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James Tague - impact of sabot sleeve?

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As referenced in other posts, the number of shots fired appears to be higher than 10, from the wounds [3 - 4 for the President, 2 - 3 for Connally], photos, physical evidence and eye witness accounts [2 furrows on the ground, the strike on the sidewalk, the strike on the cement near the manhole cover, the bullet implanted in the windshield chrome, the strike to the pavement on Elm, the strike to the curb which sent debris into the face of bystander James Tague].

James Tague's testimony was the most significant in contesting the Warren Commision's desire for a lone nut assassin firing 3 shots from the rear, in the 6th floor window of the Dallas School Book Depository.

I'm seeking AJ Weberman's consent to use the actual quote from Hemming [see Nodule 17, http://www.ajweberman.com/nodules/nodule17.htm], on his website, but the essence of one of his interviews is as follows:

The first shot was a plant. The bullet used was 'planted' in the soft tissue of Kennedy's back intentionally. A low powered sabot was used.

"Sabot-type slug ammo designs all utilize some type of relatively soft non-metallic sleeve material (usually polymer) that surrounds a smaller diameter bullet projectile. Bullet configurations and sabot designs vary widely by manufacturers and their types of loads, but all sabot ammo is based on the principle that the bullet "sheds" the enclosing sabot in flight (through wind resistance or the centrifugal force of spin imparted by rifling) or on impact."


If we credit the use of sabots, fired in parallel with the use of a silencer from all but the 6th floor window [had to be noisy], and the Grassy Knoll shooter [don't know why a silencer would not have been employed], then you could theorize that some of the 'marks' and the the impact to the curb which struck James Tague was the result of the casing, travelling at a high speed, but potentially a separate, or angled trajectory, than the actual delivered payload.

Hemmings makes this claim for the reason why the sidewalk was struck.

This could explain the large number of strikes, weighed against the number of wounds. The furrows in the grass and the curb where James Tague was standing were directly across from the Knoll [Headshot sabot fragments].

The Elm street hit to the pavement, which was dismissed as a miss, and sounded like a 'backfire' - no pun intended, could have been the result of the sabot fragment. I believe I've read that this conflicts with the impact demonstrated in the Zapruder film?

All pure conjecture, but it would go a long way to resolve some of the outstanding issues in terms of the actual number of bullets fired, and could also be used to determine the trajectory, if an expert could determine the percentage of variation on distance and velocity from center, based upon distance and power.

- lee

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That's not far fetched. A sabot sleeve can do a lot of damage. I was in Abrams Tanks and we were always concerned and avoided firing sabot over infantry in front of us because of the dangers of the diiscarding collar. A 120mm or 105mm sabot's collar can kill.

It would give Gordon Arnold's story a lift if this was the case. Gordon stated something to the effect that the barrel of the weapon of the man who took his film was huge. If someone were using a 12ga. and a sabot round that would be consistent. The "con" for this scenario is that a shotgun would be a low velocity weapon. Would a sabot sleeve have enough force behind it to wound Tague across the street? Probably not unless the round had an extra charge to it.

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Thanks Chris.

Very interesting.

I haven't performed an analysis of the direction of every 'known' or theorized shot, and then compared them against the 'strikes' to the pavement, sidewalks, curb and grass, but it makes a great deal of logical sense. These weren't amateurs - Connally was simply in the way, or, as I've noted elsewhere, he may have been deemed part of the overall exercise. LBJ's pocketman for the long haul, makes you wonder if Connally had any advance warning or not. "These guys are experts John. No one's going to get killed, except Kennedy."

"Oh my God, they're going to kill us all!"

"Assuming this mark was made by a fragment of a bullet from the assassin's rifle, the evidence present is insufficient to establish whether it was caused by a fragment of a bullet striking the occupants of the Presidential limousine, such as the bullet that struck the President's head, or whether it is the fragment of a shot that may have missed the Presidential limousine." [FBI Hoover to Rankin 8.12.64] J. Edgar Hoover also stated: "The piece of curbing containing the mark was removed on August 5, 1964, and examined in the FBI Laboratory. Small foreign metal smears were found adhering to the curbing section within the area of the mark. These metal smears were spectrographically determined to be essentially lead with a trace of antimony. No copper was found. The lead could have originated from the lead core of a mutilated metal-jacketed bullet such as the type of bullet loaded into the 6.5 millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano cartridges or from some other source having the same composition. The absence of copper precludes the possibility that the mark on the curbing section was made by an unmutilated military-type full metal-jacket bullet..."

Here's a picture which illustrates a sabot in action. It's not a 'true' picture of a .30 caliber sabot, as I believe this picture is more relative to a very large caliber anti-tank missile - however theoretically, it's the same principle.

- lee

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I think there's evidence that LBJ tried to change the seating arrangements that morning but JFK insisted that the arrangement stay the way it turned out. They had a heated discussion that was overheard by several aides concerning this.

You are correct in that the photo represents a APFSDS-T (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot - Tracer) round. Here's a link that'll illustrate what a sabot designed for a smaller weapon might resemble:


Remember we're still taking Hoover's word that there were traces of lead on that curb. Just like we're apparently taking his word that LHO wasn't of interest to the Bureau before November, 1963.

Edited by Chris Newton
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Excellent link Chris! Thanks!

So 'Sabot' refers to the sleeve itself.

Note: I am assuming that plastic would not have been in use for the sabot in 1963.

Agreed on Hoover - who knows what was found on that curb - but even if Hoover was telling the truth, couldn't lead have been used in as the 'jacket' for the sabot?

Both quotes from http://www.ajweberman.com/nodules/nodule17.htm

"In the May 1992 Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. James Humes wrote: "The X-rays disclosed fine, dustlike, metallic fragments from back to front where the bullet traversed the head before creating an explosive exit wound on the right temporal-parietal area. These fragments were not grossly visible. Two small bullet fragments were recovered from inside the skull - measuring three by one millimeters and seven by two millimeters... The head was so devastated by the exploding bullet and the gaping jagged stellate wound it created...two thirds of the right cerebrum had been blown away...After the brain was removed, we looked more closely at the wound, and noted that the inside of the rear of the skullbone was absolutely intact and beveled and there could be no question from whence cometh that bullet - [from rear to front]."

"HEMMING: "There are no bullets less than 20 millimeters that actually explode. Twenty millimeter is the smallest you can put a fuse assembly in. The Germans came up with the first one. Hydroshock rounds were developed in the last 20 years. It's a hydraulic function that turns it into a frangible bullet. They want the bullet to penetrate and then explode. Another procedure involves boring out a hole in the bullet, then the same exact weight of the lead that was removed is replaced with solder. Then a little brass plug is put in it. As that sucker is traveling through the air, it's getting hotter and hotter. The solder is melting. It melts at the back of the slug before it melts at the front. When that copper jacket hits anything that gives resistance, the little brass nut starts traveling forward and a hydraulic action occurs. It starts mushrooming and splitting the bullet. The bullet has started to stop, but that little brass plug in the rear of the bullet wants to keep on going. There's nothing to stop it but the liquid. This is squeezing the liquid. You can't compress liquids, and it transfers a foot pound energy throughout that liquid. If the f*cker hits metal, it will explode like a f*cking firecracker into many fragments. If it hits skin, it will only explode probably after it's penetrated three or four inches. Then it starts coming apart into a lot of small pieces. You'll recover solder, copper and lead. The solder melts. It becomes black speckles. It won't even seem metallic."

IMO - the ammo on the headshot [aside from the jacket, the caliber, the type of weapon used, and why a silencer was not employed], is not even an issue. Clearly a sabot, probably loaded with a soft metal - solder, mercury, lead? Chris, would you happen to know whether the size of the weapon and the ammo used may preclude the use of a silencer?

I dispute the account of a firecracker as a diversion on the knoll. A diversion for what? To point out where the shooters were located? And McAdams has the smoke being from a motorcycle's backfire - where would this motorcycle have been located? Strange that this operation would have included the use of a weapon with such a strong report and smoke.

- lee

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Actually the "Sabot" is the projectile. The sleeve or collar is what is discarded once the projectile leaves the barrel. Here's another interesting description which I've highlighted on one very topical point. Remember the mysterious .45 slug?

A Sabot round (pronounced sah-bow') from the French for "shoe" is simply a cartridge that utilizes a smaller than bore diameter projectile held in a bore diameter sleeve. The use of this technique allows higher velocities than normal since the projectile is much lighter than the round's standard projectile and it still has a large base area for the propellant gases to push against. It also provides ballistic advantages over simply using a very light weight bore diameter projectile since the smaller diameter projectile will have a better ballistic coefficient and sectional density for a given weight. The most common commercial uses of this concept are in the Remington Accelerator rounds which fire a 50gr - 55 gr .22 caliber bullet from some common .30 caliber rounds and the new saboted 12 gauge slugs which fire a nominal .45 caliber projectile of about an ounce in weight which give better ballistics that a conventional shotgun slug.

Anyway... back in '63 they'd have to use a plastic or ceramic sleeve of some kind - it wouldn't be metalic at all. a metallic sleeve would defeat the purpose of the round and suck away it's kinetic energy.

If McAdams is stating that experienced people would mistaken exhaust smoke for gunpowder smoke then that just shows how desperately removed from reality he is. Secret Service and other witnesses remember smelling gunpowder near the overpass. Also there are several combat veterans who stated that they heard different weapons firing. I think people without combat experience just don't get what is being said here. All weapons sound different - combat veterans can tell you exactly which weapons their buddies and the enemy are firing by the sounds alone. This hasn't changed in any conflict.

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