Sergeant York

The important date was October 8th, 1918. (I keep missing my history by 1 day.) The story of Sgt. York, the man who killed or captured more than 100 Germans in a WWI battle.

  • On Oct. 8, 1918, Army Cpl. Alvin C. York led a charge against a German machine-gun position during World War I.
  • The charge resulted in 20 enemy casualties attributed to York alone, and the capture of 132 German soldiers.

There was also a fairly forgettable movie staring Gary Copper.

As they say, go read the whole thing. (Hat tip to The O.K. Corral.)


October 6, 1973: Israel Invaded

The Yom Kippur War: One of many wars that are forgotten by people who don’t pay attention. Which is just about everyone not in the military. 45 years ago – Yom Kippur War launched against Israel.

Which includes reference to

The famous battle for the Golan Heights in which a small group of Israeli tanks held off a Syrian armored force a hundred times their size. … The Heights of Courage (available for free online) by Avigdor Kahalani tells the story of the battle from the view of a participant. The battle also is the focus of the Prologue to Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears:

Not the only war against Israel that is “forgotten.”

The Long History of Concealed Carry in the US

People make it sound like the idea of an armed public is new (and scary), but it has a long history. Add a Colt to Your Motoring Equipment.

And not just in the US. If you read Sherlock Holmes, you might notice that Dr. Watson is almost always in possession of a revolver.

Even in the late 18th and early 19th century we see handguns like the Durs Egg ladies flintlock and Allen and Thurber percussion cap “muff pistols,” designed to be carried in the cylinders of material that women used to keep their hands warm. In the mid-to-late-19th century, the Philadelphia Deringer was so widely copied that “derringer” became a popular (if misspelled) designation for many small, concealable pistols. In the early 20th century, Colt’s Patent Fire Arms manufactured two John Moses Browning designed pistols, the 1908 Pocket Hammerless in .380 ACP (often called the “Model M”) and the 1908 Vest Pocket in .25 ACP (the “Model N”). As the names suggest, both were both made to be carried concealed in jacket, pants, or vest pockets. And they were both popular in their time. According to Massad Ayoob’s Greatest Handguns of the World, Colt’s produced nearly a million of these two concealed carry pistols by the 1940s (p. 128).

What Music Were You Listening to 25 Years Ago?

The last studio album from Nirvana was released in the US on September 21st, 1993. It had a limited release earlier (to coincide with the UK release), and at least one single was released in August, but that was the date of the full release.

I was never really into Grunge Rock. But some of these songs you couldn’t escape if you listened to Rock and Roll radio. (Well, maybe the top 40 stations ignored them.)

This is the song “Dumb” from the 1993 album In Utero, the third and last studio album from Nirvana. (YouTube will complain if you have any wish for privacy. Use the link above.)

In early 1994, after a drug overdose, and a cancelled concert tour, Kurt Cobain died of a self-inflicted shotgun blast after he left rehab.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0

Russian Bombers testing US defenses? Yeah, sounds like the Cold War all over again. U.S. fighter jets intercept two Russian bombers near Alaska.

The bombers were intercepted west of the mainland of Alaska and were accompanied by Russian Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets and never entered airspace over the United States and Canada, NORAD said.

Some of the bombers intercepted were nuclear-capable.

Russia is presently holding its Vostok-2018 drills, its largest show of military force since the height of the Cold War nearly four decades ago.

In case you are interested, in 1974 Oakridge National Lab tested several expedient blast shelters; shelters you could make given a few days notice with stuff you might have on hand. It is of course easier if you don’t wait until the last minute. And you need to cut up at least 1 car tire to build a blast valve. Of course you can buy blast valves and ventilation systems. And you need some things you probably haven’t thought of. (Do you know why beanbag chairs were introduced?) Switzerland has blast shelters for its entire population. Russia has blast shelters for most cities.

Cooperation With Criminals: Historical Edition

Sept 4, 1987 – 31 years ago: A deadly night at the National Supermarket

The history in a nutshell.

Editor’s note: On the night of Sept. 4, 1987, two gunmen entered the National Supermarket store on Natural Bridge in north St. Louis. What followed would be the worst mass killing in the history of the St. Louis Police Department. This is the original report published in the Post-Dispatch.

The store was closed. The victims were employees. The gunmen probably got entrance by some ruse, perhaps posing as “floor cleaners.”

The victims were herded into a corner on the west side of the store, ordered to lie down in a row and were shot execution-style in the head, police said. The store aisles near the office contained pools of blood.

They probably got very little money for all this killing. The store’s money was in a safe that the employees couldn’t open.

Armed security may not have saved anyone. If surprise was total there might have been no chance to defend yourself or others. But cooperation did nothing to ensure anyone’s safety, because violent criminals do not stop being violent criminals due to anything you are doing or not doing. Cooperation is a strategy for dealing with a violent encounter; it is not a guarantee.

Two World War II Anniversaries That I (Almost) Missed

The start of World War II. September 1, 1939 – Germans invade Poland.

At 4:45 a.m., some 1.5 million German troops invade Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. Simultaneously, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields, and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II.

OK, so maybe I didn’t miss that one, depending on how you slice it.

And the end of World War II. September 2, 1945 Japan surrenders.

On Sunday, September 2, more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay. The flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the Missouri. Just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces, and his aides wept as he made his signature.

Hat tip to The O.K. Corral, who reminded me that this weekend isn’t just about “honoring the labor movement.” (Even if that is the official excuse for having Monday off.)