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Sturgeon's House


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Everything posted by Collimatrix

  1. Woodward's book makes it clear that something even weirder than that was going on. There are numerous excerpts about how relaxed and freely mixed Southern society was all the way until the 1880s, and to some extent after that. It was actually shocking to Europeans how un-racist American society was at that time. And then something happened, FIIK what, and segregation was the law of the land throughout the South. The Compromise of 1877 definitely had something to do with it, but Woodward explicitly makes the case that Jim Crow was not inevitable or obvious. This wasn't the ghost of the white supremacist slave society re-asserting itself when it thought it was safe to re-emerge. That's a line of crap that people like Woodrow Wilson sold to a largely credulous audience a generation after the fact, and that for some bizarre reason is taught in schools. Pro tip: Woodrow Wilson was an agent of Angra Mainyu who hated all that is good, true and pure. You should probably not repeat anything he said as fact without checking it first.
  2. Bash the EM-2 Thread

    Here at Sturgeon's House, we do not shy from the wholesale slaughter of sacred cows. That is, of course, provided that they deserve to be slaughtered. The discipline of Military Science has, perhaps unavoidably, created a number of "paper tigers," weapons that are theoretically attractive, but really fail to work in reality. War is a dangerous sort of activity, so most of the discussion of it must, perforce, remain theoretical. Theory and reality will at some point inevitably diverge, and this creates some heartaches for some people. Terminal, in some cases, such as all those American bomber crews who could never complete a tour of duty over Fortress Europe because the pre-war planners had been completely convinced that the defensive armament of the bombers would be sufficient to see them through. In other cases though, the paper tiger is created post-facto, through the repetition of sloppy research without consulting the primary documents. One of the best examples of a paper tiger is the Tiger tank, a design which you would think was nearly invincible in combat from reading the modern hype of it, but in fact could be fairly easily seen off by 75mm armed Shermans, and occasionally killed by scout vehicles. Add to this chronic, never-solved reliability problems, outrageous production costs, and absurd maintenance demands (ten hours to change a single road wheel?), and you have a tank that really just wasn't very good. And so it is time to set the record straight on another historical design whose legend has outgrown its actual merit, the British EM-2: EM-2ology is a sadly under-developed field of study for gun nerds. There is no authoritative book on the history and design of this rifle. Yes, I am aware of the Collector's Grade book on the subject. I've actually read it and it isn't very good. It isn't very long, and it is quite poorly edited, among other sins devoting several pages to reproducing J.B.S. Haldane's essay On Being the Right Size in full. Why?!!?!! On top of that, there's quite a bit of misinformation that gets repeated as gospel. Hopefully, this thread can serve as a collection point for proper scholarship on this interesting, but bad design. Question One: Why do you say that the EM-2 was bad? Is it because you're an American, and you love trashing everything that comes out of Airstrip One? Why won't America love us? We gave you your language! PLEASE LOVE ME! I AM SO LONELY NOW THAT IT TOLD THE ENTIRE REST OF EUROPE TO FUCK OFF. Answer: I'm saying the EM-2 was a bad design because it was a bad design. Same as British tanks, really. You lot design decent airplanes, but please leave the tanks, rifles and dentistry to the global superpower across the pond that owns you body and soul. Oh, and leave cars to the Japanese. To be honest, Americans can't do those right either. No, I'm not going to launch into some stupid tirade about how all bullpup assault rifle designs are inherently a poor idea. I would agree with the statement that all such designs have so far been poorly executed, but frankly, very few assault rifles that aren't the AR-15 or AK are worth a damn, so that's hardly surprising. In fact, the length savings that a bullpup design provides are very attractive provided that the designer takes the ergonomic challenges into consideration (and this the EM-2 designers did, with some unique solutions). Actually, there were two problems with the EM-2, and neither had anything to do with being a bullpup. The first problem is that it didn't fucking work, and the second problem is that there was absolutely no way the EM-2 could have been mass-produced without completely re-thinking the design. See this test record for exhaustive documentation of the fact that the EM-2 did not work. Points of note: -In less than ten thousand rounds the headspace of two of the EM-2s increased by .009 and .012 inches. That is an order of magnitude larger than what is usually considered safe tolerances for headspace. -The EM-2 was less reliable than an M1 Garand. Note that, contrary to popular assertion, the EM-2 was not particularly reliable in dust. It was just less unreliable in dust than the other two designs, and that all three were less reliable than an M1 Garand. -The EM-2 was shockingly inaccurate with the ammunition provided and shot 14 MOA at 100 yards. Seriously, look it up, that's what the test says. There are clapped-out AKs buried for years in the Laotian jungle that shoot better than that. -The EM-2 had more parts breakages than any other rifle tested. -The EM-2 had more parts than any other rifle tested. -The fact that the EM-2 had a high bolt carrier velocity and problems with light primer strikes in full auto suggests it was suffering from bolt carrier bounce. As for the gun being completely un-suited to mass production, watch this video: Question Two: But the EM-2 could have been developed into a good weapon system if the meanie-head Yanks hadn't insisted on the 7.62x51mm cartridge, which was too large and powerful for the EM-2 to handle! Anyone who repeats this one is ignorant of how bolt thrust works, and has done zero research on the EM-2. In other words, anyone who says this is stupid and should feel bad for being stupid. The maximum force exerted on the bolt of a firearm is the peak pressure multiplied by the interior area of the cartridge case. You know, like you'd expect given the dimensional identities of force, area and pressure, if you were the sort of person who could do basic dimensional analysis, i.e. not a stupid one. Later version of the British 7mm cartridge had the same case head diameter as the 7.62x51mm NATO, so converting the design to fire the larger ammunition was not only possible but was actually done. In fact, most the EM-2s made were in 7.62x51mm. It was even possible to chamber the EM-2 in .30-06. I'm not going to say that this was because the basic action was strong enough to handle the 7x43mm, and therefore also strong enough to handle the 7.62x51mm NATO, because the headspace problems encountered in the 1950 test show that it really wasn't up to snuff with the weaker ammunition. But I think it's fair to say that the EM-2 was roughly equally as capable of bashing itself to pieces in 7mm, 7.62 NATO or .30-06 flavor. Question Three: You're being mean and intentionally provocative. Didn't you say that there were some good things about the design? I did imply that there were some good aspects of the design, but I was lying. Actually, there's only one good idea in the entire design. But it's a really good idea, and I'm actually surprised that nobody has copied it. If you look at the patent, you can see that the magazine catch is extremely complicated. However, per the US Army test report the magazine and magazine catch design were robust and reliable. What makes the EM-2 special is how the bolt behaves during a reload. Like many rifles, the EM-2 has a tab on the magazine follower that pushes up the bolt catch in the receiver. This locks the bolt open after the last shot, which helps to inform the soldier that the rifle is empty. This part is nothing special; AR-15s, SKSs, FALs and many other rifles do this. What is special is what happens when a fresh magazine is inserted. There is an additional lever in each magazine that is pushed by the magazine follower when the follower is in the top position of the magazine. This lever will trip the bolt catch of the rifle provided that the follower is not in the top position; i.e. if the magazine has any ammunition in it. This means that the reload drill for an EM-2 is to fire the rifle until it is empty and the bolt locks back, then pull out the empty magazine, and put in a fresh one. That's it; no fussing with the charging handle, no hitting a bolt release. When the first magazine runs empty the bolt gets locked open, and as soon as a loaded one is inserted the bolt closes itself again. This is a very good solution to the problem of fast reloads in a bullpup (or any other firearm). It's so clever that I'm actually surprised that nobody has copied it. Question Four: But what about the intermediate cartridge the EM-2 fired? Doesn't that represent a lost opportunity vis a vis the too powerful 7.62 NATO? Sort of, but not really. The 7mm ammunition the EM-2 fired went through several iterations, becoming increasingly powerful. The earliest versions of the 7mm ammunition had similar ballistics to Soviet 7.62x39mm, while the last versions were only a hair less powerful than 7.62x51mm NATO. As for the 7mm ammunition having some optimum balance between weight, recoil and trajectory, I'm skeptical. The bullets the 7mm cartridges used were not particularly aerodynamic, so while they enjoyed good sectional density and (in the earlier stages) moderate recoil, it's not like they were getting everything they could have out of the design. note the flat base In addition, the .280 ammunition was miserably inaccurate. Check the US rifle tests; the .280 chambered proto-FAL couldn't hit anything either.
  3. The interesting thing, to me, about nostalgia for the Confederacy and the "Old South" is that it's almost entirely of recent vintage. In the 1960s the pro-segregation crowd argued that integration would destroy their culture and way of life et cetera... except that segregation only dated back to the 1890s. There was almost a generation long gap between the end of the Civil War and the start of Jim Crow laws. H.L. Mencken, who actually liked the Confederacy, at least in a qualified sense, pointed out that all that was good and noble about it bled out on the battlefields. In short, Lost Causers are LARPing. They aren't the inheritors of the Confederacy in any meaningful way. The Confederacy was killed 100% dead.
  4. Unified Naval Documents Thread

    We need one of these. Notes on German super-battleship design Soviet/Russian document dump US WWII Documents US Navy discussion of cage vs tripod masts 60 Years of Marine Nuclear Power (Soviet Union & Russia)
  5. Bash the EM-2 Thread

    I'm still not sure what that little piece in front of the receiver is, but it is clearly a separate piece, and it is none too securely attached: Go to 14:02 when Ian's hand brushes against it. So, it would appear that the actual machined receiver of the EM-2 only goes from the stock to about the forward edge of the rear strut of the carry handle. That's still way too big. This also brings up the question of exactly what the optical sight is attached to. The cross-section is a bit ambiguous: (I think that "7mm x 45mm" is a typo, but I'm not sure. By that point in the program they were making up new 7mm cartridges like they were pokemon or something.) The EM-2's atrocious accuracy problems in the 1950 tests are often attributed to bad ammo. While the ammo definitely was shit, and the .280 needed a lot more development in order to not suck, I am not convinced that the rifle had great potential for accuracy. The barrel was also quite thin, and as you can see from the cross-section, decidedly not free-floated.
  6. Bash the EM-2 Thread

    Oh, good. So they were on the same page of arms design as the country that has fought literally nobody since 1847.
  7. Bash the EM-2 Thread

    It's a borderline forgivable delusion to be under in the early 1950s. I'm actually not sure on how they managed to remain so ignorant of subsequent developments that they still thought the same thing thirty years later.
  8. Here's a phantom IS-3 sighting from before IS-3s were even in service. It may have had issues with transmission reliability and the pike welds, but the IS-3 did a wonderful job of scaring people.
  9. Bash the EM-2 Thread

    In general, the execrable L85 series of weapons is not related to the EM-2. Both rifles were bad, but they were bad for completely unrelated reasons. There is one thing, however, that the EM-2 did pass along to early prototypes of the L85. This was a pathological and uniquely British fear of flash hiders. Flash hiders are terribly useful things to have on the muzzle of a rifle. In addition to enormously reducing the visible flash at the end of the muzzle, they can also double as mounting points for rifle grenades and blank firing adapters. They help protect the crown of the barrel, and they can even save a barrel from bursting if someone slips and jams their muzzle into the dirt, as flash hiders are a wider internal diameter than the bore and have holes in them, which allows the propellant gas to flow harmlessly around the obstruction. That's a fairly long list of advantages for basically no disadvantages, so the majority of rifle designers have taken it for granted that their weapons will sport a threaded muzzle with some sort of flash hider, brake, compensator or what have you screwed on to the tip. In addition to the advantages above, screwed-on muzzle devices can also be easily replaced if someone invents a better one, or if someone slips, falls, and mashes the muzzle of their rifle into a concrete pad. To anyone designing military rifles it was very clear that they really ought to have threaded muzzles. Except the British. If you look carefully at this picture of the XL-64 prototype, you can see that there is no seam between the barrel and the flash hider. That's right; the flash hider is machined into the barrel itself. The completely irrational British hatred for threaded-on flash hiders began with the EM-2 program. The majority of EM-2s were never equipped with flash hiders, and it was generally accepted (e.g. during the American competitive trials) that it did not need one. The enormous 25 inch long barrel gave enough volume for the propellant gas to expand and cool that the EM-2's flash signature was naturally low. Other rifles of the period, not being so blessed, required threaded on flash hiders. Again, this wasn't at all a bad thing, but for some reason the British arms designers didn't see it that way and flipped the fuck out about the idea of flash hiders. This excerpt from a salty missive from then Labour MP Woodrow Wyatt sums up the British perspective: Total. Insanity. For the record, the shipping weight of a long FAL flash hider is 4 ounces, and an A2 flash hider is 2 ounces. Flash hiders are not attached and detached willy-nilly, getting them on and off requires a vice, a wrench and some elbow grease. But for some reason, the idea that flash hiders are heavy, detached pieces of gadgetry just waiting to get lost occurs several times in period British documents on the development of the EM-2. Having identified a completely imaginary problem, the engineers proceeded to come up with an adequate solution: And that is how the British machined-in flash hider came to be, until sanity (partially) re-asserted itself and the XL-70 was given a threaded muzzle.
  10. And look how suspiciously quickly they had a fix on hand for the P320 drop safety problem.
  11. So, I'm snowbound in a little motel in Rawlins, WY. It's a dinky, creaky old place with no internet, no running water, and it's built on an old Indian burial ground. Anyway, I was thinking about music. I listened to The Pierce's Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge on the way down here, end to end. Holy crap, this is a superb album. Allison and Catherine Pierce are both excellent singers with some really excellent harmonies (but not so often it gets dull). Instrumentation and melodies are varied too, but not so much it feels thrown together. And wow, the lyrics. The probity of the album's concept is immaculate. It oozes jealousy, loss, lust and toxic sexuality worthy of an opera. A taste:
  12. Here's one way to feel a refreshing breeze in your face:
  13. This bit from SSC bears repeating: The KKK is really small. They could all stay in the same hotel with a bunch of free rooms left over. Or put another way: the entire membership of the KKK is less than the daily readership of this blog. If you Google “trump KKK”, you get 14.8 million results. I know that Google’s list of results numbers isn’t very accurate. Yet even if they’re inflating the numbers by 1000x, and there were only about 14,000 news articles about the supposed Trump-KKK connection this election, there are still two to three articles about a Trump-KKK connection for every single Klansman in the world. I don’t see any sign that there are other official white supremacy movements that are larger than the Klan, or even enough other small ones to substantially raise the estimate of people involved. David Duke called a big pan-white-supremacist meeting in New Orleans in 2005, and despite getting groups from across North America and Europe he was only able to muster 300 attendees (by comparison, NAACP conventions routinely get 10,000). My guess is that the number of organized white supremacists in the country is in the very low five digits. The internet acts as an extremely effective amplifier for crazy people. If you were to assume the internet to be representative, you would expect that the world population is about 15% furries, 25% Turks and Kurds arguing about who is more subhuman, 20% neo-Nazis, 40% thirsty bros and 0% women. The extreme right in the US has been emboldened by Trump's victory. A lot of other previously marginalized political positions have been emboldened as well. Trade protectionists, pro-settlement Israelis, climate change doubters, old-school DEA drug warriors who want to crack down on medicinal marijuana... and lots of others. The only thing these people have in common is that they were previously marginalized. Trump wasn't supposed to win. All the analysts failed miserably at their jobs, turning what would have been a stinging reprimand into an eschatological calamity for the political establishment. Now the world seems upside down, and a lot of people on the bottom are now feeling like it's their turn to get on top.
  14. Right? Where the fuck did that come from?
  15. Explosive Reactive Armor

    Explosive reactive armor is that brick-looking stuff that the Soviets loved covering their tanks in during the last days of the Cold War: Kharkov Stronk! I admit not knowing much about ERA, but a quick check around various sources has impressed the following things on me: -ERA is, pound for pound, the most effective armor technology that exists. Nothing else even comes remotely close. First-generation Israeli Blazer ERA was estimated to have a mass efficiency (vs RHA) of 20-24 vs HEAT threats. That's insane. The very best modern steel laminates using ultra-high hardness alloys magically welded to high toughness alloys achieve a mass efficiency of 1.5. MEs of 3 are spoken of in hushed whispers for exotic material composite arrays. ERA must be mounted on something fairly stout, on account of the whole "explosive" thing, but even mounted to RHA, the ME of the entire array is on the order of 2.5-3.8, and better still for ERA mounted on top of something more sophisticated. ERA is stupidly cheap and stupidly light for how effective it is. -The most commonly available descriptions of how the Kontakt-5 "heavy" ERA works are probably wrong. Surprise surprise; commonly available articles about a technical subject are completely wrong. Robb Mcleod's article gives a more likely explanation on the basis of areal density vs. installation mass and coverage. Instead of an extremely heavy one-piece flyer plate that snaps the APFSDS penetrators, Kontakt-5 works by having two flyer plates that move in different directions; one slightly up and one slightly down, guillotining off the front portion of long-rod APFSDS penetrators.
  16. Collimatrix's Terrible Music Thread

    Crack Magazine, (which is not the same thing as Cracked), has this excellent summary of the history of Satanic motifs in music. It's a good little piece, but it skips two things I would have mentioned. The first is the story of Nicolò Paganini, who in his time had a sort of proto-Robert-Johnson myth surrounding him, and less forgivably, occult-themed hard rock acts like Coven. Coven is the missing link between Sympathy for the Devil and Black Sabbath. In fact, they had a song called "Black Sabbath," as well as a bassist named Greg "Oz" Ozbourne (Which is not the same thing as Ozzy Osbourne). Musically, they're typical of psychodelic California bands of the time. If Led Zeppelin, with its heavy guitar blues songs about vikings, is proto-metal, then Coven is proto-proto-metal. But their album art was pure fucking metal: Incidentally, Coven is credited with introducing the sign of the horns to rock music, which is quite a brag. In a similar vein, but of more recent vintage is The Devil's Blood, from the Netherlands: Sadly, they appear to have disbanded after a brief, but brilliant career.
  17. General Naval Warfare News/Technology thread.

    And at a fraction of the cost of an F-35B! It's brilliant!
  18. Explosive Reactive Armor

    The idea that someone was fooling with anti-APFSDS ERA some decades before K5 was fielded strikes me as plausible. After all, the Soviets were fooling around with ERA in labs decades before the Israelis beat everyone to the punch in actually fielding it. Also, Ogorkiewicz's Technology of Tanks mentions the possibility of heavy ERA arrays effective against KE threats, which I think predates general western knowledge of K5.

    Welcome to Sturgeon's House Sgt. Squarehead! We'd mostly been discussing the Kurganets in the Armata thread, which I realize is a little arbitrary and does not make an enormous amount of sense. @Mighty_Zuk had mentioned that Kurganets might be having problems here.
  20. Explosive Reactive Armor

    I moved these posts to this thread from the active protection systems thread because they are more relevant here. But this is very interesting. @SH_MM, do you happen to recall the name of the West German anti-apfsds ERA developed for the Leopard 1? This is very interesting, and the first I've heard of such a thing.
  21. Looks like Canada will be getting Norinco Type 81 rifles. These will be a little more like the military-issue weapons than the abortive US-market semi-auto from the mid 1980s.
  22. Syrian conflict.

    ??? How did this happen?
  23. Non-exploding infantry hardware thread.

    Wow! I'm honestly surprised that anyone would consistently screw up a helmet. Is it a case of dodgy wartime German metallurgy again?