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Web Video / C&Rsenal

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Othais and Mae and their Wall of Weapons

C&Rsenal is a YouTube channel hosted by blogger-historians Othais and Mae that began as a firearms history blog.

Each Primer episode presents a detailed examination of the development, design, dissasembly, and service history of a particular military weapon or series of weapons, including a live fire demonstration. Since the video series started as a partner channel to The Great War, the C&Rsenal channel began by concentrating on military firearms used in World War I.

In their Anvil series of episodes, gunsmith Mark Novak demonstrates techniques for repairing and restoring the vintage weapons seen on the show.


Tropes appearing on this channel:

  • Crossover:
    • Coinciding with the run of The Great War channel, C&Rsenal ran a series of episodes in which Othais and Indy showed and commented on the rifles and pistols of a particular warring nation.
    • A video conversation between Othais and Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons discusses how Othais's original archival research on the Air Service model of the Springfield M1903 rifle overturned the conventional wisdom regarding the intended role of the weapon. This led to a joint "Q&A" session, and to "Project Lightening," a collaboration between the two channels on the topic of World War I light machine guns.
  • Kill and Replace: As part of a skit parodying telenovelas, Crozier the guinea pig (as Guillermo) takes the place of his supposedly identical twin, Sir Raspberry, by eating him and taking over the family fortune.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Averted. Mae is certainly an attractive lady, but she's also an experienced shooter who is very knowledgable about historical firearms. She does the live-fire demonstrations in part because she's roughly the same height and weight as the average soldier in World War I. If a gun is awkward or cumbersome for her to use, it was probably just as awkward or cumbersome for the man it was originally issued to.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The episode "Making The War" consists of Othais and fellow YouTubers Taofledermaus and Bloke on the Range examining old film shot in a gun factory. They find the lack of safety equipment disturbing.
  • Only One Name: Othais and Mae are only called that; averted with gunsmith Mark Novak.
  • Punny Name: "C&Rsenal" is a play on "C&R," which is short for "curio and relic," a defined class of weapons in U.S. law. All of the guns shown on the channel (and the original website) fall into this classification. It's also a pun on "arsenal", a collection of weapons.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Some of the guns of the week include the notoriously flawed Canadian Ross rifle and the Italian Vetterli-Carcano, a black powder rifle converted to fire modern ammunition which the show accurately described as "very explody." Both of the Vetterli-Carcanos they used to film the live fire segment blew up on them.
  • Running Gag:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Othais is a thorough researcher, insists on having a reliable source for all the facts he presents, and tries in each video to cover everything he's learned in his research about the gun of the week. This attention to detail results in some epic-length installments; the episodes on the British SMLE rifle and the U.S. Krag-Jørgensen ran to an hour and forty minutes each, and the two-part episode on Maxim machine guns clocks in just short of three hours. Othais and Mae made sure they covered how the SMLE is considered one of the greatest bolt-action rifles ever made, and that it's not without its flaws.
    • The show goes to great lengths to demonstrate the weapons being used as they were a century ago, even to the point of making their own rounds for guns that use rare or extinct cartridges. For instance, in live-fire demonstrations, Mae shoots pistols one-handed ("fencing style") because that's how European troops of 100 years ago were trained to use them.
    • Gunsmith Mark Novak gives guns borrowed from collectors a thorough inspection, and repairs any defects he finds, before they go out to the range. Some of this work is shown in Anvil episodes.
    • When discussing the Springfield 1903 Air Service variant they were able to source, another researcher assisted them with original cablegrams that prove the role it was meant for. The generally accepted narrative is that it was designed as a survival rifle for downed airmen, but research shows it was an air-to-air weapon fired by pilots at enemy aircraft.
    • In order to get a working example of the Pedersen Device, a never-issued "secret weapon" that converted a standard Springfield rifle into a semi-automatic carbine, Othais reverse-engineered some of the internal parts, and Mark fabricated replacements.
  • Shout-Out: To Futurama via the "War Were Declared" Running Gag, a reference to a scene in which the characters are promised by a military recruiter that they could join the army, exploit the military discount to buy some gum, then turn around and quit the service, unless "war were declared," followed immediately by a siren indicating that "war were declared."
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Mae is not a large woman. In this video, she shoots a German anti-tank rifle that is about as long as she is tall.
  • Strictly Formula: Each Primer follows this standard format:
    • A short introductory narration over vintage photos or film clips, followed by the title sequence.
    • Lightbox photos and basic statistics of the gun of the week.
    • A detailed history of the weapon, its designers, and the company that made it.
    • A look at the gun itself, including a 3-D animation of its inner workings and details of markings and serial numbers.
    • A live-fire demonstration by Mae.
    • The weapon's service history in World War I and afterward, including production totals.
    • Finally, Mae reviews the ergonomics of the weapon, describes the experience of shooting it, and gives her opinion on whether or not she'd carry it into combat.
  • Team Switzerland: In 2020 travel issues caused by COVID-19 disrupted the intended World War I combat weapon schedule and forced the team to instead cover weapons from neutral powers, like Sweden and Switzerland, that never saw action in the Great War.


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