Gentlemen, shortly you will be provided Thompson submachine guns, BARs, and uh, .351 Winchester semiautomatic rifles. We are pursuing hardened killers. It will be dangerous.
– Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies (2009)
Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009) is but the latest effort to bring the life of infamous bank robber John “Johnnie” Dillinger on the silver screen. It follows his exploits between autumn 1933 and summer 1934, but really concentrates on his affair with gun moll M. Evelyn “Billie” Frechette. As in many other Mann movies, the law enforcement side receives almost equal attention, here in the shape of Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis. While Mann undertook extraordinary effort to bring the time to life through clothing, automobiles, firearms, and locations, he stuck less rigidly to the historical facts, including the timeline. Events have been moved forward or backward, people have been omitted or changed, etc. It has to be understood that Public Enemies is not really a historical film at all, unlike Bryan Burrough’s meticulously researched book Public Enemies (2004), on which it is based. It is still an excellent movie, not the least because of its awesome score and of course its actors, including Johnny Depp as Dillinger, Christian Bale as Purvis, and Stephen Graham as “Baby Face Nelson.”
I recently came upon an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune entitled “Seize 12 in Bomb Factory” (01-AUG-1929). The article recounted the “breaking up” on 31-JUL-1929 of the so-called “Belcastro Gang” in Chicago, Illinois. Its capo James “Mad Bomber” Belcastro was a member of the Gas Fillers and Owners’ Association, one of the many union rackets then in operation. In reality, he was not the boss of an independent criminal gang but a member of Al “Scarface” Capone’s Outfit. He and his men produced and sold homemade bombs. Explosives were used with alarming regularity in the 1920s in Chicago for black mail, disrupting the political process including in the “Pineapple Primary” of 1927, and outright attacks on competitors. Belcastro emerged unscathed of the raids in 1929, was shot and wounded in 1931, but lived on until 1945. He had been arrested more than 150 times but had never been convicted … Read More
Few are the sights that Gotham has to offer
Of greater interest and instructive aid,
Than the rare contents of this famous coffer
From all the earth’s ransacked corners here displayed.
‒ Francis Bannerman Sons Military Goods Catalogue (1927)
Between 1865 and 1959, Francis Bannerman Military Goods ‒ from 1918, Francis Bannerman Sons Military Goods ‒ was probably the largest and certainly the most important military surplus store in the entire USA. From 1905, it had its primary outlet at 501 Broadway in New York, New York (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 5; GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 2, p. 24; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 25).
Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, has made a lot of detail changes to the weapons available to investigators. Focusing on my particular interests and insights, I went through the Keeper Rulebook to check what works and what does not.
Many of the mistakes were already present in the Call of Cthulhu, Fifth Edition, and Call of Cthulhu, Sixth Edition, but it would have been a good opportunity to deal with them. Others are unique to the new edition.
This rifle was first captured during the battle of Hamel on July 4. It had only just been issued to certain divisions; other divisions were equipped with it later on … It was too conspicuous and too slow a weapon to be really effective against tanks, though it could easily penetrate them at several hundred yards range.
‒ John Fuller, Tanks in the Great War, 1914-1918 (1920)
The Tankabwehrgewehr 18 (“antitank rifle model 1918”) or Tankgewehr 18 ‒ both designations have been observed in official material ‒ is the first purpose-designed antitank weapon produced anywhere. The T.-Gew.18 appears in the last year of the Great War to combat the Allied tanks on the Western Front. Intended as a stop-gap measure until the MAN-Maxim T.u.F.-M.G.18 antitank/antiaircraft machine gun reaches production ‒ which it never does ‒ it is a single-shot bolt-action design produced by the Mauser-Werke of Oberndorf, Germany.
Between 1925 and 1968, Peter von Frantzius Sporting Goods was a famous sporting goods store on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois, at 608 Diversey Parkway (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, p. 5; Investigator Weapons 1, p. 25). His Sport Manual from 1927 has 97 pages and describes a marvellous selection of kit useful to the investigator.
Did I miss something? Are we going into battle?
‒ “Evie” Carnahan, The Mummy (1999)
Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy (1999) is one of my favourite pulp fiction movies. It combines a great story with lovable characters, mummy-hunting, and lots of period equipment. Professional treasure hunter Richard “Rick” O’Connell alias “Ricochet” O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is so adept at monster-hunting that he carries a dedicated kit bag stuffed with weapons with him around (GURPS Loadouts: Monster Hunters, pp. 8-9). Let’s take a look at what he has in there.