Every Englishman had a machine gun

Monday, April 1st, 2019

Do not laugh at anything the British do or did concerning military rifles since the Boer War, Dunlap advises, because they very carefully studied and experimented and trained harder with rifles than any other nation in the world:

By 1914 the regular British infantry were the hottest riflemen in any army, constantly practicing and competing. The regulation course of rapid fire called for 15 shots per minute on a camouflaged target, but the higher ranking shots qualified at 25 shots a minute and could keep most of them where they aimed them. That is bolt handling.


What the British regular army did to the Kaiser’s boys in World War I is history. The Germans tried to go through the “Contemptibles” just once, and then reported to headquarters that every Englishman had a machine gun.

The English had developed a better cartridge by then:

Before that war England went accuracy-happy and designed their 1914 rifle, a true Mauser type, for a magnum 7mm or .276 caliber, to reach the then-high velocity of 2,900 FPS, evidently being influenced by the success of the .280 Ross cartridge which held all long-range records of the time. The war started while the new rifle was under field test, and of course they did not want to change calibers with the pressure of a war on, and the rifles were made in both England and the U. S. in .303 caliber Mk VII, and later, for the U. S. in .30-06, as our Model 1917. The development of the machine gun for infantry firepower in France reduced the rifle to a less important role, and the fast 10-shot Lee-Enfield was found completely adequate for trench warfare so the .276 caliber was shelved permanently and no more Pattern ‘14 rifles made after 1918 in either England or the U. S.

The average military man cannot hit much with any pistol

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

Before the war, Dunlap was a competitive rifle shooter:

The average military man cannot hit much with any pistol, and as a rule, the bigger the gun the less he hits. That is why Uncle called for the M1 carbine in the first place. In the hands of gunmasters such as Charles Askins, Jr. or Al Hemming or Harry Reeves the handgun is more deadly than the rifle is with the average soldier behind it. However, men like that are so scarce they cannot be counted in an army. The old claim of “the .45 knocks ‘em down if it hits ‘em in the arm or leg” carries no weight with anyone who has actually seen any bullet work on humans. Sometimes a .45 bullet may flatten a man with a minor wound, but I have known of Jap soldiers who absorbed a burst in the body from a Thompson and went down fighting. The .45 carries a lot of shocking power, it is true, but the point nearly every pistol argument misses is that a hit with any bullet above a .22 rim fire will slow a man enough from whatever he is doing—running away, running toward you, or shooting at you—to give you time to put in a fatal hit or hits. And I do not think anyone will argue that the smaller calibers are not easier for the unpracticed man to handle. A hit with a 9mm or .38 is 100% more effective than a miss with a .45, regardless of the wound it causes.

I would never trust my life to one

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Dunlap’s opinion of the Germany “Luger” pistol doesn’t surprise me, but his thoughts on our own .45-caliber 1911 do not match modern opinions about modern 1911s:

I have two M’08 pistols and like them very well, but I have no respect for them. A lot of people — who usually prove not to know much about pistols as a rule — think the “Looger” the only handgun in the world. They are greatly impressed by the “different” outline, its “pointability,” the balance in the hand and the knobs and ramps on the rear end. It is different! And it must be good or those smart Germans would not have used it so long! True, the gun does lie in the hand very well, the grip is excellent, it does not feel heavy and it is an easy gun to shoot. Despite the powerful cartridge, recoil is scarcely felt. In the last two points are the great military virtues of the Luger — the average soldier, or officer, who in the vast majority of cases never gets enough practice with his hand and shoulder weapons to become even semi-skilled with them can pick up this pistol and come much closer to hitting his mark with it than with any other major military autoloading pistol.

A thousand times in the war I was asked “Which is better, a Luger or a Colt .45?” and I always answered that in my opinion it was a toss-up — with a Luger the average man is more likely to connect, but if he does not hit a vital spot he may not put the enemy down, and with a .45 he will put him down with a hit almost anywhere in the body or leg, but will probably miss completely if said enemy is over 10 feet away. I added that the Colt is more to be relied upon.

There is absolutely no question whatever about the Luger being easier to handle — I proved that to my own satisfaction, deliberately picking men who knew only the basic fundamentals of pistol shooting and having them fire both guns at different ranges. They got much better results with the German gun. The cartridge of course has some bearing on shooting beyond point-blank range, for the flatter trajectory of the 9mm allows a just average pistol shot like myself to become dangerous up to 200 yards, since it is not necessary to aim at the moon to get sufficient elevation, as with a .45 (I shot a match one in prewar years and become officially A Marksman, according to National Rifle Association rating; there is no lower rating).

However, there are a couple of things wrong with the Luger: first, and not very important from a military point of view, it is difficult to put a good trigger-pull on it; and second, very important, they are all very fussy about ammunition, as manufactured for military consumption. Having weak extraction, the cartridge case must be pretty high-grade for the gun to function properly. The brass must be good, not hard and not soft. Lugers positively will not handle steel-cased ammunition reliably and it was for this reason Germany made great efforts to produce substitute pistols, adopting the 1938 Walther, which will handle steel cases perfectly. I have tried the steel-cased ammunition, made expressly for the Luger pistol, in at least a half-dozen guns and it was rare that a gun would fire a complete magazine of eight cartridges without jamming, while brass cases gave no trouble unless dirty or out of shape.


The Luger can be classed as a “good” semi-automatic pistol, but there are several better ones. I would never trust my life to one, no matter how well it performs in practice, though the temptation is great, for the weapon is one of the most accurate types ever made.

Serial numbers on Lugers were deliberately confusing

Friday, March 29th, 2019

While discussing the German “Luger” pistol, Dunlap brought up a point that surprised me:

Serial numbers on Lugers were deliberately confusing, as the Germans did not like to have people adding up numbers and estimating production figures, so they organized a code-series system, which is no military secret now, but which I have never completely solved.

This surprised me, because I’d read about the Germans failing to do just that with their tanks:

The statisticians had one key piece of information, which was the serial numbers on captured mark V tanks. The statisticians believed that the Germans, being Germans, had logically numbered their tanks in the order in which they were produced. And this deduction turned out to be right. It was enough to enable them to make an estimate of the total number of tanks that had been produced up to any given moment.

The basic idea was that the highest serial number among the captured tanks could be used to calculate the overall total. The German tanks were numbered as follows: 1, 2, 3N, where N was the desired total number of tanks produced. Imagine that they had captured five tanks, with serial numbers 20, 31, 43, 78 and 92. They now had a sample of five, with a maximum serial number of 92. Call the sample size S and the maximum serial number M. After some experimentation with other series, the statisticians reckoned that a good estimator of the number of tanks would probably be provided by the simple equation (M-1)(S+1)/S. In the example given, this translates to (92-1)(5+1)/5, which is equal to 109.2. Therefore the estimate of tanks produced at that time would be 109.

By using this formula, statisticians reportedly estimated that the Germans produced 246 tanks per month between June 1940 and September 1942. At that time, standard intelligence estimates had believed the number was far, far higher, at around 1,400. After the war, the allies captured German production records, showing that the true number of tanks produced in those three years was 245 per month, almost exactly what the statisticians had calculated, and less than one fifth of what standard intelligence had thought likely.

Anyone who turns up at a rifle match with a muzzle-braked rifle will be highly unpopular with the men shooting beside him

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Dunlap talks about muzzle brakes and “flashhiders”:

In any reference to foreign military weapons, muzzle brakes and flashhiders come into the conversation. Flashhiders are nearly always just an open-front metal cone attached to the muzzle of machine guns, and I could never see that they were ever very effective in confining the muzzle blast. Both Russians and Germans had very efficient combination flashhiders and smoke-dampers for use on sniping rifles, but these were large cylindrical attachments, not suitable for automatic arms.

Muzzle brakes were designed to reduce recoil and take some of the load from the recoil mechanisms of artillery pieces. Who originated the large gun application I do not know, but the first real small arms brake* was the American “Cutts Compensator” designed by the U.S.M.C. officer Cutts. It has been used to a small extent on commercial rifles, to rather wide use at one time on Thompson submachine guns and today is literally a “must” on the twelve gauge autoloading shotguns favored in skeet shooting. In the latter application varying removable tubes are provided for use in the front of the compensator, which regulate the choke. Recoil is reduced as much as 40% in some cases. The model devised for the submachine gun was not so satisfactory. Theoretically its main purpose was to “hold the muzzle down,” but in reality it had little effect on controlling either recoil or climb, and was dropped from use early in the war. It helped some, but not much.

The model designed for .30 caliber rifles was and is very effective, cutting the recoil as much as 50%, and two or three men who have used them on .30-06 rifles state they take even more, reducing recoil to almost nothing. Cost was low, and I have often wondered why the device did not become more popular for use on the heavy recoil hunting rifles.

(*Springfield Armory experimented with muzzle brakes before the 1st World War — but their first application of such attachment was on the Lewis Aircraft machine guns about the years 1917–1918.)

The Cutts rifle compensator achieves its braking action in a different manner than the usual European muzzle brake, in that it is tapered to a smaller diameter at its front than at its center, and is slotted vertically for most of its length. The foreign small arms brake was usually a plain recoil-reducer, but some submachine gun models were also compensating types for aiding in overcoming the tendency of the muzzle of the weapon to climb, or rise during firing.

Those used on anti-tank rifles were strictly brakes for counteracting the direct back thrust of the barrel under recoil force. Braking action was developed by force against a plate or series of plates at right angles to line of bore, and the attachment was largest at the forward extremity.

The principle of a muzzle brake is simple, being to erect a partial barrier to the escaping gases while naturally permitting the bullet or projectile to pass. The gases forcing the bullet out of the barrel are of course expanding and moving at high velocity, coning out as they leave the bore; if a plate is placed a short distance from the muzzle, with an aperture for the bullet to pass through, a large portion of the moving gases will blast against it, forcing it forward, so if the plate or barrier is attached to the barrel, it has a strong pull forward on the gun. Since the force of recoil exists and is moving the gun to the rear at the same time, the opposing forces tend to neutralize each other, with the result that recoil can be reduced to a large degree.

Muzzle rise can be reduced by setting the blast plate at an angle, as if it is over ninety degrees from line of bore (vertically, of course) above line and less than ninety below, the forward pull of the brake is also slightly downward. Usually the braking area is square to the bore and the gas escape ports are larger on the upper portion of the brake body, or sides, to serve the same purpose of keeping the muzzle down, by allowing the gas to escape easier at the top than at bottom.

For shoulder rifles a brake need not be very long or large in diameter, since the blast of gas does not cone out or spread too greatly immediately upon passing from the barrel, and its force is powerful enough to act upon even a small area effectively. I have not yet had an opportunity to experiment, but believe that an inside diameter of 1″ will handle even the .375 H. & H. Magnum cartridge very well. The sides, or body of the brake are very important, since they must control the final escape, release and dissipation of gas. Narrow slots, wide slots, small holes, large holes, wide opening, large and small tolerances on the bullet port — all have different effects on recoil reduction.

The simplest muzzle brake I ever saw was that used on the Solothurn 20mm AT rifle and consisted of just a block of steel threaded to the end of the barrel, bored straight through for passage of the shell, and having horizontal holes drilled straight through from side to side for gas escape. They came in three, four and five-hole sizes — the more holes the more brake effect, and no baffle or blast plate was used, the only thing to catch and divert muzzle gases being the holes at right angles to bore which received a portion of the expanding blast.

The universal effect of all muzzle brakes is to increase the report and flash as they splash the noise and gas sideways, close to the shooter. Anyone who turns up at a rifle match with a muzzle-braked rifle will be highly unpopular with the men shooting beside him. I will guarantee that.

Too much cartridge to shoot from a shoulder gun

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Dunlap liked guns, but he didn’t like anti-tank rifles:

What really gave me trouble was the 20mm Solothurn Anti-tank rifles. I somehow got mixed up with a batch of these being test fired at the British base and I have not been the same since. The 20mm is too much cartridge to shoot from a shoulder gun. These big rifles are 120 pounds of semi-automatic bipod gun and very rough on the firer, in spite of the muzzle brake and spring and rubber shoulder piece. They had a good, but heavy, 2.75X telescopic sight.

It sounded like a new zipper

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Germany hit the jackpot on the light machine gun deal, Dunlap says:

Germany hit the jackpot on the light machine gun deal, bringing out a gun which had the firepower of a tripod gun and weighing only 26 pounds 2 ounces: complete with bipod, and capable of being handled by one man. This was the justly-famed MG34, the “Spandau” design which was credited to the Solothurn plant in Switzerland.


Where the name “Spandau” came from, I don’t know, unless the type of bolt was taken from the old Spandau machine gun used by Germany on World War I aircraft.


It was designed to be, and was, the closest possible weapon to an all-round machine gun the world has seen yet.


While it could not equal a watercooled type in sustained fire, the quick-removable barrel did a lot toward keeping the firepower up.


Beautifully designed for production manufacture, parts were interchangeable and numerous — each unit had its parts chest and it was seldom necessary to send a gun to the shops for repair. Each gun had from one to three extra barrels, carried in formed metal cases.


This was the first of the straight-stocked or straight-line recoil stocked guns with high sights. The buttstocks and pistol grip stocks were of plastic and no wood appeared on any of these weapons. Since the thrust of recoil is straight back to the shoulder, the gun did not “climb” to any degree.


The original ground tripod provided was an elaborate job, with a recoil-operated ratchet mechanism which depressed and raised the rear end of the gun while firing, thus giving it a deeper cone of fire, or what is variously called searching, grazing or grass-cutter fire.


This mount also had optical sighting equipment and devices enabling it to be used for indirect fire (optical sights were not mounted on the gun itself at any time).


With the type of bullet the Germans used, it was possible for them to lay down an effective machine-gun barrage between 2,000 and 3,500 meters. Maximum range of their cartridge was about 5,000 yards, out of their barrels, the rifle length being 23.4″, MG34, 23.5″.


Elaborate machine work was lavished on the MG34’s — I found unnecessary knurling of sleeves and collars, chamfering and beveling of corners beyond reasonable manufacturing standards for such weapons.


It was a beautiful job, but when the Allies started to shoot back, production was simplified and a model was put out as the MG34/41.


The MG34/41 was better designed for defense than offense, which reflected the trend of the times.


In 1943 the Germans turned loose the MG42, the first real “punchpress” gun, with receiver, jacket, cover, and just about everything except barrel and bolt made of steel stampings. It followed the general idea of the MG34 in size, shape and purpose, but the details were entirely different.


The MG42 had the fastest barrel change of any machine gun in the world, accomplished by lowering the butt, snapping down the barrel catch at the right rear of the barrel jacket, which brought the rear end of the barrel out of the gun and gravity usually made it slide back and free of the weapon, untouched by human hands, which is good, because hot barrels are not pleasant to monkey with.


When I first turned a 42 loose I was really surprised, for it sounded like a new zipper. Rate of fire was about 1,100 to 1,200 RPM and I believe a straight belt of armorpiercers might run 1,300. That is fast — too fast, by our ideas, but the Krauts evidently thought it OK. They always seemed to have plenty of ammunition too.


In the spring of 1943 an officer approached me with the idea of finding out what this M38 could do, as he had a gun in perfect condition. I scratched my head, gymnasticated* the rifle, tried to look intelligent, and finally gave my opinion that it would penetrate 1/2” armor at 100 yards, but not much more. He brought out a side plate from a Grant tank, which was a trifle over 3/4” laminated armor plate. I thought we would only crater this, as it was considered extremely good plate. We headed out in the sand away from the camp in an Italian motor wagon (I would not compliment it by calling it a truck) and at a distance beyond the hearing of possibly disapproving colonels, we set up the plate, backed off 100 yards and I laid the rifle across a box and fired. The bullet went through the plate as though it was not there; its incendiary base flew away on the other side, but the core kept on traveling. One of the officers watching from an angle said he saw it strike the sand further out and that it appeared not to have altered its flight in any way. In other words, the 3/4” armor did not even have much effect on the trajectory. I later learned this outfit could penetrate 11/4” (30mm) armor at 100 yards. Recoil was negligible, and less than from a regular military rifle.


(That word “gymnasticate” may have a few of you on the ropes, but is simply an ordnance term meaning the artificial operation of the recoil mechanism of a weapon. Usually it is applied only to artillery, but is perfectly proper for any weapon operated by or having a recoil system. When you push back on the barrel of an autoloading shotgun or a Colt .45 pistol, you are gymnasticating the arm.)

The tanks will provide fire support for the infantry and engineers

Monday, March 25th, 2019

The IDF would love nothing better than to fight an old-fashioned tank battle, at which it is famously proficient:

Standing near a firing range, with three wedge-shaped Merkava III tanks maneuvering in the background, Major Dori Saar, operations officer for the 188 th Armored Brigade, described how Israel will use tanks to defeat tunnels. “The tanks will provide fire support for the infantry and engineers,” he explained.

It’s a tactic that takes advantage of two strengths that modern tanks enjoy: long-range firepower and advanced sensors. Standing off at a safe distance from anti-tank ambushes, tanks can spot enemy troops and provide covering fire while the foot soldiers go in to destroy the tunnels. Tunnel-busting will be a combined-arms operation down to the company level, with two platoons of tanks working with a platoon of infantry and engineers apiece.


An advance into Lebanon will not be the timid, clumsy offensive of 2006. Saar says that his brigade will maneuver “fast and deep,” operating across a battlespace 30 to 40 kilometers (17 to 25 miles) in depth. This will be a small-unit war, waged by platoons and companies instead of brigades and divisions. The sort of combat that puts a premium on quick-thinking junior officers, flexible tactics, and well-trained soldiers.

The threat of advanced anti-tank weapons, such as the deadly laser-guided Russian Kornet employed by Hezbollah in 2006, had led some critics to question whether tanks are still useful. Combat in the rough terrain that guerrillas will operate from, such as hills or the numerous villages that dot Lebanon and Syria, is challenging for armored vehicles. Yet Schneider argues that tanks are still vital: they have firepower and armor protection that a foot soldier can’t carry on his back, and the mobility to bring that firepower to where it is needed.

New technology is also making tanks less vulnerable. Active protection systems mounted on vehicles, such as Israel’s Trophy (which is being adopted by the U.S. Army), can shoot down incoming anti-tank rockets.

The design was excellent, but the execution was terrible

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Dunlap discusses Russian and German submachine guns:

As long as their supply of captured ammunition held out, the Afrika Korps used some Russian submachine guns.


They used the 7.63mm Mauser cartridge, a powerful .30 caliber bottleneck pistol cartridge, employing a light (approximately 86-grain) bullet at 1,400 FPS, in all their models of submachine guns, as well as their pistols.


The M41 used a 71-round drum magazine and no other capacities were provided at that time, although I understand that in 1944 Russia brought out a 25-round straight magazine for this gun.


The sight was adjustable and graduated in “paces,” up to 500 (the Russian pace was 28″, and they had sights for this particular weapon at least, in either pace or metric calibration).


Germany brought out some mass-production automatic weapons in 1943, after I left that theatre, and in 1944 the boys ran into the MP43, or Machine Pistol Model 1943, which was a high-powered automatic carbine.


The arm was truly a machine carbine and out of the submachine gun or machine pistol class, having an effective range of 500 meters as a semi-automatic, 250 meters as a machine gun.


Because of the weak material, the guns were very frail and required careful handling. The least dent would make it tie up. A friend of mine who had several in his possession in Germany states that if the weapon merely fell over from a standing position, such as leaning against a wall, its own weight was sufficient to cause enough damage to put it out of operation in some cases.


The idea of the MP43 and the engineering or design was excellent, but the execution was terrible. With better material and less stamping it would be almost capable of replacing both rifles and automatic rifles, or light machine guns, as the bipod weapons are known in Europe.


Best of all shoulder arms was their Fallschermjaeger Gewehr 42 (Parachutist Rifle 42) a full-grown full-automatic 20-shot bipod rifle weighing 9.8 pounds.

The Russian “M41″ he mentions is the PPSh-41 (“papasha”), which uses the 7.62×25mm Tokarev pistol round, which is almost the same as the earlier Mauser round, but a bit more powerful.

The German “MP43″ he mention is the now famous StG 44, the Sturmgewehr, or assault rifle, that inspired the AK-47.

They were 200 yards away and had rifles

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

Range is seldom important in a sub-gun, Dunlap notes, but sometimes it’s nice to have:

A guy I know ran into a couple of Japs on Luzon, while carrying a Thompson. They were 200 yards away and had rifles. The Japs got away and he got a bullet-hole through one of his best legs. He could shoot fair, too. But he did not have a gun to shoot 200 yards with, though he said he scared hell out of them.

Jerry really had firepower

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Germany started the war with bolt guns and then developed a semi-automatic rifle, the Gewehr 41, that was, as Dunlap puts it, “not a production-line weapon.” They also developed some submachine guns:

The submachine gun appealed to the German mind as a fine weapon, though they fooled around and never put out any one model in any quantity excepting the Schmeisser Models 38 and 40. This is the familiar machine pistol, the all-metal and plastic “burp” gun with the folding stock and Buck Rogers styling. Originally intended as an in-between weapon, to replace pistols and rifles in the hands of special units such as paratroopers, motorcycle and bicycle troops, tank men and special guards, it became so popular that it seemed just about every fourth Kraut had one. The other three? One had a Mauser with a telescopic sight; one had a Spandau all to himself, with unlimited ammunition; and the fourth man had an 88. If you think I am exaggerating much, just ask the nearest guy who lived through Italy. Jerry really had firepower.

MP 40 with Folded Stock

The MP 38 and MP 40 were known as Schmeissers — to us, that is:

The MP 40 was often called the “Schmeisser” by the Allies, after the weapon designer Hugo Schmeisser. Schmeisser had designed the MP 18, which was the first mass-produced submachine gun in the world, and carried some resemblance to the MP 40. He did not, however, have anything to do with the design or development of the MP 40, although he held a patent on the magazine.

A Spandau was any German machine gun:

The [MG 42] (like the MG 34) was sometimes called “Spandau” by British troops, a traditional generic term for all German machine guns, left over from the famous Allied nickname for the MG 08 Maxim-derivative used by German forces during World War I and derived from its manufacturer’s plates noting the city of Spandau where some were produced.

An 88 was an 8.8 cm Flak gun:

Paul Fussell wrote that American troops “knew that the greatest single weapon of the war, the atomic bomb excepted, was the German 88 mm flat-trajectory gun, which brought down thousands of bombers and tens of thousands of soldiers. The Allies had nothing as good”. The 88 mm was used in two main roles: as a mobile heavy anti-aircraft and as an anti-tank gun. Other uses included firing in support of the troops at the front; and as a more static anti-aircraft gun for home defence.

Dunlap had a few things to say about submachine guns:

The little squirt gun, which is the only German gun to our notion that deserves their name of machine pistol rather than be known as a machine carbine or submachine gun, has been ridiculed by a lot of people who should know better. Sure, it is no long-range gun and it shoots too fast and it looks funny, but it killed a lot of people just the same. There is nothing amusing about the way one sounds when the proprietor holds the trigger down a second or two.


The M40 was simply the 38 with all possible machining and manufacturing operations omitted or simplified.


The Jerries had trouble; a lot of them managed to snag that handle on the back of the belt or the shirt or bandolier, with the result that it pulled out of the safety notch, the bolt flipped forward, scooped up a cartridge on the way and finished by shooting our superman in the leg or the seat of the pants, depending on how he had hung the gun on himself.

It was even rumored that sometimes the bolt received a little unofficial help. In a lot of spots a nice clean 9mm hole through the calf of the leg or a gouge across the fanny can look like a damned good ticket out of a front line hole.

Prewar Germany went in for shooting

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Prewar Germany went in for shooting, Dunlap notes:

Prewar Germany went in for shooting, everything from smallbore prone work to the schuetzen game, with emphasis on the military training angle of course. One of the training aids was a conversion unit for the Mauser military rifle and consisted of a complete .22 caliber long rifle bolt action and barrel which could be inserted into any 1898 Mauser.


Mauser and Walther were the principal suppliers of such “Wehrsportgewehren,” though Germany had literally dozens of small arms plants that turned out all sorts of weapons.


Air rifles came in all prices and classes, most if not all being far above the American “BB gun” and capable of fair accuracy at short range. However, I doubt if the Germans equalled the British in precision pneumatic guns, either rifle or pistol type.


I believe these arms were furnished in both 4mm and 6mm, known in this country as .17 or .177 caliber and .22 caliber, the projectiles being either round lead balls, darts, or spool-shaped pellets, generally known as pells, or skirted pellets, made of chilled lead.


However, the old-time European indoor favorite was the 4mm rim fire cartridge, which we would probably call a .17 caliber. There were several different cartridges in this class and innumerable rifles.


These rifles were always singleshot falling or drop-block actions, with set-triggers, fancy adjustable target sights, heavy barrels and schuetzen buttplates, deeply curved for holding on the upper arm rather than resting against the shoulder. Palm rests, for the left hand, were almost universal. The rifles were of the type familiar to us as “Swiss” although the German guns were usually not of as high quality as the true Swiss weapons. The receivers or frames were not required to stand high pressures and often they were of plain cast-iron. Most of them had some engraving of sorts for decoration.


Stocks were normal allround types, rather than the special-purpose schuetzen style, and some of the later ones were of plastic, made of fine and coarse woven cloths impregnated with phenolic resin and pressure-moulded to size and shape at an angle, which gave them an appearance of grained walnut.


The 4mm ammunition was available in many types—rim fire, center fire rimless (bottlenecked case) light loads, full loads, short, long, et cetera. German gun cranks could purchase cases and bullets separately and assemble their own. Most of the cartridges used no propelling powder, utilizing only the primer to expel the bullet, as done in our original .22 Bullet Breech Caps.


The 4mm class of arm was principally a sporting item and the .22 was the military training caliber. In the U. S. from 1840 to 1890 indoor rifles for very light percussion loads and .22 rim fire “caps” enjoyed a limited popularity as “parlor” or “salon” rifles, but such equipment never reached the use here that the “Kleinkaliberbuchsen” did in Europe.

I was not familiar with the schuetzen game. This Shooting USA piece explains the sport:

There were 33 at which an armed citizen was present

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

How often are armed citizens successful at active shooter events in stopping or reducing the harm done?

Looking at the 283 total Active Shooter events in our data pool, an Armed Citizen was Present and Engaged the Active Shooter in 33 total incidents (11.7%). This is all inclusive regardless of who the armed citizen was or their direct potential for stopping the shooter.

In a few examples, the armed citizen was at their home near the event when they heard shots fired and rushed to the scene to intervene and thus despite not being present when the incident began those Active Shooter events are included in the 11.7% below.

In one other example, the victims of the attack were hunters that were effectively ambushed by their killer. We are assuming the hunters possessed firearms and thus that incident is included in the 11.7% below even though the armed citizen wasn’t attempting to intervene to save others but was, in fact, the targeted victim.

That strikes me as a shockingly high percentage.

Of all the active shooter events there were 33 at which an armed citizen was present. Of those, Armed Citizens were successful at stopping the Active shooter 75.8% of the time (25 incidents) and were successful in reducing the loss of life in an additional 18.2% (6) of incidents. In only 2 of the 33 incidents (6.1%) was the Armed Citizen(s) not helpful in any way in stopping the active shooter or reducing the loss of life.

Thus the headline of our report that Armed Citizens Are Successful 94% Of The Time At Active Shooter Events.

In the 2 incidents at which the armed citizen “failed” to stop or slow the active shooter, one is the previously mentioned incident with hunters. The other is an incident in which the CCWer was shot in the back in a Las Vegas Walmart when he failed to identify that there were 2 Active Shooters involved in the attack. He neglected to identify the one that shot him in the back while he was trying to ambush the other perpetrator.


[A]t the 33 incidents at which Armed Citizens were present, there were zero situations at which the Armed Citizen injured or killed an innocent person. It never happened.

They were utilizing captured equipment

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

The Germans had variety in their weapons also, but for a different reason than Italy, Dunlap notes — they were utilizing captured equipment:

Having Europe pretty well pocketed in 1941, the Nazis could afford to be choosy. After 1942 they could not be quite so hard to please. However, the Afrika Korps did have quite a collection of small arms, which we persuaded them to turn over to us, bit by bit, in the course of time. Being wise in matters of ordnance, Jerry did not devote much of his time to second-rate stuff, or items which were hard to supply. No French or Russian rifles ever came in, for instance. If such equipment was kept at all, it probably went to the German home guard, along with their own obsolete rifles and machine guns.


The eagle-and-swastika Nazi stamp will be al’ over everything.


The 98K’s started out with stocks of good European walnut but ended up with anything handy to the sawmill. I have a new rifle, dated 1942, which has a stock of beech. One of my friends sent home a later rifle with a laminated, or plywood stock.


The German rifle is practically a twin in dimensions to its cousin, the 1903 Springfield.


For some reason the Germans were addicted to installing a metal fitting in the buttstock, with a small hole passing completely through the stock. This aperture was originally invented for the purpose of providing a perfect fitting for passing a rod through to lock in rifle racks at night. It can and has been used for many things, including that purpose, but also to receive organizational insignia; spring catches to hold the weapon tight in vehicle racks; to hold the point of the firing pin when taking apart the bolt mechanism; and to hang the damned gun on a nail when you have a wall with a nail in it. This aperture fitting does not weigh much or take much of a cut in the stock, but it cannot help but tend to weaken it a certain amount.


Later on they may have gone to web slings. We did. They are better, in my opinion, for military use than leather, though the best of all materials was the Japanese rubberized canvas. It won’t rot, mold, mildew, get slippery or stretch.

The Italians went off the deep end on ordnance

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Once he gets going on guns and ammo, Dunlap really gets going:

If you are interested, barrel life with steeljacketed projectiles, copper or gilding-metal plated, runs approximately 60% of that when softer alloy jackets are used. Unplated steeljacketed bullets cut barrel life 50%. This when fired in standard barrels with Mauser or Enfield type sharp-land and sharp-groove rifling; with segmental rifling or with radius-groove type, barrel life can be prolonged perhaps 15% to 20%.

On tracers:

Color of the trace may be green, yellow, white, red, or a combination, green changing to red as the composition burns in flight.


German tracers were the best put out by any country; ballistics were excellent and the white and yellow colors were perfectly visible in the bright desert sunshine against buff-colored sand dunes as a background.


One explanation for the variety of tracer colors was that for night use it was possible to identify particular guns, and to signal with them and otherwise improvise special communications in the field according to locally prearranged plans. This was done quite a bit in Italy, German scouts pinpointing Allied points with long-range tracer crossfire from either rifle or machine gun.

On the 9-mm cartridge:

The standard loading for the regular cartridge called for a 124-grain bullet at approximately 1,050 FPS out of the short-barreled M’08 pistol. It is known throughout the world as the Parabellum cartridge.


The German ‘08 alternate cartridge appeared in the field in 1941 in small quantities, but within two years was the only type in production. This is the “black” cartridge, officially the “M’08 mit Eisenkern,” or “with iron core.” The case is steel; bullet is steel-jacketed, with mild steel core; the jacket is plated with copper inside and out, and the entire bullet and case are blackened for identification and rustproofing. The bullet weighs only 98-grains and has a heavier propelling charge than the standard load, but contrary to previous reports, this cartridge is perfectly safe to use in any 9mm caliber ‘08 pistol in good condition. I have shot hundreds of them through Lugers and Walthers. Velocity is quite high—I do not know the exact figures, but breech pressures are no higher than in the standard loading, due to the light bullet. The cartridge was intended primarily for the machine pistols, or submachine guns and does not give particularly good results in handguns, but is not dangerous.


Winchester loaded some 9mm Luger ammunition during the war, using 115-grain bullets. This was the finest ammunition we could locate in early 1943, and the only kind equal to the older (prewar) German stuff.

On the Italians:

The Italians went off the deep end on ordnance. Apparently anybody’s brother-in-law could sell his pet caliber or model or modification. And as previously stated, they never got rid of anything. It might die a natural death, but as long as it was not actually broken, it stayed in service even if it was the only one of its kind. Anything collected in a war was kept for use in that and all future wars, regardless of whether or not it was worth keeping, using or supplying.


Undoubtedly some of the confusion in velocity figures on Italian ammunition is due to their nonchalant use of any propellant handy at the time they were loading a batch. I broke down many cartridges, and sometimes found different components in the same rifle clip.


Ballistically it was OK; the long bullet had good range, was accurate enough, gave great penetration, but had failed to stop angry Africans.


Two different 8mm rimmed cartridges were loaded by Italy. One was the old 8mm Mannlicher, formerly the Austrian service cartridge, called by the Germans the 8mm Austrian M93 cartridge, Ogival; Italy collected quite a few Austrian rifles and machine guns as her part of the loot in the World War I settlement, and decided to use them till they fell apart.


From Italian ammunition we can go to Italian weapons. Rifles: Lots of them, all different in some respect or other; to cover their endless modifications would take a bigger book than this can be and there are only about a dozen true models.