"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

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, May 08, 2011

It's not just a mixture of cement, sand and lime...

Off topic but I'll be brief.
I'm like a moth to a fucking flame. I just keep starin' out the window at the train wreck that is The Mind Of The Ogre.

Okay, I hate acronyms, especially when it means you're just too mealy-mouthed to simply write "fuck".
So, in my response, I'll be using the proper, King's English.
Obama has a Juris Doctorate from Harvard. Unless you have that or the equivalent... wait for it: Shut The Fuck Up!
John Kerry went to Viet Nam and was decorated, until your idiot of choice has been: Shut The Fuck Up!
Unless you can show me, side-by-side, Kerry's and Georgie's transcripts, Shut The Fuck Up!
Unless you'll freely admit that Al Gore served in Viet Nam, as a speedy four - and voluntarily;
And until you can prove that you even made E-4, much less did anything with it, Shut The Fuck Up!

That was fun.

Mortar: That's our actual topic, class. It's not just the mixture mentioned in the title; used to stick masonry units together.
It's also the clumsy, cereal bowl that comes with the tiny, baseball bat used to crunch things up.
We're talking about the ones that, although named for the cereal bowl look-alike, look nothing like it in the modren era.
Pictured first, a "Stokes Mortar Bomb".
I got onto this odd tangent after reading about an, otherwise intelligent guy who was stopped by customs in the Channel Tunnel due to explosive residue on his hands - and who thought the muddy, rusty thing he'd found and was carrying in his trunk was a Lewis Gun barrel.
He got off light - very light in view of the fact that they were going to ding him for the expense of shutting down the tunnel for three hours.
What he actually had was the above - only not deactivated.
We'll get to the Stokes, the forerunner of all modern mortars but patience.
Now, that's an old-school mortar - and an acutely-cute example, from the Castle of Edinburgh, at that.
With the situation very much the same as that of the machine gun, the Germans had their heads out waaaay ahead of everyone else in spite of having the Prussian equivalent of G. W. Bush at the helm.
In 1914, along with the shock that the glorious cavalry and the spirited bayonet charge weren't going to the carry the day, the French and British realized that they had absolutely no weapons they could use against an enemy who may be very close - but is hiding in a hole.
The Poilus and Brits had to, first of all, pull hand grenades out of their asses - not literally - that would hurt.
Re mortars, the Germans had shown up at the party with a variety of, very effective, Minewerfers.
This caused a mad scramble among the French and English to come up with something, anything that could fling a charge over the top.
The print above (click to zoom) shows some of the more interesting, early solutions utilized.
First of all, retired, 19th century mortars were dragooned from their jobs as lawn ornaments and pigeon-shit collectors and pressed back into service.
Above, one can see a wheeled example at the center while there is another, skid-mounted museum piece in the right foreground.
The others pictured are something else entirely. Called the Taupia Mortar they consisted of an empty, German shell casing with a hole for a fuse drilled into the lower end.
Once it had been mounted to a sizable chunk of wood and charged with black powder, it would toss a bomb - usually just a can full of explosive with a simple fuse, ignited by the firing, at one end.
It did the job - and was cheap to produce.
There were also large caliber mortars made of wooden slats bound with wire. All in all it was a very ugly situation.
Both the French and the British came up with their own versions of the minewerfer but the crux of the biscuit came with Sir Frederick Wilfred Scott Stokes.
Don't be fooled by the title. He was a humble engineer who was knighted in 1918 for his invention.
At the age of fifty-four he was chairman and managing director of the engineering firm of Ransomes and Rapier which company manufactured cranes, pumps and gas cylinders.
He freely admitted that he knew nothing about weapons and, in 1918, said that was why his design was so successful.
He was a hater of complexity like Kalashnikov quoted in the masthead and tried to set up a "Simplification of Designs Department" but got no traction.
Look familiar?
Stokes did flub a few. His first prototypes were too light. It's a problem when the tube only weighs three times the projo.
He also designed a "bouncing round" that contained six separate charges that would cause it to bounce around from place to place wreaking havoc.
Okay, they can't all be winners.
But, even with the aerodynamically unsound projo pictured about, it was extremely successful.
Ernst Junger in "Storm of Steel" refers to mysterious mortar rounds that resembled rolling pins.
By the war's end, the modern, finned, streamlined round was established.
The technology, such as it is, remains the same.
A round is dropped down the tube. A primer at the base ignites the propellant, made up of incremental rings - the number depending on range, which sends it up and away.
To finish up; some "optics".
A few of the Stokes in action along with some of the monstrosities it replaced

Coehorn mortars at Cold Harbor during the late unpleasantness.

Same war - different ordnance. This was a thirteen-inch, siege mortar (8, 1/2 tons. Safe from pilferers methinks)
Named for its designer, one Richard "Dick" Tater. Okay; Dictator! I'm just a child.
A little easier to pack than the last?

















Left, a Portuguese crew on the Western Front.
Who knew?


















One of the big boys from the War to Prove that Rich Assholes Don't Always Get Their Way.
It appears to have caught one on the "chin" and was tossed backwards off its mounting.
Actually, it was probably just some wild teenagers.

4 comments:

Jimh. said...

As ever your post is amusing, educational, and politically incorrect. I love it. I have been following you for awhile now and am glad I am, each post is entertaining! Also, it's nice to see someone who likes guns and ordnance AND doesn't think Rush is right! Keep up the good work!

Dan brock said...

Thanks, Jim.

Andy said...

Great post Dan. That one from the Edinburgh Castle would be just the ticket for the front porch here at the Wondering Y. After i get a swivel gun that is...

Ummm, so what liberals is George listening to that are talking about GW? I'm curious, the world i live in has moved on. Maybe it's a Mormon thing?

Dan Brock said...

Yo Andy,
I think think it's customers at the store.
He used to bitch about/make fun of customers quite a bit - and make reference to them - but I think his boss said that he can either alienate customers or work.
Now he's circumspect - and dumb as a post.
As ever.
The guy needs to drink.
If he did, the bars he'd hang out in wouldn't have any twisted fucks like me to poke at him.

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