23 May 2018 - JOHN BROWNING



JOHN BROWNING

G'day folks,

John Moses Browning was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of military and civilian firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world. John Browning transformed the firearms industry with his innovative designs for sporting rifles, handguns and machine guns. Many of his creations remain in use after more than 100 years.

Who Was John Browning? 

Born in Odgen, Utah, in 1855, John Browning learned the trade of gunmaking from his father. Beginning with his creation of what became the Winchester Model 1885 rifle, his innovations transformed the business, as he either invented or introduced new versions of repeating, automatic and high-capacity firearms that proved popular among both civilians and the military. Browning spent much of his later years in Belgium, where he forged a relationship with the firearms company FN Herstal, and died in that country in 1926. 

 Browning's Famous Gun Designs 

 

Winchester Model 1885 

In 1879, Browning received his first patent, for a single-shot rifle. Four years later, he received a visit from T. G. Bennett, vice president and general manager of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, marking the start of a 19-year collaboration between Browning and Winchester. His first patent became the basis for the Winchester 1885, reputed to have one of the strongest actions of the time. 

Winchester Model 1894 

In 1893, Browning presented Winchester with a lever-action rifle tailor-made for the new 30-30 smokeless cartridge. While not his first lever-action design, it became the standard bearer as a sporting rifle, with more than 7 million units sold. 




Winchester Model 1897 

Browning introduced the first pump-action (or slide-action) shotgun in 1893, though it was unable to process the smokeless cartridges that were becoming popular. He made the adjustment for the Model 1897, which also featured the now standard "takedown" design that allows the barrel to be removed. The 1897 later proved a highly effective weapon for Allied forces during WWI. 

Browning Auto-5 

The Auto-5, which marked one of the first collaborations between Browning and Fabrique Nationale of Belgium, became the first successfully mass-produced semi-automatic shotgun in the early 20th century. It was based on a Browning patent in which the barrel and bolt recoil together following a shot, with the bolt remaining behind to eject the spent shell before moving forward to chamber a new one. 

 M1911 

 

Also known by other names, including the Colt 45, the M1911 is a short-recoil, single-action hammer-fired pistol. It served as the U.S. military’s standard sidearm from 1911 until 1985, while proving immensely popular among civilians, as well. 

B25 

Introduced by FN Herstal in 1925, the B25 was the world's first over/under shotgun. Browning was working on an improved over/under prototype when he passed away the following year, his design eventually leading to the production of the Browning Superposed. 

 Military Weapons 

 

Along with his popular rifles for sporting and personal use, Browning developed high-capacity weaponry for military combat. One of his first creations for such use, the gas-operated machine gun M1895, surfaced in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and China's Boxer Rebellion shortly afterward. 

The M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle appeared toward the end of WWI, its variations receiving more extensive use during WWII and the Korean War. Additionally, the M1919 Browning, a short-recoil-operated machine gun, featured prominently in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. 

Browning's designs were also used to create the M2 Browning, or "Ma Deuce," an 80-plus-pound air-cooled machine gun. While not produced until the 1930s, after Browning's death, it became one of his most renowned military contributions, figuring into numerous major global conflicts in the decades that followed. 




Early Years and Interest in Guns 

John Moses Browning was born on January 23, 1855, in Ogden, Utah. His father, Jonathan, was a businessman, civil servant and gunsmith, the latter activity capturing the attention of his children. 

Spending most of his time in his father's gun shop, John Browning cobbled together his first gun at age 10 from spare parts. He attended school until around age 15, when the head instructor, who recognized the boy's primary interest, told him not to bother coming back. 

 Browning Arms and FN Herstal 

 

In 1880, Browning and his brothers opened the early version of the Browning Arms Company, then known as J.M. Browning and Bro. Guns, Pistols, Amunition & Fishing Tackle, in Ogden, Utah. Following his early collaborations with the Connecticut-based Winchester Repeating Arms, Browning expanded his business overseas in 1897 by authorizing Fabrique Nationale of Herstal, Belgium, to manufacture a 32-caliber semi-automatic pistol. 

In early 1902, Browning embarked on the first of approximately 60 voyages to Belgium, marking the transition to the European country as a base of operations. In 1977, FN Herstal purchased Browning Arms outright, and today the company's firearms are generally produced in Belgium, Portugal, Japan and the U.S.




 Family and Personal 

 

In 1879, Browning married Rachel Teresa Child, with whom he would have 10 children. His son Val later took over the family business.

A devout Mormon, Browning spent the late 1880s fulfilling his missionary service. Otherwise, he remained almost singularly devoted to his craft. Despite not being extensively schooled, he was known to be highly intelligent, even learning French so as to be able to converse with factory workers in Belgium. 

In 1914, King Albert of Belgium presented Browning with the Cross of Knighthood of the Order of Leopold for his contributions to the city's firearms industry.




Death and Legacy 

On November 26, 1926, John Browning died of heart failure in Liège, Belgium, reportedly while hard at work on one of his guns. Over the course of his life, he designed more than 80 military and sporting arms, racking up 100-plus patents along the way. 

Browning's innovations fueled the creation of many firearms associated with the American West, with Colt, Remington and Savage joining Winchester as companies that manufactured models based on his designs. Regular production of his most popular guns endured for decades, with many remaining available for purchase today. 

In 1952, a life-size memorial plaque was dedicated to Browning in Liège. In 1964, a photographic collection of his firearms was compiled for the first edition of his seminal biography, John M. Browning: American Gunmaker

Enthusiasts can also see some of the legendary gunmaker's original models at the John M. Browning Firearms Museum, located in his birthtown at Ogden Union Station in Utah.
   


Clancy's comment: Mm ... Obviously a clever man, and he'd probably be the Patron Saint of the NRA.

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22 May 2018 - THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN


THE 
GALLIPOLI 
CAMPAIGN

G'day folks,

The Gallipoli peninsula is located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles strait to the east. It is also where thousands of soldiers died.

The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915-16, also known as the Battle of Gallipoli or the Dardanelles Campaign, was an unsuccessful attempt by the Allied Powers to control the sea route from Europe to Russia during World War I. The campaign began with a failed naval attack by British and French ships on the Dardanelles Straits in February-March 1915 and continued with a major land invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, involving British and French troops as well as divisions of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Lack of sufficient intelligence and knowledge of the terrain, along with a fierce Turkish resistance, hampered the success of the invasion. By mid-October, Allied forces had suffered heavy casualties and had made little headway from their initial landing sites. Evacuation began in December 1915, and was completed early the following January.




Launch of the Gallipoli Campaign 

With World War I stalled on the Western Front by 1915, the Allied Powers were debating going on the offensive in another region of the conflict, rather than continuing with attacks in Belgium and France. Early that year, Russia’s Grand Duke Nicholas appealed to Britain for aid in confronting a Turkish invasion in the Caucasus. (The Ottoman Empire had entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, by November 1914.) In response, the Allies decided to launch a naval expedition to seize the Dardanelles Straits, a narrow passage connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara in northwestern Turkey. If successful, capture of the straits would allow the Allies to link up with the Russians in the Black Sea, where they could work together to knock Turkey out of the war.




 Spearheaded by the first lord of the British Admiralty, Winston Churchill (over the strong opposition of the First Sea Lord Admiral John Fisher, head of the British Navy), the naval attack on the Dardanelles began with a long-range bombardment by British and French battleships on February 19, 1915. Turkish forces abandoned their outer forts but met the approaching Allied minesweepers with heavy fire, stalling the advance. Under tremendous pressure to renew the attack, Admiral Sackville Carden, the British naval commander in the region, suffered a nervous collapse and was replaced by Vice-Admiral Sir John de Robeck. On March 18, 18 Allied battleships entered the straits; Turkish fire, including undetected mines, sank three of the ships and severely damaged three others.




Gallipoli Land Invasion Begins 

In the wake of the failed naval attack, preparations began for largescale troop landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula. British War Secretary Lord Kitchener appointed General Ian Hamilton as commander of British forces for the operation; under his command, troops from Australia, New Zealand and the French colonies assembled with British forces on the Greek island of Lemnos. Meanwhile, the Turks boosted their defenses under the command of the German general Liman von Sanders, who began positioning Ottoman troops along the shore where he expected the landings would take place. On April 25, 1915, the Allies launched their invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Despite suffering heavy casualties, they managed to establish two beachheads: at Helles on the peninsula’s southern tip, and at Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast. (The latter site was later dubbed Anzac Cove, in honor of the Australian and New Zealand troops who fought so valiantly against determined Turkish defenders to establish the beachhead there.)

 After the initial landing, the Allies were able to make little progress from their initial landing sites, even as the Turks gathered more and more troops on the peninsula from both the Palestine and Caucasus fronts. In an attempt to break the stalemate, the Allies made another major troop landing on August 6 at Sulva Bay, combined with a northwards advance from Anzac Cove towards the heights at Sari Bair and a diversionary action at Helles. The surprise landings at Sulva Bay proceeded against little opposition, but Allied indecision and delay stalled their progress in all three locations, allowing Ottoman reinforcements to arrive and shore up their defences.





Decision to Evacuate Gallipoli 

With Allied casualties in the Gallipoli Campaign mounting, Hamilton (with Churchill’s support) petitioned Kitchener for 95,000 reinforcements; the war secretary offered barely a quarter of that number. In mid-October, Hamilton argued that a proposed evacuation of the peninsula would cost up to 50 percent casualties; British authorities subsequently recalled him and installed Sir Charles Monro in his place. By early November, Kitchener had visited the region himself and agreed with Monro’s recommendation that the remaining 105,000 Allied troops should be evacuated.




The British government authorized the evacuation to begin from Sulva Bay on December 7; the last troops left Helles on January 9, 1916. In all, some 480,000 Allied forces took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, at a cost of more than 250,000 casualties, including some 46,000 dead. On the Turkish side, the campaign also cost an estimated 250,000 casualties, with 65,000 killed.



Clancy's comment: The futility of war. 

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