Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fractured History

Gunloons using history to advance NRA talking points is like watching a two year-old eating spaghetti--it's messy and fun to watch.
Case in point: Fat White Man, in comments, tells us:
When the threat of a German invasion was eminent, the Brits begged U.S. private citizens to send over thousands of personally owned rifles since the bulk of their subjects didn't own any. We were more than happy to oblige. You would have thought that they would have returned them afterwards instead of just destroying them.

There are a number of falsehoods and misrepresentations here. But let's begin with the real history, shall we?
In the Spring of 1940, the British Secretary of War, Anthony Eden, made a radio address which included the following words: "Your loyal help, added to the arrangements which already exist, will make and keep our country safe."
Soon after, the War Office began receiving reports of groups of civilians, equipped with shotguns, patrolling the countryside. It was never the intent of the British Govt. to use or call out civilians for such duty, preferring to leave such duty to the Army and police, but it was decided that a such an organization might be helpful as a morale-booster. Thus, was born the Home Guard or Local Defence Volunteers (LDV). It was affectionately known as 'Dad's Army' because most of its members were elderly men. Though the age limit for the LDV was 65, it wasn't uncommon for men in their 70s and 80s to be involved.
It's important to note the LDV started with no funding, no organization, no headquarters. Obviously, with Britain in the thick of WWII, all supplies and materials were going to the armed forces. The LDV had no uniforms or centraized command structure. As a result, the British Govt. asked allies for help. The US did send some 7000 rifles to the Brits for the LDV. And we also sent uniforms, binoculars, autos, trucks, radios and other donated surplus goods.
In reality, the LDV never functioned as an anti-invasion force. It was mainly used for civil defense functions such as clearing rubble, guarding damaged businesses, and helping with firefighting.
By early 1943, the LDV had pretty much ceased as an organization due to widespread absenteeism and disinterest.


  1. Um... you can't use an entirely different story to refute a statement. Its like claiming that Silly Putty is not a toy because in reality it was developed as a war-time material.

    IIRC the LDV was the basis of a very popular TV show in the UK. It is also a great example of a citizen militia.

  2. When I was seven, and had just mastered the art of reading, I read a fascinating book about the RAF and the Luftwaffe. I was truly bewildered by the reports of bomb shelters. But I sort of got it. Because at that time, there was still one house in my neighborhood that actually had a bomb shelter. Sirens go off. The people run into the shelters to spend the night or even days at a time.

    Germany bombed the shit out of the major cities in England. What good are guns against bombs? Air power established its superiority, if you can call it that, during WWII. I'm fairly sure most of the land battles involved tanks. {citation needed} This wasn't the eighteenth century. That's very quaint. Maybe that's why Russia never kicked our ass in the 1960s. D'ya think? I guess if its ever time to water the tree of liberty with blood, we'll be good to go.

  3. "The US did send some 7000 rifles to the Brits for the LDV. And we also sent uniforms, binoculars, autos, trucks, radios and other donated surplus goods."

    Yes. The rifles were donated by American citizens and were not a part of Lend Lease.

    "By early 1943, the LDV had pretty much ceased as an organization due to widespread absenteeism and disinterest."

    Yes, because the threat of invasion had ended with the Battle of Britain and the arrival of U.S. military forces.

    It would have been nice if the Brits had returned the donated rifles rather than just dumping them in the sea.

    Oh, an thanks for proving my point for me.

  4. “What good are guns against bombs?”

    They are good for the occupation period after the bombing.

  5. Here are some crusty British WWII reenacters discussing facts that, once again, show Jade is terrible at objective research.

  6. Surely Jade has to be used to being wrong by now. He has so much practice.

  7. As Flying Junior pointed out, the British phase of the war was primarily an air war between the Luftwaffe and RAF. The Germans would not have invaded if they didn't have air superiority.

    Although, I take it your argument is that if people were armed, such as on 9-11, they could shoot the planes down with their handguns.


  8. Why is it the antis keep trying to suggest that you can shoot down aircraft with handguns?

    Somehow Laci just made that leap from a dsicussion about Americans sending Brits guns for morale. And also let's not forget the whole "got-to-ban-single-shot-sniper-rifles-so-terrorists-can't-shoot-down-airliner" arguments that we have seen from time to time.

    What is it with antis and aircraft?

  9. FWM is wrong on a number of counts.

    First, he claims the Brit citizens had no guns of their own. This simply isn't true. They had shotguns. They were also eventually equipped with Lee Enfields, Lewis guns, among others.

    Second, at its height, the LDV had some 1.2M members. Is he seriously claiming 7000 rifles--some from Canada--actually made any difference?

    Third, the War Office came to regard the LDV with a measure of disdain. After all, it wasn't uncommon for certain units to go absent. Additionally, some were just too old or infirm to fully participate.

  10. Jade,

    The only claim I made was that the Brits asks for guns and American citizens answered.

    All the tanks, bombs, aircraft and other such nonsense comments came from the anti's. Man you guys can't stand being wrong. It must drive you nuts to wake up on the wrong side every day.

  11. FWM: The point you miss is that th Brits asked for everything--money, guns, butter, sugar, scrap iron, ships, meat, grain---everything. In fact, the UK made their last payment on debt incurred in WWII to the US in 2006.

  12. Air superiority, money butter, sugger etc.

    All Strawmen.

    > I was wrong... again... dammit... "LOOK PONY!!1!"