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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.

 

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

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

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.

Warship Wednesday: Coral Sea, arriving with a mighty flock, 55 years ago today

A brief WW this week gives us the view of the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) underway in the Pacific, April 18, 1963, just out of Pearl Harbor with various aircraft of Carrier Group Fifteen (CVG-15, NL) spotted on deck.

Would you look at that enormous Douglas A-3 Skywarrior (Whale) from VAH-2 on the center deck!

1280×1611

Other aircraft are F-4B Phantoms from VF-151, A-4C/Es Skyhawks from VA-153 and 155, F-8C Crusaders from VF-154 along with photo birds from VFP-63, and A-1H Vigilantees from VA-165. The radar domes of VAW-11’s E-1B “Stoofs with a roof” are easy to spot.

All of the above aircraft types have long been discarded in U.S service (although Japan, Turkey, Iran and others still fly F-4s in limited numbers and roles).

Of the squadrons, most don’t exist anymore. Two notable exceptions are the Vigilantes of VF-151 that fly F-18E/Fs from CVW-9 (Stennis) while the Knights of VF-154 fly the same type from CVW-11 (Nimitz). In 1968, the VAH-2 was redesignated as Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) and have been in the jamming game ever since, flying EKA-3Bs, then later EA-6Bs and currently EA-18G Growlers.

As for CVG-15, on 23 Dec. 1963, it became CVW-15 and would deploy on the Coral Sea an amazing 10 times (Vietnam-1964, Vietnam-1967, Vietnam-1968, Vietnam-1969, Vietnam-1970, Eastpac-1971, Vietnam-1972, Vietnam-1973, WestPac-1975, WestPac-1977). After the Coral Sea was retired, CVW-15 spent two decades swapping between Carl Vinson and Kitty Hawk before it was disestablished in 1995 as part of the post-Cold War drawdown.

The Coral Sea, decommissioned in 1990 after 43 years of hard service, was dismantled slowly over a seven-year period and was the largest vessel ever scrapped up until that date. Her sistership, USS Midway, of course, survives as a museum.

One of the most advanced U-boats ever to take to the sea, located

Ordered in 1943 from F Schichau GmbH, Danzig as werk 1668, German submarine U-3523 was an advanced Type XXI U-boat that wasn’t completed until 23 January 1945– just over two months before Berlin fell. Attacked by a British B-24 Liberator of 86 Squadron/G RAF on 6 May, only two days before VE-Day, she sank off Jutland with 58 souls aboard.

And, thanks to Sea War Museum Jutland, she has been found.

Found at 123m, she is literally stuck in the mud: U-3523 appeared on the screen during the museum’s scan of the seabed ten nautical miles north of Skagen, and the picture was very surprising. Most unusual the whole fore part of the U-boat lies buried in the seabed, while the stern is standing 20 meters above the bottom.

From Sea War Museum Jutland:

After the war, there were many rumors about top Nazis who fled in U-boats and brought Nazi gold to safety, and the U-3523 fed the rumors. The Type XXI was the first genuine submarine that could sail submerged for a prolonged time, and the U-3523 had a range that would have allowed it to sail non-stop all the way to South America. But nobody knows if this was the U-boat’s destination, and nobody knows, if the U-boat had valuables or passengers aboard in addition to the 58 crew, all of whom perished.

More here

My thoughts on fooling around with the Glock 19X for three months…

So in December 2017, Glock snuck me an early production model of the 19X “crossover” to test and evaluate. Now, after carrying it around the house and about town, at SHOT Show and in weather that ranged from snow and ice to desert and saltwater marsh, taking time out to fire 2,000 mixed rounds in six range sessions and not cleaning it, I have to say, it has rather grown on me over the past few months.

The full review in my column at Guns.com.

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