Lot's of different pics of this sign.

Lot's of different pics of this sign.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Of course "The Rat Patrol" was inaccurate, wildly so.
Even as a middle-schooler I seem to recall being aware that these guys were awfully clean, well-rested... phenomenally lucky.
And what was with the hats?
Furthermore, we won't even discuss going up against tanks with just the mighty Ma-Deuce, or the probable state of the motor mounts of those Jeeps after just a few of those nanosecond-saving jumps over the dunes.

The hilarious premise, or so I've read, was that these two Jeeps were part of the LRDG.
You first have to overlook the incredible American-ness of the cast. Especially knowing that neither of the long range desert units, the LRDG nor the Special Air Services were anything but British, Rhodesian and Kiwi in either of these groups.
The LRDG had Jeeps as well but the seriously cool ones were the SAS Jeeps.
These rigs were stripped down to the bare essentials. No wind-shield - sometimes no bumper. At the very least the bumper was cut off even with the frame on either side.
All the bars in the grill were cut out but the middle two - or sometimes two over to one side, the better to hang the radiator, condensate tank.
That seems excessive until you think, if these things got 20 mpg - and a gallon of gas weighed 6#, then every pound of extraneous metal taken off would extend the range by three miles or so.
Seems a worthwhile trade-off for six inches of bumper.
Hell, the only reason the hood and fenders are left on is to leave a flat spot to tie jerry cans.
The jerry-cans would make dune-jumping problematical, methinks.
The other weight trade-off is in armament.
In the pictured example, the passenger has a Browning M2 while twin, Vickers K guns are mounted in the rear.
The driver even gets his own K gun, mounted to his left.
All these weapons are weighty items - and they need to be fed. Better cut some more metal off the vehicle.
But, with just what we see, this Jeep could send away almost 3300 rounds per minute.

The jeeps were heavily armed with combinations of both Browning and Vickers K machine guns. The ex-aircraft Vickers weapons were generally mounted in pairs and a total of up to five machine guns were carried on some vehicles. The effectiveness of this armament firing a mix of ball, armour-piercing and tracer shells can be judged from one assault on an airfield where 12 aircraft were destroyed in a five minute raid.

Read the rest here,SAS Jeep Page.

Now, in this obviously staged photo - a "Hey Ma, Look at this!" shot if I've ever seen one - what is the gun the well-groomed passenger is pretending to shoot?
Captured MG42?


Andy said...

Great show. Always was curious how many stunt men lost teeth to the ma deuce when they were jumping those jeeps.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't get into it. Watching the good guys fight against Patton tanks just wasn't believable. . .

Andy said...

Yeah, it was hokey, but hey, it TV right? Next you're gonna start rippin' on Wild Wild West!
As for today's TV? Well that's why I don't subscribe.
Of course it could very well be that if I watched Rat Patrol today I'd go huh?...

Chas S. Clifton said...

20 mpg is probably wildly optimistic!

I would expect 10-12 in offroad use, at best. But the principle of lightening the load still applies, of course,

Culpeper said...

Rat Patrol was the bomb when I was a kid. Later, I found out Hollywood stole the idea from the exploits of other heroes from far away places I never heard of when I was a kid. Figures.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir: I love your blog, I come across it on google image hunts again and again, and it's always a good for a merry time. Greetings from the North Atlantic region of Canada. My guess as to the identity of the Machinegun is a Browning AN-M2 in .303 British. They had a very high rate of fire being used on aircraft. The SAS liked such repurposed aircraft guns & also repurposed the Vickers K machinegun for such duty. Cheers and best wishes for your family & friends this year! :-)

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