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    Really Senior Member jon_norstog's Avatar
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    Cuba Libre

    I posted this on the other list, thought I'd share it here, too

    "read “Cuba Libre” last week, Elmore Leonard's story set in the runup to the Spanish American War. As usual with Leonard, the characters really have character. Ben Tyler and Charlie Burke have 50 horses and a buyer in Cuba. Charlie sets up the deal with his Cuban partner, Victor Fuentes. Ben is just a horse wrangler, but he can do the math. The horses are a cover for something else. Victor and Charlie have put together a deal.

    Gunrunning! Where I part company with Mr. Leonard is the 200 Kragicon carbines that are part of the consignment. 1897 to early '98 I don't think you could get your hands on black market Krags. There just weren't that many of them, they were all needed, and the Army was really good at keeping track of them. I think Mr. Leonard just likes the Krag.

    There's another character, Virgil Webster, a Marine who was blown off the exploding Maine while sleeping in his hammock. Read the story to see how he hooks up with Tyler, and how they both escape from prison at El Morro and join up with Victor and the insurgentes.

    “Virgil had traded a Mauser carbine for a Krag-Jorgensen five-shot magazine rifle, the one the U.S. Army was now using. ….. Islero (an insurgente commander) told him a Remington (.43 Spanish) did more damage, accounting for more kills and requiring more amputations; but Virgil liked the Krag on account of it firing a smokeless round.”

    “The Krag was heavier than the Mauser carbine, weighed nine pounds and had a kick, but felt good, Virgil's cheek to the stock, and had that clean smell of oil. He had spotted riders way off at at the edge of the cane, four hundred yards, who appeared military the way they rode single file ...”

    “Virgil sighted on Tyler coming his way, Tyler and the bareback horse with him shielding the three coming hard behind him. He must have realized it, for he swerved, cutting off at an angle and there they were. Virgil took his breath in and fired, bam, and a horse tumbled headfirst and landed on top of its rider ...” Virgil finishes off all three of the mounted Voluntarias, the last one at 20 yards, while taking fire.

    If I were writing the story I would have had the arms shipment be something like Mausers or Remington/Lee rifles, something that you could have picked up a litle easier than the Krag. But I think Mr. Leonard wrote the Krag into the story 'cause he liked the gun and wanted to put it in a story.



    Read the book!

    jn
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    Really Senior Member andiarisaka's Avatar
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    Interesting Jon. In 97 or 98 they didn't get the Krags the way the gangs of the 20s and 30s got their military hardware, as the Krags hadn't gone to the National Guard yet. I guess fiction writers can get away with some things, though hard to do, stealing them for Uncle Sam somewhere along the way could have been a possibility. That's more believable than making silver bullets around the campfire!

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