Thursday, March 19, 2020

Ultima Ratio Regum - Pars II1

Inscription on a French Cannon
"The Last Argument of Kings"

(Source)

Chanter John in Philly sent me a link yesterday which I found to be very uplifting and cultural...



Who doesn't love Tchaikovsky? Especially with cannons!

John pointed out that the vehicles in that clip making all that wonderful racket are not, unlike yesterday's post, tanks. They are not, in the parlance, armored fighting vehicles, or what the Germans call (you knew I would go there) Panzerkampfwagen. Yes, like TOPGUN, it's all one word, but not, in this case, all caps. Yes, you can ask.

Anyhoo, while this post is not about tanks, I will answer this: What is it about a military vehicle which makes it a tank and not an armored personnel carrier, or self-propelled tracked artillery?
A tank is an armored fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat. Tanks have heavy firepower, strong armor, and good battlefield maneuverability provided by tracks and a powerful engine; usually their main armament is mounted in a turret. They are a mainstay of modern 20th and 21st century ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat. (Source)
Having the main gun mounted in a turret is not an absolute requirement, though it is often the case. Witness the original tank and the Swedish Stridsvagn 103, or S-Tank:

British Mark I Tank
No turret to be seen!
Swedish S-Tank
What turret?

(Source)
So now that I've spent a bit of time actually talking about tanks, which was not my point, what was my point? Well, artillery to be sure, both the land and the seagoing variety!



I've seen HMS Belfast in the Thames River across the pond in England. I was rather excited to find a clip of her firing all of her forward guns!

Here's another British warship, slightly older in origin...



Imagine being on an enemy ship and having that open up on you?!?!

Here's the Hollywood version and to be honest, they did a pretty good job on this film. FWIW, HMS Surprise, the ship in the movie, used to be based here in Little Rhody, where she was known as HMS Rose, a reproduction of one of His Britannic Majesty's frigates. The original actually served in the waters of Narragansett Bay enforcing the King's customs regulations. I went aboard her out in Sandy Eggo, where she now resides. She's been modified somewhat from the film. The gundeck isn't nearly as accurate, nor as cramped, as in the film.



Once upon a time, in the long, long ago, Your Humble Scribe served a cannon. Learned how to load and fire it I did, without blowing parts off of my anatomy, which can happen if you don't know what you're doing. (Now if I could only learn to close a door!)



See that big grin on that guy's face after firing the gun?

I got to do that for an entire summer. Fun? You betcha!




1 The Last Argument of Kings - Part Two, as I've used this title before, here. No, those Newport cannon cockers never answered my email.

86 comments:

  1. Nice - guns are fun, big guns are funner... any idea why the Belfast video was labeled May 6, 2014 instead of June 6?

    I always looked at tanks being primarily for direct fire and artillery being for indirect fire, even though they were frequently employed for both when needed. Heck, one of the most successful, arguably THE most successful anti tank artillery was designed as AAA (boo! Hiss!) - the 8.8 cm Flugabwehrkanone - and there's another question: why was it referred to in cm when everyone in the US referred to it in mm?

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    1. In Europe they mostly label things DD/MM/YYYY instead of our MM/DD/YYYY, so it does denote June 6th.

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    2. Tom - Yes, cannon are awesome, if you're not on the business end that is!

      As to the mm versus cm, who knows? Probably an American thing, you know how we like to be different.

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    3. a bear - Then the date is still wrong, that would be 5 June 2014.

      I did some looking, HMS Belfast did fire her guns on the 6th of June 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I suspect the guy who made the video labeled it incorrectly. (I assume a guy, while a woman might have shot the video, I know ladies who dig firepower, a woman would have gotten the date right when they put the title in.)

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    4. From the BooTube comments:

      "the firing of these guns was organised by me to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The event in the ship took place on the 5th of June, the day the invasion fleet sailed, that evening, for the invasion beaches of Normandy. It was attended by representatives of many of the Allied nations. The firing of the guns, the very same guns that were used to open to bombardment on the morning of 6th June 1944, was carried out for us by the special effect company MTFX working with the conservators of the ship. I hope we will do the same in 2015 for Victory Day, May 9th. Tim Lewin, Vice President HMS Belfast Association."

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    5. My original "June 6th" comment was in errer.

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    6. Good to have that clarified.

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    7. You're right though, in Europe they tend to do dd-mmm-yyyy, also time is usually on a 24 hour clock, at least in Germany.

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    8. Why mm vs cm? Well...

      Germans labeled their guns in cm.

      French labeled their guns in mm.

      We got gun tech during WWI from the French. Mainly the famous 'French 75' being the 75mm hydraulic recoil assist sliding breech loading howitzer, officially known as the Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897 but more commonly known as the Canon de 75 Modèle 1897, or, well, the French 75. Basically the first mondern gun to have all the modern things that make modern guns modern. The hydraulic-pneumatic recoil mechanism allowed the gun to stay in one position(mostly) and fire, unlike other guns without a recoil mechanism would use rolling back as their 'recoil mechanism' thus needing to be resighted every time. The sliding breech block was quick, and sealed the contained round (basically a really big huge rifle cartridge) instead of having to deal with slower screw breaches and shot-and-bag ammunition (where the projectile and the powder are in two different parts. It (the French 75) just had everything a gun crew would want. Upon our entering WWI, we got the rights to this wondergun and called it the 75mm gun M1917.

      At the time we had inch or pound measurements and then we introduced French measurements. So, an 8" howitzer to us, would be a 203mm howitzer to the French (whom we also borrowed the rather fabulous Schneider designed 203mm howitzer). We also had, though we were getting rid of, pound measurement guns, like a 6lb quick-firer (meaning a breach loaded gun with a 6lb projectile.)

      I think after WWI we just had inch measurements and mm measurements. I also think the last inch measurement gun in the US Army arsenal was the varied 8" howitzers, and we replaced the 8" guns with standard 155mm guns of varied barrel length. Oh, if only Big Navy had talked to Big Army or it's own Big Marine (Marines being under, nominally, the Navy) about gun tube selection, some of the kerfuffle over the DDX super-gun would have been solved. (Put in a marine-environment built 155mm barrel using standard ammo and add funky super missile rounds, while waiting for the technology on a railgun to mature, but nobody asked me and our host is probably getting tired of me bringing it up...)


      So... Metric 'mm' because we sided with France (because they shared their superior gun tech with our manufacturers) and not 'cm' because of the dirty stinking huns (who only shared their gun tech by dropping samples on us in an explosive manner.)

      Maybe not true, but I'm connecting the dots and dashes and suppositions. I'm not James Burke, but I like the way he thinks.

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    9. As good a story as I've heard. Makes sense too!

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    10. I'd have plumped for the already-developed Mk 71 8" gun mount for the Zumwalts. Room for all kinds of Nice Things in an 8" shell. Including discarding-sabot rocket-assisted 6" guided rounds. For that matter, if one assumes a load-out of mostly guided rounds, then a smooth-bore barrel might be appropriate. It would give higher velocities, that for DSRAP guided rounds, just might've achieved the range goals for the Zumwalt's ill-fated cannons. But no, that mount was from the 1970's and in no way good enough for the 21st Century Navy. <*spit*>

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    11. Concur Larry, the Navy made some hideously bad choices on that gun. I wonder how many of those in on that decision-making process now work for the companies who stood the most to gain monetarily?

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    12. I wouldn't want to know. My blood pressure gets bad enough, as it is. But for the Zumwalts, I opined elsewhere that the best use for the now next-to-useless hulls (sorry, seaframes, per Navy NewSpeak, 'cuz they're jealous of the Air Farce) that the most productive use, pour encourager les autres, would be to raze the hulls (not the idiotic 'seaframes' and convert them all into one luxury catamaran trimaran liner. Then invite all those who were instrumental in the design decisions of the DDG-1000 plus as many of those of the LCS as can fit, and set off for a `round-the-world luxury cruise. Except that somewhere within range of tactical Air Force bases, a multi-service SINKEX would be conducted. Subs, surface ships, B-52s, you name it! Special Forces could go in with RHIBs and finish off the survivors. Yeah, I might've been just a little bit bitter about the waste of money and, more importantly, time, as we face the Terrible Twenties with a China increasingly feeling its oats. But, still...

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    13. Oops -- proofread before posting. Before!

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    14. Although, with any luck, China's leadership won't be feeling its oats again for a while. However, I suspect they'll be feeling rather more desperate after this pandemic.

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    15. Weird, even cancelled comments appear. Very weird.

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    16. I hear you Larry on the "don't want to know," probably make us all sick to our stomachs!

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    17. In a perfect world the Chinese people would rise up and get rid of their so-called leaders.

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    18. I work with a lot of Chinese and to say the least, they are fiercely nationalistic and proud of their country. No different than any other group of immigrants, though those from true s***holes are a lot more willing to admit it. Some things are more willingly admitted to than others, such as the low reliability of Chinese products (one told me, "Hell is being trapped the consumer caught between an Indian businessman demanding lower prices and a Chinese businessman cutting corners to meet whatever's requested.") It's always hard to tell what they really believe. There are some that already have citizenship or will apply as soon as elderly and sickly parents have passed on that I tend to trust, but otherwise? Once you have American citizenship, the CCP can make it very difficult to get back in, requiring a visa. I don't know about that, but it sounds plausible. I guess the only test is whether someone who is an American citizen (and how can I tell other than asking for their passport? ...rude!) and has a family emergency gets back in quickly or not. Eh, it's not my job, and I'm both too trusting of people and too untrusting. Poor judgement, I suspect the professional paranoids would say. Gawd, I'm glad I don't work in that hall of mirrors!

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    19. Wow, editing failed there. I guess it can be puzzled out, but damn! I'm going to bed!

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    20. I have Chinese friends who are absolutely the salt of the earth, hard-working, reliable, and rightly proud of their ancient culture. I've also had acquaintances from the mainland who believe every piece of drivel their overlords in Beijing tell them. Like all cultures and peoples, they have their good ones and bad ones. Communism, no matter who practices it, is a bad, bad thing. The very few at the top live like ancient kings, everybody else is a serf.

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    21. Editing fail? You got your message across very effectively. I don't quibble over grammar and typos, I leave those to the editorial class. (Who serve a necessary and underappreciated role.)

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  2. True Fact: HMS Belfast’s guns are all aimed at a random highway rest stop. Specifically, the London Gateway service station at Scratchwood. Because nothing will make you s*it harder than incoming artillery.

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    1. Hhmm, I did some checking on Google Maps (if you go satellite view you can see that HMS Belfast's forward guns are aimed to starboard of ship's center-line, and pointing in the general direction of that Shell station. Range is about 11.74 miles. Your story (True Fact) is most plausible! The azimuth looks slightly off but allowing for the curvature of the earth...

      Might could be...

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    2. It's a True Fact that I personally did not make up :P

      https://londonist.com/2015/02/why-do-the-guns-of-hms-belfast-point-at-a-motorway-service-station

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    3. Now that is a cool story! Thanks for sharing.

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    4. Was that "random" highway stop owned by an Irishman, perhaps?

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  3. whoa whole can of notes opened in my mind right now:
    1.Cannons are what really hastened end of feudalism. You might sit pretty for months in your chateau throwing insults at your king until he has soemthing better than besieging unruly vassal to do... Then cannons came and fortress design changed so radically only states could really afford them. Vauban and co,
    2.1812 was culmination of napoleonic warfare much fuelled by exactly, guns. You see once commoners realised they can use cannons against sovereign's citadels guarding their cities... Someone call ghost of Mr Knox?
    3.Sabatom just sent to YT vid on the WW1 tanks - "Future of Warfare", and background historical vid too. Just check it out.
    https://youtu.be/0QR8pa00WdE
    4.Strv-103 is delightful exercise in creating tank to specifical doctrine - make it punchy (105mm L7 did the job at the time best), light enough to swim thru Swedens multiple lakes, by ditching the turret and relying more on angling of armor than thickness, and have it drive both ways at same speed with rear-driver backup - to shoot few advancing T-55 or T-62s, fall back fast to next ambush position, rinse, repeat...
    5.The broadside era of wooden ships was brought to screeching halt one day in 1862 when CSS Virginia relentlessly battered 2 steam frigates of Union Navy whiule being basically impervious to gunfire of the era.
    here have forgotten tv release to visualise the carnage...
    https://youtu.be/PfO0Gm58UMc
    even evolutionarists like me admits there are times for revolutionary designs, and thankfully Union came with one the USS Monitor.

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    1. Excellent notes Paweł!

      Also there's nothing like a little Sabaton to get the blood pumping in the morning!

      Yeah, the S-Tank is perfect for Sweden's terrain.

      Did you know that the great Vauban is entombed at Les Invalides in Paris? I saw his tomb (along with Napoléon's of course) when I visited there some time ago. A number of significant French military are entombed there.

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    2. Well, as to #5, the broadside wasn't brought to a screeching halt by the CSS Virginia. The CSS Virginia also had a broadside of guns as they were mounted in a casement, much like the StuG III of WWII fame. Gun mounted in a fixed casement, with limited side-to-side movement.

      What really killed broadsides was the necessary introduction of rotating gun mounts to house heavier and heavier rifled cannon. Mount them on the centerline of the ship, and have the cannon able to pivot to fire over each side. Taken to the extreme with the USS Monitor and it's various follow-up designs.

      Broadsides could carry a huge throw-weight of projectiles, but each gun was limited in bore and projectile weight due to the gun's weight and the ability to control said weight basically hanging off the side of the ship, or darned near it.

      But add a pivot point on a swivelling mount along the centerline and suddenly, instead of having 2 sets of guns (one on either side of the ship) you can now have 1 set of much heavier guns.

      The CSS Virginia put paid to more conventional wood-clad ships and spurred the move to iron or steel. And also put paid to the notion of sail-only or sail-assist warships, as, well, sailed and sail-assisted engined ships just aren't, usually, as maneuverable as an engined-only ship of the same size. And all that rigging weight could be put into bigger guns or better armor or more ammo or a bigger engine or various combinations of all 4.

      Now, the CSS Alabama, a Confederate merchant raider, did quite well with a more conventional broadside armament. With 2 pivoting big arsed deck guns mounted centerline.

      And, later in the war, conventional broadside Union ships, also with big arsed pivoting deck guns, served wonderfully against other Confederate ironclads and fortifications.

      Also, last but not least, the Union ships were equipped, ammo-wise, to deal with Confederate blockade runners and fixed fortifications, and only carried explosive rounds. If they, along with the CSS Virginia, were carrying solid shot, the battle would have been very different. And then the subsequent battle between the Virginia and the Monitor would also have been different (Monitor did carry solid shot, but could not use the full powder load of it's guns so it's rounds wouldn't penetrate Virginia's armor. Subsequent testing showed that firing at full charge would, most likely, have penetrated, but the chance of the guns blowing up would also have increased. After Monitor's performance, guns like hers were allowed to fire full charge. And the result was not many blowing up after all. Monitor was screwed out of being able to kill Virginia by a bunch of shoe-clerks...)

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    3. Shoe clerks have probably been around since man first picked up a rock to bash an enemy's head in.

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    4. That last paragraph should have read, "Also, last but not least, at Hampton Roads during the battle between Union ships and the CSS Virginia, the Union ships.... And the CSS Virginia, not expecting to meet the USS Monitor yet (though Confeds knew about the Monitor's existence, they didn't expect her to sail and make it to Hampton Roads as quickly as she did,) also was armed pretty exclusively with anti-wooden shipping explosive-filled shells, only carrying a few solid shot projectiles.

      Seriously, the Virginia firing explosive shot at full power while the Monitor firing solid shot at half-power. It was a decidedly boring engagement, with the Virginia really only scoring on the Monitor's pilot house (subsequent monitor designs moved the pilot house off the deck and on-top of the turret) and the Monitor only popping gun-hatches and knocking the Virginia's smoke stack down, thus reducing power in the engines (stack length and draw was important to keep up the heat and a good head of steam, kind of like how all those street racers with the noisy aftermarket exhaust systems are setting up their engines to blow because the factory exhaust is tuned to provide the proper amount of back-pressure to the whole engine system...)

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    5. The things I learn from you...

      Amazing.

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    6. to clarify i meant wooden broadside-armed ships era, not broadsides era (though it was coming to end soon anyway)
      HMS Warrior is best example of iron-hulled broadside ironcald of early era
      the Dahlgren guns were not tested yet with higher gunpowder charges, so Union Navy was wise to not overload them - because with both guns in one turret even one blowing up would mission kill the Monitor

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    7. IIRC, Paweł, the prohibition against firing with more than half-charges of powder had been in place for perhaps 15 years. It took that long after a catastrophic gun explosion that killed some high mucky-mucks (plus a major war) to finally rescind that General Order. So it simply wouldn't have been tested until it became clear that it must be tested. It was crazy, but it was also peacetime.

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    8. Yeah, God forbid you test stuff in peacetime.

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    9. Oh yeah, the USS Princeton incident, killed the SECSTATE as well.

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    10. And could've killed President Tyler, as well. Just as well he stayed below decks.

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    11. That's right! The President was onboard at the time.

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  4. "Yes, cannon are awesome, if you're not on the business end that is!"

    Indeed. The video starts part way in, so move slider to the beginning. First shot clips the top out of the dead tree. Note smoke puff on far ridge, and that the projectile and sound arrive very close together.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL1DkrYL70s#t=18

    A/T vs armor, or how to make high school physics interesting. Many moons ago, I took a chunk of 4.5 inch diameter steel pipe (mild steel) with a wall thickness of 1/4 inch to the range. I shot it at 50 yards with standard issue 5.56 SS109 perpetrator rounds using an 18" barreled AR. The holes in impact side were remarkably similar the holes in photos of allied tank hulls hit by German 88's in North Africa.

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    1. That can't be true. In movies, even filing cabinets (18 gauge, or 1/20") are bulletproof!

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    2. *Penetrator. Flippin' spell check. New PC, so had to add word to dictionary. Although, 'perpetrator' does have a certain ring to it.

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    3. I watched a clip this morning where some guys blew up a 2006 VW Jetta with cannon and Gatling gun fire. Don't try hiding behind car doors, won't help, in fact it's probably worse. (All that shredded metal makes for nasty wounds!)

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  5. My only experience with those suckers is the 5”/38.
    Learned how to load at SDIEGO.
    Got to listen on the tin can.
    Even in the sound deadened CIC they’re loud.

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    1. ...and when doing shore bombardment they’re often.

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    2. 5"/38 ain't nothing to sneeze at!

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    3. Can we even do shore bombardment anymore? With a single 5" on the modern cans we can do shore annoyance, that's about it.

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    4. Well, the modern 5" naval gun has the fire rate of 2-3 pre-automated 5" guns, with better range and accuracy. So a modern 5" gunned destroyer with 1-2 guns can effectively do shore bombardment on specific targets.

      For splattering a whole area, the modern Navy uses planes or missiles.

      The DDX gun was supposed to be a rapid-fire long-sustained-fire gun, and the railgun was supposed to be a projectile-spitting electro machine gun. But we saw how that worked out.

      The need for a modern Salem-class gunned cruiser is a thing. Yes, they are easy to shoot, torpedo or missile, but once you control the water space, you need a stable gun platform to be able to splash tons of explosives on an area. Or an arsenal ship with a metric-copulation-load of missiles. Or the USSF dropping penetrators from orbit. Or something (a navalized A-10, now that I wanted to see. I am sure the Marines would enjoy it also.)

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    5. As to the DDX gun being rapid fire, sort of. DAMHIK

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    6. Gearings and Sumners had the twin mount 5"/38s.
      The Turner Joys and later got 5"/54 autos that were singles but could fire a lot more rapidly.

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    7. Now with those you could ruin an enemy's day.

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    8. The 5"38 has a truly vicious WHACK, when it fired. It was capable of causing permanent hearing damage, after just one round, if you were too close to the muzzle.

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    9. When the Iowa fired one of her 5"38 guns on certain occasions they used a home-made blank with about 5 pounds of black powder in it.

      Went off with a pretty good thump, but not sure how it compared to a real round.

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    10. StB - You never want to be near the muzzle of any gun that size, ruin your whole day!

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    11. drjim - We likes that thump!

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  6. As we're in the early stages of an alleged blizzard here, your post reminds me of a couple of late-1960's blizzards when the local National Guard canon cockers employed their 109's (A-2's, I believe) to deliver groceries and taxi the sick to hospital. A number of folks who failed to heed the "no parking on snow routes" signs ended up with flat cars. Watching those tracks churning through 6-10 feet of snow was a rare treat and privilege. Less visible were the aviation units employing H-34's and H-1's to supply rural people and livestock with feed and medicine and air ambulance services. Possibly bears noting and repeating that our present situation can easily be handled by Americans. If enough of them do their being an American thing.

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    1. I've seen a number of posts where the long haul truckers are saying, "We got this."

      And I believe 'em. A good bunch right there.

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    2. I have seen films of ANG helicopters dropping food to cattle,that were stuck in blizzards. YAY GUARD!

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    3. back in about 1978-79, there were some decent blizzards in the Midwest that required aviation assistance. The Air Guard mobilized, got out their Hueys, and went to work. Mostly successful. Mostly only because it's hard to have good depth perception when you are hovering over a snow field. Several gung-ho Guardsmen decide they were close enough to the ground to jump out the door, were very surprised when the fall was longer than they thought. At least they got a quick air evac to the hospital for their orthopedic injuries... "A" for initiative, "F" for results for those particular crewmen - but "A" for results for the mission itself

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    4. 1978-79 winter was known as winter of century here in poland
      military had used their abundant tanks to clear roads here too

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    5. That was a harsh winter here in New England as well, folks still talk about it. I didn't experience it as I was stationed on Okinawa. Didn't get any snow on that island.

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    6. Just realized, depth perception over a uniform field of white would be problematic!

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    7. i once drove right off I-35, in a blizzard, I was driving a white Chevy Kodiak, and the whole world went white. Man, that was scary!

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  7. Who doesn't like listening to the 1812 Overture? The French come to mind.

    As to what a tank is, versus what it isn't, that definition has always been wavy. Currently, 'tank' means a vehicle designed to stand up to other tanks on the battlefield and supposedly kill them while not being killed.

    But by earlier definitions of 'tank', it pretty much meant anything armored with tracks, not wheels.

    So.. The Bradley M2/M3 APC/IFV (armored personnel carrier, infantry fighting vehicle,) though it can and does kill tanks quite well using it's missiles or it's 25mm gun (capable, when firing depleted uranium rounds) the side armor of real tanks. So does this make the Bradley a tank?

    To further complicate the picture, the manufacturer of the Bradley, which has tracks, has made a wheeled version of the Bradley. Again, capable of killing real big tanks using it's missiles or gun (if hitting the side of the enemy.)

    And then there's the wheeled Stryker IFV. Some versions are only armed with a heavy machine gun, others a 25mm chain gun, still others a 105mm gun capable of... killing tanks. And the Stryker is armored. Is this a tank?

    Typically, in real battle conditions, if it's armored, has a gun, can control space and kill some of the enemy, it's a Tank.

    If being overrun by armored beasties carrying big guns, whether wheeled or tracked, whether an actual MBT (main battle tank. The big boys like the Abrams,) or, well, an APC with lots of guns, to include an M113 (a straight-up armored box designed to carry men, not guns) or even a Stryker or an armored half-track from WWII, well, it's a TANK OMG WE'RE GONNA DIE BECAUSE TANK TAAAANK TAAAAAAAAAAAANK (and then some little tankette putters by and you feel all ashamed of running from basically an armored and armed yard tractor.)

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    1. The definition of "tank" is rather fluid, isn't it?

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    2. When you consider the derivation of the term as used herein. Old Guns

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  8. "The Last Argument of Kings" is very fitting. I like that a lot. It reminds me of Clausewitz's idea on war being just diplomacy by other means, often the final means.

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  9. The Voice of the Badger was heard through the land! The breech being loaded is most likely Mount 161, the right hand gun of Turret One. Only the right side gun, ( facing the front of the turret, from the rear wall of the turret ), load from the left. he other six load fro the right side of the gun. It is loading rom th left tells you it is 191, 164, or 169. "ALFALFA " leads me to believe it is 161. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dVvEPTYrcXA

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    1. Um, you lost me there Scott, what are you referring to?

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    2. Apparently the YouTube Video I linked to, did not link! I apologize, and post it!
      Turret one would have, numbered from the right side of the turret, as you face forward, Mounts 161, 162, and 163, Turret 2 164, 165, and 166, and so on. Since the gun in the film is labelled ALFALFA, it should be Mount 161, since it starts with an A.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVvEPTYrcXA&t=1s

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    3. My bad Scott, I didn't see the link. This is my embarrassed face.

      Great video, I've seen it before but seeing a battlewagon exercise it's main battery never gets old!

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    4. Not a problem, the link does blend in with the post rather effectively, doesn't it?

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  10. Perhaps Sarge could be the drummer in a artillery band.
    I'm going to suggest the band might be named, "Pachelbel's Cannoneers."

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  11. In the hoary wayback...

    We were at Graf doing our annual gunnery qualifications and our commanding general showed up on the range. He was pissed about something.

    My tank was told, "load up ammo and follow the general's humvee."

    We followed him to a different range where our M109's were doing direct fire training.

    Apparently they'd been high-fiving themselves about how well they'd done and said some intemperate things about how badass they were and that you could just get rid of tanks now that they were here. This failed to amuse our CG.

    He started out by trying to explain tanks to them, but I guess they weren't having that, so he brought us down for a firepower demo.

    He put their fastest crew on one firing pad and us on the other and told us to fire as fast as we could and hit the tank target downrange.

    We put five rounds on target in the time it took them to fire two and they missed their second shot.

    The redlegs were VERY sober at that point.

    Much later we bumped into them and we admitted we was still scared of arty, and they said they they'd make sure we lived to keep the bad guy tanks at a proper distance.

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    1. Great tale Angus, sometimes it takes a tank, and nothing else will do.

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    2. Part two of the story is something I heard about later.

      The CG took the arty crews to watch a real tank-table being fired.

      They were firing from a prepared position at a stationary target at less than 500m.

      They stood slack-jawed at the tanks firing (and hitting) on the move at moving targets out to 1,500m.

      Just like we got all quiet watching a FASCAM barrage deploy.

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    3. Both arms have their uses, while "it is with artillery that one makes war," it is with tanks that breakthroughs are exploited. Tanks are a much more powerful form of cavalry with unprecedented mobility. (Helos are nice but are very susceptible to AAA.)

      Great comments Angus.

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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