June 2, 1972: Western Airlines Flight 701 from Los Angeles to Seattle was hijacked by Willie Roger Holder, a Vietnam War veteran, and his girlfriend Catherine Marie Kerkow. The hijackers claimed they had a bomb in an attaché case and demanded $500,000 and that Angela Davis, who was then on trial, be freed. After allowing half the passengers to get off in San Francisco and the other half to get off in New York on a re-fueling stop, they flew on to Algeria, where they were granted political asylum, joining the International Section of the Black Panther Party. It was and still remains the longest-distance hijacking in American history. Later, $488,000 of the ransom money was returned to American officials.
My dad was a mechanic for 20+ years, and for as long as I can remember, I drove him nuts because I would go around the house with a screw driver he left out and take everything apart because I wanted to see how it work. As I grew older I developed an affinity towards computers and electronics, which led me to be “that kid” in High School who changed his grades, crashed the school districts servers, and used the NETSEND command with great success. I would spend my weekends either with my grandparents and uncle working on science projects or dragging my dad outside to help me fix my car (which consisted of him telling me that he would help once I got it taken apart). Those “figure it out” lessons were the probably the greatest gift he could’ve given me growing up.
I joined the US Army in 2004 and went into communications or “commo” for short (25U) where I managed to go from PVT (E1) when I joined to SGT (E5) by the time I returned from my deployment in 2006. After returning home, I was subsequently transferred from a Light Infantry Unit (walking everywhere) to a Mechanized Infantry Unit (Riding in an armored vehicle everywhere) and placed in charge of the Battalion Commo Shop as the current person running the commo shop was scheduled to retire in a few months and I was the only other NCO. This is where things got interesting and my Commo vs. Mechanics ProRevenge story starts…
Made at the Manufacture d’Armes de Châtellerault in France throughout the interwar era. 7,5x54mm MAS mod. 1929 Balle ‘C’ - light bullet - or Balle ‘D’ - heavy bullets for use in fortifications, 750rpm with Balles C, 100-150 rounds pan magazines. The Reibel machine gun was the French tank machine gun of the interwar era, and thus of WW2. An heavy and reliable design, it was often twin-mounted in fixed position - with many guns being produced to be fed from the left - with large-capacity awesome-looking magazines. It was notoriously mounted on the Maginot line or the B1 bis heavy tank, the obsolete French WW1 armored vehicle that brute-forced its way over German competition in 1940.
B1 bis ‘Normandie’ Heavy Tank, showing a coaxial Reibel machine gun with the 47mm turret gun.
Ever wanted to stop an armored vehicle stupid-easily, with something that’s legal, very safe to store and use, easy to acquire, and burns like Satan’s asshole? Molotov cocktails might look very impressive, but there’s an incendiary that does all those things and that we’ve all been overlooking: thermite.
Thermite, for the uninitiated–which, let’s be real, it’s the Internet, you’ve all heard of thermite–is a non-explosive incendiary powder made from aluminum filings and iron oxide. It is completely safe to store, since it’s basically just metal dust. Like an 80% lower (more on that right here), it’s pretty much untraceable, as both rust and aluminum filings can be manufactured at home or bought at a hardware store with zero paperwork. And when ignited, it burns at around 2500 Fahrenheit (1400 C), also known as half the temperature of the goddamn sun.
Rust can be manufactured at home pretty easily. Take steel wool, put it in a jar filled with water. Weigh the wool down with a magnet so it doesn’t float. Add 5tbs of bleach and 5tbs of vinegar. Let it sit for a day or two, then filter the resultant brown paste with a coffee filter. Alternatively, you can go to a paint store, where they sell it pretty cheap for pigment mixing, or eBay, where you can straight-up buy it.
Aluminum is also pretty easy to get. Take a grinder to something made of aluminum (cans, bike parts, whatever) and collect the sparks, and bam, aluminum filings. Machine shops will probably give you plenty in exchange for sweeping. Or, like rust, paint shops and eBay are viable options as well.
Mix your two powders at a ratio of 8 parts rust to 3 parts aluminum, by weight. Aluminum is pretty light so it’ll look about fifty-fifty. Mix evenly. Optionally, you can mix four parts thermite with one part modeling clay to get moldable thermite. You can’t light thermite with a normal match; get a magnesium sparkler or bit of magnesium ribbon and light that, and you’re good to go. Now you can melt through the engine block of an armored car like the Alien’s blood through the Nostromo.
Remember: when we fight, we win, so know how to fight!