Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I tend to make a lot of references to the fall of Rome, especially the old saying, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” and “Bread and Circuses”. To me, a history buff, the parallels between these United States and Rome during her decline are so obvious as to need no explanation. However, I forget about our younger readers, victims of decades of public education. This was brought home to me in a most dramatic fashion when we received the following text from Timmy, a youngster in his seventh year of pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Community Organizing at Occidental College.


Obviously, one of my little history lessons/harangues would seem to be in order once again.

First, an answer to little Timmy’s question: fid-dle, n. 1. a. A violin. B. A member of the violin family.

Second, to answer to little Timmy’s next question before he asks it. Vi-o-lin n. A stringed instrument played with a bow.

Ancient Rome, first as a kingdom, then a republic and finally an empire (Google them, Timmy), was the Super Power of Antiquity. Its empire eventually covered all of the Mediterranean and stretched from the Rhine River to North Africa, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Eastern Europe. (Google, Timmy). Rome enjoyed a surprisingly modern and comfortable civilization which included things still found lacking in many Muslim countries, such as indoor plumbing, personal hygiene and garbage collection.

Mighty Rome was the World’s Policeman of its time, which lasted a couple of thousand years. Yet even this mighty civilization, which many deemed immortal, crumbled to dust. The reasons were many, but internal rot and decadence were very high on the list. A great many of the causes of Rome’s decline and implosion exist right here in the good old USA even as we speak. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Decline in Morals, Ethics and Values: Check. Watch prime-time television, a movie or the so-called news then compare with Rome’s lifestyle, amusements and literature (they didn’t have Cable or Satellite at the time and had to write books and plays, Timmy).

2. Political Corruption: Check, check, check and check.

3. Constant Wars and a Huge Military Budget: Big Check.

4. Unemployment of the Working Classes: Check. Fed.gov’s official unemployment rate=9%. Real-world numbers more like 20%+. (Also see number 2.)

5. Decline in Work Ethic and Employment, Huge Expansion of Dependence on Foreign Products and Trade Deficit: Check. Ask any Chicom about this.

5. Class Warfare Between Rich and Poor: Check. See OWS, Community Organizing and DNC reelection platform.

6. Decline and Decay of Infrastructure: Check. See Detroit.

Which picture is Detroit and which picture is Rome?

7. Cost of Welfare: Check. This is where we get the phrase “Bread & Circuses”. The government gave the poor food, wine and entertainment spectacles to keep them from getting rambunctious. They built the Coliseum and had Gladiator fights to the death, Timmy, because they lacked the technology for food stamps and reality TV shows.

8. Taxed the Shit Out of Some, Others not Taxed at all: Check. Nearly Half of Americans Pay No Income Tax.

9. Takeover of New Religion (Christianity): Check. Today, Islam.

10. Invasion by Barbarians Who Did Not Assimilate. Check. See any southern border state.

So, there we have just a wee tiny sampling of the parallels between Ancient Rome and the present-day United States. I hope you can stop playing Swords & Sandals on-line long enough to read this article, Timmy. If not, just remember mmmm bread good, ahhhh circus fun.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Maybe someone in Wyoming read the last column. I dunno. At any rate, the Wyoming State Legislature is showing a huge vote of confidence for the ability of fed.gov and the Zero Regime to run (or is that spelled ruin?) the country.

CHEYENNE — State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States.

House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government.

Even Wyoming media still the media, so the article mentions something about acquiring an aircraft carrier. Here's the actual text of HB0085, and I don't actually see anything about aircraft carriers mentioned.

Not that I would be against it, mind you. Yellowstone Lake is within the state boundaries of Wyoming. Wouldn't it be cool to see the USS Ronald Reagan bobbing around out there? They could dominate the air space of the entire northern Rockies while getting in some good fishing.

I would just settle for a bill from the Montana Legislature questioning what to do when, er, I mean, if fed.gov implodes through their own greed, ineptitude and stupidity. There would need to be a caveat in there that we would accept no refugees from the District of Criminals, New York, Massachusetts, or California.

If they didn't like that, they could talk to boys on the carrier about it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


WASHINGTON D.C., 2017: The sky is black with smoke and people go about outside with respirators on. Flames lick the skyline in all direction. Vandals and Visogoths plunder the streets. The smoke cloud can be seen as far away as China. The "leaders" of these United States heroically gather for another historic bi-partisan conference to discuss whether maybe something should be done.

Zero Nero puts down his fiddle. “That’s uh uh uh a little ditty Bill Ayers wrote um under the pen name Barack Obama. The song is uh called Brother, Can You Spare 800 Hillion Bajillion Dollars.”

“That’s not funny. Eight hundred hillion bajillion bucks is almost 40 Yuan. With our credit rating, I don’t think even George Soros will give us that much,” worries the token GOP left-leaning RINO Moderate, reaching across the aisle. Zero Nero slaps his hand.

“Always with the negative waves, Mitt.” Zero takes a big drag on his joint and shakes his head. “Always with the negative waves.”

“Next he’ll be wanting to cut the School Lunch, Breakfast, Supper, Midnight Snack and Free Abortion Program and starve the children!” Nancy shrieks shrilly. “That is out of the question!”

“People, please,” Says little Timmy the Tax Cheat, formerly the only man smart enough to fix the economy. “We’re here to discuss the raging inferno out there that the media is becoming unable to suppress. We need to pretend we’re doing something about it, or least give the impression that we have a clue. So shut up, Mitt.”

“The proper way to say it,” Rahm huffs. “Is shut the [expletive deleted] up, Mitt, you [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted].

“Rahm, what in Allah's name are you doing back here?” asks spiritual advisor former Reverend now Imam Al. “I thought you were in Chicago with my colleague Jeremiah.”

“Chicago is a smoldering [expletive deleted] ash heap. I thought I would be of more use back here in Sodom on Potomac.”

“Pwease,” says Bawney. “We’we hewe to discuss that waging infewno outside. Why just yestewday, the peasants made it acwoss my moat and Igor almost wan out of buwning pitch! My fweind Bwuce was having a sweep-over, and he was tewwibly fwightened.”

“Bawney’s Wight.” Rham says. “[Expletive deleted]! Now you’ve got me talking like that you [expletive deleted] fop!”

“Stop uh it! We have to stop this um um ah bickering and find an answer to this economic downturn uh ah er which is not rebounding as quickly as uh uh expected.” Nero pulls back the curtain. “Just look at that.”

Outside, Chinese Repo men topple the Washington Monument and begin to haul away the granite blocks. A small crowd of ragged Americans tries to block their way, but a squadron of DHS Apache attack helicopters “disperses” them with cannon fire and rockets.

Even Zero winces. “Do we always have to use the um ah helicopters? What if some ah some ah some ah peasant films it on his cell phone and puts it on Youtube?”

Eric chuckles evilly, “What Youtube?”

“The one on the um Internet.”

Janet chuckles evilly, “What Internet?”

Eric chimes back in. “Yeah. Besides, those thirty millimeter cannons are using rubber ‘less lethal’ shells.”

“Less lethal than what?”

“B-52 carpet bombing, for one.”

“Back to the business at hand. What lies should we tell the people to give the illusion that we are doing something about this economic set-back which can be easily corrected with just one more stimulus plan?” Dingy Harry asks.

“Tee-hee,” titters Bawney. “You souwd wike Kewmit the Fwog with asthma.”

“Oh, you’re one to talk!”

“Hey! I know!” Zero Nero stands up. “We could ask TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States). He’s um ah smarter than the rest of us here put together. I uh uh for one never did understand all this economic claptrap. Never have, never will.”

“Is that because you never had a real [expletive deleted] job or worked a day in your life?”

“That’s ridiculous. I worked hard as a community organizer.”

“I said a real [expletive deleted] job."

“But the economy!” Nancy shrieks shrilly, slabs of makeup the size of corn flakes cracking and falling off her face.

“Let’s blame Bush,” Zero says brightly.

“I don’t know. Not even Chris Matthews can say that with a straight face any more.” This from the Regime’s 48th Press Secretary.

“[Expletive deleted]!”

“We can no longer just issue meaningless platitude press releases saying that green shoots are showing again or that Nero is focused like a laser on jobs. The Propaganda Ministry, er, I mean the objective mainstream media, only has 27 viewers left and a credibility rating of minus two percent.”

“Hey you [expletive deleted]. How would you like to be the [expletive deleted] forty-ninth ex press secretary? I’m sure Eric can [expletive deleted] get you to the head of the line on the gulag waiting list.”

“Yeah, Mister Smarty Pants.” Zero Nero adds. “Just ah um er how do you suggest we go through the ah ah ah er motions of pretending to put out the fire?”

“We could pour more gasoline on it.” Nancy shrieks shrilly.

“The public quit believing that after Stimulus XVII.”

“Uh, OK, how about napalm then?”


“Why don’t we stage a terrorist attack? The sheeple always come bleating to us and grovel in fear, begging us to take away any remaining freedoms which might have slipped through the cracks thus far.” Janet looks around smugly after this suggestion.

“I uh um er ah like it!”

“The problem is finding a credible target. All our population centers and infrastructure already lie in ruins. We could drop an H-Bomb and no one would notice.”

“I warned you once about those um um ah negative waves, Mitt. Don’t make me have Eric uh ah take you to the er Special Room.”

“How about our friends in Hollywood?” Dianne chirps. “They could make some more movies about a military take-over of the government or the terror of the McCarthy years to distract people.”

“Ah, circuses.” Nods Zero Nero. “We could um uh give them free popcorn in lieu of bread.”

“[Expletive deleted]! California was the first to [expletive deleted] go; they went under months ago. There’s nothing left in that [expletive deleted] place.”

“What about our uh er undocumented voter friends?”

“They went back to [expletive deleted] Mexico for more jobs and a higher standard of living.”

“We could tell the masses not to worry, that unemployment is still under ten percent by our figures.” Dingy Harry warbles.

Everyone in the room collapses onto the floor in fits of hysterical laughter.

Wiping tears of mirth from the corner of his eyes, Zero says, “Thanks for lightening the mood, Dingy. I needed a good laugh.” A thoughtful look comes over his face. “Uh, um you think it might actually still work?”

“But the real number is ninety three percent. Nobody but the media believes our ‘official’ numbers anymore.”

“[Expletive deleted]!”

“Two words, Mitt,” growls Eric. “Special Room.”

Rifle fire rattles against the bulletproof windows.

“I thought we confiscated all uh er oh those damn things, Eric!”

“We did. Unfortunately, people are buying back all those guns we gave to Mexican drug cartels. They’re worth more per ounce than cocaine now.”

“We couldn’t have given them that many guns.”

“I know nutting!”

A flight of DHS fighter-bombers makes a low sweep over Pennsylvania Avenue dropping cluster bombs. The gunfire ceases for the moment.

“But, once more, what about our economic recovery program which has been un un unexpectedly slowed by the policies of Bush and Cheney?”

RP stands up in the back of the room. “We could follow the rule of law in the Constitution, stop spending like drunken sailors, cease funding ninety four percent of the UN and get the hell out of policing every other nation on earth.”

“[Expletive deleted]! How did that [expletive deleted] get in here? Guards!”

A platoon of DHS agents come stomping into the room in their jackboots, gleefully bludgeon RP repeatedly with night sticks, taser him four or five time, mace him, and then whomp on him some more with the nightsticks just for good measure. His limp form is dragged from the room.

“That was ridic ridic ah um silly! We’re here to offer the illusion of real solutions, not that terrorist outlawed hate speech ‘constitution’ [expletive deleted].”

“Need I remind you all that the Supreme Court, a wise Latina woman making it a 5-4 decision, has ruled that mentioning the constitution, especially the first amendment, is considered hate speech and thus unconstitutional. You can be shot for it.”

“But what are we going to do?” Nancy shrieks shrilly.

“I just happen to [expletive deleted] have a nice little ten thousand acre ‘ranch’ in Venezula, with a dozen elaborate villas and a small thousand-man detail of ‘private security consultants’ with aircraft and [expletive deleted] tanks.”

Zero Nero brightens visibly. “My good friend uh ah er um Hugo tells me the climate is wonderful!”

“Pack your bags, everybody!” Michelle commands. “No need for you to pack any pants, dear. Call Air Force One. We’re outta here!”

A swarm of rats rushes through the room, fleeing the sinking ship. The entire assemblage jumps to their feet and pelt after them screaming, “We’re first! We’re first!”

Outside, the smoke grows thicker.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012



So, awhile back, one of our readers (I believe it was #3) asked me about land mines. As a military aviator, he had seldom encountered them. I had trained with them waayyy back in bootcamp, when we had to worry about brontosaurus stepping on them, and I think the US Army’s basic designs (not counting the Claymore) were, and maybe still are, essentially copies of German stuff basically unchanged since WWII. Ah, if they had only taken the same route with the General Purpose Machine Gun.

Landmines as most people think of them from war movies aren’t often used in typical "minefield" fashion this day and age, what with all the improvised explosives used by insurgents, but they still come up, usually used against us, often in combination with other devices. During the Soviet Afghan-War, the Russians literally carpeted the place with mines and they were used extensively in the Balkans and all over Africa as well. Some still remain active after God only knows how many years. The vast majority were never mapped, let alone recovered.

Modern western armies either recover their mines or, in the case of aerial and artillery-seeded minefields, have timers within the mines themselves to detonate them after a set period. Insurgents now, when using “land mines”, usually rely less on the pressure-detonation fuse and more on command-detonation using wire, radio, or even IR beams. Pressure mines are often used in conjunction with other IEDs.

In Italy in WWII, German engineers emplaced Teller [anti-tank] mines inside thin concrete blocks to hide them in stone bridges or streets. Today, insurgents have taken this ruse to great heights and hide them in every place imaginable: dead animal carcasses, cars, garbage, street curbs, lamp posts, burlap bags, animal dung, MRE packages, tires, trash piles, you name it. Later hiding places included bombs made to look like roadside curbs or hollow foam structures built and painted to closely resemble large rocks; some were integrated into lamp posts. In other cases, both crude and sophisticated devices were used together, the crude offerings being the throw-aways intended to distract attention from the real threat. Often, the IEDs were covered by direct fire.

Since WWII, soldiers have found anti-tank mines not good enough out of the box, and this continues to this day. Usually, two AT mines were stacked, with a pressure-release booby trap underneath to prevent lifting. In Iraq, up to four mines were found stacked in hopes of taking out an M1 Abrams.

Afghan muj fighting the Soviets noted: “We liked powerful mines, so we usually took the explosives from two Egyptian plastic mines and put these into a single large cooking oil tin container.”

Most people, myself included, are in the Don Rickles as Crapgame in Kelly’s Heroes Category when it comes to mines. When he finds one by probing, he shouts that he’s found one. Telly Savalis as Big Joe asks him, “What kind is it?” Crapgame immediately responds, “The kind that blows up!” The ticklish job of clearing mines is not something most people care to take on, although it has to be done.

Having first been Armored Cav, the obvious response on what to do with the damn things would be to have an engineer vehicle or a tank equipped with mine flails or rollers drive through the minefield. The original M3 light tank of WWII had two extra Browning .30-caliber machine guns, one in a sponson on either side of the hull. One tanker recalled using these to shoot their way through a minefield, firing burst after burst along the path the tracks would take through the sand. This practice made the quartermaster officer, and I quote, “Whine like a bitch dog in heat.” Plus the sponson guns were removed on the M3A1. The British 8th Army in North Africa countered one of Rommel’s extensive, carefully laid minefields by hammering it with well over a half a million shells from 882 artillery pieces. Shoving a Bangalore torpedo into a minefield and blowing it has been used for many decades.

I suspect, however, that our reader(s) were more interested in how dismounted or light infantry could deal with the problem if they don't have all the high-tech military stuff readily at hand. For Joseph Stalin and the Ayatollah Khomeini, the answer was to simply make their infantry run through the minefields. This is generally not regarded as a very good method by infantrymen.

Rather than go into the whole big step-by-step description of what I learned eons ago, I’ll linkie to the probing method. See Appendix A, B, and C. In fact, the whole manual is worth checking out, even though it dates back to the Stone Age when my platoon leader was named “Og” and we fought with rocks and sticks.

What else has been done? Lots of things, some of which you might not have thought of. For the modern jihadist, driving a herd of goats or sheep through a minefield remains popular, even if their love life does suffer afterwards. I actually found instances of this tactic being used back in WWII.

ITALY: “A herd of sheep, hurriedly bought up around the local countryside in ITALY, was used effectively by the 36th Division Engineers in clearing an area on the south bank of the RAPIDO River of the Schu [anti-personnel] mines that had been planted there in great numbers by retreating Germans.

“The mined area was under direct small-arms fire of the enemy. The only apparent method of clearing a path through it was to send men in at night with steel rods to crawl &mg on their hands and knees and locate each mine by probing every inch of the ground. This was too slow.

Wanted: 300 Sheep “The engineering officer asked the division quartermaster to provide 300 live sheep. These were made available the next day. Two Engineer officers and an enlisted man disguised themselves as native Italian sheepherders and started driving the flock across the mine

field. Near the end of the field, after a number of mines had been detonated, the Germans got wise to the ruse and opened fire, the sheepherders taking cover and withdrawing to safety, But the sheep continued to mill around

in the area exploding many mines. The project was considered successful as ‘it provided the necessary cleared path to the riverbank.”

This was probably the smartest move made in General Mark Clarke’s ill-conceived and disastrous attempt at forcing the Rapido. Today, Bunny Huggers would no doubt protest such tactics and get them prohibited by American forces.

Booby-Trap “Baton” Patrol experts from the 99th. Infantry Division,

FRANCE, report effective use of a “magic wand” when it was necessary for small units to cross known minefields not covered with snow: “We had considerable success in detecting the boobies by having one man precede us through the minefield holding a small stick lightly in his hand at an angle of 45 degrees with the end about 2 inches off the ground. Pressure of the trip wires against the stick warned him of eight booby traps in 1 day.

“Some trip wires are neck high, others only 6 inches or less from the ground. Remember that if you find one booby trap, there probably are more around.”

VC and NVA sappers in Vietnam reportedly crawled through the defensive wire entanglements with a piece of grass or straw held lightly in their lips. This gave them a way to feel tripwires with the lightest of touches.

A Canadian infantry Recce Platoon Leader made note of these ideas after a deployment to Afghanistan.

In the planning of routes, the threat of land mines became a mitigating factor. River and streambeds, or waatis, would have been the preferred method to scale the steep slopes to reach positions in the mountains, however, old mines and UXO [Unexploded Ordnance] collect near the waatis with each rain and the spring run off. Chosen routes then became increasingly more demanding as the more difficult slopes were felt to be the safest. The main indication of a possible mine free area, however, was animal dung. If signs of animal dung could be seen, it was generally believed that the area was relatively mine free, and as the soldiers trudged up mountainsides, they would conduct level one ground clearances of the intended route in front of them.”

Also in Afghanistan, when approaching mined but undefended targets such as power line pylons, the muj progressed night by night by throwing large rocks into the minefields until they built a path of stepping stones.

Today, “bomb-sniffing” dogs are being used by Coalition forces quite successfully. In WWII, military forces didn’t know to teach the dogs to sniff out the smell of the explosives themselves and trained them to find mines by evidence of recent digging. This didn’t work out very well, especially for the dogs. Now they not only have mine-sniffing dogs but mine-sniffing rats, which are much more readily available and you don’t really care if they go up in smoke.

Hey, maybe we can train politicians to sniff out bombs. There's plenty of 'em, they serve no useful purpose otherwise, and they're even less lovable than rats.


"On August 1 2008, while working as a forward detection dog in Sangin, Treo found a 'daisy chain' improvised explosive device (IED) - made of two or more explosives wired together - that had been carefully modified and concealed by the Taliban at the side of a path."

Here’s what the Army said about the use of dogs in Vietnam, another war where mines and booby traps were a scourge.

Mine Detection Dog

1. This animal is trained to detect mines, booby traps, tunnels, hides or ammunition caches. The scout dog is trained to detect and sit within two feet of any hostile artifact hidden below or above ground, to discover tripwires, caches, tunnels and "punji pits," and to clear a safe lane approximately eight to ten meters wide.

2. A commander who properly employs a scout dog team can rely on the dog to safely discover approximately 90 percent of all hostile artifacts along his line of march. This depends, naturally, on the state of training of the animal.

3. Since this animal is a specialist in its own right, it is vitally important that this team be provided with adequate protection while working. It may be necessary to make use of the patrol dog to give this added protection.

The Rhodesian Security Force faced an intensive land mine campaign from the Commie insurgents there. Indiscriminately planted on roads everywhere, they didn’t care who they blew up, military or civilian, black or white. Not that the self-flagellating Western press bothered to point this out.

Of course the Rhodesians were quick to start countering the threat almost immediately. They had improvised MRV (Mine Resistant Vehicles) on the road in less time than it takes for the Pentagon to compose a memo to suggest perhaps mines might be a threat and if so, what type of donuts should be served at the exploratory conference to determine if mines actually have the potential to become a threat. In six years, Rhodesian security forces were all equipped with purpose-built MRVs, with some 2,000 official models built. Remember that at the time Rhodesia didn’t have much in the way of industry and were cut off from supplies from the so-called Free World by UN sanctions.

The Rhodesian Generation 1 MRV, the Leopard used the inexpensive and readily available automotive components of the Volkswagen Beetle, but it was in the hands of the men who needed it within months. It wasn't pretty or elegant, but the V-shaped blast deflecting hull and roll-over cage were saving lives in the time it takes for the US Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex to define "landmine".

The damn things worked, and that's what counted.

"The Rhodesian MRAP efforts to reduce casualties through survivability clearly speak for themselves. Their extremely detailed mine casualty records indicate unprotected vehicles suffered a 22 percent kill rate, while 1st and 2nd generation MRAP vehicles only suffered 8 percent casualty rate. However, 3rd generation MRAP fatality percentages drops to 2 percent while 4th generation falls below 1 percent. Rhodesian MRAP vehicles immediately restored the tactical mobility, and operational maneuver critical to the Fire Force while virtually eliminating casualties. The Rhodesians had effectively defeated the mine and ambush threat with mild steel, a sound design, and a philosophy that protecting their forces to improve their mobility was the key to victory."

FWIW, here’s the section of the Rhodesian ATOPs/COIN manual for dismounts dealing with mines without MRAPs. The whole manual, BTW, is worth checking out for its sections on patrolling, man-tracking, ambushes, security, IA Drills and other light infantry skills. Basic techniques (and common sense) remain the same, but there may be a few tricks here not covered in American doctrine which could save somebody’s life.



Action by Troops

1. Dismounted troops. The best protection against mines and explosive devices is a high standard of training and a keenly developed sense of mine awareness. However, listed below are a few simple rules to assist in minimizing the dangers of these devices to personnel:

a. Only one man at a time should work on a device while the remainder remains under cover.

b. When in doubt, always call in the services of a specialist.

c. Redouble precautions when tired or nearing the base on the return.

d. Keep your eyes on the ground when in a suspicious area.

e. Do not rush; time saved is paid for in lives.

f. Expect continuous changes in techniques used by the enemy and be prepared for them.

g. In dangerous ground be extremely cautious and be very careful with any suspicious looking object.

h. The man who proceeds incautiously will cause the death of his comrades.

i. Maintain concentration and strict discipline when working with mines or other devices.

j. Never move over suspected ground without good reason and don't ever be careless or overconfident.

k. Do not be misled or jump to conclusions when the first mines found are not activated or are simulated.

l. Never:

1. Cut or pull taut wires or cord.

2. Pull a slack wire or cord.

3. Simultaneously cut through two metallic strands.

4. Move in compact groups...

m. Treat every mine or device as being booby-trapped.

n. Do not use the easiest or best sign-posted route without careful examination.

o. Whenever possible, avoid moving along paths or tracks and avoid the obvious.

p. Be extremely cautious in the selection of return routes and the use of newly made paths and/or tracks.

q. Keep up to date with new devices and techniques.

r. Look upon mines as a normal risk of war.


3. Detection aids. The enemy is very adept at laying mines and explosive devices and as his skill and cunning improve he makes the detection of these mines and explosive devices difficult and complicated. However, to detect whatever he has laid, the following

aids and methods may be used:

a. Mine detectors. These vary from the type used to detect any metallic object buried below the surface of the ground to the more modern and sophisticated type that will detect any foreign matter buried below the ground's surface. The effectiveness and

efficiency of these detectors will depend on the standard of operating, type and model and the enemy's efforts to counter their effectiveness. When used by correctly trained technical personnel, they can be most effective, but because of their limitations they should be used in conjunction with other detection methods.

b. Mechanical detectors. This type can vary from the flail type to a type of remote-controlled vehicle or device moving in front of a vehicle with the intention of detonating any mine or other type of explosive device that the enemy may have planted in the road

or track. Its effectiveness will be determined by the enemy's mine-laying techniques.

c. Improvised means. This is probably the most expedient method, bearing in mind the effectiveness and availability of the above-mentioned equipment. This method can be carried out by making use of a prodder or a rake:

1. Prodder. This can be the standard prodder or an improvised type which is used to prod the ground at an angle or to scratch the surface to detect any hidden object. Experience in the use of the prodder will improve its effectiveness.

2. Rake. This is the standard type of rake, but with a longer handle It is used to scrape the ground's surface to detect any possible hidden device. To facilitate its handling, it may be equipped with two small wheels.

d. Users or operators of the above-mentioned equipment must be relieved frequently to avoid the strain placed on them while operating the various types of detectors.

4. Detection techniques. The following are the suggested techniques that may be applied when searching for or endeavoring to detect any concealed devices:

a. Visual search. Whatever aid is being used, as an added means, a visual search will improve its effectiveness. The degree of effectiveness of a visual search will be determined by the experience of the person or persons concerned, their concentration, patience, powers of observation and keen sense of awareness. All soldiers must be made conscious of this awareness and not leave the detection to the operators of the various devices only. Although it will not be possible to mention all the points in this chapter, listed below are a few examples of what to look for which may indicate the presence of a buried or concealed device:

1. Disturbed soil or soil with a varying degree of dampness.

2. Stones loosened or moved from their apparent original or normal position.

3. Smoothed-over soil between tracks and footprints.

4. Soil with suspicious-looking debris such as grass, leaves and sticks scattered over the surface.

5. Footprints converging at a point in the road.

6. Knee-, hand- or footprints in the soil indicating kneeling persons. In this case toecap prints will be most pronounced.

7. Vegetation not conforming to its surroundings.

8. Presence of apparent unnecessary cutting of vegetation.

9. Wire or nylon cords, taut or slack.

10. Any type of metallic reflection.

11. Leaves or sticks partially cleaned of normal dirt.

12. Scattered damp soil near wells or drops of water.

b. Dismounted detection. This method is time-consuming and should it be necessary to cover long distances, a careful appreciation must be made, bearing in mind the enemy activity and techniques and terrain, to select the best route that would require the minimum of this type of detection. Best speed with this method is one and a half to two kilometers per hour. For maximum effect a mine detector should be used in conjunction with a prodder. The diagrams below give a suggested technique. For a normal width road two searchers must move abreast of each other with their search patterns overlapping.

When all else fails, this is the technique we used to refer to as the Polish Mine Detector.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Guns & Ammo Magazine recently ran an article on their top 20 movie shoot-em-ups. Some of mine are on their list, some are not. I still can't believe The Wild Bunch wasn't #1, the bastards. That movies starts with a shootout that's more violent than most movies' climax. G&A had some of my other favorites on the list, but, and I guess this makes me a freak in the gun/action movie world, I can't stand Quentin Tarantino.

Well, since they missed so many good ones, here's my Top 5 list of "forgotten classics". They're not only movies with a lot of cool guns in them, but good all-round action flicks, buddy movies, just-plain-fun GUY movies. If you haven't seen any of these movies, you owe it to yourself to do so post haste.

So here they are, in no particular order because I'm too lazy to do any more editing. Ben’s the movie expert, though, and may care to berate me for my choices but, as loving brothers, we can always settle our differences of opinion with a little gun play. Perhaps he can even come up with a better list. But I doubt it.

True Girt

The original, the John Wayne movie with the Duke as the eyepatch-wearing whiskey-swilling Deputy U.S. Marshal “Rooster” J. Cogburn. Even if you’ve seen it a dozen times, it’s still good and it’s worth reading the Charels Portis novel it’s based on, too. This is one of damn few movies that measured up to the book. Extra goodies include Robert Duvall as “Lucky” Ned Pepper, a young Dennis Hopper, Strother Martin as the exasperated horse trader Colonel Stonehill, and the Wichita Lineman as Texas Ranger. Stunningly beautiful fall scenery, although filmed in Colorado and not (obviously) Oklahoma.

Great lines:

Quincy: I don't know any Ned Pepper. What's he look like?

Rooster: Short, feisty fella. He's got a messed-up lower lip. I shot him in it.

Quincy: In the lower lip? What was you aiming at?

Rooster: His upper lip.


Rooster: Damn that Texican. Just when you need him he's dead.


Rooster: Boots, I got Hayes and some youngster outside, along with Moon and Quincy. I want you to bury 'em.

Boots: They're dead?

Rooster: I wouldn't want ya to bury them if they wasn't.


Rooster: A fella that carries a big-bore Sharps carbine might come in handy, we get jumped by elephants or buffalo or something.


Rooster: By God, she reminds me of me!


Mattie: Trust you to buy another tall horse.

Rooster:Yeah, he ain't as game as Bo, but Stonehill says he can jump a four-rail fence.

Mattie: You're too old and too fat to be jumping horses.

Rooster: Well, come see a fat old man sometime.[Jumps a four-rail fence].


And perhaps the classic shoot-out of all time.

Rooster: I mean to see you dead in one minute, Ned. Or see you hanged in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?

Pepper: I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.

Rooster: Fill your hands you sonofabitch!

"Fill your hands you sonofabitch!"

The Duke spins his Winchester Model ‘92 Saddle Ring carbine on its over-size loop lever to chamber a round and cock it with his right hand. Then he puts the reins in his teeth and pulls his ivory-handled Colt Single Action Army “Peacemaker” with his left hand and charges straight at Pepper and his gang. One of the best shooting scenes in a movie ever. Watch close, though. In one shot, the rifle is in his left hand.

Also starring:

Sharps Model 1874 Cavalry Carbine in .45-70. Glen Campbell shoots Ned Pepper’s horse out from under him with it. Rooster: Next time, aim for the horse and maybe you’ll hit Pepper.

Colt-Walker 1847 .44 cap-and-ball revolver, the .44 Magnum of its day, four pounds and damn near a foot and a half long. Rooster [to Mattie]: "Why, by God, girl, that's a Colt's Dragoon! You're no bigger than a corn nubbin, what're you doing with all this pistol?

Tom Cheney has a lever-action Henry Repeating Rifle, the brass-framed Golden Boy in .44 Rimfire, father of the later Winchesters.

Line not in the movie that made me totally cringe during the shootout-at-the-dugout scene, with the Duke shooting his carbine and Glen Campbell his Sharps. My college roommate: “Oh, yeah, right. They must be shooting at like a hundred yards!” See why I’m always on about marksmanship.

Note also in the dugout scene that John Wayne actually uses a lever-action rifle properly…he keeps the butt to his shoulder while working the lever.

Trying to re-make this movie is like trying to repaint the Mona Lisa. Get some original ideas, Hollywood. Matt Damon said he’d never even seen the original, leading me to have serious doubts about his manhood, sexual orientation, and his intelligence.

Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean

Although it seems to have been forgotten by most, this is one of the ultimate guy movies, and a fun romp. Paul Newman is the self-proclaimed “Judge” Roy Bean, after his outlaw career doesn’t go so well. Left for dead, Maria the girl brings him his Colt Single Action Army and he goes and makes things right with the banditos in a pretty good gunfight in the cantina that becomes his “courthouse”. A band of unlucky outlaws (with names like Whorehouse Lucky Jim and Nick the Grub) become his “marshals” (“Ordinarily, I'd take you in my court and try you and hang you. But if you've got money for whiskey, I guess we can dispense with those proceedings.”) because they have “sufficient moral fiber”. Lots of guy humor, good gun fights, cameo by John Huston as Grizzly Adams (“I cohabitated with the bears.”) with a black bear, Zachary Taylor, who ends up in the judge’s care, and develops a strong liking for beer in large quantities. Great sight gag: the graveyard full of all the men Bean has shot or hung has rows of rickety little crosses made of sticks, but the bear rates an elaborate marble monument.

Great Lines:

The Judge’s first trial

Judge: Do you have anything to say before we find you guilty?

Sam: I’m not guilty of nothing. There’s no crime that I done wrong.

Judge: Do you deny the killing?

Sam: I do not deny it. But there’s no place in that book [Texas Laws & Statutes] where it says nothing about killing a Chinese. And no one I know ever heard of a law on greaser, niggers, on injuns.

Judge: All men stand equal before the law. And I will hang a man for killing anyone, including chinks, greasers, or niggers. I’m very advanced in my views and outspoken.

Sam: There’s no place in that…

Judge: [Holding up his hand for silence]. Trust in my judgment of the book. Besides, you’re gonna hang no matter what it says in there, ‘cause I am the law and the law is the handmaiden of justice. Get a rope!


Judge: [at the poker table] When I’m losing, beer is fifty dollars.

Lucky Jim: Fifty dollars?!?! You call that justice?

Judge: Justice is the handmaiden of law.

Lucky Jim: You said law was the handmaiden of justice.

Judge: Works both ways.


Tector: [Narrating] Looking back, we had, in the person of Teddy Roosevelt, the finest President in the history of this country. He had the spirit and determination that matched the times and the land. Then the women got the vote, and everything went to hell.

After the Judge rehabilitates a group of traveling whores by placing them in the “protective custody” of his marshalls.

Tector: There is nothing worse than a harlot turned respectable. A reformed anything is bad enough, but a reformed harlot is the direct wrath of the Devil. Seems that those who have spent time giving pleasure for profit are all the more zealous when it comes to dealing out misery.

Later, the now P-whipped marshals want the Judge to apologize for calling their “wives” whores.

Judge: I understand you have taken exception to my calling you whores. I'm sorry. I apologize. I ask you to note that I did not call you callous-ass strumpets, fornicatresses, or low-born gutter sluts. But I did say "whores." No escaping that. And for that slip of the tongue, I apologize. [Cocks his leg and farts as he walks away.]

Stacy Keach plays “Bad Bob” the albino killer outlaw who comes to town for a fast draw showdown on Mainstreet with the Judge. Bean shoots him in the back with a scoped Sharps .50-caliber buffalo rifle from a barn hay loft and blows a pumpkin-sized hole clean through him.

Bad Bob: "Come on out, Beano! I'm ready for ya, Beano!"

Fermel: You call that sportin’? It weren’t a real standup fight.

Judge: Standup? I laid down to steady my aim.

Fermel: Well, I mean he never had a chance.

Judge: Not at all. Never did, never would have. I didn’t ask him to come here. I don’t abide giving killers and chance. He wants a chance, let him go someplace else.


Judge: Don't you have better sense or manners than to disturb a man who's deciding whether to raise or call? Do you know there's a city ordinance against disturbing a man who's deciding whether to raise or call? It's a misdemeanor. You could be shot for it!


John Huston's cameo as mountain man Grizzly Adams: All my life I've been cold. So I come south to die where it's warm. It's warm here.

Judge: There'll be no illegal dyin' here. The only people that die in my town are those that I shoot or hang. Get along with you!

Grizzly: Can't die here! Can't die there! Man can't even die where he sees fit no more! I want no part of what this world's come to and I'm glad my days are at an end.


Judge: The last time that bear ate a lawyer, he had the runs for thirty-three days.


Voice in Crowd: Who are you?

Judge: Justice, ya sons of bitches.

In addition to the Western movie staples, Colt Peacemakers and various Winchesters, the Judge’s coolest lil’ friend is a lever-action Winchester Model 1887 10-gauge shotgun, probably the coolest movie shotgun ever. Arnold had one in T2. Like the afore-mentioned .50-caliber Sharps, it too blows ridiculously large holes in people, or sends them through walls. When Maria fires it at the Judge when he’s cavorting with a whore, it knocks her over backwards.

Everybody’s favorite movie star, the Tommy gun, the Model 1928 .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun makes an appearance in the hands of the crooked lawyer/mayor’s paid police. But they’re no match for the old boys with their revolvers and scatterguns. Even I lost track of all the different Colt and S&W double and single-action revolvers. The Judge and the Marshals go down fighting, pretty much destroying an entire town and an oil field in the process. For Texas and Miss Lily!

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Classic Clint Eastwood. Lots of shooting and a huge body count. Josey starts out riding for vengeance against the Kansas “Red Legs” during the guerrilla warfare in Missouri during the Civil War. In real life, this was some of the nastiest cutthroat combat of the war. With the war over, the guerrillas (except Josey) surrender and take amnesty. A crooked senator (some things never change) instead has the Army shoot them down once they’re disarmed. This leads to a long running chase with frequent gun fights. Clint co-stars with two big ol’ Colt-Walker Model 1847 cap-and-ball .44 revolvers. He’s also got a hidden Colt 1849 “pocket pistol” stashed away for special occasions. Chief Dan George as Lone Waite steals the show on numerous occasions with his droll, underplayed sense of humor.

Memorable lines:

Josey is taking on an entire camp full of Union cavalry first with a ten-barrel Colt Model 1865 Gatling Gun and, when he runs out of ammo for that, his two big horse pistols.

Jamie: You can't get 'em all, Josie.
Josey: That's a fact.
Jamie: How come you're doing this, then?
Josey: Cuz I ain't got nothin' better to do.


Jamie: Wish’t we had time to bury them fellas.

Josey [spitting tobacco juice on dead man’s forehead]: To Hell with them fellas; buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.

"I thought you might be someone who would try to sneak up behind me with a gun."

Lone: Get ready, little lady. Hell is coming to breakfast.


Lone: I didn't surrender neither, but they took my horse and made him surrender. They have him pulling a wagon up in Kansas I bet.


Josey: Just when I get to likin' someone, they ain't around long.

Lone: I notice when you get to dislikin' someone they ain't around for long neither.


Fletcher: There's another old saying, Senator: Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.


Captain Terrill: Not a hard man to track. He leaves dead men wherever he goes.


Josey: Well, you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?


Bounty Hunter: You're wanted, Wales.
Josey: Reckon I'm right popular. You a bounty hunter?
Bounty Hunter: A man's got to do something for a living these days.
Josey: Dyin' ain't much of a living, boy.

In addition to the afore-mentioned Gatling Gun, other co-stars include a Sharps Model 1865 with about a 30-inch barrel and a full-length brass telescopic sight, the “sniper rifle” of its day. Josey shoots the rope pulling a ferry full of Red Legs across the river and sends them drifting downriver on a, “Missoura boat ride.”

"Well, Mister Carpetbagger. [spits] We got something in this country called a Missoura Boat Ride."

Most of the guns are time-period correct, and not just Winchesters invented ahead of their time. They’re not sexy, but they’re common for the post Civil War era. A partial list includes: military-issue Springfield 1861 and Enfield 1851 .58-caliber muzzle-loaders. (War of Northern Aggression Union Army Chief of Ordnance, General “Old Fogey” Ripley, didn’t want any of them new-fangled repeaters (Spencers, Henrys), or even breech-loading single-shots, as the soldiers would waste too much ammunition.) The Cavalry has Sharps Model 1863 carbines and you see a few Trapdoor Springfields. I don’t know all the various old pre-Peacemaker single-action revolvers, but there are a buttload of different ones, including a brass-framed Navy Colt.

Did you catch Clint doing the real old-timers’ trick the “Road Agent’s Spin” with those two big cap-and-ball .44s?

Should you see this movie immediately? I reckon so.


Why this wasn’t one of the greatest box office money-makers is beyond me. The character; Michael Gross as Burt Gummer the Ultimate Survivalist. There’s some other people in there, too. Kevin or Fred something-or-other. I believe the movie won the prestigious “Smartest-Thing-Ever-Done-in-a-Horror Movie” award for the scene in which Fred Ward as Earl grabs a Colt Single Action Army out of the glovebox of the truck and checks to make sure it’s loaded when they find people who have been killed. What’s not to love about giant carnivorous underground worms that can only be killed with really big guns? Burt, fortunately, has all kinds of big guns. The entire wall in his “rec room” is pegboard hanging with dozens of guns. Okay, Val and Earl make the movie better as the redneck buddy team and have most of the best lines. (Male bonding…Val: Good luck, shithead. Earl: Don’t worry about me, jerkoff.) Bonus: Reba McEntire with a .458 Winchester Magnum.

Great lines:

Val: I can’t believe we said no to free beer!


Val: Roger that Burt, and congratulations. Be advised, however, that there are two more, repeat two more, motherhumpers.


Earl: I ask you, is this a job for intelligent men?

Val: Well, show me one and I’ll ask him.


Val: See, we plan ahead, that’s why we’re never doing anything right now. Earl explained it all to me.


Rhonda: No, you don’t understand, these creatures are absolutely unprecedented.

Nestor: Yeah, but where do they come from?

Burt: Broke into the wrong Goddamn rec room, didn’t you, you bastard?


Val: What the hell is in those things, Burt?

Burt: A few household chemicals in the proper portions.


Earl: What kind of fuse is that?

Burt: Cannon fuse.

Earl: What the hell do you use it for?

Burt. My cannon.


Chang: Earl, here’s some Swiss cheese and some bullets.

There’s a piece for every gun lover in this movie. The good old Peacemaker, of course, and a Model 94 Winchester lever-action .30-30, make their appearances…it is set in the West. Some Winchester Model 70’s, big ones, .375 H&H Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum. Pistols: S&W Model 19 .357 Magnum, Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum, Sig-Sauer P226 9mm automatic. Shotguns: Remington 870 pump and a Winchester Defender pump with a pistol grip. Rifles: Heckler & Koch HK-91, Colt AR-15, Steyr-Mannlicher SSG sniper rifle. There’s a Mini-Uzi or two in there. The Only big disappointment for me was the lack of an FN-FAL or M1 Garand, although there is one of the latter on the wall in Burt's Rec Room.

"I think I scared him."

Of course, the real star of the movie is Burt’s Elephant Gun, a double-barrel exposed hammer William Moore & Co 8-guage.

Although nothing can quite compare to the original, the rest of the Tremors series is worth seeing too, just for fun. Graboids become Shriekers become Ass-Blasters. Grizzly .50-caliber sniper rifle, Quad-.50 anti-aircraft gun, Gatling gun, Punt gun, lots of high explosives, and Burt given full access to the weapons of the Mexican Army. “Burt knows his bombs.”

The Rundown

This is another great guys-‘n’-guns movie reminiscent of the good old ‘80’s action movies with the buddy team, a shitload of cool guns, and justice served in the end. The Rundown just kind of slipped through the cracks at the box office and on video; most people I talk to have never heard of it. It’s just a fun movie, full of colorful characters. The always cool and charismatic Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is Beck, the bounty hunter sent to a dead-end mining town in the middle of the Amazon, to find Travis, who no one I know can see and not think “Stifler”, which in turn makes me think of Stifler’s Mom. Romps through the jungle fighting rebels, Harvey the mine-owner’s (Christopher Walken) army of thugs, high-speed chases in jeeps, hallucinogenic fruit, parasites that go up your pee-pee, and monkeys…bad monkeys. And of course the final shootout involving just about every military firearm from the past century and a crazy Scotsman named Delcan who calls the Rock “Little Fella” and stampedes cattle with his bagpipes. Watch for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cameo. This action flick goes by fast in a blaze of guns ‘n’ fun.

Great Lines:

Harvey: I never met an American who didn’t like guns.


Mariana: I’d offer you a beer, but it seems you blew up my bar.


Hatcher: What can I do for you, Mr. Beck?

Beck: I have no desire to fight you or your men. For that reason, you have two options. Option A, you leave the Gato and the girl and you walk out of town, no questions asked.

Hatcher: What’s Option B?

Beck: I make you.


Travis: For what it’s worth, I hope you enjoy the fall.

Beck: What fall?

Travis: [shoving] This fall.


Beck: Tell him I don’t want to fight him.

Travis: [translating] He says he pisses on you ancestors, and that you would make a very pretty bride.


Beck: Is this the only way in and out?

Declan: If you want to stay alive.

Beck: Why is that?

Delcan: That, there! That’s the jungle, little fella. You’ve got anacondas in there, poison arrow frogs, black flies, bullet ants. If they don’t get you, the rebels will.


Delcan: [in nearly incomprehensible Scottish brogue] He caught up with poor Mariana in the jungle and relieved her of her artifact.

Travis: What did you say?

Delcan: I said [talking slow and loud] he relieved her of her artifact. It’s a word in the English language. Art-i-fact.


Delcan: [stampeding cattle playing Highland Laddie on his bagpipes in the middle of a massive gun fight] Rage, rage... against the dying of the light... for there shall be no mercy... for any force that stands... blocking this path of his righteousness! BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA-TA-DA!

I could watch this movie again a couple of times just for the final shootout.

There are lots of beautiful guns in this movie, including quite a few that you usually don’t see in the movies, oldies but goodies from the military weapons category. My favorite is the Model 1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle, the awesome BAR in .30-06. An M14 always gives me a warm and fuzzy when I see one in a movie as well. The M21 sniper rifle looks like a B-Square mount and a civilian scope, but then again no one in the movie says it’s a real M21. Only the Rock can use an M14 as a pistol.

Only the Rock uses an M14 as a pistol.

On the dune buggies and jeeps, best of show award goes to the awesome German MG3, the modern version of the WWII MG42 in 7.62x51mm NATO; cyclic rate of fire: 1,200 rounds per minute. Another oldie but goodie in the machine gun department is the Browning Model 1919A4 air-cooled machine gun in .30-06. Oh yeah, there’s of course an M60, but who cares about that standard-movie-issue piece of crap? Kalashnikovs galore, some SKSs, an old PPSh-41 Russian “burp gun” with the 71-round drum magazine, and the Chinese-made version of the semi-auto 7.62x54R Dragunov SVD sniper rifle.

There’s more pistols than you can shake a stick at as well, starting with the good old Colt Model 1911A1, which the Rock knows how to handle. Some others I caught in there (not all I’m sure): Walther P-38, an old British Webley revolver, Walther PPK, Soviet Tokarev, Desert Eagle .44 Automag, various double-action Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers in .38 Special and 357 Magnum and a Colt Model 1917 in .45-ACP, and the old German C96 Broomhandle Mauser.

Shotguns, too. Lots of 12-guage pumps, mainly Remington 870s and Mossberg 500’s in the plain jane riot gun configuration, and I think I saw an old Ithaca Model 37 make a cameo. The Rock figures out how to work and shoot two pump-action shotguns simultaneously. He's almost as good as me.

When one 12-guage just isn't enough.

Okey-dokey. There you have 'em. Time to put 'em on your Netflix list and watch them the first chance you get. You'll be glad you did, especially if it's the first time you've seen them.

Added Bonus: Your wife will probably hate them, but it will be good revenge for her having forced you to watch Bridesmaids.