Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


I Need One Of These Mounted On My Pickup Truck...

OK, kiddies! Today's fun piece of shootable hardware is a re-purposed Browning M1919 .30 caliber machine gun!

It's also a bit of a history lesson. It's inventor was a USMC Medal of Honor recipient!

The story goes something like this:

Tony Stein was a corporal with the 28th Marines on Iwo Jima. Sometime during his island-hopping campaigning, he "liberated" a .30 cal M1919 AN/M2 from a downed Dauntless dive bomber.

A former toolmaker, Stein figured out how to attach the buttstock & rear sights from an M1 Garand, and the bipod from a M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, and created a man-portable buzz-saw dubbed "The Stinger".

Unlike the infantry version of the M1919, the Army/Navy version used in the Stinger was meant for aircraft. It weighed less, and had a much higher rate of fire. So, instead of the usual 400-600 rounds per minute, the M1919 AN/M2 tore through ammo belts at over 1200 RPM!

Here's Tony Stein's Medal of Honor citation:

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Born: 30 September 1921, Dayton, Ohio.
Accredited to: Ohio.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945.

The first man of his unit to be on station after hitting the beach in the initial assault, Cpl. Stein, armed with a personally improvised aircraft-type weapon, provided rapid covering fire as the remainder of his platoon attempted to move into position. When his comrades were stalled by a concentrated machinegun and mortar barrage, he gallantly stood upright and exposed himself to the enemy's view, thereby drawing the hostile fire to his own person and enabling him to observe the location of the furiously blazing hostile guns.

Determined to neutralize the strategically placed weapons, he boldly charged the enemy pillboxes 1 by 1 and succeeded in killing 20 of the enemy during the furious single-handed assault.

Cool and courageous under the merciless hail of exploding shells and bullets which fell on all sides, he continued to deliver the fire of his skillfully improvised weapon at a tremendous rate of speed which rapidly exhausted his ammunition. Undaunted, he removed his helmet and shoes to expedite his movements and ran back to the beach for additional ammunition, making a total of 8 trips under intense fire and carrying or assisting a wounded man back each time.

Despite the unrelenting savagery and confusion of battle, he rendered prompt assistance to his platoon whenever the unit was in position, directing the fire of a half-track against a stubborn pillbox until he had effected the ultimate destruction of the Japanese fortification. Later in the day, although his weapon was twice shot from his hands, he personally covered the withdrawal of his platoon to the company position.

Stouthearted and indomitable, Cpl. Stein, by his aggressive initiative sound judgment, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of terrific odds, contributed materially to the fulfillment of his mission, and his outstanding valor throughout the bitter hours of conflict sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

And, of course, the Stinger itself:

(Click pic for embiggification!)