Here’s an interesting piece of WWII history that I saw on Facebook recently…
“By May 1945 the war in Europe had finally started to wind down. Yet for the men of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, there was one final mission to complete before they were relieved. Due to increasing tensions between them and the USSR, the Western Allies recognized that they had to take as much German territory as they could before the Soviets arrived.
…the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, or 1CanPara, had been fighting almost nonstop since 6th June 1944. After jumping into Normandy, the men fought through the rest of the French Campaign. They were then used as support in the Battle of the Bulge. And in April 1945, were a part of the final Rhine crossing: Operation Varsity.
Shortly after Varsity that the unit got orders to march north to Wismar. Wismar is a city on the Baltic coast of Germany. It sits at the northern end of a chokepoint between the sea and Lake Schweringer and is a transportation hub. Winston Churchill recognized the city’s importance and knew that if it fell into Russian hands too quickly it could allow them to advance far past the agreed upon lines set up at the Yalta conference and take most of Northern Germany and even Denmark.”
Read the rest of the story at War History Online.
The term ‘assault rifle’ has been a politically loaded term right from the start – as the origins of the German military designation “Sturmgewehr” (assault rifle) shows.
Although its commonly repeated that the term was made up by Hitler, Peter G. Kokalis actually did thorough first-hand, primary research into it and determined that in fact the term was made up by the Officers or General in charge of the German Army’s small arms development and procurement division in order to persuade Hitler to approve the production order for the StG-44. This explains why the MP-43 was called “MP” (Maschinen Pistole – submachine gun) and even the 44 was initially called an “MP” as well, before being reclassified as the StG-44.
(As a quick reminder, per its original specification, an ‘assault rifle’ is a carbine-sized, military rifle that fires an intermediate-sized cartridge from a detachable magazine, AND which is capable of full-automatic fire on demand. By this definition then, the German paratroops rifle, the FG-42, has become known as a ‘battle rifle’ rather than an ‘assault rifle’ becuase it fired the full-power 7.92mm Mauser cartridge. With the benefit of hindsight, the “Maschinenkarabiner” – Mkb – ‘machine carbine’ designation given to the prototype Mkb-42 would have been a more sensible term to stick with for the -44, or maybe something like ‘light automatic rifle’ for the -44 and ‘automatic battle rifle’ for full-power weapons like the FG-42. Interestingly though, the StG-44 was actually physically heavier than the FG-42.)
At any rate, Hitler had allegedly refused to authorize the production of the new MP-44 submachine-gun model becuase he saw the SMG as a defensive weapon and he believed that the Army should be focussed on attacking, not defending. So, the araments board came back with a revised production request for a new ‘assualt rifle’ that would help the German Army go back on the offensive again with greater firepower and Hitler signed off the production order for the ‘StG-44’ without any further quibbling – and the rest is history. Sort of….
Following the news that Botswana has taken delivery of 14 of these aircraft to be deployed on air-borne anti-poaching patrols above four major game reserves in the country, we decided to take a closer look at this little plane with the cool name.
The ‘Bat Hawk’ is type-classified as a “Light Sport Aircraft” and designed, built and supplied as a complete ready-to-fly aircraft by Micro Aviation SA in South Africa. The Bat Hawk is described by the company as an African solution for African conditions, and was developed primarily for surveillance and conservation missions.
All parts and materials are sourced in South Africa and the aircraft is entirely fabricated in the country. It is also said to be the most affordable light sport aircraft on the market – which will also make it an attractive option in Africa.
After two years of gathering extensive feedback from field usage all over the world, plus lots of additional hours invested in perfecting even the smallest details – UF PRO® now introduces the new Gen.2 version of their Striker XT BDU system.
Since its introduction in 2014, the first generation of the Striker XT BDU’s became one of the most popular UF PRO® products and they promise that the new generation will push the standards even further.
A soldier from the 504th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, sits behind an M2 heavy machine gun while conducting a chemical attack simulation during Swift Response 16 training exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, June 23, 2016.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathaniel Nichols.