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March 21, 2004

Sunday Morning Weapons Trivia

Trivia Question: In the name of the famous British submachine gun of WWII, what does "STEN" stand for?

Check out this very interesting and informative site for the answer.

Posted by annika, Mar. 21, 2004 |
Rubric: History


Very cool, Annie. I did not know that. (I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that my dad did know it, though . . . )

Posted by: Matt Rustler on Mar. 21, 2004

And the Bren gun--also from a Czech design--was a combination of BRno-ENfield

Posted by: hatcher on Mar. 21, 2004

It is an interesting site but I found a couple of errors.
The main one that I saw was their repetition of the alleged tactical deficiency of the Garand - that when the rifle is empty the enemy knows this because of the "ping" made when the empty clip is ejected. Have you ever shot a .30-06 w/o hearing protection? Do you have any idea how hard it'd be to listen for a "ping" with massive "booms" going off all around you? If you're close enough to hear the "ping" odds are your hearing has already been damaged by muzzle blast. & even if for some reason you did hear the "ping" it'd do you know good. Let's say it takes 2 seconds to load a Garand (a Garand is much faster to load than a magazine fed rifle). You'd have to be within 14 yards to make an effecient & succesful charge of the soldiers position. Now if you got to within 14 yards of a soldier with a Garand trying to stop you then that's probably the soldier's fault & an empty or loaded garand wouldn't matter. :)
But the idea that enemies waited to hear the "ping" & charge is a rumor with no credibility to it.

Another thing was about the 1911 pistol. Now I admit I'm not a big fan of the cartridge but I'm not a big opponent of it either. That being said the 300ft-lbs of energy they make a big deal of isn't a big deal. Least not by itself. Many smaller, more ineffecient cartridges produce energy higher than 300 ft-lbs. Raw energy alone isn't that significant. & with that in mind I think they seriously erred in stating it was the "...most powerful weapon in war service." In 1911 troops were issued the 1903 Springfield which fires the .30-06 Springfield which produces something like 8 times the energy of the .45acp (if we accept their idea that raw energy alone is the final word on stopping power).

But it is an interesting site. Just take some of the descriptions with a grain of salt.

Posted by: Publicola on Mar. 21, 2004


The apocryphal story about Garand clips pinging on the ground is something my dad heard directly from a Korea veteran when he was in the service, so I'm not entirely sure it's apocryphal. However, even if it's true, it's not much of a deficiency: The same guy told Dad that they used this so-called weakness their advantage. Take a couple of guys with full Garands, toss an empty clip on the ground, then mow down the competition when they charge the foxhole full of "empty" rifles. Suckers.

You're quite right about the 1911; 300-some ft-lbs of energy isn't terribly much even for a pistol, and it's not even in the same ballpark with rifle cartridges (or at least military rifles in use for the past hundred years or so). Soldiers are the greatest proponents of myth and legend on the face of the earth, and that includes the stories they tell about their weapons, both good and bad. That's why those who rely on soldiers' anecdotes are apt to be led astray when it comes to details of guns and ammo and their performance. It's also why, when I hear soldiers today complaining about the terrible ineffectiveness of the M16 and M9, I take their complaints with a grain of salt (even though both weapons legitimately are underpowered, in my view).

Posted by: Matt Rustler on Mar. 21, 2004


I've heard the same story from vets as well - but I've never heard any vet who has directly experienced this. It sounds credible on its face but the reality is that if an enemy was close enough to hear the ping odds are he wouldn't be able to hear it clearly enough to figure out where to charge. & even if he did some how miraculously zero in on the ping he'd have to be pretty damn close to cover the distance before a soldier could reload a Garand.

But even if it has some validity its more a testament to the ignorance of an enemy than an indictment of the Garand's shortcomings. Might as well charge a machine gun when it stops firing a burst cause that undoubtedly means they're completely out of ammo.

BTW the garand does have 3 faults that I know of: firing 40+ rounds per minute for 20 minutes in a monsoon might let the grease on the op rod track wash away & cause the op rod to seize up: partial clips can be difficult to load; & the damned thing just won't float! (thought with a synthetic stock filled with foam....)

But facts aside (why do I sound like a spokeperson for the VPC with that intro?)the soldier's stories abotu their weapons (good & bad) is something we should pay attention to: it gives us an idea of how much confidence they have in their arms. Confidence is something we can't neglect when it comes to the front line troops, so even if they feel their brand new federation pulse rifles aren't adequate Romulan stoppers (despite it being proven that they are) it's usually better to go ahead & let 'em have Disruptors than have them go into combat less than sure of themselves & their arms.

But one day let's knock back a drink (or twelve) & discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of issuing a 10mm pistol for the troops (after we start re-issuing Garands of course). :)

Posted by: Publicola on Mar. 21, 2004


Much as I love the Garand, if we're going to start re-issuing a rifle, let's make it the M14. It's just a Garand on steroids, anyway.

You're right that the troops' confidence in their weapons should be given weight. I didn't say to ignore anecdotes entirely; I just said to take 'em with a grain of salt. The thing is, if the pulse rifle's genuinely a better weapon, the better solution might be to edumacate the troops, rather than give 'em an inferior weapon for the sake of boosting morale. That's at best a temporary solution. Elan, esprit de corps and good morale get one only so far. Just ask the French.

Posted by: Matt Rustler on Mar. 21, 2004

Publicola, you should be proud of me, i was sorta suspicious of the Garand "ping" story (you taught me that), and the claim that the Colt 1911 was "the most powerful weapon in war service." After all, weren't Fat Man and Little Boy weapons?

Matt, historically, we Americans have been known to work wonders with inferior weapons: c.f. how the "Thatch Weave" turned the Wildcat into a match for the Zero.

Posted by: annika! on Mar. 21, 2004


(why am I having an "I'm really a 00 agent" flashback?)

The M14 is acceptable. For a start at least. :)
& the M14 isn't exactly a Garand on steroids - not if you go by chambering at least. I know it's simply a matter of preference but I got this thing for the '06 & the 7.62 just ain't the same. Don't get me wrong - it's great for what it is I just prefer the '06.

As far as functioning goes a lot fo peeps say the M14 gas system is an improvement, but I'll argue that the Garand's gas system is more reliable. & the mag v. en bloc clip thing - both have advantages & disadvantages but I'm partial to the clip system. At the least I don't think it's a significant disadvantage over a mag system if (big if) you learn how to work it.

But the M14 would be acceptable. Hell, a Lee-Enfield or '17 Enfield would be an acceptable replacement for the one we have now.

& you're right that education is better than simple appeasement. But if the Disruptor is equally as good or better than the Fed Pulse Rifle then you have to consider that sometimes it's more practical to re arm than re-educate.

Besides, what we're talking about (in rather amusing veiled tones) is the M16. I know if I was going into harm's way with one of those things I'd be shakier than normal. Now even if the M16 is adequate for the military's purposes I'd say it'd be better to upgrade than to try to convince a soldier that the little .224" bullet will put an enemy down - eventually! & that the gas system is fine even though it defecates where it eats & jam clearance isn't that difficult anyhow.

& why'd ya wanna go & bring the French into this - we're talking about a martial issue. lol

But it'd be interesting to get Q..er, I mean A's perspective on this.

Posted by: Publicola on Mar. 21, 2004


(sorry - this initial kick is hard to give up)
I am proud of you. (morphs into his father/uncle voice - but not a father/uncle that's the same person - either a father or uncle voice) When I saw your first gun related post on that Nazi belt fed machine gun I knew you had potential. Sure, some of my friends scoffed. They didn't think a cute blonde in SF could even get close to being a gun nut - not even a cute conservative blonde in SF. Well you've showed them how wrong they were. Never mind the fact that you're in LA now, or that you live in a state where gun owners have to tie pink ribbons around their muzzles (of the guns that is - not the gun owners)to show fealty to the state. You know to be suspicious of an anecdotal story about a Garand even if it seems valid on its surface. (morphs out of father/uncle voice)

But I would disagree about having inferior weapons. Ya see, it's not usually a contest of technology (although to an extent this has happened) but a contest of how to use the available technology. The Zero was very fast & very manuverable - but it was lightly armored & the fuel tanks paid off big if you could hit 'em. The Wildcat was slower & not as agile, but had more protection. So once we figured out how to use what we had it seemed like we bested their tech, but in reality we bested their technique.

BTW, I've been on a SW kick lately (despite the ST references with M) & if you do some reading - especially the Rogue Squadron series - you'll see that Lucas took the concepts for the Tie & X Wing from the Zero & Corsair. The Tie was fast & maneuverable but had no shields & no hyperdrive while the X-Wing had shields & a hyperdrive. There were other similarities but I promised myself to only reveal so much "geekiness" per post.

Posted by: Publicola on Mar. 21, 2004