Category Archives: History

M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer on an M8 Carriage in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary

One of the things I wanted to do for a long time is start taking photos of war memorials and the hardware that is often there. In the Battle Creek, MI, Memorial cemetery is this M1A1 75mm pack howitzer with an M8 carriage.

My dad always told me was a pack howitzer and I never really ask him what that meant other than him telling me it was mobile. In Reading, it is interesting because it was to be carried by 7 mules if necessary as well as dropped out of airplanes via 9 parachute loads or whatever the case may be. In short, it would break down into component parts and could be packed somewhere. At 1,436 pounds, it weighed a fair amount when assembled.

As you can see in the next photo of the howitzer’s breach area, it is an M1A1 made by General Electric in 1943. 2,592 pack howitzers were made that year. I find it interesting that they designated that it could be used with the M2 and M3 vehicle mounts as well as in the pack configuration.

The M1A1 had a modified breach block and breach ring.

M8 Carriage

The M8 carriage configuration gave it pneumatic rubber tires as opposed to the original wood spoke with metal rim wheels.

There are welds all over the unit to demil it

The above photo is of the Hannifin Manufacturing plaque on the carriage. You can see the welds they did – they went to great lengths to make it inert.

Here are some photos of the muzzle end – the rifling is still there.

Here are a few more photos:

I was pleased to see it was still in fairly good shape. The howitzer is up on metal blocks so the tires aren’t bearing the load. The flag, Old Glory monument and the howitzer make for a nice combination to reflect.


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The Things Our Fathers Saw: The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA-Voices of the Pacific Theater (Paperback)

The telephone rings on the hospital floor, and they tell you it is your mother, the phone call you have been dreading. You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away.

— ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn’t talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran

~From the author of ‘The Things Our Fathers Saw’ World War II eyewitness history series~
How soon we forget. Or perhaps, we were never told. That is understandable, given what they saw.

— ‘I was talking to a shipmate of mine waiting for the motor launch, and all at once I saw a plane go over our ship. I did not know what it was, but the fellow with me said, ‘That’s a Jap plane, Jesus!’ It went down and dropped a torpedo. Then I saw the Utah turn over.’ ~Barney Ross, U.S. Navy seaman, Pearl Harbor

At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracks down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay. 

— ‘Rage is instantaneous. He’s looking at me from a crawling position. I didn’t shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal

These are the stories that the magazine could not tell to the American public.

— ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, ‘I think we’re getting hit with a banzai. We’re going to have to pull back. ‘Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan

By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation, when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask.

— ‘I hope you’ll never have to tell a story like this, when you get to be 87. I hope you’ll never have to do it.’ ~Ralph Leinoff, Marine veteran Iwo Jima, to his teenage interviewer

This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed.

— ‘After 3½ years of starvation and brutal treatment, that beautiful symbol of freedom once more flies over our head! Our POW camp tailor worked all night and finished our first American flag! The blue came from a GI barracks bag, red from a Jap comforter and the white from an Australian bed sheet. When I came out of the barracks and saw those beautiful colors for the first time, I felt like crying!’~Joe Minder, U.S. Army POW, Japan,1945

As we forge ahead as a nation, we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for.

Featuring over a dozen custom maps and never-before published veteran portraits. Extended notes and website.


By (author): Mr. Matthew A. Rozell

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Old Glory – I Am The Star Spangled Banner…

My parents are buried in the Battle Creek Memorial Park cemetary. During our last visit, we stopped by the veterans memorial. On a boulder by the American flag is this plaque:



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Eyewitness to World War II: Unforgettable Stories and Photographs From History’s Greatest Conflict (Hardcover)

The unforgettable story of World War II is told through the words of those who lived it—America’s greatest generation—both on the battlefield and the home front. Personal writings create a dramatic tapestry of wartime experience, and recollections of Roosevelt, Hitler, and Patton, as well as letters composed by soldiers at battle and diaries of women serving in the military at home, present an absorbing narrative that tells the entire history of the war from several perspectives. Hundreds of images capture fateful moments of triumph and defeat that defined the era, including rare photographs and artifacts, many never-before-seen from private collections that are placed in context with more famous photographs from the period. More than 20 authoritative National Geographic maps detail military movements and decisive battles in the European and Pacific theaters of war. These incredible, first-person stories, amazing moments of heroism, compelling imagery, and illuminating maps bring the entire history of World War II to life in vivid detail.

Features: National Geographic Society
By (author): Stephen Hyslop

List Price: $40.00 USD
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Learn About The Type 2 Soviet AK-47 – Forgotten Weapons Video

It’s interesting that we hold the AK-47 in near mythic regard when it comes to reliability.  It took almost 12 years from 1947 to the release of the AKM (Avtomát Kaláshnikova modernizírovanny or  “Modernized Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle”) in 1959.  The journey the design team made over the years is quite interesting.

I did a post on the Type 1 previously (click here to open it) and that first iteration had problems with the stamped sheet metal receiver that affected reliability.  In response, Valeriy Kharkov lead a design team who created a milled receiver from a forging to address the reliability problems and it was ready by 1949.

The Soviets had plenty of labor, that wasn’t a problem so in a manually intensive manner, they machined a six pound block of steel that required 120 steps into a finished 1.4 pound receiver.  That means they wasted almost 3.6 pounds of quality steel and used a ton of consumables and machine time.  To be honest, it boggles my mind but they accomplished their mission – the QC problems with the receiver were addressed.

In the following video, Ian McCollum does a great job showing a type 2  and describing the differences between it, the type 1 and the following type 3.   For example, he points out the rear receiver extension that is made from sheet metal that is an instant identifier of a Type 2 fixed stock rifle (sometimes referred to as the “2A”).  Note, they made the type 2 with an underfolder stock also (the “2B”).

Another tell is that the lightening cuts are parallel to the top of the receiver in the type 2 and in the type 3 they are parallel to the bottom.

There are quite a few other changes such as the grip now being a single piece, the selector lever having an additional clearance added above the pins, gas vent holes moved to 10 and 2 o-clock and more.

By the way, one thing Ian does is refer to it as the AK-49 and I have never read anything that supports that nomenclature.  If you Google AK-49, nothing turns up.  I would recommend you refer to it as an AK-47 Type 2.  Other than that, I think it is a great video and you can actually see the many details as Ian points them out:

If you want to read a book that does a great job detailing the Type 2 and its history, I would recommend The Grim Reaper by Frank Iannamico.  Poyer’s book has details but not as much history.


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AK-47: The Grim Reaper (Hardcover)

It’s back…but this time with more pages, more information and more photographs. The most definitive study on Kalashnikov pattern rifles to date boasts over 1,100 printed pages covering the AK rifle, as well as its variants manufactured in over 19 countries.

By (author): Frank Iannamico

List Price: $69.95 USD
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Learn About The Original Type 1 Soviet AK-47 – Forgotten Weapons Video

Ian McCollum does a great job showing an actual Soviet Type 1 sheet metal AK-47.   I’ve read about the Type and seen a few photos but nothing as detailed as this.  We so often focus on the AKM but Mikhail Kalashnikov and his design team at Izhevsk had to go through a lot of learning and evolution of the design.

For me this was absolutely fascinating as Ian talks about the Type 1’s history and QC problems this early design had and then actually opens the rifle up to show the many differences.

  • Grip plates vs a true grip
  • No center support to keep the receiver from getting crushed
  • A selector lever that was only on the operating side that did not go all the way through
  • Longer trunnion
  • Ejector was part of the trunnion
  • Different rivet pattern
  • Fluted gas piston
  • and more

If you like AK’s, be sure to watch this video:

Also, consider donating to Ian.  He puts a ton of time into his videos and the research required.  Here’s a link to his Patreon page.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 


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The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations (Perfect Paperback)

The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations provides a detailed, profusely illustrated examination on a part-by-part basis of the famed AK-47/AKM rifles, the AK-74/AK-74M series and the new Century series of rifles, the AK-101 through AK-108.

It is another in North Cape Publications, Inc., Shooter’s and Collector’s Guide series.

Every AK/AKM-type rifle manufactured in the Warsaw Pact countries plus the People’s Republic of China, Finland, Iraq, North Korea and Yugoslavia are described in detail, with a short history on the reason for, and the process of their development and use.

This new, 4th edition is expanded to include he latest developments in the AK47/AK74 platform including the Century series and the AK12. Also included is new information regarding the scope and use the Kalashnikov series of rifles plus information gleaned from the use of the AK-47 in Iraq and Afghanistan by insurgents.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of the foremost small arms designer’s in the world. His Kalashnikov action has been widely imitated. This book also includes detailed descriptions of rifles based on his design such as the Belgian FNC, the Israeli Galil, the Indonesian SS1 series, the Indian INAS, the Swedish Ak-5, the Swiss SG-550 series, Singapore’s SAR series and many others.

The book also includes separate chapters that describe the accessaries issued to each soldier, the entire range of Kalashnikov bayonets, telescopic sights (both military and commercial, the sniper rifle variants and their telescopic sights produced by the old Soviet Union as well as other nations. An exploded view, serial numbers and markings, an assembly/disassembly guide with photos, instructions on cleaning, maintenance and repair, and shooting the Kalashnikov rifles and a guide to legislation affecting these rifles and finally, sources for accessories and parts complete the book.


Features: This book contains the most complete and up-to-date examination of the famed Kalashnikov rifle yet t
By (author): Joe Poyer

List Price: $22.95 USD
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Videos: Two Good Documentaries on The History of the Israeli Uzi

As part of my research into the iconic Israeli Uzi, I found these two videos that do a very nice job providing background on the political climate driving the need for the Uzi.  These videos also then provide insight into the design and operation of the weapon.  By the way, these days I have signed up for Youtube Red so I can download videos and watch them even when I do not have an Internet connection.

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

 

The UZI Submachine Gun Examined (Hardcover)

Although universally recognized, the history of this iconic weapon has gone largely undocumented — until now. Originally designed for the Israeli military by Uziel Gal, the UZI submachine gun has a colorful history that has reached around the globe. Using approximately 1,000 photos, this book examines the history and technical details of all the UZI variations, both military and civilian, from its initial design to the current models. Also included are original factory documents, model-by-model features, part variations, accessories and manuals.

By (author): David Gaboury

List Price: $49.95 USD
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The Best Book on the Israeli Uzi SMG and its Many Variants

I recently wrapped up building a semi-auto Israeli Uzi in 9mm.  At the start, I researched about this iconic submachine gun and guys kept mentioning that I should get the book “The Uzi Submachine Gun Examined” by David Gaboury.  I ordered a copy from Amazon and must say I was very impressed.

Mr. Gaboury does an exceptional job giving the reader the historical context of what was going on in Israel with its fight for independence, the plethora of firearms they were using and then search for a new submachine gun.  Of course, this culminated in the creation and evolution of the Uzi design by Uzi Gal.

From there he covers the evolution of the weapon with the Mini Uzi, the Uzi Carbine, Uzi Pistol/Micro Uzi, Ruger MP9 and the Uzi Pro.  The book was published in 2017 and its coverage is very current.

One thing I did not know was how widespread the adoption of the Uzi was and Mr. Gaboury provides coverage of its use in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, China and other countries.

He then covers a number of other topics in the book that I’ll skip for the sake of brevity.  For me, the last section of the book was very, very helpful where he provides significant detail on the weapon including:

  • Operation, Disassembly and Specifications
  • Parts Identification
  • Magazines
  • Accessories

Being new to Uzis, his coverage of the firing cycle, fire control group and how it all comes together in the grip frame (what some call the “grip stick”) was worth the price of the book all by itself.  For me, it was really the history and this last section the detailing of the operation and assembly that were hugely worthwhile.  I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the iconic Uzi.

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

 

The UZI Submachine Gun Examined (Hardcover)

Although universally recognized, the history of this iconic weapon has gone largely undocumented — until now. Originally designed for the Israeli military by Uziel Gal, the UZI submachine gun has a colorful history that has reached around the globe. Using approximately 1,000 photos, this book examines the history and technical details of all the UZI variations, both military and civilian, from its initial design to the current models. Also included are original factory documents, model-by-model features, part variations, accessories and manuals.

List Price: $49.95 USD
New From: $49.95 USD In Stock

Video: Процесс производства оружия на ВПМЗ Молот // Production process at the VPMZ MOLOT factory March 2017

     

Molot published this walk through of their production facility in March 2017.  It’s in Russian but with English subtitles.  It’s only 5:31 long and worth your time.  Yeah, I drooled when I saw the injection molding.

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 


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The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations (Perfect Paperback)

The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations provides a detailed, profusely illustrated examination on a part-by-part basis of the famed AK-47/AKM rifles, the AK-74/AK-74M series and the new Century series of rifles, the AK-101 through AK-108.

It is another in North Cape Publications, Inc., Shooter’s and Collector’s Guide series.

Every AK/AKM-type rifle manufactured in the Warsaw Pact countries plus the People’s Republic of China, Finland, Iraq, North Korea and Yugoslavia are described in detail, with a short history on the reason for, and the process of their development and use.

This new, 4th edition is expanded to include he latest developments in the AK47/AK74 platform including the Century series and the AK12. Also included is new information regarding the scope and use the Kalashnikov series of rifles plus information gleaned from the use of the AK-47 in Iraq and Afghanistan by insurgents.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of the foremost small arms designer’s in the world. His Kalashnikov action has been widely imitated. This book also includes detailed descriptions of rifles based on his design such as the Belgian FNC, the Israeli Galil, the Indonesian SS1 series, the Indian INAS, the Swedish Ak-5, the Swiss SG-550 series, Singapore’s SAR series and many others.

The book also includes separate chapters that describe the accessaries issued to each soldier, the entire range of Kalashnikov bayonets, telescopic sights (both military and commercial, the sniper rifle variants and their telescopic sights produced by the old Soviet Union as well as other nations. An exploded view, serial numbers and markings, an assembly/disassembly guide with photos, instructions on cleaning, maintenance and repair, and shooting the Kalashnikov rifles and a guide to legislation affecting these rifles and finally, sources for accessories and parts complete the book.


Features: This book contains the most complete and up-to-date examination of the famed Kalashnikov rifle yet t
By (author): Joe Poyer

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $22.95 USD In Stock
Used from: $16.85 USD In Stock

Video: Rare Weapons of Saddam’s Iraq 1979 to 2003 by jmantime

       

I like jmantime’s videos – lots of photos, organized and set to music.  He assemble this video around the weapons found in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign between 1979 and 2003.  The video ranges from Tariq handguns and Tabuk rifles all the way up through through tanks, the Babylon Gun, rocket launchers and so forth.  This video is only 14:39 video and worth the time given all that he has assembled.

I mainly focus on firearms:

  • Tariq 1, Semi-automatic pistol, 7.65x17mm
  • Tariq II, Semi-automatic pistol, 9x19mm
  • Tabuk, Assault RIfle, 7.62x39mm  [Their licensed version of the Yugo M70]
  • The Golden Tabuks they found in palaces
  • Tabuk, Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), 7.62x39mm
  • Al-Kadesih, Semi-automatic Marksman Rifle, 7.62x54R [Their version of the Dragunov]
  • AI-Quds, Light Machine Gun, 7.62x39mm [Their licensed version of the Yugo M72B1]

From there it covers tanks, self-propelled guns and so forth.  All in all, it’s a neat video with lots of photos that jmantime collected.


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We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein (Kindle Edition)

When U.S. forces exterminated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1, 2011, the world cheered not only the death of the 9/11 terrorist mastermind but the unmatched might, skill, and perseverance of America’s military elite. It was a brilliant example of history repeating itself in the most positive way; less than a decade earlier, the capture of Saddam Hussein, a triumph of military strategy in and of itself, opened the door for the most recent and essential victory in the War on Terror. Here is the riveting account of a grand human saga that tested every element of character and fortitude: the six-month manhunt that ended at a hole on the bank of the Tigris River, and the blow-by-blow plays of the actual raids that netted Saddam, culminating in the electrifying quote heard around the globe, “We Got Him!”

No other event in Operation Iraqi Freedom caught the attention of the world like the hunt for and capture of Saddam Hussein. Square in the middle of the search, living in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, were Lt. Col. Steve Russell and his men of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. Packed with rare photos and insider information, We Got Him! chronicles the day-by-day search and the successes and dead ends as regular and special-operations soldiers tore into Saddam’s social networks. This is the definitive account of this major historical event and of the sacrifice that made it happen. It also provides a rare look at the enemy side of the action. With his extensive journal notes, combat reports, and painstaking research, Steve Russell has preserved the story as only someone who lived the experience can do.

By (author): Steve Russell

List Price: Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

Video: Chinese Type 56 AK-57 (Shooting and History) by Forgotten Weapons

 

 

This is a cool review of an actual North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Chinese Type 56 AK.  It was a captured rifle and brought back to the US.  Ian of Forgotten Weapons does one of his usual exemplary reviews of the rifle and discusses its history.

 


If you find this post useful, please either buy something from one of the Amazon links, or use one of the links to go to Amazon and buy something completely different — as long as you use one our links to go and buy something from Amazon, it helps us out.  For each item you purchase, we get a small bit of ad revenue from Amazon to fund the blog.  The same is true for eBay as well — we don’t get anything unless you buy something.


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The AK-47 and AK74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations (Perfect Paperback)

The AK-47 and AK-74 Kalashnikov Rifles and Their Variations provides a detailed, profusely illustrated examination on a part-by-part basis of the famed AK-47/AKM rifles, the AK-74/AK-74M series and the new Century series of rifles, the AK-101 through AK-108.

It is another in North Cape Publications, Inc., Shooter’s and Collector’s Guide series.

Every AK/AKM-type rifle manufactured in the Warsaw Pact countries plus the People’s Republic of China, Finland, Iraq, North Korea and Yugoslavia are described in detail, with a short history on the reason for, and the process of their development and use.

This new, 4th edition is expanded to include he latest developments in the AK47/AK74 platform including the Century series and the AK12. Also included is new information regarding the scope and use the Kalashnikov series of rifles plus information gleaned from the use of the AK-47 in Iraq and Afghanistan by insurgents.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of the foremost small arms designer’s in the world. His Kalashnikov action has been widely imitated. This book also includes detailed descriptions of rifles based on his design such as the Belgian FNC, the Israeli Galil, the Indonesian SS1 series, the Indian INAS, the Swedish Ak-5, the Swiss SG-550 series, Singapore’s SAR series and many others.

The book also includes separate chapters that describe the accessaries issued to each soldier, the entire range of Kalashnikov bayonets, telescopic sights (both military and commercial, the sniper rifle variants and their telescopic sights produced by the old Soviet Union as well as other nations. An exploded view, serial numbers and markings, an assembly/disassembly guide with photos, instructions on cleaning, maintenance and repair, and shooting the Kalashnikov rifles and a guide to legislation affecting these rifles and finally, sources for accessories and parts complete the book.


Features: This book contains the most complete and up-to-date examination of the famed Kalashnikov rifle yet t
By (author): Joe Poyer

List Price: $22.95 USD
New From: $22.95 USD In Stock
Used from: $16.85 USD In Stock

Video: Infantry Weapons of Yugoslavia 1924 – 1999

     

This video covers handguns, rifles, submachine guns, light machine guns and so forth used by Yugoslavia from 1924 to 1999.  It does not have anyone talking, just music.  What it does have that is interesting is tons of photos of various weapons and in some cases even footage showing use.  I watched in interest the parts with the AK-related rifles such as the M70, M72, M85, M92 and so on plus the M93 Black Arrow that I’ve always found interesting.  I got to hold and inspect one at Ohio Rapid Fire years ago.

At any rate, it’s interesting and worth 28 minutes to watch what the author assembled:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.