Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"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

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Now, for something else... completely different


The information I have to work from sometimes...
First off, I bought "The War Underground", by Alexander Barrie, solely for the picture of the cut-down SMLE supposedly contained therein.
That, otherwise excellent, book didn't have it.
Turns out - the SMLE picture - and the drawing of the Canadian tunneler's dagger, are from "Beneath Flanders' Fields - The Tunneler's War" by Peter Barton, et al.
While better than nothing, one has to admit that the picture is, shall we say, lacking in detail.

The other, slightly better drawing is from "The Flook Book". Again, somewhat helpful.
Undeterred (undie turd? God I'm a child sometimes) I went forward anyway and the end result can be seen below.
Now, again from the volume de la Flook, a description of the proper use of this weapon (and yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a weapon, not a tool):

"The knife connected to a leather thong and when you had your hand open like this, it lay up there and you flicked it down and enclosed it and it came out at right angles."

Well, that certainly clarifies things... or not.
The above, I'm sure, made perfect sense when the speaker, one Lieutenant John Westacott of the 2nd Canadian Tunneling Company, was actually describing it. It just loses something in the translation.
Anyway, there she sits.

Now, leaving no dead horse unflogged, I've endeavored to figure out what the good Mr. Westacott was talking about as regards the "flicking it down and enclosing it" bit.
Remember, in school, movie day?
video
So, there's my shot at "living history".
Findings: It's everything the Lieutenant said it was.
It just sort of dangles on the wrist like an over-sized charm bracelet.
You could work in the garden, pay bills even drive a car and there it is; ready at a moment's notice.
Although it's only good for the overhand, "icepick" grip - unless it's used simply as a knife - in which case it's clabbered up with superfluous straps and the like.
Now, I could have this all bollixed up, but it does seem to work.
It's just that I've been told that I often get "Military History" wrong.
But that's just 'cause I refuse to worship at the shrine of Patton.
In closing, did someone say "cut-down SMLE"?

Embarrassing as it is, the above is from a Star Wars exhibit.
These things seem to be as rare as the tunneler's dagger - probably because they're both equally useless in the real world.
One of these rifles must have been around back in the mid '70's when George Lucas, working on a budget, bought it and converted it into a "Jawa Pulse Rifle".
Take that silly crap away and you've got it there in all of it's deafening (tunnels remember), wrist-breaking glory.

Added the next morning...

Graciously provided by one of the members of The Great War Forum (see links) this is from the Hill 62 Museum near Ypres.
So, Andy; no, it's a cut-down SMLE.
The Canadians had a hard time procuring pistols so this is what the lads came up with.
It's so cool, maybe I'll do it to mine.

5 comments:

Andy said...

By "cut own SMLE" are they maybe referring to the little 9mm suppressed job sometimes referred to as a "detroyer" or some such? Know there're are still afew kicking around in some SF arms rooms.

Assrot said...

I never could understand why someone would do this to a perfectly good rifle or carbine.

I've seen the '94 model lever guns cut down and bastardized like this. I think it was called a "Mare's Leg".

If you want a handgun that will break your wrist, try a Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum or better yet a Magnum Research BFR chambered for .50 Beowulf.

Hell even my Desert Eagle in .50AE makes my hand sore after about 20 rounds. I've never had anyone else shoot more than one round out of any of the above guns.

Me, I love big bore handguns but I don't think much of ruining a perfectly good rifle or carbine to make one.

Joe

Oliver Hart-Parr said...

The mare's leg was from "The Bounty Hunter".
The CAS folks are into them now.
You can legally buy a manufactured one - or build it yourself from scratch - but you can't just cut your own gun down. That's illegal.
I think this was just a case of lots more SMLEs being available than .455 Webleys.
But yeah, the thing's a door-stop.

Andy said...

That thing makes me sore just looking at it.
And hey, if Steve McQueen thought it was cool, it IS cool.
Must say, I do wish you didn't have to dress up and have a gay moniker to play CAS.

Andy said...

Come to think of it, I new an old monkey wrencher who did something similar to a Turk mauser so he could put 8mm FMJs into skidders and cats without shlepping a full length bundook. Serious fireworks if touched off after dark.

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