There was a time when Stormin Norman Schwartzkopf was the most popular
guy in America. When spy satellite images revealed that the US Desert
Storm forces could simply go around the Iraqi army and thereby avoid
having to deal with potential Iraqi chemical and biological weapons,
Norman thought "Thank You!" and led an assault that will go down in
history as the most successful war ever fought.
I still remember watching the first evening of the war on CNN. CNN had
just started up as a network, and this war was the first major news
story they covered. On Saddam's orders, ONLY CNN was allowed to remain
in Bagdad to cover the war for American television, and they got some
amazing footage. This was the very first time America had used it's
F117A stealth fighter, and they blinded the Iraqi missle batteries by
taking out all their radar installations first. Once those radar
installations were out, conventional bombers and fighters could operate
more safely over Iraq. The Iraqi air force could do nothing except send
their pilots to fly their MIG fighters to Iran rather than having them
shot down. I expect every one of us remembers that first night where
the Iraqi army in Bagdad was simply firing tracer bullets into the air
hoping to hit something. They could hear the F117A's but at night, they
couldn't see them, and so they were just shooting everywhere.
> their own people in the cities killing them which of course they blamed
> on American bombers? O_o TDD
Probably none of those bullets would have actually killed anyone.
Mythbusters investigated that on one of their TV shows. They used a
vertical wind tunnel to find the terminal velocity of a falling bullet.
What they found was that bullets tumble as they fall because they don't
have fins on the back to keep them pointed nose first like bombs do.
And, it's that un-streamlined shape of a tumbling bullet that causes it
to have a lot of wind resistance and a fairly low terminal velocity of
only 200 mph or so. So, while a big bullet from an anti-aircraft gun
would certainly give you a lump, or even knock you out, the bullet
itself is only going as fast as a hockey puck in a slap shot, and so it
would hurt if it hit you, but wouldn't be lethal.
Still, I considered it to be a senseless waste of ammunition. They may
as well have been blind cuz they couldn't see what they were shooting
at, which is good reason NOT to shoot.
Mythbusters didn't use military ammo in their show. I doubt anyone could
stand as close as they did if military AA ordnance exploded in a fire.
The most dangerous projectiles are fired from a gun at an angle
regardless of caliber. ^_^
Yeah, if I recall, Mythbusters just used an ordinary rifle, like the
kind you might use to hunt deer. I'm not sure that the results would be
significantly different since in both cases there's nothing on either
bullet to keep it from tumbling in freefall, and therefore reaching a
low terminal velocity.
Still, I wouldn't want to be standing under anything that's metal,
falling and headed directly for my fragile head.
We had a large park two or three blocks away from my house when I was a
kid. One end of the park was a playground and the other end had an oval
running track on it. Most of the time there was never anyone in that
park. A friend of mine, Mike Mosquin, wanted to show me how powerful
his new fiberglass bow was, so he laid on his back in his yard, held
back the arrow with his fingers and pulled the bowstring tight by
pushing on the bow with his feet. He launched that arrow toward the
park. We walked to the park and found the arrow stuck in the grass
inside the oval track. That stuck me as a very dangerous thing to do
since neither of us could see who, if anyone, was in the park. But,
being all of 13 or 14 years old, we did it anyway. Luckily, no one got
hurt. Still, I couldn't help but wonder if that arrow would have had
the same penetrating force at the end of it's trajectory than near the
beginning of it's trajectory. I still don't know for sure. The arrow
was stuck in the ground, but (IIRC) it wasn't stuck in as deep as it
would if it were shot into the ground from a closer distance.
There was a weapon in U.S. military inventory which was an air drop
canister filled with 45cal bullets having fins and the canister was
supposed to burst after dropping and disperse the fin stabilized bullets
over a wide area. I'm not sure how effective the weapon was
but I did come across a bin of the finned 45cal bullets in a military
surplus store years ago. I've done a little searching on The Web but
haven't found anything on it yet. Your friend's arrow was probably not
heavy enough to bury itself deeply in a human but the English archers
using the iron tipped arrows fired from their longbows centuries ago
did a lot of damage to their opponents on the battlefield. ^_^
And yet people are regularly killed and injured by bullets fired into the
As to the idiots at Mythbusters, their experiments are quite funny but also
flawed when it comes to real science.
In fairness to Mythbusters, their demonstration showed the tumbling to
be ONLY a concern if something was shot exactly straight up. They noted
that wasn't gonna happen too often. Other than that, it was a
possibility that it could strike someone.
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late
to work within the system, but too early to shoot
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