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The Vault

Vintage Saturday: Throw Me a Line!

French officer with a Lebel rifle converted to throw lines

French officer with a Lebel rifle converted to throw lines

Vintage Saturday: Big Boys Toy

Irish troops unpacking a new Boys Anti-Tank Rifle

I’m those helmets wouldn’t ever have become friendly fire magnets…

The Republic of Ireland opted to copy the German WWI Stahlhelm design rather than use British Brodie-style helmets. Until 1940, anyway, and I think it’s pretty clear why they changed. The rifle here, of course, is a MkI Boys Anti-Tank Rifle, which would prove [...]

Vintage Saturday: Father and Son

Father (Grandfather?) and Son in Afghanistan with a Martini and an SMLE

Father (grandfather?) and son in Afghanistan with a Martini and an SMLE. Photo from Modern Wars Old Guns

One day the boy will inherit the SMLE, and probably go on fighting whichever country has decided to occupy Afghanistan by that time. Maybe it will be China? They haven’t taken a turn yet. Having the [...]

Papasan Chair as Antiaircraft Mount

German Maxim in antiaircraft mounting

All he’s missing is a cupholder

German MG08 Maxim in antiaircraft mounting, at some point during WWI. Note the spider sights mounted halfway down the jacket, and the belt reel. Those reels allowed the guns to reliably feed at all manner of odd angles – much better than having a long belt hanging down [...]

Vintage Saturday: The Mustache is Mightier than the Machine Gun

Polish soldier on the line near Gazala, Libya - February 1942

Anyone who has watched Clint Eastwood movies knows what’s coming with a squint like that.

Polish soldier on the line near Gazala, Libya – February 1942. Armed with a Browning M1919A4 and a Boys AT rifle in the truck as well.

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Vintage Saturday: Fusil d’Assaut

Very pleased with his captured rifle!

Very pleased with his captured rifle! Source: Histoire de Couleurs

A Chasseur à pied of the 19e Battalion on the road between Breteuil and Flers, Somme. 10th of April 1918. This Battalion had been on foot after heavy fighting in order to occupy the village of Grivesnes, South of Moreuil in France. The rifle [...]

Vintage Saturday: Cover

German soldier with a PPSh-41 submachine gun

German soldier with a PPSh-41 submachine gun somewhere in Russia. Gotta be careful with those as a German; the drum magazine was a distinctively Russian feature and could lead to friendly fire incidents.

Vintage Saturday: Roller Skates

British Army patrol in Northern Ireland, circa 1971

British Army patrol in Northern Ireland, circa 1971

Vintage Saturday: Trench Armor

German dugout w grabenpanzer armor

This dugout has a particularly high mustache and bayonet density (photo from Drake Goodman)

Interestingly, one of the German troops in the front row is wearing grabenpanzer steel armor. This was reportedly used primarily for machine gun crews and sharpshooters – soldiers whose jobs were particularly heavy on staying in one place and being [...]

Vintge Saturday: Holding Things Down

Usually one uses sandbags or ammo cans for this, but when all else fails…

German soldier using his body weight to stabilize an MG34 on an anti-aircraft tripod.