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  • Brian Wolfe

    An Apology - of sorts

    By Brian Wolfe

    I often describe myself as slightly paranoid, which then seems to make others think I have some sort of philological issues.  I don’t believe I am being “watched” for example.  That would, in my opinion, suggest that I hold some degree of celebrity in my mind; this would also, if it were the case, indicate that I think that I am somehow a fellow of above average interest to others.  I must admit that if I were any less interesting people would fall asleep during a hand shake with me. Perhaps what I should say is that I strive to be more careful than average when it comes to making purchases and in believing everything I am told.  Purchases such as left-handed baseball bats and non-flammable candles may be easy enough to avoid.  However I have lost count of all of the collectables I have purchased and then a few days later wondered how I could have made such unwise choices. A few examples of what I allude to are, prices being far too high or items that really didn’t fit into my collecting themes.    The problem of knowing when you are being told something other than the truth can at times be difficult.  There are some physical signs which must not be taken on individual basis, such as someone rubbing their nose or excessive blinking of the eyes.  These so-called signs, on their own, can be explained away as having nothing to do with attempted deceit. Collectively such signs, along with other indications may be used, in law enforcement as an example, to accept the statement or doubt what you are being told.   The most difficult “stories” to determine their truthfulness is when the person telling the story actually believes it to be the truth.  This and the manner in which the story is delivered and the interpretation of what has been said may end in one doubting the story as being the truth.  Two examples come to mind.  If you hear someone say that smoking can be bad for you and you need to take measures to avoid smoking, you may think of someone inhaling smoke from a cigarette, which fits the caution; or something else.  If you are standing too close to your BBQ and your clothing is starting to smoke then surely you need to take measures (stepping back) to avoid bursting into flames.  My second, and last example, comes from the television comedy, Saturday Night Live (SNL) that first appeared in 1975 which is famous for their rather juvenile humour appealing to the adolescent mind.  I became rather old and stuffy about 40 years ago and therefore stopped watching SNL.  One of the sketches involved a group of people telling an individual on a beach that “You can’t look at the sun too long”.  Most of us would take this as a warning and realize staring at the sun could be detrimental to your vision and not misinterpret this as you can’t get over the majesty of the sun, for example.  Of course the poor fellow being advised took the first interpretation with disastrous results. No, my retelling of this story is not very funny however, as has been said, “You had to be there to see it”.   One of the stories  that has floated around guns shows and places where people interested in military history gather, at least here in Canada, is the topic of this blog.  Yes, I know it has taken me a long time to get to the point...as usual.  Why say something in a couple of dozen words when a plethora of paragraphs can achieve the same results? That’s a rhetorical question of course.   The story is that one can turn an FN FAL C1,or C1A1, rifle from a semi-automatic to a full automatic weapon by inserting a piece of match book in the correct place in the internal workings.  This I have always held as being complete garbage. Any of those reading this who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces in the past and used the FN FAL C1 and the FN C2 please hold off on your hate mail until the end of this blog.    The Canadians used the FN FAL C1, a semi-automatic battle rife with the 7.62X51mm NATO round from 1953, being the first to officially adopt the FN FAL, until 1984 when it was replaced by the 5.56x45mm NATO C7 rifle and the C8 carbine both based on the American US AR-15.  The British and Commonwealth Nations used the same rifle as Canada but called it the L1A1. I have read that the rifle was commonly known as the FAL however in my area of Ontario at least, we refer to it as simply the “FN”.    Here’s where the claim of using the FN C1, inserting a piece of match book to turn it into an automatic weapon, becomes argument.  In each case where this has come up in the past I have tried to delve more deeply into this claim by asking if the service person is saying that with the insertion of a matchbook into the FN C1 they have changed it from a battle rifle (semi-automatic) into an assault rifle (full auto).  Without exception the answer is “yes”.  The problem in my mind, I have just recently discovered, is not whether you can modify an FN C1 with a foreign object to malfunction and discharge the weapon in rapid succession but have you actually “changed” this battle rifle into an assault rifle.  A basic definition of an assault rifle is that it is a carbine sized firearm using a large capacity magazine capable of sustained full automatic fire.  The FN FAL, even fitted with a large capacity magazine, falls short of being an assault rifle on two of the most important requirements that I have stated, even with the matchbook modification.   To all of the servicemen in my past who have engaged me in this argument, and there have been quite a few, I apologize.  You are correct in that you can make an FN FAL C1 malfunction to fire several rounds in rapid, automatic-like, succession.  On the other hand I would offer the suggestion that this could be done with almost any semi-automatic rifle.    On the other hand (you knew there would be an “on the other hand”) to all servicemen in my past who have engaged me in argument you failed miserably in qualifying your claim fully.  You did not, I must repeat, did not, change this battle rifle into an assault rifle, and especially to one fellow who claimed to have changed the FN FAL C1 into the C2A1, the squad automatic weapon (SAW),  as the C2 has a much more robust barrel to withstand the heat generated by sustained rapid fire.  Some of our members might note that they have seen an FN FAL C1 with a selective fire option and you would be correct.  There were some FN FAL C1 rifles fitted with the selective fire option and used only by the Royal Canadian Navy to give boarding parties the option of a full automatic weapon without the weight of the C2A1.     In past blogs I have managed to attempt to prove and at times disprove some claims.  I’ve disproved some claims about the Battle of Crecy and the crossbow. We then proved the capabilities of the crossbow in experiments that were undertaken with minor casualties. These experiments also brought to light that during an apology for a range mishap the suggestion that, “It is only a cat”, is best left unsaid. I think we successively supported claims regarding the possibility of an accidental discharge of the STEN gun.  Now we have supported the claim that the FN FAL C1 can be made to fire with the insertion of a foreign object; yet without actually fully admitting that I was wrong.  It’s a win, win situation!    I will continue with my version of paranoia and look for myths that I can prove or disprove, while being on guard against my own poor purchase decisions.    The post has just arrived and I need to close now and open the shipment of prefabricated postholes I purchased on eBay.   Ever vigilant   Regards Brian      
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    Tuesday I thought I was going to buy a Finnish Liberty Cross 3rd Class 1918 , a real scarce award :love:

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    My great-grandfather is Lukas Kirsten. His daughter is Marianne v. Watzdorf-Kirsten, my grandmother. His grand daughter, Angela Schroeder, is my mother. My name is Alexandra Kennedy Corwin.

    I have photos/documents left to me in albums. I have his sword.

    If anyone knows of medals and so forth linked to him or know of descendants, please let me know. When my grandmother migrated to the US in the 60s, she left Germany behind. I do not know of any other family.

    here is Lukas Kirsten's information:

    LukasKirsten: born 21 May 1874 Crimmitschau, killed in action 10 December 1917 near Warneton,

    Saxon cavalry officer, participant in China Campaign 1900-01 and Southwest Africa 1904-06

    Sekondeleutnant
    Oberleutnant 28.6.99 C
    Rittmeister 15.9.05
    Major zD

    Went to zD status from Ulanen Rgt 21 19 January 1914. Recalled for WW1 and served in infantry units as a battalion and regimental commander, being KIA as commander of Saxon Inf Rgt 177.

    Received the Saxon St Henry Order-Knight for China 19.1.1901, as well as Prussian Crown Order 4X and Austro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross 3 with War Decoration and Japanese Order of the Rising Sun 6th Class. He may have received his Italian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus-Knight for China.

    In Southwest Africa he received Saxon Merit Order-Knight w/Xs and Prussian Red Eagle Order 4 w/Xs.

    Until 1914: Saxon XXV Years Long Service Cross

    WWI: both classes of Prussian Iron Cross, Swords to Saxon Albert Order-Knight 1st 19.10.15 (when he got a Knight 1st WITHOUT swords—must have been before the war started in 1914) and Crown to that grade 27.6.16. Turkish Imtiaz Medal in Silver with Sabers Bar was apparently a “courtesy” award from a visiting Ottoman Pasha.

    Commander grade of the Saxon Order of Saint Henry 12 October 1916 as commander of Saxon Infantry Regiment 103.

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    ioway1846
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    Does anyone have any info about the U.S.A.'s 40 & 8 Medals with bars?

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    anyone know what this badge was for? First time posting here so hope I've done it right.

  1. Morar Andrei
    Latest Entry

    This my first topic from a series that will cover at least some of the planes used by Romania during the Second World War. First one will be about the only romanian-built fighter, the IAR 80.

     IAR 80 was a monoplane fighter and dive bomber. It was conducted at IAR Braşov by a team composed of Prof. Ion Grosu, Ion Coşereanu, Eng. Gheorhe Zotta, Viziru Grosu and Ion Wallner. At that time, the IAR 80 was comparable to the most modern combat aircraft, such as Germany's Bf 109, Mitsubishi A6M Zero in Japan, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire in the UK. In the second part of the war, this project proved to be technologically outdated. About five years after the end of the war, the planes were completely replaced by Soviet models. In 1955, the Military Air Force Command decided to dismantle the apparatus and destroy it. No plane has been preserved, but two copies are now found at the National Museum of the Aviation, and the other at the National Military Museum, both in Bucharest.

    At the end of 1937 the IAR 80 started working, initially designed with the open cockpit and the IAR K14-III C32 engine of 870 hp (649 kW). Slow work was done on this project and the first flight was conducted in April 1939. Subsequent tests were impressive: the airplane reached a speed of 510 km / h at a height of 4000 m. Several small issues discovered by the tests were resolved in the following year. For more power, a new engine of 930 hp (690 kW), ie version C36 of K14-III, was installed. Due to the power of this engine, it was also necessary to modify the fuselage. As a result, the tank was increased to 455 l, the wings extended and the tail modified to eliminate some aerodynamic problems. Carlinga was moved a little in the back, and to offset the visibility of the pilot's seat, the entire cockpit was lifted.

    The improved prototype was tested on the Heinkel He 112 plane that had just arrived from Germany as the beginning of a larger order. Although the He 112 was somewhat more modern and much better armed, the IAR 80 with a stronger engine proved to be much more performing in the rest of the range. The Royal Aviation, being impressed, immediately ordered 100 pieces on December 18, 1939, and the orders for He 112 were canceled.

    • Characteristics

    - Length: 8,16 m. Width: 10.0 m.

    - Height: 3.6 m. Carrier surface: 15,50 m². Weight (empty): 1780 kg.

    - Mass (maximum): 2280 kg.

    - Engine: IAR K14-III C32, 870 hp (649 kW), later IAR K14-III C36, 930 hp (690 kW).

    • Performances: 

    - Maximum speed: 510 km / h at 4000 m. - Ceiling: 10500 m (34,500 ft).                     - Climbing time at 5000 m: 6 min.              - Weapons 2 × FN (Browning) 7.92 mm

    • Variants:

    - IAR 80: Production was supposed to begin immediately, but procurement of weapons proved to be a serious problem. On the prototype, only two Fabrique Nationale guns of 7.92 mm Belgian production were mounted. This weapon was obviously too weak for use in war and according to the project the plane should have been equipped with six such weapons. On the occasion of the invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands by Germany, the supply of these weapons ceased and unfortunately there were no Romanian weapons fitting on the plane. In the absence of weapons, production was stopped. In November 1940, Romania entered into an alliance with the Powers of the Axis, and the Germans allowed the resumption of Belgian arms transport. Even if more weapons were purchased, the planes produced had only 4 machine guns fitted. Serial specimens have increased the length, width and bearing surface. It received a stronger engine and increased overall weight. A total of 50 devices, numbered 1 - 50, will be built from this version.

    - IAR 80A: In April 1941, Romania was included in Germany's sphere of influence, so the Germans supplied more weapons. The weaponry was quickly incorporated into the project and the 80A model resulted, according to the project, was equipped with 6 weapons. The windscreen was also made of armored glass and armored pilot's seat. The plane was powered by the new IAR K14-1000A engine, 1025 hp. Because this engine was too strong for the original cell, the fuselage was modified and strengthened. Although the IAR 80A had a stronger engine, the addition of weapons, ammunition, and armor weight contributed to a slight reduction in maximum speed to 509 km / h. The new model was an obvious breakthrough and replaced the old model with the 51th aircraft. Eight new planes were completed in time to participate in the war of liberation of Bessarabia starting June 22, 1941. From this version will be built 90 devices with numbers 051-090, 106-150 and 176-180.

    - IAR 80B: In this version, two of the Browning machine guns were replaced by two NF machine guns of 13.2 mm and the range increased. Improved fuel tank and armor protection on the pilot's side. From this version, 20 appliances were manufactured, with numbers 181-200. Next, 11 appliances in the series 201-211 will be equipped with two additional fuel tanks of 100 l, wide, located under the wings.

    - IAR 80DC: At the Aircraft Repair Workshops (ARMV), which later became the Aircraft Company Bucharest, several IAR 80 units were converted to the training biloc, the version being called IAR 80DC (double command). These machines were equipped with hunting pilot schools.

    - IAR 81: It is a version equipped to carry out missile bombing (Bo-Pi) missions. For this purpose, it started from various versions of IAR 80, which were equipped with bomb launchers. The IAR 81 base version started from the IAR version 80A, to which were added three bomb launchers, two 50kg bombs placed under the wings and one for a 250kg bomb placed under the fuselage. The weapon was the same as the IAR version 80A. From this version, 50 copies were produced, with the numbers 091-105, 151 -175 and 231-240.

    - IAR 81A: This version comes from the IAR 80B version. The differences consisted of a 13.2 mm machine gun cartridge, and instead of the 50 kg bomb, it had additional fuel tanks. There were 29 copies, with the series 212-230 and 291-300.

    - IAR 81B: In this version, 13.2 mm machine guns are replaced by two 20 mm Ikaria (20-mm license), each with 60 strokes each. Thus his fire power was similar to that of the Spitfire V device. There were 50 copies, with the series 241-290.

    - IAR 81C: In this version, Ikaria cannons were replaced with Mauser MG 151 cannons of 20 mm, with increased bumps. From this version there were produced 38 copies of the 100 series ordered, with the series beginning with 301.

    • Other versions: An Junkers Jumo 211 Da Engine, a twelve-cylinder turbocharged 12-cylinder turbocharged engine with a higher power output of 1340 hp (1000 kW), has been tried on an IAR 81. The results are little known. Also, an IAR 80 replaced the original engine with a BMW 801, used by the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190, which could develop a speed of at least 600 km/h, but this could not be put into practice on a scale because of the fact that the Germans were unable to provide the engine.

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