Preparedness Notes for Monday — September 16, 2019

September 16th is the birthday of “Mad Jack” Churchill (1906-1996), who was a true eccentric. He went to war in WWII armed with a broadsword and a longbow. (The latter was successfully used to dispatch several German soldiers.) He later became a devoted surfer.

Today, our Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio has another review. This one is on a classic S&W autopistol, the Model 6906.


  1. Re: Monty’s Mayhem, Operation Market Garden

    Premised on the advantage of the’ element of surprise’, Monty’s bold and hastily conceived juggernaut, the subsequent piss poor preparation, lead to piss poor execution of an operation of huge proportion, in that made Operation Market Garden impressive in all regards. Although myself, certainly not a military historian, one can easily take that perspective, and learn something.

    Learn from the mistakes of others, because we will likely not live long enough to all the mistakes ourselves. Of all the mishaps that ruined that grand vision of victory by Christmas for the Allies, the failure to communicate via radio was one of them. The details are not totally understood, yet common sense says, it was a key factor. The whole bloody mess is still debated. The British planners had not thoroughly made sure that their VHF radios were on the same frequencies, and they had another problem. These were early low powered, low band VHF radios of limited range, also in shabby order. When Allied forces attempting to reach A Bridge too Far, called for help, there was no reply. They were forced to improvise, or do without. The Germans forces, now comprised of many old men and young boys, had the superior Short Skip HF radio (N.V.I.S.,or Near Vertical Incident Skywave) Bummer! No repeaters required. And of course they operated with military precision!

    Without Command and Control via radio, runners, telephone, or other signalling devices, and with an organized approach, utter madness is the likely result. Tally Hoe! Even if not secure, if things get noisy, it will matter not. But first conduct business with field phones that are rock solid and secure if at all possible. It is the ‘A’-number one way to go, but it not convenient for the average prepper, yet it is not outside their capability. Radio, although convenient, has certain disadvantages. I was 14 when constructed was my first intercom that could be used as a field phone. Fortunately you can buy something better than a child’s contraption. If at all possible, get at least two sets of TA-312’s, or even the old Allied versions, Swedish, Polish, or other variations. Baofengs are good too, yet there are many options.

    Even CB radios with a PA’s (Public Address) can be cobbled together to create an intercom system. Get two CB radios with P. A.’s. Run two sets of paired wire, of any kind to the LPOP (Listening Post, Observation Post), or front gate. and put a, standard 8 ohm speaker, or better yet, a 12vdc amplified computer stereo speaker, or headset at either end. Using a standard mini jack (plug), connect the wire to the back of the CB. Polarity is not an issue. Select the P.A. function on the CB radio’s controls, and key the mic to speak. With a second CB at the other location talking through it’s PA to the other location on the second wire pair, you now have a circuit, or a crude intercom where both parties can talk to each other.

    This a sample of what could be shared this winter after fall preparations are complete. Radios have their place, yet the simple and secure, even crude in comparison hard wire options have virtues that are superior to radio. Even a rope on dope could be better. Even as a broad sword is crude, it can be effective. Telephony, or hard wire telephone, or intercom, or even a flashing light, or buzzer, although crude, is superior as it is inherently secure when wires are hidden. It requires no channel selection, no brevity codes, short interval transmissions, directional antennas, and allows a relatively untrained person in communication, to speak freely, and at length to discuss and resolve issues, even sniveling! Hopefully I’ll have more time to get into all this during the winter. Until then, chin up, press on, and all that rot, and find new ways to skin a rabbit.

    1. No communications is bad communications when they thought they had, and planned for good communications to coordinate a complicated assault. This my speculation, based upon some estimates of their poor planning, and the inadequate radio equipment use, that likely this is one of many significant reasons why Operation Market Garden failed, despite heroic efforts. The Germans had superior communications, and despite a badly depleted force, fought off the Allies best effort, because they managed to stay organized. Their solid commo plan probably helped. The intended import supports that often cited rule of U.S. Army deriviation: “if you don’t have commo, you don’t anything” . I say, preppers, take note!

  2. Part of the reason “Operation Market Garden” failed was an intelligence failure. There were two Waffen-SS Panzer (armored) divisions refitting in the Arnhem area after being badly mauled on the Eastern front.

    Allied planners for the Operation had no idea the 9th and 10th SS Panzer divisions were even on the Western Front, let alone smack in the middle of the proposed “Market Garden” area.

    These two divisions may have had “old men and boys” amongst the ranks but as a whole they were battle hardened units.

    This just goes to prove that good intel is paramount to a successful military operation.

    1. Dont know how you determined they didn’t know of the Panzers. Most accounts, and even the movie, show they chose to proceed after their lowly intel officer briefed his higher staff that they were there. They disappeared him for his veracity.

      Yep, lack of comms was just another symptom of poor John Bull in a china shop. The Tommies paid in blood. Monty was a true butcher.

      1. IIRC the Information came from the dutch resistance and was discarded as wrong or unreliable.

        If Montgomery’s Plan had been successful, and for that i think the Operation needed to be executed in short time, it could´ve ended the war in Europe in about six months, because without the Rhine-Ruhr industrial area, the 3rd Reich would´d been militarily finished.

        British commanders seemed to be much more aware of the losses of their men and to hold them low.

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