Dieselpunks

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Jake Holman Jr.'s Articles (124)

The Rifle of Lawmen, Gangsters and Aviators

It may not look like much to our modern "black rifle" eye, but the Winchester Model 1907 is a carbine with punch and a unique place in small arms history as a favorite of cops, robbers, soldiers and flyers.

The Winchester Model 1907 carbine is a simple direct blowback rifle. Without a gas system to channel expanding propellant gases back, the action was operated by the…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on April 11, 2012 at 2:00pm — 5 Comments

The First Assault Rifle Caliber...of World War 1

I've often written here about firearm "firsts." First semi-automatic pistol, first truly suppressed weapon and the Holy Grail of weapon firsts, the first assault rifle. The Russians and Germans claim ownership to this title. A few other obscure weapons designers from around the world also vie for the title. Yet, in France, at the close of World War I, there was a little rifle that…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on April 4, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Pistol of Swiss Guard and Kaiser

If you looked at their mustard yellow and vibrant blue pants and chest covered by polished steel breast plate, you would not think the Pontifical Swiss Guard were real soldiers tasked with protecting the Pope. In fact the Swiss Guard are members of the Swiss military, trained not only in ceremonial duties, but unarmed combat and small arms usage in the name of protecting…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on March 28, 2012 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

100th Weapon of War Post: Steyr M1912

This will be my 100th weapons related post here at Dieselpunks, enjoying every minute of it since starting way back in 2010. And judging by the ideas rattling around my head and the stack of reference in my home, there will be many, many more posts to come.

So, to mark my 100th post I wanted to introduce to you a classic but popularly overlooked weapon that celebrates…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on March 21, 2012 at 2:00pm — 6 Comments

The Sticky Bomb

Sometimes great weapon ideas don't always work in practice. If you are an army, needing simpe yet effective anti-tank weapons the idea of an adhesive grenade seems a good one. However, when the grenade is so sticky that it could end up clinging to your clothes in the seconds before detonation, the ideas quickly becomes bad.

The No.74 ST Grenade, aka Sticky Bomb, was…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on March 14, 2012 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Rocket on Wheels

German anti-tank rocket technology took various forms during World War II. Efforts went from the expendable Panzerfaust to the larger more traditional bazooka-type Raketenpanzerbusche. The Ofenrorhr, the latter weapon's nickname due to its stovepipe-like look, launched an 88mm rocket that was put into another weapon system, the Puppchen.

What is particularly…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on March 7, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Big Gun of Japan

Twenty millimeter rounds have traditionally been the ammunition fired from mounted weapons, like aircraft cannons and anti-aircraft guns. Occasionally, they can be found in semi-automatic shoulder fired weapons in the anit-tank role. Those weapons are particulalrly heavy and punishing to the firer.

Imagine a 20mm shoulder fired weapon on fully automatic.

That…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 29, 2012 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

The Explosive Eel

Minefields are war's lingering, deadly echoes. Decades after hostilities cease, the mines sowed by nations will remain behind, waiting to be found by men, women and children returning to the one-time battlefield. Removing the mines, sowed by the millions during the frenzy of war will never happen. But during combat, how do soldiers advance through these deadly fields of…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 22, 2012 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

The First: Fedorov's Assault Rifle

Claims of the first "assault rifle" are many, but most consider the German Stg-44 the first modern select-fire infantry weapon. However, a few decades before World War II a Russian weapons designer Vladamir Fedorov successfully created a weapon that vies for the title of first, if not as refined.

The Avtomat was a mix of modern assault rifle attributes, lingering 19th…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 15, 2012 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Up a Sleeve: The One Shot MKII

The world of cloak and dagger has always captured the imagination. Suppressed pistols, garrotes, ice picks and Black Jacks, all the tools of silent warfare. Whether its removing a sentry or assasination, being quiet often means surviving to fight another day.

One quiet kill weapon of World War II was the Sleeve gun. Essentially a one shot weapon, the flashlight looking…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 8, 2012 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Light and Death: Grenade Launching Pistols

From flare pistol, to grenade launcher, during World War II an innovative effort to turn a less-than-lethal weapon into something more deadly was understaken by German small arms designers.

Simple flare guns, common to all the armies engaged in Second World War, seemed to be ripe for modification. In German, two flare pistols immerged as capable both flash and bite,…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 1, 2012 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Potato Digger in Beantown

In 1919 America was gripped by a Communist scare and Boston was no different. Coupled with the rampant paranoia of a vast infiltration of the United States by Red agents, the City of Boston was facing a peril from within, a strike of its entire police force.

Boston raised the United States' first professional police department in 1838. And now, in  the fall of 1919 the…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 25, 2012 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Review: Ian Fleming's Commandos

If you look at Ian Fleming purely through the fictional lens of his seminal creation Cdr. James Bond, you might scoff at his comprehension of skullduggery and gadgetry especially watching the 007 movies of the 1960s and 70s. You may also doubt how immersed Fleming was in the world that is said to have inspired him, specifically clandestine warfare of World War…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 24, 2012 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Exploding Mollusks Pt. 2

Last week, we examined the birth of naval special warfare sabotage operations during World War I. Fast foreward to World War II and the British efforts to create a reliable weapon to be used by frogmen. The result, Mark 1/6 limpet mine.

Born as a crude knock-up of an idea, the Allied limpet mine would be produced in large numbers and used throughout the…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 18, 2012 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Exploding Mollusks Pt.1

From World War I through World War II, Italian Navy engineers were at the vanguard of special maritime operations. From the use of combat divers to the development of weapons, Italian naval expertise knew no rival in unconventional littoral combat. An example of their special warfare prowess started in the closing weeks of World War I when a rudimentary limpet mine sent to…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 11, 2012 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Down Under's Finest SMG

Australia went to war as a member of the Commonwealth, fighting primarily with Commonwealth weapons. But as a continent, facing the dropping heel of the Japanese Imperial boot, their military forces needed as many firearms as they could get their hands on. So instead of turning outwards for more guns, they looked inwards to a 27-year-old who created one of the most reliable…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 4, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Revolver Unusual

Revolvers, reliable and rugged. Essentially reaching their peak of development within the first 20 years of the first viable model, revolvers of the early 19th century through ones created of light-weight composites are pretty much identical. Except for one notable exception.

In the waning years of the 19th century Russia pistol designers saw the reliability of the…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 28, 2011 at 2:00pm — 11 Comments

Italy's Flame Tank

Flamethrowers are gruesome, horrific weapons. All weapons can be deadly, but rare is the infernal device that achieves horror by its appearance on the battlefield. One such flamethrower was the Lanciafiamme modello 35, the Italian fire weapon of World War II.

Every nation of the Second World War fielded such flame weapons and for the most part they were backpack…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 21, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Going to War with an Onion, Carrot and Goat

Breaching charges are increasingly used by military forces on battlefields around the world. A series of pre-shaped explosives, arranged in a way to blow a hole through or completely demolish a wall or vertical obstruction, breaching charges once exclusive to special operations forces are employed by infantry and Marines alike.

During the Second World War, when tank…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 14, 2011 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Hand Grenade Tank Killer

The Soviet Union had one undeniable advantage over foes, no matter how desperate or woeful their position in war time, it had plenty of manpower. The ability of the Soviets to heave massive amounts of men into a battle, as wasteful as it was to human life, allowed the nation to stem or turn the tide in many a battle. This idea that men should be that final "weapon system" in…

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Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 7, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

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