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

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The U.S Model of 1917 Revolvers

 I saw this on American Rifleman and after reading it, I learned quite a bit, I thought we went to war with the 1911 series pistol, any revolvers were personal firearms.  I apparently was in error from the article, they issued revolvers and they fired the 45 ACP for commonality of caliber with the 1911 series pistol.  

When the United States entered World War I during the spring of 1917, our armed forces were woefully lacking in many types of arms and war materiel. One of the bright spots in Uncle Sam’s arsenal, however, was the superb Model of 1911 .45 ACP pistol. Unfortunately, there weren’t nearly enough in the government’s inventory to meet the rapidly growing demand. The U.S. military needed many more handguns—and needed them in a hurry.

At the time of America’s entry into the war, the only manufacturer of the M1911 was the Colt Patent Firearms Mfg. Co. Springfield Armory had manufactured 25,767 M1911 pistols from Fiscal Year 1914 to 1917, but the Armory was too burdened with increased manufacture of the Model of 1903 rifle and other arms to resume making the pistols.

Plans were formulated to have other commercial concerns produce M1911s under contract, but it was recognized that the lag time required for the firms to start manufacturing would result in a serious shortage of handguns at a very critical time. The Ordnance Dept. had to look elsewhere for handguns that could be procured as soon as possible to arm the burgeoning number of troops.

The two major manufacturers of handguns in the country at the time, Colt and Smith & Wesson, both had large-frame revolvers in their product lines with production tooling and trained workers available to manufacture their guns under government contract. The Colt revolver was the “New Service,” and the company had previously manufactured a version of this .45 Colt revolver for the U.S. government, the Model of 1909, but it saw very limited service and was soon superseded by the M1911. The Smith & Wesson revolver was the Second Model .44 Hand Ejector.

U.S. Marine armed with a Colt M1917 revolver
A U.S. Marine armed with a Colt M1917 revolver warily approaches a Japanese bunker on Okinawa.

In order to reduce supply and logistical problems, it was mandatory that any revolvers produced under military contract be chambered for the standard .45 ACP cartridge, but neither company had yet offered its revolvers in that chambering. To accommodate the rimless .45 ACP, it was necessary to devise some method of positioning cartridges in the cylinder. Otherwise, the rimless cartridges could not be fired or ejected from the cylinders that were originally designed for rimmed cartridges.

Smith & Wesson re-designed its cylinders to incorporate a shoulder to hold the .45 ACP round in place so it could be fired, but the expended cases had to be manually extracted. To solve this problem, S&W devised an ingenious “half-moon” sheet metal clip that held three cartridges, each properly positioned in the cylinder.

Two of the clips were loaded into the cylinder and the expended cases could be easily ejected. Unlike the S&W revolver, the Colt gun did not initially incorporate the shoulder, which required the “half-moon” clips be used for both firing and ejecting the rounds. An Ordnance Dept. report described the “half-moon” clips:

“A semi-circular clip holding three cartridges, permitted the use of the rimless automatic cartridges in the M1917 Revolver. Without the clip, fired cartridges could not be ejected simultaneously from all six chambers as with the rim type .45 Colt Cartridge. By using these clips, instead of the slower operation of inserting six cartridges singly, the revolvers’ rate of fire was materially increased.”

The Colt and S&W revolvers were adopted as the “Model of 1917.” As was the case with the products of both companies, the M1917 revolvers were well-made and dependable. Except for the hammers and triggers, the external metal parts were blued. As an accommodation to an increased production rate, the final polishing was eventually omitted on the Colt-made revolvers, and the result was a “brushed blue” finish. The revolvers made by both firms were fitted with smooth walnut stocks and a lanyard ring. The nomenclature markings and serial number were stamped on the butt.

“half-moon” clip
This illustration of the Colt 1917 shows the “half-moon” clip.

The M1917 revolvers were carried in the same pattern of leather holsters as the Model 1909 revolvers, and new holsters manufactured during World War I retained the Model 1909 nomenclature.
 The gun was positioned in the holster with the butt forward, as was the preference of cavalry troopers. Canvas pouches were fabricated that could be fastened to the standard pistol belt and would accommodate three sets of two “half-moon” clips (total of 18 rounds).

Smith & Wesson delivered the first M1917 revolvers the first week of September 1917, and the Colt guns followed on Oct. 24, 1917. The book America’s Munitions–1917-1918, authored by Assistant Secretary of War Benedict Crowell, indicates that S&W manufactured 153,111 M1917s and Colt made 151,700 for a total of 304,811. However, these numbers do not include revolvers manufactured after Dec. 31, 1918.

As was the case with many other World War I government contracts, the manufacturers were permitted to remain in production into early 1919 so as to utilize existing raw materials previously ordered. This helped mitigate the financial hardships that would have resulted from an abrupt cut-off of the contracts. Most of the contracts contained a provision that the manufacturers would be reimbursed for any arms “in process” at the time of cancellation, thus it made sense for the manufacturers to complete them rather than for the government to pay for half-finished guns. A post-World War I Ordnance document dated Jan. 5, 1924, indicates that the total production of M1917 revolvers was 318,432, which includes the guns produced into early 1919.

The M1917s provided yeoman-like service during the war and proved to be reliable and effective military handguns. Following the Armistice, the M1911 remained the standardized U.S. military sidearm, but M1917s continued to play a supporting role between the wars.

General John Pershing
General John Pershing reviews troops during World War I. The majority of soldiers in the photo have U.S. M1917 revolvers in U.S. Model 1909 holsters.

Due to the fact that many of the M1917 revolvers saw extensive use in World War I, a number required re-building and refurbishment. It is reported that the Augusta Arsenal (Georgia) re-built 1,000 S&W revolvers in 1919-1920. Other ordnance facilities, including Rock Island Arsenal, also re-built some of these revolvers, but most of the overhaul work was done by Springfield Armory.

Canvas pouch
Canvas pouches for the clips were issued during World War I.

Due to the corrosive-primed ammunition of the period, the most common repair to Model 1917 revolvers was barrel replacements. Springfield Armory actually went into production of new barrels for Colt M1917 revolvers for a period of time. Typically, when a pistol or revolver, indeed almost any gun, was re-built by the military, the initials of the facility were stamped on the gun after the work was completed. The most commonly seen markings of this type found on the M1917 revolvers re-built after World War I were “SA” (for Springfield Armory), “RIA” (Rock Island Arsenal) and “AA” (Augusta Arsenal).

The M1917 revolvers saw little actual service use in the 1920s and 1930s. A number of Model 1917 revolvers were retained by the National Guard, and others were supplied to several governmental agencies, especially the Post Office. In the early 1920s, a rash of brazen, and sometimes quite violent, armed robberies of U.S. Post Office trains, trucks and facilities resulted in a number of U.S. Marines being called into service as “mail guards.”

Some of the Marines, as well as a number of postal employees, were armed with M1917 revolvers. The Marines also utilized M1911 pistols, M1903 rifles, 12-ga. “trench guns,” M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles and, later, Thompson submachine guns. Eventually, the mail robbery sprees were quelled and the Marines were withdrawn from such duty.

leather Model 1909 holster
The leather Model 1909 holster was originally designed for the Colt U.S. Model 1909 revolver. It was retained for use with the Colt and S&W Model 1917 revolvers and put back into production during World War I.

M1917 .45 Revolvers In World War II
As it became increasingly probable that the United States would be drawn into the war that erupted in Europe in 1939, the War Dept. evaluated existing military arms in Uncle Sam’s arsenal. One of these, of course, was the M1917 revolver. After the debacle at Dunkirk, a number of arms in our inventory were sent to the British to replace those lost in France. Among these were about 20,000 M1917 revolvers sent to Great Britain circa 1940-41.

After Pearl Harbor, there was a rush to procure all sorts of additional arms, and handguns were no exception. Production contracts for M1911A1 pistols were given to several American manufacturers. However, as was the case a quarter-century earlier, there was a lag time between issuance of the contracts and delivery of the new pistols. Once again, the Colt and S&W M1917 .45 ACP revolvers ably filled a void in America’s small arms arsenal.

Even though many of these revolvers had been overhauled in the 1920s and 1930s, a number of the guns still required refurbishment before they could be issued for use in World War II. Springfield Armory records indicate that 10,263 S&W and 4,017 Colt M1917 revolvers were re-conditioned in 1941. Additionally, quantities of replacement parts for both models were purchased for future overhaul requirements.

The issuance of the Model 1917 revolvers during World War II was discussed in an Ordnance publication: “Again, the M1917 Revolver was called upon as a substitute weapon. On Nov., 1, 1940, there was a total of 188,120 Revolvers M1917 in the field or in stores. Of these, 96,530 were of Colt manufacture and 91,590 Smith and Wesson. It was intended that the use of these weapons be restricted to the Continental United States, but 20,995 Revolvers actually got into combat theaters, due to shortage of M1911A1 Pistols. Primarily, the M1917 was issued to Military Police personnel, within the United States.”

two World War II U.S. Army military policemen
These two World War II U.S. Army military policemen are armed with .45 ACP M1917 revolvers carried in the early M1909 “butt-forward” style holster.

In the book, GI–The Infantryman In World War II, Robert Rush cited the use of these revolvers during training at Camp Wheeler, Ga., in March 1942:

“Next came pistol familiarization. The recruits were handed a M1917 .45 cal. Smith & Wesson revolver, shown how to aim, and with the admonition not to flinch because ‘it was nothing but a gun,’ they fired their 20 rounds at targets positioned 15 and 25 yards away … .” 

Many of the M1909 leather holsters dating from World War I continued in use during World War II with the M1917 revolvers. During World War II, a version of the holster that held the revolver with the butt to the rear was adopted and designated as “Holster, Revolver, Cal. .45, M2.”

Even though many more M1911/M1911A1 pistols were used during the war, the almost 21,000 M1917 revolvers that were issued to troops in overseas combat zones saw their fair share of action. While most would probably have preferred a M1911A1 pistol over a M1917 revolver, the latter an had its proponents. One of the more enthusiastic of these was Pvt. Richard Lyman, a paratrooper with the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team. As related in the Gerald Astor’s book, Battling Buzzards: The Odyssey Of The 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945:

“He always carried a six-shot .45 caliber revolver, U.S. Army Model 1917. It had a left-hand holster and Lyman always wore it on the right side with the butt forward, Wild Bill Hickok style … . On the morning after the drop, Lyman was walking in a town with the revolver in hand when a German captain on a bicycle rode around a corner toward him. They were so close to each other that Lyman’s shot knocked the German completely off his seat.” 

Several days later, during an attack on an enemy bunker position, Lyman again made good use of his M1917 revolver:

“Lyman stepped out from behind a tree, facing the sentry, certainly no less than forty feet away, and raised his Tommy gun. Apparently, when he pushed the magazine in, he did not slam it hard. When he pulled the trigger, the magazine fell out and the bolt, failing to strip off a cartridge, banged into the chamber with a loud, metallic click.”

“The sentry, hardly more than a boy … stared at Lyman, frozen in disbelief. Lyman threw down the Thompson and drew his .45 revolver. The sentry hardly moved. The .45 slug hit him in the chest … and he went backwards into the bush behind him.”

Shortly afterward, Pvt. Lyman was injured when a backblast from a bazooka knocked him against a tree, fracturing his arm. As related in the above-cited book:

“We heard he took his .45 revolver with him to the hospital. First, they tried to take it away on the grounds it was government issue. He pointed it at a major, telling him there was no way he would let them steal it. Then they sought to use a general anesthetic to set his arm. He refused, saying that they would steal the piece while he was out. So, they told him he would have to have it fixed without the benefit of anesthetic. Lyman said he yelled like hell because of the pain but never gave up the revolver.”

While other American combat troops who used the M1917 revolvers may not have been as passionate as Pvt. Lyman about the sixgun, vintage photos illustrate the guns being employed in combat settings in all theaters of the war.

In May 1945, it was proposed that the M1917 revolvers be declared “Obsolete,” but the provost marshal general objected and the proposal was dropped. This action indicates that the Military Police still considered the revolvers to have value and wanted to retain the guns.

mail guards
In the early 1920s, U.S. Marines served as “mail guards.” The three Marines in the foreground have Model 1917 revolvers in Model 1909 holsters. Three of the Marines are also armed with M1903 rifles and a Remington Model 10 12-ga. “trench gun.”

Just before the conclusion of World War II, the Ordnance Dept. contracted with Smith & Wesson and Colt to re-build large numbers of M1917 revolvers. An Ordnance report dated March 30, 1945, indicated that 23,000 S&W M1917 revolvers were overhauled at a cost of $6.80 each, increased to $7.10 on May 12, 1945. The work was to be completed between April and November 1945. A “sandblast/blue” finished was specified. On April 5, 1945, an Ordnance contract was given to Colt for the overhaul of 33,000 M1917 Colt revolvers at a cost of $12 each. The contracts were still in process in 1946.

When U.S. military handguns of World War I and World War II are discussed, most of the emphasis is, understandably, placed on the Model 1911/M1911A1 pistols, as they were the standard military handguns and saw extensive use in both wars. However, the Model 1917 revolvers also saw surprisingly widespread combat use during World War I. Likewise, the M1917 revolvers played an important role in arming Military Police units as training guns and, when necessary, combat arms during World War II.

In many ways, the story of the M1917 revolvers mirrors that of the M1917 rifle. Both were adopted early after America’s entrance into World War I as an expedient measure to provide badly needed arms to the U.S. military at a perilous time. Neither was the first choice of the War Dept., but could be procured much more quickly than the standardized Model 1911 pistol and Model 1903 rifle when time was of the utmost importance.

Both proved to be dependable and serviceable, but were relegated to “second-string” status after the Armistice. Yet when called upon to serve again during World War II, both provided valuable service to our armed forces until the production of M1911A1 pistols and M1 Garand rifles could ramp up to meet the demand.

Although no Colt or S&W Model 1917 revolvers were manufactured after 1919, they proved to be a great investment for Uncle Sam that continued to pay dividends for over a quarter-century. When considering the American handguns of the World War I and II, the Model M1911/M1911A1 pistols are, understandably, given the most attention. However, the valuable contributions of the Model 1917 revolvers to the war effort in 1917-1918 and again in 1941 to 1945 should not be overlooked.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The North Vietnamese Army 1972 Easter Offensive.


                               ARVN Soldiers from their 1st infantry Division on top of a destroyed North       Vietnamese T59 Tank.  They are from their 20th tank Regiment.

   I ran across this  article on "Cherriewriters" a blog about Vietnam and I liked the article.  I am researching another article and will publishing it soon.

Thirteen years after the North Vietnamese government’s Resolution 15, in January 1959, set in motion the armed struggle to conquer South Vietnam, North Vietnamese Army (NVA) General Vo Nguyen Giap believed he had found the elusive ‘center of gravity’ he had been searching for. Four years earlier, with the Tet Offensive of 1968, he had thought it was the relationship between the South Vietnamese people and their government. But the ‘Great General Uprising’ he had counted on never materialized, and his Viet Cong (VC) guerrilla auxiliaries were annihilated in the process.

But this time it would be different. Since that debacle, the United States had begun a process of what it called ‘Vietnamization’ — i.e., turning the war over to a rearmed and equipped South Vietnamese military while the Americans gradually withdrew. Beginning in 1969, U.S. Army and Marine combat divisions began leaving Vietnam. By 1970, both Marine divisions had departed, and by 1972 American in-country strength had fallen from a peak of 550,000 to some 75,000. The only U.S. Army ground combat units left in Vietnam were the 196th Light Infantry Brigade and the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). U.S. Air Force and naval units had been drawn down as well.

It appeared that a classic center of gravity had been created — the relationship between South Vietnam and its American ally. Not only had the majority of U.S. military forces been withdrawn but American congressional and public opinion had shifted dramatically against the war, and the chance of U.S. reintervention appeared to be nil. All that remained was for the NVA to administer the coup de grace.

And that’s what their Operation Nguyen Hue was designed to do. Better known as the ‘Eastertide Offensive,’ it dropped all pretense of guerrilla war. Instead, it was a three-pronged multidivision NVA cross-border invasion, well supported by tanks and heavy artillery. General Giap committed six NVA divisions to the attack in I Corps in the northern portion of South Vietnam. Another three NVA divisions were ordered to strike in II Corps in central South Vietnam, and yet another NVA/VC three-division force would attack in III Corps north of Saigon.

By the second day of Nguyen Hue, the situation along the DMZ was critical. The general confusion and the tendency of the ARVN field commanders to downplay their bad fortune led both South Vietnamese and U.S. senior military officials in Saigon initially to dismiss the invasion across the DMZ as a diversionary attack and to believe that the real thrust of the anticipated North Vietnamese offensive would occur in the Central Highlands farther south.


The lack of South Vietnamese aggressiveness up to this point produced a lull on the battlefield, allowing the NVA to reorganize their forces and replace the heavy losses they had sustained from U.S. airstrikes. The NVA took advantage of the bad flying weather to strike when tactical airpower would be least effective. Following an artillery and mortar barrage, the North Vietnamese took Dong Ha on April 28, forcing the South Vietnamese defenders to retreat into the Quang Tri citadel. There, the ARVN continued their defensive actions while airmen took advantage of clearing skies to mount concentrated airstrikes — as many as 200 sorties per day.

The next day, the equivalent of four NVA divisions mounted their final advance on Quang Tri. In the face of massive artillery attacks (over 4,500 rounds fell on the city in one day) and tank-supported infantry attacks, the South Vietnamese defenders broke and ran, leaving substantial quantities of weapons and supplies intact. The green 56th Regiment surrendered to the Communists, forcing its two American advisers to make their escape by helicopter.

While allied tactical air pounded the NVA positions to great effect, the South Vietnamese forces, led by a proven commander, General Ngo Quang Troung, reorganized around Hue and launched several successful spoiling attacks against Communist forces poised to move on the old capital city. The North Vietnamese did make several drives on Hue in later May, the most notable taking place on May 29, but it failed when the South Vietnamese, though outnumbered, pushed the North Vietnamese back across the Perfume River. Unable to take Hue, and reeling under the destructive weight of U.S. B-52 strikes, the North Vietnamese withdrew from their position in northern South Vietnam. On June 28, Troung’s forces advanced north and fought to take Quang Tri.

Meanwhile, the NVA had launched the second effort of their battle plan in II Corps in the Central Highlands. The NVA 320th Division, supported by tanks and anti-aircraft weapons, swept across the Laotian border and advanced on the city of Kontum, badly mauling the 22nd ARVN Division in the process. The 22nd Division was split between the Highlands and the coast, where it still had area security missions and was more or less chopped up in detail (i.e., defeated one unit at a time).

The first major drive on Kontum itself occurred on the morning of May 14. Battalion-sized units of NVA soldiers supported by two columns of tanks attacked from the north and northwest. South Vietnamese defenders, using hand-held anti-tank weapons and supported by fighter-bombers, were able to deal with the tanks and held their ground. Similar attacks were launched and subsequently broken up by the Kontum defenders and by U.S. and South Vietnamese air power over the next several days. Of particular help against the North Vietnamese tanks was the introduction of the TOW (tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) anti-tank missile. These missiles, launched from U.S. Army helicopters and guided to their targets by the pilots, gave the allies a great advantage by being able to pick off the NVA tanks as they moved in to attack. Of the first 101 firings, 89 scored direct hits on enemy tanks and trucks. Through June 12, the U.S. Army claimed 26 tank kills by the helicopter-launched missiles, including at least 11 T-54s in the Kontum area.

The third prong of the NVA attack began on April 2, as the enemy 5th Division, composed of both Viet Cong and NVA units, rolled into northern Tay Ninh province in III Corps and attacked the fire support base at Lac Long. Within two days the Communists had effective control of key positions in the province and were able to direct their attention to their main objectives, the towns and airfields in Loc Ninh, An Loc and Quan Loi, along with positions astride Highway 13, the main highway connecting the region with Saigon. As elsewhere, the Communists? main objectives were to establish a regional government and to better position themselves for subsequent ‘peace’ talks. The city of Loc Ninh, located close to the Cambodian border, fell within a couple of days and subsequently became the capital of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (PRGSVN), a distinction it held until it was disbanded by the North Vietnamese after the war.

Supported by U.S. B-52 airstrikes and U.S. and South Vietnamese tactical airstrikes, the defenders at An Loc were able to hold out as American air power effectively broke up the NVA troop concentrations around the city. A captured letter, handwritten by the political commissar of the NVA’s 9th Division to his higher headquarters, reported that the allied tactical air and B-52 strikes had been unbelievably devastating. Finally, the Communist forces lifted their siege on July 11 and withdrew to their base areas in Cambodia.

For the United States, and especially for President Richard Nixon, the invasion could not have come at a worse time. Enjoying foreign policy successes abroad but a shaky economy at home, the president would just as soon not have had to deal with the Vietnam issue. Politically, as General Giap had foreseen, it was impossible to reintroduce sufficient U.S. combat troops to stem the NVA drive. The major U.S. contribution to the South Vietnamese effort, besides political and materiel support, would be fire support in the form of naval gunfire from U.S ships off the Vietnamese coast and, most important, airpower.

The diminishing U.S. role in the Vietnam War during this period of Vietnamization had left U.S. air assets at a fraction of their past strength in Southeast Asia. Before the offensive started, three squadrons of F-4 fighter-bombers and a single squadron of A-37 attack aircraft made up the U.S. Air Force’s presence in Vietnam, a total of 76 planes. United States Navy and Marine aviation assets located in-country and off the coast of Vietnam augmented this total.

With his reputation and his policy of Vietnamization at stake, Nixon implemented a massive buildup of airpower in Southeast Asia and a broadening of the eligible targets. On April 6, U.S. fighter-bombers raided military targets 100 kilometers north of the demilitarized zone. As the available air assets made their strikes both in support of the beleaguered ARVN units and against targets in North Vietnam, squadrons of U.S. military aircraft redeployed from their bases in Japan, Korea, the Philippines and the U.S. mainland. Simultaneously, more aircraft carriers steamed toward Vietnam to join the two already on station there, until by late spring there were six aircraft carriers, each with approximately 90 craft, operating off the coast.

U.S. tactical airpower was stemming the tide of the Communist invasion, but it was not turning it back. While the ARVN ground forces were holding, they were in no shape to drive the NVA from South Vietnam. If the United States was going to stop North Vietnam, it would have to greatly increase its pressure. Instead of concentrating on the tactical situation on the battlefield, the United States would have to hit the North on a strategic scale.


Cutting rail and communication lines and interdicting land-based supplies was accomplished to much greater effect than during attempts earlier in the war. This was due mainly to the introduction of precision-guided munitions, commonly referred to in the press as smart bombs.’ These weapons, dropped from aircraft and then guided to their target by the pilot using either television or lasers, allowed a pinpoint accuracy never before enjoyed on the battlefield. Key targets previously restricted because of their proximity to foreign borders or civilian areas could now be attacked.

The Soviet-built Lang Chi hydroelectric plant, located 63 miles northwest of Hanoi on the Red River, was capable of supplying up to 75 percent of Hanoi’s electricity, but breaching its dam could drown as many as 23,000 civilians. On June 10, F-4 laser bombers put 12 Mk .84s through the 50-by-100-foot roof of the main building, destroying the plant’s turbines and generators without putting a crack in the dam.

Stiff South Vietnamese defenses at An Loc and Kontum, a spirited counterattack around Quang Tri, and the crippling effect of U.S. airpower brought the offensive to a standstill by early summer. The North Vietnamese abandoned their sieges of Kontum and An Loc by mid-June. In September, South Vietnamese forces were able to recapture the remnants of the city of Quang Tri from a token Communist force. In the end, the North Vietnamese forces were able to hold on to only two district towns, Loc Ninh and Dong Ha.

The invasion of 1972 saw the first enemy use of massed armor coordinated with infantry and artillery in a fashion that the American generals, trained in European-style mechanized warfare, would be quite familiar with. In fact, the overt invasion by the North proved to be the opportunity that American military and planners had long dreamed of: to lure the elusive Communists into the open in a conventional, setpiece battle. Only in this type of conflict could the United States’ huge advantage in firepower and mobility be effectively exploited.

The North Vietnamese had a big battlefield edge over the South because of their artillery. The North Vietnamese deployed three regiments of artillery totaling several hundred guns to go along with the equivalent of two tank regiments and 17 infantry regiments. The Soviet-made 130mm cannon could do much damage. It had an effective standoff range of 27,500 meters and could outgun practically every artillery piece in both the U.S. and U.S.-equipped South Vietnamese armies.

In terms of equipment, the South Vietnamese were equivalent, if in some areas not superior, to their brothers in the North. The major problem that ARVN suffered from was leadership, especially at the higher levels. Too often during the battle, as well as throughout the war, the battalion, regimental and divisional commanders suffered from indecision at crucial moments. The field commanders also exhibited a lack of aggressiveness and initiative on the battlefield, preferring to let U.S. and South Vietnamese air power take on enemy forces rather than engage them themselves.

The Vietnamese extreme concern with saving face’ also contributed to their unwillingness to take chances or to take personal responsibility for their actions. This belief probably contributed to the early successes of the North Vietnamese since the ARVN leadership was reluctant to report the reality of the situation.

This poor leadership translated directly into poor morale among the front-line soldiers who would have to fight and die if the South Vietnamese forces would turn back the invaders. Despite that disadvantage, however, in the end the ARVN, encouraged by the presence of U.S. air support, held.

As the offensive petered out, the North Vietnam government and military had to take stock of what their effort had won them and what it had cost them. Analysts estimate that between 50,000 and 75,000 NVA died as a result of Operation Nguyen Hue. Many more were wounded, and massive materiel losses included more than 700 tanks.  The ARVN suffered~10,000 killed, 33,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Monday Music "IronMan" by Black Sabbath

   Man the meme is still rolling along.....

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, turn on the water irrigation system and fill it with gasoline instead of water 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 "Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lord, This one was suggested by a reader "Glypto Dropem"  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 rather than working for an agency that have the initials of a convenience store.  I was thinking of this song would be good for one of the alphabet agencies knocking and we have the attitude of "IronMan" because we ain't gonna answer that door.  They can kick it in and start "the Dance" 

     I am Rolling with "Ironman because "Gerry" one of my readers suggested it.

"Iron Man" is a song written and performed by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released on their 1970 album Paranoid. The lyrics tell the story of a man who time travels into the future and sees the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present he is turned into steel by a magnetic field, and his attempts to warn the public are ignored and mocked. Feeling shunned and alone, Iron Man plans his revenge on mankind, causing the apocalypse seen in his vision.

Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking about". The title became "Iron Man", with Geezer Butler writing the lyrics around the title. Osbourne sang behind a metal fan to get the sound effect in its first line, 'I am Iron Man!'. Despite the title, the song has no connection to the Marvel Comics character of the same name, although it was used in the end credits of the 2008 movie Iron Man, and the trailer for the 2010 sequel, Iron Man 2. The character Tony Starkalter-ego of Iron Man, also wears a Black Sabbath t-shirt in the 2012 film The Avengers.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

My Self Defense Story (Reposted)

 I had originally posted this back in January of last year and I thought it was worthy of repost due to the subject matter.

I got this idea from ""Mysterious Blogger"(LOL), a fellow blogger that Hangs out at his blog at 75 Million Pissed Off Patriots,   he had another blog that had to "vanish" due to butthurt lefties so he totally revamped himself.  Don't research him, just enjoy the blog, it is a good blog and on my blogroll.  He had talked about his self defense story.  The first time I had to "display" a gun to frighten off a potential Threat was in the early 90's.  I was a manager at Domino's Pizza in a town the next county over where I live at now.  A bit of background, when I got out of the service in 1991, I got a job with Kawneer as a door fabricator.  You look at the bottom center of the door, if it is a metal door, usually with glass and what not, but it will have a label that looks kinda like this:

I kept my license plate from my first F150, I snagged the logo during a break.  Well anyway, I was working Kawneer and there was a job slowdown and the entire 2nd shift was laid off.  I was pissed, we did 2 times the work as first shift, but they were union and we were not, we got the axe.  Well I had started working at Domino's Pizza as a driver and was offered a management job.  I got transferred to the store in another county because they needed an assistant manager and off I went.  Well shortly after I got there someone broke into my 1991 F150 and stole my Springfield govt model .45.  I had used it in single stack competitions in Europe.  I was pissed off, that was a good 45 and I still know the serial number.  Well for months afterward I had visions of walking out of the store and seeing the other end of my .45.  I had bought the 45 and my Ruger P89 at the Nellingen Rod and Gun Club in Germany.  Well since then I had a habit of keeping my P89 in the store with me, yes it was in violation of Company policy but I didn't care.  Well one day I had just closed the store and there was a tapping on the glass and there was one of my drivers. he was still in uniform his name was "Gus", well "Gus" was a driver that was drawing disability from the VA for having mental issues. The Store manager had hired him, we were hard up for drivers and he seemed to be ok.   well I let him in and locked the door as he came into the store while I went back to the office to close out the daily report and count the till.  Well when I sat down, I habitually took the Ruger off the desk and sat on it with the butt sticking out.  Well the driver "Gus" came into the office as I was finishing the paperwork for the day and started counting the money to go into the moneybag.  Well "Gus" was talking needing money to buy "some company" if you know what I mean, apparently he knew of a person that sold affection by the hour.  Well he was talking about getting money and visiting her, while I was counting down.  He commented that he was broke and needed some money and I commented while I was counting,"Man I can't help you, I am broke until payday."  He then pointed to the cash I was counting down and commented"What about that?" and I replied calmly..."Naaa.......That belongs to the store,"..By this time I seriously regretted letting "Gus" in to the store, I was picking up some bad vibes from him.  As he kept talking I glanced up at the shelf above my desk and looked at the "HSPP" book, it is "Hourly Sales and Payroll Percentages".  It tracks the sales from the same period last year, it is a tool used by the manager to get a rough draft for labor and sales to plan the schedule and the food.  I recall a year before where a store off Old National Hwy in Atlanta where a manager had his head bashed in with a bat by a driver who proceeded to take the till and when they found him the next day, he had smoked it away in a crack house. but the blood spatters were on the HSPP book so when the store staff got the figures, they had to deal with the dried blood spatters.  Well I was getting the "Deja vu" feeling.  I still acted calm closed up the bank bag and picked up the clipboard where I was putting the daily figures, you know the daily sales, the food percentage and the labor percentage for the day and how they impacted the weekly and monthly figures. We called it the "Daily Keys"  I proceeded to stand up, pick up the Ruger P89...

from the chair and put the pistol under the clipboard as I carried the clipboard to the data entry station outside the office and proceeded to enter the "Keys".  Well "Gus" saw the pistol and freaked out, and yelled "What are you doing with a Pistol??!"  I replied as I was entering keys "The pistol is there in case someone tries to rob me when I go to the bank  after I leave the store.."  He ran out of the store.  I quickly followed and locked the door after he left.  I then went over and sat down and knew that I was very lucky, Sure "Gus" didn't physically touch me, but I am convinced that if I didn't have the pistol, "Gus" would have attacked me to get to the store receipts.  and with him being taller than I am and crazy, I have severe doubts on how I would fare in a physical assault.  I stayed in the office for a couple of hours before I left and yes the pistol was in my hand when I locked up the store and headed to the bank and home.  "Gus" came back for his regularly scheduled shift but he avoided me after that and quit a couple of weeks later.  Well the Ruger, I had to sell her a couple of years later to pay some bills.  I regretted doing so but I was desperate to bring in some money.  This was the salad days for me and the soon to be spousal unit.    Even today, I still count myself as fortunate from that incident, it could have gone pear shaped in a hurry, and I was lucky.  I kept analyzing what did I do wrong, well what I did wrong was let him into the store, but in my defense I have done that in the past with other drivers and the company was nice while I closed the store.  I have had to pull a Pistol 3 more times doing pizza stuff this happened after my Ford Assy plant closed down,  I quit when I got my job with my present employer.   After my Ford Assy plant closed down, I delivered Pizza to keep the "Wolf at bay" until I found another "Real Job".   I believed that the law of averages would be against me and eventually I would have to shoot someone to defend my life, every one of my robbery attempts were not in the hood, not in the apartment complexes, not in the trailer parks, they were in the middle class homes that had a lot of section "8" vouchers, you know when you deliver to the house and they have the flashy cars, and TV's, but using lawn furniture inside the house and they don't tip, certain neighborhoods, the houses were rented out because nobody was buying, this was during the 2006/2009 housing recession.  I guess the kids wanted to be like their fellow homies in the hood and boost the "pizza boy" for quick cash, food and "street cred". Well "Pizza boy" carried and was going home to his wife and kid.  And as soon as my present employer hired me, I gave 2 weeks notice. As much as I hated the delivery business, I never burn a bridge.    I didn't enjoy the pizza delivery business anymore and the customers were changing.  Way back when I delivered for the first time in 1985, if you were robbed, they just took the pizza, but in this day and age, they would rob you, take your car and kill you just for street cred.  Smart crooks won't bother pizza drivers because we habitually don't carry a lot of cash, but kids are stupid and impulsive.   I never had to fire my private weapons in defense of my life and I am glad.  But I also am glad that I had the pistols when I did because things could have turned out differently.  Yes I tip delivery drivers exceedingly well because I have been there.   

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Cuban Missile Crisis, Premier Khrushchev Last Bluff

 I have a book in my collection called The Pentovsky Papers , In this book the person had a low opinion of Nikita Khrushchev, as I recall it, he used the words "Wore the uniform as a potato sack".  Nikita Khrushchev was sent to Stalingrad where Colonel Penkovsky was a Lt of mortermen at the time and Khrushchev was a political commissar who enforced  Stalins order Order Number 227 of "no Retreat" and was quite brutal about it according to Lt Pentovsky.  

On a routine U-2 reconnaissance flight over Cuba, to see what sort of mischief Fidel Castro was up to, the plane’s cameras caught images of the construction of missile launch pads for offensive missiles.

In October of 1962, the world held its breath as two nuclear superpowers squared off. Was this going to be the beginning of World War three and a nuclear nightmare? Did Khrushchev really have the nuclear capability that Tass claimed he had, or was it just a bluff? Fortunately, through many backdoor meetings, the issue was resolved without a missile being launched.

There have been many books, articles and narratives that have been written that describe the events and the backdoor negotiations that resolved the issue. What was at issue was that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev feared that the United States had a commanding arsenal of nuclear tipped missiles aimed at the Soviet Union. To even the odds Khrushchev developed a plan to place Soviet offensive missiles and technical support soldiers in Cuba.

The ships that brought the weapons and support equipment carried false shipping documents of the cargo they carried which enable the Soviet and Cuban soldiers to get a jump start that would have in place alongside their defensive missiles offensive missiles all aimed at the United States.

Through many backdoor communications between Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, an agreement was forged to remove the Soviet missiles from Cuba and the United States at some future date would remove the 30 Jupiter-C missiles from Italy and the 15 Jupiter-C missiles from Turkey.

Khrushchev appeared too easily to back down and give up an advantage he supposedly had. If the Soviet Union was producing nuclear tipped missiles “like sausages” then he should have had a better bargaining chip. Only a few weeks earlier Tass reported that the Soviet Union had sufficient powerful rockets carrying nuclear warheads based within the Soviet Union that it did not need to search for sites beyond their borders. If the Soviet Union had such nuclear capability why did Khrushchev back down?

Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev(1936)

During World War Two, Joseph Stalin was anxious to get his hands on western weapons technology. His numerous T-34 tanks were winning the battlefield. But in aircraft the West’s technology was leaving the Soviet Union far behind. The incident that gave him any hope to catching up with western technology was the arrival of three B-29 bombers that had diverted to Vladivostok because of battle damage after a raid on Japan. Here was the golden opportunity to reverse engineer the planes and create the Soviet Union’s own version.

The first flight of the Tupolev TU-4 was on May 19, 1947. While Stalin now had a heavy bomber to carry the nuclear weapons that were being developed, he was still far behind the curve. The United States rolled out the massive intercontinental heavy bomber, the XB-36, on September 8, 1945. First flight was August 8, 1946, about ten months before the TU-4 flew. And while the TU-4 would have been classified as a heavy bomber in World War Two, its normal bomb load was usually 6 – 2205 lbs (13,230 lbs.) general-purpose bombs. In comparison the B-36 bomb load was 76,000 pounds. Stalin had a bomber that could possibly dominate Western Europe, but the TU-4 was becoming obsolete in comparison to the B-36. And any bombing mission against the United States would be a one-way trip since the TU-4 did not have the fuel capacity for a round trip and the Soviet Union did not have a long-range fighter escort to protect the bombers from American defensive fighters. The vaunted Mig-15 was a short-range defensive fighter only.

More ominous was the all jet powered XB-47, which rolled out of the factory on September 12, 1947, with its maiden flight on December 17, 1947, just 7 months after the first flight of the TU-4. Beginning in 1953 the reconnaissance version RB-47B’s routinely overflew western Soviet airspace taking pictures of airfields and other military installations. Also Great Britain’s Royal Air Force would routinely “borrow” thèse reconnaissance planes for its flights over the western territories of the Soviet Union as far as Moscow. At first these flights were uncontested, since the Soviet Air Force’s Mig-15 could not operate effectively at the higher altitudes. However, with the appearance of the Mig-17 in 1953, the Soviet Air Force could operate at such altitudes and routinely shot at and even downed an RB-47.

With Stalin’s death in March of 1953, Nikita Khrushchev came to power. The West knew very little about Khrushchev other than he was short, portly and wore ill-fitting suits. Likewise, Khrushchev knew very little about the United States and President Eisenhower.

His first face-to-face meeting with a representative of the American government was on July 24, 1959 at an exhibit put on by the American Consulate in Moscow, on the modern American Kitchen. There he squared off against Vice President Richard Nixon. In the ensuing “The Great Kitchen Debate”, Khrushchev and Nixon discussed the relative merits of America’s technology to create a modern kitchen, which would ease the burden on American housewives. Khrushchev countered by saying that the Soviet kitchens were built to last and don’t need to be continuously upgraded.

His second meeting was in September 15 – 27, 1959, when he invited himself and his son, Sergei, to visit the United States and meet with President Eisenhower. While in America, he was again escorted by Richard Nixon. While he was able to visit Hollywood (but not Disneyland) and would have loved to tour a defense plant, his greatest discoveries were at Iowa State University test farms. There he saw professors working directly with farmers to improve their crops. His attempt to create a similar program in the Soviet Union failed due to the professors wanting to stay at their desks in the comfort of the universities and not go into the field and get their hands dirty working with the farmers.

With John F. Kennedy’s defeat of Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential race, Khrushchev now had to become familiar with a new president.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into orbit around the earth. This was the first manmade object to be placed into orbit around the earth. Khrushchev hailed this as the technological superiority of the Soviet Union over the United States. He followed up Sputnik 1 with Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

America’s answer to Sputnik 1 was spectacular launch failures of the US Navy’s Vanguard on December 6, 1957 and on February 5, 1958. The Vanguard rocket was developed from a research rocket giving the illusion that the satellite was to be used for peaceful purposes. With the Navy’s failure to launch Vanguard into orbit President Eisenhower authorized the US Army to use the Redstone/Jupiter-C missile to launch Explorer 1 into orbit on January 31, 1958. Finally, Vanguard made a successful launch on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1958. Vanguard has the last laugh since it was able to transmit data for 5 years and is still in orbit while the Sputniks and Explorers have long since burned up upon re-entry into the atmosphere.

In a further embarrassment to the United States, the Soviet Union using an R-7 missile launched Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into earth orbit on April 12, 1961. Once again Khrushchev proved to the world the technological lead the Soviet Union had over the United States.

In response to these Soviet achievements the fear of a missile gap existed between the United States and the Soviet Union. President Eisenhower convened a committee chaired by Ford Foundation Chairman H. Rowan Gaither. The Gaither Report of November 7, 1957, stated that the United States was in danger of falling behind the Soviet Union and suggested that the United States begin a massive investment in strategic weapons, early warning radars ands civil defense measures. The report stated that the Soviet Union “will probably achieve a significant ICBM delivery capability with megaton warheads by 1959”.

A CIA document “Special National Intelligence Estimate, Number 11-10-57, The Soviet ICBM Production” estimated that the Soviet Union would have at least ten ICBMs available between mid-1958 to mid-1959, with 100 more ICBMs by 1960 or 1961 with 500 available by 1962. In comparison by the end of 1960 the United States had 97 Atlas Missiles, 54 Titan 1 missiles, and 30 Snark missiles deployed.

Soviet Missiles

The missiles available to Khrushchev were the R-7 (SS-6, Sapwood), R-12 (SS-4, Sandal) and the R-14 (SS-5, Skean). Only the R-7 could be based in the Soviet Union. The R-12 and R14 were intermediate range ballistic missiles and were to be based in Cuba.

R-7 Missile (SS-6 Sapwood)

The R-7 missile was a first generation ballistic missile. It had a range of approximately 9,000 miles and could carry a 3-5 megaton nuclear warhead. As a first generation missile, it took 22-24 hours to prep a cold missile before it could be fired. Because of the caustic nature of its fuel, it could only be held on the launch pad for 24 hours. After 24 hours the missile would have to be refurbished mostly with new seals that were damaged by the caustic nature of the fuel. If an attempt were made to launch a missile that had been sitting on the launch pad longer than 24 hours there would be a good chance of a spectacular failure, contaminating the area with nuclear materials from the warhead.

Sources differ on the number of launch pads available to launch an attack against the United States. Thirty launch pads were planned but only 5 were ever constructed.

R-12 (SS-4 Sandal) and R-14 (SS-5 Skean) Missiles

The R-12 and R-14 were liquid fueled, intermediate range, ballistic missiles. They had a range of 1200 miles for the R-12 and 2700 miles for the R-14. The R-12 carried a one-megaton warhead and the R-14 a two-megaton warhead. It took one to three hours to prep a cold missile. These missiles based in Cuba could target almost anywhere in the United States. Forty launchers were planned – 24 for the R-12 and 16 for the R-14. These missiles, so close to home, posed a real threat to the United States.

United States Missiles

The missiles available to the United States were the Jupiter-C, Thor, Atlas, Titan and Polaris. The SM-62 Snark had been removed from service.

SM-78 Jupiter-C Missile

The Jupiter-C missile was a liquid fueled, intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of about 1850 miles carrying a one-megaton nuclear warhead. The missiles were somewhat portable in that it was possible to move to them to different prepared sites. There were 15 of these missiles deployed in Turkey and 30 were deployed in Italy.

SM-75 Thor Missile

Like the Jupiter-C missile the Thor missile was a liquid fueled intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of about 2000 miles. It carried a 1.44-megaton warhead. Under Project Emily, 84 of these missiles were based at Royal Air Force bases in Great Britain in semi harden sites. These missiles could be launched in 15 minutes. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, 59 missiles were ready to be launched by Royal Air Force crews.

SM-65 Atlas Missile

The Atlas missile was America’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, a slightly improved first generation missile over the Russian R-7. It was liquid fueled and had a range of 5500 miles carrying a nuclear warhead. It was stored in a semi protective coffin and the last models could be ready to be raised and fired in 15 minutes. There were 139 Atlas missiles available.

SM-68A Titan 1 Missile

The Titan 1 missile was America’s second intercontinental ballistic missile. It was built as a backup to the Atlas missile and like the Atlas it was liquid fueled and had a range of 5500 miles with a nuclear warhead. It was housed in an underground silo, but had to be raised to the surface to launch. During the Cuban Missile Crisis there were 45 Titan 1 missiles aimed at the Soviet Union.

UGM-27 Polaris Missile

The UGM-27 Polaris missile was a submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missile. This was a second-generation ballistic missile. It used solid fuel making it safer to handle and did not need to be fueled prior to launch. It had a range of 1000 miles and carried a 600-kiloton nuclear warhead. One notable characteristic of the missile was that it could be launched while the submarine was submerged. Sixteen missiles were carried in specially built submarines of the George Washington class. There were five submarines in this class

The Polaris A1 missile was succeeded by the Polaris A2 missile, similar to the A1 but with a range of 1500 miles. Sixteen of these missiles were carried in the new Ethan Allen class submarines. At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis four of these submarines were available.

These submarines could hide anywhere in the vast oceans. There were a total of 144 Polaris missiles available.

Soviet Union: 45 (not all deployed)

United States (and Great Britain) 432

Perhaps this was the major reason he chose to end the crisis. Khrushchev was trying to bluff Kennedy and the world but had to back down due to the simple fact he did not have sufficient missiles that could target North America versus the massive firepower that could be brought to bear against the Soviet Union. His earlier bluffs and posturing gave the world an image of the Soviet Union’s over whelming technology lead over the United States and Western Europe. But when Kennedy called his bluff he had to back down.

Within two years, Khrushchev was out of power, when on October 14, 1964, the Presidium and the Central Committee each voted to accept Khrushchev’s “voluntary “ retirement from his offices. Brezhnev was elected First Secretary