The ultimate put-down of the 9mm...


January 1, 2005, 01:23 PM
From The Diplomad blog site (

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Reflections on Weapon Cool

Maybe the incessant rain in this part of the Far Abroad reminds me of past assignments in other rainy parts of the world, or maybe I'm just going gaga. Whatever it is, for the last couple of days I've been thinking about the Good Old Days, some 20 years ago, when I was stupid but young and having a ball running around in Central America and learned a few valuable lessons, lessons about what I'll call "weapon cool."

Those were great days to be a young officer working at an American Embassy. It was the height of the Central American civil wars and there was a constant adrenaline rush. Every day was an adventure; you didn't know how any day would begin or end. The people you worked with and met came straight out of a Hollywood casting call: plump Colonels wearing Ray-Bans; loopy foreign human rights activists; loopy foreign "mercenaries" down for the summer to fight Communism; loopy guerrillas and their loopy leaders; loopy US Congressmen and staff who would drop in and create havoc as they pursued some loopy leftist agenda . . . it was great. It was also very dangerous; but, as I said, I was both stupid and young so danger was part of the attraction -- much less so now, I assure you (still stupid, but not young.)

We carried guns. Everybody in the Embassy had a favorite; guns were a constant source of conversation, debate and entertainment. We'd spend every Saturday at the range doing what you should do at a gun range, burning off many boxes of rounds and drinking many rounds of beer . . . like I said, stupid and young. My favorite weapon was a Colt 1911 Government Model .45. I loved that gun. First of all, it looked cool (more on this later), made a very nice roar, and its large, relatively slow moving slugs would make a very satisfying thud when they hit bowling pins, sending them spinning away. The Always Lovely Mrs. Chief Diplomad became a very good shot; her favorite piece was a S&W .357 Highway Patrol model (firing .38 Specials) -- she also was quite good with the small Colt .380 I had bought her, no mean feat. Every once in a while, I confess, she would concern me: the silhouette targets she picked seemed always to have a villain who looked more than a bit like me; and she would put some very tight groups into, ahem,shall we say odd places.

When we would have a party at our house, we'd set up a gun room. As each guest arrived, he would drop his weapon(s) on a large bed in this room; after the party, it was amusing to watch well-oiled guests pawing through the pile of handguns trying to find theirs, trying to remember which one each had brought, "The Browning, yours or mine?" More than once Mrs. CD or I would find a weapon or a fully loaded magazine left behind in the always locked room and would then call each invitee to ask, "Amigo, did you leave something behind?" Please, please remember, dear reader, back then I was both stupid and young: the most exalted state to which man can aspire. But I digress . . .

One of the most colorful of the cast of characters with whom I worked was a local Army Colonel (actually a LTC -- but nobody dared point that out to him) seconded to the National Police and made the Deputy Police Chief. Let's call him Jose Garcia (not even close to his real name). Jose Garcia, a tough, tough SOB, was a veteran of years of rural and urban combat against the guerrillas, and a member of a feared military intelligence unit before being sent to keep the civilian police force in line with the military. He never seemed to stop working or to sleep. He spoke good English and despite the lack of what we would consider a good education was well-read in history, especially military history. Not more than about 5'5" but built like a tank and born to command, he had an intense stare that would melt much bigger subordinates into quivering puddles of jelly. His famous "What did you say?" was not something any of his men ever wanted to hear. He was also remarkable for being on time and not tolerating anyone being even a minute tardy -- this in a country where 2 o'clock meant, on a good day, any time between 2:30 and 3:30.

One December, along with other members of the Embassy, I was invited to a party at Garcia's house, a genuinely spectacular place on a ridge overlooking the city: swimming pool, movie theater, enormous yard . . . all straight out of Hollywood. At the party, we Embassy types joked among ourselves about how great it was that a LTC on a salary of about $150/month, by being thrifty, making good investments, and using supermarket coupons to squeeze those pennies out of the family budget could come to live like a sultan . . . amazing, inspirational. Anyhow, late into the party, the Colonel, who had been knocking back scotch pretty heavily all evening, came up to a friend and me, fixed us with that patented stare and blurted out, "The American Army . . . it has become homosexual!"

Our Foreign Service Institute (FSI) doesn't include this scenario in its training modules, and no question on the FS exam covers this situation. As the more senior of the two Americans present, I felt compelled to say something biting and witty, so I let fly with a brilliant, "Uh, why?" The Colonel literally threw down his drink, reached into his jacket, pulled out a Government Model .45 and waved it at us. Let me stop for a second and note that from prior conversations, the Colonel knew that I was a Colt 45 man -- which proved a good thing. Now, with the Colonel's 45 about three inches from my face, I wondered how many other people had had this as their last vision on earth. "Look at how beautiful she is! This is a real gun, a gun for a man! A Colt 45! Not that sissy Beretta 9mm your Army is buying!" Let me stop for another second, the Colonel had been distraught for some time that the US military -- whom he admired beyond words -- had decided to move from the .45 to the 9mm, especially to an Italian model 9mm . One other note, he had rather strong and negative views on anything Italian (I don't know why, and it did not console him to be told that the US military's Beretta's would be made in USA.)

"You, you know the 45. The 9mm is for sissies (huecos) with tight pants! Do you know how many times I have shot somebody with a 9mm?" My Embassy colleague and I assumed this either a rhetorical question or one to which he already had an answer, and we did not try to answer it. "Twice. Both times I shoot them and they get up! I have to shoot them again!" He now removed the 45 from my face, holding it in both hands, he looked down at it, "With this gun I only would need to shoot somebody one time! He doesn't get back up! This is a beautiful gun . . . people see it and they know you are serious. Most of the time I don't even have to shoot."

Not long after this party I was transferred to another post and lost track of Colonel Garcia. I thought of him a couple of years ago while discussing modern weapon systems with a US Defense Attache. He, a Navy officer, agreed with me that the new warships generally didn't have the look of the old ones. The new ships were all boxes and rounded shapes and antennas jutting out. Yes, yes, each one carried more firepower than the entire Bulgarian army has possessed in its entire history; the greatest concentration of lethal force since G-d unleashed the flood, etc. But, but, they didn't look cool. The two of us, with the help of our Scottish advisor Johnny Walker (Black Label), decided that the ultimate cool look for a machine was the Harley-Davidson. All coolness in weapons had to be measured in those terms, i.e., is this the Harley-Davidson of weapons? One looks at a Harley and knows that it might not necessarily be the fastest bike on the road, but it's a serious piece of machinery -- it exudes menace and power.

We btoh decided that the ultimate cool weapon had to be an Iowa class battleship. Having seen the USS New Jersey underway, heading for the Panama Canal, I assure you it's a sight you do not soon forget. With its huge guns and breathtakingly beautiful design, it had a calming influence on anybody thinking of getting rambunctious with the USA. The Iowa class ships belong on the sea lanes or in a Museum of Modern Art.

Anyhow, before I make this too long, let me report that about one month ago I found the list of the coolest weapon systems that we had drawn up. I present it here -- just for fun and in no order -- and recognizing that it is partial and done in a bit of a haze:

Ships: Iowa Class Battleships

Aircraft: B-17 Flying Fortress, P-47 Thunderbolt, A-26 Invader, A-1 Skyraider, B-36 Peacemaker, F-86 Sabre, F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, B-52 Stratofortress, B-58 Hustler, AH-1 Cobra, AH-64 Apache

Small Arms: AK-47 Kalashnikov, M-1 Garand, Model 1928 Thompson, and OF COURSE the Colt .45 of Colonel Garcia fame

Vehicles: HMMV, M-1A2 Abrams, M-2 Bradley

Other systems: George W. Bush

That was as far as we got . . . Oh, and Colonel Garcia? Some years after I left Central America a friend told me that Garcia had died as he would have liked, i.e., in a gun fight against Communist insurgents. Another friend assured me that this version was nonsense and that Garcia had died in a car crash, drunk as a skunk. I can't vouch for the reliability of either piece of information and for all I know, Garcia remains alive, still carrying his beloved and cool 45 -- the one so cool he didn't have to shoot it, most of the time.

(NOTE: The various weapons mentioned above are hot-linked at the Web site - click on the link to go there and see them for yourself.)

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Brian Williams
January 1, 2005, 01:31 PM
He left off the P-51 and the GP AKA "jeep"

January 1, 2005, 01:32 PM
Diplomad is proof that the State Department, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (Powell usually excepted), is not composed only of clueless leftists. One of the better blogs and IMO required reading.

And I can't fault anything the late Col. Garcia said, "Look at how beautiful she is! This is a real gun, a gun for a man! A Colt 45! Not that sissy Beretta 9mm your Army is buying!"


January 1, 2005, 02:08 PM
I just had a mental image of Col. "Garcia" and Chesty Puller drinking Scotch and shooting coconuts off a fence with their .45s. In my personal ideal of heaven, I'll one day be able to visit them for a snort and a few mags of hardball. ;)

January 1, 2005, 02:35 PM
A fine bird, and finer with a 12Megaton H bomb on board. Flew on the last one that flew, the day before the last flight in 1959. Did a test hop on the bird before the high time people flew it From Biggs AFB to Amon Carter airport in Ft Worth, Texas.

January 1, 2005, 02:49 PM
Besides the fact it was a funny read, I guess the only point here, is that Garcia drank scotch, was a thief, and is now!!!

4v50 Gary
January 1, 2005, 03:35 PM
Nice to hear that a FSO has the same opinion on handguns & ships as I do. I, however, do not have a Scottish Advisor. :p

January 1, 2005, 03:38 PM
:p Love it!

Double Maduro
January 1, 2005, 03:52 PM
And how did the P38, the plane not the handgun, get left off the list.

I think you need to switch to Irish instead of Scotch. LOL

Great story. Thanks.


January 1, 2005, 05:32 PM
But you left off one of the "coolest" weapons systems- the AC-130 gunship....

January 1, 2005, 05:40 PM
My personal favorite is the Ma Deuce.

January 1, 2005, 05:45 PM
Great Story...

1911 fan myself...

My Scottish Advisor [ back when I had one] , advised for a REAL 9mm ....the BHP of course. I still cannot find fault with that. :D

Then again I am told Iam part Scotch..."'bout a fifth"...granted for awhile there the percentages were higher. ;)

Vern Humphrey
January 1, 2005, 06:09 PM
As a friend of mine once said, "When you see a man wearing a 9mm, that don't mean he's gay. But he's definitely a cross-dresser." :neener:

January 1, 2005, 06:55 PM
:banghead: One can argue the issue all day long. Points can be made on both sides, the 45 is definately better with hard ball. But with commercial hollow points maybe, maybe not. But there is one overwhelming bottom line. Both are underpowered as they are pistol not rifle cartridges.

A famous gun writer, whose name I don't recall, said it properly. (paraphrase not quote) The only reason you have a pistol (of any common caliber in my opinion) is to fight you way to a rifle!!

I take the last paragraph as gospel.


El Tejon
January 1, 2005, 07:00 PM
Well, Colonel, just don't elect any girls to your Congress like we did and you won't have a sissy 9mm. Thank you, Congressperson Boo Hoo. :(

January 1, 2005, 07:10 PM
ANYONE who gets into the 9 vs 45 question, and makes these arm chair statements, has never done much beside talk, never used either, in a hot zone, and loves to echo the babble, of other arm chair wise mens babble. I think the part left out, in this "Garcia" tale, was the fact, he was killed with a 9.

January 1, 2005, 07:13 PM
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, better nicknamed "The Warthog".

Now that my friends, is the flying version of the 1911 Gummint Model.


January 1, 2005, 07:17 PM
Iowa Class That has a nice ring to it.


January 1, 2005, 07:23 PM
Arc-Lite - Footpounds of energy aside, it is pretty much undeniable that the 1911 is cooler than the Beretta 92. :)

January 1, 2005, 07:41 PM
C'mon, a pair of black-plastic-framed glasses, repaired with tape, are cooler than a Berretta 92

January 1, 2005, 07:43 PM
Ian...foot pounds figures are a great read, real life, is another world, placement is the key, granted the 1911 is great, I own a dozen, as for the Beretta, its a Beretta, personally I would not own one, the name Colt, or Beretta...does not do the work,unless your just talking....and then it still does nothing.

The Rabbi
January 1, 2005, 07:48 PM
My favorite weapon was a Colt 1911 Government Model .45. I loved that gun. First of all, it looked cool (more on this later), made a very nice roar, and its large, relatively slow moving slugs would make a very satisfying thud when they hit bowling pins, sending them spinning away.

Yup, that's the typical 1911 fan talking. Sure glad I carry a real--oops, wheel gun :D

Vern Humphrey
January 1, 2005, 07:56 PM
I won't knock revolvers -- but the M1911 sure has an impressive record.

January 1, 2005, 08:21 PM
And how did the P38, the plane not the handgun, get left off the list

That's what I want to know. The P-38 Lightning was the coolest of WW2 fighters hands down.

January 1, 2005, 08:30 PM
Don't forget the gun nose version of the B-25. 14 .50 M2 w/750rds per gun and 4 500lb bombs to boot!

Livin in Texas

January 1, 2005, 09:16 PM
But the real "coolest" aircraft of WWII was the original F-4... the Corsair.

My Dad had a job (for a while) assembling the gearboxes in the nosecone for the differential-pitch props. Pappy Boyington and the Black Sheep. Cool...

January 1, 2005, 09:50 PM
I'm a huge .45ACP fan but I'd like to see one of those guys stand infront of a 124gr +P Gold Dot fired out of a Sig 226. :scrutiny:

January 1, 2005, 10:11 PM
Advice on terminal ballistics and firearms from a drunken, Central American army officer... :rolleyes:

Now, on the other hand, if his advice had been on scotch and flashy uniforms. :D

January 1, 2005, 10:50 PM
I knew one retired diplomat in Texas, hunted on his ranch a couple years in fact. Heard that he had spent some time in Africa, once in fact got kidnapped by some rebels, managed to escape and make his way back to civilization. Interesting, fine gentleman. His daughter had a smile that could wake the dead. :evil: Diplomats are okay by me. :)

He hunted deer with a Model 99 Savage in .300 cal, just as I did for a while. That's a pretty cool deer rifle.

Thumbs up to Iowa Class Battleships, 1911's, A10's, Garands, Ma Deuce, and M14's. The list I submit also needs the F-15E and F-117 :D

January 1, 2005, 11:17 PM
Sorry, guys, but ceetee wins this one. The P-38 is a close second to the Corsair, but second nonetheless.

--Flyboy, who occasionally tools around in an A-26 Invader

January 2, 2005, 02:13 AM
I have to disagree a bit about modern ships. In general, he's on the money, but I happen to think that Arleigh Burke ( DDGs are rather sexy. Now, a Tico (, that's a boxy ship- sort of the Glock of the Navy. :neener:

January 2, 2005, 09:24 AM
I won't knock revolvers -- but the M1911 sure has an impressive record.

I agree wholeheartedly, Vern....

...but so does the Colt SAA, the S&W M&P, and the M1917's of both makers. :D

And the Luger, the Walther P-38, the Browning Hi-Power, and Star Modelo A & B have done pretty well on the battlefield as well.

Remember, the original 9mm Parabellum load was a 115gr truncated-cone bullet--not a round nose. The TC's flat metplat disrupted a lot more tissue than the FMJ without giving up much penetration. The difference was similar to the .38SPL 158gr. RNL vs. the 158gr. SWC. The smart pistoleros chose the SWC's in those pre-reliable-HP days. Even the .45ACP does a LOT better with a flat nose than with a round one, too. :neener:

Personally, I'll spend more time improving my aim than improving my ammo.... :cool:

P.S.: Sexiest military machine = A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog). How can you not love the concept of taking a giant Gatling gun and building an airplane around it? :evil:

January 2, 2005, 09:38 AM
Is the M-16 family of rifles, the "Harley Davidsons" of rifles? hehe....someone want to start a new thread on that?

January 2, 2005, 12:41 PM
that was funny!
can we use that one? :)

January 2, 2005, 02:15 PM
Oneshooter, the B-25G's "only" had 8 forward firing .50's 4 in the nose and faired pods on each side containing 2 .50's each. They were also limited to 500 rounds/gun by weight and balance considerations. Pappy Gunn did also put a 75mm French Cannon in the nose of at least one B-25G during the war.

January 2, 2005, 02:30 PM
looks like we have moved from Garcia, to was nice, and after a coast to coast run, second seat, in a F-15 and back in a F-14... all I can say is AMAZING !!! missed the SR-71, the line of Auroa creations, the F-4, all the Rutan aircraft , B-52, F-106.... the list goes on ............

January 2, 2005, 06:23 PM
With a 16" gun off an Iowa-class boat, placement in not an issue. :D

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2005, 06:42 PM
With a 16" gun off an Iowa-class boat, placement in not an issue.

I've had the New Jersey shoot in support of my company. You DEFINITELY want that big sucker placed EXACTLY where it's supposed to go!

The Rabbi
January 2, 2005, 06:43 PM
I'm sure the 16" is impressive.

I don't believe the US fields that weapon anymore. My impression was the US Navy retired all the battleships several years ago. Darn shame if true.

Vern Humphrey
January 2, 2005, 06:50 PM
We used to refer to 16" rounds as "instant swimming pools." :D

Wayne D
January 2, 2005, 07:54 PM
Is the M-16 family of rifles, the "Harley Davidsons" of rifles? hehe....someone want to start a new thread on that?

No, the M14 is the Harley. The M16 is the Honda (pronounced Hon-der). :neener:

January 2, 2005, 07:55 PM
Acually it was 10 MG's as the upper turrent could be locked in the forward firing position. The G models were upgraded for Korea and carried Air to Ground rockets on the outer wings, this was just before most were replaced with the A-26. Dad flew both in Korea and prefered the Mitchell.
Livin in Texas

January 2, 2005, 08:48 PM
Acually it was 10 MG's as the upper turrent could be locked in the forward firing position. The G models were upgraded for Korea and carried Air to Ground rockets on the outer wings, this was just before most were replaced with the A-26. Dad flew both in Korea and prefered the Mitchell.

You're right Oneshooter, I "forgot" about the upper turret :banghead: If you want to read a good book about what went into the design, see if you can get a copy of Pappy Gunn, written by his son Nathaniel Gunn over in Texarkana. ISBN 1-4184-3775-1

It contains a lot of the actual notes, documentation and pics from WWII that his dad used. Also, the novel Whip by Martin Caiden has the B-25's in it.

I don't believe the US fields that weapon anymore. My impression was the US Navy retired all the battleships several years ago. Darn shame if true.

Rabbi, they are all gone- Iowa and New Jersey were the last two and they are both retired now. And yes, they were impressive!!!! :what:

January 2, 2005, 08:54 PM
I'll bet he'd rethink his stance after being shot with a 9mm.

January 2, 2005, 09:15 PM
Pappy Gunn birthed the coolest airplane ever until the AC-130, the B-25H.. 8 forward firing .50's, a french 75 in the nose. Not a plane to get in front of. Gunn even shot a Jap transport plane with the 75. Just as the Jap plane was landing. Bet that was cool. OK, maybe the gun nosed B-25's are cooler than the AC-130's. After working on a B-52 base, I have to say the ol' BUFF is the H-D of Aircraft. Our wing commander told us once: "There is no place on earth you can hide from to get away from the B-52H" Of course, I remember the training seargent in tech school who said: "Look around your average city block. There is nothing on that block that Ma Duece can't shoot through." :evil: I do miss the service once in a while.

Hey Arc-lite, the Aurora program never existed, remember? :rolleyes:

January 2, 2005, 10:08 PM
The 75mm cannon on the Mitchell was not very popular. The rate of fire was only as fast as the copilot could reload,it was a single shot, and the ammo was bulky and hard to handle in the confines of the cockpit. Just take a look at the flight deck on one of those birds! :what: The other detriment was the recoil,the cannon was mounted directly to the airframe,the bird would all but STOP every time the big gun went boom. :D The rocket launchers,4 per wing, were very well liked, rapid fire, no recoil, 10lb bursting charge.
Livin in Texas

January 2, 2005, 10:25 PM
Garcia and Puller are probably shooting coconuts off each others heads...

January 2, 2005, 11:55 PM
"Garcia and Puller are probably shooting coconuts off each others heads..."

Yeah, and I hope me and Skeeter can join in the fun (not TOO soon, though) with our 44 Specials! :D

I do agree with Garcia, though. :p

January 3, 2005, 12:21 AM
Rabbi, they are all gone- Iowa and New Jersey were the last two and they are both retired now. And yes, they were impressive!!!!

Not technically gone- Iowa and Wisconsin are still in commission, but in a reserve status. New Jersey and Missouri have both been stricken and donated as museums, though.

January 3, 2005, 12:50 AM
Everytime WW2 aircraft come up it's Lightning this, Corsair that, Mustang is the boss.:rolleyes:

Then there is The Acemaker.

The F6F Hellcat's 19:1 kill ratio and ability to come back with more holes than airframe, is the warbird I'd hop into fresh off the time machine. Of the 6,477 air-to-air victories claimed by Navy and Marine Corps pilots, 4,403 were credited to F6F pilots. The Hellcat was only in combat from mid-43 through the end. Stick that in your gooney bird F4U cockpit's relief tube and suck on it Corsair fans. ;)

If I had to fly for my life, make mine a Grumman. Some samples from the "Iron Works:"
OVER TWO HUNDRED BULLET HOLES COUNTED in this Hellcat, and yes it was flown home, by the guy they named Chicago's airport after.

January 3, 2005, 01:28 AM
Actually, although they arrived just too late to see combat, I'd dearly love to fly in an F8F. Now there was a plane! IIRC, it was one of only two piston-engined fighters (the other being the English Hawker Sea Fury) to be capable of over 500 mph in level flight...


January 3, 2005, 01:47 AM
In case you hadn't seen this before, a complete pilot's evaluation of a flyable F8F: AVWEB (

January 3, 2005, 01:49 AM

The B-25 "J" and "H" models were the ship-busters. I believe the "H" model also had a 75mm "ricki" rifle mounted in the nose, with a blast tube running out the tail of the a/c. There was also a mod. to fire rockets. I thought it was 12 .50's in the nose - but I've been wrong before.

I had the pleasure of seeing one abandoned on a WWII dirt runway around Aitaipe(sp?) PNG in late '97. She had the "indian head" logo on her tail - so she was from the "Air Apaches", don't remember the actual unit designation.

She was destroyed in the tsunami(sp) that hit that part of PNG in '98.

My father flew "C" model -25's in North Africa. After his 50 missions, he returned to train some of those pilots that went to the South Pacific and flew the "ship busters". Their mortality rate was incredible.

FYI: I saw a flight of three "flat black" B-25's crossing back across the border from Laos in early '68. Now, that was a sight to see. Tree top level, throttles to the fire wall, racing the sun.

B-25' vs P-38's, B25's vs P-38's? Got me - they're both beautiful aircraft.

Gentle winds,
Gentle winds,

Phil Ca
January 3, 2005, 02:53 AM
A most interesting post spanning time and weapons systems from thr 40's to the present!!!

As a young E4 working in the company arms room I had the only personal firearms in the room. I had a BHP P-35, a Remington 1911, and a 1929 nagant seven shot revolver. During alerts the captain would take his .45 and all the other officers and NCO's would take their M2 carbines (a few chose the M1) and the rest of us were assigned carbines and rifles. We did have several M3A1 SMGS also. Since I was responsible for the firearms that were left over for people on leave and coming in from a distance I carried either my personal .45 or P-35 in 9mm. Sometimes a lieutenant that wanted to carry a pistol would ask to borrow my .45 for the alerts. I would carry my Browning on those occasions. I did not ask permission but I was the only one that had live ammo on alerts. The ammo was otherwise secured in wooden cases and ammo tins that were sealed.

I enlisted in the USAF after my three years in the US Army. I worked in a support unit and provided support for F-100, F-101, F-102, B-52, C-130, C-47, C-118, SA-16, U-2, as well as some helicopters and other craft. I had my .45 and P-35 pistols with me in the PI and they were handy to have around on several occasions.

After my 4 years in the USAF I actually joined the army again and went to Korea and Vietnam. In Vetnam I was the only guy in my Ordnance Unit that had any real knowledge of the USAF. I was constantly asked to ID planes that came around our 1st Inf. Div. area. We had a B-57 that flew over and around our area and it was bothering some of the troops since they did not recognize it. Another time when the sound of explosions in the distance seemed to carry on for severl kilometers the guys were commenting about the major artillery barrage we had just heard. I let them know that was not artillery but bombs dropped from a B-52. The guys wanted to know how I knew this fact and I had to go through my air force story again. We used to see all sorts of interseting aircraft in Vietnam. The A1E, C-47s called Puff and the "Fire Fly" testing using helicopters with spotlights and mini-guns.

there is a geat musem near me near Merced at the former Castle AFB. My 5 year old grandson and I spent a couple of hours looking over the aircraft on e day last year. He liked the B-36 the best.

January 3, 2005, 04:20 AM

I believe the B-57 was called the Canbara(sp?) and she was flown by the Aussies in that "police action" - later call the "Viet Nam" war.

They also flew the A-1E's, which I first worked with under the call-sign of "Hobo" - to this day, an A-1E is a "Hobo" to me. They could carry an incredible load of ordinace and stay on station for HOURS!

I first worked with them up around Dac To, where we had a flight of three covering our gun-ships, protecting the grunts. Us "gundrivers" had one hour's worth of fuel, and to be told by the Aussies that they had SIX hours "on station" was something that we'd NEVER heard! "Fast movers" had 15 minutes "station time" and then they had to leave. These guys came to the party and had plenty of time to hang around!

We were taking fire from a couple of heavy mg's that were under a ledge, and these guys did an "up-hill" attack that HAD to be banned by every right thinking commander. First one in was the "napalm guy" followed by the other two hauling wall to wall frags! "Fire boy" spread nape "up" from just below the guns, and the "frag" boys spread it all the way to the top of the mountain. After their drops, they stayed around - because they still had "wing ordinance" that was available, if we needed it. We didn't, but after that display - who wanted them to leave?

"Pretty" is all about semantics - is it pretty visually, or is it pretty functionally? An A-1E ain't pretty to the eyes (except mine), but for being a "killing machine" - there isn't ANY prettier a/c flying! IMPO!

Plus, with that round motor - she's a H.D. times 5.

I'm the only pilot, that I know of, that carried a 1911A1 by choice. Another piece of hardware that's pretty because it's "deadly"!

Gentle winds,
Charlie Horse 44 67/68
Blue Max 68 P2 69/70

January 3, 2005, 01:17 PM
How did this go from 1911's to planes? :(

January 3, 2005, 02:03 PM
It was part of the original post under "coolest weapons systems." The list for aircraft was a little too Air Force and Army oriented in my view. :)

My coolest:

SHIPS: Los Angeles class attack submarine.

AIRCRAFT: Anything made by Grumman from the Wildcat to the Tomcat, with the A-6 Intruder gaining special mention as another tough SOB in combat.

TANKS: The M-1 Abrams is tough to not select.

RIFLES: The Garand changed the game on the battlefield by allowing effective and mobile massed suppressive fire for the first time.

VEHICLES: I like the original Jeep as another world beater in its day. No one else had anything quite like it in the numbers it was fielded.

HELICOPTERS: Since I like tough birds, I gotta give a vote for the Mi-25 Hind, which is truly a flying tank.

OTHER: Artillery counter battery systems are really cool.

January 3, 2005, 07:40 PM
Bet my 25 could whip your Hind!!! :D

Little Loudmouth
January 3, 2005, 08:15 PM
Woot F6Fs! Tough, deadly, tough, deadly...

January 3, 2005, 08:20 PM
Boats said:

HELICOPTERS: Since I like tough birds, I gotta give a vote for the Mi-25 Hind, which is truly a flying tank.

I recall a story in the pre-Taliban days during the Soviet occupation the Afghan rebels made good use of old Martini-Henry rifles. The story was that the big fat lead bullet, when striking the tail rotor, would leave enough smear of lead to throw the big rotor off balance, and create such a severe vibration that the copter had to land soon or else just shake apart. True? Beats me, anyone else hear that story?

January 3, 2005, 08:24 PM
Tex, all I can say is that if I had to go up against an Mi-25 with a single-shot, black-powder rifle one-and-a-half centuries (or so) old, I'd feel seriously undergunned...


January 3, 2005, 09:34 PM
:D True, but does that even matter to a would-be martyr? :)

January 3, 2005, 09:57 PM
The A-1 aircraft are legendary, but where I come from they're called sandies. The Jolly Greens best friends.

January 5, 2005, 12:26 PM
Amen...preach on! could you forget the MkV Spitfire?
Browning Hi Power?

January 5, 2005, 01:20 PM
Actually, although they arrived just too late to see combat, I'd dearly love to fly in an F8F.

They saw plenty of it in Indochina though .

The last of the piston engined fighters are some beauties ; I'll have to add the deHaviland Sea Hornet to that list and I for one like the late mark Spitfires and Spitefuls with the counter-rotating props and bubble canopies . One plane that I wish had made it into wider production was the FG-2 Corsair ; the best looking of the breed if you ask me . You have to properly give Kurt Tank his due with the FW-190/Ta-152 : even American and Brit engineers admit that the Bearcat and Sea Fury were inspired by it . I think the Germans had among the most graceful warships too , the Bismark for example was sleek compared to the clunkiness of Brit design but the same could be said for tanks too . A Sherman is almost bordering on pathetic looking compared to a Panzer IV , Panther or Tiger . I kind of have a preference to the M60-A1/A3 as being the most tank looking tank the US has made ; the Abrams just doesn't do it for me visually . The UK's Chally II , the Germans' Leo II and the Israeli Merkava OTOH are just mean looking . Russian/Soviet hardware often has an appeal to me that goes beyond the aesthetic ; many of the designs which are not particularly good looking are nonetheless just cool : MiG fighters , just about any tank other than the KV's , ships with more "stuff" sprouting up from them than a neglected garden ... :)

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