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Two Books on British Gunrunners in the Civil War

Ran across some interesting books on the British gunrunning operations during the American Civil War.  "Clyde Built: The Blockade Runners of the American Civil War" by author Eric Graham documents the Scottish contribution to the Confederate war effort.  And it was quite a contribution, as many as a third of all gunrunning ships were built along the banks of the Clyde.  This book is taken  from the Scottish perspective, and while the general assumption is the Brits remained neutral in this conflict, there was so much money to be made, that it overpowered any thoughts of human rights highlighted by the war.  The Brits profited handsomely from their support of both sides in the war, with the added benefit of keeping an international competitor off balance by helping to continue the war.  The Independent published some pictures of the latest gunrunner discovery, the sunken Iona 2.

CLYDE BUILT: The Blockade Runners and Cruisers of the American Civil War at Amazon

picture of book

Another book, "Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast" by Andrew Hall, centers on Galvaston as a hub for gunrunning activity.  Plenty of tales of confederate gunrunners activities, along with the US Navy's efforts to curb the flow of guns from Britain.  The author has dived wrecks along the coast, and helped to document several wrecks from the period from both sides of the conflict.  One interesting note, none of the gunrunner's ships survive above water...  

Civil War Blockade Running on the Texas Coast at Amazon

picture of book

 

Old British Sugru water guns....

Sugru is some kind of magic playdough invented by a Brit girl genius and marketed as space rubber or magic dust or something of the sort.  It can be molded and shaped into anything and can be used to repair stuff or invent stuff...

picture of Brit Girl Genius

A couple of Sugru engineers thought this was just the stuff for parts of a Gatling water gun they were thinking about.  It's hard to say what parts it was used for, but looks like a blast hosing down a few of your best pals, in color no less.  I might have to get some of this stuff...

picture of Sugru Gatling Gun

Video of gun in action

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American Rangers.. British Guns...

The morning of D-Day saw American Rangers heading for Pointe du Hoc to silence the big 155mm guns believed to be installed at the top of the cliff. To assault the cliffs, bombardment from British Destroyers were to keep the German heads down along with air assault.  The rangers had rocket fired grappling hooks to scale the cliff by rope and  DUKWs equipped with ladders from London fire brigades. These ladders had Vickers K guns installed at their tops, to help keep the German at bay while men climbed up. 

picture of Vickers K gun

 

picture of Rangers climbing Pointe du Hoc

About half of the landing force made it to the cliffs, but an hour late and lost the element of surprise.  The Rangers that landed were on their own, as the reinforcements were redirected towards Omaha Beach due to the delay.... Which was a good thing for Omaho Beach, as the Rangers were partially responsible for getting the stalled landing off the beach.  This reduced force still made it to the top of the cliffs with few casualties and did secure the gun position.  The guns weren't installed, however, but Rangers used thermite grenades to disable them anyway.  Alas, the British ladders and guns couldn't be brought to bear due to the heavy surf.  The real threat was the Maisy gun position a few miles inland, which the Rangers did take out 3 days later.

picture of top of Pointe du Hoc

 

3D guns can blow up...

In a story from the Independent, test guns fired by UK forensics experts have been shown to explode on firing, even leaving a piece of the barrel in the ceiling.  

picture of Liberator parts

The guns were made from Liberator plans, developed by Defense Distributed, and were shown to be more of a danger to the shooter than the intended victim, if it was to be used in a crime.  Not many details were forthcoming and a spokesman from DD suggested that there was an ulterior motive in the authorities denouncing the gun as dangerous.  They simply don't want them on the street.

The reporter said the test used 9mm handgun ammunition and failed fairly rapidly, within a few shots.  What kind of 9mm ammunition that was used hasn't been identified.  If they had used 9mm machinegun ammunition, which is readily available at gunshows, the bullet could blow up a real gun without any problem.  

3D printed guns are interesting as a project, but it is up to you to learn what the risks are, something that's all to familiar to someone who reloads ammunition.  But if criminals want to use these guns to commit crimes, and it really does wipe them out, maybe we shouldn't advertise the problem.

picture of 3D printed gun

 

Bogart and the .455 Webley Fosbery

The Webley Fosbery made few appearances in film, much less Film Noir, but in the Maltese Falcon, the gun was used in a murder, "He took two in the pumper...", and when asked if he had seen a Fosbery before, Bogey assured the detective he had.  Great movie and a pistol like no other.