Nestled inside infantry units moving against the enemy is often a single artilleryman who is arguably one of the most lethal fighters on the battlefield — the forward observer.
These soldiers, usually assigned to a Forward Support Team (the FiST), are known as “FiSTers” and are the eyes and ears for naval artillery and artillery gun lines across the world.
The FiSTers carry inside their helmets knowledge of every gun capable of reaching their areas of operation, including how fast the weapon can fire, what kinds of rounds it has at its disposal, and what effects those rounds have on targets.
They use this knowledge to support the infantry and other maneuver units. When the friendly element finds and engages the enemy, the FiSTer gets to work figuring out how to best bring artillery to bear.
Often, this involves getting the machine gunners and riflemen to corral the enemy into a tight box that can easily be hit with airburst artillery, causing shrapnel to rain down on the enemy dismounts.
If enemy armored vehicles are rolling towards the line, the forward observers can call down specific rounds for penetrating a tank’s top turret armor or for creating a smoke screen to block friendly vehicles from view.
Many observers go through training to learn how to best use weapons deployed from helicopters, jets, and other aerial platforms. This allows them to start targeting enemies with hellfire missiles and the 30mm cannons of A-10s and AH-64s.
Marine observers and Army observers trained in joint fires can call for help from naval ships. While the Navy has decommissioned its massive battleships, there are still plenty of cruisers and destroyers packing missiles and 5-inch guns that are pretty useful for troops ashore.
It’s the forward observers that get those missiles and shells on target.
Forward observers direct the fires of all the big guns that can’t see their targets. And that’s what makes them so lethal.
Susan K. asks: Why do nuclear bombs make mushroom clouds?
This phenomenon all comes down to a little something called the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, and by extension, convection. I’ll begin with the somewhat longer, but less geeky explanation before descending once again into extreme nerdery.
It all starts with an explosion that creates a Pyrocumulus Cloud. This ball of burning hot gases is accelerated outwardly in all directions. Since the burning ball of accelerated gases is hotter, and therefore less dense, than the surrounding air, it will begin to rise — in the case of nuclear explosions, extremely rapidly. This ultimately forms the mushroom cap.
As the ball rises, it will leave behind air that is heated, creating a chimney-like effect that draws in any smoke and gases on the outer edge of the chimney — convection in action! Visually, this forms the stipe (stalk) of the mushroom.
The perception that the mushroom cap is curling down and around the stipe is primarily a result of the differences in temperature at the center of the cap and its outside. The center is hotter and therefore will rise faster, leaving the slower outer edges to be caught up in the stipe convection’s awesome attributes.
Once that cloud reaches a certain point in our atmosphere, where the density of the gas cloud is the same as the density of the surrounding air, it will spread out, creating a nice cap.
This brings me to the shorter, yet more geeky answer.
The mushroom cloud from the 15-megaton Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test, showing multiple condensation rings, March 1, 1954.
This entire process is something that describes the Rayleigh-Taylor instability. This instability is well known in physics and, in general, describes the merging between two different substances (mainly liquids and gases) that have different densities and are subjected to acceleration. In the case of an atomic bomb, the acceleration, and the hotter gases creating the differing densities of material, are caused by the explosion.
From this, you might have guessed you don’t necessarily need an atomic bomb to create a mushroom cloud. All you need is enough energy delivered rapidly (in this case an explosion) that creates a pocket of differing densities of material (in this case, heated gases).
There are numerous other examples in our world that create, and are described by, the same phenomenon that gives us this formation. For instance, the magnetic fields of planets, the jet-stream of winds that help control our planet’s climate, the sound of snapping shrimp, even our understanding of certain different forms of fusion can all be attributed to Rayleigh-Taylor instability.
The mushroom cloud from the 6.9-megaton Castle Union hydrogen bomb test, showing multiple condensation rings.
Now, you might have also noticed that nuclear explosions, besides producing this frightening fungal formation, also sometimes result in a cloud ring around the mushroom cap. What’s going on here is that a low pressure area is created via the negative phase of the shockwave (the phase that follows the wave of compressed gases at the leading part of the shock wave). This results in a drop in temperature, which along with the low pressure can potentially lower the dew point sufficiently for a temporary cloud to form. This cloud halo around the explosion is known as a “Wilson Cloud”, named after Scottish physicist Charles Wilson who invented the Wilson Cloud Chamber where similar sorts of things can be observed.
What has been commonly referred to as the Rayleigh-Taylor instability was first brought to light by Lord Rayleigh in 1880. He was attempting to describe the motion of liquids when one of higher specific gravity was supported by one that was lighter. Specifically, trying to better understand how cirrus clouds were formed. In 1950, Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor discovered that Rayleigh’s “interfacial instability” occurs for other differing substance accelerations as well. The phenomenon, and all the equations that describe it, became known as Rayleigh-Taylors.
This article originally appeared on Today I Found Out. Follow @TodayIFoundOut on Twitter.
A .44 mag revolver holds a special place among true gun aficionados. It has been the symbol of intimidation, power, and hard-boiled action since the seventies. Anyone who has seen Taxi Driver or Dirty Harry knows what I’m talking about.
And if you want to follow the footsteps of action legends like Clint Eastwood, there’s no better gun to strap on your belt.
So, buckle up. Today we’ll dive into the world of this near-mythical handgun and try to find the best .44 magnum revolver on the market.
Standing The Test Of Time: A Brief History Of .44 Mag
“This is the .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and it can blow your head clean off. So, you got to ask yourself one question – Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
Nothing describes the sheer awesomeness of the revolver quite like this immortal line from Dirty Harry.
Believe me, I’ve held some much more powerful six-shooters, including the .454 Casull. There’s nothing that threw me into the “action hero” mode quite like this one.
The .44 magnum handgun hasn’t made its mark in the Civil War or the Wild West. In fact, it’s still a relatively new revolver by today’s standards, first appearing in 1955.
Elmer Keith, the famous cowboy and writer of the time, developed the first revolver. It didn’t take long for Remington to develop and release the first .44 Remington Magnum and others to follow.
However, despite being the go-to gun of numerous big-screen protagonists, it never found its place in law enforcement. But it gained popularity in hunting and as the most reliable self-defense weapon. It managed to maintain its reputation over decades as well.
The emergence of the more convenient semi-automatic pistols and even more powerful revolvers didn’t overshadow the .44 mag. Many experts I talked to would still choose it over some newer models.
Through all of that, this revolver has achieved a symbolic status. When you think of a revolver, you picture the .44. If a shooter video game allows you to carry a revolver, it will probably be this one.
So, what else makes it so unique? Let’s find out.
The Benefits Of The .44 Magnum
Do you know what the greatest upside of a revolver is? A first-timer can learn to use it in a minute.
You won’t see a cowboy de-cocking their six-shooter and pulling the safety lever. Instead, you can just lift it up and pull the trigger.
What’s better – you can load your gun and keep it for years without damaging the recoil springs or magazine.
Moreover, it’s easy to holster or conceal and easy to carry around your belt at all times. It makes for a perfect self-defense weapon against both four-legged and two-legged beasts. Especially since it has quite the explosive power.
Still not sure about its capability? Maybe you’ll change your mind when I tell you that one guy took down a 12-foot polar bear using only this gun in 1965. Don’t believe me? Look it up!
What About The Downsides?
I can understand those who move away from six-shooters. First of all, you have a small capacity there. Although five or six rounds could be enough, you may still feel a lot safer with a fully loaded Glock.
Another thing that bugs the gun-friendly people is the reload time. Even with innovative speed loaders, it’s still an extensive process. You have to open the cylinder to drop the empty shells before you insert the live rounds again.
But that’s not all. Handling a mag can be quite an unpleasant experience for some. It’s a sturdy gun with a heavy recoil such that it requires a tight grip. I’ve witnessed people busting their teeth at the drawback of the mag.
And lastly, there’s that controversial revolver muzzle flash that’s dividing firearm proponents across the globe. While some enjoy “seeing what they fire,” some claim that they “may get an epileptic seizure” if they fire two rounds in a row.
Who Should Use The .44 Mag?
This is a tricky question.
Is it powerful? Yes, but not the most powerful.
Is it a good concealed-carry gun? It’s doable, but still not the lightest.
But there’s still something about it that makes it unique and extremely popular.
Throughout the years, I’ve realized that this gun may be the best for the following:
Hunting game animals of all sizes: Honestly, a good shot can take out a wild boar with a .44 mag
Target practicing at more than 100 yards
Safely carrying around a revolver that you can draw quickly
Going all Travis Bickle in case your life’s in danger
The top three revolver manufacturers (Taurus, Ruger, Smith & Wesson) have cut back on production in recent years. On the flip side, the demand has risen. This means you can expect a several-month waiting list to get one directly from the manufacturer.
There are plenty of people who are put off by the price of a magnum. You can’t really blame them; a brand new S&W 69 may cost north of $800. However, you can find Taurus models for $600 or less too.
The real issue lies in the prices of the side equipment. Practice ammo costs $25 for a pack of 25 rounds and the serious stuff can go up to $40 (box of 20). On top of that, there’s also maintenance and additional equipment (e.g. speed loader) to consider.
But you need to remember that you’re not buying just a gun. You’re buying a myth. An artifact that shows its teeth to the zeitgeist.
It’s something that you buy because you love everything it represents. And if you’re one of those people, no price can stop you.
The Raging Hunter has a large frame with an above-average barrel of 8.37”. This makes it one of the longest revolvers in its class and therefore, the hardest to conceal.
However, I expected it to be much heavier than it is. In fact, I believe it’s one of the lightest pistols. That’s due to the aluminum alloy shroud and angular barrel design. According to Taurus, they first thread the barrel onto the frame and then they coat the cover over it.
This handgun is a next-generation revolver. First, it breaks the traditional ties as it features a seven-shot cylinder instead of the usual six. It’s mostly a double-action revolver, but you can use it as a single-action as well.
The power and accuracy are also top-notch. It’s ideal for anything from home defense to the recreational shooting of tin cans from over 100 yards out.
In the end, the price may put some people off, but there probably isn’t a better mag six-shooter around.
For one, it contains devastating explosive power, but it also comes with the best possible scope-mounting system among revolvers. Every hunter wants a clean and quick kill that spares the game unnecessary suffering and this gun makes it possible.
The first thing that impressed me with the Super Redhawk is its smooth black rubber grip. Despite having a heavy recoil, this grip allows you to hold tight and avoid any accidents.
The small air pouch between the grip and your hand softens the drawback so even new firearm users can steady the shot. It’s simply one of the more accurate handguns around.
This six-shooter comes in two models: Super Redhawk and Super Redhawk Alaskan.
The former has a bunch of additional features like a hammer-forged barrel and an extended frame for a scope machine. It comes in both 7.5” and 9.5” barrels.
On the other hand, the Alaskan is a smaller model without the extensions. However, it’s popular among those who want to walk around with more confidence. It’s small, convenient, and easy to conceal.
Although it may fall in the best .44 magnum revolver category, this revolver may be expensive for what it brings to the table.
The Raging Bull is one of the bigger handguns around. However, a seasoned hunter will know that you can determine the gun by the way it “sits” in your hand, and this shooter is impeccable when it comes to fit and feel.
The award-winning design consists of a 6.5” barrel length with an elegant matte stainless-steel finish. A soft black grip keeps the gun steady in your hand and enhances accuracy. But you can fire it in double-action to increase precision even more.
Two things about this gun got to my attention.
First, it comes at a much affordable price than most of its counterparts. And you get a big-game handgun in return.
But above all, I appreciate Taurus’ safety mechanism; all the company’s guns have a security system that allows you to lock/unlock the revolver with a unique key. If you don’t have the key, you can’t fire or cock the gun at all.
On the other hand, the only downside is the monumental size of this revolver. If you prefer carrying it around with you, you’ll have some trouble concealing it. In short, it can defend you from the sharp-toothed beast, but it may prove inconvenient for defending your home (or your life).
It has a 4” barrel with stainless steel construction and a shiny chrome finishing that looks beautiful. Although the grip has a captivating design, I found it a bit slippery during my test runs. I’d recommend being extra careful during the recoil.
On the other hand, I found that this small six-shooter can really pack a punch. It combines the power and accuracy of a lighter gun. Although I haven’t tested it on game animals, I think it’s a perfect choice for self-defense. Especially since it’s easy to tote around.
Overall, it’s a cool-looking gun from one of the most trusted revolver manufacturers.
When I got my hand on this monster, I thought I was dreaming. The design, the fitting, and the overall feeling were out of this world. A fantastic DLC finish makes the shooter always look brand new, while the Turkish walnut grip adds a sophisticated touch.
I immediately noticed the recoil-reducing and balancing weight under the 6-inch barrel, which is great for beginners. You can remove it, but it adds fine detail to the overall design if you leave it alone.
One thing this revolver is notable for is its smooth double-action performance. Furthermore, it has a fast-changeable front sight along with a removable rear sight, too.
But here’s the bad part … It costs a boat load! Is it worth it? It depends on how badly you want it. It’s probably the best .44 mag revolver, but would you pay a used car’s price to own one? I probably would in this case. Guess I better buy a bus pass.
Smooth double-action performance
One of the best magnum revolvers
All things considered; the Taurus 44 Raging Hunter is probably the best and most affordable .44 magnum revolver on the market. It’s an award-winning, next-gen revolver that’s equally suitable for entry-level users and big-game hunters.
Of course, I don’t mean to take anything away from the other guns. As I hold this type of six-shooter close to my heart, I’d tell you that you can’t go wrong with any. However, if we’re talking about the price-to-quality ratio, the Raging Hunter would be my choice as best for the money.
Fortunately for the United States, the impact of World War II was almost solely felt through rationing and news from abroad and rarely were American civilians affected firsthand. As a result, the American home front became a strong source of resources and morale for the soldiers overseas – something that most countries involved in the war didn’t have. Realizing this, the Japanese looked for a relatively cheap and safe way to disrupt the American home front.
In 1944, the Japanese decided to tap into a jet stream that they had discovered a few years earlier, one that traveled from Asia to North America at about 30,000 feet. Their plan was to attach bombs to giant balloons and release them into the jet stream, where they’d be carried silently and dispersed across the US at random. Overall, the plan wasn’t to kill Americans, but rather to start forest fires in the Pacific Northwest and also instill panic in the population and, in turn, diminish morale on the home front.
The balloons were around 30 feet in diameter and from the top of the balloon to the payload underneath measured around 70 feet. Each balloon bomb consisted of sandbags for ballast that would be released as the balloon descended, allowing it to drop some weight, gain a little altitude, and carry on a bit further. Once the sandbags had all been dropped, four incendiary bombs would be released one at a time until none were left, then a single anti-personnel bomb would fall and the balloon would ignite itself and be destroyed.
Launched in groups, the balloons were at the mercy of the jet stream and typically took a few days to cross the Pacific. Since they were unguided, the balloons had a wide distribution and have been discovered from Alaska to Mexico and from Hawaii to Michigan.
The bombs started arriving in Western US in late 1944 and at first no one really knew what they were. However, geologists sampled the sand and determined that it had come from a small section of beach east of Tokyo. Until the end of the war, the US Government asked media outlets not to report on the bombs in order to prevent the Japanese from tracking whether they were successful. This apparently worked because the Japanese pulled the funding for the bombs after only a few months of launches, assuming that the balloons weren’t hitting their targets.
Overall, the bombs were not successful; less than 300 out of an estimated 9,000 have ever been found – around 3%. However, one bomb detonated in rural Oregon in spring 1945 and killed a pregnant woman and five children, making them the only American civilians killed in the US as a result of enemy action.
After the war, talk of the bombs began to spread and it was found that seven landed in Nebraska including one in Omaha, one landed ten miles from Detroit and another landed near Grand Rapids. Balloon bombs, while largely unsuccessful, continued to be discovered throughout the US and Canada following the war and one was even discovered in British Columbia in October 2014.
U.S. prosecutors have arrested a Russian woman who cultivated ties with American conservative politicians and groups and charged her with acting as a covert agent for the Russian government.
In U.S. court filings in Washington late on July 16, 2018, prosecutors said Maria Butina, 29, entertained and cultivated relationships with U.S. politicians and worked to infiltrate U.S. political organizations, particularly the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobbying organization, while reporting back to a high-ranking official in Moscow.
The U.S. complaint says Butina in an e-mail in 2015 described the gun association as the “largest sponsor” of congressional elections in the United States and said Russia should build a relationship with it and the Conservative Political Action Conference, a top backer of Republican political campaigns, to improve U.S.-Russia relations.
The U.S. case against Butina, a founder of the pro-gun-rights Russian advocacy organization Right to Bear Arms, was announced just hours after the conclusion of a summit in Helsinki between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki.
The complaint portrays Butina as active in promoting Russian interests in U.S. politics, including an easing of sanctions imposed on Moscow in 2014, in the year leading up to Trump’s election as president in 2016.
In a video posted on YouTube from the FreedomFest, a conservative political event in Las Vegas in July 2015, Butina is seen asking then-candidate Trump if he would continue to support sanctions against Russia if he were elected president.
Reuters, citing an anonymous source, reported that Butina was a Trump supporter who bragged at parties in Washington that she could use her political connections to help get people jobs in the Trump administration after the election.
According to the complaint, Butina reported back to a top government official in Moscow, who is not named in the court papers. But the official was described as “a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank.”
That description fits Aleksandr Torshin, whom Butina has previously been affiliated with. She is pictured with Torshin in numerous photographs on her Facebook page.
Aleksandr Torshin (right)
Torshin, who became a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association in 2012, was among a group of Russian oligarchs and officials targeted with sanctions in April 2018 because of their ties with Putin and their roles in “advancing Russia’s malign activities.”
Court papers filed in support of Butina’s arrest accuse her of participating in a conspiracy that began in 2015 in which the senior Russian official “tasked” her with working to infiltrate American political organizations with the goal of “reporting back to Moscow” what she had learned.
In addition to seeking out meetings with U.S. lawmakers and candidates, the complaint says Butina attended events sponsored by private lobbying groups, including the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event in Washington that attracts leading conservative politicians.
Butina allegedly organized Russian-American “friendship and dialogue” dinners in Washington and New York with the goal of developing relationships with U.S. politicians and establishing “back channel” lines of communication, as well as “penetrating the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation,” the complaint says.
Court papers say that an unnamed American who worked with Butina in an October 2016 message claimed to have been involved in setting up a “private line of communication” ahead of the 2016 election between the Kremlin and “key” officials in a U.S. political party through the National Rifle Association.
Butina was arrested on July 15, 2018, and charged with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, a decades-old law that until recently was rarely enforced.
In a statement, Butina’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, called the allegations “overblown” and said prosecutors had criminalized mundane networking opportunities.
Driscoll said Butina was not an agent of the Russian Federation but was instead in the United States on a student visa, graduating from American University with a master’s degree in international relations.
“There is simply no indication of Ms. Butina seeking to influence or undermine any specific policy or law or the United States — only at most to promote a better relationship between the two nations,” Driscoll said.
“The complaint is simply a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is designed to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students.”
Court papers charging Butina with conspiracy to inflitrate U.S. political organizations include several e-mails and Twitter conversations in which she refers to the need to keep her work secret or, in one case, “incognito.”
Prosecutions under the U.S. foreign-agent law picked up in 2018 amid growing concern in Washington about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the case against Butina was connected to U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian election meddling. The charges against her were brought by a different Justice Department office: the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C.
Among the most prominent people to face charges under the foreign-agents law is Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was charged by Mueller in 2017.
Only 55% of Americans know what Memorial Day is about, and only about one in five plan to fly a flag at half-staff or attend a patriotic event on May 27, according to a Harris poll survey commissioned by the University of Phoenix.
The survey, conducted April 9-11, 2019, among 2,025 adults, showed that only 28% had attended a local ceremony or patriotic event on a previous Memorial Day. It also found that only 23% had flown a flag at half-staff, while 22% had left a flag or flowers at a gravesite or visited a military monument.
Only 55% could correctly describe Memorial Day as a day to honor the fallen from all the nation’s wars, the Harris survey states, and 45% said they either always or often attended a commemoration activity.
About 27% of those surveyed thought Memorial Day honored all military veterans, 5% thought it honored those currently serving, and 3% thought the day marked the official beginning of summer, the survey states.
(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser)
Of those who said they had participated in some form of commemoration activity on Memorial Day, 52% said they had thanked a veteran, 14% said they had worn a Memorial Day button, and 14% said they had joined in a National Moment of Remembrance, according to the survey.
Older adults are more likely to observe Memorial Day and describe it correctly, the survey found. About 53% of those aged 55-64 commemorated Memorial Day, compared with 40% of those aged 18-34, according to the survey’s findings.
Former Army Sgt. Brian Ishmael, director of Military and Veterans Affairs at the University of Phoenix, said in a phone interview that it is “a little bit disappointing” to know that so many Americans are unaware of the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Staff Sgt. Steve Sandoval of the 147th Combat Communications Squadron pays respects to his wife’s grandfather, James C. Peebles, U.S. Army, who served in World War II. Sandoval was among thousands of volunteers from the local community who placed flags on 67,000 grave sites at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in honor of Memorial day.
(Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Julie Avey)
Ishmael, who served two tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, said that “being a combat veteran myself, that has to be a bit disappointing.”
At the University of Phoenix, “we put a lot of emphasis” on explaining the real meaning of Memorial Day, he said. For this Memorial Day, the mostly online university will continue a 10-year tradition of planting flags on the Phoenix campus.
This year, the university plans to plant 15,000 flags with the theme “Their Legacy Lives On,” Ishmael said.
However, the for-profit University of Phoenix has had a checkered history of serving veterans and its use of GI Bill funds for tuition.
Navy captain places flags at the grave of his uncle, who served during the Vietnam War.
(U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko)
In 2009, the university agreed to a .5 million settlement with the federal government on allegations that it was illegally paying recruiters based on the number of students enrolled.
And in 2015, the Defense Department suspended the university from recruiting on military bases and accessing federal education funds.
It was alleged that the university had violated rules against for-profit colleges seeking to gain preferential access to potential students from the military. The suspension was lifted in 2016.
Ishmael acknowledged the allegations against the university but said they are dated, and the school is now “100% focused on our veterans” and their education.
This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.
For centuries, friends and foes of Russia marveled at the fierce fighting skills of their Cossack Warriors. The Cossacks fought to defend the Russian Czar against any manner of enemies – from Ottoman Turks to Napoleon’s Grande Armée, through a World War, and even against the Bolshevik Red Army.
They expanded the borders of the Russian Empire, conquering Siberia and the Caucasus regions for the Czar, all the way to the Bering Sea – capturing one-sixth of the Earth’s land area. Their martial prowess was unmatched in the region for a long time and they refused to be tied to any master. Even the name “Cossack” in the Turkic languages of the time and area meant “free,” “adventurer,” or “wanderer.”
Cossack loyalty to the Russian Czar was earned over centuries of fighting to maintain that independence. Many Czars were faced with Cossack uprisings and were forced to deal with them in their own ways, from putting down the rebellion or forcibly moving the population to another area of the Russian Empire.
From a young age, Cossacks raised their children to be elite warriors and ethnically Cossack in every way possible. Training could begin in infancy and only ever stop in an actual pitched battle.
Eventually, the Russian nobility came to accept the Cossacks, endowing them with certain rights and privileges in the Empire for their continued service in defending Russia’s borders. And they earned those rights, too. After his Grand Armée was forced out of Russia, the Cossacks harassed them all the way back to France. It was the Cossacks who captured Paris and unseated the French Emperor.
When the Empire fell during World War I and the Czar abdicated, the Cossacks were divided between the Red and White factions of the Russian Civil War. They fought primarily for the White (anti-Communist) Russians, which earned them persecution when the Bolsheviks won the war and founded the Soviet Union.
The persecution got so bad, many Cossacks fought for Nazi Germany during WWII.
The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:
Staff Sgt. Brian Alfano, a survival, evasion, resistance and escape instructor with the 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing, demonstrates an overt method for marking a drop zone during a bundle drop training flight at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Jan. 19, 2016.
First Lt. Matthew Sanders, a 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilot, prepares for a combat sortie in an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 17, 2016. Airmen assigned to the 421st EFS, known as the “Black Widows,” are deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support missions.
A U.S. Army Soldier, assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), completes a routine safety measure in preparation for a static line jump from a Ch-47 Chinook helicopter assigned to the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, on to St. Mere Eglise Drop Zone on Fort Bragg, N.C., Jan. 6, 2016.
Soldiers, assigned to the US Army Golden Knights parachute demonstration team, conduct a training jump over Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Jan. 19, 2016.
Soldiers assigned to 2d Cavalry Regiment, United States Army Europe – USAREUR, conducts convoy operations with Stryker armored combat vehicles during Exercise Allied Spirit IV at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels, Germany, Jan. 20, 2016.
CHANGI, Singapore (Jan. 13, 2016) Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class James Strotler secures a bolt in place for the retractable bit for towing aboard USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). Currently on a rotational deployment in support of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance, Fort Worth is a fast and agile warship tailor-made to patrol the region’s littorals and work hull-to-hull with partner navies, providing 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future.
GULF OF OMAN (Jan. 14, 2016) Marines and sailors aboard the USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) unload boxes during a replenishment at sea in the Gulf of Oman. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked on the Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group and is deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. Marines with Maritime Raid Force, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conduct a deck shoot during Sustainment Exercise aboard the USS Boxer, January 18, 2016. SUSTEX is designed to reinforce and refine the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group/MEU’s execution of mission essential tasks in preparation for their upcoming deployment.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Hector de Jesus
Marines with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose MAGTF – CR – CC, recover a simulated casualty as part of a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel exercise at an Undisclosed Location in Southwest Asia Jan. 12, 2016. SPMAGTF-CR-CC is ready to respond to any crisis response mission in theater to include the employment of a TRAP force.
The HC144 Ocean Sentry prepares for an evening training flight at Air Station Cape Cod. Frequent night flights like this one allow crews to remain proficient and ready to respond no matter the time of day or night.
Air Station Cape Cod is the only airfield whose maintenance and operation is entirely run by the Coast Guard. As a result, planes and helicopters aren’t the only heavy machinery that we get to manage!
After this Marine officer was humiliated in front of his superiors by a seasoned gunny, Powers decided to get out of the Corps and become a criminal — then just went totally grey.
He teamed up with a computer hacker and highjacked a train to use as a mobile headquarters to take control of a destructive U.S. satellite. Unfortunately for him, Powers ran into a former chef and Navy SEAL named Casy Ryback who was on vacation with his niece. How about those odds.
They duked it out in a narrow kitchen, and Ryback eventually broke his neck, killing him instantly.
Tough break. Get it? Tough break.
This dive bar musician-turned-Marine was so motivated that he was recruited into an android program that has nothing to do with smartphones. The government turned him into a freakin’ android soldier and released him on a “Solo” mission to Latin America to destroy some local rebels.
Nowadays, Stitch pops up here and there but mainly stays behind the scenes.
Remember the guy in the squad who most reassembled a twig? That’s him. He didn’t do much after faking his own death to get out of the Marines.
Legend has it that he developed a nasty skin infection and began to murder teenagers near a theater during a horror movie marathon — but that can’t be right.
After serving three decades in the Corps, chronic laryngitis forced gunny to retire — but not for long. He stumbled upon a job in the secret service and spoiled a plot to kill the president.
What a guy!
Gunny continued life in law enforcement for a few more years before actually retiring to a small house with his beloved Gran Torino.
Too bad he had a problem with a local Asian gang. Gunny was shot several times after pulling out his “hand pistol” from inside of his jacket.
He recovered “like it ain’t shit” because a couple of bullets isn’t going to stop Gunny Highway. No f*cking way! Now you can see him hanging around the baseball field spotting players who have trouble with curveballs.
The commander of the US Pacific Fleet said August 22 that divers found bodies inside a damaged destroyer and another was recovered by Malaysia’s navy, while he vowed the Navy will figure out the cause of four accidents involving American naval vessels in Asia so far this year.
Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the Hawaii-based fleet, told a press conference in Singapore that Navy and Marine Corps divers located remains in sealed compartments in damaged parts of the John S. McCain, which collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early August 21.
Swift said Malaysia’s navy reported finding a body, possibly of one of the 10 missing U.S. sailors, but it remains to be transferred and identified. The Malaysian side, in a statement, said that the body will be transferred August 23.
“We will conduct a thorough and full investigation into this collision — what occurred, what happened, and how it happened,” he vowed.
Noting that the collision occurred within two months of one involving another Navy destroyer, the Fitzgerald, off Japan that left seven US sailors dead, and there were two other accidents in the region this year involving warships, the admiral said, “One tragedy like this is one too many.”
The Lake Champlain, a Navy cruiser, hit a South Korean fishing boat in May and the Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser, ran aground in Tokyo Bay in January.
Swift said naval authorities will “find out whether there is a common cause at the root of these events and, if so, how we solve that.”
He said the Navy has so far seen no indications of sabotage, such as cyber interference, but he did not rule out that possibility, saying, “We are not taking any consideration off the table and every scenario will be reviewed and investigated in detail.”
Earlier, the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, ordered the entire fleet to take an “operational pause” for a day or two.
The Navy said the collision caused significant damage to the hull of the destroyer, resulting in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms, but the crew managed to halt further flooding and the ship was able to sail under its own power to Singapore’s Changi Naval Base.
The John S. McCain was traveling to Singapore for a routine port visit when it collided with the Alnic MC, a Liberian-flagged oil and chemical tanker, in waters east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca.
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Phuket, Thailand June 8 for a scheduled port visit.
The port visit is a chance for Sailors and Marines to relax and enjoy Thailand’s culture, cuisine and tropical beaches while fostering relationships between the two nations.
“Our visit is an opportunity for the ship to replenish supplies, and an important relationship-strengthening opportunity with Thailand,” said Capt. Ronald Dowdell, Boxer’s commanding officer. “Sailors have an opportunity to get some well-deserved rest and enjoy the vibrant culture as they continue deployment.”
Having a military ship or tank named after you is usually a pretty big honor. But what happens if the vehicle turns out to be dud (at least, at first)? Such was the case for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
In the First World War, Britain pioneered armored warfare with their landship heavy tanks. Rhomboidal in shape and long in length, the British tanks crawled across trenches on their rotating treads and brought about a new age in warfare.
After WWI though, British tank design stagnated. The prevailing thought was that any future wars would simply be repeats of the trench warfare stalemates. As such, British designers focused on long heavy tanks that could cross wide trenches at a walking pace.
However, in Germany, tank design went in a different direction. While armor and armament were certainly design factors, mobility was also heavily considered. German doctrine was built around the concept of mechanized infantry supported by airplanes and armored fighting vehicles. Rather than build their army for the previous war, Germany came up with a new kind of war: blitzkrieg.
The Churchill’s design was specified just before the outbreak of WWII. Designated A20 by the General Staff, it was meant to supplement the smaller Matilda and Valentine infantry tanks. All three tanks were designed with WWI trench warfare in mind and were slow but heavily armored. Still, the Churchill wasn’t equipped to fight toe-to-toe with fast German armor. The A20 sported a hull-mounted 3-inch howitzer for attacking fortified positions and a QF 2-pounder gun in its turret which was limited in its tank-killing ability.
Following the fall of France and the elimination of any ideas of trench warfare in 1940, work began on the Churchill A22 variant. Upgrades to the design were based on combat lessons learned by the Polish and French. However, with fears of an invasion of Britain, priority was placed on production rather than upgrades. In fact, the user handbook from manufacturer Vauxhall included a leaflet which stated, “Fighting vehicles are urgently required, and instructions have been received to proceed with the vehicle as it is rather than hold up production. All those things which we know are not as they should be will be put right.” That must have been comforting to British tankers.
In 1941, production of a new turret began. It was designed to house the larger QF 6-pounder gun, a more capable anti-tank weapon. The next year, the Churchill tank saw its first combat during the Dieppe Raid on August 19, 1942. Codenamed Operation Jubilee, the raid was an amphibious operation at the port of Dieppe in northern France. The raiding force consisted primarily of Canadian soldiers supported by a regiment of tanks and RAF fighters. A successful raid would boost morale like the Doolittle Raid against Japan did. Moreover, the seizure of the port would validate the feasibility of future amphibious raids and even the D-Day invasion.
The Churchill tanks used at Dieppe were a mixed bunch. Some had 2-pounder turret guns and hull-mounted howitzers while others were armed with the newer 6-pounder turrets. Three were even equipped with flame throwers. However, they became bogged down on the beach and were unable to clear the German shore obstacles. Coupled with withering fire from defensive positions, the tanks and infantry failed to achieve their objectives. Less than six hours after the landing began, the raiders were forced to retreat. The raid lasted just ten hours. Of the 6,086 men who landed, 3,623 were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Churchill famously said of the tank bearing his name, “That is the tank they named after me when they found out it was no damn good!”
Still, none of the Churchills at Dieppe were penetrated by German fire while they were manned. Moreover, they covered the retreat of the infantry and most were only captured after they had expended all of their ammunition. The month after the failed Dieppe Raid, Churchills saw action in North Africa at the Second Battle of El Alamein. There, one Churchill reported being hit up to 80 times. Of the eight Churchills, only one was knocked out.
Also in Africa, in 1943, Churchill tanks made one of the greatest contributions to the Allied war effort. On April 21, the Battle of Longstop Hill was fought. During the German armored counter-attack, Churchill 6-pounder guns managed to disable a Tiger tank. One shot disabled the Tiger’s turret taverse, radio and wounded some of its crew. Another shot disabled the gun’s elevation device. Finally, a third shot hit the loader’s hatch and wounded more of the Tiger’s crew. The Germans abandoned their tank which the British later recovered. It would be studied by the Allies who evaluated it for weaknesses that could be exploited by troops who came up against Tigers on the battlefield.
Despite its initial underperformance, the Churchill rebuilt its reputation as a fighting tank. It was vital to the allied success on the western front. During the D-Day landings, Churchill variants like the flame-throwing Crocodile, bunker-busting AVRE, and bridge-laying Armored Ramp Carrier helped the Allies seize the beaches and establish footholds. During the sweep across France, Churchill tanks and their heavy armor supported infantry in clearing towns of German forces. In Germany, the long Churchill tanks were able to traverse the muddy terrain of the Reichswald Forest better than any other Allied tank.
Although it was designed for the previous war and initially hated by its users and namesake, the Churchill tank proved to be a capable and necessary WWII weapon. In fact, Churchill Crocodiles were even used to great effect during the Korean War. The tank remained in British service until 1952.
Russia’s T-15 Armata infantry fighting vehicle may be grabbing headlines as a possible Bradley-killer due to its use of the Vietnam War-era S-60 anti-aircraft gun, but it is not the first Russian armored vehicle to pack 57mm firepower.
The first was the ZSU-57-2 Sparka. The ZSU stands for “zenitnaya samokhodnaya ustanovka,” which is Russian for “anti-aircraft self-propelled mount.” The nomenclature is quite easy to understand. The number immediately after “ZSU” reflects the size of the guns on the vehicle and the number after that shows how many barrels. So, the ZSU-57-2, for example, is equipped with two 57mm anti-aircraft guns.
The ZSU-57-2 first entered Soviet service in 1958. It was based on the T-54 tank chassis and was intended to help protect Russian ground forces from enemy aircraft. The 57mm guns packed a solid punch, but it wasn’t long before advances in aircraft quickly rendered the ZSU-57-2 obsolete.
The ZSU-57-2 was widely exported to the Soviet Union’s allies and puppet states, showing up everywhere from East Germany to North Korea. The North Vietnamese acquired a number of these vehicles and, just as the United States Army found with the M163 Vulcan Air Defense System and the M45 “Meat Chopper,” the ZSU-57-2 proved to be very devastating against ground targets as well.
The vehicle saw a lot of action in the Arab-Israeli wars and, as a result, a number of those vehicles fell into Israeli hands. The vehicles also saw action in the Sino-Vietnamese conflict of 1979, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, it still hangs around and has been consistently upgraded to make it more capable. Kim Jong Un’s regime is perhaps the largest operator today.