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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Brian Wolfe

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About Brian Wolfe

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    Senior Moderator
  • Birthday 06/08/48

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    brian.wolfe@bell.net
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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Medals: British and India (post 1947), Special Constabulary and a few others.
    General: Staffordshire and British Police memorabilia
    Plus odds and ends that capture my interest from time to time.

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  1. Accuracy in Movies - Does it Matter?

    Hi Bayern, Thank you for your comments. I often wonder if all of these inaccuracies have any lasting effects on the younger viewers or if they really don't care about such details. Even period dramas such as Downton Abbey were the interior shots are filled with what could be considered antiques today matter to some of us; but is that important to younger viewers. Perhaps I should have used the term "normal" viewers? Thanks again for your response. Regards Brian
  2. Accuracy in Movies - Does it Matter?

    Hi Simon, Yes I have seen that movie and enjoyed it. I suppose we just have to resign ourselves that movies will never reach the accuracy level we would like to see and just enjoy them for what they are. But keep looking for errors...it's a great sport. Regards Brian
  3. The pointy end..... my favourite dagger.....

    Good post Chris; sharp and to the point. Regards Brian
  4. A Flintlock

    I missed this post for some reason but I'm glad I ran onto it now. Any chance of photos of your new finds. They sound most interesting. Regards Brian
  5. Lately in the Books and Films section of this forum there have been discussions of the current movie, “Dieppe”, and the inaccuracies found by some of the members. My first impulse was to make a list if all of the movies that I could remember back to the days of my youth and before where accuracy was obviously not an issue. I soon realized that most would not relate to such movies as “Lives of the Bengal Lancers”, 1935 staring Gary Cooper; “Gunga Din”, 1939 staring Cary Grant; “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, 1968 with Trevor Howard (one of my favorite movies); or even “Waterloo”, 1970 with Rod Steiger. Many of these won numerous awards yet are riddled with inaccuracies. I looked to more resent movies such as “The Blue Max”, though it was in 1966 staring George Peppard. In one scene of the German trenches it shows the soldiers awaiting the order to go over the top while holding British Number 4 Rifles first produced in the 1930’s equipped with the Number 9 Mk 1 bayonet. This was the short bladed No, 5 (jungle carbine) bayonet blade welded to a socket similar to the 4 Mk 1 or 2 spike bayonet. These bayonets did not appear until after WWII, possibly around 1950. “Saving Private Ryan”, 1998 starring Tom Hanks. A movie many World War Two veterans claimed was the most accurate depiction of conditions on the beach on D-Day. If you are yet to see this film then do so if for no other reason than the landing scenes. I suspect that if someone were to put out a remake with double the gun fire the same vets would proclaim it an even more accurate portrayal. Perhaps they would be correct. I was really getting into this movie until Tom Hanks’ character disabled a German Tiger tank (if my memory serves) by firing his Thompson machine gun into the viewing port of the tank and killing the crew. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! That must have been the only German tank to be without its very thick protective glass in the viewing port. I need to research German tanks to see is they were actually using a periscope-style viewing device or not. Either way, good for you Captain John Miller (Hanks), too bad the rest of the allies didn’t know this trick; could have saved a lot of lives. “Zulu”, 1964 starring Michael Caine, is another of my all time favorite movies. My biggest complaint about this movie, aside from the medals worn by Colour Sergeant Borne, was the presence of a female in the movie. What were they trying to accomplish? Appeal to the female movie viewer? You could have marched unicorns barfing rainbows and pooping bunnies across the screen and it would have still missed the female market! “Zulu Dawn”, 1979 featuring Bob Hoskins, Peter O’Toole and Burt Lancaster. Another of my favorite movies. I listed Burt Lancaster because if this movie was not flawed enough Burt Lancaster cast as being Irish is an insult. His Irish accent is so bad it should be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. His range of emotion is slim to none and slim just left the room. In one scene there is a line of what appears to be dismounted cavalry or perhaps artillery men using the Martini Henry Carbine. The problem is that in some cases they are using what would appear to be the Martini-Metford carbine. The Martini-Metford did not appear before the 1890’s and the Battle of Isandlwana took place in 1879. Certainly bad acting has ruined many movies. Charlton Heston comes to mind in such movies as “55 Days at Peking”, 1963 and “Khartoum”, 1966. Even now I have to remind myself that Moses was at neither location or in the movie. Heston is another “one trick pony” of an actor in my opinion. If I were going to nominate resent movies on bad plot and worse acting the two top would be “Inglourious Basterds”, 2009 and “Fury”, 2014, both starring Brad Pitt; usually one of my favourite action movie actors. The first one, overlooking the misspelled title, is a romp through some sort of fantasy Nazi-like world with lots of violence. Better to go watch “Zombieland”, 2009 with Woody Harrelson. There is just as much adventure and history is not insulted. Is it true Mr. Harrelson is moving to Canada as soon as we legalize weed? Hmmm. Then there is “Fury”. One of the best movies showing tanks in action bar none, however after one gets past the great tank scenes the rest is an insult to both the American and German soldiers. The Germans are shown, in one scene, as marching down a dark road singing a song more like an army of Orks from Lord of the Rings. Then they decide to destroy a disabled M4 Sherman with mostly small arms rather than the Panzerfaust carried by several soldiers. Once the German casualty rate keeps going up it looks like the German commanding officer simply turns and walks away. Was he late for Oktoberfest or going to a BYOP party (Bring Your Own Panzerfaust) since the soldiers carrying the panzerfausts seemed to leave before or just after the officer. Yet the German privates ,poor “basterds” (that was for you, Tarantino) keep attacking the tank with small arms. So the question stands, is accuracy in movies necessary? Of course it is! People who make movies and those acting in them are awarded all sorts of acclaim, provided the movie makes a lot of money. Unless it was one of those Cannes Film Festival Best Foreign Film award things then it is hard to tell what they are trying to say or portray. I’ll just say it, if I wanted to read sub-titles I would have bought the book. Let’s look at a book and the movie about the same topic. “How Can Man Die Better, The Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed” by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Snook verses “Zulu Dawn”, original story and screen play by Cy Enfield. The book sets out the preliminary history that led up to the battle as does the movie, though less clearly. Remember the movie had only 113 min. to make its point where the book had 302 pages. Even so the movie could have been clearer. All in all after you read the book you have an excellent knowledge of what happened as compared to the movie where you saw a large battle after a long and drawn out succession of scenes that only served to display the actors talents, or lack of talent in the case of a certain American actor trying to talk with an Irish accent (you know who I mean). The impact of the movie battle was, of course, more poignant than the book due to live action and a sound tract. Before I go any further it has probably come to you as it has to me that it depends upon what you are looking for in a historical drama. It is difficult to pit action against the historical accuracy of a well written book. It is my position that movie producers need to spend more attention to accuracy in story line as well as in the accoutrements that go along with a historically based film. If all you are going to do is to produce an adventure loosely based on an historical event then you have simply churned out an adventure fantasy. Even Game of Thrones is based on the War of the Roses, or so I have read; I don’t see it but that’s what I’ve read. Rather than turn out a flawed historical farce then they should keep making films such as “Avatar”, 2009, staring...oh, who cares, it’s only a dammed fantasy movie anyway. I suppose the greatest benefit to historically based films made today with all of their flaws is to give people like us a challenge to point out all of those flaws. I’ve been told that others also viewing said move are less than accepting when we voice our disapproval. Don’t be too concerned, they just lack a need for accuracy and attention to detail. Best you drive home after the movie, we wouldn’t want them to have to concentrate too hard on the finer details of road safety. Regards Brian PS: Yes, that mention of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” earlier was a movie title reference from Tina Fey’s, 2016 movie. That title is quite appropriate as I wanted to say “WTF” after I watched this time (wasting) bomb.
  6. Sword Identification help please

    You're correct Peter more details are needed. Derek, if possible please post more photos showing the details mentioned by Peter. It might help if you were to post the existing photo and the ones containing more details in the Military Hardware section in the area that deals with swords. This might get the attention of European sword collectors. I have to agree with Peter that this is not very likely a British sword but to me it looks French or possibly an American Civil War sword sold to the CSA by the French. Most of my research material deals with British swords so I too am making a guess. Good luck with your search, if I find out something new about your sword I will post the information. Regards Brian
  7. Great East Asia War Medal Replicas

    Hi Patout, Don't worry about not being familiar with the forum, it takes time to get used to anything new. Thank you for your post, it adds greatly to all of our understanding of this subject. Regards Brian
  8. I do like your sword, it may have some condition issues yet it is complete. Very well worth a place in your collection, well done. Thanks for showing it to us. Regards Brian
  9. As always a very nice job, Chris. Regards Brian
  10. An Apology - of sorts

    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
  11. Hi Tony, I must echo Peter's comment; nice relic. It should display very well. Thanks for posting your results. RegardsBrian
  12. Hi Tony, I would be very cautious using wax on a weapon that has been rusted and contains a lot of pits etc. that can trap the wax in small pockets and cracks. I've had a good deal of experience in the use of wax on weapons as well as in my wood working shop and still, after decades of experimentation, try new products on a regular basis. On a sword or other smooth sucface wax works well as it can be hand buffed out. On the other hand anywhere there are stampings or designs the wax will build up and once dry is very had to polish out. On a rusted piece such as the rifle you have this can be a nightmare with pockets of white residue wax left that would be impossible to polish so that it becomes invisable as it would on a smooth surface. If it were my rifle I would use a thin coat of light oil on the metal. This will soak in and leave the rust a dark colour and blend with the rest of the metal that may not be rusted as badly.. Just a thin layer is enough, not an oil bath. The reason I do not use oil on my muskets, for example, is that it will "attrect" dust, while wax will not. Your case is different, in my opinion, as a bit of dust in the oil which will need to be wiped off once in a while and reapplied is much better than pockets of white unpolished wax residue. Again it is a matter of personal choice, just be careful with wax coatings and try a small area where it will not show to see how wax will work before committing the whole weapon to that type of finish. A finish such as wax, if it is the wrong finish, can be impossible to reverse. Regards Brian
  13. If you decide to use steel wool go with 0000 (4 zero) not oiled. Most if not all 00 has oil in it. You may have to go to a wood finishing supplier. There are several good waxes and bees wax is a good one. I've finished several old stocks and use Conserver's Wax which I think is also sold under names such as Heritage Wax. Once you use any Wax or other finish you will find the "just found" look Weill be lost as Wax will darken the stock's colour. Personally I would consider just a cleaning and leaving to as is, it is a personal choice of course. Good luck with this very interesting project and please keep us updated on your progress. Regards Brian
  14. Hi Uwe, I didn't mean to imply that these had anything to do with a former member of the Freikorps, sorry if I gave that impression. It was just a little musing as to the recipient. While the medal is not in my collection it would have at least some historic importance if only in the date of the award, an end of an era so-to-speak. I've added black powder British military hand guns to the collection because the date on the piece was the same as a major event. For example a firearm dated 1815 would not, and probably could not, have been necessarily used at the Battle of Waterloo; still it stands to represent, or commemorate, the battle. It also gives me a reason to make yet another purchase, as if I needed a reason. Regards Brian
  15. Hi GreyC, Thank you for the quick response. I will email my friend and let him know. I find the date of 1933 quite interesting as it is the last year of the Weimar Republic and makes me wonder if the recipient might have even been a former member of the Freikorps. I should not speculate as that only muddies the waters of history, still it makes me wonder. Thanks again, it is much appreciated. Regards Brian
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