11/28/19 – Kick It In!

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, November 25, 2019.




Sometimes when one is tired, even kicking a bomb down a manhole can be a challenge.


  1. War Pig

    In Nam we used to dig grenade sumps in the bottom of our trenches and fighting holes. Grenade comes in, you kick it into the sump which is angled away from you.

    In WWI and WWII American GIs used 12 gauge shotguns to blast German stick grenades in mid air.

    1. Kaidah

      Were you in Vietnam? I know you’ve served but somehow I got the impression that you were younger than that.

      The stark reality of having to dig holes specifically for grenades that will get thrown at you to be kicked (kicked! O_O) into is an incredibly sobering thought for first thing in the morning.

      1. War Pig

        I am 70 years old. I was there. 2/5 Marines, Hotel Company under Captain Christmas (his real name). We retook Hue during the battle of Tet 1968. I had just turned nineteen and had been in Nam for about three weeks when we were sent to Hue. My company took 50% casualties, including Captain Christmas, who received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions at Hue and later retired at the rank of Lieutenant General (three stars for you civilians). Heck of a thing for a nineteen year old to go through, but I wasn’t the only youngster there. We went in as youngsters, but we were all old, centuries and centuries old, when the battle was over.

        That’s why I enjoy Thanksgiving so much. I have a lot to be thankful for.

        1. Muzhik

          Sir, I salute you and thank you for your service. I was only 11 in 1968. I never even got a draft card — the war ended and they cancelled the requirement to register for the draft just before I turned 18, and they didn’t reinstate the requirement until after I turned 25.

          (Besides, with my ADHD at the time, I was NOT the person you would want next to you during a firefight. “Kick the grenade? What grenade? I didn’t see one coming — oh, there. Where’s the sump?”)

          1. War Pig

            I don’t know. Being shot at tends to focus your attention like you would not believe. 😉 It can cure your AD, and not jumping around to expose yourself to enemy fire will cure your HD.

        2. Pete Rogan

          You helped retake Hue? My profound respect to you, War Pig, sir. You have been where valor came at a dear price indeed. Glad you made it back. I pass you my bottle. Won’t need it back.

        3. Kaidah

          Well damn. Much respect to you sir. As a Canadian born nearly 10 years later my experiences of Vietnam are stories from a high school history teacher who served with the peacekeeping forces in ’73, movies, and a lot of reading. I know Hue was bad, and I can’t begin to imagine what having to go through that at 19 and less than a month in-country could have been like.

          I’m very grateful that me and my family are thus far ignorant of the horrors of combat, and are eternally indebted to people like you and yours who help to ensure that way of life for me and mine. In the spirit of thanksgiving I thank you for your service to all of us.

        4. Gregg Eshelman

          Thank you, sir. And @#%@#@ the politicians who got us into Vietnam, and @#%@#@ the politicians (and “useful idiots”) who wouldn’t let us win after getting us into it.

      1. Keith

        Yes, they still do and it’s right there in SMCT a nice little book for quick classes and training in a pinch it’s thick enough to stop even 7.62 nato (not armor piercing ymmv) But, yeah sumps are nice if the ground lets you. It’s more complicated in sand. Way more complicated.

  2. Rikard

    Explosions in sewers? Of course, it could be some kind of real-estate-friendly device.

    “Want to flesh out the market value of your neighbourhood? Use the environtment-friendly neutron-based ‘Flesh out’ – no fallout, no problems! All it leaves is a whiff of ozone – and it’s now availably in lilac and also pine scented residual gasses! Buy ten and get 15% off!”

  3. Muzhik

    We won’t say anything about all the suddenly-backed-up toilets and drains in Murcia.

    I somehow doubt that Mucia is so … provincial … as to have toilets and drains go directly into an effluent stream that hopefully leads outside the city and into the drinking taps of cities downstream.

    No, I think what’s more likely is the discovery/recovery of several decomposing organisms whose disappearances can be linked to improperly conducted pharmaceutical transactions. Also, the clearing out of several places where the street sewer systems had too much mud and gunk accumulate, where the waters can now flow much more quickly.

    All thanks to alien technology. Yay.

  4. Pete Rogan

    One solution for fatberg clearance, I do admit. Though I’m not sure it should be used more than once.

    Another reminder that Life is like a sewer: What you get out of it depends on what you put into it. Thank you, Tom Lehrer.

    1. Keith

      Yeah, I”m pretty sure that considering the state of the sewers…much like caldeum but with fewer demons. The average sewer is just going to collapse and or blow out. Think car eating sinkholes. Conspiracy theory nutcases blaming a soviet/mafia/aliens theory claiming it’s an effort to make Elvis come back to earth and rule as god imperatrix.

    1. Muzhik

      @Richard, don’t forget the atomic mine: a low-yield (relatively speaking) that would definitely take out the tank that ran over it, plus one or two on each side of it. It also had the advantage of making it … interesting … for enemy infantry to cross over after the mine detonated. They would still live a few more years to give their lives for their Glorious Leader.

      Definitely a weapon to be used along a recognized border, and on land you didn’t plan on using after the war anyway …

      1. Pete Rogan

        Getting an atomic device small enough to use as a hand grenade was difficult enough. But the smallest deployed nuclear weapon, the Davy Crockett, was eased out of the TOE in 1971, when the Pentagon realized they represented giving the go-ahead to use nukes on the battlefield to twenty-two year-old lieutenants. Crossing the nuclear weapon line, they finally realized, would give permission to the other side to go nuclear as well, and escalation past that point had no natural bar. Nuke Kalisz? They might up the ante on Bonn, and then where do you go?

        For a time, nuclear demolition charges were built, the idea being that they would guarantee a bridge would fall or a road or train tunnel collapse, but there was that gosh-darned problem of escalation again. Still, it’s sobering to think that Green Berets would be inserted to lug one of these charges on foot to an intended target, arm it, then get out of the lethal range in time. Nothing like the movie at all.

  5. TB

    A little off-topic here:

    Just got my Spacetrawler books in the mail, and they are very well done. Paging through one tonight, I suddenly realized how DENSE the information flow is in this story, and that it was actually easier for me to process the story when it was presented in small daily chunks.

    Hint to any new readers who might pick one of these up in a library or something: this is a comic, but definitely not a speed-read.

    Hint to anyone who ordered these books in the Kickstarter: the author sent out a notice about a week ago to be sure you check everywhere in the package for the goodies, including between packing sheets.

    Do not fail to do this. There is a lot of nice swag, and you don’t want to miss any.

    1. Meran

      Yes! I almost tossed the patch! And I did NOT see that warning.

      I’m very into reuse of things like flat unmarked paper… so I found my patch while sorting the packaging for proper reuse of it all. It hit the floor, I pounced, then realized how closely I’d gotten to throwing it out ??

      I agree about the density of information on Chris’s comics! And I’m re-reading the series in book form this time. It’s amazing how much I’d forgotten. And old Mr Zillow’s face is SO DIFFERENT from how Chris is drawing him now. Beyond Hilarious and into the Preponderance.

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