Jump to content
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ron Walker

Private
  • Content count

    348
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    26

Ron Walker last won the day on June 8

Ron Walker had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

117 Excellent

1 Follower

Recent Profile Visitors

1,261 profile views
  1. Ron Walker

    What was the best submachine gun of WWII?

    The Mk2 Sten was the "definitive" model, generally reliable (unless you stuff it full of rabbit food!) Kubis and Gabcic (the assassins sent to assassinate Heydrich in Prague) were given a Mk2, and transported it to the scene of their attempt disassembled into barrel unit, receiver, and stock, in a briefcase, hidden under a pile of grass (Czechs, for whom food was rationed, liked raising rabbits for food, so collecting fodder for them was common) The gun jammed at the crucial point. They test new designs for dirt, mud, grit, sand... but they don't test that guns work after being immersed in rabbit food! IS the M1A1 truly a "Thompson" at all? Its creator's design called for a delayed blowback weapon. The "delay" relied upon the reluctance of a small slab of phosphor bronze (called the "Blish piece") to slide against steel. The weapons originally supplied to the USMC, and those sold to the Brits, (and for that matter to Al Capone) were ALL M1928's, (WITH the Blish piece) and quite expensive to produce... when the war came they decided that it worked acceptably well without delaying blowback at all, and the Blish piece was dropped, as was the top- mounted cocking handle, AND the ability to take a drum magazine.SO no interchangability of parts between the two guns (aside from the stick magazine and the walnut stock!) My economics tutor was the adjutant to the 2nd Parachure regiment in 1944, and equipped with the M1928 (and an M1911 as a sidearm) he speaks highly of the 1928. (But his name was Thomson, so maybe he was biased?!) What do you get when you cross a Thompson with a Lee-Enflield SMLE? A Delisle Carbine. Probably my favourite weapon in the world. Came fitted with a Maxim suppressor as standard which reduced the sound to almost zero: more noise from the bullet hitting the target than from the gun itself. Good out to about 250 yards for the quiet removal of inconvenient sentries. Still not a fan of the MP40... the MP41 maybe,but that only got issued to the SS and supplied to some German allies. The 226 is a fine weapon, and I believe the one which actually WON the competition to replace the M1911, except the "Beretta" was a lot cheaper. First pistol I ever owned was an M1934. Beretta - iconic but under-powered. First chance I had to handle (and disassemble) a French example of the M92 led me to comment "This isn't a Beretta, it's a Walther P38(K)!!" There aren't many ways to delay blowback; Briwning's way is probably the best (which is why it's so widely copied!) But it's not the ONLY way to do it (look at the Luger, Mauser 1896, the Savage... and the Walther P38. Each demonstrates their own solution to the problem.) The transfer bar running OUTSIDE the receiver, the slide-mounted rotating safety. And delay caused by a swinging wedge below the barrel. It's the SAME gun. Walther used to make a pocket version of the P38 - the 38(k) - which featured an open-top receiver, with the fore-sight mounted on a "bridge" over the barrel. Bigger/smaller magazine capacity is the only major difference. I hear that the M92 is being phased out and replaced by... your SIG?!
  2. Comes down to whether you're a "Whig" or a "Tory" in your view of how history work Is it that "Great men" CREATE the waves which we call "history", or are they merely "surfers" who ride on an already existing wave and thereby become more visible, exaggerating their apparent importance? The methodology of Hitler's control over policy and the Nazi state is nebulous. Rather than giving directions, he rewards those who accurately anticipate his wishes. Approval by the leader was an asset beyond price: it made you untouchable, AND someone that others wanted to please. Aside from Mein Kampf, what evidence is there to support even the idea that Hitler KNEW that Jews were being exterminated? Some of the most detailed evidence relating to the Holocaust comes from the transcript of the Wannsee Conference, where Heydrich appeared to hijack Germany's racial policy and make official that "the final solution" was to be extermination rather than enforced deportation to Madagascar. The conference began with A series of very senior officials - Gauleiters - summing up the interpretation and implementation of racial policy in the region over which THEY exercised control. It rapidly becomes clear from the transcript that it was a complete shambles, each Gauleiter was "doing his own thing".On top of that, the SS were ALSO doing their own thing. I was fascinated by a book written by the prolific German Social historian Hans-Peter Bleuel, called "Hitler, Fuehrer and Volk" which attempted to explain WHY the Nazis seemed to have such appeal to the German people. How did they sell murderous racism to the best-educated nation in Europe? Bleuel suggests that they didn't. A big part of the appeal of Nazism was that it seemed NOT to be particularly organised. New ideas being "thrown against the wall to see which ones would stick". Constant surprises. Certainly not a top-down structured system. Examining Nazi economics shows a similar story. The allies were tightly organised, the Germans were anything but.
  3. Ron Walker

    What was the best submachine gun of WWII?

    Which of the many different models of Sten did you try? The Mk3 was truly crude and basic, but some of the later models - particularly the silenced version - were really rather better, and paradoxically usually claimed to have at their weakest feature the magazine, which was essentially the same as that used by the MP40 (Their magazines are interchangeable) Patchett's improved model incorporated a substantially redesigned (curved!) magazine. Likewise, WHICH Thompson? Joris carelessly failed to indicate whether the weapon he's inviting us to vote for is the "classic" M1928 famed as "the Gun which made the twenties roar"... or the substantially different gun which was the Thompson M1.Despite being universally (and erroneously!) called the "Schmeisser" by the Allies, Hugo Schmeisser didn't get his hands on the design or production of the MP40 until the war was nearly over, when he belatedly added a fire selector (Neither the MP38, MP40, nor MP38/40 had a "single fire" option) and returned to the wood-stock of the MP18, MP28 and so on (Designs in which he HAD played a part) For reasons unknown my local military museum has an MP41 on display. It's not just the mags which the Sten and MP40 have in common.... it's also the way that people who haven't been trained to use them HOLD them the wrong way - i.e. by the magazines. The movies have a LOT to answer for.
  4. Ron Walker

    Help with missile/rocket identification

    After further research, I'm now 100% SURE it's a Thunderbird. Here's a snapshot of a Thunderbird on Display at the Midland air museum (in England)
  5. Ron Walker

    Help with missile/rocket identification

    Looks pretty much like the Bristol "Bloodhound" SAM of late 1950's-1960's vintage. Looks to be of a similar size and configuration... therefore probably of a similar vintage and for a similar purpose. The pictures below are the (Mk 1) Bloodhound and one of its Soviet equivalents, the .S-25. The fin configuration however isn't right...But it looked damned familiar... THEN the penny dropped. I OWNED ONE back when I was a kid in the early sixties - one made by Corgi Toys, a popular UK manufacturer of die-cast model cars. This is a Bristol THUNDERBIRD. The rear fins in the third picture below seem to match your picture very well. It was an airfield defence weapon intended to protect the R.A.F. bases of Britain's "V-Bombers" from air attack. Built just outside of Bristol at BAC's Filton Factory. (About a 30 minute walk from where I was raised!)
  6. Given your thesis, I'm surprised that you didn't extrapolate it back to the Battle ot Taranto, where, in a night attack, Fairey "Swordfish" torpedo bombers of the Royal Navy effectively wiped out the Italian Navy.(With some help from the Italians themselves: the first ships to be hit sank in a navigation channel, and several others attempting to escape the confines of the port over-ran the sunken ships and tore open their own hulls) The Japanese were VERY interested and quizzed the Germans for more information - and for any information that they could provide about Pearl Harbour. Paradoxically, Germany loaned them the services of an agent who (unknown to the Abwehr) was a Double Agent for the British. Without Taranto, would there have been an attack on Pearl Harbour? Hard to say: it pretty much provided a "proof of concept" that a surprise air attack on a naval base CAN have devastating consequences for the ships based there. Before Taranto, that was merely theory. (Yes, Billy Mitchell proved that you can sink a battleship from the air.. BUT he demonstrated the concept using a completely static target, which wasn't attempting to defend itself or to evade the attack, so arguably not a valid proof of concept.) I'm reminded of an interesting "thought experiment" of a book, called "The Foresight War".(Anthony G WIlliams) The basis of the plot is that at some point in the mind 1930's an expert of WW2 history awakes in London, having travelled back through time (it's never explained how; kind of like Hitchcock's "McGuffin".) The expert manages to get an audience with Henry Tizzard (later SIR Henry, who liaised with the USA on science and technology.) And using his mobile phone and scientific calculator to prove his bona fides as a genuine man from the future. Tizzard provides an introduction to government which forms a committee to pick the expert's brain. Meanwhile, in Germany, they have a "man from the future" of their own. So BOTH sides are being tipped-off, and assisted to avoid their worst mistakes. Who wins? In such a thought experiment it comes down to "WHY are we fighting?". A combination of a desire for "Lebensraum" coupled to inherent racism is NOT a sufficiently good reason. The Germans treated the Ukrainans badly? OF COURSE THEY DID!!! It's part and parcel of WHY they were fighting the war. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foresight-War-Anthony-G-Williams/dp/0755201566/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532785828&sr=8-1&keywords=the+foresight+war
  7. Clearly, you're not a WIlhelm Busch fan (there's a rather good small museum devoted to his work in Hannover). That would be "Max und Moritz", initially a 19th century series of seven illustrated poems about two badly behaved lads. As a name purloined for an intelligence network, it was initially an Austrian based operation, that later got absorbed by Germany. But "SImilar" to the XX Committee? Not really on the same scale. Despite an endless stream of fictional works, Information between the UK and Germany was pretty much 100% controlled by British Intelligence.If Germany knew something (or rather, THOUGHT that they knew something) then it was because it was being spoon fed to them. They HAD no agents in the UK - they just thought that they had!
  8. Previously, with some of these polls there has been an option to vote "none of the above" and to ADD an item. My money would be on "The Intelligence Battle". Germany's attempt to defeat the RAF while crippled by a glaring lack of accurate intelligence was (IMHO) doomed from day one. At the start of the war, The British effectively "rolled up" Germany's entire intelligence-gathering network in the UK. That by itself would have been disastrous, but to make things worse, the majority of the agents who had been arrested having been charged with espionage, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged, then agreed to change sides, in exchange for their lives. Add to that the work of Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers and the "Golf, Chess and Crosswords Society" (As they flippantly referred to the Government Code and Cypher "School") which was soon routinely decoding wireless traffic that Germany believed to be UNcrackable. And a picture emerges that not so much of a battle... more a massacre. Plus, of course, with Germany occupying such a large (and UNfriendly) area, information about GERMAN forces generally flowed in the opposite direction like a torrent; Throughout the war, Germany was continually wrong-footed because it believed the skilfully created lies fed to its own "intelligence network" by Britain's "Twenty Committee". And - unlike Germany - The Brits WERE able to check if their tricks WERE working - because they were "reading Hitler's mail". Not every "battle" involves shooting: I'd argue that the struggle to gain intelligence supremacy was AT LEAST as important as the (rather later) battle for Air supremacy.
  9. Ron Walker

    List of weapons used by the U.S during Vietnam

    The soldiers involved in the battle you describe were mostly from the "Glosters", which despite the name, recruited as much from Bristol as from Gloucester (The two cities are about 60 miles apart) My Maternal Grandfather was a "Gloster" during WW1. Recent re-organisations of the British army (for which read "RiF") have amalgamated the Glosters into "The Rifles"; Rifle regiments have a fine tradition of their own, but the Glosters go back in history as a particularly good county regiment of LINE INFANTRY; carriers of the Brown Bess, not a Baker rifle. You're probably aware that the British generally march "in threes"; during a running battle in Egypt (during the Napoleonic wars) the Glosters, attacked on both right AND left flanks by French cavalry reformed in twos, and fought "back to back". As a battle honour, the regiment's soldiers wear not one, but TWO cap badges - a miniature one clipped on the BACK of their beret as well as the usual sized one on the front. (The regimental magazine is titled "The Back-badge").It's stuff like that which generates and perpetuates "esprit de corps". How can you even THINK of running away, when the men who wore that uniform, that regimental badge, set such an heroic example for you to follow? And it works - even for conscripts! After shooting off ALL of their ammunition, and falling back into a smaller and smaller mountain-top position, it became impossible to continue to re-supply them by air, and the survivors were captured and imprisoned by the Chinese. They were known affectionately back home in Bristol as "Fred Karno's Army" - a play on the name of their commanding officer and a popular Vaudeville troop. (I think Charlie Chaplin might have been with the real "Fred Karno's Army") Even in captivity, their courage remained unabated.
  10. Ron Walker

    List of weapons used by the U.S during Vietnam

    The quality of conscripts varies quite dramatically, depending on a number of variables. Conscription in the UK ended in the early 1960's, meaning - for example - that the majority of the British troops who served in Korea were conscripts, including those serving in the regiment that recruits from near my family home (The "glorious Glosters") The conscript Glosters "upheld the traditions of the regiment" in Korea, despite being outnumbered by a ridiculously large number of Chinese opponents. In the UK, conscription was widespread, VERY difficult to avoid, and the regiment provided a "family-like" support structure. You served for two years, and back then the UK still had a sizeable empire - you could serve ANYWHERE in it.(My own Dad served in the RAF in Alexandria, back in the early 1950's) Note that - back then - Britain was most assuredly NOT a multi-ethnic society; almost no Afro-Carribeans, No South Asians (Note that in the UK "Asian" tends to mean "Indian-looking" whereas in the USA it tends to mean "Chinese looking") In the USA, the pool of potential conscripts would have been drawn from a society divided into three very different groups - "whites", "Hispanics" and "African Americans".The USA has a tradition of the white middle-class dodging conscription going back at least as far as the Civil War. "The Donald", apparently had "problems with his feet", "Dubya"'s Dad bought him a place in the "Champagne Squadron" of the Air National Guard. Bill Clinton managed to serve out HIS time in the Coastguard... Do I detect a pattern there...? Note also that the British Army was established in 1649, by Oliver Cromwell, making it the oldest army of full-time professionals in the world, Since 1649, there have been less than a handfull of years during which a soldier wasn't KiA somewhere in the world. In other words... in the UK conscription didn't exist simply to provide cannon fodder for a perhaps unpopular war. It was an integral part of how the UK policed its empire. One (quite well known) book about VietNam was titled "365 Days" - because that's how long a US conscript spent "In Country". Different countries, different ways of doing stuff.....
  11. Ron Walker

    List of weapons used by the U.S during Vietnam

    I can'r speak for American ex-servicemen (or "veterans" as you seem to call them.) But in the UK ex-servicemen's banter is often concerned with the issue of the rifle you carried. The FN FAL , aka "Rifle L1 A1" aka "SLR" was greatly loved by the majority of those to whom it was issued, and they joke affectionately about its power and accuracy in what often sound like "Chuck Norris" jokes.I don't think I've ever met anyone who had a good word for the SA80, which until it as recalled, rebuilt and re-issued had a dreadful reputation for low quality control, and falling to pieces under field conditions.Going back further, men who carried an SMLE in .303" looked proudly upon it as the best of its kind. (As a cadet, I trained on a #4 Lee Enfield, and would confirm that in the "Mad minute" there's no other bolt action rifle to touch it. (Run a hundred yards, drop to a prone position, and fire as many rounds at a two-foot rectangle two hundred yards away as you can manage in 60 seconds. With practice, the number of accurately placed rounds resembles what you might expect from an LMG) Mattel DID make a toy in the shape of an M16. If memory serves they sold it as the "M16 Marauder" On one side of the stock was what amounted to a loudspeaker, and concealed within the "receiver" was what looked much like a heavily-toothed saw blade. When the gun was cocked, and the trigger depressed, the "saw blade" rapped against the "speaker" in a fair immitation of automatic fire. I can well imagine the generation who carried Garands and M14's poking fun at the "Gee whizz" plastic M16. When 223" rounds were first adopted, I remember the wild rumours about what happened if you got hit by a bullet travelling at the best part of 3,000 fps.
  12. Ron Walker

    List of weapons used by the U.S during Vietnam

    Logic would seem to indicate that you're wrong there.I'm British, so I've not been in a situation where I served alongside draftees, but I note - for example - that Under Boris Yeltsin, Russia decided to switch from a mass army of draftees to a rather smaller force of better trained full-time professionals.AND at the same time decided to abandon the AK74 as the standard rifle of Russian forces, because its main appeal is having degree of simplicity SO great that not even a conscript can screw things up. After trials, they settled upon a very sophisticated replacement, the "Abakan" AN-94.(Which looks superficially much like the current AK series, but with the receiver shortened by a couple of inches, leaving the pistol grip hanging over the back of it, and the magazine sloping slightly to one side.) Internally, the AN94 is a brilliant piece of design. Yeltsin's death, and his replacement by Putin knocked the idea of a small professional army on the head, the idea pof replacing the AK74 with something more sophisticated was abandoned. (The AK74 IS being replaced with a cosmetically improved model of the same old thing) Russia clearly doesn't think as highly of draftees as you do. Note also that I was referring NOT to the M14, but to the M60. A weapon with so many problems that the Pentagon continually upgraded it, and then lost patience and replaced it with the FN MAG (known to me, back in the day, as the "Gimpy"; never had to lug one around myself: the Sterling and Browning were my issue weapons.)
  13. Ron Walker

    Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    The Finns certainly used "Swastikas"; so did British author Rudyard Kipling as his personal logo. (I own several of his books in editions going back to the late 19th century, featuring his elephant's head and swastika logo on the binding) Germany also initially supplied the Chinese with German "coal skuttle" tine hats too....Swastikas on Finnish planes have little or nothing to do with Germany, any more than Red stars painted on Soviet equipment has any connection with the USA (whose gear is emblazoned with white stars) FInland's Swastikas are, I beleieve, traditionally grey, rather than Germany's black.
  14. Ron Walker

    Hitlers underestimation of Russia.

    Ooops!
  15. Ron Walker

    List of weapons used by the U.S during Vietnam

    And - with the earliest models - if you reassembled the weapon carelessly (And remember, it WAS being issued to conscripts!) with the gas piston the wrong way around...when you pulled the trigger, it would continue to fire until the ammunition supply ran out, or the gun jammed.; NOT because you'd released the trigger pressure.
×