Tag Archives: militia

Guns of the U.S. Army, 1775-2020

While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?

For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.

Can somebody Fed-Ex these guys a case of SKSs or something?

From the West African country of Mali comes a story of an isolated village where the locals have banded together to fight off terrorists with whatever they have.

Mali has been in the midst of a low-key war since 2012 that started off with Tuareg rebels fighting the government and transitioned to an international effort led by a 4,000-strong French military force (the country was a French colony until 1960) squaring off with a trio of wannabe Al-Qaeda jihadist groups in an ongoing asymmetric war pitting Western airpower against increasingly aggressive militants. However, according to the above report from France24, the village of Koina has been left without any protection by the army for months and the locals are doing what they have to.

“There is no symbol of the state’s authority here,” says village chief Boukadari Tangara, showing off old B&W photos of his prior service in the French military.

With the schools closed and insurgents prowling, Tangara has formed his own 25-member village defense force.

“The people here are fed-up with the jihadists,” said Adama Coulibaly, a member of Koina’s Brigade de Vigilance with interesting headgear.

A look at their equipment shows the force armed with break-action single barrel shotguns, hunting rifles, and what looks to be a muzzleloader. Pretty primitive stuff to stand up to determined insurgents, but hey, you go to war with what you have…

The reason there are no ARs or even some rusty old French MAS rifles among the brigade is likely due to strict laws against such “weapons of war.” According to the University of Sydney’s gun policy research project, firearms in Mali are regulated by the Minister of Internal Security, control of which is categorized as “restrictive.” Further, there is no right to bear arms, handguns as well as semi-automatic or repeating firearms are largely banned, and all guns have to be registered. Unlawful gun possession will get you five years in the clink. Because why would you need an AR, right?

How the Grans roll in the Ukraine these days…

When Napoleon rolled deep into Russia in 1812, he suffered pretty bad at the hands of Russo-Ukrainian partisans and cossacks fighting in his rear. Fast forward to 1918 and both the occupying Imperial German troops as well as the new Red Army and the old White Guards had problems with pesky bands of black flag waving Makhnovshchina locals who would sneak around at night and leave slit throats in their wake. Then came 1941 and the Axis had a hard time with local resistance that numbered some 500,000 spread across over 5,000 partisan bands by the end of the War.

Well, it seems like the now 200-year tradition is still in effect. As related by TFB, here are some pics from self-defense militia training  in Zhydachiv, a city in Western Ukraine not far from the Polish border.

Babushkas and MP5s just go so well together.

Babushkas and MP5s just go so well together. AND she knows that the knee is your friend in a kneeling position

She has good muzzle awareness/trigger D. 10/10 partisans would likely operate with.

She has good muzzle awareness/trigger D. Can work cover and concealment…10/10 partisans would likely operate with.

Pulling her own...

Pulling her own…It looks like SMGs for the ladies, AKs for the fellas in Zhydichev

When Marlin 30-30s held the line against a Japanese invasion of Canada

In a little known piece of military history, a number of Marlin lever action 1936 rifles played an unsung role in the defense of Canada’s west coast during World War Two– possibly even staving off a Japanese invasion.

War comes to Vancouver

On the night of June 20, 1942, just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, Japanese submarine I-26 surfaced. Just six months before, Canada had been drawn into World War 2 in the Pacific as a British and American ally. Already the country had paid dearly against the Japanese, with nearly 2,000 Canadian regulars of ‘C Force‘ killed or captured in the defense of Hong Kong as part of the Commonwealth garrison in that British colony.

Now, the war had crossed the world’s largest ocean and come to Canada’s doorstep. In just under six minutes, I-26 had fired some 30 84-pound, 5.5-inch artillery shells at the Estevan Point lighthouse. The lighthouse was undamaged and the shells landed harmlessly around the Hesquiat Peninsula of Vancouver Island, but the point had been made.

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Canadian Naval staff inspect a Japanese shell from Estevan Point, B.C. Photo: Gerald Thomas Richardson.

The very next day another Japanese sub would surface and bombard Fort Stevens on the Oregon coast. Just a few months earlier, the same thing could be said for Ellwood, California. Already the Japanese were seizing islands in the Aleutians off the coast of Alaska from the Americans. Up and down the West Coast of North America in 1942, there was a real scare of a Japanese invasion.

The country was seen as vulnerable.

What was the PCMR?

On August 12, 1942, just over three weeks after the Vancouver Island attack, the Canadian Army established the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers. The PCMR, as it became known, was formed of local part-time soldiers recruited from along the country’s western frontier. Scattered from Washington State to what was then the Alaska Territory, these men were in large part either too old or too young to be in the regular military. This led to those under 18 and over 45 making up the ranks. However, then as now, the Canadian Pacific coast was made up of rugged outdoorsmen, logger, miners, hunters, and anglers who were skilled with a rifle and well-heeled in taking care of themselves in the wild.

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The PCMR were a hardy bunch. Photo: CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum

Over the next three years the PCMR would form some 134 companies and grow to more than 15,000 volunteer soldiers, watching out for Japanese landing parties, saboteurs, and submarines. If things got real, they were expected to pursue small bands of invaders and if confronted with large enemy forces, to head for the hills Wolverines-style and mount a guerrilla campaign until the cavalry could come to the rescue. However, to do any of the above, they needed guns.

Thats where Marlin came in at.

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Read the rest in my column at Marlin Forum