s not going to martyr themselves.”

The unmanned boat was likely supplied by Iran, Donegan said.

More here.

The Bora Bora battleship batteries at 75

Back in the days of the Great White Fleet, the six Connecticut-class pre-dreadnought battleships (Connecticut, Louisiana, Vermont, Kansas, Minnesota, and New Hampshire; BBs 18-25) were initially designed by BuOrd to carry a secondary battery of twenty-four new model 7″/44 (17.8 cm) Mark 1 rapid-fire naval guns. Designed around 1900, they could rocket out four 165-pound AP shells a minute to 16,500-yards and were considered able to penetrate 9.6-inches of armor at point blank range.

Postcard of USS Connecticut (BB-18) from 1909, the casemated guns above her waterline are 7-inchers.

Postcard of USS Connecticut (BB-18) from 1909, the casemated guns above her waterline but below her decks are 7-inchers.

In actuality, the ships only mounted 12 each in the hull casemates on completion due to topside weight issues, with the slightly longer 7″/45 Mark 2 being the gun of choice. The only other vessel to carry these popguns were the follow-on USS Mississippi and her sistership USS Idaho, which were quickly sold to Greece in 1914.

When WWI came, 54 of these older guns were dismounted to be used in France as tractor and train-mounted mobile artillery though they did not make it there before the Armistice, and indeed not all were converted as such.

Seven-inch tractor mount, Mark five Caption: Developed during World War I. Gun in preparation for proof firing, barrel at 40 degrees elevation. The first gun to be fired at the Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Virginia, was this 7-inch caterpillar gun. Taken on a glass plate in October 1918. This gun is still (December 1963) on the station, though no longer used, it is a tourist attraction. Description: Catalog #: NH 70232

Seven-inch tractor mount, Mark five Caption: Developed during World War I from casemated guns taken from the Connecticut-class battleships. Gun in preparation for proof firing, barrel at 40 degrees elevation. The first gun to be fired at the Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Virginia, was this 7-inch caterpillar gun. Taken on a glass plate in October 1918. This gun is still (December 1963) on the station, though no longer used, it is a tourist attraction. Description: Catalog #: NH 70232

USS Minnesota (Battleship # 22) At the Philadelphia Navy Yard, circa 1919. Note that all of her 7-inch broadside guns have been removed. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. NH 61215

USS Minnesota (Battleship # 22) At the Philadelphia Navy Yard, circa 1919. Note that all of her 7-inch broadside guns have been removed. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. NH 61215

The Connecticuts? They were used as training ships after scant WWI service and under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, they were all sold for scrap by 1924 and broken up– but their Mark 2 7/45″ guns were saved. Still sitting around at the opening stages of WWII, some (originally from USS New Hampshire) were mounted at Ft. Derussy at Pearl Harbor. Others went to the Azores and USVIs.

Then, eight were sent to Bora Bora, northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia’s Society Islands just weeks after the war in the Pacific set off. Known as “Operation Bobcat” the Navy maintained a supply force of up to 7,000 men on the island for the duration of the war. The eight 7/45’s were set up in two, four-gun batteries overlooking strategic points around the island to protect it against potential Japanese attack.

Seabees placing a Navy 7”/45 Gun on a hill overlooking Teavanui Harbor, circa February 1942. The town of Vaitape is on the point of land at right. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-1125 (Color).

Seabees placing a Navy 7”/45 Gun on a hill overlooking Teavanui Harbor, circa February 1942. The town of Vaitape is on the point of land at right. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-1125 (Color).

Emplacing a Navy 7"/45 gun on a hilltop over looking Teavanui Harbor, February 1942. Catalog #: 80-G-K-1119 Copyright Owner: National Archives

Emplacing a Navy 7″/45 gun on a hilltop overlooking Teavanui Harbor, February 1942. Catalog #: 80-G-K-1119 Copyright Owner: National Archives

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These guns never fired a shot in anger and the U.S. pulled out 2 June 1946, turning the airstrip (French Polynesia’s only international airport until 1960), new port facilities and guns over to the locals.

The century-old guns are still there and are a popular tourist attraction, now celebrating their 75th year on the island this month. A little of the Great White Fleet still on watch.

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Got some scratch for a ‘barn find’ P-51?

You can always sit in it and make machine gun sounds...

You can always sit in it and make engine and machine gun sounds…

Last flown in 1983, Platinum Fighter Sales has an original and unrestored multi-owner P-51D Mustang up for grabs.

Known as the “Cadillac of the Sky” in World War II, the P-51 Mustang fighter was the mount of choice for several U.S. Army Air Force aces including Chuck Yeager.

The aircraft at hand, S/N 44-77902-N38227, was built in 1944 and carries the famed Packard Merlin V-1650-7 piston engine with Rolls-Royce 620 Heads and a few truckloads of spare parts including what look to be several spare canopies, blocks, wing segments and the like.

“This may be the last original unrestored P-51D Mustang in original military configuration,” notes Platinum, advising even the armor plating is still installed.

The plane flew with the Guatemalan Air Force between 1954-1972 and was returned to the States afterward, but has been in storage since the Reagan Administration.

If it surprises you that the Guatemalans flew the P-51 for so long, keep in mind that the last piston-engine dog fights, that of the Soccer War between fellow Central American military powerhouses Honduras and El Salvador in 1969 involved Mustangs and Corsairs.

Price?  $4.5 mill. But hey, it’s a P-51. All you need are a half-dozen M2 Brownings for the wings are you are set.

Devils get more tactical/practical shooting in at qual time

She was named after the 1944 Battle of Peleliu, where US Marines had to fght for every inch of real estate. Note the BAR and M1919 dropping it like its hot.

Battle of Peleliu, where US Marines had to fight for every inch of real estate. Note the BAR and M1919 dropping it like it’s hot.

I figured if this was new to me, it was likely new to some of your as well, but did you know that the table two portion of the Marine’s annual rifle range qualification has changed to become more practical?

Among the changes:

•Keeping up the heart rate: Instead of Marines staying stationary while shooting, they are required to start at the standing position and quickly get into the kneeling or prone position when the targets are ready to appear.

•Engaging the enemy: Marines begin qualifying at the 500-yard line then advance towards the 100-yard line, where previously they trained the other way around.

•Maintaining situational awareness in combat: New targets show both friendly and enemy forces and Marines must maintain awareness of the targets to determine when to shoot forcing them to make combat decisions.

More info here

Western Rifle Shooters Association

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