The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Behind Enemy Lines, the Weapons of Military Assistance Command-Special Observations Group.

 I remember reading about this group when I was in Middle school and in High School and was fascinated by the array of weapons that they had, it was the first time I heard of the "Swedish K" and then the "CAR-15" and I always thought the CAR 15 was badass.  I tried to procure through channels CAR-15's for us when I was in Germany, I thought it would be better for us because we operated out of tracked vehicles, with the more compact shape vs the M16A1 then the M16A2 we were issued.  I remembered the armorer Sgt Lamb at my unit asking me "Where did I hear of that Rifle?, and he never heard of it."  I replied "It also was called the XM177E2" then pulled out some pictures I had scrounged up from some old magazines I had.  Remember "Google" didn't exist in the mid 80's.  It took me a long time but I finally built my own Version.....before I lost it in that tragic Kayak accident....*Sniff*Sniff*

I had clipped this off "American Rifleman"  I wanted to post this a couple of weeks ago, but I got squirreled chasing a shiny, LOL

It’s unlikely that any other U.S. military unit ever fielded such an array of weaponry as did the Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group.

Behind that innocuous name, MACV-SOG ran top-secret, covert operations across Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, especially U.S. Army Special Forces-led reconnaissance missions along the enemy’s Ho Chi Minh Trail road network in Laos, into his sanctuaries in Cambodia, and sometimes into North Vietnam, itself.

These SOG recon teams, usually four to six natives led by two or three American Green Berets, roamed deep behind enemy lines, searching out—sometimes attacking—North Vietnamese truck parks, ammunition dumps, storage sites, truck convoys, command centers and the base camps where enemy units refit between battles in South Vietnam.

Vietnam-era SOG warrior shown in thick jungle with a cut-down RPD machine gun.


Since Hanoi insisted it had no troops in “neutral” Laos or Cambodia, the United States, too, denied that SOG operations were underway. To support this deniability, recon teams were required to go “sterile”—meaning no ID or dog tags, unmarked or non-U.S. uniforms, and unattributable arms. Thus, SOG’s armory stocked many foreign firearms with which a team leader armed his men according to how he saw fit to accomplish each mission.

Initially, SOG’s primary weapon was the 9 mm Luger Karl Gustav Model 1945 submachine gun, nicknamed the “Swedish K.” Obtained through the Central Intelligence Agency, these untraceable guns sported a pale green enamel finish, a side-folding stock and a 36-round magazine. The typical combat load was 13 magazines—one in the gun and 12 more in pouches—for some 468 rounds. That may seem like a lot, but SOG teams often fought all-day, running gunfights against untold enemy pursuers.

Eventually the Swedish K’s 9 mm ball cartridge was found inadequate for knocking enemies down and keeping them down. Many teams up-gunned to the more robust 7.62x39 mm, Chinese Type 56 AKM with a fixed or folding stock.

The AKM was not without its own shortcomings: it was slow to reload since the bolt did not lock open with the last round, and its wooden fore-end—oil-saturated by repeated cleanings—could become too hot to grasp. Still, it was an improvement.

Recon Team Adder’s Hurley Gilpin practices firing a suppressed “Swedish K” 9 mm Luger submachine gun, a CIA-supplied, untraceable arm. Useful for ambushing trackers, removing sentries and seizing prisoners, the integrally suppressed Swedish K was SOG’s most accurate submachine gun.

Some AKM-armed teams added a degree of deception, disguising themselves in North Vietnamese uniforms. During a chance meeting, the enemy hesitated to engage a masquerading team, giving the SOG men a brief advantage.

Had they been captured in enemy uniforms they could have been executed as spies; however, not one of SOG’s 57 Missing in Action (MIA) Green Berets—nearly all of them undisguised—came back as a live prisoner. The issue was moot.

Some arms were old enough to be deniable, allowing World War II veterans to carry their favorite firearms. For instance, First Sergeant Lionel Pinn, a cigar-chompin’ World War II Ranger, proudly packed an M1A1 Thompson submachine gun. Master Sergeant Charles “Pops” Humble, a veteran of the 1st Special Service Force, wanted a German Schmeisser; SOG got him one.

Swedish K submachine gun shown left side on white.

Foreign arms figured in SOG’s night parachute infiltrations—the world’s first combat skydives. Captain Jim Storter armed his recon skydivers with Fabrique Nationale-made Uzi submachine guns because they, “fit nicely strapped atop the reserve ‘chute,” a consideration where compactness and a streamlined load mattered.

His team also packed slim Walther PPK pistols which, like the Uzis, had detachable suppressors. Some SOG skydive teams also carried golf-ball-size V-40 Mini Grenades, acquired secretly from the Netherlands, which weighed just 3.5 ozs.

Foreign handguns included the .25-cal. “Baby” Browning semi-automatic, complete with a wallet-like concealment holster as a last resort gun. But SOG’s most ubiquitous foreign handgun was the 9 mm Luger Browning High Power, favored for its 13-round magazine capacity. Several dozen SOG High Powers came home as chromed, boxed presentation pistols, awarded by SOG’s commander (“Chief SOG”), to his most accomplished team leaders.

The CAR-15

By 1967, the enemy had captured enough U.S. weapons in South Vietnam that weapon deniability was relaxed for missions into Laos, although the requirement continued another two years for Cambodia. Teams could now carry M16s, but they soon were rearmed with what would become SOG recon’s trademark arm—the CAR-15.

SOG recon’s trademark gun, the XM177, was nicknamed the CAR-15. This is the 10"- barrel version, the XM177E1, carried by Team New York leader John St. Martin.

Officially dubbed the XM177, the CAR-15 was a submachine gun version of the M16 and grandfather of today’s M4 carbines. Available in two barrel lengths—a 10" on the E1 version and an 11.5" on the XM177E2—it featured a retractable stock, a short, rounded handguard and a distinctive 4.2" compensator-flash suppressor. SOG’s recon companies were the war’s only units armed entirely with CAR-15s.

As with all U.S. units, during much of the war SOG was stuck with ill-fitting M14 pouches to hold M16 magazines. Many recon men opted for old BAR belts, whose pouches perfectly held four 20-round magazines, or stretched canteen covers to accommodate six magazines.

Frustrated by SOG’s inability to supply 30-round magazines, a number of team leaders purchased them through a Guns & Ammo advertisement, outfitting each man with one 30-rounder. As his first magazine, this typically contained all tracer rounds for psychological effect.

Suppressed Long Guns

SOG stocked many suppressed submachine guns and rifles, useful for chance contacts, ambushing trackers, removing sentries and seizing prisoners. Only SOG’s Uzis had detachable suppressors, the rest having integral ones whose weight and length affected their handling characteristics. The Swedish K’s integral suppressor, for example, added 6" to its length, which made it barrel-heavy; however, it was especially accurate.

Some recon men preferred the .45-cal. suppressed M3A1 “Grease Gun,” developed by the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS), predecessor to today’s CIA. Offering a very controllable 450-r.p.m. rate of fire—making single-shots possible—its suppressor boosted the gun’s weight by 3 lbs., and required cleaning the tube’s metal screen “wafers” to maintain effectiveness.

SOG’s quietest long gun was the Sionics Silent Sniper, an M1 carbine converted to 9 mm Luger and transformed from semi-automatic to a straight-pull. Outfitted with a barrel-length suppressor, telescoping wire stock and 4X scope, its closed bolt firing precluded any mechanical “clacking” while no sound of gas blowback escaped at the breech.

Recon Team Nevada’s Ron Mickelsen, supported by Montagnard teammates, positions his XM21 sniper rifle for an engagement behind enemy lines.

Such “clacking” seemed the only sound you heard when firing the Sten Mk. IIS suppressed submachine gun. Developed in 1940 by the British Special Operations Executive or SOE—whose secret agents operated in Nazi-occupied Europe—the Sten’s loose tolerances kept it firing even when filthy, but limited its accuracy to 8" groups at 50 yds.

The problem with all suppressed submachine guns was their pistol rounds’ minimal deadliness; not only was that a disadvantage in a firefight, but (as I learned) amid the din of gunfire the enemy heard no muzzle blast to deter his assault or compel him to seek cover.

Instead of carrying a suppressed guns as their primary weapons, many SOG men instead wielded CAR-15s or AKMs, and kept the Stens disassembled into their four major groups—receiver, barrel, magazine and stock—and stowed them in their rucksacks until needed.

As for suppressed M14s and M16s, SOG had them but lacked subsonic ammunition. Medal of Honor recipient Franklin D. Miller and I tested a suppressed M16 and determined that in short-range shootouts its noisy supersonic “crack!” outweighed the benefit of its reduced muzzle blast. Some men thought otherwise, especially when using a suppressed XM21 sniper rifle at greater distances.

Suppressed Handguns

Although of very limited range, suppressed handguns saw considerable action. SOG’s quietest pistol by far was the .32 ACP Welrod, another product of the World War II British SOE. Its minimalist design—a tubular suppressor-barrel-action, a bent metal rod for a trigger and a rubber-covered Colt M1903 pistol magazine for a grip—didn’t even look like a gun.

Like the Sionics carbine, the Welrod was a bolt-action repeater, operated by rotating its knurled end with the palm of the hand. Of limited accuracy and range, the Welrod was more suited to assassinations in wartime Europe than combat in Southeast Asia.

SOG’s most popular suppressed pistol was the .22-cal., High Standard H-D semi-automatic. Another World War II OSS development, its 6½" barrel was fitted with a 73/4" suppressor that eliminated muzzle flash and achieved 90 percent noise reduction. It was used primarily to capture prisoners, the plan being to disable the target with one, near-silent, well-placed shot. This sometimes worked and sometimes did not, igniting a conventional gunfight.

Franklin D. Miller, a Medal of Honor recipient and leader of Recon Team Vermont, holds a Gyrojet Rocket Pistol. This may be the same Gyrojet carried by SOG Lt. George K. Sisler during the action that earned him the Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Other suppressed pistols included Brownings, Walthers and Berettas, but SOG’s most revolutionary pistol—mistakenly acquired as “silent”—was the 13 mm Gyrojet Rocket Pistol. Constructed of plastic and stamped steel with the heft of a cap gun, the six-shot Gyrojet emitted a piercing, “whoosh!” when fired. Its thumb-size, solid-fuel rocket was spin-stabilized by two canted nozzles and generated almost no recoil.

In SOG tests, that rocket punched through 3/4" plywood and then pierced one side of a water-filled 55-gallon drum to dent the opposite side. Although slow to reload and of limited accuracy, the Gyrojet saw combat service, especially in the hands of 1st Lt. George K. Sisler, SOG’s first Medal of Honor recipient, who had one when he died fighting off an enemy platoon; his Gyrojet was recovered and may have been the same pistol Medal of Honor recipient Franklin Miller used later.

Robert Graham, leader of Recon Team Pick, carried into combat SOG’s most outlandish “silent” weapon. A native Canadian and bow hunter, Graham had a 55-lb. bow mailed from home with broadhead-tipped arrows, which he indeed let loose during a fight in Cambodia. No prisoner resulted, but it did yield one of SOG’s most unbelievable war stories.

Modified Weapons

SOG’s Green Berets constantly tinkered with their firearms, often shortening barrels to improve handiness. Medal of Honor recipient Bob Howard, for example, sometimes toted a compact, selective-fire M14A1 rifle, its barrel and flash suppressor chopped by 8" and a handgrip installed below the forearm. In it, Howard fired 7.62 mm M198 duplex cartridges, each containing two stacked 84-gr. Spitzer bullets with respective muzzle velocities of 2700 and 2200 f.p.s.. In effect, this doubled his M14’s output to 40 rounds per magazine.

Sawed-off shotguns saw SOG service, too, primarily the Remington Model 870. One SOG recon skydiver, Sammy Hernandez, somehow got his hands on a sawed-off Winchester Model 1897, which he strapped aside his body for a night jump into Laos. Another SOG recon man carried a sawed-off Browning A5 semi-automatic into Laos, which proved his undoing; it was fast to fire but slow to reload, and he was shot dead while reloading.

The belt-fed M60 machine gun, too, was much modified. Poorly balanced, heavy, and somewhat awkward to wield, Special Forces weapons men completely removed the buttstock, capped it, and then shortened the 22" barrel, eliminated the bipod and installed a pistol grip below the gas tube, which notably shortened it and cut its weight by 5 lbs. (Three decades later, similar features were incorporated into the gun’s M60E4 version.)

Anthony Dodge, Recon Team Illinois, wields an SOG-chopped M60 machine gun and 500-round backpack drum. Note the aircraft-type flexible feed belt.

However, SOG’s most impressive M60 modification—dubbed the “Death Machine”—was a 500-round drum fitted inside the gunner’s rucksack, connected to his gun with a 5-ft., aircraft-type articulated feed belt. Fabricated at the China Lake, Calif., Naval Weapons Center, its total weight including the gun and ammunition was just short of 90 lbs., requiring a Rambo-sized man to carry it. Best suited to raids, recon teams rarely packed the Death Machine.

But many teams did carry another light machine gun, the Communist Bloc RPD. Modified by Special Forces weapons men, the RPD’s barrel and butt were chopped, reducing its length to 31", shorter than a Thompson submachine gun. This also reduced the RPD’s weight to 12 lbs. and balanced it so well that you could practically write your name with it. SOG men also modified its 100-round belt to hold 125 rounds, and inserted a slice of linoleum in the drum to eliminate any rattle. Firing the full-power 7.62x39 mm AK round, the RPD was SOG’s deadliest small arm.

Sniper Rifles

Because SOG recon’s primary duty was intelligence gathering, there were few planned sniping missions, which would have compromised a team’s presence with the first shot. However, there was no shortage of sniper rifles when the need arose.

SOG’s most accurate sniper weapon was the heavy-barreled, Remington Model 700 rifle, in 7.62x51 mm NATO (.308 Win.), with a Redfield 3-9X Accu-Range scope, similar to the system issued to Marine Corps snipers. SOG recon was the only Army unit in Vietnam armed with the Model 700.

Recon Team Ohio’s Robert Kotin cradles a heavy-barrel Remington 700 sniper rifle. SOG was the only Army unit in Vietnam with the Model 700.

The M14-based XM21 Sniping System, too, was in SOG’s armory, many of them suppressed. These definitely saw combat service, especially for recon teams in central Laos where the jungle opened up. Special Forces Sgt. Kevin Smith used an XM21 while manning a roadblock overlooking Laotian Highway 922 and made a confirmed 1,000-yd. shot, as well as a number of other kills.

The Korean War-era M1D Sniper Rifle, topped by a 2.5X M84 scope, was considered outmoded by many, but SOG old hands who’d been raised on the M1 rifle thought it an excellent rifle and its .30-’06 Sprg. cartridge more suited to long-range sniping than the 7.62x51 mm.

Quite likely the first-ever flattop AR was an SOG-modified M16. Topped by an M84 scope, SFC J.D. Bath took the experimental sniper rifle to a Laotian mountaintop in early 1967, but no enemy appeared within 5.56x45 mm range. Although promising, that was that rifle’s only known combat service.

Exploding-Projectile Weapons

Some team leaders believed that the slow-firing, single-shot M79 Grenade Launcher reduced their teams’ firepower. Rearming their two grenadiers with CAR-15s, they mounted still-experimental Colt XM148 grenade launchers on their short-barreled CARs, which required a bit of jury-rigging. Later, these were replaced with XM203 grenade launchers.

However, all this bulk degraded the performance of both the CAR-15 and the launcher, which was unacceptable to other team leaders. Instead, they sawed off the M79’s butt and barrel into a “pistol,” which was carried unloaded and snapped into men’s web gear. Thus, 40 mm fire was still available when needed while it freed up everyone to carry CAR-15s.

Obtained secretly from Holland, the golf-ball-size V-40 “mini” grenade was popular with SOG skydiver teams and aviators.

SOG’s most unusual grenade launcher was an experimental pump-action, four-shot, that functioned like an oversized Winchester Model 12 shotgun. Developed by the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, Calif., it weighed 10.2 lbs. and measured 34½" overall. It wasn’t too heavy, but notably bulky, poorly balanced and prone to short-stroking.

SOG lost more men to the blast and fragments of enemy RPG rockets than to any other weapon. Attesting to this lethality, several recon teams replaced their M79s with RPG-2 launchers, which fired the Chinese B-40 rocket. In SOG’s hands, it proved just as deadly.

Some considered the RPG too heavy a weapon for a small recon team, yet a few team leaders went a step further and also toted a 60 mm mortar. Normally found with a 120-man infantry company, it was the last thing the North Vietnamese expected in a SOG team.

Martin Bennett, Recon Team New York, taped 10- penny nails and tear gas powder packets to these B-40 RPG rounds (r.) to enhance their effect. He dubbed them, “porcupines.”

The 60 mm tube was carried by one man, with about 20 rounds distributed among his teammates. Recon Teams, such as Joe Walker’s RT California and Ed Wolcoff’s RT New York, regularly packed a 60 mm mortar, along with sawed-off RPD machine guns and RPG rocket launchers. Unsurprisingly, these were called “heavy” teams.

Whether heavy or just a half-dozen men, these SOG teams raised such havoc behind enemy lines that the North Vietnamese diverted 50,000 troops from the battlefield to rear area security. However, the cost was significant: SOG lost 243 Green Berets, which included 10 recon teams that went missing while another 14 were overrun.

In 2001—after its covert missions were declassified—SOG received the Presidential Unit Citation for, “Extraordinary Heroism … . while executing unheralded top secret missions deep behind enemy lines across Southeast Asia."

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The M1 Carbine, 10 little known facts about the popular Carbine.

I was super busy and was unable to get anything on my "Tuesday" postings.   My Bad.

 Getting an M1 Carbine is on my "Bucket" list, but they are expensive despite they used to be very common in the surplus market.  I always liked the little carbine, especially with the extended magazine it was quite "respectable" in the firepower dept.  

I shamelessly clipped this from "American Rifleman"

The “U.S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1” was the most produced American infantry arm of World War II. And it's back in production today. As this is written, my cheek is gleefully stained with linseed oil (either that or I have jaundice) from test-firing the M1 Carbine and M1A1 Paratrooper Carbines as made today by Inland Manufacturing in Dayton, Ohio.

The guns look great and capture the nostalgia and function of the originals made from 1942 to 1945 (read an earlier review by B. Gil Horman here and watch a video of it being fired at SHOT Show 2015). But carbines go much further than their use by the “Greatest Generation” during World War II.

Here are some things you may or may not have known about the gun that started out as the U.S. Army’s “Light Rifle.”

1. The M1 Carbine as a round is ballistically effective.

Remember, the M1 Carbine was designed to replace the M1911A1 in the hands of support troops, machine gunners, etc., whoever did not need a full-size rifle. No one doubts it is better than a pistol at any but the shortest of ranges, and, unlike Marines at “Frozen Chosin,” you can use modern defensive ammo.

Our troops back then used 110-gr. ball ammo. At 100 yards, the Hornady 110-gr. FTX delivers 1600 f.p.s. and 626 ft.-lbs. of energy. In contrast, a 55-gr., .223 Rem. at 100 yards  delivers 983 ft.-lbs. of energy. A 158-gr. XTP out of a .357 Mag. at 100 yards at 1073 f.p.s. delivers a mere 404 ft.-lbs. Anyone want to call .357 Mag. puny?

2. If the Carbine was so bad, why did Audie Murphy use one?

American’s most-decorated soldier of World War II, Lt. Audie Murphy, used a field phone, a .50-cal. M2 Browning and an M1 Carbine when he fought off a German combined arms attack pretty much by himself on Jan. 26, 1945.

If you ever watch “To Hell and Back” starring Medal of Honor recipient Murphy as himself, you can tell he really knew how to handle a carbine.

3. It was the chosen weapon of our enemy.

During the early fighting in the Vietnam War, our main enemy—the Viet Cong—armed entire units the M1 and M2 Carbines, guns they took from the French, then from ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and local forces of the South Vietnamese.

It was in this way that guns given to our allies were used against our troops. The AK-47 become more common as more and more NVA got into the fight.

4. It was the only gun made specifically for U.S. Airborne Forces during World War II.

The M1A1 carbine with its pistol grip and folding metal stock was adopted in May 1942 specifically for use of American Airborne troops. Inland was the only original maker (others were later converted in the overhaul system) and produced 140,591 during World War II.

It even came with a nifty web belt holster called a “jump scabbard.” Okay, there is the Reising 55, too, but that is a story for another day.

5. You can’t get them surplus.

The last big import wave of M1 Carbines came in from Blue Sky and Arlington Ordnance decades ago. In 1963, about 240,000 M1 Carbines were decommissioned and sold (without magazines) to NRA members for a $20 each ($17.50 plus $2.50 S&H).

There is a large quantity of surplus carbines warehoused in South Korea, but there has been no success in getting them to our shores. The good news is that Auto-Ordnance and the new Inland Mfg. offer new versions of the original “Light Rifle” in a host of variations for both collectors and shooters.

6. Winchester—even though it was invented there—wasn’t the largest producer.

Nope, that honor goes to the Inland Mfg. Division of General Motors with 2,362,097. Winchester made 828,059, followed by Underwood Elliott-Fisher at 545,616, Saginaw Steering Gear 517,212, IBM at 346,500, Standard Products at 247,000, Rock-Ola (yes, the juke box maker), with 228,500, Quality Hardware at 359,666, National Postal Meter at 413,017 and Irwin-Pedersen made a few thousand but had trouble.

7. It was the U.S. military’s first night-time sniper rifle.

When fitted with an ungainly infrared scope, the T3 Carbine was used as night-fighting weapon in the closing days of the Pacific Theatre of Operations during World War II.

It’s also the main plot device in Stephen Hunter’s novel “Black Light.” Darn, I just ruined the book for you. Read it anyway.

8.  The M1 Carbine was used by police, too.

In the 1960s, Jim Cirillo, from the NYPD’s Stake Out Squad, and author of “Tales of the Stakeout Squad,” used a NYPD-issue M1 Carbine with G.I. ball ammo. Cirillo was involved in more than 20 gunfights. Doubt the Carbine’s use for law enforcement? You should ask one of the NYPD’s top gunfighters.

9.  You can shoot the National Matches with one.

During the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, the Civilian Marksmanship Program conducts the M1 Carbine Match to be sponsored this year by Inland Mfg., on July 21.

You can also shoot them in some classes of NRA High Power, but the bullet drop is pretty severe at long range. That’s why the CMP match is fired at 100 yards.

10.  Carbines aren’t cheap.

The days of the $400 gun show carbine are over. There are dedicated collector’s groups (the Carbine Club) and books by Carbine historian Larry Ruth as well as Field Editor Bruce Canfield that have upped the collectability of the carbine greatly. Good research does that.

Original carbines, especially in high condition, are rare, and they are a collecting field unto themselves Even beat up guns go upward of $700 these days. How ridiculous are the prices? In 2008, an Inland M1A1 “paratrooper” Carbine with ironclad D-Day provenance sold at auction for $20,125.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday Music "Taking Care of Business" By BTO

I hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas and the New Year is around the corner.  

 I am continuing my string of "bugaloo" songs.  This discussion was started in the "Monster Hunter Nation, Hunters Unite", back in November of 2019? it is a Facebook group with enthusiast of the ILOH "International Lord of Hate" A.K.A Larry Correia.  We were talking about what song would we use if we looked out of our window or glanced at our security camera and saw this.....

One of the alphabet bois lining up to take down your house...What would be your "Valhalla" song and you would set it up to play as you load up magazines set up the Tannerite Rover and prepare yourself.

 I figured it would scar the alphabet boys if they come busting in and hearing a song about people standing for their beliefs and willing to fight for them no matter the cost, Good Music  unlike that crap they listen to now.  What can I say, My humor is warped....just a bit. Next week will be "Give it Up" by  Casey of KC and the Sunshine Band,  Now that should really cause some psych evals., hehehe, some poor ATF guy trying to explain the attraction to his mother because he is imaging himself as The savior of the American Way"  instead of the initials of a convenience store....But hey it is ATF...and they ain't right.

"Takin' Care of Business" is a song written by Randy Bachman and first recorded by Canadian rock group Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO) for their 1973 album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II.

Randy Bachman had developed what would later become "Takin' Care of Business" while still a member of The Guess Who. His original idea was to write about a recording technician who worked on The Guess Who's recordings. This particular technician would take the 8:15 train to get to work, inspiring the lyrics "take the 8:15 into the city."

In the early arrangement for the song, which had the working title "White Collar Worker,” the chorus riff and vocal melody were similar to that of The Beatles' “Paperback Writer.” When Bachman first played this version for Burton Cummings, Cummings declared that he was ashamed of him and that The Guess Who would never record the song because the Beatles would sue them.[1]

Bachman still felt like the main riff and verses were good, it was only when the song got to the chorus that everyone hated it. While BTO was still playing smaller venues in support of its first album, Bachman was driving into Vancouver, British Columbia for a gig and listening to the radio when he heard local DJ Daryl B's catch phrase "We're takin' care of business." Lead vocalist Fred Turner's voice gave out before the band's last set that night. Bachman sang some cover songs to get through the last set, and on a whim, he told the band to play the C, B-flat and F chords (a I-VII-IV progression) over and over, and he sang "White Collar Worker" with the new words "Takin' Care of Business" inserted into the chorus. Recalled Randy: "When we finished the song that night, people kept clapping, stomping, and shouting 'takin' care of business' over and over. So we picked up the tempo again and reprised the song for another ten minutes. Afterwards, we all knew we had something."

After this, he rewrote the lyrics to "White Collar Worker" with a new chorus and the title "Takin' Care of Business.” Along with this he wrote a revised guitar riff, which was the I-VII-IV progression played with a shuffle. Bachman says he then handed over the lyrics to Fred Turner with the thought that Turner would sing the lead vocal. But Turner handed them back, saying Randy should sing the lead as it would give himself a needed vocal break when the band performed live.

The original studio version, recorded at Kaye-Smith Studios in Seattle, Washington, features prominent piano, played by Norman Durkee. Durkee was recording commercials in the next studio when sound engineer Buzz Richmond asked him to play on "Takin' Care of Business.” With paid-by-the-hour musicians waiting, Durkee had only a few minutes to spare. Quickly conferring with Randy Bachman, he scribbled down the chords, and, without listening to the song beforehand, recorded the piano part in one take.[4] The fact that Durkee wrote the chords down on a pizza box may have been the source of the long-standing myth – mischievously propagated by band members – that the part had been played by a pizza deliveryman who had heard the track being played back, and then cajoled the band into giving him a chance to add piano to it.

Live Performance in 1974

The song was recorded by Bachman–Turner Overdrive in late 1973 for their second album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II. It reached number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (August 10, 1974), number 6 on the Cash Box Top 100, and number 3 on the Canadian RPM charts, and would become one of BTO's most enduring and well-known songs. "Takin' Care of Business" spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, longer than any other BTO single.

In 2011, Bachman said it was the most licensed song in Sony Music's publishing catalogue. It is often referred to as "the provincial rock anthem of Manitoba." Bachman himself uses the song as the theme song for his CBC Radio music show, Vinyl Tap.

"Takin' Care of Business" has been used in multiple television shows and films, giving the song more recent popularity. It inspired the title of the 1990 comedy film Taking Care of Business, for which it was the theme song, and has been used in many other films, starring with Body Slam (1986), as well as major films like The Spirit of '76The ReplacementsA Knight's TaleAbout SchmidtTwo Weeks NoticeDaddy Day Care, as well as the documentaries Inside Job and 20 to 1. It has also appeared on many television series such as The Wonder YearsQuantum LeapThat 70s ShowAmerican Dad!The SimpsonsThe SopranosKing of the HillParks & RecreationArrested DevelopmentCold CaseMen of a Certain AgeSupernatural, and Hawaii Five-0 . It also appeared on the Cartoon Network show Regular Show, in the episode "Tent Trouble.” Also in Tom Greens "Subway Monkey Hour" as he peforms it in a street. The song "Takin' Care of Business" was also used in the commercials for Office Depot stores, which used the name of the song as the chain's slogan in the 1990s.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

United States Army replacing the M4 Rifles and the 5.56 with the Next Generation Rifle System.

I wonder if the old timers in the mid 60's felt the same way when they saw the M1 and the M14 being superseded by the "Mattel Rifle" A.K.A. the M16 rifle system.  I had a long discussion with Mack and we were discussing new rifle builds and the future of battle Rifle for the US Armed Forces and the new caliber for the AR Platform.  Mack was extolling the virtues of the 6.8 caliber round and how effective it was in A-Stan,  and I had decided to build my next potential Kayak loss as a 6.8 caliber or a 6.5 creedmore to take advantage of the versatility of the round.  Out of the 3 rifle system, I am leaning toward the Sig because it is the closest ergonomically to the AR platform and there is less of a learning curve for the Soldiers to learn and will be easier for the Soldiers to grasp and under pressure having to fumble around with unfamiliar rifle can take precious time and time wasted is a time killer and a that can be a soldier killer.  

The US Army is looking at the NGSW system to replace both the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) and the M16/M4/carbine used by close combat forces with a new weapon within two years.

Known as the Next Generation Squad Weapon, it finished its first prototype test in September. The test included prototypes from Sig Sauer, Textron Systems, and General Dynamics Ordnance.

The M4 Carbine has served with the US for almost 30 years.
The M4 Carbine has served with the US for almost 30 years.

The Army is also working with L3 Technologies and Vortex Optics to develop fire control for the weapon.

Sig Sauer turned in a design that looks much like a traditional assault rifle. General Dynamics is using a bullpup design that results in a shorter length weapon by including the magazine feed in the stock. Textron’s offering contains a unique cartridge – a cased telescope item which reduces weight by having the projectile inside the casing.

40 mm telescoped cased ammunition. Image by Reise Reise CC BY-SA 4.0
40 mm telescoped cased ammunition. 

In April, the three companies each provided 15 rifles, 15 automatic rifles and 180,000 cartridges which use the mandated 6.8mm projectile.

The government chose the 6.8mm projectile based on decades of testing and evaluation. They found that 5.6mm projectiles performed inadequately at mid-ranges and the current 7.62mm was not as effective as the 6.8mm projectile. The new size also saves weight compared to current caliber ammunition.

6.8 mm cartridge (left) next to a 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridge. Image by The38superdude CC BY-SA 3.0
6.8 mm cartridge (left) next to a 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridge

Each company’s rifle and automatic rifle tested will use the same rounds which will make both weapons effective beyond the 600m mark current light caliber weapons are effective to.

The companies have six months from the September testing to prepare for the next prototype test which is scheduled to occur in February.

SIG SAUER NSGW-AR (left) and NSGW-R. Image by SIG SAUER.

Major Wyatt Ottmar, project officer over NGSW for the Soldier Lethality CFT, noted that the Sig Sauer weapon used ammunition with steel lower and brass upper cartridges. This was done to reduce weight.

A contract for the new weapons is expected to be awarded to one of the three companies in the testing during the next fiscal year. The weapons should then be in the field beginning in the fourth quarter of 2022 meaning between August and October of 2022. They will be provided to Infantry, Stryker, and Armor Brigade Combat Teams.

Textron NGSW-AR (top) and the Textron NGSW-R 6.8 mm rifles. Image by Textron Systems.
Textron NGSW-AR (top) and the Textron NGSW-R 6.8 mm rifles. 

In the end, all close combat teams will switch to the new weapon. Special forces, infantry, combat engineers, and scouts will all be using the new weapon.

The fire control units are expected to be ready six months before the final weapon in order to give the companies a chance to integrate the optic with the gun.

General Dynamics placed the magazine and the bolt-carrier group behind the pistol grip in their bullpup design. This type of rifle has been popular around the world but has never caught on in the US. The design allows the rifle to be more compact without sacrificing barrel length. A spokesperson from GD said they had received good feedback from users.

General Dynamics’ RM277 NGSW-AR and NGSW-R prototypes. Image by GD-OTS.
General Dynamics’ RM277 NGSW-AR and NGSW-R prototypes.

GD worked with Beretta USA to develop the weapon and Delta P Design to develop the silencer.

Textron’s offering is built around their case-telescoped ammunition. The ammo uses a plastic casing rather than metal to keep weight down.

6.8 TVCM polymer casing round for the General Dynamics RM277. Image by True Velocity
6.8 TVCM polymer casing round for the General Dynamics RM277. 

Textron worked with Heckler & Koch in developing the weapon and Lewis Machine & Tool Company to develop the silencer.

Sig Sauer developed the most traditional looking of the three offerings. They are quick to point out that they are the only company of the three that developed the entire weapon in-house. The gun, the silencer, the ammo, the accessories are all designed and developed by Sig Sauer. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The B-32 Dominator, the Airplane with the shortest active duty service in American History.

 I had heard about this airplane, and seen pictures of this ungainly airplane and did a bit of digging and the plane was a "Pig in a Poke", and if the war had continued perhaps they would have done some modifications and improvements to make the airplane better, but the end of the war killed any possible improvements and ultimately the airplane itself.

Many history buffs will be familiar with the B-29 Superfortress, which is perhaps best known as the aircraft which carried the atomic bomb during the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, not many will have had the chance to hear about its little brother: the Consolidated B-32 Dominator.

The Dominator was actually devised as a backup plan for the Superfortress, in case the single-most expensive aircraft of WWII failed to meet the requirements.

When the B-29 proved its worth, the Dominator entered service rather late during the war, meaning that it didn’t see any action until mid-1945

B-32 in flight
B-32 in flight

The Dominator first arrived at the Pacific Theatre as part of the 312th Brigade’s 386th Bombardment Squadron, where three of the bombers conducted raids on Japanese targets on the island of Formosa (today’s Taiwan).

This was the final stage of testing, after which the crews reported backs on the pros and cons of the aircraft.

The plane featured unique reversible-pitch inboard propellers, together with the Davis wing, allowing high speed, a good lift during low-angle attacks, and excellent landing performance.

XB-32-CO 41-142 on 28 February 1944
XB-32-CO 41-142 on 28 February 1944

On the other hand, the flaws weren’t exactly negligible.

The cockpit had a poor instrument layout, while the aircraft was making too much noise inside. Visibility was also impaired, and the nacelle design caused frequent engine fires. On top of it all, the aircraft was just too heavy.

Nevertheless, it passed the test and was perceived as a well-balanced bomber plane. It was capable of conducting air raids against the Japanese, whose army was a shadow of its former glory by 1945, especially when it came to air power.

TB-32s being assembled at Consolidated’s Fort Worth factory
TB-32s being assembled at Consolidated’s Fort Worth factory

After this successful streak of missions, the B-32s of the 386th Bombardment Squadron were back in action in July 1945, with six more bombing missions under their belt before the end of the war.

However, by August, they were exclusively conducting reconnaissance missions and aerial photography. The role of the B-32 at this point was to monitor the effectiveness of the ceasefire which came into effect on the 15th of August.

Consolidated TB-32-15-CF.
Consolidated TB-32-15-CF.

Although an official ceasefire was declared, the B-32 were attacked by renegade pilots on at least two occasions above Tokyo ― on August the 17th and August the 18th. During these clashes, however, neither of the parties involved suffered any casualties.

Just two days before the official surrender of Japan, the B-32 Dominator was retired. All orders were canceled, and many of the functioning aircraft were sent to scrap.

Having been active in use from the 27th of January to the 30th of August, it was one of the shortest-serving aircraft in U.S. history.

More photos:

Consolidated XB-32 Dominator in flight.
Consolidated XB-32 Dominator in flight.


B-32 Dominator in Kingman, Arizona, 1947.
B-32 Dominator in Kingman, Arizona, 1947.


B-32 Dominator in flight
B-32 Dominator in flight


B-32s awaiting scrapping in February 1947
B-32s awaiting scrapping in February 1947


B-32 42-108543 of the 312th Bomb Group refueling Yontan airfield Okinawa
B-32 42-108543 of the 312th Bomb Group refueling Yontan airfield Okinawa

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas To All

 This will be kinda a short post because it is a Holiday Season. 

   I want to wish all my fellow bloggers and readers  a Merry Christmas.  Remember the reason for the Season and spend it with your family if you can.  I have spent time away from family in the past during deployments or work, but the past few years I have been lucky to spend them at home with my family.   Keep in your prayers those that walk the ramparts on this day so we can celebrate with our family.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Engine Not shut down in Flight

Santa sees the FAA inspector arriving for the annual flight test and immediately notices the inspector carries a rifle again. Thinking of the last years Santa talks to the inspector: "Could we omit the part with losing an engine this year?" The inspector points out the regulations requiring the test. So Santa tries again and offers a bet: "what if I jump higher than your house, of course without assistance by my reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blixem and Rudolph?" The FAA inspector thinks a while about it, well, what should happen? He lives in a 5 story house, it would be impossible to jump as high as this house, wouldn't it? So nothing to lose here, only to gain, the inspector thinks and therefore agrees, demanding that not only the test would proceed but Santa would give him the one present, that he never had received all life, his own jet, if Santa loses. "Didn't you receive this beautiful Boeing 320 Regional Jungle Jet last year that you can't use anyway?", he asks. Santa nods and accepts the challenge.

So they walk over to the inspector's house. Santa performs a couple of knee-bends to warm up and prepare for a really high jump, looks up the house aiming at the roof top, goes very deep into his knees, then accelerates upwards with big gesture and lifts off. After reaching a height of about one centimeter/half an inch he descends and lands safely with an elegant Telemark.

After a stunned moment of silence the inspector breaks down in laughter and can't stop anymore. After a couple of minutes he gasps: "I have won the bet! Where is my new plane?"

"Wait a minute" says Santa, "first let your house jump!"

Incident Facts
Date of Incident 24.12.2019
Classification News
Airline Santa
Aircraft Type N/A N/A
Aircraft Registration