"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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Now, For Something Completely Different...

This is a thing about weapons - for real. Something interesting too...
But first, Something from "The Land of Action-Figure Worshipers:
Gee, tough call... the clown who came over here, lectured the president - who happens to be bankrolling his entire military operation - and then went back home again having accomplishing nothing other than looking (again) like an ass to the international community.
He did get lots of blow-jobs from Congress though. They know on which side their "Crazy Fundamentalist Voting Bloc" is buttered.
Or, the other guy? I've made my choice. I wouldn't put Nuts-and-Yahoo in charge of a clambake.
Any-hoo, this pair of pics was presented at above linked-to forum with the question posed and a whole raft of comical conversation ensued.
These guys (the forum guys), in general, really like action-figures - or at least guys who looked like one at some time or other.
After much discussion concerning the Johns: Kerry, Murtha and one George (He played an action figure too - quite recently. Remember?) this thesis statement was arrived at.
Now, boys and girls, carve this on a plaque and hang it over your rack when you go to sea:

It isn't that all Veterans are angels who always make perfect leaders, its that hipster, dope smoking, commie worshiping punks never make good leaders.

I'm so happy they got that straightened out.

Okay, we're finished with pitching road-apples at the short bus. On to the bidness.
Everyone with any curiosity regarding the First World War has seen the photo to the left. It's usually illustrating the tenacity and ingenuity exhibited by the Royally-Screwed ANZACs at Gallipoli.
Of course, it shows a periscope rifle and what was most certainly a clever, field-expedient one.
According to Wiki - in its only entry relating to the concept - this unit was "invented" by one Sgt. William Beech of the 2nd Battalion NSW, Australian Imperial Force.
There he is, pictured next, giving a demo of his handi-work.
Not to take anything away from the good Sarge, but he didn't invent anything.
The sniperscope (the other name for it) was invented before the war.
Like the other random pieces of material culture that were resurrected or newly conceived in this new war of living in a hole with an absurdly close enemy (At one point, the British and Germans actually shared the same trench. The dividing line was simply a thirty-foot barrier of sandbags and wire.) the periscope rifle seems to have been "invented" by all combatants on all fronts.


"Genius 'round the World stands hand in hand and one shock of recognition runs the whole circle' round"

Herman Melville

This is a cobbled-together, Belgian one which happens to be contemporary with Sgt. Beech's effort - 1915.
And another, early war model, this time German.
There was a fellow from East Tennessee who built one - an Aussie one - although you can't get a report on what firing it was like, you can see what one looks like out of fresh lumber and un-muddied.
I'd show you a pic but it's not link-to-able (just flows off the keyboard, no?).
Also, because we're a full-service organization offering something for every attention-span, there's a movie here. Genuine, ANZAC Cove footage. The beast in question is in use about a third of the way through.
Here's an elegant piece of work from the Dutch.
The steel skeleton structure is nice but I'm not sure how the shoulder stock works unless that bit of business across it is leather or something else resilient.
Next up: a French model.
You can see by the U-shaped iron incorporated in it that production values are getting better.










Case in point: this unit from Belgium.
But - there seems to be a problem here that's not being addressed.
It's illustrated in the video linked-to above.
All of these had to be pulled back down to work the action so they could be fired again.
The bright sparks back at home were soon on the case and many, absurdly complicated designs were patented, most with a cocking mechanism and one with a tubular periscope, the optics of which would have prohibitively expensive.
Remember our old mate, Capt. Newton, the fella with the sloppy, military deportment spoken of in the previous post?
His 2nd Army Workshop produced this next in quantity.
Easily and quickly put together with no esoteric parts.
The rifle could be taken in or out with minimal time and bother (One of the patented designs called for the Enfield shoulder-stock to be removed from the rifle and mounted below).
The best part though... it had a bolt operating mechanism - and a spike for attaching it to the trench wall.
For my money though - even though it couldn't be cocked while in position - was Germany's late-war, production model.
It folds into a compact package about the size of a big thermos, is easily taken off and installed.
The Brits were so impressed that they published this bit of info here, using illustrations from a German manual, on its workings.
Brilliant

2 comments:

Andy said...

I think you need to throw one together Dan. When you think about it, they'd have to be pretty well crafted to stay in battery considering the recoil of the platforms of the period. No mouseguns there...

Fortuinhoek said...

Very interesting!! Thank you!

I found an original 2nd army workshop periscope frame in the ground at ypres and you have here a drawing!

Im hoping to find a real photograph of such a frame. Maybe you can help me?

Greetings,

Stijn

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