Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 1, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

This video is a continuation of the Lucky Gunner series on "mouse guns" and pocket pistols. As the author mentions in this video, and I've previously pointed out, the purpose of the .25 ACP was to provide a self-defense cartridge of approximate size and power to a .22 rimfire, but more reliable by virtue of the centerfire primer.

  • I was on the road, so I didn't get this earlier: This week's Woodpile Report, if you haven't already looked at it.
  • Also, Grant Cunningham's Hump Day Reading List from yesterday. Among the articles are a couple on prepping that look to be good: one is a look at what comforts and conveniences will disappear in a disaster, and the other offers suggestions for prepping when you are strapped for cash and, in particular, those that fall within the category of "working poor." The latter article is mostly advice on improving your condition, both by getting better control of spending (and out of debt) and working toward getting the knowledge to move into a better paying job.
  • "Maximum Effective Range of Buckshot"--Brassfetcher. First, the author defines what he means by "maximum effective range": (1) "Having a hit probability greater than chance (greater than 50% of pellets make scoreable hits on target)"; (2) "Buckshot traveling fast enough to make incapacitating hit at this range (12.0” or deeper penetration in nominal 10% ballistic gelatin)." What the author found is that buckshot can still have the energy to produce an incapacitating hit at ranges well beyond the range of a 50% hit probability. Testing was of #4, #1, and 00 buckshot, both deformed and non-deforming. A couple of the findings:
  • Unplated #4 buffered buckshot was ineffective at any range--don't use it; in fact, avoid #4 altogether.
  • Even unplated buffered 00 buckshot had a 50% hit probability at 40 yards, and had sufficient penetration out to 92 yards. 
  • Plated and pattern controlled buckshot gave the greatest range and penetration.
  • Final conclusion: "If your duties or circumstances lead you to carry a shotgun for self-defense when outdoors, we encourage you to make use of shotshells utilizing a pattern-controlled shotcup and copper-plated shot pellets. As tested, pattern-controlled #1 buckshot presents an interesting alternative to the more traditional 00 buckshot (also pattern-controlled) in that the maximum effective range is the same but the felt recoil is reduced by 23% over the 00 buckshot load. Since there is no difference in the long range performance of the two shells, we recommend the Federal LE132 1B load to maximize range and minimize recoil for the defensive shotgun. For self-defense indoors or in environments that physically cannot exceed 10 yards distance, we recommend #4 plated buckshot at 1250 ft/sec or higher muzzle velocity. You can maximize your shotguns effectiveness by selecting buckshot that is effective out to your maximum planned engagement distance and no further."
  • "Secure your zippers"--Loose Rounds. To help prevent your bag from falling open and spilling the contents, the author recommends that you pull your zippers all the way to one side or another, rather than meeting in the middle.
  • "Army Serious About Fielding 6.8 Caliber Round"--National Defense Magazine. This article is, unfortunately, long on hype and short on facts. General Mark Milley is quoted in the article as stating that the new rifle and cartridge will have "an accurate range far in excess of any known existing military rifle today," and "will fire at speeds that far exceed the velocity of bullets today." He also indicated that the round will penetrate any known body armor or any expected to be developed in the next 25 years. And it will be 10% lighter than current rounds, although it is not clear if that is in reference to 7.62 NATO rounds or 5.56 NATO rounds.
         It is possible that Milley doesn't actually know what he is talking about or is merely voicing an Army pipe dream. In fact, I think the odds are pretty high that this is all fantasy. But is it possible? Well, others more knowledgeable than me have written on the topic, and largely discounted it. Essentially the only way to improve penetration against body armor would be with much higher velocities and/or denser materials for the projectile (i.e., tungsten). Tungsten is too expensive for wide-use, and China currently controls most of the sources. Higher velocity will either result in some truly heavy recoil and large case volumes, or some other technological change such as employing an armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding sabot (APFSDS) round. Or perhaps the military will resurrect the Gyrojet.
  • "TEOTWAWKI Part VIII: Barricades, Tough Decisions, and Tony Montana"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. This is the most recent installment on a series of articles where the author explores the aftermath of an EMP attack, both through an ongoing fictionalized look at what a surviver might experience, and additional analysis. In this particular article, the surviver, on foot, comes across a section of road that has been barricaded by the members of a small community who are trying to stop refugees and raiders from overrunning their small town. 
        Wilder's scenario is such that the EMP has effectively destroyed the functioning of most vehicles. It is not entirely clear on how an EMP would affect most vehicles. The testing done by the EMP commission did not involve as powerful of electromagnetic pulses as would be generated by an EMP attack, although probably accurate for those regions farther from the center of the EMP impacted zone. They found that an EMP could cause vehicles to stall, but didn't seem to damage the vehicles. Of course, vehicles are more computerized now, so they might be more sensitive to EMP. But vehicles from the 1980s or earlier, or electrically simple vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles may be unaffected. I believe that an EMP will probably leave a large number of vehicles serviceable, and so construction of a roadblock should take that into consideration.
        Obviously, you don't want to be stopped at a road block because, as soon as you stop, you lose your mobility. Ideally, you would have a means of scouting ahead for road blocks. If not, and you come across one in a vehicle, immediately turn around if there is room for a U-turn; and, if not, immediately reverse and back away at a high speed until you are far enough back that you can safely turn the vehicle around. If you feel you must break through a roadblock, I would direct your attention to the excellent article on the subject by Matthew Allen
        Setting up an effective roadblock can be challenging. The first issue is to prevent a vehicle from being able to approach the roadblock with the speed and momentum to break through, which means that you must be able to slow a vehicle approaching. In Wilder's example, his townspeople had set the roadblock up on a blind curve, which would have not only concealed the roadblock but forced a vehicle to slow. However, if you lack a useful terrain feature like that, what is often used is a network of barriers which a vehicle must slow and zig-zag through to get to the main roadblock or gate. This is also good for controlling the approach of a group on foot because they also must zig-zag to get through the barriers to the gate which can physically break up a group's structure, and would have a psychological effect and someone having to traverse through what is an obvious killing zone.
        Secondly,  to be effective, you need to make sure that someone approaching the roadblock can't simply drive around it. Terrain features or vegetation may preclude this from happening, or you may need to dig ditches, or emplace barriers or wire to stop or entangle vehicles. 
         A third consideration is that you should have security for the people manning the roadblock as well as warning that someone is approaching. For this purpose, it is useful to have an overwatch component (preferably on higher ground) that can attack someone at the barriers from the flank, or move up behind them. This also reduces the ability of a group approaching the roadblock to effectively use the barriers as cover.
        I question, however, the ability of a small town to effectively secure themselves using a manned road block. For one thing, an attacking force may discover the road block and then decide to attempt to flank the position either to avoid the road block, or to attack whatever group is manning the road block. Or they could flank the roadblock and then ignore it while they mount an attack directly on the town. 
        Also, while immediately following an EMP attack, a town might be able to afford the manpower to fully man roadblocks, what about as time goes on and manpower must be diverted to other purposes? Short-term, a road block may be a good idea to deal with an initial surge of refugees, but a long-term solution may be either physically destroying access to the town (such as destroying a bridge along an avenue of approach) or only maintaining a minimal number of people to act as watchmen, and mustering a force as needed if a warning is given.

"Illegal Immigration: It's About Power" from Prager University featuring Tucker Carlson (5 min.)
Carlson notes that Democrats--even those of the Hispanic kind--used to oppose illegal immigration because it hurt the job prospects and wages of unskilled laborers. Now Democrats don't care. He discusses why this change in attitude.

Forget the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military in domestic matters, i.e. law enforcement—this is no matter for local sheriffs or even just the Border Patrol, but is rather a national-security issue. There’s no question that the military can and should be used to repel an invasion; all that’s needed is to call the situation what it is. Instead of “caravans” and “migrants” let us speak instead of “armies” (ABC tried that and immediately got its mouth washed out with soap, which tells you something about the statement’s veracity) and “invaders.” But in the era of P.C.-speak, such plain talk is the truth that dare not utter its name.
What do you want to bet the plan is that armed Cabal-agent migrants, sprinkled throughout innocent women and children migrants in the Caravan, pop a few shots off at armed US Militia, with Cabal shooters mixed throughout their ranks who will respond by slaughtering the women and children. Picture the media orgasm over “what Trump did.” Picture the sob stories they’d recount of the horrors those innocent women and children were fleeing, and how Trump killed them with his rhetoric when they came here seeking shelter.
  • They really do hate you: Don Lemon of CNN quoted as saying: "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." Apparently, to Lemon "white men" are not "people."
  • They really really hate you: "We Can Replace Them"--Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times. The author, writing about the political races in Georgia, concludes her piece:
On Saturday morning, [gubernatorial candidate Stacey] Abrams closed by reminding the crowd of Kemp’s views on democracy. “He said he is concerned that if everyone eligible to vote in Georgia does so, he will lose this election,” she said. “Let’s prove him right.” In a week, American voters can do to white nationalists what they fear most. Show them they’re being replaced.
             So far, it's just a U.S.-China trade war, not a hot, shooting war. Beijing, however, is preparing for "hot war" with the U.S.
              For the last 15 years the dictatorship has spent hundreds of billions on military modernization. China's navy is acquiring advanced nuclear submarines. The air force is buying stealthy supersonic jet fighters. China's strategic rocket forces have acquired anti-ship ballistic missiles with precision warheads that can allegedly hit a moving U.S. carrier. The subs, fighters and missiles support China's anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) military strategy.
                Who is being denied access? The U.S. Navy.
                 A2/AD has a coercive political goal: Seeding doubts in Asia that the mighty U.S. will come to the rescue should China decide to launch an offensive to grab more territory -- like the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Doubting U.S. resolve makes Asian countries susceptible to diplomatic intimidation.
                   China is also acquiring its own aircraft carriers, which can project power through the Straits of Malacca and into the Indian Ocean. But as the Pentagon noted in 2017, China's artificial islands (in Filipino territory) have air bases and Chinese military aircraft can already "operate over nearly the entire South China Sea."
                     But China isn't ready to go hot, not yet. Presenting America with a peer-level military challenge is 10 to 15 years away.
                        So Beijing wants to continue the quiet struggle, avoiding high-risk confrontations with Washington while increasing its economic power. These operations include cyber attacks and intellectual property theft. Chinese spies steal intellectual property and Chinese corporations use the filched technology to make money.
                           The military and diplomatic dimensions of 21st-century Chinese Communist imperial bullying rely on an expanding economy, continued productivity and relatively unfettered access to markets -- especially the American market.
                            Perhaps the U.S. trade war with China is the beginning of a strategic counter-attack on the cash cow that the Beijing dictatorship knows is its long-term route to global power. If it is, then the American response is long overdue.
                              For the past 18 months, more than two dozen U.S. diplomatic staffers once stationed in Cuba and China have endured an ordeal that is equal parts medical mystery, political stand-off and bureaucratic muddle.
                               Cuba and China deny any role. While the U.S. hasn't named a culprit, it says the "health attacks" caused brain injury and other physical harm. Physicians enlisted by the State Department have identified what they call a "Brain Network Disorder" acquired by U.S. personnel serving abroad, say U.S. officials, that includes structural changes to the brain not found in any previously known disorder.
                          * * *
                                   Equally unsettling to the diplomatic evacuees: suspected incidents of harassment and break-ins they say have occurred since returning to the States. Four U.S. officials tell NBC that the FBI has investigated.
                              * * *
                                        Some reported suspected break-ins at their homes or temporary housing, after finding items moved or tampered with, or lights and televisions turned on that had been left off. Some handed over potential evidence to the FBI, including surveillance footage and a laptop suspected to have been tampered with.
                                         Others reported being conspicuously followed — including from their doctors' offices in Philadelphia — and suspicious activity on cellphones. At one point, patients whose treatment was transferred from Penn to Washington's MedStar National Rehabilitation Network were told all of their MedStar appointments were canceled indefinitely due to safety concerns, four people familiar with the cancellations said. The situation was ultimately resolved.
                                            True Greek Fire was a “wet fire” that could be concentrated, controlled, and directed at will with all the destructive force of a modern flamethrower of the sort used by American marines in the South Pacific during World War II. For the warriors of the 7th century, however, and of the next several hundred years, the awesome destructive power of Greek Fire—and of its psychological impact on the enemies of Byzantium—would have been equivalent to that of a modern atomic bomb.
                                             According to the historian Theophanes, the inventor of this Byzantine form of “nuclear” warfare was a brilliant architect and engineer named Kallinikos (Callinicus). Kallinikos, who was Jewish, was a loyal subject of the Byzantine Empire from Heliopolis (present-day Maalbek) in Syria. Forced to flee his homeland following the Arab conquest of Syria, Kallinikos made his way to Constantinople and offered his services to the Byzantine Emperor, Constantine Pogonatus. The Emperor wisely accepted.
                                               Beyond that, almost everything else about Greek Fire is a mystery. Even the name is something of a misnomer. Called “Sea Fire” by the Byzantines themselves, it was called “Roman Fire” by the Arabs, because the Byzantine Empire was the successor state to the Eastern Roman Empire. The term Greek Fire comes down to us courtesy of the Crusaders, who rampaged their way through the eastern Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. The Crusaders dubbed it Greek Fire because they thought of the Byzantines as Greeks—this confusion being, no doubt, engendered by the fact that the preferred language of the Byzantines was, like its culture, not Latin, but Hellenistic Greek. Paradoxically, by virtue of their ancient pedigree, the Byzantines never stopped thinking of themselves as Romans.
                                          According to accounts of its use, it appeared to react with water making it burn even more fiercely. Unfortunately, the secret of making the weapon was so strictly protected that eventually the Byzantines lost the secret. Reading accounts from World War II, it is evident that incendiary weapons, including napalm and flamethrowers, were key to our victory over both the Germans and Japanese. It is unfortunate that we have abandoned such useful weapons.

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