Throwback Thursday: Dolf Goldsmith Reminisces About Destructive Devices

Dolf Goldsmith is a legend; a truly passionate machine gunner who has been a pillar of the NFA shooting community since the 1950s. He has some great stories to tell, and today we are going to hear several of them. This interview was recorded in December 2011.

Further references:

Bazooka attack on the UN

20mm Lahti bank robbery

Finnish 82mm mortars

Dolf’s books on Amazon


  1. “Why a 303 subcaliber device ?” Because the British bought a bunch of Bofors 37mm’s to supplement their 2 Pounders (40mm). Apparently they were successful (as you’d expect from Bofors) and lasted surprisingly long for a stop gap weapon

    “A number of Swedish m/34 ordered by Anglo-Egyptian Sudan were adopted as Ordnance QF 37 mm Mk I.”

    “The gun was used to equip the British forces in North Africa, where it made up for the lack of the QF 2-pounder anti-tank guns after the Fall of France. It was often carried portee on the back of a vehicle.”

    Portee Mount

  2. The Lahti 20mm used in the 1965 Syracuse bank robbery ( is the inspiration for the Oerlikon 20mm in the 1971 film

    “Singer’s gang fired up to 33 armor-piercing rounds in a circular pattern through the vault wall, creating an approximately 18” x 24” passageway. A tight fit, but large enough for a small gang member to crawl through. Evidence collected by police showed that the burglars brought along nitroglycerin, gas masks, welding equipment, and other heavy duty tools to force their way into the vault. The penetrating power of the Lahti did the trick and the spent 20 mm shell casings were left on the floor.”

  3. As a child I remember hearing on the News and on TV about the Bazooka attack on the U.N. It was carried out from a small Island in the East River opposite the U.N. off of Queens, not Brooklyn in NYC. And the Round ( missile/projectile round ) in fact did not reach the U.N. Building but fell into the river short of the target. The Bazooka was left at the scene on a stand of some kind. I don’t recall if anyone was ever arrested for the crime.

  4. Thank you Ian for all that you do… History like this is very important in my mind to help let people know just how easy to get and common things like this were not that long ago. I don’t think anyone today thinks of 1950’s and 60’s America as the wild wild west, but many people like to portray that giving people the freedom to own such items would take us back to gunfights in the streets every day.

  5. Thank god, for perhaps the last time I didn’t have to make the machine gun noises in the intro with my mouth

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