Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Musings*

Panzerfaust-armed Finnish soldiers (soldier in foreground is also armed with a Suomi KP/-31) passing the wreckage of a Soviet T-34 tank, destroyed by detonation, in the Battle of Tali-Ihantala.
(Source)
That opening photo is for Juvat. He seems to like seeing knocked out tanks. That T-34 that those grinning Finns are marching by looks to have had it's ammunition storage cook off rather violently. I mean a tank is a tough sumbitch but if you punch a hole in it it will most likely cease to function. If an incoming round hits the ammunition, bad things happen.

It's what you might call a rapid, and catastrophic, disassembly of the vehicle. You don't want to know what becomes of the people inside that tank, trust me.


So I made a command decision on Wednesday that I would not be working on Friday, the day of this post (remember, I write this stuff the day before, and yes, it gets confusing at times, you don't want to be inside my head, trust me). There were a few reasons for what I thought to be a very wise decision -
  1. I was off all last week, the first full week back is always a bear, so...
  2. The WSO and the grand-progeny are still in town, back from their adventures at the great falls of Niagara, and as they're off to the Big Apple for most of next week, I thought to spend some more time with them, so...
  3. Honestly, I felt like not working at all this week. I got a lot done, but it was a struggle. I'm tending to stay up too late which never helps, so...
  4. I am inherently lazy, it's not that hard to convince myself to take a long weekend.
So there's that. As you read this, I am playing with my grandkids, unless you're Paul who will often arise at some hideously early and dark hour of the morning and peruse the blog. In that case I will probably be asleep, returning to my rack after ensuring that the feline staff has a fresh dish of water and summat to dine upon.


Beans coined an excellent term yesterday, "War-German." Now War-German encompasses terms which most Germans are unfamiliar with, to wit -
  • Raketenpanzerbüchse = German copy of the American bazooka, literally, rocket armor rifle, which the German troops had two slang terms for:
  • Panzerschreck = Armor fright, or tank terror and
  • Ofenrohr = stovepipe
  • and others too numerous to mention...
By now you probably want to know what the thing looked like, here it is...

(Source)
The "stovepipe" nickname is particularly apt based on looks alone, when you consider the smoke and flames generated by the thing (hence the protective shield in front of the user's face) the nickname is even more appropriate. The guys who used these had to be rather brave and rather nimble. After firing (at a tank, at ranges of 150 meters of less) the crew had to move quickly, or be reduced to ex-Germans when the tank (if they missed), or it's supporting infantry or another tank (if they didn't miss), fired back. But those guys weren't nearly as brave as these guys.

(Source)
Now that odd looking contraption was what was known as a Panzerfaust, or armored fist. It was a rocket propelled grenade carrying a shaped warhead which would eat its way right through the armor on a tank. Frying the crew and often cooking off the ammunition inside (refer back to the Finns in the opening photo).

You had to be very close to use these things, 60 meters according to the book, much closer in reality. It was a one shot, throwaway weapon and the Russians copied the idea in the ubiquitous RPG, this thing -

Polish soldier with an RPG-2
Now I always had thought that "RPG" was the English version of the name, "Rocket Propelled Grenade," and it is often referred to that way, but in reality "RPG" is the Anglicized version of its actual Russian name, Ручной противотанковый гранатомёт, or Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot using English letters. Literally "hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher," a very technically accurate and concise name.

Perhaps that's what's called "War-Russian."


Upon arrival at Global Chant Headquarters after finishing up the paying gig for the week, I played with the grand-progeny a bit, exchanged witty banter with the adults, we ate dinner/supper (as the senior granddaughter calls it), and then we all settled down to overwhelm the Sarge's Wi-Fi. Alright, my computer, my phone, the phone of The Missus Herself, The WSO's phone, the television, and of course an iPad or three. Now all week my system has handled this load magnificently.

Then round about 1930 local, the senior granddaughter enters the command post and wants to know, "Grandpa, why does your Internet suck?"

Huh?

Sure enough, my computer reports that it has lost the connection. Then it was back, then it was down, then it was back. My machine reported that the speed was also abysmal, that is when it was actually connected.

I tried doing a cuppla things on my end to no avail, had to do the dreaded tech support call, via chat on my smart phone. First thing I notice is that the technician assigned to my call is named Miley C.

Huh?

No, I did not make any snide remarks about "twerking." Remember, I wanted my Internet restored, no sense antagonizing the person assigned to assist me. (For those who don't know what "twerking" is, thank your lucky stars. Google (or Bing) it if you must, but be forewarned...)

Anyhoo, the nice lady, for I assume she was both, proceeded to ask me how many devices were on my home network. Going for the day-to-day average, I said "Four." She then told me that I would need to "hard wire my device."

Huh?

"You need to hook your laptop directly to your modem."

Rather than go through the bother of explaining that I, disdaining most laptops as inconsequential things, use a desktop computer, I told her that I already had a computer attached ("hard wired") to my modem. (Oh yes, she also asked me if I had checked the connections to make sure nothing was loose. I assured her that I had.) She then said that she would now remotely reset my modem. Which was what I had been after from the beginning.

She did, the Internet came back in all it's glory. With much rejoicing, the bairns returned to watching My Little Pony on Netflix. For my part, I expressed myself as a certain badger of my acquaintance would...



After which it struck me that the hour was getting late and I had yet to write a post.

So here it is, in all it's glory.

Hey, you get what you pay for.

What?

Oh, all right, here's a video



More burning armored vehicles, I'm sure Juvat is beside himself with joy.




* Title stolen from Lex, obviously.

64 comments:

  1. Panzerschreck.
    Sadly, not a green ogre equipped with tracks and weapons.

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    1. Puts a whole new meaning to the Green Weenie.

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    2. Indeed it is. Though a green ogre with tracks and weapons would be cool.

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    3. Beans - I just sprayed the monitor, that's funny on a number of levels.

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    4. Ah, did I forget to tell you I am getting a commission on monitors and keyboards?

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    5. Well, I had to do something since your commission checks keep bouncing....

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    6. I shall call the bank immediately!

      As soon as I remember where I put their number...

      Hhmm, now let me see.

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  2. Well... learned what RPG stands for, thanks Sarge. Oh any morning that can start with a little A10 BRRRTness is a good morning... :)

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    1. Brrrrt the magic Warthog,
      Flys through the sky,
      And frolics through the war-torn mists,
      Bringing pleasure to you and I...

      I don't think PP&M would approve, but, well, who cares?

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    2. Nylon12 - A little A-10 is always refreshing!

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    3. Well, they named the C-47 gunship after that song, no doubt PP&M didn't approve then either.

      I do like your poetic efforts though/

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    4. Peter, Paul, and Mary were NOT amused.

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  3. NIIIIAAAGRA FALLLLS... Slooowly I typed...


    Trust me, bears hate the week-after-vacation as much as you do. Speaking of which, I'll be in your neck of the woods next week, so mind your pic-a-nic baskets.

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    Replies
    1. a bear for the win, ties two posts together!

      I shall be raising the pic-a-nic basket alert level to red!

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  4. Topless tanks deserve thanks. Well....The big weekend has finally arrived. The checkbook is empty, so, by definition, we must be ready. See you on Monday.

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    1. Good luck. Enjoy. Survive. Dance like a wild man, okay, as wild as your wife and daughter will let you.

      Remember, as every sorority girl knows, and fighter pilots should... Puke and Rally!

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    2. Juvat - Kinda thought you might need that.

      Hals-und Beinbruch Herr Oberstleutnant!

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    3. Oh yeah, and what Beans said.

      ;)

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    4. The Wedding Day Arrives! For Juvat's Daughter: HUZZAH!

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    5. Indeed, I'm looking forward to the AAR.

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  5. Grand-kids visiting for vacation is a joy. Ask me how I know and I'll tell you I'm up in Maine in a two bedroom cottage and this evening two girls, daughter, SIL, and the half-Labrador, half-Great Dane (papers on mother, curses on father) arrive for two weeks. The quiet of the Northwoods shall be torn asunder, the peaceful days on the porch watching the river flow with mages tic serenity to the sea shall be ended. But we will be building wonderful memories for the kinder that shall linger long after I have crossed the bar. Enjoy them while you can.

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    1. So things in Maine are heating up this weekend?

      Enjoy, yeah it's noisy, but it's fun, innit?

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  6. Brings back memories. In the summer of '74, I attended (and graduated) the U.S. Army Small Arms Repair School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. We started with the M16A1 (because presumably, everyone had at least seen one before) and finished up with the M40 106mm recoilless rifle.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oyd1EVGBqro

    When we got to it, we were informed that we would be the last class trained to repair the M20 3.5 inch rocket launcher--

    http://koreanwaronline.com/arms/bazsup.htm

    From Wikipedia---

    Shortly after the first prototype launcher and rockets had been tested by firing into the Potomac River, Skinner and Uhl took the new system to a competitive trial of various types of spigot mortar (at that time seen as the most promising way to deliver a shaped charge), which was held at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in May 1942. The new rocket launcher scored several hits on a moving tank while the five different mortars achieved none; this was a considerable achievement since the launcher's sights had been fabricated that morning from a wire coat hanger. The trial was being watched by various senior officers, among them the Chief of Research and Engineering in the Ordnance Department, Major General Gladeon M. Barnes. Barnes was delighted by the performance of the system and fired it himself, but commented: "It sure looks like Bob Burns' bazooka". Bob Burns was a popular radio comedian, who used a novelty musical instrument which he had devised himself and called a "bazooka".

    If I was ever challenged to 'six-shooters in the middle of main street at high noon', this would be my choice---

    https://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=205

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    1. I actually had a toy Ontos as a kid, really neat. The Marines know a thing or two about firepower.

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    2. Ontos -- if the position is being overrun by infantry, reverse the turret and set them on fire with the back-blasts.

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    3. True. Kills at both ends. That was one of the down sides---when fired at night, EVERBODY knew where you were and what you were. Hopefully before being overrun, you were loaded with flechette 'beehive' rounds. Turned a jungle full of the enemy into so much coleslaw and raw hamburger. IIRC, the VC in Vietnam would not attack an Ontos if they knew where is was, so the Marines would position them after dark.

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  7. Ah Sarge, what you post! 53 years on I can still get worked up by the Army's decision to pull the 3.5 rocket launcher from our TO&E and replace it with the useless IMO one shot-throwaway LAW.

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    1. +1. The battle of An Loc--"Send me some Stuka's!" (at the 3:00 mark).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCTdsKQYAw8

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    2. Well, at least they're back to using the Carl Gustav, so in some ways the wheel has turned full circle.

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    3. If it ain't broke... Give it some incremental upgrades and a badass name (MAAWS!) and call it good?

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    4. Works for me. I like the CG/MAAWS, for the same reason the man-portable 'bazooka' and the man-portable recoilless rifles were great. Troop carried artillery. Not everything is in the range of a satchel charge, or small enough to be taken out by a 40mm grenade. (Especially important after watching videos of grenade-training failures. Yikes! I sucked at team sports in school, but I could throw a grenade (inert) farther than what seems about half of today's troopie-trainees.)

      Though there is a place for a one-shot disposable rocket. Just... the LAWS wasn't it, shoulda been a little stronger, or for the price we paid, reloadable, or both.

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    5. WSF, yeah, the LAW, the less said about that, the better.

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    6. RHT447 - brings back memories, "somebody came up on my push and..."

      I used that term the other day and drew a number of puzzled looks. "Push means frequency, come on, don't they teach you kids anything in school these days?"

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    7. Beans @10:26 - Yup, the CG has some gravitas which the LAW lacks. In spades...

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    8. a bear - The acronym MAAWS is alright, until you decipher it, Multi-Role Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS). Why didn't they just call it the Joint Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System, ya know, JAAWS. 'Cause we're all about "jointness."

      ;)

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    9. Beans @11:31 - I suppose the Panzerfaust was just too "foreign" for our tastes. Hell, even the Soviets managed to produce a somewhat serviceable weapon based on that design.

      SMH at the Pentagon's design and procurement system, not just for the LAW either.

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    10. When the Germans first captured 60mm bazookas, they tested them and immediately decided they were too dinky to be effective against frontal armor. They increased diameter to 88mm and produced the Panzerschreck. We eventually did the same and produced the 3.5" (88.9mm) "super bazooka". But what did the US Army have in Korea to use against T-34/85s? The old 60mm bazookas. Then we replaced the M-20A1 Super Bazookas with the 66mm LAW? Hangings were in order...

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    11. But didn't occur...

      No doubt someone (not the troops) profited greatly.

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    12. One last comment on the 3.5. Different warheads were available including WP, excellent for short term area denial.

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  8. Sooooo...just gotta ask.....a local reboot and/or power cycle of your local router had no effect?

    Ain't got no experience with armor stuff. Spent my whole aerospace career working on stuff that either flew, or destroyed what did.

    Or was waaay up beyond the Wild Blue Yonder doing things in the cold, hard vacuum of space.

    I did work on a replacement wireless (radio/radar) seeker head for the TOW system, but it never went beyond some prototype items....

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    1. There are so many interesting people who comment here.

      A serious upgrade to TOW would have been nice, from what my TOW gunner friend says about that system.

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    2. Drjim - had no effect whatsoever. System was being hyper-cranky. It happens.

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    3. So far (where's some wood?) I've only had to reset our router a couple of times. When we first got the stuff installed my laptop wouldn't get more than about 35meg/sec downloads when we were paying for 150. Turns out the 2.4GHz wireless in this laptop doesn't meet the full "As Advertised" specs, and I was saturating the wireless device. A change to a 5GHz "dongle" cured that.

      My department at Hughes did some work on a seeker for the WASP anti-tank missile, but I wasn't involved with it. The WASP was the one that went right down an open hatch on a test target. I don't recall much else being done with it, and I don't think it went beyond the test firing stage.

      The TOW and TOW-II are pretty good weapons, but they're slow, and the gunner has to keep the pipper on the target until it gets there.

      And then there's all that wire all over the battlefield......

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    4. It would have been truly nice if they had upgraded the TOW to fire-and-forget, shorten the arming range, increase overall range, you know, really make it more kick-ass than it already is/was. Oh, well. At least we have Javelins.

      As to the WASP, wow, just read up on the specs and that really would have been a wonder-weapon. Dang it. Why do we keep denying our warfighters really good stuff to warfight with?

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    5. I've heard of guys post-battle popping the hatch and seeing wire draped all over the turret.

      Close calls!

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    6. Beans - the defense contracting world is a very dark place. Trust me on that one.

      Sometimes it's the sheer cost of an item, sometimes the desk jockeys at the Five-Sided Puzzle Palace can't make up their minds on the requirements. When they can, the managers in industry will attempt to suck a project dry before the engineers even see the specs.

      But every now and then, the stars align and the troops get an effective, enemy-killing, weapons system. Hey, it can happen.

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    7. Oh, been involved in some murky, under-the-tree, wheeling-and-dealing in the law enforcement side of the very dark place you are referring to, both buying and selling. I wish I had kept the Dig Protection Manual that I typed and my boss got paid serious big bucks for, grrrrr…

      The arguments about body armor were really interesting, as the bosses would push one brand or another and I kept telling them I could meet or exceed existing rifle plates for a third of the cost, using readily available materials and only a little lead time (seriously, hardened armored plate can be bought over the counter, waterjet cutting is just a one-time setup fee and then a base charge per 4'x10' sheet, Kevlar cloth is sold for BOATS!!!, UHMW is lighter and easy to fab, and as for anti-spall lining, well, that goopy bed-liner stuff works wonders. Cut a light-weight metal plate, sandwich with a UHMW plate, glue together, fit into Kevlar sleeve, bind everything together using bedliner. One can pop out a set of rifle plates for about $150-200 per 'plate' unit.)

      But, yeah, sometimes the stars align. My friends in the military are actually somewhat resistant to going away from the M-4 Carbine system. They want a supplemental rifle in a larger caliber, but that's supplemental. Makes me wonder if this new push to rid the Military of 5.56/M-16 based platforms as a way to line some ex-general-who-now-works-as-lobbyist-or-defense-contractor's pocket. Hmmm, get away from a system that has matured and works well (surprisingly, by going mostly back to what Stoner originally designed) and has been found so successful that the civilian market actively pushes any real improvement because the Mil uses the Civ like an unpaid testing zone. (Hey, if the Mil doesn't want an M-4, I'll gladly buy one or several from the CAP!)

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    8. And today I learned about UHMW, cool.

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  9. OAFS: HA! Fooled you. Don't want to become predictable, ambushes, don't ya know.

    My wife is in NYC through next ( the 20th ) Friday. Perhaps they shall encounter one another, without knowing it.

    As long as you have commenters such as those above this, you will never have a poor post.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. I think Paul L. Quandt is.... lurking.... again.... (checks under doormat. Hey, wait, I DON'T own a doormat. (steps back slowly...))

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    2. AW: Did you check under your hat?

      Actually, I am just late getting on the computer, got some good books at the library yesterday and am spending my time reading.

      Paul

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    3. Paul - You're a sneaky dude, must be that survival training. ;)

      Sometimes the comments turn a fair to middling post into quite an adventure.

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    4. Um, doormat?

      "Honey! Do we have a doormat?"

      Ruh-roh.

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    5. Paul - reading? Old school, love it.

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    6. Paul, my floppy mesh boonie hat is in my van. So, if you're under it, and you break the tray it is on, I'ma gonna killa youa. Other than that, cool that you can go to a library and actually peruse and find things.

      My local library has gone to smelling like peed-on hobo with a large side of unwashed-socialist. And the lack of book selection reflects it. I think I need to get a MAGA hat and a Trump 2020 shirt, with a red and white striped pair of jeans and wear that ensemble in there. See how long it takes to be burned at the stake or arrested by the cops for disturbing the peace of the peed-on hobos and unwashed socialists.

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    7. Sad to hear. They seem to be everywhere.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)