A Way of Stepping Up Revolutionaries – Revolutionary Travel Article

Way to step up in the arms of the rural revolutionaries

The gunsmith, the lathe master, was showing off the gun with a cool extractor he had developed in front of his PDF comrades. A tidy little extractor was neatly pulling out the bullets. “What an amazing extractor!” With the sound of applause, the eyes of his comrades were shining and they were ready to show off their strength.

Dead bodies were scattered under the banks. Along with the bloody scene, the dry wind carried the fishy smell of blood. Exactly 12 in total. All were PDF soldiers from Chaung-U Township. 6 over 20s were included. Others were 18 years old and the remaining middle-aged.

“4 comrades with guns containing extractors retreated while shooting and got enough time to run away. All these fallen comrades were shooting defensively with single-shot guns at the bank”, said Chaung-U PDF comrade Ko Tun Tauk. He was narrating disconsolately about the heart-breaking battle in Chaung-U Township in February, which was nearly 6 months ago.

Some firearms were scattered around together with the dead bodies of fallen comrades. What amazing guns made from connecting pieces of iron pipes to handles! What amazing guns with charmed threads tied to the woody gunstock! The owners of these guns were silent on the ground without motion.

Soon they will have to quietly disappear into the bosom of the motherland together with the decree.

When I had finished the conversation with Ko Tun Tauk, I was gazing at and thinking about fallen comrades. I asked myself questions. Could I say it was too brave to fight with a single-shot gun? Could I say they were stupid? Was it worth sacrificing the lives of fallen heroes?

Moreover, “the extractor” said by Ko Tun Tauk, came to my head. “Were the ones escaping due to the guns with an extractor?” “Were the ones with their guns without an extractor dead?” “Does an extractor matter that it even determines life?”  My thoughts were running through my head like the hot winds in the rural plains.

I consider the effort of the rural residents and farmers to get arms for the anti-coup Spring Revolution to be actually a history to be recorded in a grand manner.

It is well known throughout the country how fiercely the people from rural regions fought against the coup army with overpowered arms, in a situation where they had nothing but a yoke. In the initial period of the revolution, the rural residents resisted the coup with cheap weapons like air guns, muskets and single-shot guns. Some of them tried to get weapons through the northern part of Sagaing Division, traveling on forest roads on bikes and on foot alternately to the northern part of Myanmar. Among them, most became inventors of various weapons overnight from farmers and developed arms in the yard of their houses in the villages.

It has been more than a year since the revolution, and now in the middle of 2022, the weapons manufacturing workshops of rural houses with their own productivity have incredibly developed. In the townships of Sagaing Division where the revolution is at high speed, it can be seen that the arms for guerrilla attacks are successfully well developed up to the level of not only large weapons such as shoulder launched missiles, long-range missiles and 40 MM grenades, but also important small weapons like snipers, carbines, 9 bullet guns and automatic rifles.

Here, I want to reveal the important role of the extractor although it is small. The extractor, as an example of the fact that although some things seem to be small, like a connecting gear, it can write a vast history, will be firmly stuck in my thoughts.

The extractor is a “small knob” that is mounted to the bolt and urged by an extractor pin to withdraw a cartridge case by gripping it, from the barrel after every shot of the cartridge.

As soon as the trigger is pulled back, the extractor will work automatically to withdraw the cartridge case by gripping the primer at the base of the cartridge and the bolt will work to remove the case. And then another bullet will be reloaded and ready to be fired. Therefore, the extractor is an important small part of modern guns.

The problem is that it is difficult to make a bolt containing an extractor. In the workshops of the rural houses, the weapons are developed only using ordinary stone cutting machines, cutting machines, saws and other basic welding techniques. An extractor is not something that can be easily made. Even if you can do so, it is not easy to make it work up to the level that the extractor pin to neatly grip the groove at the primer base of the cartridge and remove the casing.

It can be roughly said that only when about 100 handmade guns are produced, a gun with a good neat extractor can be developed. Mainly, to produce an extractor, you need a lathe, a gunsmith expert and exact and accurate measurements. To meet these requirements, it is a major challenge for the arms workshops in rural villages that are under the 4-cut by the military council.

Therefore, those who perform ground combat in the rural regions want to have a gun with a good extractor very much in a situation where real guns are not available. They want to exchange accordingly. If it’s among fellow comrades, who are needless to say, guns are stolen or rented.

The bearer of a gun without an extractor had to poke a spent cartridge out of the barrel with a long nail and then load another cartridge. It is time-consuming and too much in disarray. Think about it- Armed rural revolutionaries are very risky because they are defending themselves on both sides-damaging battles with terrorist military army, camp raids and arson of villages with slow-moving weapons which are only a little more than muskets.

It is no small numbers that many revolutionary hero peasants had to give their lives in the Spring Revolution while holding a single shot gun because they did not know about the extractor technology and could not use it in practice. From the battles within the last year 2021, such as the Yinmarbin-Thapyay Aye battles, Ayadaw-Malalthar battles and Pale region battles, to the battles in the 2nd week of February this year, like battles in Chaung-U Township and Depayin villages, and the battles not too long ago such as Ye-U battles and Myinmu battles, dead bodies of local people defense forces with handmade guns were heartbrokenly seen by the whole country. 

Along with them, we found single shot guns which were only just like nail rods. If they have modern automatic rifles, the people who will be injured the most in these battles will be the terrorist fascist junta.

At the beginning of this year, while wandering around the rural region, I came across the Depayin PDF group who are revolting strongly on the outskirts of Depayin Township. It was encouraging to see that the group, in cooperation with a weapons manufacturing group in Ayadaw Township, recruited a gunsmith expert in “the lathe” and systematically produced guns with an extractor.

The leader of the Depayin PDF group is a visionary who sells his farm and land and devotes himself to the production of arms. Here’s a related snippet:

Before him, the CDM school teacher Mya Win, also known as the “Herdsman”, led the Depayin PDF team. On December 3, 2021, the military council’s column named Operation Shadow clashed with Herdsman’s team. The Herdsman made his team run away with an incomplete single-shot gun, and he stayed behind with an automated rifle and fought to death.

“If only we had as many weapons back then, our leader wouldn’t have died,” a member said sadly. Their members broke up and sold many of their possessions and only thought about the development of weaponry by inventing them. They work day and night to produce weapons.

“If we had a hundred thousand money, instead of buying a real one, I would want to invest more in the production side. Mainly, we have superior manpower and morale, so I want to equip all my comrades with proper weapons and raise their morale even more,” said a member of Depayin PDF.

“In the beginning, no one knew exactly what to do with those items. All of them are peasants. But Min Aung Hlaing taught us. I tried harder with invincible desire and resentment. We will continue to try,” he said, summarizing the progress of arms production in the rural areas.

In the evening, at Depayin PDF’s camp, I stood next to the lathe operating by generator driving and watched their work. Handguns suddenly became more advanced when the extractor became good. The reason was because the magazine can be installed together. (If the cartridge case has come out automatically, there is no more difficulty in installing the magazine.) In addition, due to the presence of the extractor, it is now closer to being able to fire in series as an automated rifle.

The gunsmith, the lathe master, was showing off the gun with a cool extractor he had developed in front of his PDF comrades. A tidy little extractor was neatly pulling out the bullets. “What an amazing extractor!” With the sound of applause, the eyes of his comrades were shining and they were ready to show off their strength.

Thanks to this lathe, Depayin PDFs can innovate sniper rifles with magazines and can be fired quickly and can be used to shape battles with less casualties later on.

Last May 17 was a day for the members of Depayin PDF to show off their hand-made firearms, and it was also a day on which the blood debt for the former leader, the Herdsman, was paid back. In Sagaing Division, the military council column that was burning village after village was surrounded and attacked near Htantawgone village in Ayadaw Township by the cooperation of Depayin groups as well as allied forces. About 80 military council forces were pressured on for more than three hours.

“During the days of continuous fighting that week, about 30 of these guys (military council soldiers) were killed. Although we are with hand-made guns, they are not like before. Snipers have arrived, It’s all over with magazines,” said one of the group’s leaders, recalling the battle experience.

“The person who gave life has already given, and we must definitely ask for this debt back,” he said bluntly.

I want to conclude. – In the history of the anti-coup revolution, everyone who has fallen down nobly has been the syllabus of the revolution. Every life of the fallen inconspicuous comrades under the rural bank is not in vain. Just as the rural revolutionaries were able to effectively use the advantage of the small extractor of the gun after losing many lives, and the blood and sweat drops of everyone who gave their lives for every stage of the revolution, are powerful forces that will exist like surges and will continue to exist…

Credit to #Reddy Simon



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