The Berlin Airlift

On this day in 1948, food and supplies began being delivered by airplane to the city of Berlin by U.S. and British pilots after the city was isolated by a Soviet Union blockade.

Upon the end of WWII in 1945, a defeated Germany was divided into zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, located within the Soviet zone of Occupation, was also spilt with the Allies, America, Britain and France, occupying the west and the Soviets occupying the east. In June 1948, Stalin’s Soviet government attempted to take control of the entire city by cutting off all land and sea routes to West Berlin, thus forcing the Allied forces to evacuate. Beginning June 24, 1948 the western portion of Berlin was deprived of food, heating fuel and other critical supplies affecting 2 million people.

Though some thought a direct military response was warranted, U.S. President Truman worried such action would … Read more »

The Colt All-American 2000

Do you know about the Colt All American 2000?

The Model 2000 was designed by Reed Knight and Eugene Stoner and featured a rather unorthodox rotating bolt and lug design similar to that of the AR-15 rifle. The gun was chambered in 9mm and had a fifteen round magazine. Despite having some really innovative features such as an ambidextrous magazine release, being double action only, a grooved anti-glare top strap that was normally found only on shotguns at the time and not having a pretensioned striker that allows the gun to fire on the same cartridge several times without having to rack the slide, the Model 2000 was ultimately fraught with problems like inaccuracy and unreliability. The Model 2000 was only produced from 1994 to 1996 and only twenty thousand were ever made.  Some say, with its demise, it possibly took away Colt’s chances of getting a foothold again in … Read more »

The Speech that Brought Down the Berlin Wall

On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave one of his most famous speeches and challenged Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was one of the most recognized symbols of WWII and a symbol of the Communist era that repressed those on one side of a divided Germany.

Following the defeat of World War II, the capital of Germany, Berlin, was divided into four sections, with the Americans, British and French in control of the west and the Soviets in control of the east. The three western regions came together in May of 1949 to form the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), while the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was established in October of that same year. In 1952, the border between the two countries was closed and by the following year East Germans were prosecuted if they left their country … Read more »

Son of a Gun

Do you know where the term son of a gun came from?

The phrase “son of a gun” has several possible origins. One of those being that in times past, the British artillery had a train of followers and among them were ladies of “easy virtue” with whom the gunners had “unblessed liaisons”. This being a time before modern birth control, bad luck or carelessness would produce an illegitimate child. Members in other parts of the military, like the Infantry and Cavalry, did not have the pleasure to “enjoy” such things and called the child from one of these encounters a “son of a gun”.

And now you know…… Read more »

The History of Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson was founded by two New Englanders, Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson,in 1852. Their first partnership was based on the invention of the lever-action repeating pistol. Though the brand is world-famous, there are a few facts about the gun proprietors not everyone knows. The pair faced financial difficulties and was forced to sell their company to Oliver Winchester, a shirt manufacturer. Winchester took their design and created his own company, Winchester Repeating Arms Co.

Despite the setback for Smith and Wesson, the pair continued to produce firearms. In 1856 Smith & Wesson produced a small revolver that was the first fully self-contained cartridge in the world, as recounted on the Smith and Wesson website.

Learning from their mistakes of the first partnership, the pair went on to secure patents for the Model One to protect their design and created a lucrative firearms business.
Other Smith & Wesson successes … Read more »