Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Ghost Busting

No event in American history
is more misunderstood

than the Vietnam War.

It was misreported then,

and it is misremembered now

--Richard M. Nixon

~~Are you a God?


~~Then... DIE!

~~Ray, when someone asks you

if you're a god, you say "YES"!


But give my daddy a job 'cause he needs one

He's got lots of mouths to feed

But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun

So I can scare all the kids down the street

--Father Christmas
, the Kinks

Our post Stone Gardens looked at the quantity of death which war commands.

This post looks at how we render those deaths. Myth-making has always been an important part of how a culture copes with its losses. While the purpose of myths is to bestow some meaning upon the killing, sometimes the mythic stories are just that -- myths.

At various online sites, including historynet.com is a moving memorial by Norman Brookman to comrade Henry Lee Bradshaw found at the Vietnam War Memorial, but something about the entry struck Ranger as amiss. It is an almost cliche (as one commenter notes) wonderful letter of courage, pathos and lost comrades, but it fails upon close analysis.

While the story and letter may be true, the empty cartridge case and the bullet so integral to the telling are not compatible. The cartridge case is clearly a 7.62 x 39 casing, which would have been fired by an AK/AKM/SKS or RPD machine gun; however, the projectile is NOT an AK projectile.

The round appears to have a greater sectional density than the 122/123 grain 7.62 bullet. It more closely seems to resemble a 6.5 Japanese WW II bolt action round. The diameter of the bullet is much smaller than the case mouth, which should nominally measure .311". The bullet in the photo lacks a clear
cannelure (crimp groove).

It is extremely doubtful that this round was launched from this cartridge case. Further, if this was a fire fight, how can one cartridge case be determined to have been the case that killed a particular trooper?

At its worst, hyperbole and glurge is used to prop up meaningless slaughter. Mr. Brookman may have served with Mr. Bradshaw, but he should not have used props so obviously incompatible.

Hero's tales are not sacrosanct. This sort of abuse deserves to be busted.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Blogger Ghost Dansing said...


Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 6:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

There are several 6.5 mm military cartridges. Carcano/Jap/Swedish/Mannlicher.
All possess one common feature- they all have excellent sectional density which assault rifle rounds lack.
As always,

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:05:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Pls note - the Jap 6.5 is not boat tailed. The 7.62 x 39 is boatailed.
Also Arisakas were fairly common in SEA.

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:09:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

One of the commentors on the original post raised two good questions:

1. Why dies the round appear so pristine?

2. How could the writer have secured the cartridge case?

Doesn't pass the sniff test...

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 4:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

the Arisaka bolt action is considered a good sniper rifle... you are right though...

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 6:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

"This sort of abuse deserves to be busted."
Maybe the shooter was naked.
Naked Man Shoots SWAT Robot With AK-47

Friday, April 8, 2011 at 11:13:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


You understand, things are different here in FLA, yes? We're skeptical of high-tech thing-ies.

Friday, April 8, 2011 at 12:11:00 PM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

<< Home