In this 1960s Army recruiting poster, we see PFC Vernon K. Haught, of the 82nd ABN Divison’s 325th Glider Rgt, around the final act of the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945, as he strolls in the snow-covered countryside near Ordimont, Belgium.
While the M1 2.36-inch Bazooka on his shoulder is likely his go-to should an errant Panzer poke its nose out of the woods, the thin-handled knife on the German army belt around his waist probably got a lot more daily use. The blade seems to be a Norwegian-style speiderkniv, or scout knife, of the kind commonly used by boy scouts in Western Europe at the time, differing from the beefier U.S.-style PAL or Western Cutlery-made fixed blade Boy Scout knives sold back home in the 1940s.
Also, note the M1 bayonet strapped to his leg.
After all, “Be Prepared.”
The Indian Army, the largest armed force in the world after China, this week celebrated its 72nd Army Day, noting their founding as an independent force in 1948 after a century of British Imperial rule. While the force still has a very Commonwealth feel to it, the Indian Army still does a lot of things their own way.
Sig Sauer announced this week that the U.S. Special Operation Command has certified and taken delivery of the company’s new MG 338 machine gun system.
Chambered in .338 Norma Magnum, the MG 338 is billed on being able to deliver effective fire at ranges out to 2,000 meters, closing the gap between 7.62 NATO weapons like the M240 and .50 cal BMG platforms such as the M2 heavy machine gun. Weighing only 20-pounds, the MG 338 uses Sig-produced ammunition and optics as well as the company’s suppressor design to create an all-Sig product.
And it looks pretty sweet, with an almost sci-fi quality to it.
More in my column at Guns.com.
When it comes to .22LR, the biggest problem is the round itself.
First marketed in 1884 as a black powder round, the little lead-nosed pipsqueak was intended for use in rifles and revolvers, with its rimmed case proving notoriously difficult for pistols to cycle. Compounding this, there is a myriad of loads in circulation, all with slightly different specs and performance. When you magnify those problems with the fact that the rounds are often produced by the millions as economically as possible, especially in the case of bulk-pack budget ammo, and you get a cartridge that tends to be finicky in a lot of semi-auto handguns.
To get it right, Glock spent nearly three years testing and developing the G44– which is why models like the G45, G46, G47, and G48 passed it up in reaching the market while the rimfire chewer was still in R&D.
During that time, they used no less than 141 different rimfire loads in testing, popping over 1.2 million rounds in the process. Federal, which supported the effort, used everything in test guns from 42-grain subsonic to CCI Stingers with no problem. In short, while many 22LR pistols come with the caveat that they are picky about their diet, the Glock is billed as being omnivorous.
Well, I grabbed 2,200 rounds of a wide array of .22LR and headed to the range with a new G44 sent for T&E.
How did it do?
More in my column at Guns.com.
So I saw this interesting listing pop up from Milestone Auctions, centered on a cased pair of beautiful (although non-sequential) Colt Model 1878 double action cartridge revolvers.
As you may well remember, the Colt 1871 and follow-up 1873 (aka Peacemaker, aka Single Action Army) brought the iconic wheelgun maker back from bankruptcy and into the cartridge revolver-era, and the 1878 being double action, was essentially the most tactical wheelgun on the market when it was released.
With 5.5-inch barrels and a massive .455/476 Enfield Eley Mark III chambering, these big gate-loading Colts were certainly man-stoppers.
Even more interesting, and the caliber may have given it away. is the fact that these two Colts are English silver plated with bird’s head rosewood grips and are covered with both British proof house marks and Colt’s London address on the barrels.
For sure, these were presentation guns for a special occasion or person. A clue is in the auction listing which reads that one of the guns :
“..appears in the copy of Army & Navy sales ledger as sold in England to Caton Jones, Sup FW on Sept 9, 1885, with no details on guns finish. How they ended up together as a pair and plated while in England is a mystery.”
Going to the Army List for that year, we find one Frederick William Caton Jones, MB (Medicinae Baccalaureus), MRCS (Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons), is listed as commissioned 30 May 1885. He was 25 years old.
Bound for India, our good Dr. Caton Jones later turns up in future listings as a Surgeon assigned in 1891 to the Bombay garrison with the Army in India, where he was still posted as of the 1906 Army List. During that period he rose to Major on 30 May 1897 and to Lt. Colonel on 30 May 1905.
As published in The Western Australian, 24 August 1900, Caton-Jones was mixing it up with the Boers while in Kitchener’s brigade.
Surgeon-Major F. W. Caton Jones, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, writing to his sister, Mrs. Cumming from Newcastle, South Africa, under date July 22, says :–
I am just getting over that Ladysmith business now and can get along all right without taking medicine, but it has taken four months to do it. I have a very nice commando of my own now. Am in charge of the 7th Brigade, Field Hospital and Bearer Company. It is an Indian hospital and a perfect unit.
I have under me one officer, R.A.M.C.; two civil surgeons (in place of R.A.M.C. officers); eight assistant surgeons (Indian Apothecaries); one conductor (Indian army); two civilian conductors, four sergeants, and eight nursing orderlies (British army from India); 42 Indian Army Hospital native corps, 126 Indian dhoolee-bearers, and 50 drivers.
I am equipped for a hundred sick in hospital, and put up double that number at a pinch. I can carry 52 men lying down and 12 sitting in my sick transport, 20 lying in the dhoolies, and 94 sitting in my wheeled ambulances, if I put no lying down cases in the latter; a good deal to be responsible for.
Our brigade, under Brigadier General Kitchener, is at Newcastle, on the lines of communication. Of course, we are very sick at not getting forward, but someone must stay behind. Thank goodness, the grass is burnt round the camp. Veldt fires happen every day. One field hospital was burnt, but luckily no one was injured.
This is a fine country, and very healthy. All colonists say we shall have to be much sterner with the Boers before they will give in. I believe sternness would save very many lives both of, theirs and ours. If the Indian hospitals are sent back to India in September, I may go to China.
By 1911, the good doctor was back from his long overseas deployments and stationed in Tidworth Barracks in south-east Wiltshire, England where he remained until 1914.
By 1916, I can find then-Colonel FW Caton-Jones OB, AMS, ADMS (Assistant Director Medical Services), as head of the Medical Board of Officers assembled at No 1 General Hospital, Etretat, in Normandy, serving with the BEF “on the Continent.”
Why the big pistols for a man of medicine, besides the obvious need for a gentleman of the period to have arms while campaigning?
It seems the good Dr. Caton-Jones was a true English gentleman officer while abroad and was something of a noted big game hunter as well as a man of arts, science, and letters.
In 1914, he contributed a chapter to Major-General A.E. Wardrop’s “Modern Pig-Sticking,” a tome about horse-mounted tiger and boar hunting, particularly centered in India.
Caton-Jones was uniquely qualified to write the chapter at the time as he was the 1907 winner of the Nagpur Hunt cup. The Spectator called the volume, “one of the pleasantest books on the sport that we have seen for a long time.”
Caton-Jones had previously written other scholarly works for the Journal of Bombay Natural History (“Some Notes on Wild Dogs and Panthers”) as well as for the British Army’s Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps (“The Sanitation of Standing Camps in India”). He also wrote/co-wrote at least seven papers in the respected The Lancet medical journal. Still other papers appeared in The Medical Press and Circular, and The Journal of the Royal Institute of Public Health.
After moving to the reserve list following the Great War and more than 30 years of military service, Caton-Jones later reappeared in India and Kenya while still submitting articles on both medicine and hunting (see= The Hoghunter’s Annual, Times of India Press, 1930).
At some point, he was made a Companion of the Order of Bath and a fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health.
Colonel Frederick William Caton Jones, CB, RAMC, Veteran of the Boer Wars, the Great War and assorted Indian campaigns, and scourge of tigers and wild boar, died at his Earlsdale estate on 7 June 1944, aged 83.
No word on if a Mr. Holmes attended his funeral.
I thought this was interesting in how the Navy trains using the Surface Training Advanced Virtual Environment for the Littoral Combat Ship (STAVE-LCS). Hopefully one day the actual ships will mature and fit the bill they were designed to pay, or at least hold the line until a frigate program can be developed.
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020: TF38 Running Amok in the South China Sea
Here we see, 75 years ago today, the last seconds of the No.1-class landing ship T-14 of the Imperial Japanese Navy after it was sunk by U.S. Navy carrier strike planes in Takao Harbor, Formosa. Note the dramatic concussion ring on the water around the ship.
Under the command of VADM John S. “Slew” McCain Sr, Task Force 38 was organized into four fast carrier task groups (one of those specializing in night fighting). All in all, the force consisted of a whopping 14 fleet and light carriers, embarking around 900 aircraft, and were supported by 8 battleships, 16 cruisers of all sorts, and 68 destroyers. It rightfully could have taken on any circa-1939 navy in the world and won.
And for just under two weeks in January 1945, it absolutely owned the South China Sea in what was termed Operation Gratitude.
Sailing from Ulithi, they plastered Formosa, carried the war to Japanese-occupied French Indochina, raided occupied Hong Kong and Southern China, then departed towards the Philipines.
On 15 January alone, in addition to T-14 above, aircraft from TF 38 sent the tanker Harima Maru, the Kamikaze-class destroyer Hatakaze, the cargo ship Horei Maru, the armed fleet tanker Mirii Maru, and the Momi-class destroyer Tsuga to the bottom. Not bad for a day’s work– and it was a busy week!
In all, TF38 sank no less than 49 enemy ships between 9 January and 16 January. This works out to something on the order of 300,000 tons of Japanese shipping, including the core of the Empire’s remaining tankers– ships vital to carry on the war– and shot down some 600 land-based aircraft that rose to meet them.
The most curious of the Japanese warships sunk was IJN No. 101 the former RN minesweeper HMS Taitam (J210) which had been captured in Hong Kong in 1941 while still under construction.
In return, TF 38 lost 200 carrier aircraft, half of those to accidents flying in horrible conditions, but suffered no vessels sunk.
And yet, the question of Japanese surrender would linger unanswered for another seven months.
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The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.
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