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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sorry I'm late...

I was supposed to have been raptured by now. Actually, maybe I have been and my pathetic, prior life was really heaven - the trailer.
if so, this would now be coming straight from heaven!
Is it different?
Reply in comments.
Probably not. Ah well...

Behold... Mouse-Hammer, Scourge of Rodentia!
I've been having difficulty with beasties of late so have started running a trap-line. It cuts down on the pilfering (scratching - driving the dogs nuts) thing and the pelts will come in handy later for trade or to make into clothing for my new Caribou Barbie.
Mouse-hammer here, the trap not the mouse, is a serious piece of business. It may look like just any old, garden-variety, Victor mouse-trap (patent here) which it is indeed but, this guy's got it goin' on.
You're looking at mouse number ten! MH caught one after the photo.
Eleven mice with one trap; you say. So what?
With THE SAME PIECE OF CHEESE!
You'd have thought the bloodstains would have tipped them off but...
On this next issue, I feel that I have been terribly let down. All the trusted providers of useless information have failed me, Google, Wiki... Nothing.
My rave-fave anorak site, Great War Forum has only brief mention of this oddity:

At this time I was in Sergeant S_____'s team, and our machine gun emplacement was in Pelissier Trench. Here, in addition to manning the machine-gun, we had control of a "rifle battery" on a road immediately behind the trench. This rifle battery always struck me as being rather comic. It was trained on some cross roads just behind the enemy's lines, where their supply wagons used to leave the rations. Six rifles set in a wooden frame and you fired them all at once, at stated times, by the simple process of pulling a cord.
Comic indeed.
These were serious items. The drawing above is of a standardized design produced by the Second Army Workshops at Armentieres.
It could hold from one to six rifles the elevation of which was adjustable by one hand-wheel while another wheel could traverse.
Designed by one Capt. Henry Newton, at far left in the photo - the one whose hands are cold - and produced in prototype by a blacksmith attached to Newton's home unit the 5th Sherwood Foresters.
It so impressed Maj. General Furse, II Corps commander that he ordered Newton to set up the very workshop that produced this, as well as other items for the Second Army, with the title of Chief Engineer.
It's not a dumb idea at all. As the quote above mentions, one could have six rifles, all zeroed in on a pre-designated target. Rifles that could be fired simultaneously with no need to call for the lads who may have been napping or were toasted from pilfered rum and whose aim may or may not have been good.
One could know of a specific break in the wire where the baddies were likely to pass through at night and the sentry on duty had only to pull a string to send six accurate rounds into the midst of it if suspicious noises were heard.
Work the six bolts (These were Enfields so - no giant amount of time lost) and another six rounds are off.
I don't know what could possibly have worked better in the dark.
And it wasn't as if you had to buddy up with Capt. Newton to get one of these wonderful machines. They were butt-simple.
Initially, they consisted of rifles propped up with sandbags.
The final photo is of a down-and-dirty French example. Two wooden wedges at the rear control elevation while, I guess any traverse would be by shifting the whole unit one way or the other.
Far from rocket science.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yea I've worn out more than a few
of those too. Kill one and 12 comes to the funeral. Try one of these homemade "farmerized" units
Best I've ever used hands down.
20++ in one night.

http://www.farmshow.com/issues/27/06/270605.asp

Big W said...

Love the pic of the USS Michigan firing broadside. That is all ; )

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