Pith Helmet

Pistol-Grip Pulp
July 12, 2008, 11:03 am
Filed under: Firearms, Gaming, History | Tags: , , ,

The folks at IAR (International Antique Reproductions) Arms posted a review of the Chinese Shansi .45 version of the Mauser C-96 “Broomhandle” that originally appeared in the February 2001 issue of Gun World. File this under: “I want…”


First Rule of Guards Club
The folks at Guards Club share my love of pith-helmeted expeditionary forces, moustachioed White Russians, and purple-clad masked avengers and my fear of the Yellow Peril and the Red Menace. They can be found at http://members.tripod.com/kriegsmann/adventuretoo.html.


The Creek DO Rise
May 25, 2008, 2:36 am
Filed under: History

Today was the annual 1836 Creek Indian War at Westville, Georgia. The Boy and I were in attendance. The text below is from the handout provided by the interpretative staff. The shoddy-looking cell-phone photos provided by me:

Creek War at Westville, Georgia

The Macon Volunteers

Westville represents the town of Lumpkin, Stewart County, Georgia, a thriving town in the 1830s. This weekend, you are in the town of Westville, Georgia in 1836. The scenario for this weekend is based on the following actual events that took place in Stewart County in 1836:

For the most part, the Creeks have been peaceful in Georgia in recent times. But, skirmishes with Alabama Creeks have contied as settlers have pushed westward into Alabama and Mississippi. Hostile bands of Alabama Creeks have recently crossed to the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee River into Stewart County, posing a threat to settlers in the area.

Here comes a regular ... a U.S. Regular, that is.

On May 15, Creek Indians burned the village of Roanoke in Stewart Countyh, located on the Chattahoochee River, only a few miles west of Westville. A small company of about 20 voluteers, under the command of Capt. J. U. Horne, had been sent to Roanoke to help protect the village, after reports of Indian raids on the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee. During the night of the 14th, the volunteers laid down to sleep, thinking no Indians were in the area. Just as dawn was breaking on the 15th, over 200 Creek warriors rushed from their hiding places and commenced firing on the soldiers before they could get to their wepons. It was a complete surprise, and seeing that it was impossible to maintain their position, those who were not shot down made their escape the best way they could. Among those severely wounded was Captain Horne. His life was saved by a man who carried him to a deep ravine, where he stayed until the Indians departed. The entire town was destroyed by fire. About a dozen whites were killed, including four men who were burned to death in the hotel.

Fearing that an attack wil be made on Westville, a company of volunteers, under the command of a Captain Streetman, have been hastily sent to the town. They will remain in Westville for 2-3 weeks. After the burning of Roanoke, the civilian population of this area have been in much fear. One rumor is that there are 3000 Indians wiating to make an attack on the town. In reality, only a few hundred Indians have actually crossed the river from the Alabama side.

"The Georgia militia eating goober peas"

Mounted rangers from Stewart County, under the command of Major Henry W. Jernigan, as well as Capt. Hammond Garmony’s Militia, sent from Gwinnett Co., Georgia, as well as soldiers from nearby Ft. McCreary, are in the area. In the coming weeks, they wil be active in pursuit of the Indians in southwest Georgia and into Alabama. Fierce battles will take place in the area of Stewart County in the coming weeks, including the Battle of Shepherd’s Plantation. Even Gen. Winfield Scott will make an appearance in Stewart Countyh in the near future.

This weekend, it is believed that the Indians, camped only a short distance away, will soon attack Westville with a raiding party, and much anxiety exists in the town.

THE END (Unavoidable flashback to the Beefarino episode of Seinfeld)

Welcome to the Hotel North Korea
April 21, 2008, 2:37 am
Filed under: History

Tip o’ the helmet goes out to the good Baron for bringing me this little piece of architectural history. The Ryugyong Hotel is magnificent metaphor for the empty promises of communism.

The Ryugyong Hotel (Korean: 류경호텔)(or Ryu-Gyong Hotel or Yu-Kyung Hotel) is an unfinished concrete skyscraper… The hotel’s name comes from one of the historic names for Pyongyang: Ryugyong, or “capital of willows.” Its 105 stories rise to a height of 330 m (1,083 ft), and it contains 360,000 m² (3.9 million square feet) of floor space, making it the most prominent feature of the city’s skyline and by far the largest structure in the country. Construction started in 1987 and ceased in 1992 due to financial difficulties. At one time, it would have been the world’s tallest hotel.¹ Esquire Magazine dubbed it “The Worst Building in the History of Mankind” and noted that the government of North Korea has airbrushed the building out of pictures.²

A construction crane is perched at the top, and has assumed the role of a permanent fixture…

The basic structure is complete, but no windows, fixtures, or fittings have been installed, and it has never been certified safe for occupancy. Construction came to a halt in 1992 and has never resumed.

The hotel is structurally unsound. The concrete used to build it was of poor quality, and it is crumbling. Even without this to consider, the state of the North Korean economy is such that it doesn’t have the raw materials, energy or financing for a project of this magnitude…¹

Great Moping Rednecks, Batman!
I bet I’m the only person with a last.fm account that has both The Smiths and Dwight Yoakam listed in their Top Artists (most listened to) This Week.

Tonton: The Smart Choice in Personal Assassination
I wish I had bought some of the African-American Adventure Team G.I. Joes when they hit the shelves last year. I’d have loved to have kitbashed a Tonton Macoute. As a cheap substitute, I present my Tonton Macoute, courtesy of Hero Machine:



Tonton Macoutes @ Latin American Studies

Czech It Out Now
History is full of soldiers who became famous by switching to the other side. The Batallón de San Patricio was a group of Roman Catholics who deserted the U.S. Army to fight for Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Today, we have Los Zetas, a group of Mexican Special Forces-types who turned coat, abandoning the Mexican government’s war on drugs to join the Gulf Cartel to act as enforcers and to provide security for smuggling ops.

Back during WW1, there was the Czech Legion. The Czech Legion Project has a website devoted to this little-known band of brothers from the Great War and the Russian Civil War. While there is little there except several volumes of photos, it is still worth checking out.


  • The Czech Legion Project

  • Tibet Your Life
    April 12, 2008, 12:33 pm
    Filed under: History, Politics | Tags: ,

    Apparently, for some people, the admonition to “Never Forget” only goes back to 1937. The following photo of some “Free Tibet” protestors is courtesy of Br’er Gislebertus:


    I despise oppression. Especially the Communist kind. As part of the Marine Corps detachment dispatched to China after WW2, my father was one of the first Americans to see combat against Mao’s followers, so I, in no way, am sympathetic to the Chicoms. I’d love nothing more than to see the Tibetans do to the People’s Liberation Army what the mujahideen did to the Soviet 40th Army back in the eighties.

    But, Tibet was not Shangri-La. The first-hand accounts cited in Peter Hopkirk’s Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Race for Lhasa show Tibet was a land of oppression and brutal torture long before the current Chinese occupation. It was described as a brutal land where “tortures are carried to the extreme of diabolical ingenuity.”
    Continue reading

    The Bloody White Baron
    March 15, 2008, 2:23 am
    Filed under: History | Tags:

    Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg. Some of you may know him from Peter Hopkirk’s Setting The East Ablaze. Others may know him as the model for Baron Ugenberg in the alternate history game Iron Storm. I first learned of him from Copplestone Castings Back of Beyond wargaming minatures line. But, most people don’t know him at all. Even self-proclaimed history buffs.

    Definitely the most colorful figure of the Russian Civil War, the Mad Baron rampaged across Asia, proclaiming himself to be the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, spreading his strange gospel of Tsarism, Buddhism, anti-Semitism, Mongol nationalism, and anti-Communism by the sword.

    Now, James Palmer has penned a new biography of Our Man in Ulaanbataar entitled The Bloody White Baron.

    From The Times, Giles Whittell gives a favorable review.

    While I haven’t found it on Amazon.com, it is available from amazon.co.uk.

    Daily Cossack
    February 19, 2008, 12:01 pm
    Filed under: History, Movies | Tags: ,

    h/t Mark Copplestone

    There are a couple of Russian trailers/teasers around on Youtube that you might find interesting:

    `Admiral Kolchay` forthcoming epic – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IESTueKuCDk&NR=1

    `Nine Lives of Nestor Makhno` miniseries – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VzkYk_MoC0

    Also worth looking at www.memocast.com where you watch low-res Russian epics (like Chapaev or The Quiet Don) streamed for free or available as higher-res pay downloads (though I haven`t tried that yet).

    There are pics of some interesting (and apparently original) RCW flags on this militaria site – http://www.forvalor.com/DougD/flags.htm – and some interesting uniforms on the Pre-1935 page.

    The Life and Times of Grizzly X
    January 13, 2008, 1:36 pm
    Filed under: History | Tags:

    Yesterday, the boy and I went to living history event they have at the local park every year. There was black powder shooting, archery, blacksmithing, tomahawk/hatchet tossing, Brunswick stew cookery, concession stand hot doggery — heck, all of the arts of frontier were displayed. In fact, at the first sutler we visited, one could even buy a bullwhip, so they could fight the British, just like everyone’s favorite Oxford-educated half-Cherokee. It was great fun as it is every year, but sorely missed was the obligatory giant “ren-faire” turkey leg that one always finds at public events. The period was 1700s to 1840s, as can be seen in the photo of the two frontiersmen in the screen cap from the offical web site below.


    However, given the event that is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 12, “Black Power Rifle Shooting,” one would think the following photo would be more appropriate.



  • Coalition of Historical Trekkers
  • Mingo fanfic
  • Cool “Black Power Rifle Shooting” T-shirts