Woodrow Wilson Really, Really Worried About Germans Getting Silencers
The United States’ declaration of war on the German Empire in 1917 mentions by name the U.S.-made Maxim silencer. On April 6, 1917, Pres. Woodrow Wilson issued Presidential Proclamation #1364, declaring war on Germany and putting the United States on a war footing. The proclamation includes sections specifying items that... Read more
Pray and Spray With the ‘Special Case’ Briefcase Gun
Gun-maker Heckler & Koch’s Spezialkoffer — “Special Case” — is a clandestine weapon for personal-protection details. Offering the firepower of an MP5K in a concealed package, the Special Case first appeared in the late 1970s and is still available today. While the MP5K is already a compact weapon and... Read more
On the Far East Station With the Royal Navy’s Big, Sturdy Submachine Gun
The photographs in this story were taken during the 1965-’66 deployment to the Far East station by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Barrosa. Barrosa was part of a task force supporting British operations in Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia Confrontation, an undeclared war along the border between Indonesia and East... Read more
The Gun That Killed James Garfield
Charles Guiteau used a British Bulldog pistol to kill the 20th president of the United States James Garfield on July 2, 1881 at the busy Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in Washington, D.C. Guiteau had stalked Garfield for a considerable time. He reportedly believed that killing Garfield, thus elevating Vice... Read more
In 1987, U.S. Navy F-14s Engaged Phantom Iranian Planes
When it debuted in 1974, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat was supposed to replace the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in U.S. Navy service. This replacement occurred gradually, meaning Tomcats and Phantoms flew alongside each other for another decade. They also flew alongside each other in the Islamic Republic of... Read more
When to Shoot a Nuclear Bomb With Your Gun
This story originally appeared on Jan. 30, 2015. The year is 1960 and a congressional delegation is touring military bases in Western Europe to evaluate custody and safety issues associated with U.S. nuclear weapons. With the delegation is a scientist named Harold Agnew—and he’s not just another congressional staffer.... Read more
In 1905, a Former U.S. Army Officer Added Moving Maps to Cars
Before satellite navigation, people found their way using paper maps. Which, of course, can be cumbersome — and ill-suited to the confines of any vehicle, let alone an early open-top automobile. In 1905, Henry Metcalfe, a 58-year-old retired U.S. Army ordnance officer and firearms inventor, filed a patent for... Read more
The Gun That Killed Abraham Lincoln
On April 14, 1865 U.S. president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a single shot to the back of the head. The American Civil War had ended just days before with Southern general Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox when John Wilkes Booth, a well-known stage actor, shot Lincoln as the president... Read more
When Richard Nixon Threatened to Nuke Vietnam
This story originally appeared on June 1, 2015. Washington now sees nuclear weapons as a last ditch resort … but it hasn’t always and the Pentagon has been more than happy come up with plans to lob the devastating bombs at America’s enemies. Sometimes, Washington used those plans to... Read more
The Gun That Killed John F. Kennedy
On Nov. 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald fired two 6.5-millimeter rounds from an Italian Carcano Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 91/38 rifle and killed U.S. president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the fourth American president to be assassinated. Oswald, a 24-year-old former Marine, fired from the sixth floor of... Read more
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