Gangster Gats: Colosimo the Vampire or Colosimo the Vampire Hunter?

Near this table the police found an order blank which contained various words and names in pencil. The police believe the paper may contain a clew. A phone number on the paper is 4020 Calumet. This is the number of the National Rubber Products company. There is the name of Samuel Lavine, with an address on Vernon avenue; the words, “So long vampire,” and “Saturday evening.”… the word “buffalo” is also jotted down there, and “So long, Letty.”

Chicago Daily Tribune, “Colosimo Slain; Seek Ex-Wife, Just Returned” (12-MAY-1920

 

On the afternoon of 11-MAY-1920, Giacomo “Big Jim” Colosimo stepped into the vestibule of his restaurant, the famous Colosimo’s Café at 2126 South Wabash Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Colosimo was the head of a powerful criminal organisation that would soon be known as the Chicago Outfit. Right now, he had taken a telephone call and presumably wanted to return to his new wife. At this moment, a man previously hidden in the cloakroom stepped into the vestibule and fired two shots from a .38-calibre handgun ‒ newspapers, covering all bases in the face of knowing nothing, claimed it was “a revolver, or perhaps an automatic pistol.” The first shot missed, the second entered Colosimo’s big head behind the right ear and went into his brain, killing him. Colosimo never managed to draw his own pearl-handled .38-calibre revolver. The shooter, short, stocky, moon-faced, swarthy, and nattily dressed including a derby hat, disappeared.

Inv.Weap_.Vol_.1.Cover_.e23 Continue reading “Gangster Gats: Colosimo the Vampire or Colosimo the Vampire Hunter?”

Investigator Weapons: Fending Off Sharks

Eugene F. McDonald, radio manufacturer and commander of the yacht Mizpah, back from a cruise about the Galapagos Islands in the eastern Pacific, greeted friends here with a tale of fighting great schools of sharks with machine guns. “They were so thick that we were afraid they would endanger the yacht. We killed hundreds of them,” McDonald said. McDonald related that his party, which included several scientists, made discoveries of a scientific nature on the islands so startling that they could not be revealed until after further exploration.

The Enquirer & Evening News, “Machine Guns Used to Fight Off Sharks” (14-FEB-1930)

 

Lieutenant Commander Eugene “Gene” McDonald, an officer in the US Naval Reserve Force, was the millionaire owner of the Zenith Radio Company in Chicago, Illinois. On 03-JAN-1930, he embarked on a 5-week cruise of the East Pacific, starting in Miami, Florida, and travelling through the Panama Canal. McDonald was the owner and skipper of the Mizpah, a 56-metre luxury yacht built for then-outrageous $1.3 million using components of a discarded US Navy destroyer. While nominally based on Lake Michigan in the Lincoln Park yacht harbour in Chicago, the vessel was seaworthy and was often stationed in Miami. The Mizpah had a 27-man crew and sported eight fully equipped state rooms with real beds rather than cramped berths.

Inv.Weap_.Vol_.1.Cover_.e23 Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: Fending Off Sharks”

Investigator Weapons: Hudson & Brand

Stygian Fox have recently published Hudson & Brand, an organisation and scenario book for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition. It outlines the case histories of Hudson and Brand, inquiry agents of the Obscure. The book is set in London in the 1880s and offers excellent maps and other support material. I have contributed the contents of Hudson and Brand’s armoury (complete with stats). The 204 pages of the book are ridiculously good-looking and it is a great resource for any Gaslight campaign in London. Check it out!

IMG_5521

Investigator Weapons: The Thompson Gun in Great Britain between the Wars

Here, one would say, is an arm that is useless for sport, cumbrous for self-defence and could not serve any honest purpose …

     ‒ Hugh Pollard, “Gun Running and the Traffic in Arms,” Saturday Evening Post (24-NOV-1923)

 

Captain Hugh Pollard was mainly talking with the Irish Revolution fresh on his mind, but he certainly did not think that an “honest” Briton could see any non-military use for the Thompson submachine gun. And yet, despite what the sorry state of today’s British gun laws would make one believe, British investigators of the Mythos could most definitely kit themselves out with a Thompson gun in the 1920s and early 1930s. Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: The Thompson Gun in Great Britain between the Wars”

Gangster Gats: James “Mad Bomber” Belcastro, Vampire Hunter?

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 … Continue reading “Gangster Gats: James “Mad Bomber” Belcastro, Vampire Hunter?”

Investigator Weapons: Mauser T.-Gew.18

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.

sd_iw_tg18 Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: Mauser T.-Gew.18”

Ultra-Tech: Armat M41A

OK, I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine: This is an M41A pulse rifle, 10mm, with an over-and-under 30mm pump-action grenade launcher.

‒ CPL Dwayne Hicks, 1st Platoon, A Company, 2/9 USCM, in Aliens (1986)

The Armat M41A is the famous weapon arming the US Colonial Marines in Aliens (1986) and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation security forces in Alien 3 (1992) ‒ also, for some obscure reasons, the bank robbers in The Simpsons #13.12 (2002) … It accounts for a lot of the pseudo-realistic setting of Aliens, giving the main characters a mean-looking yet functional weapon to combat the dangerous Xenomorph XX121. Ultimately, the powerful, effective carbine ‒ and all the other ultra-tech gear of the year 2179, from nukes to sharp sticks ‒ does not mean much against the swarm intelligence, evolutionary perfection, and insidious breeding habits of Internecivus raptus, giving the Alien saga a distinct, rather desperate Lovecraft-esque vibe.

sd_ut_m41a Continue reading “Ultra-Tech: Armat M41A”

Tactical Shooting: Predator

Contact!

‒ Mac Eliot in Predator (1987)

John McTiernan’s Predator (1987) is a superb classic that combines science fiction, horror, and military action. While Predator fulfils many action movie tropes and is hence overall better suited to GURPS Gun Fu, some details merit discussion in context with GURPS Tactical Shooting. The team’s response to the first sighting of the Predator is almost a textbook counterattack manoeuvre (Tactical Shooting, p. 22) following the advice in the US Army’s field manual FM 90-5 Jungle Operations (1982): “Once contact with the enemy is made, the unit’s first action is to build up a large volume of fire.”

Shooting Dice_TS_Predator Continue reading “Tactical Shooting: Predator”

High-Tech: The Mummy

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.

SD_HT_Mummy Continue reading “High-Tech: The Mummy”