Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blue Sky 2010.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the DEBKAfile, some interesting headlines that allude to preparations for - - an Israeli air strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, if and when the "go" order is given.

"Six Israeli airmen and a Romanian captain die in helicopter crash during joint exercise over Romanian mountains"

"Bodies of seven Israeli airmen, one Romanian captain found at Israeli helicopter crash site in Romania"

Israeli airmen, far from home, training for hazardous missions, involving low-level flying in mountainous terrain, aircrews training to bomb highly-protected facilities, presumably those "facilities" of a nuclear nature.

In this particular instance, Israeli and Romanian airmen losing their lives in a crash.

"Israel has been conducting joint air force exercises with NATO members Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, using big American Air Force bases in the first two countries . . . They also serve for practicing long-distance flights, an essential element in a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities."

Iranian nuclear facilities hidden in caves, located high in mountainous terrain, inaccessible and almost impossible to attack.

"in the last couple of years [Iran] has been blasting deep tunnels beneath mountain peaks more than 2,000 meters high for housing nuclear facilities"

"The drill in Romania took place at roughly the same altitude and in similar terrain that a US or Israeli air attack would expect to encounter in Iran."

High-risk air attacks being deemed necessary for which intensive training is required! The Carpathian mountains of central Europe being the ideal training ground for such a mission or missions.

Israeli has not given up on the military option to the perceived Iranian threat. Allowing the Iranian to develop and field nuclear weapons is not an option for the Israeli? Surely this crash and the tragic deaths of the Israeli airmen indicate that the military option is alive and well!


Thursday, July 29, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here is the Il-40.

Dedicated Soviet era ground attack aircraft. Successor to the proven winners of World War Two [WW2] fame, the Il-2 and Il-10.

Combat aircraft, specificially designed from the get-go as having a dedicated ground attack mission, supporting the Red Army, strafing, firing cannon, dropping bombs.

"The Ilyushin Il-40 (NATO reporting name: "Brawny") was a two-seat Soviet jet-engined armored ground-attack aircraft."

An two-seat armored aircraft, designed to dish-out punishment [six 23 mm cannon] having a robustness of construction making the warplane relatively impervious to enemy ground fire [AAA].

AND - - as with the propeller driven Il-2 and Il-10 - - having a rear-tail gunner, remotely operating a rearward-firing 23 mm cannon! The design bureau of Ilyushin still maintaining the old ways - - the incorporation of a second crew member, dedicated to aircraft defense being seen as a MUST! All other airforces of the world seeing the tail-gunner as an outdated anachronism - - but NOT the Soviets!!

The Il-40 never being deployed - - existing only in prototype versions!

Those SIX 23 mm cannon as originally carried by the Il-40 having a significant defect. "Combustion gasses" from the guns firing causing flameout [engine stall or shutdown] or "hiccups"!! Those two jet engines not receiving the necessary amount of "fresh air" to function properly.

"The first prototype flew in 1953 and was very successful except when it fired its guns, as their combustion gasses would disturb the airflow into the engines and cause them to flameout or hiccup."

Interestingly enough, in the early 1970's, the first prototypes of the American A-10 Thunderbolt ["Warthog"] ground attack aircraft ALSO encountered the same exact problem. Engine shut-down occurring as a result of the main gun [30 mm GAU-8] firing. A one second burst of the GAU-8 "burning" about twenty-five pounds of "gunpowder", placing into the atmosphere an engine clogging amount of noxious gasses.

The Soviets twenty years ahead of the U.S. in this category!! Unintended jet engine flameout as the result of too much firepower.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


This is coolbert:

"what life is so hard as that of a soldier?" - - Kumagai.

Here another person, a warrior most chivalrous, deemed by Bert to be worthy of inclusion into the list of "Worthies" in emulation of the "Nine" worthies. A Japanese warrior true to his samurai code, all the while possessing and displaying on the battlefield what the Japanese of ancient times called aware'! Pity, sympathy - - ALAS!

* Kumagai Naozane.

"Kumagai no Jiro Naozane . . . was a famous soldier who served the Genji (Minamoto) Clan during the Heian period of Japanese history. Kumagai is particularly known for his exploits during the Genpei War, specifically for killing the young warrior Taira no Atsumori at the battle of Ichi-no-tani in 1184"

I quote here in entirety from the wiki entry, my own words NOT able to do justice:

"Atsumori and Ichi-no-tani"

"During the battle of Ichi-no-Tani, Atsumori and Kumagai met on the beach at Suma, as the main Genji force approached and the Heike fled to their ships. As it is told in the Heike Monogotari, Kumagai caught up with Atsumori, who was fleeing on horseback. Kumagai managed to throw Atsumori from his horse and ripped off the helmet of the prone Atsumori. It was then that Kumagai realized that he had caught a young prince, based on the fine makeup and robes. Atsumori then tells Kumagai to take his head, but Kumagai hesitates because Atsumori reminded him of his own son, roughly the same age. Kumagai wished to spare Atsumori's life, due to his kind nature, but saw that his fellow Genji soldiers were approaching. Tearfully he promises to recite prayers to Atsumori, and cuts off his head."

"The Noh play Atsumori describes Atsumori's death as follows":

"Overwhelmed by compassion, Naozane could not find a place to strike. His senses reeled, his wits forsook him, and he was scarcely conscious of his surroundings. But matters could not go on like that forever: in tears, he took the head."

"Because Atsumori's name was not familiar to him, Kumagai then knew that Atsumori had never been in a battle before. After taking the time to look through Atsumori's belongings, he found a certain flute, known as the 'Saeda' (little twig). Discovering that the flute was given to Taira no Tadamori by Emperor Toba, and later passed down to Atsumori, he reportedly felt even more sadness and regret for his actions. The night before the battle, while Kumagai was in his tent, he had heard someone playing the flute with skill outside the enemy camp, and he now realized that that flute player may have been Atsumori."

Kumagai - - without fault, killing his vanquished enemy - - Kumagai true to his code of military valor and chivalry - - all the while regretting what he had to do. Kumagai - - knowing full well this being the fate of the warrior/soldier obeying his calling!

Kumagai - - subsequently giving up the samurai way of life, renouncing the secular life for the spiritual - - becoming a Buddhist monk, devoting himself to religious purposes!!




This is coolbert:

Size matters!

Again, from the book "Dreadnought" by Massie, some particulars and considerations regarding the all-big gun configuration of the HMS Dreadnought as advocated by Admiral "Jacky" Fisher:

"Some of the reasons for uniform big-gun armament were obvious. Uniform big-gun armament meant that a ship would have to stock only a single caliber of ammunition . . . There was a more important reason . . . accurate fire control. An enemy ship moving fast ten thousand yards away is a difficult target to hit . . . the problem was a little easier if one used salvo firing - - firing a number of similar -caliber shells simultaneously at the target. If the splashes of the shells striking the water are behind the target, the guns should be lowered slightly; if in front, they should be raised; if before the target, they should be trained back a a bit; if behind, they should be trained forward. This salvo firing continues until finally the huge columns of water straddle the target . . . It was impossible to use guns of different caliber for this purpose; different-size shells would have to be fired at different angles of gun-barrel elevation, at different velocities, and on different trajectories . . . [and] no one could tell which splash was a product of which gun."

A problem much exacerbated during combat. Multiple ships firing at multiple targets with multiple calibers of guns and having to try and observe multiple and more or less simultaneous splashes [geysers of water] from each shell, created a chaotic and impossible situation for the gunnery officer and fire control command.

Different! Different! Different!




This is coolbert:

Practice makes perfect?

Here from the book "Dreadnought" by Massie, a description of how the gunnery training exercises of the period pre-Dreadnought and Dreadnought were conducted.

"In peacetime, the system worked. Firing practice usually involved stationary targets, positioned at ranges no greater than two thousand yards. Under these conditions, the gunlayers, peering down their barrels, could see where their shells were falling, make corrections and - - to the delight of senior officers and astounded spectators - - pulverize the target. Sir Percy Scott [a senior British admiral of the period and an authority on naval gunnery] considered this a dangerous exercise in fantasy. In wartime, he argued, individual gunlayers in the turrets would face not only the concussive blast of the guns, billowing heavy smoke, and spray resulting from high speed, but the fact that the target would be shooting back. At ranges four and five times greater than in peacetime, the individual gunlayer at turret level could not even see where his shells were landing."

There was a solution to this problem of gunners [gunlayers] NOT being able to even see the target, much less determine the accuracy of their fire. Called Director Firing:

"A single master gunlayer, posted high in the conning tower or on the foremast would aim and fire simultaneously all the heavy guns on the ship . . . with an excellent line of vision to the target, he and his assistant could observe the geysers [splashes] as their own shells struck the sea near the enemy. They could calculate what adjustments were required, electrically trasmsit their orders to the guns, and then, when all was ready, press a key to fire all the guns at once"


The problem had a solution and the solution had a problem!!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trench Fever.

This is coolbert:

Here is another illness, a disease [?], a malady first observed among the soldiers of the various combatants during the First World War [WW1], and NOW enjoying a comeback!

Trench Fever!

"Trench fever (also known as "Five day fever", "Quintan fever", "Urban trench fever") (Wolhynia fever, shin bone fever, quintan fever, five-day fever, Meuse fever, His disease and His-Werner disease) is a moderately serious disease transmitted by body lice. It infected armies in Flanders, France, Poland, Galicia, Italy, Salonika, Macedonia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt in World War I . . . and the German army in Russia during World War II."

A disease of those persons having to live in rough and dirty conditions, unwashed and filthy for extended periods of time, infected with lice, the illness given to man by the bite of the insect.

An illness, causing an amazing number of casualties, non-combat related, but such a substantial proportion of the fighting force so as to cause grave concern among the commanders.

"From 1915 to 1918 between one-fifth [20 %] and one-third [33 %] of all British troops reported ill had trench fever while about one-fifth [20 %] of ill German and Austrian troops had the disease."

A disease once again, almost one hundred years later manifesting itself!! An affliction found among the homeless, the drug user, etc. Persons living in conditions of fillth and squalor, persons not given over to hygienic conditions to include periodic and regular bathing!!

"The disease persists among the homeless. Outbreaks have been documented, for example, in Seattle and Baltimore in the United States among injection drug users and in Marseille, France, and Burundi.

It is worth remarking that the illness known commonly as "trench foot" also became quite common among during the 1970's and 1980's. Found among American teenagers who were fond of wearing canvas sneakers that became wet and soaked during the winter time, those kids wearing the shoes continually, the constant exposure to the wet and cold resulting in "trench foot". More correctly called immersion foot. A phenomenon that had not been seen by doctors in over sixty years!!

"Trench foot (also known as fat foot) is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions. It is one of many immersion foot syndromes. The use of the word 'trench' in the name of this condition is a reference to trench warfare, mainly associated with World War I."

Just being in the trenches of WW1 was dangerous of itself, not even including the peril from enemy combat action!! Death or injury - - non-combat - - was quite common!!


Type 97.

This is coolbert:

Those that have seen both of the Clint Eastwood Iwo Jima movie, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima", will recall those specific scenes when the Japanese soldiers en masse' commit suicide, using hand grenades to do so. A live grenade held against the belly, detonation causing more or less instantaneous death.

Japanese hand grenades fuzed and primed in a particular manner [hitting against a hard object, the helmet for instance]!

Myself included, I guess a whole bunch of folks must have wondered what that was all about! Smack the grenade on the helmet prior to detonation. Just pulling the pin on the grenade was not good enough?

From a military forum on the web, thanks to Kurt L.:

"I recently watched 'Letters from Iwo Jima.' I liked the movie, bye the way. When the Japanese soldiers were committing suicide in the caves, they smacked the hand grenades on their helmet to set them off. Did they have some sort of contact fuse or was this some kind of artistic license? That seems an unusual for a hand grenade to function."

And INDEED - - Kurt L. has his question, and mine too answered, thanks to the Internet, in the proverbial heartbeat!

"Japanese WWII grenade fuses were percussion-initiated. You pull the pin, and smack the fuse on a hard surface, then the percussion cap would start burning the time fuse."

"Wasn't so strange in early 20th century - method is very simple and easy to manufacture."

"Other grenades that used same method of operation":

* "German ww1 - Eierhandgranate 1916"
* "British No.34"
* "Yugo M.17, M.35, M.38, M50R, M52R, M93, RB-100"

These were Japanese Type 97 hand grenades.

The Type 97 Hand Grenade was the standard fragmentation hand grenade of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy SNLF [Special Naval Landing Forces] during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.

"A sharp blow against a hard surface, such as a rock or combat helmet would overcome a creep spring and crush a thin brass cap, allowing the pin to hit the primer and initiate the delay sequence before throwing at the target."

Holding a live grenade against the belly, the explosion causing mortal damage to the system, shock and sudden death of an instantaneous nature, was a common way for the Japanese soldier to commit suicide during World War Two [WW2]. It was notice too that in the aftermath of the Battle of Saipan, Japanese civilians had used grenades to kill themselves, the bodies being found headless! Civilians blowing themselves apart, grenade to head, detonation resulting in climactic aftermath!!


Saturday, July 24, 2010


This is coolbert:

The HMS Dreadnought, characterized as the first "modern" [1905] battleship, was noted for innovative designs, the vessel conceived as being an all-big gun ship being perhaps foremost in the minds of the designers?

All-big guns, solving or providing a remedy to a problem, a chaotic situation - - that was present in the naval battles of what is called the "pre-Dreadnought" [prior to 1905] era.

Warships, during battle, multiple vessels firing multiple rounds from multiple caliber guns at multiple targets, all doing so simultaneously, NOT able from the conflicting splashes able to properly range to the target and adjust for accuracy.

Chaos on the battlefield [the ocean]!

Pre-Dreadnought battleships, having a MIX of gun, calibers, that proper exact mix being felt to be most advantageous! BUT that NOT being so during a naval battle. The MIX of gun calibers causing confusion and CHAOS!!

MIXED gun calibers aboard a pre-Dreadnought battleship for instance, as found on the USS Oregon:

USS Oregon [pre-Dreadnought]:

* 4 × 13 in (330 mm)/35 cal guns
* 8 × 8 in (200 mm)/35 cal guns
* 4 × 6 in (150 mm)/40 cal guns
* 20 × 6-pounders (57 mm (2.2 in))
* 6 × 1-pounders (37 mm (1.5 in))

Contrasted with the "all-big" guns array as carried by the HMS Dreadnought:

* 5 × 2 - BL 12-inch (203 mm) Mark X guns [ten 12-inch guns total]
* 27 × 1 - 12-pdr 18 cwt Mark I guns [3" guns used to ward off torpedo boat attack!]

"The Dreadnought was Admiral John ("Jackie") Fisher's
answer to Tsushima. The ship's large size carried a
main battery of large caliber (12 inch) guns
[quite often described as solely large caliber guns].
This made finding the range of the target easier than it
had been with the pre-Dreadnoughts, whose main
batteries of mixed caliber resulted in confusion
about which guns had fired the shells that might be
seen falling near the target."

"Most historians also cite advantages in fire
control; at long ranges guns were aimed by observing
the splashes
caused by shells fired in salvos, and
it was difficult to interpret different splashes
caused by different calibers of gun. There is still
as to whether this point was important."

"The majority of pre-dreadnought battleships had a
main armament of four heavy guns of 12-inch (305 mm)
caliber, a secondary armament of six to eighteen
quick-firing guns of 4.7 inches (119 mm) to 7.5
inches (191 mm) caliber, and other smaller weapons.
Some designs had an intermediate battery of 8-inch [guns]"

Well, this is all intuitive, is it not? Still debatable? You decide!

Gunners and weapons control officers, firing the main guns of a battleship, watching for the splashes of the rounds, making adjustments as necessary for accuracy, found themselves in a state of confusion, chaos, when faced with the impossible task of differentiating between the splashes from various calibers of guns all firing at once.

In training - - in practice - - this WAS NOT a problem. A single warship, firing at a target in a controlled environment, at a leisurely manner perhaps, taking time to "get things right" those gunners and weapons control officers ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the splashes they observed were from THEIR guns and also knowing with integrity what guns were firing at what and when. NOT a problem in training. But in BATTLE, with mixed caliber guns all firing at once - - CHAOS ENSUING - - NO GOOD!!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This is coolbert:

Those of you that watched the CBS nightly news this evening had the opportunity to see this impressive footage of a warship, decommissioned, being blown out of the water by an under-the-keel explosion from a magnetically activated torpedo. This done as an experiment to replicate, as best is possible, the damage done to the ROKS Cheonan. The South Korean warship widely believed to have been deliberately sunk by a provocative action done on the orders of Kim Jong Il.

"S. Korean Warship Probe Shows How Ship Blew Up"

"Investigators Detonate Torpedo Under Out-of-Service Australian Warship"

"The 500 pound warhead detonated directly below the Australian ship, lifting it out of the water, sending its superstructure overboard, bending the steel girders that make up its spine. A second later, the ship crashed back into the water, breaking its spine, splitting it in two and sending it to the bottom."

The center of the ship definitely lifted out of the water, buckling amid-ships as they would say in the navy, the ship breaking into two distinct pieces, fore and aft separate, the ponderous weight of each section causing that buckled cracked area to split apart as the vessel settles back down onto the water.

That torpedo [a Mark 48??] causing such damage, NOT striking the ship directly, detonating UNDER the keel, the "spine", the "backbone" that runs the length of the ship, causing irredeemable damage, the warship [now in two pieces] still maintaining an amazing watertight integrity even when made asunder!!

See this YouTube video of a destroyer size vessel [similar to the Cheonan], targeted and blown apart by such an underwater-under-the-keel-torpedo-not-contacting-directly explosion! Amazing stuff!

[that is Arabic the narrator is speaking. Obviously not this latest "experiment" as shown on the CBS News!]



This is coolbert:

"[Eddie] Slovik . . . a mild, ordinary GI, jumpy and easily panicked by loud explosions"

Back, for better or worse, to the subject of Eddie Slovik. The ONLY American soldier executed for desertion [in the face of the enemy] since the time of A Lincoln.

Eddie - - a controversial figure to say the least.

AND NOW thanks to the web site Hard Scrabble Farm and my previous blog entry from the MILITARY THOUGHTS blog. "Behave II". That I recalled this particular blog entry from way back is a synchronicity of some sort?

* "There are housewives in aprons and youngsters in knee pants in Britain who have lived through more high explosives in air raids than many soldiers saw in first class barrages in the last war."

* "British Women at War . . . There is not a single record in this war of any British woman in uniformed service quitting her post or failing in her duty under fire."

[that "post" quite often included manning an anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA] gun!!]

"Housewives in aprons" and "British Women at War" extracted from the pamphlet written by the War Department and distributed to all American soldiers deploying to Great Brita8in during World War Two [WW2]!

Read over that entire pamphlet, very entertaining and factual for England AT THAT SPECIFIC TIME!!


"For All Members of American Expeditionary Forces in Great Britain"

Eddie presumably read that pamphlet? But did not ponder the contents in the correct manner? The state of mind is difficult to determine in the case of Eddie? Mute throughout his entire trial - - willing to face a firing squad however! Go figure it all out!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Salah ah-Din.

This is coolbert:

"Salah al Din Abu 'l-Muzaffer Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Shadi"

From a prior blog entry of mine - - the Military Thoughts blog. Some time ago now!


AND - - from the much more recent blog entry "Nine", we have an intuitive appreciation that the nine persons listed as Worthies are all from the "western" or Judeo-Christian cultural/religious domain.

That is not to say that other cultures have NOT had persons "worthy" of consideration to the list of Worthies! Rather INDEED!! A number of cultural domains and religions OUTSIDE of the western world have produced persons, warriors and soldiers, adept on the battlefield but even beyond that - - having a nobility of being, personality, stature, gravitas far beyond the norm. Persons displaying chivalrous behavior on and off the battlefield, esteemed leaders of renown.

One such person of course was the Islamic warrior and ruler, Saladin. Famous MOST for his defeating the Christian Crusaders - - while extending to his foes a generosity in a pronounced manner on numerous occasions!!

Saladin to the Crusader represented the "text-book" example of a chivalrous knight, a man from outside the Christian world the archetype of the warrior/soldier/ruler of high moral integrity and repute!!

So great was the impression that Saladin made upon the Crusaders that when Dante Alighieri composed his epic poem, the "Divine Comedy", a special place of honor was set aside for the man [Saladin]!

"When Dante Alighieri compiled his great medieval
Who's Who of heroes and villains, the Divine Comedy,
the highest a non-Christian could climb was Limbo."

"Ancient pagans had to be virtuous indeed to warrant
inclusion: the residents included Homer, Caesar,
Plato and Dante's guide, Vergil. But perhaps the
most surprising entry in Dante's catalog of 'great-
hearted souls' was a figure "solitary, set apart.'"

"That figure was Saladin. It is testament to his
extraordinary stature in the Middle Ages that not
only was Saladin the sole 'modern' mentioned--he had
been dead barely 100 years when Dante wrote--but
also that a man who had made his name successfully
battling Christianity would be lionized by the
author of perhaps the most Christ-centered verse
ever penned."

Salah al Din Abu 'l-Muzaffer Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Shadi!

I couldn't have said it better myself.


Sunday, July 18, 2010


This is coolbert:

Regarding the prior blog post on North Korea - - systemic malnutrition as a factor in the North Koreans NOT launching an attack against the South Koreans [ROK] and the American allies.

See this from the wiki entry on the Battle of Caporetto [WW1]:

"Failures of German Logistics"

"Even before the battle, Germany was struggling to feed and supply its armies in the field. Erwin Rommel, who, as a junior officer, won the Pour le Mérite for his exploits in the battle, often bemoaned the demands placed upon his 'poorly fed troops'. The Allied blockade of the German Empire, which the Kaiserliche Marine had been unable to break, was responsible for food shortages and widespread malnutrition in Germany and allied countries. When inadequate provisioning was combined with the gruelling night marches preceding the battle of Caporetto, a heavy toll was extracted from the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Despite these logistical problems, the initial assault was extremely successful. However, as the area controlled by the combined Central Powers forces expanded, an already limited logistical capacity was overstrained. By the time the attack reached the Piave, the soldiers of the Central Powers were running low on supplies and were feeling the physical effects of exhaustion"

Physical exhaustion greatly exacerbated by a meagre and inadequate diet PRIOR to the offensive! The German troops and their Austro-Hungarian allies JUST RAN OUT OF STEAM!! The initial assault, as stated "extremely successful", could not be sustained to the degree desired because of exhaustion, the physical demands being too great for those already in a weakened or semi-weakened state - - DUE TO LACK OF FOOD - - a proper diet not available!!



This is coolbert:

Evidence as to why - - the North Koreans have NOT launched a pre-emptive war against the South Koreans and United Nation forces, including American ground, naval, and air forces.

A blitzkrieg style attack of enormous ferocity - - an offensive with the intent to annihilate the South Korean military, the American allies, and UNIFY Korea under communist rule.

And offensive that has not taken place - - because of long-term systemic malnutrition as suffered by the North Korean populace? The folks of the north are just too weak, stunted, physically unfit, unable to carry out and SUSTAIN the blitzkrieg as needed for ultimate victory?

"North Korea's healthcare is a horror, report says"

"the country [North Korea] lacks sterilized needles, clean water and medicine. Patients undergo painful surgery without anesthesia, the human rights group says."

"a population [North Korean] that is chronically malnourished and suffering from digestive problems caused by eating weeds, tree bark, roots, corn husks, cobs and other 'substitute' foods."

"The poor diet also weakens the immune system, making people susceptible to diseases such as tuberculosis, which afflicts at least 5% of the population, according to the report. Meanwhile, about 45% of children under the age of 5 suffer stunted growth because of malnutrition."

A DECADES-LONG shortage of food, resulting in malnourishment and stunted growth, health problems resulting in a population neither fit for military service or when serving, NOT able to perform to the standard needed in the NUMBERS required for a sustained ground offensive to be successful!

Is this so? Is my perception correct? Historians will puzzle as to WHY the North Koreans, prepared as they seem to be for war, just never have attacked. Just plain not having enough to eat and enough of the right stuff to eat is a reasonable explanation?


Ground Attack.

This is coolbert:

Thanks here for the tip and image from the Jungle Trader.

Those massive and nearly successful German Spring Offensives of 1918 [The Great War], relied upon four elements.

The stalemated trench-warfare of the conflict to be broken by the use of innovative tactics and techniques.

The conflict [World War One] to be decisively decided in favor of the Kaiser!

Elements fundamental to success to include:

* Poison gas shells fired by artillery.

 * Hutier tactics [infiltration].

* Massive amounts of artillery centrally commanded.

* Ground strafing aircraft. "Innovative tactics and techniques" the feasibility of which was positively demonstrated from battles of the previous year [1917].

* Riga [Russia].

* Caporetto [Italy].


The Halberstadt CL family of ground-attack aircraft being most instrumental to German plans.

That the various powers in conflict during WW1 actually had aircraft specifically designed as GROUND-ATTACK was a surprise to me. But this IS SO! The Halberstadt CL family existing in the CL II and CL IV versions. GROUND-ATTACK aircraft quite effective. Organized into what were called "battle-flights". Specifically designated with the ground-attack mission in mind.

"It [CL II] also proved to be well suited to close-support, which became the primary role of the CL-type aircraft, the units operating them being re-designated Schlachtstaffelen (Battle flights).

"Ground support by the Schlachtstaffeln proved very effective, being used both in support of German attacks and to disrupt enemy attacks."

"With three machine-guns and five 22-pound (10 kg) anti-personnel bombs, the plane soon established itself as the best ground attack fighters of the war"

"It [CL IV] appeared on the Western Front towards the end of the German offensives in 1918. Flights of four to six aircraft flew close support missions, at an altitude of less than one hundred feet, suppressing enemy infantry and artillery fire just ahead of the advancing troops [German]"

NOT ONLY did the German have such ground attack aircraft, but had carefully thought out tactics for the warplanes to be used most effectively? It seems to be so!

Dedicated ground attack aircraft of the German Halberstadt CL family were effective in a manner that was unanticipated? Military aircraft when the war began [1914] were mere toys! When the war ended [1918], warplanes of the combatants were anything but that!



This is coolbert:

Here are two men, dentists in civilian life, reservists both pre-war [Second World War], who stood very tall on the battlefield.

1. Franz Bake. German tank ace, senior armor commander. Renowned for his exploits on the Eastern Front during World War Two.

"A dentist in civilian life", a reservist who had seen combat action during World War One [WW1], recalled to active duty during World War Two [WW2], not serving in a medical capacity, but as a combat commander.

"Bäke fought during World War I, but rose to fame for his command of heavy Panzer forces in World War II. A reservist, Bäke was a dentist in civilian life, having received his Doctorate in Dental Medicine in 1923."

Served in a wide variety of leaderships roles as a leader of tank troops [to include but not limited to].

* Reconnaissance.
* Tank recovery.
* Special missions.

Led armor units into combat in all the major battles on the Eastern Front during WW2:

* Leningrad.
* Moscow.
* Stalingrad.
* Kharkov.
* Cherkassy Pocket.

Always leading from the front, up-close and personal-like, surviving the war to resume his dental practice.

Incidentally, in the image accompanying this blog entry, those three patches on the right sleeve of Bake indicate having destroyed an enemy tank with infantry weapons, again, "up-close and personal-like"!

2. Ben Salomon. U.S. Army medical officer [dental]. While serving as a front-line surgeon, single-handedly defended his medical station against a banzai attack by overwhelming numbers of Japanese, Saipan, 1944.

Ben Salomon, a dentist in civilian life pre-war, trained as an infantry troop while serving with the National Guard. Salomon KNEW weapons and how to handle them. Put that knowledge to good use in 1944, finally succumbing to multiple numbers of multiple wounds, undoubtedly saving many lives in the process!!

"Benjamin Lewis Salomon . . . was a United States Army dentist during World War II, assigned as a front-line surgeon . . . When the Japanese started overrunning his hospital, he stood a rear-guard action in which he had no hope of personal survival, allowing the safe evacuation of the wounded, killing 98 enemy troops before being killed during the Battle of Saipan in World War II."

Ben Salomon only posthumously and much belatedly receiving the Medal of Honor [MoH] for his exploits.


* The "multiple numbers of multiple wounds" refer to literally DOZENS of gunshot and bayonet thrusts inflicted PRIOR to death, and literally MORE DOZENS of gunshot and bayonet thrusts inflicted AFTER death!!

* It has been suggested Ben Salomon was denied the MoH because he was JEWISH! The chain of command having to forward the recommendation for awarding the medal DID have reasonable issues - - denial being made NOT in a mean-spirited way? This is debatable.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Meat Grinder.

This is coolbert:

"In the unlikely event that Zhukov was correct and Mars was really a diversion, there has never been one so ambitious, so large, so clumsily executed, or so costly" - - David Glantz.

Here from the book "SPETSNAZ" by Victor Suvorov:

"Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the outstanding military leader of the Second World War, had million men, and often several million, under his direct command practically throughout the war. Of all the generals and marshals at his level he was the only one who did not suffer a single defeat in battle"

NO!! Here again we have caught the Soviet defector and author Victor Suvorov [Vladimir Rezun] in an inaccuracy. I hesitate to use that word LIE! Rather I prefer for various reasons inaccuracy.

On at least TWO occasions, the military strategic vision, the implementation of plans as formulated and approved by Zhukov were not successful. Combat actions by Soviet troops as commanded by Zhukov stymied - - mission not accomplished.

1. Operation Mars. Soviet offensive action - - as envisioned by Zhukov and approved by Stavka. This was another Soviet effort to destroy the German Army Group Center on the Eastern Front during World War Two [WW2].

"Operation Mars was the operation codename for the Rzhev offensive operation part of the Rzhev-Vyazma strategic offensive operation (08.01-20.04.42) launched by Soviet forces against German forces during World War II."

"The offensive was a joint operation of the Soviet Western Front and Kalinin Front coordinated by Georgy Zhukov. For many years it was virtually unknown in the West, and just relegated to a footnote in Soviet military history."

"The battles became known as the 'Rzhev meat grinder' . . . for their huge losses, particularly on the Soviet side."

German troops fighting defensively able to stop Soviet advance - - Soviet troops under the command of Zhukov defeated - - losses among the Soviet very heavy!!

2. Cherkassy Pocket. The goal being "Stalingrad on the Dnieper". Surround and defeat, capture and kill an entire German Army, in the style of Stalingrad. A plan conceived by Zhukov with the approval of Stavka.

"Battle of the Korsun-Cherkasy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February, 1944"

"Marshal Zhukov realized the potential for destroying Wöhler’s 8th Army with the Stalingrad model as precedent and using similar tactics . . . Zhukov recommended to the Soviet Supreme Command (Stavka)" [his strategic vision of how this could be done. A strategic vision approved for implementation with the guidance of Zhukov!]

As with Mars, the plans, the strategic vision, the implementation of the mission under the command of Zhukov, going awry!! Mission not accomplished. German defenders able to escape encirclement - - albeit with heavy losses. BUT NOT a Stalingrad on the Dneiper.


* Zhukov did have a "million men, and often several million" troops under his command during WW2! A man who had mastered the art of war on the colossal scale.

* Think more of Zhukov as a representative of Stavka? A man, Zhukov, having the strategic vision and being given overall responsibility for implementation of that vision?

* It has been suggested that Mars was a diversion for the much more important Uranus Operation [Stalingrad]! This seems not to be the case. Because of failure, Mars is a mere "footnote". It is conceivable that Suvorov, himself a product of the Soviet military education system - - is not even aware of the catastrophe of Mars?

* During WW2, the German showed a lot of skill and ability whether on the offensive or on the defensive [Mars, Cherkassy]!

* Zhukov had to submit all his proposals for approval to Stavka and Stalin. This was the standard procedure for Soviet commanders during WW2. Initiative was for the most part NOT allowed!

NO ONE can deny that Zhukov was a great commander of WW2. Among the various Soviet marshals and generals the MOST famous. But not uniformly successful. Defeated on several occasions.


Friday, July 16, 2010


This is coolbert:

Thanks to Eugene and the Volokh Conspiracy for the lead-in to this blog entry.

The Stolen Valor Act:

"The Act makes it a crime to":

"falsely represent oneself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States, any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item ..."

Back to the much-repeated subject of the false war hero, the military impostor.

1. "Military Impostors Are Neither Few Nor Proud"

First with the case of Steven Douglas Burton. Man who dressed as a U.S. Marine, a decorated hero, wearing the regalia, the medals, making extraordinary claims. And found guilty under the Stolen Valor Act. A law - - the Stolen Valor Act, enacted as a response to an epidemic of military war hero wannabees that in most cases - - have NEVER even done their military service, much less served with valor. It being a crime to claim you have won and been awarded medals and decorations for which you are NOT entitled!

"Burton pleaded guilty to a single count of the unauthorized wearing of a military medal. He faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for violating the Stolen Valor Act, which prohibits wearing an unearned medal or falsely claiming to have earned one."

"Steven Douglas Burton's Web site contained photos of him wearing the Marine Corps uniform proudly. He had rows of medals, including a prestigious Navy Cross, a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star"

Steven not only dressed as a Marine, he talked the talk and walked the walk, so it seems, but it was all a charade. First a gunnery sergeant, then a Lieutenant Colonel, and goodness knows what else. All existing ONLY in the imagination of the man.

2. And here is the strange case of Rick Strandlof. Also a man who made extraordinary claims of military service and heroism. A man claiming to be a wounded and disabled military vet from the Iraq conflict. And a man doing charitable work on behalf of disabled and down-and-out-of-luck homeless military veterans [charitable work that enriched the man?]. All the while another military wannabee of dubious repute and background.

"Many faces of 'fake vet' Rick Strandlof exposed"

"But a trail of deceit has stamped Richard Glen Strandlof with another indelible mark: fake military hero who misled veterans, politicians and voters. Many had bought into the story of Rick Duncan, the wounded soldier rallying opposition to the Iraq war and support for struggling vets."

Rick - - also a military impostor, a fraud and a sham. An impostor BUT much more than that. A man who solicited funds, ran an anti-war campaign, an "activist" with a very checkered past. Just a plain old ordinary bad person from I can discern.

3. NOW - - from just a short time ago - - the Rick Strandlof case taking a turn for the worse, a federal district court judge ruling the Stolen Valor act UNCONSTITUTIONAL!! Deemed a freedom of speech issue, merely to make claims that you have been awarded medals and decorations for which you are not entitled being ruled a "PROTECTED" First Amendment right.

Wearing the uniform with medals, making outrageous claims of valor is NOT a crime in itself? Legitimate free speech activity? So has ruled a federal district court judge!

From the Volokh Conspiracy, read what the legal experts and pundits have to say:

"The case, by the way, involves Rick Strandlof, who — under the name Rick Duncan — claimed to be a wounded and decorated Iraq War veteran, and who tried to use this claim to 'rally' opposition to the Iraq war and support for struggling vets.”

Back to the drawing boards? This case and ruling will be appealed? The charlatan, the impostor, the poseur', the prevaricator has won an unjustifiable victory?

Too BAD!!


Thursday, July 15, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here is the type of stuff that interests Bert.

The Nine Worthies. A concept and listing from the Middle Ages. Chivalric and noble figures from ancient history.

"The Nine Worthies (les neuf preux) are nine historical, scriptural, mythological or semi-legendary figures who, in the Middle Ages, were believed to personify the ideals of chivalry."

Three persons each from three historical periods and cultural/religious domain [pagan, Jewish, Christian], exemplars of chivalry as that concept is understood.

"The Nine Worthies were":


* Hector.
* Alexander the Great.
* Julius Caesar.


* Joshua.
* David.
* Judas Maccabeus.


* King Arthur.
* Charlemagne.
* Godfrey of Bouillon.

"As a group, the nine worthies represent all facets of the perfect warrior."


* Hector and King Arthur are often referred to as "mythological figures". My perception is that they were REAL individuals capable of the deeds as attributed to them, perhaps on a more modest scale that what legend suggests, but still REAL warriors and leaders, military men both heroic and noble.

* It can be suggest that some of these chivalric persons [Caesar, Joshua], often as COMMANDERS conducted warfare that was almost or WAS genocidal in nature? Brutality was the order of the day then as it can be in modern times.

AND this too. Compile a list of MODERN military men that are exemplars of chivalry.

Off the top of my head, I can name five persons WORTHY of incorporation into a list of modern "Worthies":

* Saburo Sakai. Outstanding Japanese combat aviator from World War Two, chivalrously sparing the life of an opponent [Southerland] in the skies over Guadalcanal.

* Eugene Fluckey. American submariner and Medal of Honor [MoH] winner from the Second World War. Ran an orphanage in Portugal post-war.

* Bernhard Rogge. Captain of the German surface raider Atlantis. Renowned for his humane and civilized treatment of captured enemy sailors and civilians during World War Two.

* Norman Schwarzkopf. American combat soldier and commander of the allied coalition that was victorious in the First Gulf War. Noted for insisting on measures to minimize casualties among his own troops AND Iraqi civilians both.

* Leonard Cheshire VC. Famous English combat aviator from the era of World War Two. Greatly admired in England for his post-war charitable and philanthropic activities on behalf of the disabled.

WHO can come up with more likely candidates for inclusion into the ranks of MODERN "Worthies"?? I invite input from devoted readers to the blog.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Object 279.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to several sources, here is info on a weird type of Soviet heavy tank from the 1950's.

ONLY seen in the experimental prototype stages. Called a T-10 but NOT that. This particular experimental heavy tank went by several designations, depending upon what design bureau [that is what the Soviets called them] was instrumental in the initial development.

[prototypes are referred to as: "Chelyabinsk 'Object 770'" and the "Leningrad 'Object 277' and 'Object 279'".]


"the Troyanov Obiekt 219 heavy tank prototype, which ranks as the best Russian vehicle of its type (along with the Isakov Obiekt 770). It was designed to fight in the nuclear battlefield . . . The hull shape of the 279 was dictated by the need to resist overturning by the blast shockwave and resultant high speed winds . . . A high powered 1.000hp naval diesel engine and a 130mm gun were employed for mobility and firepower."

A tank - - possessing the shape of a turret on top of an armored clam shell with four tracks for mobility. Having an enormous gun with long barrel and large caliber [130 mm]!!

A tank existing ONLY in the form of prototypes - - the entire concept of "heavy" tanks becoming passe' with developing technology. Cost I am sure too becoming a factor. Mass production of such armored vehicles was too expensive!

Tanks at one time existed in all manner of shapes and forms - - "flavors". Heavy tanks, medium tanks, light tanks, fast tanks, amphibious tanks, etc.! This is not the case, has not been for some time, and probably will never be again!!

More than anything else too, the Soviet experience with heavy tanks, the Joseph Stalin [JS] brand and the T-10, were more or less negative. Very powerful gun, thick armor, but not having the desired mobility and being mechanically unreliable. NOT favored by the troops for the most part compared to say the much more agile and reliable T-34 from World War Two fame.

The Object 279 existed only as a gleam in the eye, but ONLY that.


Monday, July 12, 2010


This is coolbert:

"my pet fascist"

Here from the wiki entry for Charles Willoughby. One of those officers of general rank, serving on the staff of Douglas MacArthur as the most senior intelligence officer [G-2] for an extended period of time, all the while wielding great influence!

"Charles Andrew Willoughby . . . was a Major General in the U.S. Army, serving as General Douglas MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence during most of World War II and the Korean Conflict."

Charles Willoughby - - born Adolf C. Weidenbach - - a German national! An immigrant to the United States, seeing active military duty in the those years prior to the Great War [WW1], seeing continuous service from the time of that era until and during the Korean War.

"On immigration to the US in 1910, he enlisted in the US Army first as a Private and rose to the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged [all the while using the name of Adolf C. Weidenbach]"

During the Great War, allegations of pro-German sentiment and involvement with a German spy were made against Weidenbach [Willoughby] - - allegations not proven, the man having been cleared of any wrong doing.

Adolf [Charles] - - in furtherance of his career, changing his name to the much more Anglo-Saxon sounding Charles Willoughby.

"He changed his name, it is thought, at some point in the 1920s to Charles Willoughby."

Willoughby having been thought to have fascist tendencies, at least of some sort, or voicing favorable sentiments?

"In the 1920s Willoughby was an admirer of Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco calling him the 'second greatest general in the world'."

I think we all understand WHO exactly Willoughby [Weidenbach] thought was the finest and best general officer in the world?

By modern standards, Willoughby would be considered UNSUITABLE FOR INTELLIGENCE WORK? The foreign birth, the name change, the allegations [even unproven], would raise definite red flags!

Well, THIS IS ALL NEWS TO ME! I was aware of the name Willoughby and the context associated with MacArthur, but not the details.

The sycophant too - - when it matters, quite often is NOT ABLE to perform? Lacks the natural wherewithal to deliver the goods in the correct manner. In the case of Willoughby, you have a clear and consistent pattern of failure with regard to intelligence analysis when it counted the most. ON REPEATED OCCASIONS.

You take it from there!



This is ccolbert:

Here with an elite American unit from the Second World War [WW2]. A unit compiling an outstanding record, perhaps unsurpassed!

Alamo Scouts. A unit organized specifically at the behest of General Walter Krueger.

Alamo Scouts - - a strategic reconnaissance and intelligence gathering unit. Operating in conjunction with the U.S. Sixth Army, Southwest Pacific Area [SWPA], WW2.

"The Alamo Scouts (US 6th Army Special Reconnaissance Unit) was a reconnaissance unit of the Sixth United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II."

"The Alamo Scouts performed 106 known missions behind enemy lines, mainly in New Guinea and the Philippines without losing a single man. Thus, the Scouts had one of the finest records of any elite unit in World War II."

This typical six-man Alamo Scout team carries the M1 carbine, wearing the camouflage uniform and the field cap with the up-turned brim. Wearing the field cap in that manner was a "trade-mark" of the Scouts?

Highly skilled at conducting behind-the-lines type special operations missions, to include a DIRECT ACTION capability - - killing or capturing enemy troops and liberating American prisoners-of-war [PoW] when the opportunity presented itself.

"The Scouts were credited with the capture of 84 Japanese prisoners of war, and only two Scouts were wounded in the mission."

But generally attempting to operate in as surreptitious a manner as possible. Unseen, avoiding and not making contact with the enemy. Read this particular entry from the Alamo Scout web site. An after-action report that details the type of mission the Scout were so adept at.

Make NO mistake about it either! This was VERY DANGEROUS DUTY in the extreme. To have been captured while on an Alamo Scout mission by the Japanese would have resulted in some very bad consequences!!

An area of operations for the Alamo Scouts to include:

* Bismarck Archipelago.

* New Guinea.

* Philippines.

* Japan! [two missions seemingly performed post-surrender!]

The Scouts - - during the selection process for inclusion into the unit, training in - - "eight major skill areas":

* Rubber Boat Handling.

* Intelligence Gathering.

* Scouting & Patrolling.

* Navigation.

* Communications.

* Weapons.

* Physical Conditioning.

A very large part of Scout training centering upon water skills, water survival, small boat handling, etc. Scouts operating in amphibious fashion, taken to the AO [area of operations] by MTB [motor-torpedo-boat], going ashore in a zodiac-style rubber boat.

[candidates for selection as a scout already were trained and experienced soldiers! Volunteers, these guys were not novices.]

As with almost all special operations units, the Scout training regimen was tough, designed to produce an individual troop that "could do"! A meticulous selection process, ONLY about one-third [1/3] of the volunteers finally incorporated into the ranks of the Scouts. [this is the type of military duty that most young men have in mind when they join the military - - but almost NONE ever get to do!]

"250 enlisted men and 75 officers, from 27 December 1943 to 2 September 1945. Only 117 enlisted men and 21 officers were retained. The remaining graduates returned to their units."

This is interesting. What is called the "Krueger Card". Alamo Scout officers during a mission would carry this card with them. Alamo Scout officers were given extraordinary authority to perform a mission. Having this card presented to you was more or less the same as having General Krueger standing in front of you in person, with all that meant!!

As for those landings on Japanese soil, the teams that set ashore did so AFTER Japanese surrender, surveying the beaches for the Sixth Army occupation force to land!

"Two teams of Alamo Scouts and advance elements of 6th Army Headquarters had visited the city [Nagasaki] on 19 September in preparation for the landing."

"ADKINS and GRIMES Teams conducted advance reconnaissance of the beach. The next day, DERR Team accompanied General Walter Krueger on an inspection tour of the city [Nagasaki]"

The Alamo Scouts, NOT RECEIVING PROPER RECOGNITION UNTIL 1988, OVER FORTY YEARS AFTER THE END OF WW2!! ONLY in 1988 being recognized as a Special Forces unit.

Alamo Scouts, a small unit from the era of WW2 that stood very tall!!



This is coolbert:

Please first read this entry from a previous blog entry of mine:

"Two strategic intelligence blunders within six months: yet the civilian and military leaders involved were all products of World War II, when the attack on Pearl Harbor had clearly demonstrated the requirement for intelligence collection and analysis"

Right! Two intelligence blunders within a period of six months. And blunders by persons of experience who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!

Exactly. The context here is the Korean War. General Mac Arthur and the staff of Far Eastern Command [FEC], AND the American Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], neither unable to predict or react quickly or correctly enough to the North Korean invasion of South Korea OR the later massive, overwhelming intervention of the Chinese Communist Forces [CCF]!!

Operational and intelligence failure of the highest and worst possible magnitude.

NOW, here, from the Australian web site: BATTLE FOR AUSTRALIA WEB-SITE, a very harsh critique of General Douglas Mac Arthur!

The military blunders of Korea were preceded from ten years earlier by similar military blunders of excessive magnitude - - also on the part of General Mac Arthur and his staff!!

Blunders due in large measure to the very strong but flawed personality of Mac Arthur himself? Read it all!

"General Douglas MacArthur possessed a deeply flawed personality. He was vain, aloof, and showed no interest in the welfare of the troops he commanded. His mind was too closed and inflexible for him to readily deduce an enemy's strategic and tactical goals or options. He ignored unpleasant realities when it did not suit him to acknowledge them, and tended to surround himself with servile staff officers who were aware of this dangerous weakness and indulged it. A surprise move by an enemy could produce paralysing indecision at MacArthur's headquarters."

"MacArthur possessed other character flaws that should have excluded him from senior command. He was a cold man who distanced himself from his troops and he showed an indifference to their welfare that at times was callous. He was a conceited man, with a passion for self-glorification, and incapable of admitting serious military errors or learning from them. His dread of removal from command verged on paranoia. These character failings caused him to blame his commanding officers in the field and his troops for his own errors of judgment"

WOW! I can only imagine the reaction if the General was still around to read this critique! Well, so be it.

It is true that when General Mac Arthur escaped ["broke through enemy lines"] from the Philippines, 1942, he did take his major staff officers with him. Men that played an important rule in planning subsequent military operations during the various campaigns of the South West Pacific Area [SWPA]. Men best characterized as sycophants?

"sycophant - - (n.) A servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people."

Without a doubt, unquestionably so, the person and persona of Douglas Mac Arthur is extraordinarily complex. THE ENTIRE LIFE OF THE MAN, BIGGER-THAN-LIFE EVEN can only best be characterized as "controversial". It seems you either greatly admire the man or greatly hate the man, no in-between.

Those various operational and intelligence blunders of WW2 and the Korean War BOTH do raise serious questions as to the capacity of Mac Arthur and his staff to perform at the highest level of performance needed, especially in times of dire crisis. YES!


Saturday, July 10, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Hey - - no one said this was going to be easy!!"

From the Chicago Tribune of this last Tuesday:


"Drones plagued by crashes"

"Pilots never die, but 79 accidents have cost $1M each"

"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - - The U.s. military, often portrays its drone aircraft as high-tech marvels that can be operated seamlessly from thousand of miles away. But Pentagon accident reports reveal that the pilotless aircraft suffer from frequent system failures, computer failures and human error."

"Altogether, the Air Force says there have been 79 drone accidents coasting at least $1 million each."

"The crash figures do not include drones flown over Pakistan by the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] which does not acknowledge the covert program."

"Drones down"

"Here's a breakdown on the number of crashes":

"On combat missions - - 38"

"During training - - 9"

"Total crashes - 79" [at a cost of 1 $1 million each.]

"Drones in use: Hundreds"

These presumably are drones of the Predator and Reaper persuasion. Combat aircraft, unmanned, with a reconnaissance capability and also able to fire Hellfire missiles - - kill the enemy! "Fight the enemy with the weapons you have, and he does not" - - Suvorov.

Unmanned aircraft of course are NOT totally infallible. NOT expendable either, and no would suggest otherwise. The entire system of aircraft, remote control from the other side of the planet, satellite link, etc., is a marvel, without question, that much is for sure!!

Think too that the cost of $79 million is about what two brand-new F-15 or F-35 fighter planes would cost you. And that does not include the time and money spent to train a combat pilot whose mortal life is in danger each and everytime the pilot takes off on a mission!!

My impression is that the drones during this Afghan conflict are more or less impervious to enemy action? The opposition does not possess the weaponry to shoot-down a high-flying drone. And so far electronic warfare has not been waged against the communication systems and links of the drones and their ground-based pilots. NO electronic combat, jamming, intrusion, hacking, etc.

Remember too that these are a first-generation weapons system that only will be subject to further improvements, refinements! It can only get better?



This is coolbert:

Here are two American military men who BOTH achieved in a BIG WAY. And most deservedly so!


1. Walter Krueger.

Walter Krueger, most noted for his command of the U.S. Sixth Army in the Southwest Pacific Area [SWPA] during the Second World War [WW2].

"Walter Krueger . . . was an American soldier of German descent . . . best known for his command of the Sixth United States Army in the South West Pacific Area during World War II. He was the first soldier to rise from the rank of Private to General in the United States Army."

"Walter Krueger was born in Flatow, West Prussia (German Empire) (since 1945 Złotów, Poland), the son of Julius Krüger, a Prussian landowner who had served as an officer in the Franco-Prussian War"

2. General John Shalikashvili.

"General John Malchase David Shalikashvili . . . is a retired officer of the United States Army who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997. He was born in Warsaw, Poland to Georgian refugee parents."

"General Shalikashvili is the only foreign-born to reach the rank of four-star General in the U.S. Army." [this is not quite correct!]

Shalikashvili was not only a four-star officer, but Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The highest position possible within the ranks of the U.S. military. It is worth noting that both Krueger and Shalikashvili were four-star generals, Krueger however holding that rank only temporarily. [retiring as a four-star flag officer]

"He entered the Army as a private, enjoyed it, and applied to Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1959."

Shalikashvili in particular is from a noble house. His father having the title of Prince! The life of the Shalikashvili family while living in the U.S. being very mundane and normal, hardly princely in any way. John throughout his entire life has just been another Joe! But another Joe who made it BIG!!

It is possible for the immigrant, the foreign-born, arriving in the U.S., to accomplish remarkably well. That includes the military too. It can be done.


Thursday, July 8, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Worn by European military in the 18th century, gorgets were brought to North America and given to Native leaders as a sign of their rank."

From my previous blog entry on the Seminole Wars, I have included an image of Osceola. The most famous leader and commander of the Indian nation from that conflict. A man betrayed in a craven manner, the carrying of a white flag of truce not honored.


Notice in that image of Osceola the metal pendants hanging from his neck.


Normally the gorget is associated with the military officer of the black powder era, in the European or American tradition.

A remnant symbol of the armor that the knight "of yore" would wear into battle. The gorget, a remnant armor, symbolic of authority, nobility, the OFFICER CLASS!

"During the 18th and early 19th centuries, crescent-shaped gorgets of silver or silver gilt were worn by officers in most European armies, both as a badge of rank and an indication that they were on duty. These last survivals of armour were much smaller (usually about three to four inches in width) than their Medieval predecessors and were suspended by chains or ribbons"

"from the 18th century onwards, the gorget became primarily ornamental, serving only as a symbolic accessory on military uniforms"

Here with an image illustrative of how the gorget was worn by an European or American colonial military officer of the period.

"Colonel George Washington wore a gorget as part of his uniform in the French and Indian War, which symbolized his commission as an officer in the Virginia Regiment."

George Washington as a young man, a colonel and commander of the colonial Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War. The gorget hanging from his neck worn symbolic of his rank, authority, "nobility", an OFFICER in command.

And here with a modern wearing of the gorget, a complete surprise to me! The gorget worn in some circumstances as a badge, an indication of military authority! In this particular case, a Finnish soldier, a non-commissioned officer, evidently in charge-of-quarters, the most senior soldier on duty at that given moment.

"A Finnish conscript as a duty NCO, wearing a gold-coloured gorget."

My original perception was - - that the depiction of Osceola - - painted by an American artist, was a "stylized" work of art. NOT a true representation, the artist showing Osceola in a manner for commercial consumption. The gorgets as worn by Osceola placed there to "symbolize" the fact that this man [Osceola] was a war chief, a leader, a man of authority.

BUT NO! I am incorrect.

The gorget was a popular item worn by the American Indians of the "civilized" nations [Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw]. And Seminole TOO! Worn in the same manner would a military officer of the European or American tradition, to signify rank, authority, leadership. As recognized by both American Indians and others as meaning such!!

"the eighteenth-century gorgets and medallions symbolized the cross-cultural alliance between negotiating parties of two different cultures. Native American leaders and diplomats wore the British gorgets as symbols of status and power in the context of foreign relationships."

It seems that all representations of Osceola show the man wearing gorgets. Osceola sat for American painters no less than three times, so highly was the man esteemed!

And how is this for synchronicity? ONLY several days ago, the Chicago Tribune carries an article about the current President of Elmhurst College, Alan Ray. A Cherokee, a man having a degree of authority within the Indian nation, AND WEARING CEREMONIAL GORGETS, A SYMBOL OF HIS [RAY] LEADERSHIP ROLE!!

The old ways are not forgotten and sometimes are the best ways too!!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with a new one on me.

Roman marines. Shipboard Roman naval infantry [marines]. Classiarii!

From the Imperial period forward [31 BC - AD 500], fighting infantry, stationed on Roman warships - - but not a prestigious service. Considered second-rate duty, NOT on the same level as a conventional troop in the Roman ground forces, the legions.

Persons, free peregrini, provincials not citizens of Rome, Roman subjects fighting for Rome, but not being accorded or enjoying until after completing a full length of service [twenty-six years] the full rights and privileges of an ordinary legionnaire.

"Being in the Roman "marines" (the milites classiarii) didn't convey the same prestige as being in the modern US Marine Corps does now [British Royal Marine Commando or Russian Marines for that matter either!]. The Roman marines were provincial or foreign auxiliaries that could fight on or off boat."

The normal contingent of a Roman naval vessel would include:

* "milites classiarii". The fighting men. Marines. Naval infantry.

* "nautae". "The ships' specialist crew as well as the seamen who worked the rigging and kept the ship seaworthy."

* "remiges". Rowers.

Naval battles of the ancient period consisting of ramming, grappling, boarding, and defending against same. The Roman perception of naval warfare being as an adjunct to battle on land, the navy secondary in all cases to the land forces, war at sea merely a reflection of land combat.

Those classiarii had a thankless task, and were not highly thought of either? Makes for a bad combination.