Author Topic: Ballistics questions  (Read 51814 times)

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2006, 10:47:53 AM »
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So, we have two GDs visibly alive after the execution, despite three of them having received head shots.


Correct me if I've skimmed over something, but according to the physical evidence, we can only be certain that two GDs (Olga & Tatiana) received head wounds, right?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by sarahelizabethii »
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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2006, 10:56:44 AM »
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Correct me if I've skimmed over something, but according to the physical evidence, we can only be certain that two GDs received head wounds, right?



Yes, you're right.  :)  I didn't want to include that in case I was wrong, but I don't remember seeing a third GD skull with a shot wound.

FOTR says that three GDs received head shots.  But, the skeleton of Marie/Anastasia is missing part of the skull so we can't tell for certain, I believe?  Yurovsky testified that Marie was 'finished off with a shot to the head'.  Though, knowing Yurovsky, and with no physical evidence, how true this is is questionable.

Also, two grand duchesses, supposedly one at least with a direct, close range head shot, were still alive enough to make noises afterwards.  So, I don't know.  I'm going on what Yurovksy says for now, quoted in FOTR, but I suppose we can't take it as concrete.

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2006, 11:00:26 AM »
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Report from my friend George: it would be very hard to shoot through diamond studded jewelry.  You'd have to get it just exactly right. Further confirmation of my suspicions on the "armored corsets" theory.


I'd say you'd have to land the shot just right to have the jewelry stop a shot.  I have seen some of the Romanov jewels on display.  They were generally in small mounts chained or soldered together by very delicate filigree.  They were not mounted into large, rigid shields of thick metal plate.  Such a mounted jewel would have been the most difficult to hide on a body, and it would have had the lowest value to weight ratio . . . therefore probably the least likely type of jewel to have been chosen for transporting wealth secretly.

Let's say, though, for argument's sake that jewelry did stop the bullets.  That energy must be dissipated somewhere and somehow.  Talk to someone who has been shot while wearing a kevlar vest.  The impact is ferocious, often knocking the person off his feet and leaving serious bruises.

The energy of stopped bullets does not just disappear.  Some is converted to heat, some passes into the person wearing the shield.  A hail of bullets did not go bouncing off a few slight young women and leave them standing.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2006, 11:09:18 AM »
It's a great misconception, that people always die from head wounds. Quite often suicides who shoot themselves in the head simply blind themselves - like that general who was in the conspiracy against Hitler and botched his suicide attempt. Even if someone is shot by someone else in the head, that doesn't mean they're going to die immediately or easily. They could go into convulsions, they could sit up and vomit blood. Anything is possible. As Alfred Hitchcock once put it, in fact it's awfully difficult to kill a human being. And as Dr. Robert Maples put it, people don't always behave as you expect they will after shooting them: "They continue to live, they continue to moan, they convulse. And so, after emptying your handguns, you tend to use other means. And the rifle butts and bayonets were close at hand" (The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, p. 69).  
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2006, 11:20:37 AM »
If you want to see a realistic depiction of murder by revolver shot, go to see Steven Spielberg's new movie, Munich, and note the murder of the young Dutch woman.

A small entry wound.  No initial flow of blood.  She walks in dazed disbelief across the room and picks up her cat.  She begins to totter against a counter.  She then seats herself in a chair where, finally, she coughs up a bit of blood as her eyes go dead.

Gruesome, I know.

Have you all noticed this thread is getting a huge number of hits . . . and quickly, too?

Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2006, 11:33:58 AM »
Thanks, Tsarfan! I was thinking of seeing that, now I think I'll pass.

Well, what do you know.  We're getting somewhere.

Now I know more about guns and wounds they can inflict, I'm willing to believe then that abdominal wounds were the reason why the GDs needed finishing off.  If they had abdominal wounds, they therefore were not protected by the jewels in their corsets.

SO...logically we can now pretty much definitively say that the corsets were useless as protection.

I liked Nadezdha's theory that perhaps Yurovsky used it as an excuse for his botched execution.

You know, this has made me think.  So much stuff like this I just take for granted as being true without question.  For so long I believed that the jewels in the corsets were basically body armour.  Now I know differently, all of my secret thoughts about the possibility of survival have been proved incorrect.  I now have no doubt whatsoever that everyone in that room died that night.  Thanks so much Tsarfan for all of your helpful information. :)  Policemen always are so helpful! You need directions? Ask a policeman.  You need a lift home when you're drunk? Ask a policeman.  You need information on gunshot wounds? What do you know- ask a policeman! ;)

Rachel
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'History teaches that history teaches us nothing' ~ Hegel

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2006, 12:23:44 PM »
Now c'mon . . . I wasn't accusing anyone of being a voyeur.  I was just inserting a little tongue into cheek to lighten up a discussion that has left me a bit unsettled and seeking company in my discomfit.

Glad to have you all here with me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2006, 12:31:59 PM »
I've said it before, Maria could have been alive after a head shot.  If she and Anastasia were still alive, it would have been her sitting up and covering her face (it may also have been an involuntary movement resulting from her body shutting down that was misinterpreted).  Anastasia would have been the one making gutteral noises.  Olga and Tatiana had their faces essentially blown off and there is no other identification of the screamer/gurgler that would indicate it was Demidova.  

The noises resulted in Anastasia attempting to talk but drowning in her own blood from severe internal trauma or a collapsed lung.  
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2006, 01:01:33 PM »
Liz, we don't know that any of this is actually the case. All we have are bits and pieces of evidence quoted in King and Wilson's Fate of the Romanovs. But the authors don't quote any of their sources at length; the way they choose to share their information with us, the eyewitness testimony is thoroughly chopped up and dispersed throughout the narrative. I have Veniamin Alexeev's book in the original Russian; I can tell you that King and Wilson are really pushing it when they state as a fact that it was Maria Nikolaevna who ran towards the cellar doors and was shot in the legs (the original source, Medvedev-Kudrin in Alexeev, says no such thing!). King and Wilson have been known to play fast and loose with their sources even before this. So I say, until we have the complete depositions of each witness in the original Russian or else in English translation, it is my personal judgement that we're in no position to say who sat up when and who had a head wound when, if ever.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2006, 02:04:12 PM »
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Liz, we don't know that any of this is actually the case. All we have are bits and pieces of evidence quoted in King and Wilson's Fate of the Romanovs. But the authors don't quote any of their sources at length; the way they choose to share their information with us, the eyewitness testimony is thoroughly chopped up and dispersed throughout the narrative. I have Veniamin Alexeev's book in the original Russian; I can tell you that King and Wilson are really pushing it when they state as a fact that it was Maria Nikolaevna who ran towards the cellar doors and was shot in the legs (the original source, Medvedev-Kudrin in Alexeev, says no such thing!). King and Wilson have been known to play fast and loose with their sources even before this. So I say, until we have the complete depositions of each witness in the original Russian or else in English translation, it is my personal judgement that we're in no position to say who sat up when and who had a head wound when, if ever.


I don't trust much of what is in FOTR when talking about the execution scene either  ;)  Which is why I didn't include any body shots to Marie (if I did, I shouldn't have).  I think it's likely that she was shot, that they were all shot, but the wound was unfortunately not fatal meaning the quickest way to stop the flopping and screaming would be a bullet to the head (crude, but true).  Or given Ermakov's rage a quick slice across the neck (which could have happened to Anastasia giving the distinct impression of gutteral noises and blood coming from her head/mouth).  With the agitated nature of that whole night, there is a possibility the head wound was at a bad angle and only aggravated her condition and keeping her alive enough to sit up and cover her face (although I still maintain it could have been an involuntary twitch mistaken for something greater).  As for the guttering person, the only GD that leaves in my mind is Anastasia (Demidova would have been mentioned, I am sure, and in the basement she was probably sliced to bits thanks to her struggling and lack of protection).  I have never seen mention of a head shot for Anastasia, so maybe her wounds were extensive enough that they did not find it necessary to hurry death.  Or she was already dead.  

The whole execution was an unnecessary mess and only shows me Yurovsky was not some evil villainnous (sp?) master mind as some people would make him out to be.  This should have been a simple exeuction and he couldn't even get that right so it became a disgusting comedy of errors.  Twelve men against an eleven person party in extremely close quarters.  They could have been sleepy or drunk and still things should not have turned into what they did.  Every man theoretically gets two shots at Nicholas, less than half make it into him and a half of that half hit others.  They start emptying their guns into specific others wounding other members in the party as a consequence.  The party was shocked and scared, not running around like rabbits.  Alexandra and Alexei even remained seated, the girls were in pairs huddled together and Demidova had pushed herself against a wall.  Easy targets, sitting ducks basically.

As for the smoke, it would have been thick but it also would have quickly risen or dissipated.  Even if it remained relatively low, the girls and Demidova were huddled together and could have been seen either below the smoke (if they were sitting/crouching) or their shilouettes would have combined to make their appearance more noticeable.  The guards would also have been able to hear them, even above the firing.   

I feel the stories of what happened in the basment are probably grossly exaggerated in terms of gore and time (see my comment on reloading) and have been dramatized to the point of idiocy.  Only tests, in my mind, will help sort out at least a portion of what happened.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarina_Liz »
Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2006, 05:36:06 PM »
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No, but rifle butts & bayonets will do the job in a pinch.  :P

There was extensive damage to the facial bones, remember, consistent with blows from rifle butts. Granted, we can't know how much of that damage was inflicted post-mortem. And, since we have no soft tissue to examine, it's equally impossible to know the extent of the damage inflicted by bayonets, even without the puzzle of diamond corset/armor...


If you look at the list of guns handed out by Yurovsky to the other executioners,  there are no rifles involved.

Quote

 
Quote

...[in part]...


Yourvsky's account:

p. 634 LIFELONG PASSION

>>Yurovsky  On the morning of the 16th....
Twleve revolvers were prepared, and it was decided who would shoot at whom.  Conrade Filipp [Goloschekin] informed me that a lorry would come at midnight, that the newcomers were to be admitted on giving the password, and the bodies handed over to them, to be taken away for burial."<<

....

ARBear


THE FATE OF THE ROMANOVS by King and Wilson p. 297:
>>...He ordered Medvedev to collect the revolvers from al of the guards on exterior duty.  When Medvedev returned, he placed the assembled collection on the desk in the commandant's office, leaving Yurovsky to sort through the arssenal with which the crime would be committed.  Fourteen guns were used that night.  There were six pistoles: a .28-caliber** (6.43 mm) Browning; a .32-caliber (7.63* mm) Browning; two .45-caliber (11.43) American Colts; and two .32-caliber (7.63 mm) Mausers; and eight revolvers:  a .42-caliber (10.66 mm) Smith and Wesson; four .30 - caliber (7.62 mm) Nagants; and three .35-caliber (9mm) Nagants.  The most powerful weapons were the two [p. 298] Maussers, with a velocity of 1,400 feet per second.  Of the fourteen guns, nine--all of the Nagants, and the Colts --used gunpower to fire their bullets, causing a discharge of smoke and caustic fumes.  Among them, they held a total of 103 shots.<<


AGRBear

PS
*& **Error in typing corrected:
Quote
...[in part]...

Dear Mrs. Bear,

Using the information that you posted above, I started to research the technical specifications of the fireams that you listed. I did however find some inaccuracies in this list which may simply be explained by mistyping. For example:

.28 caliber (6.43 mm) Browning- Browning did not make a .28 cal. but rather a .25 cal. pistol.

.32-caliber (7.73 mm) Browning- Metric conversion of a .32 cal. cartridge is 7.63 mm rather than 7.73 mm.
....

David




The bayonet used by Ermakov was said to have been "detached".

There are two threads which talk just about the bayonet/bayonets used.

The smashing of faces used by rifles wasn't done until just before the nine bodies were placed into the mass grave in Pig's Meadow.  These are the kind of blows Maples mentioned to several skulls like Marie's.  I forget the number at the moment.

AGRBear


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline Tania+

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2006, 07:49:05 PM »
Thanks for your entry Nadezhda Edvardova. This captures my attention the most.

"Looks like about eleven bullets can be accounted for in injuries, so that means that 98 bullets were spent without injury"

There is a lot of explanation to give isn't there ?

Tatiana+

Quote
Looks like about eleven bullets can be accounted for in injuries, so that means that 98 bullets were spent without injury.

My classroom is approximately the size of the murder room, and with good attendance, has close to the 22 people the murder room held that night. No way could even a poor shot like me miss.  

It's starting to look like the IF fell or were knocked down in the confusion, and the bullets ricocheting were the result of hitting the brick of the walls.  In which case, it's starting to look like Yurovsky was either wrong or lying about the "jeweled armor." P&B, N.

TatianaA


Offline AGRBear

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #57 on: February 22, 2006, 08:03:13 PM »
DEAD MEN DO TELL TALES by William R. Maples, PH.D. p. 252:

>>In all, foureen bullets were recovered from the grave, along with the remains of one had grenade detonator.   All the bullets were 7.62, 7.63 or 7.65, about the equivaent of .32-caliber bullets.  The Russians told us they believed nine of the bullets came from Nagants, four came possibly from a Browning and one from some other gun, possibly a Mauser.  These bullet had almost certainly lodged in the bodies at the time of death but twelve of them had gradually come loose as the remains decomposed.<<

Since I have not seen any of Maples actual reports,  I do not know how he came to this conclusion about the bullet being in the remains found in the mass grave.

p. 254 Maples continues:
>>The bodies Numbers 2,3 and 6, had though -and-through gunshot wounds to the head.  Another body, No. 9, had stab wound in the breastbone that could have been made by a bayonet.<<

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline Tsarina_Liz

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #58 on: February 22, 2006, 08:05:32 PM »
Pistol whipping can do quite a bit of damage.  I am sure if someone tried enough, the could have beat up the girls just as badly with a pistol butt.  

The bayonet, if seperate, could have been even more lethal because instead of stabbing with a rifle (which, trust me, is ackward) lessens accuracy.  A detached bayonet will strike with extreme accuracy.  

And, of course, there was probably some kicking by guards, blows to the heads resulting from a fall, and simply dropping the slippery bodies.
Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Ballistics questions
« Reply #59 on: February 22, 2006, 08:11:55 PM »
Quote



Take a really good look at this room.  Then imagine 11 victims standing in the back half of the room in front of a firing squad.

How could only 10% of the bullets have found their target?  Why assume that only those bullets that left marks on incomplete skeletons were the only bullets that found a victim that night?

Is there any reason for ignoring the entire discussion about soft tissue injuries?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »