Showing posts from January, 2011

Pistols: Howdah Pistols

Source: Firearmhistory blog During the age of British colonial rule of India, English sportsmen would often hunt in the same manner of Indian kings before them (i.e.) riding on top of an elephant. The large saddle mounted to the back of an elephant is called a Howdah, and this is where the sportsman would sit in. Often though, when hunting dangerous game like lions, tigers or leopards, there was a chance that the animal could charge the elephant and climb up to the howdah and attack the hunter. In this situation, a rifle could not be effectively used. Therefore, there was a need for a shorter length, large caliber, multi-firing weapon designed to work at close ranges for defensive purposes. To fill this need, the Howdah Pistol was developed. In this post, we will study this unique weapon.
The first Howdah pistols were simply rifles with the barrels sawn down to a shorter length. The shorter length made the weapon easier to point and manipulate at close ranges and confined sp…

Bira Gun

Source: Firearm History Blog
 One of the variants of the Gardner Gun is an interesting weapon called the Bira gun. This was invented by a Nepalese General, Gehendra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and named after the reigning Nepalese monarch of the time, King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah. It has the distinction of being the last mechanically cranked machine gun ever manufactured.
The history of the Bira has to do with the political situation between Nepal and British India at that time. Under a Nepalese-British agreement, the Nepalese government allowed the British to trade with Nepal and Tibet and allow recruitment of Gurkhas in the British Indian army. In turn, the British agreed to sell firearms and ammunition and a wide variety of armaments to the Nepalese. However, despite Nepalese requests to purchase machine guns, the British declined to do so, because they feared that the Nepalese would clone these (which they already did with some other British origin firearms) and then the…

Combined Firearms: Daggers & Combined Firearms: Axes

The thanks the Firearmshistory blog for posting a wonderful piece.. an amazing confluence of technology and history that is noticeable in the piece is worth a praise.

Combined Firearms: Axes
In the early days of firearms history, there was no automatic reloading mechanism for firearms, so once the firearm was discharged, the time taken to reload a firearm was pretty high. During this time, the user of the firearm was at great risk of a counter-attack unless he had some other weapon to defend himself. With this view, there were several weapons developed that would combine a firearm with some other weapon. Unlike a rifle with a bayonet attached, these weapons were primarily designed as axes, swords, daggers etc., but had a pistol attached.

The first class of weapons that we will study are the pistol-battle axes. These first appeared in Europe in the late 1400s and still continued to be used into the 1800s in some parts of the world.
Public Domain Image taken f…

Bowman: Guns, freedom and more guns

An Interesting take by this one From the COLLEGIAN. He actually says GUNS ARE OBSOLETE and we DONT need them.Source: collegianby Chadwick Bowman The Rocky Mountain Collegian   

I can confidently say that as young man living in America, I have never been in a situation where I look back and say “wow, good thing I had my gun.”  There is this antediluvian notion in this country that claims guns are a necessity for everyday life. The Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights were adopted in 1751; it is now 2011. The issue is this: The Bill of Rights and the Constitution were written in an era that we are so far removed from, it is ridiculous that we still abide by the same social norms that were accepted in the mid-18th century. If folk from 1751 were present today, they would try to coax me into the idea that I had to marry in my teens to a girl detached from love, solely for economic and status advancement. And that I should find a plot of land and grow my own wealth, and instea…

250 years on, Battle of Panipat revisited

Source: rediff Colonel (Dr) Anil Athale (retd) recalls how the Battle of Panipat, 250 years ago, changed the history of the Indian subcontinent for the next century and half.
The doyen in the field of military history, Dr Srinandan Prasad underscored the importance of this field. According to him, wars are an acid test of the economic, social, technological and moral strength of a nation. On the other hand the result of wars affects all fields of human endeavour. History of nations can well be understood as history of its wars. On this score other than the exception of Shivaji and Ranjit Singh, Indian history is a succession of military defeats.
The events of January 1761 were momentous and had its impact for the next century and a half. The freedom that India [ Images ]ns lost was only regained in 1947. It is an event that needs to be studied and remembered even after 250 years since modern India again faces a similar Af-Pak threat.
The invasion of Nadir Shah of Iran i…

Guns Used by Indian Revolutionaries: Chandrasekhar AZAD, Bhaga Jatin, Dhingra

Chandrasekhar Azad
In 1931 azad was living in Jhunsi area of Allahabad. One of his close friend Tiwari shook hands with the Britishers on the cost of heavy wealth. On 27 Feb 1931 Azad was planning some activities with Sukhdev. Tiwari saw him there and reported their presence to police. Within few minutes policemen surrounded the whole park. On the initial encounter, Azad suffered a bullet on his thighs thus making it impossible to escape. But he somehow made the chance of Sukhdev to survive by covering him. After sukhdev escaped he kept the police on hold for a long time. At last only one bullet was left. Being surrounded, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself, keeping his pledge to not be captured alive. It is said that the Indian soldiers who saw him die did not approach his dead body for 20 minutes. He had always induced the guilt of Indian soldiers and policemen working for the British government, wherever he went, claiming that 'they were not of the true Indian blood&#…

Prohibited weapons being ‘doctored’

Vijay Mohan & G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

An arms dealer shows a revolver where the wooden handgrip has obscured some of the markings on the weapon. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 3
There are increasing attempts at prohibited bore (PB) firearms being “doctored” to pass them off as non-prohibited bore (NP) weapons to sell them at a significantly higher price. If some arms dealers in the city are to be believed, they are getting weapons in which certain parts and components containing the weapons specifications and markings have been changed with locally fabricated parts carrying different information. Though the bore of the weapon remains unchanged, sellers try to pass it off as a different weapon. “Around 20 per cent of the weapons that come in for resale are suspicious. Either there is something amiss about the way the metallic parts fit or the wooden stock or handle is not proper,” a local gun dealer said. “The number of such weapons comi…

Netaji's aide Trilok Singh Chawla waits to hand over 'legacy' to India

Source: Deccan herald
New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS):
Eighty-nine-year-old Trilok Singh Chawla, a close aide of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, has a wish before he breathes his last - to return to India two pistols belonging to the freedom fighter - and has sent his son from Thailand to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The octogenarian, who worships the two pistols every day, said Netaji had handed them to him before the freedom fighter left Bangkok for the last time saying: "See you in the Red Fort soon."

The Colt .32 and FN .635 are still lying with Chawla, who was Netaji's secretary in Thailand, and he is keen to see that the legacy is back with the country he fought for. Netaji left them with Chawla a week before he was announced dead in a plane crash in August 1945.

Chawla's son has been camping in Delhi for the past two weeks to meet the prime minister and apprise him of the two pistols. Jan 23 is Netaji's 113th birth anniversary.
"He wanted me to r…