Thursday, April 29, 2010

Night Assault.

This is coolbert:

Those very heavy, excessive, almost catastrophic casualties as suffered by the two American infantry divisions landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, 6 June, 1944, could have been avoided?

American troops, laden with too much gear, soaking wet, exhausted from seasickness, having to cross hundreds of yards of open beach into the thick of German machine gun, artillery, mortar, and sniper fire, entire units often instantly rendered ineffective due to combat losses, need not have had to endured such an ordeal.

There was an alternative?

NIGHT ASSAULT! Night time amphibious landing, under the cover of darkness, the element of surprise being achieved, as advocated by a number of U.S. military commanders.

Advice not heeded by the senior commanders [Eisenhower, Bradley, etc.]!

Norman Cota, deputy commander of the 29th Infantry Division [ID], in particular advocating the night assault concept as worthy of consideration. Norman NOT ALONE in his advocacy.

Norman Cota. Acknowledged hero at Omaha Beach. Even it was felt took too many risks.

"As a major advisor in Operation Overlord . . . [and as] Assistant Division commander of the 29th Infantry Division . . . he was opposed to daylight landings, believing pre-dawn landings would stand a better chance of success; he did not get his way."

"Cota was not alone in his opposition to daylight landings. [both] General Leonard T. Gerow . . . and Admiral John L. Hall, Jr. . . . pleading for a night time assault."

"A year before the invasion, at the Conference on Landing Assaults, Cota made his argument in favor of striving for tactical surprise:"

"It is granted that strategical surprise will be impossible to attain. Tactical surprise is another thing however... tactical surprise is one of the most powerful factors in determining success. I therefore, favor the night landing. I do not believe the daylight assault can succeed."

Those American units going ashore on Omaha Beach, an at-dawn assault, had expected little resistance. This was not to be the case. Strategic aerial bombardment by the massed allied air forces having been for naught, naval bombardment relatively ineffective, German strong-points and concrete emplacements fully manned by alerted troops, more or less unscathed, much to the consternation of those in the first-waves of the attacking force.

Very heavy casualties being the result - - the entire landing on Omaha beach being in doubt!!

Night-time attack, capture and consolidation of the beachhead, elimination of those German strong points, concrete emplacement, etc., being possible, an alternative, but NOT EXACTLY as conceived by Norman Cota?

A specially selected, trained and equipped ranger/commando type unit - - paddling ashore in rubber boats - - during hours of darkness, the early morning of 6 June, could have successfully assaulted and neutralized, rendered ineffective the German beach defenses of Normandy, capturing and securing the beachhead PRIOR TO THE LANDING OF THE MAIN FORCE!

AND such a select unit did exist at the time. A ranger/commando type unit, the First Special Service Force [FSSF], a unit who less than a year previous had actually accomplished such a beach landing during hours of darkness - - Kiska Island - - Aleutians.

Here with a description of the FSSF assault on Kiska Island - - 1943. Small rubber boats paddled ashore during hours of darkness. The assault force of special operations troops [FSSF] having the mission to seize the beachheads, prior to the arrival of the main force:

"the [assault of the] FSSF began on the early morning of 15 August 1943, when the 1st and 2d Regiments silently waded ashore on Kiska Island . . . under cover of darkness. This operation had been carefully planned and practiced. Furthermore, the FSSF had been assigned a mission appropriate to its capability, that of securing two separate beachheads on the island in advance of the landing of the invasion's main forces."

"The mission was fraught with danger. It demanded endurance and great
skill in the handling and control of small rubber boats, which would be paddled ashore in the dark, in very cold water. The mission also required exceptional stealth and silence to achieve surprise, which would be followed by the likelihood of a fierce, close-in battle against a tough enemy . . . All tasks had been accomplished on schedule with elan and steady confidence."

I would be remiss not mentioning that the Japanese garrison at Kiska had previously been evacuated, the FSSF NOT meeting any resistance when landing!!

Norman Cota. A cool customer under fire and a rather significant general officer from the Second World War [WW2]. Present as the deputy commander of the "green" 29th Division, landing on the first day at Normandy, Omaha beach.

Also, later as commander of the 28th Division, a unit very severely bloodied at the Battle of the Huertgen Forest. Reputedly the most difficult and intense combat action by American troops in the European Theatre [ETO].

And a commander who recommended/approved/forwarded the death sentence of Eddie Slovik!

Norman Cota was in the "thick of things", and very prescient!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This is coolbert:

Thanks here to the Jerusalem Post and the lead in from the Norman Finkelstein web site:

"The laws of war – Israelis know them best"

"IDC legal team beats 44 universities on expertise in international humanitarian laws dealing with combat rules"

"An Israeli team . . . take[s] first place in the 2010 edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition on international humanitarian law."


"The week-long international competition, held between March 20-27 [2010] in Quebec, Canada, matched up teams from universities around the world to test their knowledge in the field of international humanitarian law (IHL) – commonly referred to as the laws of war"

"the four core principles of IHL [are]":

* "distinction of soldiers from civilians"
* "military necessity as a rule in evaluating targets"
* "proportionality"
* "and humanity to the enemy"

In this regard, Israel has a “'home field advantage' – a wealth of practical experience in the laws of war".

So much experience, and so much reflection upon, and the desire to be seen [?] as the good guys, the "purity of arms" concept that the Israeli military espouses.

"'Purity of Arms' (Morality in Warfare) - The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor and property."

There WAS and still IS a lot of criticism in the international media directed against Israel since Operation Cast Iron from over a year ago now - - and the 2006 incursion into Lebanon before that!! Israeli forces were thought and felt to have NOT demonstrated forbearance as needed in such a heavily populated area as Gaza. NOT so easy to exercise forbearance under such circumstances, "purity of arms" quite often giving way to "military necessity".

But undoubtedly the Israeli - - having a lot of experience in these matters - - undeniable!!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Pvt. Slovik was given numerous chances to return to 'the front', but chose not to do so. And yet, when he faced death at the firing squad, he did so as a man. So why couldn’t he face death in combat? Very strange indeed." - - Kevin.

"The Example of Private Slovik"

by Benedict B. Kimmelman

"Of the thousands of American soldiers court-martialed for desertion in World War II, Eddie Slovik was the only one put to death. One of the judges who convicted him looks back with regret."

Read the above interesting article by ONE OF THE MEN WHO ACTUALLY SAT IN JUDGEMENT ON EDDIE SLOVIK. Found the man guilty and sentenced him to death!! This article from back in 1987, Kimmelman NOW regretting the conviction and sentence!!

Of particular interest is the letter, in entirety, as written by Eddie, "explaining" his reasons for desertion, admitting his offense, and "threatening" in a matter-of-fact manner further desertion as a possibility!! A threat emphasized with CAPITAL LETTERS!! This letter more than anything else is a surprisingly candid admission of guilt?

“I, Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik, 36896415, confess to the desertion of the United States Army. At the time of my desertion we were in Albuff [Elbeuf] in France. I come to Albuff as a replacement. They were shilling [sic] the town and we were told to dig in for the night. The flowing [sic] morning they were shilling [sic] us again. I was so scared nerves and trembling that at the time the other replacements moved out I couldn’t move. I stayed their in my fox hole till it was quite [sic] and I was able to move. I then walked in town. Not seeing any of our troops so I stayed over night at a French hospital. The next morning I turned myself over to the Canadian Provost Corp. After being with them six weeks I was turned over to American M.R They turned me lose [sic]. 1 told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out their [sic] again Id run away. He said their [sic] was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND ILL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THEIR [sic].

—Signed PvI. Eddie D. Slovik
A.S.N. 36896415”

There are a couple of problems here? Who shares the sentiments of Kevin? Behaving bravely as Eddie did when facing a firing squad, but not able to face the enemy!! AND EDDIE, CONTRARY TO HIS LETTER - - NEVER DID REACH "THEIR"!! He never did reach the "front" and see action. He never got "their"!!

Benedict Kimmelman makes the point in his article over and over that the "jury" sitting judgement on Eddie consisted ONLY of staff officers. NO line combat officers. Does that make a difference? Kimmelman seems to suggest so! You judge!!



This is coolbert:

Here from way back in 2004, is the story of the modern-day Eddie Slovik? Thanks to the The Independent:

U.S. troop, freshly arrived in Iraq, an Arabic translator, recent graduate [?] of the Defense Language Institute [DLI], sent into the "thick of the action", with the American Special Forces [SF], exhibiting combat fatigue EVEN without having seen a full day of battle, being branded a COWARD!!

"US sergeant branded a coward mounts furious fightback"

"Combat Stress"

I recall this case very well. Troop, having skills highly sought after in Iraq [American able to speak Arabic], ONLY TWO DAYS [?] ON THE GROUND, SENT TO WORK WITH A SF UNIT, sees a dead Iraqi cut into two pieces. Man then vomits, collapses physically and mentally, no longer able to perform his mission.

Sent to the "rear", not even having spent a full day [?] in the combat zone, faces very serious charges, cowardice, dereliction of duty, etc.

Returns to the states, his case finally adjudicated, the man receiving a general discharge, less than honorable, our linguist seemingly happy with the way things turned out.

The Independent refers to this obliquely as an example of "combat stress". Well, the man had not even been in the combat zone for a full-day, saw his first casualty, and that was it for him? Combat stress is obviously related to prolonged fatigue of a physical and mental nature. Prolonged usually meaning LONGER than a DAY?

General discharge was suitable in this case. Highly trained and highly needed individual just fell apart!



This is coolbert.

Here with more speculation regarding the sinking of the ROKS Chenonan. NOT necessarily as stated - - James Bond stuff!

From the Chicago Tribune today:

"Sinking of warship remains a mystery"

"Some blame N. Korean 'human torpedoes' for explosion that killed 40"

"SEOUL, South Korea - - The image is chilling: a submersible suicide bomber set loose by North Korea destroys a South Korean warship and kills at least 40 crew members."

"Each day as mystery over the fate of the 1,200 ton patrol boat Cheonan deepens, the speculation takes on what some analysts say is a fantastic, James Bond quality."

"Investigators probing the incident blamed a 'non-contact' external explosion' beneath the warship, rather than a direct hit."

The ROKS Cheonan, having evidently broken into two pieces, cleanly separated, is indicative of a NON-CONTACT explosion?

YES!! Indeed- - a "non-contact" detonated mine or torpedo would be THE PREFERRED METHOD OF ATTACK??!!

From the era of the Second World War, the magnetically fused and activated torpedoes of the time, designed to detonate UNDERNEATH an enemy ship, not detonating by direct contact, was felt to be a MORE DEADLY and effective form of attack.

As was the case with the American torpedo used during the Second World War [WW2], the Mark XIV:

"the Mark 14's design was . . . designed to 'break ships' backs' (fracture their keels) by causing explosions beneath them, where warships had no armor . . . the weapon . . . explode[s] some distance below the ship . . . a huge gas-bubble is produced, and when it reaches the hull, the keel suffers catastrophic failure."

The Cheonan is in two pieces? As a result of having the keel broken in two, the ship suffering "catastrophic failure" as a consequence?


Sunday, April 25, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here is a listing of senior military commanders, soldiers of field grade rank of higher, leading from the front, exposing themselves to enemy fire in the manner of the lowliest private! Senior commanders, quite often sustaining wounding, repeatedly, surviving and continuing to command and lead - - again - - from the front, obviously men and leaders of the first order!!

1. Bernard Freyberg.

Outstanding soldier of the Great War [WW1], wounded NINE times while commanding an infantry battalion on the Western Front. Including twice wounded on the same day, TWO DAYS IN SUCCESSION!!

"Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg . . . VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO & Three Bars (21 March 1889 – 4 July 1963), was a British-born New Zealand Victoria Cross recipient and soldier"

"Freyberg received nine wounds during his service in France, and men who served with him later in his career said hardly a part of his body did not have scars."

Wounding of a repeat nature not stopping Bernard Freyberg, the man persisting in this duties regardless of injury.

"He suffered health problems arising from his many wounds"

AND - - while serving in command of New Zealand troops during the Second World War [WW2], continued to receive injury [both of a combat and a non-combat nature!].

"Freyberg was injured in an aircraft accident in September 1944"

AND, finally succumbing from aggravated injury even decades after the many wounding from the WW1 era:

"Freyberg died at Windsor on 4 July 1963 following the rupture of one of his war wounds"

2. Robert Frederick.

American WW2 commander of high repute. Wounded repeatedly while in command of the First Special Service Force [FSSF], the "Devil's Brigade"! Commanded at all times troops of the most elite type, always in the "thick of the action". An elite soldier in command of elite soldiers, given the most dangerous and difficult missions.

Suffered a total of EIGHT wounds during his service in the European theatre. Including twice wounded on the same day [sounds a lot like Bernard Freyberg, does it not?].

"Robert Tryon Frederick . . . was a highly decorated American combat commander during World War II, who commanded the 1st Special Service Force, the 1st Airborne Task Force and the 45th Infantry Division"

"he had been wounded eight times - - at Anzio he was wounded a number of times, including two separate wounds on a single day.

Indeed, so highly esteemed was Frederick that no less person than Churchill had this to say about the man:

"Robert Frederick was 'the greatest fighting general of all time' and 'if we had had a dozen more like him we would have smashed Hitler in 1942'"

Whoa boy!!

3. Hyazinth von Strachwitz.

Senior German military commander of WW2. An expert practitioner of tank warfare and armored assault. Noted for leading from the front, exposing himself to enemy fire, in the "thick of the action" at all times!

Suffering no less than FOURTEEN wounds sustained during combat action in WW2. A man of noble birth who obviously believed in nobles behaving nobly on the battlefield.

"Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz . . . was a German Army officer. Strachwitz saw action in World War I, but rose to fame for his command of armored forces in World War II."

4. Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger.

German combat soldier and commander from the era of both WW1 and WW2. An undeniably brave man who comported himself on the battlefield with great courage.

A man of learning - - Dirlewanger could justifiably claim the academic title of "doctor" - - leading the troops under his command "up front", "in the thick of the action", seemingly heedless of danger.

Wounded TWELVE times from his considerable combat duty, both in WW1 and WW2.

"His military service was seen as exemplary by German authorities, as he was known for his near suicidal bravery in battle . . . and always led his troops from the front - - On February 15, 1945, he was seriously injured in combat for the 12th time and sent to the rear."

Also - - Oskar Dirlewanger - - a man whose name lives in infamy. A rapist, an alcoholic, a perpetrator of atrocity on an enormous scale. A man of opprobrium leading a SS unit entirely consisting of men of opprobrium.

"op·pro·bri·um - – noun 1.the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy."

"Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger . . . was a World War II officer of the SS who commanded the SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger, a penal battalion composed of German criminals and valued for its particular brutality in crushing partisan resistance on the Eastern front . . . the SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger is regarded as one of the most brutal perpetrators of war crimes in the European Theater"

[I should mention that to include the name of Dirlewanger in this blog entry was questionable. BUT the man did seem to possess a battlefield courage of the first order, regardless of his many faults!]


Saturday, April 24, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here from a week ago, thanks to a variety of sources, more dope on the South Korean naval corvette [ROKS Cheonan] sunk under mysterious circumstances. The question primarily being - - an external or an internal source causing a catastrophic explosion and subsequent sinking!!

The stern of the Cheonan being lifted out of the water by crane, placed on a barge, returned to South Korean for careful examination.

1. From the Joong Ang Daily.

"Most Cheonan victims found "

"Sailors’ relatives work with search team at stern site to identify remains"

Weaponry aboard the ship seem to be intact, spontaneous explosion of ordnance on the Cheonan NOT seeming to be a cause of the sinking.

"a set of torpedo tubes and two Harpoon missiles are missing from the Cheonan, while all anti-submarine depth charges were discovered"

2. From the New York Times.

"South Korea Says Ship Sank After ‘External Explosion’"

"SEOUL, South Korea — Officials investigating the mysterious sinking of a South Korean warship in waters disputed by North Korea believe that the ship was hit and torn apart by an “external explosion,” the government announced Friday."

Again - - internal explosion from on-board ordnance or other explosive elements does not seem to have been likely. According to preliminary reports.

"an internal explosion unlikely after studying the salvaged ship. The ship’s munition, fuel tank and gas turbine were intact. The investigators also all but ruled out the possibility of the ship hitting an underwater rock."

"South Korea is working together with United States, Australian and Swedish experts."

3. From the Free Republic Internet web site.

"'N.Korean Officer' Says North Sank the Cheonan"

This North Korean "attack", if true, was carried out by special-purpose naval "spetsnaz" underwater attack team? A revenge attack authorized by Kim Jong Il himself?

The North Koreans are very good at "turning up the heat under the kettle"? Making the pot boil but without having the pot boil over [overt war!!]!

Kim has a very devious and malevolent mind. Likes to make mischief as would a small child, knowing the consequences full well could mean war, but having enough "street smarts" to know just how far to push.

This incident with the Cheonan is just a perfect example of North Korean perfidy? Deliberate and malicious violation of the armistice, the truce that has presided over the Korean peninsula for almost fifty years now!!

"per·fi·dy - - 1. deliberate breach of faith or trust; faithlessness; treachery: 2. an act or instance of faithlessness or treachery."

Treachery indeed!!


Friday, April 23, 2010


This is coolbert:

Lots of secrecy around this space launch.

TOP SECRET space craft, unmanned, the X-37B is going into orbit, or already has gone into orbit.

Unmanned, controlled remotely from earth. Seems to great resemble a mini-space shuttle. NO windows or passengers, but what sort of cargo or weaponry? ONLY the USAF knows for sure!!

From the DEBKAfile:

"Secret US Air Force unmanned space plane set for launch"

"With many of its features kept secret, the project has sparked speculation that the little Orbital Test Vehicle is the space version of the US Predator drone."

"Our military experts describe the X-37B as the first unmanned space craft able to carry out combat missions outside Earth."

"The X-37B will be launched Thursday by an Atlas-5 rocket."

That list item is of some interest. The Atlas family of rockets is still going strong. A family the original version of which flew back IN THE LATE 1950's. Originally an intercontinental-ballistic-missile [ICBM], then becoming, when obsolete as a military weapon, a booster rocket, in various incarnations, able to loft into space payloads for a variety of purposes.

This Atlas V uses RUSSIAN DESIGNED AND MADE [?] ROCKET ENGINES!! Engines of the liquid-fueled type, something I had thought had gone out of usage a long time ago.

This X-37B will be able to orbit the planet, armed, ready to attack ground targets at will? This is the intent? Remotely piloted as well? So little is known about this mission. AND PERHAPS TOO, AN ARMED VERSION IS A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL TREATIES REGARDING THE DEMILITARIZATION OF OUTER SPACE??!! This may be so too??

So many secrets and speculations!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This is coolbert:

Given that we are on the subject of desertion "in the face of the enemy" and the supreme punishment [death] being exacted, as was in the case of Edwin Dyett, it is useful to refresh our memories concerning the case of Eddie Slovik?


Read previous entries from the MILITARY THOUGHTS blog dealing with Eddie here and here.

Eddie, as in the case of Edwin Dyett executed by firing squad, again, for desertion "in the face of the enemy"! Eddie, also, a cause celebre' among some persons in the U.S. Persons feeling Eddie was done an INJUSTICE!

As has been noted, desertion "in the face of the enemy" is intuitively understood to be a much more serious charge than mere desertion. Desertion while your unit is actually involved in combat operations, leaving your post, abandoning your buddies, is an egregious offense without amelioration.

Understand that of the 15 million American men that donned the uniform during WW2, about 22,000 deserted, ONLY forty or so individuals deserting while "in the face of the enemy", those forty [including Eddie] being sentenced to death by firing squad.

[those 22,000 deserting but NOT sentenced to death served prison sentences and were then discharged, returned to civilian life as being unworthy, given a dishonorable discharge, for all that meant with regard to job prospects, etc.]

Eddie, considered by Eisenhower to be an incorrigible individual, executed, BUT ONLY AFTER HAVING BEEN OFFERED AN "OUT"!! Return to your unit and participate in combat, AND YOUR CONVICTION AND DEATH SENTENCE WILL BE EXPUNGED!!

"in·cor·ri·gi·ble - –adjective 1. not corrigible; bad beyond correction or reform: 2. impervious to constraints or punishment; willful; unruly; uncontrollable"

This needs [??] to be reiterated? Of all those troops sentenced to death, forty of so, including Eddie, ALL were offered an alternative to execution. ONLY Eddie refused the offer "that could not be refused"!!

Eddie being the ONLY man refusing the "out", being executed as a consequence. This with the end of the war ONLY a few months away!!

[Eisenhower prior to passing final judgement on Eddie, reviewed BOTH the civilian and military records of Slovik. Eddie had done time in prison prior to his induction into the military. Ike did reasonably infer that Eddie was an incorrigible unworthy of mercy! Mercy had been previously offered and refused! Eddie made a hard bed and ended up having to lie on it!!]


Sheep & Goat II. [End]

This is coolbert:

"Well boys, goodbye. And for God's sake, shoot straight." - - E. Dyett.

"If a private behaved as he did, it is highly likely he would be shot." - - Gough.

And here is the goat! An officer, a sub-Lieutenant in the 63rd Royal Navy [RN] Division, a naval rating, whose comportment on the battlefield was the polar opposite of Bernard Freyberg.

Edwin Dyett.

An officer who during the Ancre engagement, 1916, behaved in a craven manner, accused of desertion "in the face of the enemy"!

An accusation made - - Edwin arrested, tried, found guilty, sentenced, executed by firing squad - - all in the period of a month!


[during the four years of WW1, the British army executed about 300 enlisted men for the same offense as which Edwin was convicted of!!]

We must be careful here and understand the differentiation between the mere crime of desertion and desertion "in the face of the enemy"!! To desert your unit "in the face of the enemy", displaying cowardice while your unit is actually involved in combat operations is intuitively understood to be a much more egregious offense.

It seems that Edwin, ever since the first year after the end of the war, 1919, became and has become even unto almost one hundred years later a cause celebre' among the English people?

[any English readers to the blog please comment on whether the name of Edwin Dyett is still mentioned in some circles!!]

The suggestion has been made that Edwin was a scapegoat. His execution would quell the rumblings of discontent from within the ranks of the enlisted? This was the idea from the higher-ups?

Edwin was done a wrong??!! From the comments of one observer:

"In my own mind there is little doubt that Dyett had no intention of going anywhere near the fighting if he could avoid it . . . it was his duty as an officer to get up there and lead"

You the reader must be the judge!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Sheep & Goat I.

This is coolbert:

"He liked to be in the thick of action"

"The Sheep and the Goats . . . a Parable . . . [at the] Last Judgment [a] division of all the world's people into the blessed [sheep] and the cursed [goat], who are cast out."

Here is the sheep! A soldier of the 63rd Royal Navy [RN] division, NOT a naval rating, while in command as a field grade officer during the Ancre engagement, displayed the utmost in courage, bravery and fortitude, being awarded the highest decoration for heroism that the British Empire can bestow, the Victoria Cross [VC].

Bernard Freyberg.

Freyberg, a combat soldier and battalion commander without peer, wounded no less than four times during the attack on Beaucourt, continuing his command role, up-front and leading, heedless of peril!!

"Lieutenant-General Bernard Cyril Freyberg . . . was a British-born New Zealand Victoria Cross recipient and soldier"

"Freyberg was the first soldier on the beach during the Gallipoli Campaign and the youngest general in the British Army during the First World War [ww1], later serving on the Western Front where he was decorated with the Victoria Cross [VC]."

"during the final stages of the Battle of the Somme . . . he so distinguished himself . . . that he was awarded the Victoria Cross [VC]. . . he suffered two wounds, but remained in command and held his ground throughout the day and the following night . . . Though wounded twice more, the second time severely, Freyberg refused to leave the line until he had issued final instructions."

General Freyberg continued his military career in the aftermath of WW1, leading into combat during WW2 a Corps level contingent of soldiers from New Zealand. The combat record of General Freyberg during WW2 is controversial, the Battle of Crete [1941] having been lost to German parachute assault and the New Zealanders being stymied during the assault and campaign to capture Monte Cassino [Italy - - 1944]!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

RN Division.

This is coolbert:

"The General inspecting the trenches
Exclaimed with a horrified shout
'I refuse to command a division
Which leaves its excreta about.'

But nobody took any notice
No one was prepared to refute,
That the presence of shit was congenial
Compared to the presence of Shute.

And certain responsible critics
Made haste to reply to his words
Observing that his staff advisors
Consisted entirely of turds.

For shit may be shot at odd corners
And paper supplied there to suit,
But a shit would be shot without mourners
If someone shot that shit Shute."

That German Air Force [Luftwaffe] ground division [LwFD] of World War Two [WW2] fame [?]comprised of excess and superfluous personnel, organized as an infantry division, the LwFD seeing combat action at Stalingrad, had a predecessor!

The British Royal Navy [RN] Division. Organized during the Great War [WW1], consisting also of excess and superfluous personnel, sailors of the RN, seeing combat not in the slightest manner as a normal naval rating would, but rather as infantry on the Western Front, WW1!

"The British 63rd (Royal Naval) Division was a First World War division of the New Army. At the direction of Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, it had been formed at the outbreak of war as the Royal Naval Division composed largely of surplus reserves of the Royal Navy who were not required at sea"

Surplus reserves - - not required at sea! "We can use them else where!"

"Forming a Division:

Long before the war it was realised by the Royal Navy that, enormous it might be, but it still had too many reservists for the number of sailing vessels it would have available in time of war."

"The idea was put forward that units could be trained as infantry to fight for ports or naval installations and then to defend them. I think that the RAF Regiment serves a similar purpose today only for airfields etc."

A concept worthy of merit. "Troops", sailors organized and capable of fighting as a ground force, for the purpose of guarding ports, naval installations, occupying or even capturing analogous enemy facilities, etc.

NOT necessarily intended to be placed in the thick of the ground combat as was seen on the Western Front, NOT fully trained or equipped or experienced infantry of the quality as you would have with a conventional army infantry division.

BUT seeing combat action on the Western Front during the Somme Campaign, some of the roughest-toughest most deadly warfare imaginable.

[the 63rd RN Division did have organic a regular army infantry brigade and several battalions of Royal Marine light infantry. The RN Division did not totally consist of sailors!!]

For those of you curious, Shute was the British regular army general commanding the division when it saw combat on the Somme! Shute was not liked, as expressed in verse! Obvious!


Saturday, April 17, 2010


This is coolbert:

The comments of this American general officer, retired, General Sheehan, has raised hackles in some quarters. It may even be that the Dutch government has filed a demarche over this matter?

"dé·marche - - action or gesture by a diplomat, esp. a formal appeal, protest, or the like."

Dutch soldiers, UN peacekeepers, 1995, were partially to blame for the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian men and boys, Srebrenica! So says this American general officer.

Dutch UN peacekeepers, "sissified" to the point where they could not perform a combat mission anymore? "Sissified" in part because of the inclusion of open homosexuals in the ranks of the Dutch troops?

Dutch UN peacekeepers, "sissified", abused and humiliated by Serbian irregulars, having to stand watch while those Bosnians under their protection were herded off to be massacred.

"Gay Dutch soldiers responsible for Srebrenica massacre says US general"

"A former American general blamed 'open homosexuality' in the Dutch army for the failure to prevent the Srebrenica massacre in 1995."

According to General Sheehan [retired]:

"He said this process included 'open homosexuality' which resulted in 'a
focus on peacekeeping operations'"

"The battalion was understrength, poorly led, and the Serbs came
into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles, marched
the Muslims off and executed them."

From the exchange in the Senate between Senator Levin and General Sheehan we find remarks:

Levin [incredulously] - - "Did the Dutch leaders tell you it (the fall of Srebrenica) was because there were gay soldiers there?"

Sheehan - - '"Yes,' Sheehan said and added: 'They included that as part of the problem.'"

"Gen Sheehan, who retired from the military in 1997, said he had been
told that by the former chief of staff of the Dutch army."

As was reported in the media at the time of the Srebrenica Massacre, Dutch troops had been overpowered by Serb irregulars, disarmed, STRIPPED NAKED AND RELEASED - - FOR ALL TO SEE - - IN TOTAL HUMILIATION!!

And here from a comment by the Dutchman [?] Kronieker to the Internet story as carried by the Telegraph:

"Some people here in the Netherlands think that Sheehan's remark about gay Dutch soldiers at Srebrenica is probably caused by bad translation of Dutch into English. Sheehan most likely spoke with some Dutch officer who had problems with translating the Dutch" 'mietje' and apparently settled for homo or gay. A better would have been: 'sissy'. What this Dutch officer probably wanted to convey to Sheehan is that, in his opinion these soldiers acted as sissies."

Poor translation is what this all about? Those Dutch UN peacekeepers did not have the numbers, the physical or mental wherewithal, were JUST NOT PREPARED IN THE SLIGHTEST MANNER FOR WHAT TRANSPIRED AT SREBRENICA? That is my appreciation. Gay or not, those Dutchmen were just not ready for what occurred!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trench Raid!

This is coolbert:

"We moderns are extraordinarily unkind to each other in war - and in peace!" - - F. Crozier.

Here with an anecdotal account ["A Brass Hat in No Man's Land"] of a World War One [WW1] trench raid as described by the distinguished English soldier and senior commander Frank P. Crozier:

"All raids are very much alike. Each man knows his part. As we only require one prisoner on each occasion, and as more are a nuisance, all other enemy soldiers encountered must be put to death. What are our weapons? The pistol [.455 Webley], the rifle, the bullet, the bayonet, knuckle-dusters [brass knuckles], hook knives with which to rip up, daggers for the heart, butchers' knives for the throat, the bomb [hand grenade?] for random work, once the prisoner has been extracted and bags of aminal thrown into the dugouts, served up with time fuses, to blow whole companies to smithereens. Tear gas bombs to cause temporary blindness, egg bombs charged with deadly poison to pulverise the lungs and stop the breathing complete the outfit."

This is a drawing by the famous artist and combat soldier Otto Dix - - portraying a trench raid!!


* Read here and here about the trench raid.

* The more minimal the amount of equipment as carried by the raiders during a trench raid, the better.

* Aminal [Amatol or Ammonal?] describes field-expedient satchel charges with time fuse left behind by the English raiders. Satchels exploding AFTER the raiders have left, doing further damage.

* An "egg bomb" is a sulphuric-acid type weapon, a hand-grenade the aerosol droplets when breathed in destroying the lungs?

The brutal, savage, and cave-man-like nature of the trench raid was a thing to behold. But NO ONE said WAR was ever easy!!



This is coolbert:

From the previous blog entry:

"A SWARM of Bladerunner motor launches doing battle with an American carrier task force greatly resembles the threat as posed by the motor-torpedo boat from the pre-Dreadnought era? Prodigious numbers of small but fast naval vessels equipped with torpedoes confounding with NUMBERS alone the much larger battleships of the era [1890's]??"

The concept on paper - - swarms of very small but very fast motor-torpedo-boats [MTB], attacking and defeating through torpedo attack capital ships seems to be valid and have merit. But in reality, the threat, during the pre-Dreadnought era, the era of World War One [WW1] and Two [WW2], was minimal, almost non-existent.

"capital ship – - noun - - one of a class of the largest warships; a battleship, battle cruiser, or aircraft carrier."

Occasions of successful MTB attack upon capital ships has historically been a very rare occurrence.

In particular the Italian navy during WW1 employed TWICE the MTB as an asymmetric weapon to counter the threat as posed by battleships of the Austrian-Hungarian navy:

1. The sinking of the SMS Wien [Vienna]. 1917.

"On 10 December while on patrol in the Muggia Bay off Trieste she [SMS Wien] was hit by two torpedoes fired by the Italian MTB MAS 9; whereupon she foundered with the loss 46 lives."

2. The sinking of the SMS Szent Istvan. 1918.

"Two Italian motor torpedo boats discovered Szent István . . . in the morning of 10 June 1918 . . .. They [Italian MTB] penetrated past her escorts and torpedoed her twice abreast [of] her boiler rooms . . . and Szent István capsized less than three hours after being torpedoed."

Attack in both cases by MAS of the Italian navy. MAS had an outstanding record in both world wars, bantam-weights quite willing to take on the heavy-weights and score "knockout" blows.

"Motoscafo Armato Silurante (Italian: 'Torpedo Armed Motorboat') commonly abbreviated as MAS) was a class of fast torpedo armed vessel used by the Règia Marina (the Royal Navy of Italy) during World War I and World War II."

MAS boats also distinguishing themselves during WW2 as well:

3. The torpedoing and damaging [severely] of the British light cruiser, HMS Capetown. 1941.

"While deployed at the Red Sea she [Capetown] was torpedoed and severely damaged by the Italian Motor torpedo boat MAS 213 off Massawa, on 6 April 1941."

[please note that these successful MTB attacks were NOT by swarms of vessels. ONLY one of two boats involved in both instances!]

But - - again - - instances of MTB attacking successfully much larger capital ships are very few. NOT beyond the realm of possibility, but rare.

Sailors and commanders of Italian MAS were an exception to the rule? Gutsy and daring naval warriors to be admired for their courage and what is termed MEASURED AUDACITY!


Monday, April 12, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with more good stuff from the DEBKAfile.

Iran, seeking means and ways of waging successfully naval war against the U.S. Navy, combining, and possibly already has combined, the latest in technology, ultra-high speed motor boats with ultra-high speed supercavitating torpedoes! Asymmetric technology reminiscent in a way from naval warfare of the pre-Dreadnought era! Tactics from over one hundred years ago, combined with modern technology?

"Iran gets fast sporting powerboat for arming with Russian torpedoes"

"After laying hands on the record-breaking 61.5 mph speedboat . . . the Iranian navy plans to arm it with the reputedly fastest torpedo in the world, the Russian-designed Shkval (Squall), which moves at speeds of 360 kph. debkafile's military sources report Tehran is aiming for a seaborne weapon able to sink a US carrier in the Persian Gulf."

Drug smugglers like these high-speed boats.

"the Iranians are outfitting the former Bladerunner 51 to lead the Guards navy's fleet of fast boats in attacks on the big American warships and aircraft carriers deployed in these waters."

"It is feared that big warships may prove vulnerable to 'swarming tactics by small boats,' . . . in recent US naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, small boats . . . were beaten down and destroyed by the helicopters mounted on the ships' decks"

The Bladerunner carrying the Russian very-fast, rocket powered supercavitating torpedo, launching same against a U.S. Navy target, presumably an aircraft carrier.

The Squall, or presumably the "Hoot", the Iranian reverse-engineered equivalent, able to attain very-high speed underwater, albeit for not very long distances, AND LAUNCHED FROM A SURFACE VESSEL!!

"The VA-111 Shkval (squall) torpedo and its descendants are supercavitating torpedoes developed by the Soviet Union. They are capable of speeds in excess of 200 knots (370 km/h)."

"Hoot . . . is an Iranian supercavitation torpedo . . . the Hoot is reverse engineered from the Russian VA-111 Shkval supercavitation torpedo which travels at the same speed."

A SWARM of Bladerunner motor launches, approaching an American carrier task force at high speed, each Iranian vessel carrying a pair of Hoot, would present a significant challenge - - hard to stop??

A SWARM of Bladerunner motor launches doing battle with an American carrier task force greatly resembles the threat as posed by the motor-torpedo boat from the pre-Dreadnought era? Prodigious numbers of small naval vessels equipped with torpedoes confounding with NUMBERS alone the much larger battleships of the era [1890's]?? A concept, swarm attack with torpedo boats, a tactic as advocated by the French with the Jeune Ecole doctrine!!

Bladerunner attack can be foiled with helicopter gunships or plain old-fashioned ordinary naval gunfire - - rapid fire style?

[in the pre-dreadnought era, the destroyer with rapid-firing guns and searchlights was developed to counter the motor-torpedo boat [MTB]! Swarms of MTB attacking during hours of darkness were considered a very severe threat to the battleships of the era!]

Good luck U.S. Navy! Helicopters and naval gunfire will be adequate to stymie the Bladerunner/Hoot combination? Let us hope we never have to find out.



This is coolbert:

When an intelligence agency of any nation acts as a "4th Arm", waging war in a clandestine manner, it is secret warfare, nonetheless - - WAR!!

Here with some interesting stuff on the assassination, some months ago now, of the Hamas operational officer [Mabhouh] in charge of military operations directed against Israel. An assassination allegedly carried out by the Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence service. An assassination successful, but botched to the extent that the culprits, the secret agents have been compromised, THE WHOLE EPISODE, TO A GREAT EXTENT, HAVING BEEN CAUGHT ON CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION CIRCUITS, RECORDED, THE ALLEGED CULPRITS HAVING BEEN OBSERVED MORE OR LESS IN THE ACT KILL MABHOUH AND ALL THAT LED UP TO IT!!

First with the comments of the distinguished and now-retired CIA case officer - - Robert ["Bobby"] Baer:

"A Perfectly Framed Assassination"

"Stepped-up surveillance technology may be tipping the scales in the cat-and-mouse game between spies and their targets. Robert Baer on the current state of spy craft."

According to Baer:

"Nearly the entire hit was recorded on closed-circuit TV cameras, from the time the team arrived at Dubai's airport to the time the assassins entered Mr. Mabhouh's room. The cameras even caught team members before and after they donned their disguises."

Please note the number of women. The incorporation of women into all operations is the characteristic signature of the Israeli Secret Services! You also have some old geezers and a number of bespectacled men involved. Hardly the special operations types you would expect to find in an operation where a targeted assassination was on the agenda!!

"Not completely understanding advances in technology may be one explanation for the assassins nonchalantly exposing their faces to the closed-circuit TV cameras . . . But there is no good explanation why Israel, if indeed it was behind the assassination, underestimated the technology. The other explanation—the assassins didn't care whether their faces were identified—doesn't seem plausible at all."

Doesn't seem plausible. But is plausible if you take into account this item as reported in a recent weekly newsletter from the DEBKAfile. DEBKAfile an Israeli website purportedly having "sources" well placed within the Israeli government?

[DEBKAfile] Summary [for] Week Ending March 5, 2010:

"DEBKAfile sources therefore dismiss the claims by the Dubai police and certain Israeli publications citing 'security experts' that the Mossad was caught unawares by the security cameras which tracked the death squad's movements. They missed the fact that the team was not only aware of the cameras but controlled them and used them in support of their mission. The footage is short of the vital 19-minute segment when the Hamas arms smuggler was killed inside his hotel room. The hit-team only kept the cameras running when it suited them to show their ease in penetrating the most secure sites."

"Sources" claim that the hit-team NOT ONLY was aware of the closed-circuit cameras, BUT CONTROLLED THEM FOR THE GREATER EXTENT OF THE OPERATION, TO THEIR ADVANTAGE!!


Whoa boy!!

Cynics will suggest that the Mossad is doing damage control? Disinformation and the like? You the devoted reader decide for yourself!!


Sunday, April 11, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with a subject most germane after the devastating Haitian earthquake, the enormous loss of life and impoverishment of the people, prolonged and abusive, never-ending. An impoverishment in part due to WAR INDEMNITY!

"War reparations refers to the monetary compensation intended to cover damage or injury during a war"

Reparations often referred to as INDEMNITY! Punitive monetary measures taken against the vanquished by the victor. "Pay for the cost of the war, the damage, and then some!"

War reparations having to be paid - - indemnity - - one of the most egregious in history, if not the most egregious, as a result of the successful Haitian slave rebellion against French rule! In this case, the victors having to pay the vanquished, so desirous was the independent Haitian nation for international and diplomatic recognition.

The French, demanding and receiving agreement on the part of the Haitians to pay an indemnity, reparations for lost territory, investment, life and limb, etc. AN INDEMNITY AGREED TO ONLY UNDER DURESS, WITH FRENCH NAVAL VESSELS OFFSHORE, READY TO FIRE!!

"The Haiti indemnity controversy refers to events surrounding the 1825 demand by France for a FR?150 million indemnity (later FR?90 million, comparable to US$12.7 billion as of 2009 with consideration to inflation) to be paid by the Republic of Haiti in claims over property lost through the Haitian Revolution in return for diplomatic recognition. The demand was allegedly delivered to the country by 12 French warships armed with 500 cannons."

"Diplomatic recognition by France of Haiti only came in 1834, a full thirty years after the latter country's declaration of independence. The indemnity was not fully paid until 1947"

An indemnity, not paid off by the Haitians until the year 1947. It seems that the Haitian economy, in part because of this punitive indemnity, NEVER recovered, with disastrous consequences for everyone.

[prior to the Haitian slave rebellion, the island was the SECOND richest territory in the western hemisphere, second only the British North America, the cultivation of sugar cane and coffee being the primary sources of revenue. After the slave rebellion, Haiti has never recovered the wealthy status it once had. In part, due to the damaging reparations agreed to?]

Indemnity, of course, not merely confined to the conflict between France and Haiti. Also an indemnity of grossly punitive measures taken by the victor of the Franco-Prussian War, 1870, against the vanquished. Prussia [Germany] demanding as part of a peace treaty reparations, harsh, brutal and unremitting, designed to impoverish the French!

"After the Franco-Prussian War, according to conditions of Treaty of Frankfurt (May 10, 1871), France was obliged to pay a war indemnity of 5 billion gold francs in 5 years. German troops remained in parts of France until the last installment of the indemnity was paid in September 1873, before the obliged date."

[note the emphasis on payment in GOLD FRANCS!! NO "funny money" or inflated currency wanted!! ONLY the real stuff - - GILT!!]

"the last instalment of the indemnity was paid off in September 1873, before the obliged date. It was the most successful case of war reparations in history."

At the time, the intention was for German troops to occupy French territory until the indemnity was paid off. The thought was too that the French would need YEARS or DECADES to pay the indemnity off. Also, an indemnity that would cripple and hobble the French as a world power, reparations intended to weaken and sap the strength of the overall French economy for a period of three to five DECADES!!

It must be said that the French people responded to the indemnity with great resolve. Paying the indemnity off in three years, far quicker and earlier and easier than anticipated, the indignity and insult to the French public creating a patriotic fervor that could not be denied.

These indemnities have consequences that can cause problems for continual decades and even centuries!!

This all gets very confusing? Sometimes the winner pays [Haiti vs. France], sometimes the loser pays [France vs. Prussia]? What is that?


Saturday, April 10, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with more on the wide boulevards of Paris and the military application thereof. Those extremely spacious, wide, almost overwhelming in size grand streets and avenues of Paris. The creations of Baron Haussmann and the re-building of the city in those years prior to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

Extra-wide thoroughfares that were intended to allow passage of entire military units - - units whose mission was the purpose of suppressing the mob, the insurrectionist, the revolutionaries.

Extra wide boulevards that the mob, the insurrectionists, the revolutionaries would find impossible to barricade and defend.

The renovated Paris of Baron Haussmann being subjected to military action during the suppression of the Paris Commune - - 1871.

The Paris Commune! A collection of anarchists, militant socialists, communists! REDS! Arming themselves, organizing into fighting units, declaring a Parisian socialist provisional government! Prepared to fight - - ready for street and urban warfare.

Military combat action within the city of Paris itself, the barricades of the revolutionaries, the Communards, providing strong-points capable of withstanding assault by the regular army units of the Second French Republic.

"The webs of narrow streets which made entire districts nearly impregnable in earlier Parisian revolutions had been largely replaced by wide boulevards during Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The Versaillese [regular army forces of the central government] enjoyed a centralised command and had superior numbers. They had learned the tactics of street fighting, and simply tunnelled through the walls of houses to outflank the Communards' barricades. Ironically, only where Haussmann had made wide spaces and streets were they held up by the defenders' gunfire"

Regular French army units, "tunnelling" at ground level, flanking the barricades, NOT making direct frontal assaults against the strong-points of the Communards. Those barricades blocking a street, buildings on either side, properly constructed, provided constricting "terrain" to the advantage of the defender! Frontal assault would be time-consuming and lead to excessive casualties.

Here is one of those barricades as constructed by the Commnards. Cobble-stone streets ripped up, the stones piled high to make a defensive strong-point. The French army was able to get around these defensive positions by ground level "tunnelling"!

"Ironically, only where Haussmann had made wide spaces and streets were they [regular army] held up by the defenders' gunfire"

Haussmann was not entirely correct in his assumptions and appreciations of the value of extra-wide boulevards and avenues as being incapable of being barricaded.

But it was all for naught in the case of the Communards. The rebellion, the "experiment" was suppressed, with great force, great severity, lots of executions and exile!!


Thursday, April 8, 2010


This is coolbert:

From the prior blog entry concerning the "myths" of the Great War [WW1] as enumerated by Professor Niall Ferguson:

"* That British foreign policy was driven by legitimate fears of Germany (Ferguson claims Germany posed no threat to Britain before 1914, and that all British fears of Germany were due to irrational anti-German prejudices)"

Irrational anti-German sentiment and prejudice in large measure, or even lesser than large measure, created by the "Invasion" genre' of literature?

"a literary craze . . . that aroused imaginations and anxieties about hypothetical invasions by foreign powers, and by 1914 the genre had amassed a corpus of over 400 book . . . The genre was influential in Britain in shaping politics, national policies and popular perceptions in the years leading up to the First World War"

[we all have an intuitive appreciation of this genre'? You know! I-saw-the-German-waiter-from-the-German-restaurant-in-Liverpool-the-other-night-by-the-beach-and-he-was-signalling-out-to-sea-at-an-unidentified-ship!!]

A genre' deliberately cultivated by a whole series of authors, very popular with the English public. A genre' NOT based on factual data or real situations, highly alarmist and IRRATIONAL!

Authors to include:

* Le Queux.
* Saki [H.H. Munro].
* H.G. Wells.
* Homer Lea. [Lea writing with the encouragement of Lord Roberts]

British fears of actual ground invasion of the English homeland by the German army were greatly exaggerated, ALARMIST!!

A German land invasion of Great Britain would have required a total annihilation of the British Grand Fleet, something that was just not going to occur. The German High Seas Fleet WAS a challenge to the English, but just that - - a challenge.

Nonetheless, real fears of German invasion DID EXIST, engendered by novel, novelettes, novellas, book-after-book, a never ending stream, continuous, and again, POPULAR AMONG THE GENERAL PUBLIC, TO INCLUDE QUEEN VICTORIA HERSELF!


Britain prior to 1914 and the start of WW1 did have legitimate concerns regarding the rising power of that parvenu [upstart] European nation - - Germany!

An Imperial Germany did have world-wide aspirations that came into conflict with the British Empire, but not as envisioned by "Invasion" literature enthusiasts.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This is coolbert:

I had a feeling this sort of thing was going to come up at some point. The Obama administration, having made the decision to fight the global war on terror [GWOT] as a criminal matter, acts of terrorism being tried in a civilian court as common criminal infractions, the ability of the military to target and kill unlawful enemy combatants who are American citizens has become severely restrained?

Consider the case, announced just the other day. That of the terrorist suspect, Anwar al Awlaki. An American natural born citizen. A man now targeted for capture or killing.

"Anwar al-Awlaki: Is it legal to kill an American in war on terror?"

"Anwar al-Awlaki is an American hiding in Yemen . . . In fighting the war on terror, the Obama administration has put him on the kill-or-capture list."

"[this particular case] raises an important legal question: Is it legal in the war on terror for the US to target an American citizen?"

"The answer probably is yes, says Mike Newton, a law professor at Vanderbilt University. If the US could prove that Awlaki is a 'direct participant' in a conflict – terrorist operations against the US, for example – then killing Awlaki would probably pass legal muster, he says."

PROBABLY - - PROBABLY - - PROBABLY!! Only probably. There is not a body of case law or precedent in such matters?

Normally, under a peace-time status, an American [or American person for that matter - - almost anyone subject to American jurisdiction - - even an illegal alien] CANNOT be punished, have life or limb or property taken away without DUE PROCESS!! Meaning "a day" in court, the ability to confront witnesses against you or accusers, see evidence used against you, etc.

There is now [and has been for some time] a "committee", a set of protocols, etc., for deciding the cases of such persons as Anwar. An American citizen, accused of terrorism or affiliation of a group such as Al Qaeda, subjected to targeting as part of the on-going GWOT!

[a pilot of a Predator UAV firing a Hellfire missile from a remote location or a Special Operations troop firing a sniper rifle from a half mile or more distance also does not have the time, the inclination, or the ability to play the role of identification expert either. An armed terrorist on the ground, whatever the nationality, becomes fair game in almost all cases, their "case" having been determined or not!!]

Presumably Anwar could very well contest this decision by the Obama administration? As an American citizen, natural born, Anwar would be full within his rights to do so? But would be very hesitant to return to the U.S. as part of the legal process?

Hundreds of years ago in England, they had what was called the "Star Chamber". Very high governmental officials would meet in secret, review evidence against an accused, determine guilt or innocence, and pronounce judgement!!

The "Star Chamber" is nowadays a metaphor for authoritarianism. The Obama Administration is trying to find a means to combat unlawful enemy combatants without resorting to draconian methods, but is finding "the going" difficult??


Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here from the Mc Clatchy web site:

"Under the new treaty, each side could deploy its strategic warheads on no more than 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles — based on land and in submarines — and long-range bombers. They'd be allowed to keep another 100 such 'delivery vehicles' in reserve."

We are speaking here about the treaty, to be initialed tomorrow, between the U.S. and Russia, to reduce nuclear warheads on both sides, while at the same time, reducing "delivery vehicles" as well!!

Those delivery vehicles, to include the strategic manned bomber force of both nations. American B-1, B-2, and B-52 bomber aircraft, also being taken off deployed status, relegated to the scrap heap or "reserve" status.

[B-1 bombers for some time now have been strictly within the purview of the Air Force Reserve component!]

In some quarter, the reduction of the American manned strategic bomber force will be a thing of concern?

Those B-1, B-2, and most especially the "bomber" B-52 can have a dual-purpose role. Are able to deliver conventional munitions as well as nuclear in a way that missiles cannot. The U.S. manned bomber force is an important factor when U.S. military strategists devise contingency plans for fighting CONVENTIONAL WARS!!

Improved conventional munitions [ICM] as dropped from manned bombers in many instances can have the lethality of a tactical nuclear weapon! GPS and various forms of terminal guidance allows for a degree of accuracy for bomb loads hitherto thought to be impossible. And the B-52 is the planned launch vehicle for the X-51 hypersonic missile. Fire in the stand-off mode with world-wide reach!

This treaty does make provision for either side to maintain an additional 100 "delivery vehicles" in reserve. American bombers will be kept in a state of readiness, albeit as "reserves", if and when needed?



This is coolbert:

This is oh so "retro"! But also oh so deadly.

Thanks to National Public Radio [NPR] and the South Asia Terrorist Portal [SATP], some very troubling headlines.

"70 CRPF personnel killed in Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh"

"At least 70 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in an attack by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) in Dantewada District early on April 6, reports Times of India . . . The CRPF patrol party was totally taken aback by the Maoists who surfaced at a hillock to carry out the attack."

Several platoons of Indian para-military police, annihilated by Maoist guerrillas. A long-simmering and festering insurgency, reaching a new level of violence and casualties. An unprecedented [??] defeat for the Indian authorities at the hands of forest guerrillas inspired by Mao!

"Maoist Rebels In India Kill 75 Paramilitary Police"

"A senior police official in India says rebels have killed at least 75 paramilitary forces in attacks in the eastern part of the country. That's the most casualties against government forces since they launched an offensive against the rebels last year."

"this insurgency's been simmering away for decades. But it's really surged in the last couple of years. And the Maoists are now active in the majority of India's states."

"hundreds of Maoists ambushed a police patrol. They set off a landmine and opened fire. And then when reinforcements arrived they attacked them too."

The Indian Maoist guerrillas showing an initiative and daring that hitherto has not been seen? Such casualties are indicative of a sophistication that is frightening!

These Maoists have been around for at least four decades now!! A low-level insurgency that has spread to many areas of India.

Those para-military police were just caught off-guard, under-armed, and totally unprepared for this fight? Probably armed at MOST with the SMLE rifle and nothing else. Facing some stiff opposition, resolute and very dangerous insurgents!

The Indian police received a bad beating in this one.



This is coolbert:

Well, President Obama did promise CHANGE. And promises are being kept! Policies, long-standing, are now being modified - - changed - - altered, and in a significant way!

From the Chicago Tribune today:

"Obama may restrict nukes"

"U.S. wouldn't use weapons against certain nations"

"WASHINGTON - - The Obama administration is poised to adopt a new policy potentially restricting the nation's use of nuclear arms"

"his [Obama] administration was explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons."

Such threats:

"could be deterred with a 'a series of graded options' - - a combination of old and newly designed conventional weapons."

NO USE of nuclear weapons IN RESPONSE to a chemical or biological attack on the United States. A hostile foreign power engaging in such an attack and employing ONLY chemical or biological weaponry will NOT have to fear atomic retaliation!

[this is not to say that retaliation is no longer an option. Merely the immediate and instantaneous response with nukes is now "off the table"?]

In such situations, the "combination of old and newly designed conventional weapons" will suffice as a deterrent? The X-51 hypersonic missile for instance. Bombarding an enemy target with thousands of tungsten rods, the conventional equivalent to the use of a tactical nuclear weapon!

Normally, the use of chemical rounds on a battlefield would necessitate a response in kind! Binary chemical weaponry [nerve gas] is stockpiled by the U.S. and can be readily made available if needed?

The U.S. NO LONGER has stockpiles of biological agents? BUT, in very short order, bacteria and other pathogens can be "brewed" and made ready for use?

Change was promised, and change is being delivered!


Sunday, April 4, 2010


This is coolbert:

From a prior blog entry:

"Upon liberation, however, WAS NOT treated with great respect by the Soviet security apparatus. Rather, suspected of 'not having done her duty', being a spy, an agent of western imperialism, etc."

This the treatment meted out to Yegarova. Distinguished Soviet female combat pilot of World War Two [WW2]. A Soviet aviator, seeing 270 combat missions, then being shot down, captured by the Germans, held captive - - liberated, then subjected to harsh and unremitting interrogation by Smersh and NKVD security service types.

Repatriated Soviet POW's, Mistreated at the hands of their own government - - behavior that was typical - - standard - - beastly!

Soviet POW [prisoners-of-war], captured by the German, subjected to terrible and inhuman conditions, about two-thirds [2/3] perishing from a variety of causes - - upon liberation - - THEN treated as common criminals by their own government, bereft AGAIN of even the slightest amount of humane treatment, often executed or sentenced to terms in prison for which survival was an almost unheard of possibility!!

Even among them - - Yegarova - - a Hero of the Soviet Union!!

The paranoid world-view of Stalin prevailing - - the attitude being that if a person had been made POW, captured, THEY HAD NOT DONE THEIR DUTY, IN SOME MANNER COLLABORATING WITH THE GERMAN ENEMY, NOT SHOWING SUFFICIENT RESOLVE DURING COMBAT!! For the Soviet soldier in WW2, merely being captured by the enemy, quite often through no fault of your own, was considered to be TREASONABLE BEHAVIOR!!

Here with extracts from: "The Secret World" - - by the Soviet defector and security service officer Peter Deriabin.

"at least five million Soviet soldiers [were] taken prisoner by the Germans during World War Two [WW2]. The survivors, on their return from captivity, were individually judged, tried and - - almost automatically - - convicted of 'anti-Soviet' activity. They received sentences varying from immediate execution to imprisonment or deportation to Siberia."

"The actual fate of the returned war prisoners was regulated by authorities according to a rough sliding scale of their imagined 'complicity'."

Fates to include by percentage:

* "Twenty percent of them were either imprisoned for twenty-five years or shot."

* "Fifteen to twenty percent of them received jail sentences of from five to ten years."

* "Ten percent sent to frontier territories in Siberia for periods of not less than six years."

* "Fifteen percent went to industrial areas in need of work conscripts."

* "Fifteen to twenty percent were free to go back home [still with a blemish on their record!].

And for the small remainder:

* "The few who got off scot-free were those obviously too wounded or incapacitated to have prevented capture when it occurred."

[a sentence of ten years in the GULAG was the same as a sentence of death, so few prisoners could survive that long. Soviet authorities intended it to be that way. Poor and meagre diet, forced labor of the most strenuous type, disease, harsh conditions, etc. All took a toll that made a ten year sentence the same as a death sentence!!]

[According to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, during the times of Imperial Czarist Russia, a POW could be awarded with a title of nobility for having suffered under the duress of captivity and emerged from the ordeal with honor!!]

Hey, nobody ever said being a troop in the Red Army was ever easy!