1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 73

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 73

Chapter 27

Magdeburg, capital of the United States of Europe

Rebecca Abrabanel tried to think of any other possibility she hadn’t explored, when it came to available aircraft. The exercise was more in the way of a formality, though — the sort of final double-check a careful person will do just to remind themselves to be careful — than anything she expected to produce results. There simply weren’t all that many aircraft in existence in January of 1636. Most of those were military, furthermore — and Jesse Wood had made clear that he wasn’t lending any of the air force’s planes to this purpose.

He’d told Rebecca that himself, when he came to pass along the message from Luebeck.

“Sorry, Becky, but I talked it over with the admiral and John’s adamant on the subject. I think he’s probably right, and it’s not something I’m going to buck him on. We’ve kept the navy and the air force out of this ain’t-quite-a-civil-war. Formally, anyway. It’s true we’ve bent the rules into a pretzel, but we haven’t broken any. But if we did this…”

She hadn’t argued the point. She thought Admiral Simpson was right herself.

Of the civilian aircraft, the possibilities were very limited. She didn’t trust most of them — not with the lives of these two people. Of the ones that had demonstrated they were reliable, almost all were ruled out either by mechanical, operational or political concerns. January was not a good time to be flying in the Germanies, so most of the planes were undergoing major maintenance.

The ones based in the Netherlands would need to have at least the tacit approval of the king — for something like this, anyway — and that was a can of worms Rebecca didn’t want to open. At a minimum, Fernando would insist on concessions, and he was already being a pain in the neck. He’d been careful not to cross a line when it came to taking advantage of the internal turmoil in the USE, the line being anything that might provide a clear and obvious casus belli at a future date when his larger neighbor was stable again. But he’d come right up to that line, every time and place he could.

Besides, in order to get his approval, she’d have no choice but to explain the purpose of using one of the Netherlands’ aircraft. And that she wanted to avoid. If this secret got out…

She shook her head. As it was, she was more than a little amazed that it hadn’t. She’d only found out herself a few days ago, when Simpson finally confided in her using the intermediary of Jesse Wood. From what Jesse had told her, it was obvious that Simpson had known for some time that Luebeck was simply a staging point for Kristina and Ulrik. Not, as Rebecca and just about everyone else had assumed, merely a safe area that the prince and princess had settled on because they didn’t want to be a pawn for anybody in the conflict.

Oxenstierna had certainly made that assumption. Rebecca had been in fairly regular touch with John Chandler Simpson, either through Jesse or through the admiral’s wife Mary. She knew that the Swedish chancellor had initially bombarded Kristina with messages demanding that the headstrong girl obey her Uncle Axel; bombarded Ulrik with threats of dire consequences for Denmark if he didn’t stop aiding and abetting the child’s monstrous willfulness; and Simpson himself for not doing what was clearly his duty and expelling the two from Luebeck. From the naval base, at least. Simpson didn’t actually have any formal control over what the city’s officials did. Apparently Oxenstierna assumed he could bring enough pressure to bear on Luebeck to get them to do the same.

After that initial flurry of demands and threats, though, Oxenstierna had said nothing. Rebecca suspected he’d come to the conclusion that since he couldn’t force the issue right now, he’d be wiser to just let sleeping dogs lie. The way things stood, if he forced Ulrik and Kristina out of Luebeck they’d most likely go to Copenhagen — which was even worse, from his standpoint.

So, for all practical purposes, the pair of royals had been ignored for the past weeks. But Rebecca was quite sure that if Oxenstierna found out what they were really planning to do — had been planning all along, in fact — he would do everything possible to prevent them from carrying the project through.

And he could do quite a bit. He had no control over Magdeburg, of course. So far, in fact, he’d not even made any threatening troop movements toward the city. He’d kept that large army he had under his direct control in Berlin. But if he needed to, he could get that army moving — and there was no force in the Germanies that would be able to stop it. He couldn’t take Magdeburg without a siege, and that siege would last at least as long as the siege of Dresden was lasting. But he could interdict the territory between Luebeck and Magdeburg. Most of it, at least.

Even if Simpson was willing to bring the ironclads back out of the Baltic and move them up the Elbe, it wouldn’t do any good. The warships were immensely powerful but they had vulnerabilities also. There were too many ways an ironclad could be ambushed on a river unless it had a powerful land force running interference for it — and there was no land force at Simpson’s disposal that Oxenstierna’s mercenaries couldn’t disperse. For that matter, the Swedes wouldn’t even have to lay an ambush. They could simply wreck some of the locks that made the river passable for the big ironclads.

No, once the secret was out, the only practical way to get Kristina and Ulrik to Magdeburg was to fly them in. Given, of course, the over-riding political imperatives involved.

USE naval base
Luebeck

“No, no, no, no.” Ulrik matched Kristina’s glare with his own. “We’ve been over this already.”

Driven into a corner, Kristina fought back the way any cornered child will do — with the truth instead of the folderol.

“But it’d be fun!”

Out of the side of his eye, Ulrik could see Baldur grinning.

“Not a word, Norddahl,” he said through clenched teeth.

The Norwegian shrugged. “She’s right, you know. We could have a dandy little adventure, disguising ourselves and dashing all about the land as we make our cunning way toward –”

“Shut up! You’re not helping!”

Once the prince was sure that he’d silenced his servant — using the term “servant” so very, very loosely — he went back to the princess.

“Kristina, if we sneak into Magdeburg like thieves in the night, we undercut everything we’re trying to accomplish. This is all about legitimacy. Everything! All of it! Why else have we stayed here in Luebeck for so long? Why didn’t we go to Magdeburg immediately?”

Kristina wiped her nose with the back of her hand. Ulrik was relieved to see the gesture. The girl didn’t have a runny nose, that was just a nervous reflex she had when she was beginning to back down from a tempestuous fight.

It was…unsettling, to think how well he’d gotten to know Kristina. And she’d gotten to know him, he didn’t doubt. Over the centuries, royals separated by almost two decades in age had become betrothed any number of times. Nor had it been unusual if one of those royals was still a child when the betrothal was made. But normally, the formalities done — often by proxy, not even in person — the future married couple didn’t see each other for years. When the time finally came to consummate the marriage, the husband and wife who climbed into the nuptial bed were almost complete strangers. Awkward, of course, in some ways. But one could still trust nature to take its course.

When the time finally came for him and Kristina, on the other hand…

It would either be hideous or very, very good. It wouldn’t be anything in between, for a certainty.

He gave his head a little shake, to clear the stray thought. That problem was still a decade away. Well, eight or nine years. Seven, at the very least. Six, if you really stretched every…

He shook his head again. No little shake this time, either. “You haven’t answered me.”

He was careful — he was always careful — not to give her a direct command. A father could tell his daughter, “Answer me!” An older brother, even, could do the same. But he was not her father. He was her betrothed, forced to act in many ways as if he were her father or older brother, but never forgetting that he wasn’t.

With a different girl, that might not have mattered. A timid, uncertain, shy — just thinking about it was enough to make one laugh. Kristina would remember each and every transgression; squirrel it away like a rodent hoarding food — no, like a commander saving ammunition — and when the time came she would bring them all forth to exact retribution.

One had to be philosophical about these things, if you were a prince in line of succession. Ulrik could — and did, and would until the day he died — console himself with the knowledge that, whatever else, life with Kristina would never, ever, be dull.

She wiped her nose. “Because — this is what you said — we needed to give Uncle Axel time to look foolish.”

She wiped her nose again. “Well, the admiral said it too.”

Kristina had become quite attached to Simpson. In an odd sort of way, he and his wife Mary had become something like grandparents to her.

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31 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 73

  1. papertiger says:

    I think I missed something. What planes are in the Netherlands?

  2. Alex says:

    I’m wondering that, too. Whenever something like this happens though I usually just assume it was in a gazette. I haven’t read any beyond the print publications…

  3. Bret Hooper says:

    so what reliable private planes ARE there?

  4. ET1swaw says:

    @1 papertiger; @2 Alex: Fernando and Maria Anna were flown out of Basel to Netherlands by a Gustav in ‘TBC’. It was mwntioned when talking about Dauntlesses that Fernando purchased some as well as Nasi’s one (in Dresden) and G2A for Union of Kalmar air force (to add to Gustavs in Copenhagen).
    @3 Bret Hooper: There is the Monster (multi-passenger Jupiter with ACLG (standard run USE to Venice); follow-ons are delayed IIRC). There are the 4-passenger planes (similar to OTL Dragonfly IIRC) like the one that went down with SoTF VP aboard (‘The Vice President’s Plane …’). There are 2-person mail planes (‘Time to spare …’). There are Gustavs (4str) and Belles (2str) (reserved for USE and Union of Kalmar air forces) and Dauntlesses (3 str can stretch to 4 but not STOL) (G2A, Nasi, Fernando, etc.). LTA there is ‘Testbed’ and follow-ons in Russia (‘BitK’); ‘Upwind’ where ever Pridmore is (‘Sailng Upwind’, ‘… Tranquebar’); and ‘Royal Anne’ and follow-ons (‘… Tranquebar’). These are all canon as well as the possiibilities of French or Austrian aircraft or Ottoman LTA not yet seen. There are also many in ‘Slush’ both aircraft and LTA not picked up yet.
    Well “Why Nasi’s plane even with it stuck in Dresden?” is answered as well as what Axel was doing about Kristina not obeying and coming directly to Berlin.
    Jesse actually kept a straight face when saying he kept the air force uninvolved (after Krystallnacht and Mecklenburg)! But all do agree on keeping the up-time headed armed forces out of it (Frank Jackson is only a staff officer for Tortensson (Colonel not General now) and Mike is a subordinate commander (Major General to Tortensson’s LtGen to G2A’s CinC (Kristina is also an HONORARY LtGen))).

  5. ET1swaw says:

    USE Marines are still a fairly small force (single Brigade at best, possiblly less than single Regiment) split between Horse Marines (embassy guards), Scout-Snipers (not Recon but not standard jarhead), Admin (females not allowed in combat commands unlike Army and Harry’s people), and deployable (shipboard or battle (‘… Bornholm’)).
    USE Medical Corps handles medical for all USE armed forces.
    Union of Kalmar forces above and beyond Christian’s originals include Dauntless and Gustav aircraft, LTA, the ironclad ‘Union of Kalmar’, and assigned timberclads.
    Swedish forces (most likely to follow Axel’s orders) include Von Thurn with approximately 2 Divisions in Berlin, Baner at Dresden, Gustav Horn and Nils Brahe with their armies, Garrison forces in the Dominions, training forces in Pomerania and back in Sweden Proper, and naval forces under G2A’s half-brother Carl Carlsson Gyllenheilm?sp? (which include a new-built armored sloop of war and any assigned craft from USE or UoK above the original Swedish Navy). Sweden does not have separate air capability other than borrowed from USE or UoK.
    Only provincial forces worthy of note IMO are SoTF, Tyrol, and Hesse-Kassel (Horn’s and Brahe’s forces double as provincial forces for their respective areas) and they have been neutralized (Mecklenburg, Saxony, and Oberpfalz are home-grown militias not provincial forces). Von Arnim in Liepzig is the remains of the ex-Saxony forces and Brandenburg’s are with their Elector fighting alongside the PLC forces. Westphalia, Pomerania, and Brunswick forces are not mentioned; and Magdeburg, Mecklenburg, and Oberpfalz (Baner was theirs) have none IIRC (militias but no provincial forces).

  6. Alex says:

    @4–Wow. I’m kind of sorry I even asked. I know too much about plot lines I’ll read about later. I just read (and re-read) the books and the snippets–you knew this. I don’t participate in the online stuff. Most of those terms, acronyms, and story references are beyond me. I’m surprised the USE would sell/negotiate away airplanes with irreplaceable parts to a not so long ago enemy. Eventually all those car parts are going to fatigue and I doubt many people in Grantville had brand new cars to begin with.

  7. Owen says:

    @6- One of Mike’s main policies is to spread technology around, the idea is that if they want to actually use the tech over the long term, they will have to learn to repair or even replace it, and that a high tech civilization is going to be more likely to be democratic.

  8. ET1swaw says:

    @6 Alex: I apologize for the infodump. My brain is pretty much a collander (large hole sieve) so I tend to directly answer without considering (or remembering) the pertaining environment. (And repeat myself pendantically as well)
    @7 Owen: In addition though some have been nationalized, much of the up-time technology is private property and sold as such (i.e. the sports car sold and maintained by Sanderlin to Ferdinand III) or infrastructure improvements to Netherlands, Bohemia/Silesia, Denmark-Norway, Austria-Hungary, and even Burgundy.

  9. ET1swaw says:

    Essen, France, Russia, and now the PLC seem to be bootstrapping their own teechnology.

  10. jtl says:

    @5 ET1swaw: Thanks for the info-dump. It saves a lot of cross checking for those of us who can only save for the main 16xx series and don’t have all the Gazettes and RoF editions to refer to. That’s what makes peeking in on the snippet cross-talk so interesting. It fills in the holes of information we wouldn’t normally see. Thank you all who can afford to pay attention.

  11. VernonNemitz says:

    This question is not about any recent snippet, but about something I haven’t seen any mention of in all the books since “1632”. If it is now 1636, then hasn’t four years been enough time to refill all the bullet casings for the M-60 machine gun? Or are the perchlorate percussion caps too recent a discovery for anything yet to be done about getting that gun ready to be used again?

  12. dave o says:

    #11 Vernon. There’s been plenty of time for reloads. I don’t know what the thinking is in the USE, but if I were in command, I would be saving the M-60 for emergency use. One machine gun isn’t enough. And the less any potential enemy knows about what one can do, the better. Other countries probably have the idea by now, and are experimenting, but only the USE has an actual example to copy. It will be hard enough to copy even with an example. Without one, much, much harder. The same is true of precursors. They may have the idea of a Gatling, but without one, it’s not that easy to develop. By the way, a lot of small towns in my area have some kind of military weapons parked on the courthouse lawn. I’ve seen 75mm guns, Gatlings, Sherman Tanks and a lot more in my travels. I don’t know if Grantville has such, but an interesting possibility.

  13. Mike Davis says:

    As far as machine guns go, I think the bottleneck is making cartridge cases. Also, there are MG designs that are easier to make and better than the M60. check out the wikipedia articles on the MG42 (German WWII) and the Bren (Brit WWII). I’d bet money that Grantville would have enough info to make either. Any Gatling based design doable in 1636 is probably going to be used like light artillery, not a true light MG like the M60.

  14. dave o says:

    #13 Mike: Making cartridge cases involves deep drawing brass. There aren’t a lot of other uses for this process, but I don’t know how difficult it is. I think a bigger obstacle would be smokeless powder. There is a limited supply brought back in time, and most is probably reserved for rifles and handguns. Gunpowder would foul a machine gun in short order. Not what you want in battle.

    You are right about possible designs, but there is no internet and no wikipedia in downtime 1636. Print encyclopedia probably give design principles, but aren’t anywhere near as useful as an example.

    The basic material for smokeless powders is nitrocellulose, made with cotton fiber and nitric acid. Cotton is hard to obtain, and I don’t know whether any other plant fiber is suitable. Nitric acid can be made, but it would time to create the plant to do it. And nitrocellulose is nasty stuff, subject to spontaneous explosions. I believe it fell out of favor in the mid 19th century for that reason, until someone discovered a way to eliminate the excess acid.

  15. dave o says:

    I looked up wikipedia articles on the Bren gun, M60, and MG42. They contain pretty pictures of each, and a brief description, but nowhere near enough information to help anyone make them. It’s possible that some gun nut (enthusiast) in Grantville has a copy of engineering drawings and material specifications for one of them. And it’s possible that some spy has bought them. But that’s way too tenuous for me to believe. Anyone who wants to build a modern machine gun needs an example to copy or years and years of development.

  16. johan says:

    @15 dave o: Though when the industry is in place to produce working machinegun-type weapons that’ll be the last nail in the coffin for cavalry. And sorry to veer off-topic again but I have to ask: Do towns really have old guns outside their courthouses? Really?

  17. Bret Hooper says:

    @16 Johan: Won’t the volley gun be the end of cavalry even if no machine gun comes along soon? It sure was an annoyance to the French cavalry in 4TBW.

  18. Doug Lampert says:

    @16, Sure, IIRC Huntsville doesn’t have anything more modern than a Civil War era cannon on the courthouse lawn, but in addition to the various military instalations and national guard armories we’ve also got a modest private museum with junk like tanks in it (looking on the web there are supposed to be 30 different combat vehicles in it including tanks), and we had a B-29 fly in and out a few weeks ago to one of the smaller airports.

    The base and the space museum both have lots of crap on display too. Not to mention being basically a military town all the junk that’s actually here for a reason other than display.

    And lots of towns do have something more impressive than a cannon on the courthouse lawn. It used to be sort of traditional, light artillery is a favorite since it looks impressive and doesn’t actually use all that much space.

    Steve Stirling once said that when he researched Nantucket for the Island books he found at least three machine guns in town, and Nantucket was picked for those books partly because it’s one of the LEAST heavily armed places in America. Small towns in WV are, per capita, one of the most HEAVILY armed places in America. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Mannington had quite a bit of heavy equipment lying arround in the real world, but we’ve established in the book universe that one M60 is it (it would seriously SHOCK me if there weren’t at least twice as many guns as people in town the day of the RoF).

  19. johan says:

    @17 Bret Hooper: Ah, I forgot about that. No doubt French (and other) engineers are working frantically to try and create something similar. And then those poor Hussars and Cossacks will be so much mincemeat. ;)

    @18 Doug Lampert: Thanks for the information! :) It is such a contrast to Sweden. We were probably the most militarized society during the ROF era (something my own family history shows with the eight generations between the late 1500s and the mid 1800s being soldiers and officers, with one branch even being ennobled in the closing years of the Thirty Years’ War), and today you don’t really see it outside modern bases and the old fortress’.
    I haven’t read the Nantucket Series yet, is it any good? I know it has a similar premise as 1632 but takes place over a longer period of time and in the ancient greek world.

  20. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @16 – johan

    The United States of America has a love affair with fire arms, artillery, and explosives. I grew up in Mississippi (the Deep South of the USA), and every family I knew in the small town in which I was raised until age 15 had multiple firearms, at least a shotgun, a rifle, and at least one handgun, plus multiple hunting knives. I and most of my friends learned to shoot and hunt before we learned to drive. One of my friends was hunting quail before he started first grade at the local school. The Courthouse had a couple of artillery pieces out front, and the National Guard Armory had IIRC a 155mm WW2 howitzer, a WW2 tank, a self-propelled artillery piece, and a very large mortar all out in front on display. As a child, the town would hold celebrations on Memorial Day, July 4, and Veterans’ Day out at the armory, and all of us male children would play soldier on the displayed pieces in front of the armory, much to the amusement of the adults. The town had many, many veterans of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, and veterans were always invited to speak to us at school about our civic duty to serve our country.

    When I moved to a much larger town in Mississippi at age 15, the gun fervor and patriotic fervor was not as pronounced as I was used to, but the courthouse still had artillery pieces in front of it, the National Guard armory had an impressive display of vintage armor in front of it, and most families I knew owned at least one firearm.

    When I moved to Ohio in 1985, I was shocked by how “anti-gun” and “anti-war” and “unpatriotic” these native Ohioans were (I was, of course, judging by the standards of Mississippi), but you still find lots of displayed armor and artillery around in various places, and quite a few people I know own at least one firearm of some kind. Also, Ohio has a “concealed carry” law that permits people who have earned proper certification from a licensed instructor to carry a handgun around concealed on their person or in their cars anywhere they go unless the law otherwise prohibits it (for example, even with a “concealed carry” permit, it is illegal to bring a firearm into a courthouse, post office, bank, or hospital, just to name a few places).

    I imagine that what I’ve just described is pretty different from what you are used to, but it’s what I grew up with. From what I’ve read, Sweden and Germany in the 1630’s is pretty similar to America today in regards to their attitudes about firearms.

    Hope that wasn’t too much information for you.

  21. Master Chief says:

    For those who might be interested, my local bookstore (Books-A-Million) had 1636 on display today. Since there have been multiple references to and April release in these comments, I specifically asked the Manager about the release date. She checked and said that the books had been received without any specific ‘Strict-On-Sale’ dated information. I’ve finished it, and I’ll not snerk. Go forth friends, and see if you can find a copy.

  22. Stanley Leghorn says:

    One thing to note about the displayed heavy weapons, they were stripped down and had the barrels sealed with either cement or an iron cork. Not usable, even as examples. I played on the Sherman tank in our town and was lucky to live before the nanny state locked the hatches so we could go inside and play tanker. Peering out those vision slits made it clear how easy it was for infantry to get onto the thing if no one was protecting you. With the top hatch closed, you might as well be a knight that almost anyone could sneak up behind and clonk on the head.

  23. Kurt Winn says:

    @ dave o – Nitric acid was being produced by Brennerei und Chemiefabrik Schwarza’s electric arc nitric acid experimental facility in July of 1634 – see GG 23 – Silencing the Sirens’ Song. That just leaves the cotton or cotton substitute and excess acid removal problem.

    @johan – Yep, old weapons in front of many municipal government buildings all over the US and even a few up here in gun shy Canada. There was a small park with a couple of small artillery pieces on a corner in the town I lived in a few years back. No government building in sight, it was a small WWII memorial park with the guns and a couple of plaques.

  24. Daryl says:

    @20 & 22, even here in Australia we have heavy weapons displayed in parks, outside Returned Soldier League clubs (& machine guns including Brens in glass cases inside). A common one on the lawn is the 40mm Bofors, but in my own city we actually have a captured Crimean war rifled muzzle loading 11 inch cannon just like Simpson’s. It is possible to recommission weapons in many cases if the authorities are supporting you. I used a Bren quite a lot years ago and love the weapon. Its main failing is that unlike other MGs it doesn’t produce a cone of fire but simply puts each bullet where it is aimed so it’s not much use as an AA or to stop mass charges, but excellent as an automatic sniper gun to take out enemy field HQs.

  25. willem meijer says:

    @19 Johan: yes. Definitely. The ‘Island in the Sea of Time’-series not really play in the ancient greek world, but before. In the bronze age and Mycena to be exact. I prefer it to the sister-series ‘Dies the Fire / The Change’. You can read sample chapters om http://www.smstirling.com. Worth a visit.

  26. Robert Krawitz says:

    Even here in Massachusetts plenty of town squares have the odd piece or few. There’s a 105 mm howitzer on the Esplanade with the barrel welded shut (but last time I saw it the breech was open, interestingly enough).

  27. andya says:

    The concealed carry laws in Indiana (US state on Ohio’s west border) are fairly lax. It’s more the authorities have to have a reason not to give an adult a permit than you having to prove you need it. My brothers and I were all involved in sport shooting before puberty kicked in. There’s a WWII era naval anti-aircraft gun in front of the local VFW. A not uncommon thing at family get togethers at my grandparents’ farm was for the adult and teenage-ish males to shoot skeet while the younger children watched.

  28. Mark L says:

    When I was a kid growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan the VFW Hall had a WWII-era towed 105mm cannon on its front lawn. North Hall (University of Michigan’s ROTC building had a WWII-era 5″/38 turret and a range finder turret (think for AA) on its front lawn. There was a Spanish-American War brass mortar behind one of the libraries (think it was the Grad Library). I think the American Legion had an F-84 as a gate guardian. I seem to remember a Civil War era piece at nearby Dexter.

    The naval stuff is gone from North Hall. Disappeared sometime in the late 1960s/early 1970s as I recall. Don’t know about the rest, but I think the brass mortar is still there.

  29. johan says:

    @20 Robert H. Woodman: Not at all, thank you for the information. :) Guns are not as unusual here as one may think, but the overwhelming majority of them are hunting rifles. Hunting seasons are quite popular, what with our large tracts of pine forest and such. I think you need a special permit for handguns that are not used for hunting and IIRC assault rifles and other automatic rifles, SMG’s, etc are illegal. Oh, and you need to be atleast 15 to get a gun license for hunting. Though you’ll find BB gun clubs everywhere.

    @21-25: The common denominator here seems to be that most displayed guns are to commemorate past wars. With Sweden having “officialy” been at peace for 200 years I think I see the problem.

  30. Doug Lampert says:

    Automatic weapons in the USA require a Federal permit, including a background check and the government knowing that you have the weapon, and the permit has to be cosigned by an appropriate local authority (normally the Sheriff).

    Fully automatic is VERY rare in the USA. IIRC you can count on the fingers of one hand EVERY criminal incident ever in the USA with a legal privately owned fully automatic weapon and have fingers left over.

    What confuses the issue is “Assault Weapons” (Note: These are NOT assualt rifles). Assault weapons are a category invented by people who don’t like guns, and it appears to mean “Guns that look sort of like an Assualt Rifle, but aren’t.” The term is as far as I can tell DELIBERATELY confusing, the GOAL is to make people think that lots of Americans have military quality weapons when they don’t. So if you hear about all the assault weapons in the USA and how they’re legal, take it with a grain of salt.

  31. johan says:

    @30 Doug Lampert: You mean that Michael Moore lied to me?! ;)
    On the issue of machine guns in the ROF, didn’t they invest more in cotton cultivation in Egypt as a result of the Civil War, and not wanting to rely that much on American cotton? What are the requirements to crow cotton? Could it be grown in southern Italy for example? That region will atleast turn friendly long before Ottoman Egypt atleast. Unless a down-time Muhammad Ali comes along 180 years ahead of schedule.
    @25 willem meijer: Thanks for the link, will definately check it out.

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