The M2 flame thrower

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The M2 flame thrower

Postby toad » Mon May 16, 2016 10:54 am

https://youtu.be/aPQYK5ZMbWY
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby JustinR » Mon May 16, 2016 6:51 pm

Yes, I am subscribed and addicted to Ian's YouTube channel. He is extremely knowledgeable and the depth of his commentary about the history and development keeps me coming back for more. I watched this video yesterday when I saw it come up, there aren't many opportunities to see a flame thrower in operation, let alone be able to fire one with that kind of history.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Rod » Mon May 16, 2016 6:55 pm

We got issued one for a daylight patrol. Heavy ass piece of shit. New platoon sgt with us, first week. We found a tunnel system and McCloud ordered the flame thrower used. Damn igniter wouldn't work so McCloud grabbed it, sprayed the jellied gas down the hole for about 5 of the 8 or 10 second load. He then took a book of C-Rat matches, lit the whole book, looked down and tossed it in the hole. He was pretty much engulfed in a wave of flames that died down rapidly and lost all his facial hair and ended up with blisters over most of his face. We called urgent medivac and he was airlifted out. Sgt. McCloud was never seen in the battalion again.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Mon May 16, 2016 8:42 pm

I always thought of flame throwers as a bad weapon idea, ranking somewhere between the M65 Atomic Cannon and the "Davey Crockett".
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby JustinR » Mon May 16, 2016 11:10 pm

D5CAV wrote:I always thought of flame throwers as a bad weapon idea, ranking somewhere between the M65 Atomic Cannon and the "Davey Crockett".


They do have an enormous psychological effect on the enemy, and were one of the few good weapons we had to clear out the tunnels and pillboxes on Iwo Jima. Fire has been used as a weapon throughout the history of conflict, so I doubt it will go away anytime soon. It probably isn't any more dangerous than carrying grenades on your person, although it does make you the primary target the first time you light it off.

Air delivery of napalm is a much more effective solution than a single infantryman with a backpack, although slightly less precise, tends to make up for it with volume. :lol:
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby toad » Mon May 16, 2016 11:52 pm

In the Viet Nam war the US Army started using a rocket delivery system It was a 4 pack of 66 mm rockets. Had a real nasty payload of stuff that burned at 1200 degrees. You could fire one at a time or all four. I think it was called the 2020 Flash or something?
I think they are looking at a fuel air system now. Some of the rounds will fit a 40MM grenade launcher. Some outfit named Talley is working with the military last I heard. :?:

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Tue May 17, 2016 12:04 am

JustinR wrote:It probably isn't any more dangerous than carrying grenades on your person
Disagree.

I like grenades. I never felt unsafe carrying grenades. I suppose a stray round could possibly hit a grenade and make it go off, but I never heard of that happening. Lots of bad things happen to soldiers carrying flamethrowers.

Grenades solve a lot of problems. You can keep the happy-switch for my M16, but I really miss my M67 grenades. If the ATF gave me a choice between being able to buy grenades or buy belt feds, I'd pick grenades.

Grenades have about the same range as a flamethrower, at least if the combatant is your average male recruit. If you add a grenade launcher and start throwing M406 grenades, the range extends to a couple of hundred meters, but nothing beats being able to pull a pin and know that something is going to go boom in a few seconds - even if it's just dropping it down a hole.

In Rod's example, that problem could have been solved a lot easier with a couple of grenades dropped down the hole.

Going on a patrol with a 5 gallon gas can strapped to someone's back (not mine!) on the off-chance that some accelerant might come in handy is a bad idea in my book.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Jericho941 » Tue May 17, 2016 1:39 am

JustinR wrote:It probably isn't any more dangerous than carrying grenades on your person, although it does make you the primary target the first time you light it off.


The safety issue with flamethrowers under incoming fire, IIRC, isn't the Hollywood-style explosion one would expect from them being shot, similar to the whole "Mythbusters vs gas tank" thing. But it is "contents under pressure" which means that the tank could blow out, potentially causing injury and soaking the operator in fuel.

If you shoot a grenade, you will most likely just break it. Most modern explosives are hard to set off accidentally, outside of very specific circumstances. They're meant for teenagers to use, after all.

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Netpackrat » Tue May 17, 2016 2:02 am

Problem with grenades, is you can only reach just so far with them, and basically around one corner at a time. The whole point of the flamethrower is that it can flood an entire tunnel/bunker complex with carbon monoxide, which is the primary way it kills. If you'd watched Ian's videos you would know this. :mrgreen:
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Tue May 17, 2016 5:24 am

Back in my day, if you couldn't throw a grenade to the range of a flamethrower, you didn't pass basic. The blast radius of a grenade is almost the range of a flamethrower. It is considered very bad manners to throw a grenade inside its blast radius. However, I understand that they are having problems with this now that women are in combat arms.

I wouldn't want a 5 gal can of gasoline strapped to someone's back in my squad. A 5 gallon can of gasoline pressurized to 400psi? NFW

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Netpackrat » Tue May 17, 2016 5:34 am

You miss the point. There's a limit to the number of corners you can make a single grenade go around, no matter how far or accurately you may be able to throw it. With the flamethrower, you hose down the entrance with fire, and in the process you end up filling the bunker or tunnel with CO, which is notably difficult to breathe for very long. That's not to say I would want to be the flamethrower man, or even near him, but the weapon's utility is in being able to neutralize all the rats in a given hole without necessarily having to specifically engage each of them.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby First Shirt » Tue May 17, 2016 1:21 pm

Had a great uncle who was a Marine in the Pacific in WW II, who told me once that a flamethrower scared him more than any weapon in either inventory. As much as he hated the Japanese, he said, he felt sorry for the ones that were on the wrong end of a flamethrower.

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Tue May 17, 2016 5:53 pm

Netpackrat wrote:That's not to say I would want to be the flamethrower man, or even near him ...
That is exactly the gist of the problem.

No one will debate the efficacy of either of the two weapon systems I compared the flamethrower to - the M65 Atomic Cannon and the "Davey Crockett" would both have devastating effects on whoever was on the receiving end.

The problem is the risks to the soldiers on the shooting end.

I'm not saying that the flamethrower wouldn't be useful, I'm just saying that I wouldn't carry one, nor would I ask any of my troops to carry one.

Just to be clear, what I consider to be immoral is not the effect on the enemy, as First Shirt alluded, but the risks to my own men.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby randy » Tue May 17, 2016 5:59 pm

Netpackrat wrote:You miss the point. There's a limit to the number of corners you can make a single grenade go around, no matter how far or accurately you may be able to throw it. ..., but the weapon's utility is in being able to neutralize all the rats in a given hole without necessarily having to specifically engage each of them.


That's why today's go-to for such a situation is a weapon with a thermobaric warhead, such as the SMAW.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Netpackrat » Tue May 17, 2016 6:00 pm

I'd guess you'd have to balance it against the risks inherent to sending men into the bunker/tunnel complexes with grenades and small arms, to dig out the Japanese. In relation to the sorts of overall losses that were taken in the Pacific, the flamethrower must have been seen as an acceptable risk.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Tue May 17, 2016 6:08 pm

True.

However, that goes back to a debate on the boards awhile ago about dealing the whole "Island Hopping" nonsense MacArthur put US soldiers through in the Pacific - which I also consider immoral.

Whether the problem is rats in a hole or rats on an island, a cheaper and easier way is just to cut off all supplies, open a few beers, grill a few burgers, and wait.

I wouldn't send my men in with guns and grenades, either. But then again, I would probably already be court-martialed and sitting in Leavenworth.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Netpackrat » Tue May 17, 2016 6:11 pm

MacArthur was pretty much a piece of shit.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Tue May 17, 2016 6:13 pm

True that!

I had a great-uncle who was one of the senior officers left behind by MacArthur on the Philippines. He told me that multiple times, so I lost the whole MacArthur myth in my youth.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby MarkD » Tue May 17, 2016 6:24 pm

D5CAV wrote:True that!

I had a great-uncle who was one of the senior officers left behind by MacArthur on the Philippines. He told me that multiple times, so I lost the whole MacArthur myth in my youth.


My Dad (himself a World War II Marine) was fond of saying "By the Grace of God, and a few Marines, MacArthur returned to the Philippines."

Given that grunts don't get to decide IF they attack a particular island (like, say, Iwo Jima), the flamethrower was the better of the available methods.

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby MiddleAgedKen » Tue May 17, 2016 7:10 pm

Ah, yes, the legendary Dugout Doug. The Bonus Army wants to know what deal they could have made to get him to leave his air force lined up wingtip to wingtip with twelve hours' warning of a possible attack.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Aesop » Tue May 17, 2016 8:29 pm

D5CAV wrote:Back in my day, if you couldn't throw a grenade to the range of a flamethrower, you didn't pass basic. The blast radius of a grenade is almost the range of a flamethrower. It is considered very bad manners to throw a grenade inside its blast radius. However, I understand that they are having problems with this now that women are in combat arms.

I wouldn't want a 5 gal can of gasoline strapped to someone's back in my squad. A 5 gallon can of gasoline pressurized to 400psi? NFW

But, hey, if you want to volunteer ...


Please pay closer attention to the training materials. :D
In order:
1) The flamethrower projects flame, which burns over there, not back at you, and keeps burning if it hits anything or anyone flammable.
While a grenade might miss a firing slit (and then bounce back towards you), missing with a few ounces of gasoline isn't a problem, because you can move the stream around until you hit the sweet spot, and the screaming inside the bunker confirms proper weapons placement. Let's see some Smartypants do that with a grenade.
2) The gasoline is always at 14.7psi. The nitrogen propellant tank is the pressurized one. That's the one that does the work.
If somebody throws a WP grenade on your ass, it's a problem, but at that point, whether or not you were carrying four gallons of gasoline is largely moot. The only real drawbacks are signature, weight, and limited capacity before it's empty. The plusses are that anything within range you can see is going to die a horrible flaming death.
3)A grenade goes "whump" once, and showers a few bits of shrapnel. A flamethrower shoots flaming death into bunker slits from 40 yards away, and keeps burning the ass of whomever you splooged, long after the accelerant dies out. And they helpfully scream like little girls the entire time, and flail about, giving you additional morale kills on your intended enemies, and occasionally the 'splodey things on their body like ammo and grenades provide additional secondary explosions and casualties as they cook off! Yay, ingenuity!
4) It was a de facto antitank weapon in urban combat, because you could take out multiple AFVs with the backpack equivalent of a Molotov Cocktail Launcher. I would love to see what one would do to an M1 Abrams or M2/M3 Bradley, let alone an MRAP, just for research purposes. I think it would open some eyes and shut a few mouths.
5) It's exactly the weapon we should use for firing squads for terrorists captured in wars like Iraq and A-stan.

Nota bene that cultural mores are such that despite issuing thousands of them, no one from WWII or Korea ever says "I was a flamethrower operator." NO ONE. As Col. Kurtz observed, we teach young men to drop fire on their enemies, but we won't let them write "Fuck" on their airplanes. No one wants their relatives and friends to know that their job was to fry enemy soldiers and watch them dance around on fire. It upsets people at their breakfast.

The jackassical M202A1 was an abortion of a weapon to replace the M2, another legacy of the NacNamara DoD Idiot Trust of dumb ideas. The rockets leaked, thus insuring that if you every fired it, 70/30 you would go up in the same blast, every time, if the pyrophyric agent didn't spontaneously combust the operator and anyone nearby before use upon contact with air. The best use of that system would have been to deliver them, intact, to the enemy, in hopes they would be deployed.

It's criminal that a bunch of non-combat jackasses and multi-star pussies have relegated hella-effective weapons like Claymores, Bouncing Betties, Toe Poppers, and M2 flamethrowers to the scrap heap, but that combat troops have to wear reflective belts to go jogging. I'm surprised they haven't added a module to the M-4 that lets anyone forward of the muzzle know that a loud device is about to employed, and to please cover their ears, just before firing ignition, and make BUD/S trainees wear arm floaties before pool training. If anyone is still active, do they still do (sanitized for your protection) jody calls when running, or do TPTB just hold a formation group hug afterwards, and award participation trophies? Buncha fucking pussies...
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby MarkD » Tue May 17, 2016 8:57 pm

Aesop wrote:(snip)
2) The gasoline is always at 14.7psi. The nitrogen propellant tank is the pressurized one. (snip).


Sorry Aesop, but at least according to the video the fuel is pressurized to 300+ psi, the pressure tank is much higher, and there's a regulator to keep the fuel flowing at that 300+ psi. There was a safety cut-off set for 400-something psi in case the regulator failed and pumped enough pressure into the fuel tanks that the may rupture.

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Aesop » Tue May 17, 2016 9:47 pm

Yes, but no.
The fuel tanks were pressurized during firing (so no, not always at 14.7psi), but only when you opened the propellant tank up (to fire), until the fuel was used up. Then you vent the pressurized nitrogen, and you're just carrying an empty metal can.
They were filled, as you'll note, by hand, through open valves.
You only pressure up just before you fire, and you only stay pressurized until you're out of fuel.
(Otherwise when you open the supply cap to refill, you'd be picking it out of your head when it came off at 380psi.)

So functionally, for a few seconds to maybe a few minutes - when you were flame-on at the enemy.
4-5 bursts, and then you were empty anyways, and then it's just three tanks full of nitrogen gas.
Not walking around with all tanks jacked up to maximum all the time.

As Ian noted in the video, the only problem was actually having nitrogen for an inert propellant. Substituting compressed air made everything flammable.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby randy » Tue May 17, 2016 9:55 pm

Aesop wrote:Nota bene that cultural mores are such that despite issuing thousands of them, no one from WWII or Korea ever says "I was a flamethrower operator." NO ONE. As Col. Kurtz observed, we teach young men to drop fire on their enemies, but we won't let them write "Fuck" on their airplanes. No one wants their relatives and friends to know that their job was to fry enemy soldiers and watch them dance around on fire. It upsets people at their breakfast.


Not sure of accuracy, and can't remember the source, but I read somewhere that Wehrmacht Flammenwerfer operators had their ID cards reissued to remove that specific qualification. Supposedly, if captured by the Soviets, troops with IDs carrying that qualification were given a taste of being on the receiving end.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby MarkD » Tue May 17, 2016 11:50 pm

Aesop wrote:Yes, but no.
The fuel tanks were pressurized during firing (so no, not always at 14.7psi), but only when you opened the propellant tank up (to fire), until the fuel was used up. Then you vent the pressurized nitrogen, and you're just carrying an empty metal can.
They were filled, as you'll note, by hand, through open valves.
You only pressure up just before you fire, and you only stay pressurized until you're out of fuel.
(Otherwise when you open the supply cap to refill, you'd be picking it out of your head when it came off at 380psi.)

So functionally, for a few seconds to maybe a few minutes - when you were flame-on at the enemy.
4-5 bursts, and then you were empty anyways, and then it's just three tanks full of nitrogen gas.
Not walking around with all tanks jacked up to maximum all the time.

As Ian noted in the video, the only problem was actually having nitrogen for an inert propellant. Substituting compressed air made everything flammable.


Ah, OK, gotcha, my bad.

I KNEW there was something I was missing.

Never carried or used one. Dad spoke highly of them on Iwo Jima. And wouldn't have traded places with them, because they were third behind Corpsmen and officers to be shot at.

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby D5CAV » Wed May 18, 2016 2:55 am

Aesop wrote:The only real drawbacks are signature, weight, and limited capacity before it's empty. The plusses are that anything within range you can see is going to die a horrible flaming death.
Hey NPR, it looks like you're off the hook and we get to have our flamethrower, after all.

Aesop just volunteered to be on point humping the flamethrower.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby toad » Wed May 18, 2016 5:57 am

Then there is the ever popular M34 white phosphorous grenade. Don't leave home without a canteen full of copper sulfate solution and/or a pointy knife to flick off fragments that land on you when the wind is wrong or they bounce off something in your direction.

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Cybrludite » Wed May 18, 2016 9:18 am

Aesop wrote:It's criminal that a bunch of non-combat jackasses and multi-star pussies have relegated hella-effective weapons like Claymores, Bouncing Betties, Toe Poppers, and M2 flamethrowers to the scrap heap, but that combat troops have to wear reflective belts to go jogging. I'm surprised they haven't added a module to the M-4 that lets anyone forward of the muzzle know that a loud device is about to employed, and to please cover their ears, just before firing ignition, and make BUD/S trainees wear arm floaties before pool training. If anyone is still active, do they still do (sanitized for your protection) jody calls when running, or do TPTB just hold a formation group hug afterwards, and award participation trophies? Buncha fucking pussies...

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Aesop » Wed May 18, 2016 10:59 pm

Cybrludite wrote:
Aesop wrote:It's criminal that a bunch of non-combat jackasses and multi-star pussies have relegated hella-effective weapons like Claymores, Bouncing Betties, Toe Poppers, and M2 flamethrowers to the scrap heap, but that combat troops have to wear reflective belts to go jogging. I'm surprised they haven't added a module to the M-4 that lets anyone forward of the muzzle know that a loud device is about to employed, and to please cover their ears, just before firing ignition, and make BUD/S trainees wear arm floaties before pool training. If anyone is still active, do they still do (sanitized for your protection) jody calls when running, or do TPTB just hold a formation group hug afterwards, and award participation trophies? Buncha fucking pussies...

Tun Tavern, November 10, 1775, as the second man marks his X on the dotted line, the first one to have done so looks at him and says, "It ain't like it was in the Old Corps." :twisted:


Sorry, but things have gone a few astronomical units beyond simple "Old Cords, New Corps" bullshit:
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The first place to deploy a flamethrower would be DoD and the Pentagon.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Jericho941 » Thu May 19, 2016 1:06 am

...why do you have that?

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby JustinR » Thu May 19, 2016 1:40 am

Well...they ARE flaming.

Aesop still needs to go sit in the corner and think about what he's done after posting that. Where did I put that mind napalm...
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Netpackrat » Thu May 19, 2016 2:48 am

Jericho941 wrote:...why do you have that?


He's looking for a few good men.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby HTRN » Thu May 19, 2016 8:24 am

Fun fact: flame throwers are completely unregulated, AF least on a federal level.
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Cybrludite » Thu May 19, 2016 9:28 am

Aesop wrote:
Cybrludite wrote:
Aesop wrote:It's criminal that a bunch of non-combat jackasses and multi-star pussies have relegated hella-effective weapons like Claymores, Bouncing Betties, Toe Poppers, and M2 flamethrowers to the scrap heap, but that combat troops have to wear reflective belts to go jogging. I'm surprised they haven't added a module to the M-4 that lets anyone forward of the muzzle know that a loud device is about to employed, and to please cover their ears, just before firing ignition, and make BUD/S trainees wear arm floaties before pool training. If anyone is still active, do they still do (sanitized for your protection) jody calls when running, or do TPTB just hold a formation group hug afterwards, and award participation trophies? Buncha fucking pussies...

Tun Tavern, November 10, 1775, as the second man marks his X on the dotted line, the first one to have done so looks at him and says, "It ain't like it was in the Old Corps." :twisted:


Sorry, but things have gone a few astronomical units beyond simple "Old Cords, New Corps" bullshit:

True, but any excuse to dust off that joke will be used. (Even if it results in me needing a dustoff...)
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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby Aesop » Thu May 19, 2016 12:02 pm

Jericho941 wrote:...why do you have that?


Rethink your premise: the internet has that.
It's a wonder it isn't next year's Army recruiting poster.
"There are four types of homicide: felonious, accidental, justifiable, and praiseworthy." -Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"

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Re: The US Army adopts the Charlie G

Postby toad » Thu May 19, 2016 2:00 pm

Just read that the regular Army is adopting the Charles Gustave 84 mm recoilless rifle. There are a very broad selection of rounds for it. I wonder if they have a white phosphorous round :?:

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Re: The M2 flame thrower

Postby SoupOrMan » Fri May 20, 2016 7:15 am

Aesop wrote:Sorry, but things have gone a few astronomical units beyond simple "Old Cords, New Corps" bullshit:


This was pretty much the way an old Stargate campaign went... a bunch of Army officers making out, while my PJ and a Navy Seabee (the only two enlisted men, played by the only two veterans in the group) actually went and did important stuff dealing with alien threats to Earth.
Remember, folks, you can't spell "douche" without "Che."

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