Thursday, May 31, 2018

Theme Guns VI

A Colt Python dedicated to Las Vegas

The Hello Kitty themed guns keeping popping up

More Comic Book fun, two each: Captain America, The Joker and DeadPool

 Some more dedicated to Sports Teams

The Tiffany Theme is still going strong:

A couple of variations of the theme

An AR lower dedicated to the video game and movie Resident Evil

A couple more Bomber themed ARs

This Sig appears to be dedicated to the old west??

Another Versace inspired gun from Mexico...

A couple of rifles inspired by Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat guitar

Special Thanks to : Cerakote Coatings

The pictures above were found freely on the world wide web and are used for entertainment and educational purposes under the guidelines of Fair Use, per Title 17 of the U.S. Code. Where possible the source has been credited. If you own the copyright to any of these images and wish them to be credited or removed, please contact me immediately.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Time to Remember

I was fortunate enough to visit another one of our National Cemeteries while in Europe. My good friend's grandfather is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial at Margraten. So one of our planned stops while in the old countries was to visit his grave.

There is a story for every soldier who died in battle. Many have been chronicled in books or movies. 
It should be noted (on today of all days) that the United States has lost 651,031 heroes since 1775. That would be enough stories to fill many libraries......

Today we honor and remember another one of those heroes. Army Private First Class Joseph Harlan Meyer, who served in Company A, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Division of the United States Army.

On January 21st, 1944 Joseph Meyer traveled north to Portland, Oregon to enlist in the Army, he was 25 years old, he was married and had two children. The Army assigned him serial number 39344087

After basic training Meyer was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division and sent to Northern Ireland for training, in preparation for the D-Day invasion. 
The 8th Division is known as the "Pathfinder" or "Golden Arrow" Division. The Division's insignia is below

As a side note the Company, Battalion and Regiment that Meyer was assigned (Company A, First Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment) dates back to the Civil War, being organized on October 8th, 1861.

Meyer's division had already been in the town of Enniskillen, Northern Ireland for months before PFC Meyer arrived sometime in the spring of 1944.

The Eighth Division was not chosen to be part of Operation Overlord (D-Day Invasion) and was instead mobilized to follow up. They departed Northern Ireland on June 29, 1944, (D-Day + 23).

On July 4th, 1944 the 8th Infantry Division made land at Utah Beach Normandy, France. Nearly a month had passed since the bloody battle that turned the tides red.

On July 13th the 13th Regiment saw it's first combat when at 0800 hours the First and Third Battalions attacked the enemy line near La Haye Du Puits, France. By the middle of the afternoon of July 14th the Regiment met it's objective and was the first Allied force to reach the Ay river. 

During it's time in the European Theater the 13th Infantry worked with many armored divisions. One of those operations occurred on July 30th 1944 when the First and Third Battalions removed Axis resistance near the town of Cerenees and took 400 German prisoners.

On August 1st while guarding dams along the river near the town of Ducey the 13th Infantry was attacked by some 25 enemy aircraft, fortunately there were no casualties.

On the morning of August 4th the city of Rennes was liberated by the 13th Infantry. This was the first large inland city in France to be liberated. The streets filled with thankful citizens showering the American GIs with praise, flowers and kisses.

On August 19th the 13th Infantry was ordered to assist with taking the town of Brest, which it accomplished but not before losing 839 men, 209 of which perished in combat.

Following the battle of Brest the 13th Infantry was moved by truck and rail to the junction of the borders of Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. They took up positions on the Siegfried line in the Hurtgen Forest.

From September 19th to December 16th, the battle of the Hurtgen Forest raged on. This battle is considered to be the fiercest battle fought during the European Campaign, it was the longest battle on German ground and the single longest battle in the history of the U.S. Army. 
The Germans fiercely defended the area as it was their staging ground for their offensive which became known as the Battle of the Bulge.

A farmhouse on the main route through Hürtgen served as shelter for HQ Company, 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, XIX Corps, 9th US Army, as indicated on the bumper of the jeep. They nicknamed it the "Hürtgen Hotel".

During the battle the First Battalion (Meyer's Battalion) was subjected to the most intense artillery fire experienced by the members of the 13th Infantry in Europe. Nearly every round was a "tree burst", against which there is little protection. The First Battalion suffered great loses with 48 dead, 237 wounded and 19 men Missing in Action.

Throughout December 1944 the 13th assisted other divisions in operations near the town of Brandenburg.

On December 23rd the First Battalion, Companies A & C assisted in capturing and clearing the town of Oberhambach Germany.
Their operations near Brandenburg and Bergstein ended on February 7th when they were relieved and moved to the area of Gurzenick and Rolsdorf. The new mission involved planning an attack to cross the Roer River and secure the town of Duren.
Before an attacked could be made the Germans damaged a dam upstream, causing the Roer River to rise 8-10 feet.

On February 23rd, the attack commenced and on the afternoon of the 25th, the mission was accomplished and the 13th Infantry was then relieved.

On February 26th the 13th Infantry was attached to the Third Armored Division and headed towards the town of Cologne.

The move from the Roer River to the Rhine River was a fast moving operation. The men of the 13th Infantry rode on the tanks and stormed the towns and villages along the way to capture or kill enemy combatants. These towns included Buir (Feb.27th), Manheim (March 1st), Sindorf (March 2nd), Ziverich (March 2nd), Bergheim (March 3rd), Busdorf (March 5th), Pulheim (March 5th), Orendorf (March 6th) and the northern part of Cologne also on March 6th.

The aggressiveness with which the 13th fought during this campaign was praised by all the commanding officers in the Third Armor Division, the result of which was an Official commendation.


After Cologne had been captured, the 13th Infantry had a few days of rest and training.
During which the picture below was taken. Could Joseph Meyer be one of those in the photo?

On March 28th, 1945 the 13th was moved to the town of Biersdorf Germany to secure any bridges not destroyed and capture any enemy soldiers. 
Once arrived they were given orders to secure what became known as the Ruhr Pocket. 
On March 30th the First Battalion captured the towns of Herdorf, Altenseebach, Neunkirchen and Eisern. During the skirmishes 400 German soldiers were taken prisoner and 200 were injured or killed.
By the end of the month the 13th Infantry occupied the high ground south of the Seig and Weis Rivers.

The next town to be taken was Seigen and the First and Third Battalions were once again called upon to attack. On April 2nd the First Battalion crossed the river and took the high ground including the German Military Barracks.

The line was spread thin and some Germans got through, eventually retaking the Barracks. The Third Battalion then recaptured the Barracks along with 185 German POWs.

A couple of days later an order was received for the 13th Regiment to move as swiftly as possible to the Ruhr River, some 70 miles to the north.

On April 7th, 1945 the 13th headed north with the tanks of the 740th Tank Battalion. Their mission was to destroy enemy forces, secure roads, bridges and communications centers along the way. The mission was one of "Shock and Awe", the description below comes from the official journal of the 13th Infantry

"The operation of the Eighth Infantry Division and the 13th Infantry Regiment in the Ruhr Pocket is best remembered as one of unrelenting speed and aggressive action. It was an  all-out effort to destroy the enemy forces, to keep him off balance and unable to prepare a  fixed defensive position. Consequently, the attack was pushed all day and all night, every day and every night.  During the hours of darkness tanks were driven by the light from burning buildings. It was an attack during which at times flanks were exposed as much as 12 to 15 miles. Infiltration was frequent."

It was during this push to the Ruhr River that PFC Joseph Meyer was killed in battle.

He was originally reported missing in action to his family on April 25th. Later he was reported killed in action with the date of death as April 8th, 1945.

He was one of 2,532 men of the 8th Division to die in combat. His Regiment, the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Division was one of the best in the entire U.S. Army. 

Never had the 13th failed to take an objective, never had they relinquished their position to the enemy. They took over 100,000 German POWs. 
Also to their credit they had not had a single Company, Battalion or Regimental Commander relieved of command.
This came at a high cost, the Regiment had a casualty rate in excess of 100%. 
They received the Presidential Unit Citation for the Hurtgen Forest, The French Croix de Guerre with Palm for Normandy and the Luxembourg Croix de Guerre for Luxembourg

Meyer fought for 269 days and missed seeing the end of the War in Europe by exactly one month and the end of the 13th Infantry's combat engagement by just 19 days. 

Below is the list, by company of the men lost in the 13th Regiment, PFC Meyer is listed 7th from the bottom on the first column.

His body was taken to a cemetery near the town of Margraten in what is now the Netherlands.

The site of the cemetery is near of one of the oldest roads in Europe, built by the Romans and used by Julius Caesar during his campaign in the area, it later was used by Charlemagne, Charles V and Napoleon.
It was also used by the Nazis to both take the "Low Countries" and also to retreat from them under the advance of the U.S. Army.

He lays beneath beautiful trees and grass. There are 8,300 other heroes with him there on that hill over looking a free and peaceful Europe.

President George W. Bush gave a speech here on Memorial Day in 2005:
"On this peaceful May morning we commemorate a great victory for liberty, and the thousands of white marble crosses and Stars of David underscore the terrible price we pay for that victory. For the Americans who rest here, Dutch soil provides a fitting home. It was from a Dutch port that many of our pilgrim fathers first sailed for America. It was a Dutch port that gave the American flag its first gun salute. It was the Dutch who became one of the first foreign nations to recognize the independence of the new United States of America. And when American soldiers returned to this continent to fight for freedom, they were led by a President (Roosevelt) who owed his family name to this great land."

The wall behind the statue lists the towns that were liberated or captured by the 13th Infantry, the last one on the list: Ruhr was where the 13th Infantry was headed when PFC Joseph Meyer was killed in action. For his sacrifice he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

While we do not know the exact circumstances of his death, Joseph Meyer's role in defeating the Nazi's and winning the war is undeniable. 

Heroes by their nature are humble, they never admit to being heroes, that label is placed on them by us, the thankful who sleep peacefully in their beds, because rough men like Joseph Meyer are willing to fight on our behalf.

I think one of the best explanation comes from Major Dick Winters of the 101st Airborne when he was asked by his grandson if he was a hero in the war, he replied: "no I'm not a hero, but I have served in a company full of them.”

If you are interested in visiting the American Cemetery at Margraten, you can find more info here


Fields of Honor

Combat Reels

US Army History

Father's War


United States Army, "Eighth Infantry Division, a combat history by regiments and special units [U.S. Army. 13th Infantry Regiment]" (1946). World War Regimental Histories. Book 121

U.S. Army "Eighth Infantry Division a combat history"

Army History

Friday, May 25, 2018

Interesting Gun Mods II

If you missed our first installment you can find it here

Are you looking for a use for your Mosin bayonet? How about a handle that allows you to turn it into a sword? Brass Stacker has them.

Speaking of bayonets, if you would like to mount an M7 or M9 bayonet on your shotgun, there is now another option. NC star is selling these shotgun bayonet mounts for Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 shotguns (Mossberg unit shown). Get more information at their website here

It is handy being able to glance at your gun and see how many rounds you have left,

Of course to pull this off you need some transparent magazines, ETS has them at very reasonable prices

You could also pick up one of these transparent frames from Lone Wolf, they displayed them at the Shot Show last year, but I couldn't find them on their website

I also stumbled across these see-thru grips for a Ruger Vaquero on ebay....not sure what I think about this....kinda weird, like the Taurus View revolver....

Tennessee Arms created a clear polymer lower, but unfortunately they are not listed on their website any longer
 photos courtesy of guns

Now that the AR has reached ubiquitous status, the anodized color choices have become infinite

Anyone who has fired a modern paint ball marker (they don't 
like to call them guns) knows the advantage of this style of trigger. This was made by ELF Tactical, but I do not see them on their website, maybe this was just an experimental unit?

Some cool AR grip options:

This one is from Tyrant Designs 

This one is from Venom Defense

If you have a 9mm AR lower that accepts Glock magazines you may be interested in these grips from Tri-Tech Tactical, they have two sizes for what appears model 19 (15 round) and model 26 (10 round) magazines

photo courtesy of gunsholstersandgear

If you are running a Glock mag equipped AR, you may want to couple your high cap mags together with this mag coupler from Lone Wolf Distributors:

Here is an interesting stock set for a Remington 870 shotgun.....inlaid mother of pearl, see it on ebay

Wicked grips offers some 3D recoil spring plugs for your 1911 pistol, see them here

An interesting story, someone is selling a kit for you to build a Glock frame from pieces of steel, see the story here

I'm not sure how practical this one handed thumbhole stock is, but it definitely is interesting

When it comes to flash hiders/muzzle devices for your AR the choices are nearly is one from Specialized Tactical Systems that is interesting...

How about a fore grip with a built in set of Brass Knuckles?  A back up plan, similar to the bayonet. Survival Grips is making these available to States where legal.

Here is something for you left handed SKS owners, a left handed bolt handle modification

This was a new one on me, using high voltage electricity to burn "lightning marks" into a wood stock. see it done here

How about a retractable bayonet for your sporting rifle?? This is the stinger from American Defense Innovations. It is just the prototype for the SHOT show. Sometimes I wonder if the popularity of bayonets is driven solely by the left's desire to ban them....

photo courtesy of Guns America