Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
something I saw at hellinahandbasket. This is another one. There was an article discussing gimmick weapons or systems. This odd ball came up in the comments.
The curious device above is known far and wide as a Glove Gun. More properly it is a Sedgley Glove or Sedgley Glove Gun if you prefer. For years they have appeared in books or articles about the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) with a one paragraph description. As the name suggest the implement attached to the back of a standard cowhide work glove is a fire arm. To be exact it is a single shot .38 caliber fire arm. The plunger extending past the barrel is the triggering device. To discharge it, you punch the dude where you want the bullet to go – can’t miss!
My best information is that the weapon was designed by the Office of Naval
Intelligence. There are several theories about how it was employed.
One is that Sedgley Gloves were provided to heavy equipment operators with the Sea Bees. Reason being that bulldozer operators were unarmed due to the requirements of their jobs. The story goes that Sedgley Gloves came in right and left hand pairs. In case of a surprise attack by the Japanese this gave the Sea Bees a way to defend themselves.
With all due respect, I wouldn’t even have mentioned this one if I hadn’t encountered it several times in my research. Japanese soldiers tended to lead with their bayonets during an attack on what they thought to be an unarmed opponent. A glove, even a Sedgley Glove, against a bayonet looses. I have talked to a lot of Sea Bees. Some of them have mentioned side arms, others spoke about finding a way to keep a rifle or shotgun handy if they felt the need. Sedgley Gloves never came up.
I would offer two other arguments against this practice. First, in all my years of research I have only seen pictures of Sedgley Gloves made for the right hand, never the left. Second, if they had been issued in quantity to the Sea Bees we would be seeing a lot of them at gun shows. This is not to say the idea wasn’t suggested, maybe tested, but there has to be a reason Naval Intelligence designed them and the OSS ended up with them.
The Sedgley Glove pictured above is from the World War Two Museum in New Orleans. It was the property of Lawrence Ney Hanna. Lt. Hanna had been an officer with a unit called the Beach Jumpers and is the only case I know of where a Sedgley Glove was carried in combat.
The Beach Jumpers were the brain child of none other than Douglas Fairbanks
Jr. Fairbanks was that rare Hollywood type that existed outside officers clubs and PR appearances. His like traveled to dangerous places and made them more dangerous when they got there.
The job of the Beach Jumpers was to convince the enemy that a major force was attacking an all but empty beach. Their ride was a 63-foot double-hulled plywood air-sea rescue fast boat. Each boat was crewed by an officer and six enlisted men. The boats were equipped with twin 50 caliber machine guns, 3.5 inch window rockets, smoke pots and generators, and floating time-delay explosive packs. They also carried the unit’s specialized deception equipment: the multi-component "heater," consisting of a wire recorder; 5-phase amplifier, and 1000 watt, 12 horn speaker; and ZKM and MK-6 Naval balloons to which strips of radar reflective window had been attached. The latter could be towed behind the boats to enhance their radar cross-section.
This boat could convince the enemy a task force was landing in their back yard. By the time the defenders responded they were long gone – they hoped!
The glove had been issued to Lt. Hanna in case his boat was ever boarded. He was to hold his hands up as if surrendering until someone got close. With the fire arm component on the back of the glove it would not be seen by anyone in front of him. Once a boarder was close enough Lt. Hanna would punch them with the Sedgley Glove. The theory being that the punch and unexpected weapon report would take the man out and could create enough of a diversion for the crew to take back the boat.
So what are the chances of surviving such a stunt? Slim, but considering the kind of interrogation these folks could expect, being taken alive wasn’t an option. Luckily for Lt. Hanna he never had to use the Sedgley Glove.
In the half century plus since World War Two the only time Sedgley Gloves have been used in a movie was INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. I am pretty sure these were re-pops.
The Sedgley Glove reminds me of a saying my Grandmother used to have, “Book smart
and horse stupid!” Someone put a great deal of thought into this beastie, but never stopped to ask themselves if it was worth the effort to build it. This is the kind of thing I would expect a street thug to cobble up, not Military Intelligence.
I would love to have one for my collection, but would never fire it.
Friday, February 17, 2012
The DUKW had its roots in the much more common GMC CCKW, the "duce and a half" that saw service all over the world.
The CCKW drive train was fitted with a water tight hull and an extra drive shaft for a propeller. So, you might ask, what was the point of a truck that could run on water?
The DUKW had a generous cargo bay that allowed for twenty armed troops or a couple of tons of whatever the military might think to load on board. Dangerous ground that.
The beastie was able to pull up next to a ship and have cargo nets of goods dropped directly into her cargo bay. Once loaded she could head to shore.
Unlike a boat DUKW's didn't need a dock, but could drive out of the water and take it cargo strait to where it was needed. This eliminated two steps of the cargo process, unloading at the dock and transfering to a truck for transport. Unloading the ducks by hand slowed things down, but when there was a crane on shore to unload the nets, turn around was pretty quick.
The drivers compartment of the DUKW was familur to anyone who had ever driven a truck.
There were some additional bells and whistles, but once the driver learned their functions the beast became much more versatile.
One feature well known to military personal today is the ability to control the airpressure of the tires from the drivers compartment. This way the pressure could be reduced for operating in sand and incressed for roads. The crew didn't have to leave the vehicle and expose themselves to hostile fire to do so.
One problem the DUKWs had was the narrow streets in European towns and villages. They would take up the whole thing; there was no two way traffic.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
After getting directions from the store/bar keeper we followed what claimed to be a road to a shack in the desert. It was like something out of a movie. The owner, a slender stooped old man, heard us coming and was waiting in the door as we pulled up.
When Dad told him why we had come the little old man looked my Father up and down then said, “Well, you might be able to handle my shotgun,” and disappeared inside the shack.
This galled my father; he was over six feet and had done hard physical labor every day of his life. The man reappeared in the door with a huge lever action shotgun and a handful of BIG brass shotgun shells. He showed Dad how to load it through the open breach and pointed out a gas can several yards away that had outlived its usefulness.
In years since I had seen a number of these fine old shotguns. I even had a chance to fire one in twelve gauge belonging to a friend. When I would see them at gun shows I wanted to sit down in the isle and bawl, remembering Dad could have gotten one for $50.00.
Of course most folks today know the Winchester 1887 not from its Old West or long sporting history, but from the 1991 movie TERMINATOR 2 – JUDGEMENT DAY. The fact is, my 1901 narrowly escaped the ‘Terminator Chop’.
Not too long ago Steve at THE FIREARMS BLOG announced Chiappa is coming to the aid of those needing to channel their “inner Arnold” with the T-Series 1887 shotgun. In some news releases this has been described as “Shotgun Pistol” but the 18.5 inch barrel makes it a shotgun and spares buyers the hassle of Class 3 or AOW paperwork.
I’m delighted that my 1901 was spared the chop and wouldn’t change it. Still, I wouldn’t mind having one of the T-Series in my collection. As I said, cut down 1887s were quite popular in times past. A bootlegger T series would fit some of my programs nicely – not to mention being all kinds of fun!
UPDATE - My thanks to a reader who sent me a link to a photo of the "Bootlegger".
Also, my friend Hangman reminded me on facebook that the 1901 was stressed to handle smokless powder. I can't believe I forgot to mention that.
Folks like these make this Blog much more special than I could alone.