Holy Roman Empire in 1356

What was left of the Roman Empire (sorta).  It makes me wonder what the map of North America will look like in 2220. Even though it’s politically incorrect (traditionally) to secede from the Union, the Democrats seem to be pushing for it (again). And the Republicans seem to be holding the union together (again). The Democrats are pushing an ‘inner city slaver culture’ and the Republicans seem to be working to free those enslaved by culture by offering financial independence instead of food stamps and welfare (which is exceptionally progressive).

Black Lives Matter and other racially exclusive groups are pushing for segregation which is odd, isn’t it, because I can recall when desegregation was all the rage. Will it change the map? Time will tell.


The Evolution of Pole Arms

Some of you who read this blog may recall that I was looking for a pole axe to carry in the truck. The search continues. There is an appeal to a pole arm that is short enough to be used in a CQB environment. Then again, it’s so much easier to carry my Glock 21 with four spare magazines. I usually load with 12. Which is 60 rounds of .45 ACP +P. (my Glock is modified and optimized for +P ammo. You can get up to a lot of trouble with 60 rounds, after which there is ammo in boxes. Do I need a pole axe? The little voice says that maybe I need one too. In addition to my tomahawk & war hammer…and shotgun…and the…other stuff. The Raptor has a lot of room.

Will the M-67 hand grenades that the cartels have (bought from Central American military stores) become fashionable to carry in the US the way that they are in Mexico? Asking for a friend.


Don’t Try This

If there are gators in the water nearby. They have no respect.




Why are the French Obsessed with Grenades?

Artillery helmet? Grenade. Infantry helmet? Grenade. Gendarmes? Grenade. The foreign legion? Grenade. Firemen? Grenade. When did les pompiers ever lob grenades at burning buildings to put fires out?

As you will know, the grenade insignia is linked to grenadier regiments. When grenades were a new and exciting weapon, usually given to tall and fit soldiers that were best able to lob it at the enemy before they exploded in their hands.

The original weapon, with the lighted fuse disappeared from line battles but the distinction stayed, with grenadiers being elite troops. The insignia itself first appears on French uniforms with the creation of two regiments of grenadiers gendarmes in 1791, replacing the old royal police force, and then spread to all gendarmerie units. When you couple that with Napoleonic grenadiers, you start having a consequential part of French armed forces using the grenade as their insignia, at which point it bled over to all line infantry regiments during WW1 – the reasoning behind that if I had to guess was probably ‘well we need to put something on the helmets, I know, let’s use a grenade. Everyone loves grenades”.

When I was in France circa 2004, I met with counterparts while I was speaking at a conference at the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon. It was a special French police unit. They gave me their kepi as a keepsake (I have a few kepis as keepsakes from over the years including a kepi blanc from the FFL) and it has a flaming grenade on it.

Today they use the LGI Mle F1 (a lot like a Japanese  Type 89  knee mortar used in WW2) to deliver a 51mm GRExPL AP LGI F1 HE grenade.

But no, I really don’t know why the obsession with grenade emblems on almost everything. I’m not French, though I have French ancestors – the name “Lambert.” If I was French, I might have a tighter grip on the culture?



  1. I’ve heard some stories about saltwater crocodiles up north of Australia. The speed at which you can get out of a zodiac when a saltie wants in is apparently quite startling.

    Navy people will look on with interest when you’re doing bridging activities near where some large salties like to lurk too.

  2. Do you need a pole-ax? Absolutely! Why? Because you want one. I need a few items as well. A kukri would be nice, and a better tomahawk. Yeah, and more ammo.

    • More ammo…yes.

      I may have to wait for the nation to shift to another focus, like global warming, or saving gay whales, to seriously shop for the RIGHT pole axe. The plague thing is still a big deal in Arizona and while I ignore it, others don’t.

  3. I carried my squad’s M-203, and of course you know this as an M-16 with a grenade launcher mounted to it. Would I be called a former ‘grenadier?’

    • Absolutely! I carried an M-203 as well, and though I never thought of myself in army terms, YOU were clearly the grenadier. The one difference between you and the French (ok, yes, more than one difference) is that you didn’t have flaming grenade logos on every single piece of kit.

      • I too was issued an M-203; I absolutely hated it. I was never taught how to fire it, clean it or anything else; just had to lug the awkward thing around. Being in an FA Bn FDC and later the S-2 shop, my need for an M-203 was minimal, at best. End of whine.

        Paul L. Quandt

    • lol, we called it the flaming piss pot. i cried when i had to take off the crossed rifles and put on the bomb. alas few grow old in the infantry. couldn’t hit crap with the m203 until jimmy rogers, ranger in ‘nam, snatched it out of my hand and proceeded to destroy 3 targets from the hip in about ten seconds. handed it back to me and said “hit the damn target private.” and i did, i was scared not to, i had never heard him curse before.

    • Entrenching tools matter. I’ve never killed anyone with one of them. Then again, I’ve never spitted anyone with a bayonet except in training. And I don’t recall using an entrenching tool at all, except to build mock targets that they guys would then hit for training in the Chocolate Mountains near the Salton Sea (between CA and AZ).

      I like a pole axe better, maybe because I like the flash of an axe splitting a skull or the spike skewering somebody better than the sharpened edge of a shovel.

      I’ve killed gophers and snakes with the edge of a longer shovel and that worked just fine. Would I like a long handle shovel or an M-14 with a bayonet on it better against rioters? Give me the M-14. Or even a Brown Bess with one of those wicked lunger bayonets. Don’t allow for my preferences and prejudice to sway you from taking your entrenching tool to the next riot.

        • I have a friend who bemoaned the switch from the Garland to the M14…his complaint?
          He kept breaking the stocks on the M14 while practicing Drill and Ceremony.
          They broke when he slapped them doing some of the changes.
          He was with the first Marine unit that went into Vietnam.
          It is too bad cloning isn’t up to science fiction standards yet, because he would have been the perfect Marine Model 1.

  4. Since we’re talking the French, why did their helmet have that ridge running down the middle?

    Maybe I’ll watch “Paths of Glory” tonight with Mrs. CW.

    • Several reasons.

      1. To provide strength for the whole piece. It stiffens and strengthens the overall piece.

      2. Protects better against bumping the top of one’s head. Of course, that also depends on what type of suspension system is in the helmet, too.

      3. (And this is weird, but it works) It splits the concussion wave of an explosion, sending it to the sides. Like the pointy-end initiator of a supersonic plane. Just the slightest break in the wave does a tremendous reduction of transfer of force straight down. It may have been unintended, but it actually works. Weird, huh? Like seriously weird, freaky physics weird.

      • I can always trust Beans to not only provide a correct answer, but to explain it in detail.
        Thanks Mr. B

  5. Hmmm, I’m more partial to the Runka. That way the sucker can’t run down the blade and get you (kinda like a hog spear I’m familiar with). Re grenades, it’s the French… sigh 😉

  6. Grenades explode (hopefully somewhere else); what’s not to like?

    I always thought the Mk 19 must be one of the most fun weapons to fire – a machinegun and a GL all at once!

    Perhaps the helmet thing is like the famous “front: towards enemy” picture with the claymore strapped to the guy’s helmet?

  7. Used to be, grenadiers were the toughest mofos in the infantry. Have to carry a haversack-load of black-powder bombs, and many lengths of fuse and lit slow-match, and have the balls to properly cut the fuse for the bombs so they blow up just right (not too long, not too short) and then stand up in a field full of musket and cannon balls zipping all over and throw the damned lit bomb to the appropriate distance and appropriate enemy.

    Takes serious balls, fortitude and the correct combination of smarts to be a grenadier. So, in a lot of armies, grenadiers got paid more. (Like the front-rank of pike troops got paid more because they had to be better and tougher than 2nd or 3rd rank pikers…)

    So, of course, everyone wants the extra pay, without the added risk. So everyone gets to wear the flaming bomb. Kind of like berets and special forces. Eventually regular troops whined and bitched and then everyone got to wear the stupid things, and then there’s no reason for SF troopies to wear them. Would be funny if the SF just went back to the garrison cap just to show the regular troops that they (the SF) are special.

      • I’m really happy I left the Army before that stupid headgear was mandated for all. I would not have worn it.

        Paul L. Quandt

    • By the time grenades and gunpowder came along, the nobility (those with family crests) would not likely associate themselves with such crude weapons. Napoleon had a honey bee (Corsicans).

  8. Another use, aka justification, for a pole arm would be to clear fallen branches out of the road. At times I carry a chainsaw in my vehicle in case I have to clear the road to get to work.

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