Putin’s War of Maneuver in Ukraine

Putin never had any intention of starting a war directly with Ukraine. He needs to have Western and especially American sanctions lifted before they strangle Russia’s banking and other economic interests any more than they have. [yes, they have been hurting the Russians for the past four years.]

He knows a war would accomplish the opposite. He upped the ante, and maneuvered the USA to the negotiating table by the bluff-and-bluster tactics the Russians have always resorted to when they are in the hole. All without giving anything up from the status quo at the beginning of the year.

And he gets popularity points at home along the way.


Trench Artillery – Grenade Thrower (WW1)

Mortier Lance-Grenade de 142mm StChamond-Delattre

Designed by Belgian military engineer Siméon Delattre in 1914 in le Havre, France and manufactured in Saint-Chamond throughout WW1.

142mm bore cast and later forged steel barrel, electrically fired. This Belgian trench mortar wouldn’t look out of place in the Napoleonic wars, with a very large discharging cup linked to a smaller propellant chamber. This is in stark contrast to the contemporaneous and pipe-like German mine throwers and British Stokes mortars which were designed to lob modern smaller high-explosive shells.

The reason for this design is that the StChamond-Delattre trench mortar did not fire a single projectile, but a cluster of seven 1kg fragmentation grenades wired to blow at 1sec intervals in a chaotic pattern. The whole system was much cheaper to manufacture than some fancy German rifled bomb thrower for essentially the same result, and was a staple of both Belgian and French trench artillery.


Sex in a Sextant

The title is clickbait…

Hadley ‘s Quadrant in : The New Practical Navigator by John Hamilton 1796

The Hadley quadrant, also called an octant, developed by John Hadley in 1731, was a popular navigational instrument. The legs of the quadrant formed a 45-degree angle, but the double mirror system made it possible to measure angles of up to 90 degrees. However, this meant that it was only conditionally suitable for determining longitude by the so-called lunar distances. The sextant, which was already developed in the 1790s, could measure angles of up to 120 degrees and was therefore more suitable. However, there were many navigators who continued to use the octant before slowly but surely switching to the sextant.


Riding in Armor

Venezuelan BTR-82A damaged during a border clash with FARC dissidents attempting to set up an outpost in Venezuelan territory, Mar 2021




Historic Rifle

Arisaka Type 2 paratrooper rifle

Manufactured by the Nagoya arsenal in Japan c.1943~45 from the Type 99 rifle designed by Kijiro Nambu and Nariakira Arisaka in 1939. 7,7x58mm Arisaka 5-round fixed box magazine, fed with stripper clips, bolt action, take down stock for use by paratroopers.


Since we’ve entered a new year it might be appropriate to very briefly explain Japanese military nomenclature. Before 1929, weapons and vehicles, etc. received their name/number based on how far along in their reign the Japanese emperor was, as such the previous Type 38 rifle of 1905 was named after the 38th year of Emperor Meiji’s reign. After that, the system was switched to represent the Imperial Year, which itself is based on the reign of mythical Emperor Jimmu starting in 660BC, leading to the Type 99 rifle of 1939 being named after the 2599th imperial year, and the Type 2 being named after the 2602nd.

The Type 2 paratrooper rifle was based on the Type 99 short rifle, which was designed to replace its predecessor and its 6,5mm cartridge, which was considered underpowered. Due to its being introduced in 1939, the two models coexisted and both were converted for paratrooper use in the middle of the war. The conversions aimed to make the already shorter than average rifles more compact for airborne troops, with mixed results.

The Type 1 paratrooper rifle, based on the earlier Type 38, attempted to use a hinged wooden stock which would have provided with a cheap and easy way to get a compact weapon that can quickly be put to bear, but unfortunately it made the stock too weak and it cracked often during testing, leading to the Type 2 model.


Too White?


Pryse patent ‘Manstopper’ revolver

Designed by Pryse c.early 1870′s and either manufactured or simply retailed by Alexander Henry of the Martini-Henry fame in Edinburgh, Scotland; only a couple hundreds at most of these manstopper revolvers were ever made.

.577 Boxer five-round cylinder, top-break double action. These large handguns and their Tranter-made solid frame predecessors were sometimes qualified as ‘24 bore’ rather than by their .577 caliber, which referred to the number of bullets you could cast out of a pound of lead. The diameter of its rounds’ cases was .600 with a slight taper due to being made from cut-down .577 Express rifle cartridges and were first made of brass and cardboard, coiled brass and finally modern drawn brass by the time this top-break model came out. The stronger, more reliable drawn brass cartridges are credited with doing away with the almost over-secure Tranter design of a solid frame revolver fitted with a cylinder enclosed with a backplate, meant to remedy with cases rupturing in the chamber on firing.


Because of the limitations of black powder as a propellant, these revolvers would did quite live up to their awe-inspiring size. Many of them ended up in the hands of British Army officers, who carried them as their personal sidearm.


  1. Probably most of you know this already, but John George, a serious high power rifle competitor pre and post WWII, wrote Shots Fired in Anger about his experiences as an infantry orificer on Guadalcanal and in Burma. He included a fascinating review of the various Jap infantry weapons; the part about their employment of the machine gun during ambushes is especially instructive. George at one point during the Guadalcanal equipped himself with a Model 38 short rifle and considered himself well armed, 6.5mm notwithstanding.

    • +1. His observations make it clear that ammo supply for the Japanese was a nightmare.

      A bit of historical irony–

      Boxer primers used here, invented by Colonel Edward M. Boxer, of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, England.

      Berdan primers used over there, invented by Colonel Hiram Berdan, U.S. Army.

      • When World War 2 began for Japan, often dated July 7, 1937 – when they invaded China, and the Japanese Army subsequently became over-committed there, they were quite successful. But that was an Army war and they could control the thermostat so that they managed the supply chain. The Japanese Navy and Army hated each other more (I would argue) in many cases than they hated the Americans, British, ANZAC, Dutch, etc.

        They had a superbly equipped navy and very good aviation. But they didn’t have the legs to support forward operations, far from Japan. Their logistic train was woefully inadequate.

        By 1943, the Zero was not the terror of the skies, their principal fleet carriers were at the bottom, their merchant fleet was being diminished by the month and they were not building enough ships to replace battle losses.

        Even though the naval battles around Guadalcanal were Japanese victories or were fought to a draw, they couldn’t move the Americans. And their supply situation there was critical from day one and only got worse. The War in the Pacific was horrible for the Japanese. It was no cake walk for the US, but it was horrible for the Japanese.

          • Yamamoto thought that the US would sue for peace. When that didn’t happen, but they did well anyway, the ‘victory disease’ (believing your own press) made them overly bold and the rest is history.

            Logistics helps keep you from losing wars. Some say that it wins wars, and it’s semantics. There were things that the Japanese lacked early in the war and attrition at all levels threw them into a defensive posture where they tried to win by not losing, but the US wasn’t going to allow that to happen.

      • George’s comments on how crappy the Japanese ammo packaging was interesting- soft cardboard boxes falling apart, etc. The other thing that sticks out in memory was his comment on all the US weapons, save for the M1 Carbine, being too heavy.

        • I’m not a big M-1 Carbine fan (M-2 was better because you could fire bursts on full auto). It was ok, I guess, but not really a war winner. As a back window rifle in a pick-up it’s ok, though. Same general ballistics as a 30-30 WCF, and mag fed.

  2. She’ll be safe in the new order, she can just identify as Latina.

    Hell, she can identify as a dolphin as long as she has the MG, nobody’s gonna argue.

    What is that, anyway – a MAG?


    • She will self-identify as a black man. The only Latinas that democrats like are illegal ones. The rest vote Republican all too often.

  3. In an old Reader’s Digest Humor in Uniform section – guy hears a shocked female clerk, working the phone at an military surplus store, shout “WHAT kind of tent!!!???”

  4. Manstoppers- (not the obvious one…..)
    A guy asked me to case a pair of English traveling pistols, these were flintlock, about .75 cal, short barreled for coach defense. Only one shot each, but what a shot. Very reassuring feel in the hand.

    • A .75 caliber soft lead ball, fired with an adequate charge will flatten out as it passes through the target and create an impressive wound channel. It doesn’t offer much in the way of hydrostatic shock, but it pushes a big tube of meat out the back (as it also displaces meat). Fired through the gut – not pretty.

  5. okay, off topic, i apologize…..navy just announced calmer heads, it won’t go into black sea over Russia concerns. yet, biden declared an emergency b/c of “omg its Russia!” what the heck is going on? who the heck is in charge here?

    • Who is in charge of the US?

      A question for the ages, but I can guarantee that it’s not Jo/Ho.

      The US has sent and is sending significant military aid to Ukraine. Let THEM fight the Russians if they want to, or let the Europeans put boots on the ground (they won’t). But IT IS NOT OUR FIGHT.

      Sending US warships into the Black Sea, past Crimea, is much like the Russians or Chinese sending warships into the Great Lakes.

      Sending Littoral Combat Ships into the Sea of Azov. Not a great idea. Sure, the LCS might be able to make it under the bridge into the Sea of Azov…if they’re allowed. That’s one of the ideas that USN floated. Great job for an LCS – if they don’t break down before they get there. You wonder if the IQ’s of some of these folks is above room temp.

  6. Funny, most designs of bowling ball mortars look, barrel-wise, much like that Belgian mortar. Whodathunk? Or, well, a good design is a good design.

    As to Russia’s War of Maneuver, well, duh. That’s the successful tactics the Russians have used since getting run over and over by the Mongols. Maneuver, fight a small battle, maneuver, fight a small battle, etc. etc. etc.

    That revolver? Be interesting to enter into the oh-so-typical .45 vs 9mm debate by pulling that hog out.

    As to any 6.something rifle, well, when you’re only shooting to 300 yards max normally, one doesn’t need a rifle that can kill a horse at a 1000 yards. Funny how the caliber wars go from Horse-stoppers to light-calibers and back and forth and back and forth. It’s almost like there’s no such thing as one perfect caliber for everything.

    But the Arisaka? Dad had a hunting buddy who loved his for woods hunting. But for plains hunting he used a .30-06 Springfield. Another loved his Carcano for woods hunting, said it was good to 300 yards, and joked that it was good enough to kill a Kennedy.

    • The Type 2 paratrooper rifle design reminds me a lot of the Ruger 10-22 Takedown model. I think that Sturm Ruger might have taken a long look at that before they built the Takedown. A good design is a good design.

  7. It must still be early in the war as the Bosche look fairly healthy and clean.
    As far as that mortar goes i wonder how many of those grenades didn’t explode after launch?
    Who is supplying the FARC with those capabilities?
    I have a pair of Arisakas and had an opportunity at a para model years ago but it wasn’t in the cards.
    Yup tooo damn white,and she’s running low on ammo.

    • FARC gave up a few years ago, cashed in their chips. And this is the NEW and improved Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, hiding in Venezuela and elsewhere. The old FARC got tired of fighting. They had half a million in Tijuana, buried in a clabo under a house near the Jai alai stadium. They dug it up and split it up among the FARC people in Northern Mexico (hiding there). The new FARCists lack funding. Communist China is supporting the effort to arm their revolutionary allies and they give them enough money not to wither. The same sort of thing that they did to the Shining Path in Peru.

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