Patterico's Pontifications


Texas Homeowner Kills Attacker in Home Invasion

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 12:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A recent home invasion in Central Texas community of Bastrop (outside Austin) resulted in the intruder’s death. What sets this case apart is that the homeowner didn’t use a gun and he was more than twice the age of the intruder:

“Late last Friday, 75-year-old Marion Lee Hill, pictured below, arrived to his Cedar Creek home to find [37-year-old Jonathon Warner] Jones in the midst of a home invasion, the Bastrop Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. A struggle ensued in the living room and led into the kitchen, where Hill, a longtime Cedar Creek resident and business owner, stabbed Jones in the left arm and chest, officials said. Jones was dead when police arrived, said Bastrop Sheriff Terry Pickering.

Hill is not facing any charges, and the case is being considered one of self-defense, Bastrop Sheriff’s Office officials have said.”

The now deceased intruder has a mug shot posted at the link and was wanted on other charges. The moral of this story? Don’t mess with anyone in Central Texas.



  1. A clear-cut (ok, bad pun) case for why we need Federal knife control laws.

    Comment by JVW (18d81d) — 7/8/2010 @ 1:07 pm

  2. “Home invasion”?

    More like “home evisceration”.

    Comment by Icy Texan (388cfa) — 7/8/2010 @ 1:09 pm

  3. From the news articles, Jones had beaten up a “female relative”, and stopped choking her and fled when he was told the police were on the way. Next he tried it with a 75-year old man. No loss here.

    Comment by jim2 (a9ab88) — 7/8/2010 @ 1:21 pm

  4. No cops, no courts, no probation — no problem.

    Comment by Icy Texan (388cfa) — 7/8/2010 @ 1:26 pm

  5. Bastrop is one of the more ideal Central Texas towns. It was too much of a commute when my wife and I bought a home (she works in Austin, I work for Wilco).

    Just another good reason to carry a firearm. Most 75 year olds would be lucky to survive this kind of encounter.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 7/8/2010 @ 1:49 pm

  6. The moral of the story is get a gun, not a knife.

    Comment by SPQR (a46c08) — 7/8/2010 @ 1:59 pm

  7. A gun has only so many deaths, a sword (knife) an infinity of deaths.

    I like guns of some type, pretty and blue with good wood, but I’m totally crazy about knives (swords too). And when you don’t have anybody you want to kill, you can just sit atound and whittle.

    Have I shown what my wife brought me from Argentina?

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:10 pm

  8. nk

    well, a gun with a bayonett attached surely has infinite deaths, too. :-)

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (A.W.) (e7d72e) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:13 pm

  9. If these crooks were smart, they would hop down to the supervisor of elections office and check the party affiliation of their intended target.

    Moral for crooks: The Rs are much more likely to be armed. The Ds are more likely to be an easy touch.

    Comment by Corky Boyd (922457) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:15 pm

  10. If I had a sword I would probably be a far greater danger to myself than anyone else.

    That looks like a handy little knife there, nk. I really like that sheath behind it, too.

    Anyone busting into someone else’s house in Texas has lost their mind.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:18 pm

  11. That’s called a spear, A.W. ;)

    I’m teaching the daughter jo and bo, point and butt. The swords have always been there in her playroom, for whenever she’s stron enough to pick them up.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:22 pm

  12. Well, sure a gun has a limited ammunition supply … but the day when nine intruders break into my house, and the ninth guy waits around while I dispatch the first eight with my 8 shot 1911, I might be so impressed by his fortitude as to give him the “win”.

    I’ll worry about that then in any case.

    Comment by SPQR (a46c08) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:26 pm

  13. This is why we need solar powered laser guns.

    I have been telling everyone this for years, and everyone ignores me.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:31 pm

  14. 10.If I had a sword I would probably be a far greater danger to myself than anyone else

    You just “chop’em”. Your natural instinct will be to avoid your foot. A sword is just a variant of a baseball bat. ;)

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:34 pm

  15. Comment by SPQR

    Was it Sargeant York or somebody else that shot a group of attackers from the back to the front? He had learned that turkey hunting, the ones in front don’t know anything has happened and keep on coming until it’s their turn.

    I don’t remember what it’s called, but there’s a “weapon” that is little more than a 3/4×6 inch (or so) steel rod that one can do amazing things with if trained.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:46 pm

  16. MD in Philly,
    That is part of the Sgt York legend. I think you are thinking of a kubotan. A handy little device with a little training if you are so unlucky as to live in a non “shall issue” jurisdiction.

    Comment by SPQR (a46c08) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:49 pm

  17. “When they bring a knife to a fight, you bring a gun. That’s the Chicago Way.”

    Except now if you bring a gun the police will arrest you unless you’ve been registered, received extensive training, and kissed the mayor’s rear end and agreed that his gun control really, really works.

    Comment by Dmac (93e7cb) — 7/8/2010 @ 2:51 pm

  18. (720 ILCS 5/24‑10)
    Sec. 24‑10. Municipal ordinance regulating firearms; affirmative defense to a violation. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibits, regulates, or restricts the private ownership of firearms if the individual who is charged with the violation used the firearm in an act of self‑defense or defense of another as defined in Sections 7‑1 and 7‑2 of this Code when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.
    (Source: P.A. 93‑1048, eff. 11‑16‑04.)

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 3:08 pm

  19. Bastrop State Park – great spot to go camping!

    Comment by rudytbone (0bbb6b) — 7/8/2010 @ 3:28 pm

  20. I think if you tried kendo with a baseball bat you would get badly bruised and beaten.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:15 pm

  21. MD in Philly,
    The German commander sent an eight man squad to get him with the bayonet. Had they gone to cover and fired they might have pinned him down. Had he had his rifle only he would have been killed. He was carrying a 1911 in violation of code. Kind of appropriate for this thread.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:19 pm

  22. From our revolution through Napoleon, the bayonet killed almost twice as many men as the muskets. Artillery probably matched or exceeded them both.

    The Minie ball changed that and made small arms the main killer.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:21 pm

  23. every thing in
    texas bite you scratch stab you or
    kick your ass… how come?

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (9cf017) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:47 pm

  24. That would be Texas, with a capitol “T” if you please.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:49 pm

  25. haiku think constant
    corrections from machinist
    like knife in the back

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (9cf017) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:53 pm

  26. this haiku thing is
    debilitating colonel
    now stuck on stoopid

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (9cf017) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:55 pm

  27. Don’t forget those seasonal references.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 4:58 pm

  28. I sure hope this attitude toward thugs spreads. I’ve been to Bastrop. greatest people in the world.

    Comment by f1guyus (0af9f1) — 7/8/2010 @ 5:34 pm

  29. my little brudder used to live there I planted crepe myrtles in the front yard and there were scary wild dogs and he shot a dog’s leg off and the dog kept hobbling around til they moved away and he felt really awful and you shouldn’t bring that story up

    Comment by happyfeet (19c1da) — 7/8/2010 @ 5:43 pm

  30. three legged dog hop
    into saloon say “I look
    for man shot my pa”

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (9cf017) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:12 pm

  31. Obturation. The brass cartridge that kept black powder fouling out of the action. Before that, the fulminate primer that could punch through the fouling in the touchhole.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:13 pm

  32. that was beautiful Mr. Colonel

    Comment by happyfeet (19c1da) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:22 pm

  33. haiku love it when
    conversation dwindle and
    nk talk dirty

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (9cf017) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:22 pm

  34. OK, that’s a bit disturbing.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:28 pm

  35. NK,
    Cartridge firearms would have made rifles practical military weapons in time but most of the troops in the Civil War had muzzle loading rifled muskets. The Minie ball made these usable and forced the change from linear tactics to dispersal. Smooth bore muskets were ineffective beyond a hundred yards while the 12 pounder field gun was effective beyond 300 yards. The rifled musket with the Minie ball was accurate from 400 top 600 yards and could pick off the gunners in the open. It also made small arms fire effective at much longer range against infantry and tore up exposed formations. Breech loaders were used but in small numbers and were not often decisive. The Minie ball gave the speed of fire of the smooth bore with the range and accuracy of the rifle. It was a deadly change and reversed the casualty figures between small arms, artillery, and edged weapons.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:34 pm

  36. Berdan’s sharpshooters, with their octagonal-barrelled muzzleloaders would likely outshoot our best Marine snipers, today, maybe.

    I was talking about making guns more able to fire more without having to be cleaned after every shots, that’s all.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:49 pm

  37. *every three shots*

    (I would throw this darn computer in the garbage, but that’s all they sell these days)

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:50 pm

  38. I was talking about making guns more able to fire more without having to be cleaned after every three shots, that’s all.

    Then you obviously are not referring to the Armalite system aka M16 / M4 …

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/8/2010 @ 7:59 pm

  39. That is what the Minie ball did for rifles. Smooth bores already could.

    I respectfully disagree about modern snipers.

    “A British sniper has established a new world record for the most distant confirmed kill in combat. Corporal of Horse Creig Harrison of the Household Cavalry dispatched 2 taliban machine gunners from a distance of 2,707 yards with a Accuracy International AWM, or L115A3 in .338 Lapua Mag in Nov. of 2009. This beats for former record held by Candian sniper Rob Furlong who killed a taliban fighter at 2,657 yards in 2004.”

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:00 pm

  40. NK,
    If you are using a desktop there are advantages to building your own .

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:02 pm

  41. They have laser – guided bullets in development that will be able to go around corners, just like in the cartoons we grew up on. No kidding:

    Comment by Dmac (93e7cb) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:05 pm

  42. A British sniper has established a new world record for the most distant confirmed kill in combat.

    I think that’s personal talent. They say Chuck Yaerger could see planes from fifty miles away and Ted Williams could see bullets coming out of a pistol. And a hudred years before them there was some guy at Adobe Wells who made a thousand yard shot with some coalburner.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:12 pm

  43. Chuck Yaeger; Billy Dixon. They both deserve to have their names said properly.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:15 pm

  44. It is always personal talent to some extent. There have been many kills at over a mile. In one case five, with at least four in 28 seconds.

    Yes, the old single shots could reach out, but not like that. Billy Dixon at Adobe Wells ended an Indian attack but there were over twenty five other buffalo hunters there that did a lot of damage at long range when vastly outnumbered.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:22 pm

  45. I type slow.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:24 pm

  46. If I recall, when the US troops were withdrawing from Mexico they left six rifleman as rear guard to slow down the pursuit. They were shooting officers out of their saddles at up to 1200 yards with 1903 Springfields without scopes.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:28 pm

  47. BTW, my daughter’s gunto (when she can wield it):

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:32 pm

  48. Individual achievements don’t change military doctrine on a wide scale. Technological developments, sometimes very simple ones, cause changes in tactical methods that change the game so much they sweep through the worlds militaries and change the way they operate. Examples would be the stirrup, the bayonet, the Minie ball or cartridge breech loader, and the tank. Small incremental changes happen all the time but these things forced major changes in the way men fought. Those who were slow to recognize it payed heavily in lives lost needlessly.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:37 pm

  49. Comment by Machinist
    Right. he learned the technique hunting turkeys in order not to scatter them and end up only taking one home. With the German soldiers it enabled him to pick them off one by one preventing them from scattering and taking cover, much to his disadvantage.

    I think you are thinking of a kubotan.
    Comment by SPQR —

    That sounds right, and I’ll assume it is since you seem familiar with it. I saw the Sensai demonstrate a few moves with it during one of my daughter’s classes. (I always find it amusing in a way when he calls someone to come up so he can demonstrate something. The thought comes to mind, “I’m paying money so this guy can hurt me, what’s wrong with this picture!?” He doesn’t “hurt” them as in give an injury, but it is “real” karate as he says, and “much gentler than they do on Okinawa”).

    Seeing what could be done with that little rod reminded me of something interesting about my boys’ years in high school. There was a zero tolerance “weapons” policy (along with metal detectors that sometimes worked). But nobody of the school administrators gave much thought to the fact that many of the boys had a large snap-clamp on a belt loop for their keys and such, or connected to a metal chain that went to a wallet. In other words, a significant number of the guys had make-do brass knuckles with them all of the time.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:39 pm

  50. There is a link on Popehat blog to a criminal conviction for brass knuckles for possessing a chain link. Absolutely ridiculous case:

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:44 pm

  51. NK,
    Does that have flat sides and angled surfaces or a rounded teardrop profile?

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:44 pm

  52. I think the biggest change in rifle cartridges was Coloner Rubin’s smokeless 7.? patrone. Everybody adopted a medium (.26 to .32) caliber with a high trajectory and high terminal velocity that could outfight the natives’ muzzleloader.

    The 5.56 is a wonderful cartridge. Don’t cdare to express an opinion about the rifles made for it.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:45 pm

  53. I think if you tried kendo with a baseball bat you would get badly bruised and beaten.

    Have you ever tried out a medieval style broadsword or longsword? Most of those are fairly heavy, and could easily outweight a baseball bat. Serious upper body strength was mandatory for their use, even if you only wanted to swing them around so you don’t look like an idiot. Of course, they were shaped differently and balanced more towards the hilt than the modern bat. But usually they could do some serious damage even if the cutting edge got dulled. Naturally, kendo-type techniques would not be the best suited for them, since Japanese swords are generally much lighter.

    Comment by kishnevi (db1823) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:52 pm

  54. This is sniping done right.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:53 pm

  55. The only rifles I’ve ever fired are the M-16A2 and M4.

    I’ve fired a lot of crew served weapons, and I’ve had reliability problems with some of them, but the M-16 and M-4 never gave me much trouble. I know everyone complains about them, but I always thought they were reliable.

    I think it was because these were ‘my’ assigned weapons and we had to keep them cleaned and lubricated or it was our asses. Someone was assigned the M-60 (later the M-249), but it changed so often the sense of ownership wasn’t the same.

    I thought HK was making a new upper receiver for these weapons that was more tolerant of filth. But I think the expectation/ design assumption that most of our soldiers will maintain their weapons very well is a smart one, though.

    Our enemy is better off keeping their crappy AKs than trying to use a field procured M-4 they have no idea how to maintain. I’m pretty sure my attitude would be a lot different if I were actually in a sandy battlefield and my weapon was jamming up, though.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:55 pm

  56. NK,
    Does that have flat sides and angled surfaces or a rounded teardrop profile?

    Comment by Machinist — 7/8/2010 @ 8:44 pm

    Angled. Totally machine-made, that’s what makes her a gunto and not a katana or tachi.

    I restored her, gently — who knows what some soldiers had put her through.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:56 pm

  57. nk, 7.5x55mm was the Swiss service cartridge from 1911 through the ’80′s when the Swiss adopted 5.56x45mm.

    The Swiss bullet was actually closely copied by US Army ordnance post WWI to improve the range of US .30-06 ammunition. This due to complaints during WWI that the .30-06 lacked the range of other combatants main rifle / machine gun ammunition. See Hatcher’s Notebook.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:56 pm

  58. I agree that the adoption of high velocity reduced caliber cartridges along with the bolt action magazine rifles greatly increased the effectiveness of small arms. The real extent was hidden somewhat by the introduction of practical belt fed machine guns at about the same time but Omdurman and the early battles between the English and Germans showed how effective the new rifles were, especially the SMLE, which I consider the best military bolt action made.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:58 pm

  59. I think the 5.56 was a mistake.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 8:58 pm

  60. Machinist, I might argue that the real improvement that hid the immense jump in effectiveness of small arms was that of radio-controlled artillery … but I would be quibbling.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:03 pm

  61. My father liked the 6.5mm. Italian Carcanos, I belive because that’s all he could get.

    I think an off the shelf Remington 700 is a great value.

    A hundred years ago, in a trench, you looked for a strong action that wouldd work im mud. Now you look for a good trigger. Your mileage may vary.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:04 pm

  62. I wondered because I worked on a couple of issue swords brought back from the war that had a rounded profile and Japanese style handles but shorter for one handed use. They were not folded blades but were high quality steel. Not at all fancy but well made for function. I wondered about yours. I put pictures of an older sword in a comment on your blog. (links to pictures). It is supposed to be 800 years old and seems to have a folded blade. You seem to like nice blades.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:07 pm

  63. Thank you, SPQR. The .30 Jorgensen was considered unerpowered compared to Mauser’s and Mannlicher’s chamberings.

    I think to a large degree it’s both situational and political — i.e. the generals fight over one gun for Vietnam and another for Afghanistan.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:13 pm

  64. SPQR,
    Artillery was rarely radio directed in WW1, they mainly used telephones. Artillery became a big killer in the static conditions but it was rarely used properly and was largely wasted. The real advance in artillery came just before the war with the combination of quick firing breech and recoil system that allowed the gun to stay in position during recoil. This allowed adding a shield to field artillery and made indirect sighting practical and much more effective. This is what allowed very destructive field guns and the deadly massing of artillery concentrations at longer range. The main mistake they made was to confuse the effect of mass with concentration. When an overwhelming storm of shells broke the resistance of the defense they thought it was the material damage, so they wasted too much effort cutting wire with shells which is a terrible waste, and figured that less guns shooting for longer periods would do as much damage. This completely missed the point and wasted an inconceivable amount of effort and number of lives.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:17 pm

  65. Machinist,

    Blogger is not allowing your postings in comments that I can see. If you will email the links to me at, I will see what I can do to put them on the main post.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:26 pm

  66. I went to your site through your profile, BTW, bur got bupkis.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:30 pm

  67. “bur got bupkis.”??

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:33 pm

  68. I see I commented on the wrong place. Duh.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/8/2010 @ 9:58 pm

  69. Machinist, check your email.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 2:25 am

  70. I think my computer problem is that I got the one that my daughter like (a Mac-like PC, she picked it because it’s like what they use at her school) and not the IBM (Lenovo now?) I was used to. ;)

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 2:29 am

  71. #12.

    Why you work on reloading magazines quickly, and keep a loaded spare close by the pistol. When things go bump in the night, you pick both of them up when you go to investigate.

    Comment by Gabby (df70b7) — 7/9/2010 @ 6:39 am

  72. Machinist @ #48:

    “Individual achievements don’t change military doctrine on a wide scale. Technological developments, sometimes very simple ones, cause changes in tactical methods that change the game so much they sweep through the worlds militaries and change the way they operate.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I wrote doctrine for the Army for a few years, right after Desert Shield/Storm. I would amplify the last part, however, to say technology most often causes Evolution, not Revolution, in tactics, techniques, procedures, and doctrine.

    For instance, the LONGBOW apache helicopter is a quantum leap forward in gunship technology over the AH-64A model…but through our analysis we discovered that what it really did was allow the crews to accomplish their same missions better, faster, and more accurately.

    Comment by Virtual Insanity (1d2640) — 7/9/2010 @ 6:48 am

  73. Hey, VI, how close are those helmets worn by Apache pilots to the fictional one worn by Clint Eastwood in Firefox?

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:07 am

  74. As I recall, the ones in Firefox read your thoughts. We’re not there yet. I think it would just take one ADD pilot to make everyone around him have a bad day.

    The ones in the Apache are heavy pains in the neck (literally), with IR position sensors. They sense the helmet position, then once bore-sighted aim the weapon systems based on a reticle that comes down over the right eye.

    More like what was in Blue Thunder. Big step forward from the old AH-1 Cobra days, though, where your helmet was attached to a rail system to aim the cannon.

    Comment by Virtual Insanity (1d2640) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:14 am

  75. I admire those guys. I was skinny as a rail and reasonably athletic from age 19 to 50, but I know I could not do what they do.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:26 am

  76. They are, in general, a young and impressive bunch. Physically and mentally the best we as a country have to offer. The people who talk about the gen-x couch potatoes should see what I see.

    But man, they look so young to me now.

    Comment by Virtual Insanity (1d2640) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:31 am

  77. I knew a few of them back in the day and always thought them to be arrogant… but they need that arrogance and confidence to do what they do..

    Comment by GeneralMalaise (9cf017) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:32 am

  78. GM, you hit the nail on the head. They are selected for the job because they absolutely believe they can do it.

    Comment by Virtual Insanity (1d2640) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:33 am

  79. Don’t much about guns except when I read a book about the Finn’s holding out against the overwhelming Russian forces in WWII using their Bofors. They look pretty damn awesome – kind of like a hybrid of a high – powered rifle and a bazooka.

    Comment by Dmac (93e7cb) — 7/9/2010 @ 7:43 am

  80. I have a flower vase made out of a 40mm Bofors casing. I posted it for AD, a while back, but I won’t link it now because I don’t want you guys accusing me of promoting my site.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 8:00 am

  81. The hell with it. Think what you want.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 8:12 am

  82. Virtual Insanity,
    Thank you for your comment and the amplification. It is what I was trying to say there but you said it better.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 8:31 am

  83. Dmac, do you mean the 20mm anti-tank piece that the Finns used? Dragged on a pair of skis.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 7/9/2010 @ 8:47 am

  84. Berdan’s men did not use “octagonal-barrelled” rifles—that was the Whitworth, and only real specialist snipers used it because it was a PITA to reload, particularly in a hurry. Berdan’s men were picked for marksmanship, but they used (usually) Sharps breechloaders—between the fact that they were hellishly-good shots, and the fact that they could shoot a lot faster than the opposition, they were very bad news. Pity they were mostly used as skirmishers.

    Comment by Technomad (e2c0f2) — 7/9/2010 @ 8:54 am

  85. Machinist, are you sure about Cpl. York (Non-Com, who was commanding platoon because of the death and incapacitation of officer and senior non-coms) carrying a 1911 was against regs? It may be now, but back then was different story as our army was still transitioning from Civil War doctrine and regs.

    Seen the Sgt. York movie several times (Gary Cooper). The movie had York using picked up German Lugars as the 1911 wouldn’t cycle blanks as the Lugar would.

    Comment by PCD (1d8b6d) — 7/9/2010 @ 9:04 am

  86. 1. With the benefit of hindsight, the Russians in 1939-40 should have surrendered to the Finns – it would have been infinitely cheaper.
    2. The 74 year old looks like the sort of guy who could kick your ass, and circumstances validated that assessment.
    2. the 1903 Springfield and 1911 Colt (not the A1 variant) should be considered fundamental to an Americans education and all should be trained to master these cultural icons. (Ok – the Thompson too)(Ok, M1918 BAR too)

    Comment by CAlifornio (becfb2) — 7/9/2010 @ 9:04 am

  87. Oh,

    So that’s where “sharpshooter” came from? Cool.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 10:17 am

  88. All blackpowder guns are a PITA to reload and clean, even the cartridge ones. The rifling will foul after the third shot and you will spend your evening with a cleaning rod and a bucket of soapy water. ;)

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 10:31 am

  89. Fouling from corrosive primers….
    In the trenches of WW-1, the Brits issued half-cylindrical brass water holders that could be hung from the side of an underground hooch and filled with hot water from a tea-pot. It had a valve and hose fitting on the bottom. You removed the bolt from your Smellie, inserted the hose in the breech, and with the muzzle in a bucket, drenched the bbl with warm water to wash out the corrosive salts from the primer, and any residue from the cordite used in the cartridges of the day.
    A clean patch, and a little oil, and you were ready to go for the next morning’s activities.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (2e91a1) — 7/9/2010 @ 11:58 am

  90. Comment by PCD — 7/9/2010 @ 9:04 am,

    No, I am not sure. That was from Col. Jeff Cooper’s account but I am not well studied on that. Handguns were in short supply. Would he have been issued one in addition to a rifle?

    Correct on the movie. The 1911 didn’t take the blank adapters they used. Ironic as the Luger is much less tolerant of low pressure ammo without the adapter.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 1:32 pm

  91. The early Sharps was one of the few breech loaders that worked before brass cartridge cases were used. A paper cartridge was inserted into the chamber and the falling block sheared off the back as it was raised, exposing the powder to the flash. They used percussion caps and I think some had tape primers.

    The Maynard was also popular on both sides as it was light and handy, and easy to load on horseback. It used a cartridge case with a flash hole in back for an external cap or tape primer. It was quite accurate for it’s time and modern primed cartridge versions are still used by black powder fans.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 1:43 pm

  92. Black powder is dirty but the guns are certainly capable of sustained fire. Less than 140 solders at Rorke’s Drift fired over 19,000 rounds in less than 12 hours from their Martini-Henrys. They averaged less than 20 rounds per casualty which I believe is extraordinary marksmanship.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 1:50 pm

  93. Zulu? One of the best movies ever made. And the actual historical event deserves a place in history alongside Thermopylae and the Alamo.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 3:53 pm

  94. I agree, especially as they won.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 3:58 pm

  95. “Zulu”, an interesting book-end to “Zulu Dawn”, where the Brits lost.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (2e91a1) — 7/9/2010 @ 4:44 pm

  96. Isandlwana and Little Bighorn, the other side of the page of leadership and will?

    Or just the fortunes of war?

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 4:51 pm

  97. Well, if the movie was accurate, a lot of it was a failure of planning and training, and the failure to allow soldiers to soldier, until it was too late. Sort of like the same thing encountered One-Hundred Years earlier in North America: Let sharpshooters kill the officers and non-coms, and the troops were at a loss, since they had never been allowed to display, let alone act on, initiative.
    At Isandlwana (according to the narrative in the movie) the troops had initiative that was thwarted by the rigidity of the non-coms.

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (2e91a1) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:05 pm

  98. I’m not a big fan of Larry McMurty, but in “Dead Man’s Walk” he wrote a great line: “I am a soldier. Most of my orders are stupid. Some have almost gotten me killed.”

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:20 pm

  99. *McMurtry*

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:22 pm

  100. I agree, especially as they won.

    Comment by Machinist — 7/9/2010 @ 3:58 pm

    Mars does not grant prayers for victory. Only for courage. ;)

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:25 pm

  101. Isandlwana was an example of a cluster f**k. The officer in charge misjudged the enemy’s strength and capabilities, split his forces, did not send out proper scouting and recon, and deployed his men badly and in a bad location. They easily had the men to hold off the Zulu army but they were spread too thin on too large a perimeter, positioned too close to blind terrain that let the Zulus get too close before being engaged, the men were caught at breakfast so they did not have their full ration of ammo, and not enough effort was made to resupply them. Even so, they held the Zulus back until their fire started to fall off from lack of ammo. As the Zulus got closer the Natal natives that were poorly armed broke opening a large gap in the lines. The Zulus rushed in and took the rest from flank and rear. These were mostly better soldiers than those at Rorke’s Drift but the leadership utterly failed them. In a more compact formation they could have resupplied easier and possibly covered the gap.

    There was also some trouble deploying the ammo. It was packed in strong metal reinforced wooden cases that were screwed together. They did not have enough screw drivers to open many cases quickly and the quartermaster may have been overzealous in not opening them ahead and in not issuing ammo to men from other units as they came running in looking for ammo for their units. They where held tightly accountable for ammo but this just helped more fall into Zulu hands.

    The movie Zulu took many liberties but was a great movie. The one that bothers me is the portrayal of Commissary Dalton as a foppish nebbish. He was the officer that had real experience and was largely responsible for organizing the defense and fighting off the early attacks. He was the one who convinced the others that trying to run with the wounded would get them caught in the open and killed. Bromhead and Chard got the glory but Dalton deserved a healthy share of the credit for their survival.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:33 pm

  102. There was indeed great courage at Rorke’s Drift.

    Eleven VCs.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:38 pm

  103. That was Chaka’s strategy in Isandlwana, right? Full strength frontal attack (with, necessarily, sacrifice) and flank attacks on both sides?

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:39 pm

  104. Cetshwayo was his descendant. This is probably correct.

    The Zulus had been a minor tribe among other Bantu tribes. The weapon was a small headed spear for hunting and warfare was largely show and bluff with real battle very limited, with individuals stepping up to take challenges and numbers leading to agreement on the broader outcome. Shaka changed all that, introducing a larger spear head and developing battle methods and tactics that were geared toward fighting and winning. No more Mr. Nice Guy. The Zulus took over the surrounding area and by Cetshwayo’s time had a huge army and complete rule. Shaka himself was a real psycho but his heirs were much more effective leaders and forged an empire that lasted hundreds of years, although they lost much of their power after losing to the British.

    The young men were formed into military units and could not have women until they had seen combat, the “Washing of the Spears”. This meant to keep them from boiling over the Chief had to constantly find an excuse to attack a neighbor or a distant village just to get the newly matured units blooded. It kept them a very warlike people. The Zulus that attacked Rorke’s Drift were the best, experienced troops in their 30′s and 40′s.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 5:57 pm

  105. The Zulus formed in four segments, the front attacked and held the enemy, the sides spread around and encircled them, and the rear was a reserve to attack any opening that was forced or to reinforce as needed. Very effective against contact weapons and very different than what the Bantus used before.

    Comment by Machinist (497786) — 7/9/2010 @ 6:01 pm

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