Thought for the day

"Everything went strictly ‘by the book,’ using means that were permitted by the constitution. At first there were ‘emergency decrees’ by the president of the Reich, and later a bill was passed by a two-thirds majority of the Reichstag giving the government unlimited legislative powers, perfectly in accordance with the rules for changing the constitution." -- Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler (paperback, Kindle, audiobook)



Thanks for all the emails and cards!

An American corporal aims a Colt M1895 at a Sri Lankan elephant. Why the corporal over the elephant is a mystery but elephants were never a weapon platform adopted by the US military. I


This is probably a propaganda picture, not something the military would actually try to employ. The elephant did not respond well to the sound of the machine gun a few inches away from its ears.


The gun is John Moses Browning's M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun, nicknamed "Potato Digger". The M1895 was a belt-fed, air-cooled, gas-fired machine gun with a cyclic rate of 450 rounds per minute, developed by John Browning during the 1890s.


Since the weapon was air-cooled, it did not require a water cooling system, as a result, it was much lighter weighing just 17 kg (35 lb). The gas pressure generated by ignited cartridges can be carried through a small opening from the barrel into a cylinder.


This force can provide an "automatic" mechanical action that drives a lever-action type arm. The arm motion requires about eight inches of clearance under the weapon, lest the gun dig itself into the dirt.


It was this action that gave rise to the weapon's popular nickname "potato digger". The gun was moderately successful, but not excellent.