Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Century...

As a way of marking my 100th article for this blog, I decided to note a few of the changes and continuations I have witnessed in this 21st century...Being resistant to change as usual, I have finally become accustomed to referencing the correct numbering when marking the date on checks and other documents...Being a relative newcomer to the computing world, I prepared for the Y2K event as best as possible, and was relieved to find it a non-event after all...

Booting from office a President who concentrated more on prurient rather than presidential interests, was an inspiring way to begin another hundred, but unfortunately the even worse spectre of his avaricious wife as President haunted the political world for some time...Fortunately for America and the world, that evil genie may be back in the bottle for good...Many (but not this writer) may have forgotten her attempt to commandeer a seventh of the US economy by her mysterious "plan" to which she would not allow details to be released...

One thing positive may be said for the above mentioned pair; they were two of the best gun salespersons in history, and were partly the reason I left a 35 year career in auto repair for the firearms industry, first as a part-time business, then full time co-owning our county's largest gun store and first indoor shooting range...The fear they put in the minds of the public, some of whom had never even considered owning guns, drove firearms sales to record heights...

Their successor ushered in a new and brighter era to the gun industry by indicating he would not sign an extension of the onerous, and curiously mis-named, federal "assault weapon" ban allowing it to die in unpitied agony thanks to the almost unknown sunset provision written into the law by Congress...This spurred new sales as ten round magazines were reduced to paperweights and doorstops, while standard capacity magazines and accessories such as folding stocks and flash hiders boomed...Naturally, those who had invested heavily in "pre-ban" guns and magazines were crestfallen to watch the value of such items plummet...

On a less cheerful note, I allowed my trusting and generous nature to be taken advantage of by a corrupt and malewvolent spirit who, while my attention was centered on my new business, steered me through a marriage and subsequent divorce, thereby reducing the chances of fulfilling many retirement plans...During this time I was lulled by false promises into giving up two vehicles and a comfortable home, to be replaced by mountainous debt and a lasting regret...

But all ended on a positive note, as a lesson was learned, although a costly one...Recently I donated some clothing to one of my favorite charities, and told the nice lady writing the receipt that the coat I was donating had a curse on it...She stopped writing and looked up, but I explained to her the coat was one I had worn at my wedding, however the curse had been lifted in divorce court...

Other lessons were learned admittedly late concerning business, and whom to trust as well as whom to avoid...It is doubtful whether I will break retirement to begin any new commercial ventures, but if so, I can only pray that memory won't let me down...

I have learned that lamenting past mistakes is non-productive, and the only sensible direction in life is forward...It is hoped that the lessons learned so far in this century will be of benefit in whatever time I am allotted towards the next...


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hatcher's Notebook...

I just finished my umpteenth re-reading of this timeless classic and as usual there were new bits of info I've either forgotten or overlooked...Even the first edition, published in 1947, contained research and tables that are timely to any shooter or gun enthusiast at any level...My copy is the second printing of the third edition, which includes all his thoughts and revisions made before his death in 1963...

Julian S. Hatcher was a pioneer in the establishment of ballistic data gathering methods and forensic firearms research long before forensics came to be a commonly used word...Never a seeker after personal glory, his aim was always the furtherment of his profession, whether in a military sense, or in the civilian applications to which his research took him...

Following his honors commencement from the US Naval Academy (yes, Annapolis), he completed a voluntary move from the Navy to the US Army for assignment to a coastal artillery regiment...His 37 year active-duty military career, culminating in retirement as a Major General, was marked with great success, beginning notably with his establishment of the Army's first machine gun school where countless lives have been saved simply by learning the proper purpose and techniques in the deployment of automatic weapons...

His book (and his many other publications) are invaluable whether the reader is furthering scientific knowledge concerning exterior ballistics; beginning or continuing  an interest in handloading and ammunition production; or the history of military arms and their safe use (or, in some cases, unsafe and disastrous misuse)...My most recent reference to this masterpiece was in refreshing my knowledge of accidents involving firearm and ammunition failure due to excessive pressure...It's worth noting that Hatcher was not only a career soldier, author and investigator, but also a trained engineer...His skills in the latter field are obvious in all his writings...

Also worth noting is the atmosphere Hatcher created for his readers in that those wishing to learn in a scientific manner may do so without finding the political misdirection found in other articles which concern gun safety...His discussions illustrate many events from pre- and post-production of military rifles to munitions storage magazine explosions, with emphasis on their causation, effect and prevention...The photographs and diagrams included in his book are all from his own files, and might have been lost to history otherwise...

He not only knew many of the legendary names of the shooting world, but shared information with each of them...I would love to have been a fly on the wall during his meetings with Townsend Whelen, Melvin Johnson or John Garand (whose surname incidentally is consistently mispronounced even by knowledgeable people)...The expertise and experience passed back and forth during those meetings would be a priceless education for the fortunate observer...

General Hatcher was a meticulous researcher who wanted his findings to represent the absolute truth no matter how trivial the topic...I think I always find something new because every time I pick up my copy, I'm looking for something in particular and then wind up reading about something else that caught my eye...At any rate, I highly recommend it for the bookshelf of anyone who has an interest in shooting, handloading, guns in general or military history...



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Monday, January 16, 2017

A healthy diet...

In the interest of promoting the general health and longevity of my readership here, I thought it might be beneficial to share some of the secrets of how I maintain this physique under the punishing schedule and torturous demands of semi-public life...It is my belief that a healthy diet is the key to successful living, and an explanation of what I permit to be ingested into myself might be of help to others...

I've discussed my doctors in another article, and crediting them with my advancement to my current age, I will share their dietary advice...My doctor who originally diagnosed my diabetes recommended I avoid all obvious sugars, and food which might be prepared with sugar...Since he always followed my advice for maintenance of his vehicles, I adhered to his recommendations also...I switched to sugar-free drinks and foods which led to better glucose numbers at subsequent checkups, although the improvement could not be sustained in later years...I have yet to figure out why sugar-free products carry a higher price tag in the grocery stores when an ingredient is being left out, but I notice now that if I accidentally eat or drink a sugared product, it has a distinctly nasty taste...

Subsequently as I became the patient of new doctors after a move to my current location, I got new advice on healthy eating...My cardiologist said don't eat red meat because it turns into cholesterol, and my endocrinologist advised don't eat white foods such as bread or potatoes because they become sugars...I've never understood color discrimination anyway, but I humored both of them by cooking the red beef and pork until it turns brown, then toasting bread and frying potatoes until golden...I hope they are both satisfied...

Additionally I eat enough bread and potatoes with every meal to absorb any cholesterol that escaped the cooking purification ritual...I've been told also to make sure I get enough greens, and therefore order all my cheeseburgers (nature's perfect food) with pickles and lettuce, insuring a healthy balance...Jalapenos accomplish the same purpose on my pizza...

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, so I start every morning (after my pot of black Folger's coffee) with three large eggs, scrambled with shredded cheddar and a handful of jalapenos in a few drops of canola oil; five thick-sliced pieces of maple-smoked bacon fried crisp; 12 tater tots (baked to a golden brown) and a glass of orange juice...Alternatively, I may substitute a quarter pound of pan fried deer sausage (annual contributions from my nephews' hunting trips) for the bacon...At one time I drank copious amounts of grapefruit juice also until my cardiologist pointed out that it negated the medicines he prescribed; since then I abstained...

Another benefit may be derived from the application of a mild peppersauce on my eggs, burritos and tamales...In my experience, all my Hispanic friends who habitually enjoy spicy food seem to experience fewer stomach troubles...Apparently this preventative medicine works as I have never had a stomach ulcer...

My personal favorite is Trappey's Red Devil, but I generally buy Louisiana Brand instead because of its availability in quart bottles in grocery stores at a considerable savings in price...The only thing similar in restaurants is Tabasco which to my palate has a distinctly unpleasant metallic taste...An exception to that rule is Firehouse Subs which displays a wide variety of hot sauces including my preferences...

As with all medical advice, mine should be taken in moderation if at all...Your mileage may vary...For an inexplicable reason, I've grown hungry now...Time for supper...


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Further word associations...

My friend, Larry LeBlanc, who wrote numerous articles mentioning the gun store I formerly co-owned, reminded me with a recent column that I was remiss in my intentions to write a followup article to my earlier tirade concerning the misuse of words commonly thought of as "gun talk"...

Your attention is turned today to the common Hollywood error of having a character misuse the words "clip" and "bullet" when said character is represented as having the experience and knowledge needed to use the terms correctly as they apply to firearms...Network newsreaders are seen daily committing the same mistake, thereby exposing their ignorance to the viewing public, and diminishing their already tenuous hold on credibility...

For those few uninitiated among the readership, a clip is a small grooved metallic accessory used to store rounds of ammunition until the need arises to load a magazine...A magazine is an ammunition storage device used to feed individual rounds of ammunition into the firing chamber of a firearm...The magazine may be detachable for quick reloads such as in this author's beloved .45's, or it may be permanently fixed to the firearm such as in the case of the Mauser Model C96 or the Soviet designed SKS rifle...

Expanding the definition to military use, General Julian Hatcher, in his classic work, "Hatcher's Notebook," also referred to a magazine as the protective storage facility for rounds of munitions designed for artillery use...In Army usage, a magazine refers to the reinforced bunker used to store artillery rounds until use...Naval magazines store munitions in a similar facility onboard ship...Hatcher's book is a standard reference which will be reviewed by this author at a future time...

A bullet is a component of a round of ammunition, more accurately described as the projectile which is pushed from the muzzle of the firearm after the trigger has been depressed...The bullet, together with the attending primer, propellant (or powder) and sometimes lubricant, when combined into a cartridge case (or shell) becomes a round of ammunition...Therefore it is incorrect to speak of a "clip loaded with bullets" when one wishes to indicate a "magazine loaded with ammunition"...

None of this would be a real problem were it not for the spillover into real life, as unknowing viewers of such Hollywood and TV atrociousness erroneously take it for granted that screenwriters, actors and newsreaders couldn't possibly be stupid enough to allow such gross misusage of words into their professional airings if they were not verified as being proper nomenclature...Too much TV is how I often explained to myself how grown adults could walk into my gun store, and ask for one thing when they meant something entirely different, and then exhibit confusion when I handed them what they asked for...

Additionally, I've become quite civilized since my separation from active service, even though I still understand the reasoning behind the often quoted rant used by drill sergeants everywhere...However, I don't think I'm quite the stickler Gunnery Sergeant Hartman was as he led a barracks drill chanting, "This is my rifle, this is my gun!"...


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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Blitz attack...

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists one definition of "blitz" as "a fast intensive nonmilitary campaign or attack"...The attack on Truckman and his beloved truck recently was certainly fast, intensive and decidedly nonmilitary, although being unplanned, it in no way qualified as a campaign...The incident unfolded as Truckman, having completed his afternoon errands, was on his way home with his supper, and, having entered the freeway service road after dutifully checking for oncoming traffic, was impacted from the rear by a careless and errant driver...

The culprit, obviously hoping to flee the scene in his damaged older Chevrolet truck, sped away with all possible haste, but failed to take into account the mighty and powerful Dodge/Cummins driven by the determined Truckman, and was quickly overtaken...Apparently, seeing the quickly approaching behemoth in his rearview mirror with smoke pouring from the exhaust stacks caused the offender to decide capitulation was his better option, and he exited into a shopping center parking lot...

As was confirmed by Truckman's later research, the offender's behavior indicated that he was no stranger to negligent collision incidents...With a breath smelling strongly of alcohol, the driver immediately exited his vehicle and excitedly began to spew excuses, apologies and even accusations, but to his credit did inquire whether Truckman had incurred any injuries...After being asked for his driver's license and Texas insurance card, he instead deployed his defensive tactic of promising to pay for the damage in cash, then attempting to minimize the seriousness of the accident he had caused...

At this point another vehicle driven by a stunningly gorgeous young lady entered the scene...The driver stated she had witnessed the collision from the beginning, and offered her help as a witness...Momentarily taken aback by her beauty and charm, Truckman thanked her, asking her to stay and returned his attention to the nervous miscreant...By this time his actions indicated he would have done just about anything to be allowed to exit the scene before police were involved...Alternately assuring Truckman of his intention to pay, repeatedly showing his USMC tattoo to garner sympathy for his service as a veteran, and hinting that Truckman was at fault anyway (a laughable accusation itself), he was crestfallen when Truckman took out his cellphone and called the police dispatch number from his speed dial index...

Upon arrival, the police officer quickly assessed the non-injury accident, and obtained driver's licenses and insurance cards from both parties, with Truckman additionally offering his CHL...The other driver was found to have no valid insurance just as Truckman suspected...The officer obtained information and a witness statement from the delightful young lady who was still kindly waiting to offer her help...Her description of the incident offered information of which Truckman was unaware since the attack had come from the rear...

She was thanked and told by the officer she could leave the scene, and Truckman's ID cards were returned to him, being informed he should get in touch with his own insurance company for initiation of a claim...The officer then thanked Truckman for his calm and courteous handling of the incident, and indicated his attention would then be turned to a thorough investigation of the offending driver including his vehicle condition, lack of required insurance and the reason for his reeking breath...

Unfortunately, the enchanting young witness left the scene before Truckman could offer her a sit-down dinner in gratitude for her kindness, but perhaps she'll see this article and respond in the comment section below...Equally unfortunate was the cold temperature of Truckman's supper by the time he got home with it...

NOTE: This article will be updated frequently with progress reports and any additional information...Please feel free to check again using this link...

UPDATE: Photos of the incident are now available for viewing at this link...

UPDATE: Truckman's insurance provider has assured him that the mighty Dodge/Cummins will be repaired to its pre-injury condition...

UPDATE: Truckman's search of jail records showed the offending driver was not arrested...Therefore the assumption might be made that enough alcohol content had been sweated from his system to reduce his B/A index reading to an acceptable legal level...

UPDATE: 1/16/2017...The truck has been placed in the capable hands of Cory Scott at Kustomwerx near Oak Ridge North...Options were discussed, and repairs will proceed...

UPDATE: 1/19/2017...Truckman obtained a copy of the police accident report...The accident was described accurately...The statement from the comely young witness was recorded...The driver who struck Truckman's vehicle wisely admitted the fault was his...The officer noted the presence of alcohol on the suspect's breath...A field sobriety test was conducted, the results of which showed he was not impaired enough to be cited for DWI...The driver was cited for unsafe lane change, no insurance and invalid driver's license...His vehicle was towed and impounded...In Truckman's estimation, any repair estimate exceeding $12.00 would total the offending driver's vehicle...It is suggested for the safety of all that he invest in a bus pass...


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Understanding linkage...

Longtime reader(s) of Truckman's efforts to further the knowledge of humankind while the opportunity still exists have noticed his insertion of clickable links in the many articles he has chosen to publish...It has been noted that clicking these links will not always lead the reader to evidence supporting Truckman's viewpoints and conclusions...In many cases, the links will lead one to essays designed to augment an entirely different opinion...

In an effort to forestall confusion, all students should be aware that Truckman includes these links as incentive to further reading, and not necessarily to shore up his own thoughts, which are said to stand alone as unique...Careful study of the thoughts and ideas from Truckman, for which this blog is titled, will show that his interpretations and conceptions of events may not always be agreed with by other scholars, but they are consistently and always those of Truckman...

Those wishing to read further before agreeing that Truckman's writing carries the weight of validity, are encouraged to use the links provided for comparison...Those willing to just take his word for it may enjoy the benefits of enlightenment sooner than others...

Reporting a broken link may be done through the always functional "Contact Truckman" link in the side column of each page...


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Ostkrieg...

Ostkrieg translates literally from German as "east war" or "war in the east"..."Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East" is an extensive analysis of the war waged between Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht and Soviet Russia's Red Army during WWII...Author Stephen Fritz explains in his book's preface that the story is told more from the German viewpoint than any other, but correlating military efforts with political aims, business interests, prevailing racial distortions and the willingness of the German population to accept the consequences...

Selecting a beginning date for World War II can vary depending on whose ox was being gored...The majority of the German people were content to accept the Nazi regime's view that the First World War never really ended, and saw it as a continuation of hostilities which was interrupted by what they termed as the "November Criminals" before they could gain victory...The French, always willing to surrender to anyone on a "first come, first served" basis, have no actual starting date to mark since they were squabbling among themselves for the privilege of raising the first white flag...

A more memorable date for them would be June 22, 1940 when they surrendered, capitulated, and joined forces with the Axis Powers and became the Wehrmacht's shoeshine brigade...Citizens of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands went to sleep one night in May 1940, and awakened to find themselves occupied by German divisions...Dutch forces put up a valiant defense before they were forced to surrender to superior numbers...The peaceful yet gutsy Luxembourgers have had their ups and downs over the centuries, and are accustomed to passerby armies using their land as a thoroughfare to and from battle...They understand their strategic importance in much the same way as Switzerland...

Belgium's weakling King Leopold III quickly caved in although his military staff urged him to flee and establish a government in exile...The heavily reinforced Fort Eben-Emael was quickly taken from the Belgian Army by a handful of German airborne commandos led by a Sergeant...After a short sightseeing tour of Paris, and making sure the trees were properly pruned to let his Nazi hordes march in the shade, Hitler turned his attention to the main goal he had written of so much in Mein Kampf, the bountiful resources and killing fields of Soviet Russia...

The thoroughness of Mr. Fritz in his research did allow me to glean one new outlook for myself...I had hitherto thought of Hitler's longtime habit of pointing his ambitious underlings in a general direction, but on separate paths, then inviting detailed plans which he either approved or sent back for modification, to be a result of his inherent laziness, or his paranoiac fear of being overshadowed as the creator of original thoughts, of which both theories could gain credibility...But I can understand now after the author's explanation of the diligent study, and final analysis of the feasibility of negotiations with Russia (Ribbentrop's Eurasian bloc conception), the Naval Staff's plan to control the Mediterranean, and the talks with both Franco's Spain and his new collaborators, Vichy France, his decision to boldly attack Soviet Russia represented the most potential gain for the least possible risk of failure...

Operation Barbarossa was the military undoing of Hitler...Up to the point where he turned on his allies at the time, the Soviets, his armies had nothing but success in battle...He thought he was a military genius and couldn't be defeated, but his real secret was that he was a rank amateur who did everything unconventionally and took victories mostly by the element of surprise...Any first-year student of the Napoleonic wars could have told him to attack Russia in the spring, not when he could expect his forces to be mired in the mud at the beginning of October...

At the onset of the march to Moscow, the Russian peasants welcomed the invading Germans as their saviors from the slavery of Stalin...The Wehrmacht generals tried to persuade Hitler to feed the Russian peasants who would have been glad to help the German Army defeat Stalinism...Instead Hitler ordered them to take every scrap of food away from the non-Germans and kill as many as possible...Many of the Wehrmacht officers were not willing to indiscriminately order the deaths of civilians, prompting Hitler to send in the Waffen SS with their Einsatzgruppen to do the job...They went into that job with a willingness that bordered on enthusiasm...


When it was obvious his forces were stalled and should withdraw, he ordered them to fight to the last man, thereby ensuring the destruction of his most valuable and battle-hardened armies...At their next advance, they had to rely on green, inexperienced battalions, guaranteeing another defeat...This was the turning point of the European war as the Wehrmacht was on the defensive from then until its surrender...

I have mixed feelings about the author's style and composition of thoughts when reading this book...His approach to the subject from the differing angles of military, political, economic and ideological standpoints is unique, but generates some confusion in moving from one to another...A clearer separation may have been beneficial, and for me, makes the decision to study this era as seen from the viewpoints of many authors seem a wise choice...

As I moved from one chapter to the next, I began to be grateful that the book's scope was limited to the war on the Eastern Front...Without taking away from the author's factual thoroughness, painstaking and accredited  research, and his generous acknowledgement of the summation of other authors such as Ian Kershaw and William Shirer, I would recommend students begin their studies with this book, rather than a later time...


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