(PART 1147)


Thanks, John [McAdams], for pointing out that the HSCA FPP's report was at odds with Baden's testimony and subsequent claims. He said they'd concluded Connally's back wound "had to have been" caused by a bullet first striking something else, when they'd only concluded it "probably" was caused by a bullet hitting the back while out of alinement.

That's quite the difference, and suggests that he was unduly impressed with Lattimer, while others were not.


You are SLOW getting this.

The HSCA FPP knew perfectly well that the wound was 1.5 cm. at its
longest diameter WHEN it concluded that the bullet was tumbling.

The link I posted [this one] shows that.

During Baden's testimony, this document was entered into evidence.

I can't find where Baden said what the dimensions of the back wound were. If he told the HSCA 3.0 cm., you need to post a link.

But given the links I posted above, that's grossly implausible.

I did find where Baden and two HSCA staffers pressed Lattimer on whether a 1.5 cm. wound would be the result of tumbling, and he said yes:

http://history-matters.com/HSCA Volume 7

So your essay gives the entirely FALSE impression that the judgment of a tumbling bullet was the result of the HSCA buying the 3.0 cm. figure.


The topic of the size of the entry wound in John Connally's back and whether or not the bullet was tumbling as it entered Connally is, indeed, interesting. Dr. John Lattimer's tests clearly indicate that a Carcano/Western Cartridge bullet that has passed through a simulated JFK neck will nearly always tumble before reaching the Connally target and, hence, result in a larger-sized entry hole in the Connally target:

Quoting Dr. Lattimer:

"Five cardboard skins simulating Connally were placed the same distance from Kennedy's neck as Connally was seated in the automobile in front of the President. The Carcano bullets that made the holes in these targets had passed through a simulation of Kennedy's neck, striking only soft tissues. Five of the six bullets tumbled end over end after leaving the neck and struck Connally's skin traveling almost sideways. .... These results confirmed our previous observations that these bullets almost always tumbled after passing through a neck.


An oval hole in our simulated back of Connally was caused by our test bullet that had first passed through a simulation of Kennedy's neck, causing that bullet to wobble and start to tumble end over end. Connally's wound of entry was elongated, like the one in the center of [the test] target. The punctate round hole, with black margins, of the type that always occurred when our test bullets struck the Connally target without hitting something else first, can be seen to the right of Connally's outline in the photograph [via Figure 106 on Page 265 of "Kennedy And Lincoln"]. These bullets never wobbled or tumbled spontaneously; they were stable in their flight to the target UNLESS THEY HIT SOMETHING ELSE FIRST [DVP's emphasis], such as Kennedy's neck, whereupon they turned almost completely sideways." -- John K. Lattimer; Pages 237 and 265 of "Kennedy And Lincoln" (c.1980)


The thing that has me scratching my head somewhat is this:

The longest dimension of John Connally's back wound was determined to be approximately 1.5 centimeters (15 millimeters), which is exactly the same size of the lengthiest portion of the wound that was in the back of President Kennedy's head (although, to be perfectly frank, the entry wound in JFK's head doesn't look particularly elliptical or egg-shaped to me; that is to say: it doesn't look to me as if the "north/south" dimension of the wound is more than TWICE the size of the width of the wound, which is what the autopsy report says [15 x 6 mm.] and is confirmed in the Clark Panel report, which also states that the measurement for that wound is 15 x 6 millimeters, so I have no choice but to adhere to those corroborative figures, but the wound doesn't look that egg-shaped to me):

So, according to official reports, we've got JFK's head entry wound being the exact same size (15 mm.) as the wound in Connally's upper back. But only ONE of those bullets could have possibly been tumbling when it reached its destination. The bullet which struck JFK's head was certainly not tumbling before it hit his head, and that bullet almost certainly did not hit anything else before striking the back of Kennedy's head.

So the retort made by conspiracy theorists over the years has been --- Why are you so certain that the Connally bullet HAD to be tumbling and why are you certain that bullet had to have hit JFK first, when a bullet that had NOT hit anything first struck JFK in the head and left a wound that was the exact same size?

It's a fair enough question. And I don't have the exact answer. Perhaps the answer could be the position of JFK's head at the moment when Oswald's 6.5-mm. bullet struck the back of his skull.

Vincent Bugliosi had this to say in his JFK book:

"It should be noted that a bullet striking at such a sharply acute angle—as suggested by the ovoid shape of the entrance wound [in Connally's back]—from the right (no one, not even the conspiracy theorists, allege that the gunman was to Kennedy’s and Connally’s left rear) could not have exited, as it did, from the right side of Connally’s chest, unless it had been deflected from its leftward direction immediately after entering the governor’s body.

Yet, the only bone struck by the bullet, before it exited, was a relatively soft rib located near the exit point on the right side of Connally’s chest, the bullet hitting the bone as it was about to exit. In other words, the known path of the bullet precludes the possibility that the ovoid shape of the entrance wound was the result of a bullet striking the governor at a tangential angle (i.e., from the side). (7 HSCA 144; see also FBI Record 124-10029-10010, FBI Laboratory Report, April 22, 1964, p.3)

However, the same tangential effect could have been caused not by a bullet from the right, but by a bullet exiting Kennedy’s throat and proceeding on a straight line into Connally’s body, which, we know from the Zapruder film, was turned fairly sharply to the right at the moment of impact.

Either situation (a bullet coming from the right, which we can be very confident never happened, or a bullet hitting Connally at an angle only because we know Connally was turned to the right) would explain why the bullet causing the exit wound to Kennedy’s throat, which was believed to be around a quarter of an inch in diameter (the tracheotomy precludes us from knowing for sure), just approximately two feet later (distance between Kennedy and Connally) caused an entrance wound to Connally’s back that was around six-tenths of an inch in diameter, over twice the size of the exit wound to Kennedy’s throat."
-- Vincent Bugliosi; Page 287 of Endnotes (footnote) in "Reclaiming History" (c.2007)


Regarding JFK's head (entry) wound, Bugliosi said this:

"As to the long length of the wound, the bullet [quoting from page 86 of the Warren Report] "struck at a tangent or an angle causing a fifteen-millimeter cut. The cut reflected a larger dimension of entry than the bullet's diameter of 6.5 millimeters (about a quarter of an inch), since the missile, in effect, sliced along the skull for a fractional distance until it entered"." -- Vincent Bugliosi; Page 391 of "Reclaiming History"


To reiterate my earlier thought -- I'm thinking that the angle of Kennedy's head at the moment of impact could have been a contributing factor to explain why the entry wound wasn't more circular in shape. Yes, that's just a guess on my part. But I think it's worth contemplating since we know that JFK's head was tilted considerably forward (and to the left) when the fatal bullet struck.

Another line of reasoning that could be utilized by LNers is this one:

After Bullet CE399 exited JFK's throat, it DID NOT tumble into John Connally's back at all, and the reason for the elongated (15 mm.) size of Connally's back wound was due merely to a tangential strike,* which is exactly the same explanation given by the Warren Commission on page 86 of its Final Report to explain the 15-millimeter size of the entrance wound in Kennedy's head (see the text in Bugliosi's book also cited above).

Hence, there was also a very small wound of exit in Kennedy's throat--which, given the "tangential strike" explanation for Connally's back wound, would "solve" another supposed problem that conspiracists often bring up -- i.e., Why did the bullet suddenly start to tumble into Connally's back even though it left a nice round wound in Kennedy's throat, which is more indicative of a NON-tumbling bullet that it is a tumbling missile?

The above scenario is, however, in conflict with the majority of Dr. Lattimer's tests, which are tests that resulted in 5 out of 6 bullets that tumbled into the Connally target after having gone through a simulated Kennedy neck.

But, anyway, it's some food for "Tumbling vs. Tangential" thought, I think.**


* Vince Bugliosi, in one particular section of his book, seems to be advocating a combination of a tumbling bullet AND a tangential strike. It's possible, however, that I have misinterpreted what Vince means when he is discussing the various possibilities for why Governor Connally's back wound was "ovoid" (i.e., egg-shaped).

** And there's very likely something in the official Warren Commission and/or HSCA volumes which focuses more light on this subject and provides some reasonable (and scientific) explanation for why we have a 15-millimeter entry wound in Governor Connally's back that was allegedly the result of a tumbling bullet, while at the same time we also have a 15-millimeter wound in the back of President Kennedy's head which was obviously not caused by a tumbling bullet.

David Von Pein
October 21-22, 2012