By A Web Design
- Created on Sunday, 12 August 2012 21:22
Volunteers at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, are close to finishing the restoration of an A-10 Warthog's Gatling gun. A project that was started 10 years ago is close to completion as missing parts had finally been acquired. According to the Air Force Museum's website, it's the most powerful gun fitted to an aircraft. The 30mm gun can fire 4,200 rounds a minute, and will be on display soon.
- Created on Friday, 10 August 2012 20:06
The Luger, an early semi-automatic pistol, was an adaption of the 1893 Borchardt pistol. George Luger took an unwieldy pistol and turned it into a 20th Century icon. An overly complex machine, the fact that it worked at all was miraculous. As all other semi and full auto designs worked from spring loaded slides, this pistol had a toggle joint that stayed locked till the pressure from the cartridge dropped, then cammed the toggle joint up and dispensed with the old round, and on the way back introduced a new round to the chamber and was ready for firing in less than a second.
DWM Luger image from Adams Guns
The pistol was very complex, and it took many intricate machining steps to make the parts. Anyone who disassembled one of these firearms would attest to the fact that these Germans who built it were born with machine tools. It was to the German war effort's relief in WW2 that Walther developed the P-38, as they now had a pistol that could be made in a reasonable amount of time. They could make 5 Walthers with the same resources that it took to make one Luger.
Still in all, the Luger is an amazing machine. And a hundred years later they are still working, a fact of life for 19th Century designs. This animation from siamkatze's channel shows the inner workings...
- Created on Thursday, 02 August 2012 20:22
A Dornier Do17, or Flying Pencil, had been found at Goodwin Sands back in 2008 although it's been largely kept a secret to keep souvenir hunters at bay. It belonged to Kampfgeschwader 3 and was returning from a 1940 raid on RAF bases around London when it was jumped by a fighter and shot down. It ended upside down on the bottom in 50 feet of water, killing 2 crew members of four with the other 2 captured later. The action of the waves and sand covered the wreck, and was originally thought to be in pretty good condition. Now that it is uncovered, the RAF Museum is looking to bring it up and put it on display. Originally it was though to restore it, as it is the last of it's kind, but it would really need so much work they are now just thinking of stabilizing the wreck chemically and putting that on display.
It's possible that the Dornier was shot down by a Boulton Paul Defiant. This fighter type had pretty good success early in the war, but by 1941, it was getting less competitive. It was used with a different strategy, it had a dorsal turret with 4 .303 inch Browning guns, but no forward firing guns. It operated on the theory of divorcing shooting from flying, and it was thought that flying along side a bomber with a few of these, where the gunners could concentrate their fire and the pilot could concentrate on positioning the plane, would give good results, and it did for awhile. German fighters soon learned to deal with Defiants, by attacking head on. The interesting thing about all this is that there is only one surviving Defiant left in the world, just like the Dornier.
Goodwin sands is pretty far offshore, about 4 to 6 miles, but if you dive for cool stuff, there seems to be plenty there to find, as ships have been sinking there and running aground since at least Roman times, and possibly longer that that.
- Created on Monday, 30 July 2012 19:16
After WW2, the US started mothballing and selling off every warplane in inventory as they adjusted to peace time fiscal reality. Certain government agencies weren't about to write off the longest range plane the US had ever built, the B-29, and with the advance of Communism the CIA set about checking it's advance around the world. And for all of you who don't buy into conspiricy theories, the B-29's were painted black.
The B-29 allowed the US Air Force to pound the Japanese back to the stone age, bringing an end to WW2. The plane was not without it's problems, as it pushed the limits of propeller driven technology along with high altitude flying. The big 4 row radial engines would easily overheat just waiting to take off. The remote controlled guns gave trouble, and just keeping the plane pressurized was scary.... now and then a plexiglass canopy would blow off, leading to serious decompression. When the CIA entered the picture after WW2, they had a different plan for the B-29. The operational requirements were for long range planes that could carry a good load, but usually delivered at 500 feet at low speed. This was to allow dropping agents out a "Joe hole" in the bottom of the plane, and to reel in other agents to be plucked from the ground. The B-29 was ill suited for this kind of stuff, and skirted stalling every time it flew that slow. And at 500 feet, there is no recovery.
When the planes were modified for this clandestine activity, all the guns except for the tail gun were removed, leaving the plane defenseless, but nevertheless no crews bowed out of a mission. The bomb bays were used for dropping leaflets and supplies to clandestine anti-communist units. The newly formed CIA and the Air Force collaborated at the top levels and formed three wings with thousands of personnel, most of which were in the dark because of the need to know philosophy. These wings were known as Air Resupply and Communications Wings or ARC. They operated out of three main places around the world, England, Libya and the Philippines.
There were planes that didn't come back, the most famous being the Stardust Four Zero mission in 1953, in which a lone B-29 flying over North Korea within spitting distance of China was easily taken down by a flight of Russian Mig 15's, on loan to China at the time. The captured fliers didn't get home till 1955. ARC was stood down by January of 1954.
This video has a few black B-29's
- Created on Saturday, 28 July 2012 16:28
Civilization has ended as we know it, complete breakdown of law and order. What do you do?
Picture from Wikimedia Commons by Badseed
Well, you're screwed, no matter how you look at it. Life is going to be pretty miserable from here on out, up to the point where you don't survive any longer. But till the end, you've got to eat, which means you'll need a firearm to get dinner as the local grocery marts are now out of business. (And cleaned out by now...)
Which gun do you need?
Guns that don't break, and if they do can be easily repaired. Luckily, guns are pretty robust for the most part, and can last a lifetime if taken care of. Maybe not so much with modern plastic guns, but the old wood and steel variety can be pretty tough. I have noticed the hundred year old guns I have all still work, but I have some problems with the modern stuff. Muzzle loaders seem to be a good choice, if you're only hunting for food, and not having to get in a firefight. Any ex-military gun should be tough enough to get you by till civilization returns. Bolt guns are usually pretty reliable, though I would pack away some extra springs and such now.... you would hate to depend on your WW2 Enfield with a broken extractor spring.
If you are planning for this event, having guns in a caliber that is plentiful locally seems to be the best choice. Once that runs out, reloading is an option, but getting any new supplies would be problematic. Presumably there will be lots of old car hulks sitting around, and all their wheels have lead wheel weights on them, but brass will have to be husbanded carefully. But what to do about primers? The Indian Wars of the 19th century had a primitive (by our standards) people reloading old Henry rimfire ammo. Don't know how they did it but somehow they came up with a priming mixture, possibly from some old match heads. Evidence from the Battle of the Little Bighorn show a lot of empty Henry casings with 2 to 3 hammer indentions on the rim of the cases, suggesting reloading activity. The US Cavalry wasn't using the Henrys.
Then there is this guy reloading his primers...
Check out his other videos, he also makes gunpowder out of matches...
As far as repairing guns go, it'll be hard to find a gunsmith at the end of the world, it's hard to find a local one now. In order to have you're own repair shop, you'll need a defendable building, and some people to defend it while you're out looking for food, which means you'll have to form some sort of tribe with individuals you can depend on. This is getting to sound like the stone age, with firearms....
What good would it do you?
The end of the civilized world bodes ill for survival... we can't all hunt for our food, there are too many of us. It seems the weak will be whittled down quickly... and those left will be squabbling over dwindling resources, and killing someone to get it... It will be a pretty ugly situation, and possibly not surviving to see it could be considered a blessing.