Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WW1.

This is coolbert:

Professor Niall Ferguson please forgive me, but here with the generally accepted history, assumptions, and perceptions regarding the Great War, WW1. The text-book type of material as taught at all grade levels - - AND AS UNDERSTOOD BY BERT:

1. Those treaties and alliances entered into by the various European powers prior to 1914 - - treaties and alliances designed and expected to forestall war, rather as a consequence only hastened a continental-wide war - - not intended, that quickly became a WORLD-WAR!!

2. NO ONE among the ruling political elites and the senior military commanders of each and any belligerent power ever expected the war to last as long as it did. The thought was - - August 1914 - - that the mobilized troops of the various combatant nations would be: "home before the leaves fall!!" Such was the mind-set at the time. A period [lasting mere months!!] of vigorously fought military actions, followed by a truce, negotiations, and a peace settlement of some sort. So ALL thought!!

3. The numbing and terribly troubling continuous slaughter of the trenches was a surprise to everyone? The industrialized, mechanized, mass-assembly, totally impersonal, by-the-numbers, PROTRACTED type of warfare - - for which there was no resolve or amelioration, the General Staffs of the warring nations NOT having the ability to formulate a solution to the stalemated situation as encountered especially so on the Western Front!!

4. And war - - when the actual hostilities commenced - - was not necessarily looked upon with disfavor by the various ruling political and military elites of the major combatant nations. Was seen as offering a unique opportunity to address or redress grievances and accomplish "goals" that could not be accomplished by ordinary peacetime diplomacy. Each and every major combatant having their own "axe to grind" - - to include:

* Great Britain and the British Empire. Reassert the position of England as the pre-eminent and dominant world power. Respond to the challenge posed by that parvenu [upstart] nation of Germany.

* France. Revanchist "goals" and aims could be realized by victory on the battlefield over Germany. Recover the lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine - - avenge the humiliating defeat of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

* Germany. Der Tag. Military victory with a peace treaty, a pan-European settlement most favorable to Germany, establishing Deutschland as the acknowledged and foremost European power. A power with WORLD-WIDE ASPIRATIONS!!


"'Der Tag' . . . 'Not as weak-willed blunderers have we undertaken the fearful risk of this war. We wanted it; because we had to wish it and could wish it . . . We wage It [WAR] from the lofty point of view and with the conviction that Germany, as a result of her achievements, and in proportion to them, Is justified in asking, and must obtain, wider room on earth for development and for working out the possibilities that are in her.'"


* Russia. The protector of all-Slavdom. Demonstrate a willingness to fight on the behalf of Slavic peoples, reassert Russian dominance in Eastern Europe, thwart German expansionism eastward, AND - - re-establish the reputation of Russian battlefield prowess on the international stage. A fighting ability called into question as a result of the Russo-Japanese War - - 1905!!

Textbook stuff. Pretty much the agreed upon history, the perceptions, the assumptions, the REAL STORY! OR, open to question?

coolbert.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Move!

This is coolbert:

"War makes all other activity of man seem trivial by comparison!" - - G. Patton.


Very good episode on the CBS evening news today. Dealing with the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Thank you CBS.

"In Iraq, The Mother of All Moves"

"From Tanks to Toothpicks, Tons of Equipment Being Moved with U.S. Troops in Biggest Withdrawal Since Vietnam"

Equipment, a winnowing process in place. Equipment, according to type and need, selected for:

* Junking.
* Turn over the Iraqi Army.
* Send back to the U.S.
* Send to Afghan.

The statistics are indeed staggering:

* "The withdrawal is projected to cost more than $150 billion"

* "On any given day there are 4,500 trucks on the road, travelling in huge convoys"

"Combat gear bound for Afghanistan gets priority. The rest -- moving at night to maintain a low profile -- goes to ports in Kuwait or Amman for shipping home."

It is NO WONDER that many career military officers have business degrees or an advanced degree such as a MBA! This withdrawal from Iraq is a warehouse operation, WRIT LARGE! Lieutenants think tactics, generals think logistics!

coolbert.

Khan.



This is coolbert:

"it will take at least three to five years" - - Khan.


Very good interview on National Public Radio this morning. General Khan, the Pakistani general officer in charge of the Frontier Corps, describing the situation within the Pakistani Federally Administrated Tribal Areas [FATA]. That area along the border between Pakistan and Afghan, the sanctuary of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, possibly of course, to include the hiding place of Osama.




"Pakistan's Militia Mixes New Tactics, Ancient Rules"

Download and listen to the 7 and 1/2 minute interview. General Khan is very eloquent and seems to have a lot of confidence regarding the situation. DOES FEEL THAT A SOLUTION CAN BE ACHIEVED. BUT WARNS THAT "AMERICANS MUST HAVE PATIENCE!!"

Al Qaeda and the Taliban can be defeated, uprooted from their sanctuary in the mountainous terrain along the border between Pakistan and Afghan. But NOT something that is going to be done overnight.

The Frontier Corps at this very moment - - taking the fight to the bad guys, and slowly gaining the advantage. A para-military force, consisting of Pashtun militiamen - - themselves indigenous to the FATA!

A legacy of the Raj, from the time of British ruled India, the Frontier Corps having a long history in the area, not newcomers.

"The Frontier Corps (FC) . . . is a federal paramilitary force recruited mostly by people from the tribal areas and led by officers from the Pakistan Army . . . the force itself is part of the Interior Ministry"

"With a total manpower of approximately 80,000, the task of these forces is to help local law enforcement in the maintenance of law and order . . . these forces have been increasingly used in military operations against insurgents . . . in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)."

Waziristan North and South, Khyber, etc. The Frontier Corps, para-militaries, locals, accustomed to the terrain, culture, the way of life, familiar with the tactics that work, can spot the enemy from among a group of civilians, etc.

Let us hope this will work. And Americans DO NEED TO HAVE PATIENCE!!

coolbert.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Drugs.

This is coolbert:

"At first the members of the punishment battalion whistled and sang songs. [But] most of them had collapsed after the first 24 hours."


"'redefine the limits of human endurance.'"


NAZI experimentation camp!

The perception the German Nazi regime always liked to cultivate is that fascism promoted and advocated the clean way of living. NO smoking, drinking only beer or wine pleasurably and in moderation, a continuous regimen of physical fitness being the order of the day, ascetics the lot of the population, clean living persons of good, even of outstanding health, the natural way of life preferred. And NO DRUG USE tolerated whatsoever, upon pain of death!!

"Ascetic lifestyle - - a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures"

As with most other things, this perception was NOT totally accurate. Indeed, for the German military during World War Two [WW2], a state of abusive drug use and an over-indulgence in alcoholic beverage was quite the norm.

The use of drugs as stimulants being ENCOURAGED, EVEN ADVOCATED, EMBRACED AS A WAY TO ACHIEVE VICTORY!!

"Hitler's Drugged Soldiers"

"Many of the Wehrmacht's soldiers were high on Pervitin when they went into battle, especially against Poland [1939] and France [1940] -- in a Blitzkrieg fueled by speed. The German military was supplied with millions of methamphetamine tablets during the first half of 1940. The drugs were part of a plan to help pilots, sailors and infantry troops become capable of superhuman performance. The military leadership liberally dispensed such stimulants, but also alcohol and opiates"

The drug of choice being an amphetamine, Pervitin. Widely available, sold over-the-counter even, and distributed in abundance, no heed being given to debilitating effects.

"the substance [Pervitin] increases self-confidence, concentration and the willingness to take risks, while at the same time reducing sensitivity to pain, hunger and thirst, as well as reducing the need for sleep."

Alcohol consumption too was encouraged

"Alcohol, the people's drug, was also popular in the Wehrmacht . . . 'only a fanatic would refuse to give a soldier something that can help him relax and enjoy life after he has faced the horrors of battle, or would reprimand him for enjoying a friendly drink or two with his comrades.'"

Further experimentation on even more powerful versions of "stimulants" were carried out on concentration camp inmates, the desire on the part of Nazi scientists and doctors again to produce a soldier capable superhuman effort, all the while in a drug enhanced state!!

"Nazis tested cocaine on camp inmates "

"The pills contained a mix of cocaine, the amphetamine pervitin and a morphine-related painkiller, according to Focus, which said that Nazi scientists began experimenting with the drug in 1944."

"It was hoped the drug would give soldiers almost unlimited fighting powers at a time when the German armies were in retreat."

This approach toward producing a soldier capable of superhuman performance by drugging the troops is very wrong-headed.

Perhaps [and only so] good in the short run, very bad in the long run. You will end up with a brain-fried individual whose senses and mental state will become warped - - an unmanageable troop.

Also, with the various types of "speed" drugs and any form of opiate, your body will constantly crave more and more, a level of "tolerance" NEVER becoming possible, an unlimited and insatiable addiction being the result.

coolbert.

Tax!

This is coolbert:

From the previous blog entry:

"The War of 1898, victory in that war having far reaching consequences."

Here is one of those "far reaching consequences", unheralded and unappreciated, perhaps not even known about by the lay public!

The Federal Telephone Excise Tax.

A tax imposed at a time [1898] when very few American businesses or individuals owned a telephone. A tax levied each and every time a telephone connection was made. A tax levied TO PAY FOR THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, 1898.

A tax still in existence today, modified, repealed and re-instated many times, originally designed to pay for a war of short duration, but a tax nonetheless going strong, over ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER!

"In late April 1898, Congress passed a resolution declaring that a state of war had existed since April 21, 1898, between the United States and Spain. Although the Spanish-American War was short, its financing needs resulted in a federal budget deficit . . . an excise tax on telephone service was introduced for the first time in 1898"

A tax - - again, "repealed and re-instated many times", an "emergency" measure taken to pay for a war, Spanish-American, WW1, WW2, Vietnam, etc.

An "emergency" measure ONLY that seems to have a very charmed life. Obviously the usage of the telephone for business and personal purposes is just magnitudes way beyond the situation that existed in 1898. A valuable source of revenue the government just cannot get away from.

coolbert.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Casus Belli?

This is coolbert:

"Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!"

The sinking of a warship, by a naval mine, as we are well aware, can be the precipitating reason for war! A casus belli!!

"Casus belli - - (n.) An act or event that provokes or is used to justify war."

Of course I am thinking about the sinking of the USS Maine.

Very significant American vessel of the pre-Dreadnought era, a battleship, sunk by an explosion, 1898, Havana harbor.


The Maine, blown apart, at the time the cause thought to have been A NAVAL MINE PLANTED BY MISCHIEVOUS AND MALEVOLENT FORCES, SPANISH IN ORIGIN!!

The sinking of the Maine was indeed probably foremost in the minds of the general public when the U.S. government made the decision to go to war with Spain, The War of 1898, victory in that war having far reaching consequences.

The sinking of the Maine NEVER BEING SATISFACTORILY RESOLVED!! Many inquiries, never conclusively arriving at a decisive verdict.

"USS Maine . . . best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. . . . 15 February 1898, she suddenly exploded, and swiftly sank, killing nearly three quarters of her crew. Though then, as now, the etiology and responsibility for her sinking were unclear . . . the sinking . . .was one of the precipitating events of the Spanish–American War. Her sinking remains the subject of speculation

"e·ti·ol·o·gy - - 2.the study of causation. 3.any study of causes, causation, or causality, as in philosophy, biology, or physics."

"There have been four major investigations into the sinking since 1898. From the four inquiries, two hypotheses have emerged: one, that a naval mine in Havana Harbor had exploded underneath the battleship, causing the explosion of the magazines; and two, that spontaneous combustion of the coal in bunker A16 created a fire that detonated the nearby magazines."

It is A FACT that the forward powder magazines of the Maine did detonate in a sympathetic manner following AN INITIAL EXPLOSION!! The source of that initial explosion is the mystery. External or internal has never been decided.

Too, the U.S. Navy did make an extensive, costly, time-consuming effort to "get-to-the-bottom" of what exactly did happen to the Maine. Even to the extent of building a dam out in the middle of Havana harbor - - surrounding the wreckage of the ship - - siphoning off the water, exposing the sunken hulk, and retrieving debris for examination. NOT a half-hearted and desultory effort.

Over the years - - too - - whole host of candidates have been suggested as potential perpetrators - - persons desiring the Maine to have been sunk. But - - again, efforts to find the culprits at the time and for over a hundred years later have been inconclusive.

How is it the Frenchmen say - - c'est le vie!!

coolbert.

Enemy Mine!


This is coolbert:

My instantaneous and intuitive reaction is that the South Korean ship suffering an explosion in the rear of the vessel, sinking with catastrophic loss of life, was probably sunk as a result of hostile action by the North Koreans.

[it cannot be ruled out that this South Korean warship was blown apart by an internal explosion!]

The North Koreans do have a very bad habit of purposefully fomenting violence of just that necessary degree as to cause an international incident, create a tenseness, a "situation" to rile up folks a lot, BUT not enough to cause a major war to erupt.

This South Korean ship was torpedoed? One of those North Korean plastic undetectable submarines is to blame?

Or rather perhaps the ship struck a mine or was struck by a mine.

YES, struck by a mine. Modern naval mines have a capacity for ACTIVE MOVEMENT! Modern naval mines are not your grandfathers naval mines.

See the wiki entry on naval mines. Very well done.

"A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to destroy ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of or contact with an enemy ship. Naval mines can be used offensively, to hamper enemy ships or lock them into a harbour; or defensively, to protect friendly ships and create 'safe' zones."

. . . .

"Their flexibility and cost-effectiveness make mines attractive weapons to the less powerful belligerent in asymmetric warfare. The cost of producing and laying a mine is usually anywhere from 0.5% to 10% of the cost of removing it, and it can take up to 200 times as long to clear a minefield as to lay it. Parts of some World War II naval minefields still exist, because they are too extensive and expensive to clear; some of these mines might remain dangerous for hundreds of years"

Attractive as a weapon "in asymmetric warfare". Mines tethered to the bottom, remotely activated and remotely controlled, firing a "torpedo" from the depths upward toward a passing ship. This is why the South Korean vessel went to the bottom?

From the wiki entry, of greatest interest is "types of mines" available to "belligerents".

In this particular incident involving the South Korean frigate, we have a
combinationof the remotely controlled and influence mine at work?
Activated from afar, on command, when the time is right, and ONLY attacking a suitable target!

coolbert.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sinking!

This is coolbert:

Thanks to RIA NOVOSTI and the tip from Larry:

This could be really big. I am going to follow events as they unfold.

"S.Korean naval ship sinks in Yellow Sea, 40 sailors missing"

"A South Korean naval ship sank in the Yellow Sea near the border with North Korea late on Friday, and more than 40 sailors are missing while 58 were rescued, local media reported."

"The incident involving the Cheonan vessel forced South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to convene an emergency security meeting although there was reportedly no sign that North Korea was involved."

"The Navy, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency, said it has been 'unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the incident' so far. Reports said an explosion in the ship's rear could have ripped a hole in its bottom."

A South Korean naval vessel, "holed" and sinks! With loss of life that is somewhat severe. And occurring in waters that are disputed.

"Naval clashes between the two states over the disputed area took place in 1999, 2002, 2009 and this year."

This could be big!! South Korea will desire revenge and retaliate if this was a pre-meditated attack of some sort?

Keep your eye on this one. But, let us NOT jump to conclusions!!

coolbert.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reductions!

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today. This cannot be seen as anything but GOOD?

"U.S. and Russia agreed to cut nuclear arsenals"

"Arm pact said to overcome last hurdles: missile defense and verifying compliance"

"WASHINGTON - - American And Russian officials have reached a deal to slash their nuclear arsenals after eight months of unexpectedly tough negotiations, sources close to the talks said Wednesday."

"[it has been] agreed to reduce the number of long-range nuclear warheads deployed by each nation from a ceiling to 2,200 to between 1,500 and 1,675 [each]"

The average-everyday-man-in-the-street is not aware of the vast reductions in nuclear arsenals THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE??!!

Very marked reductions already - - for some time now - - in the nuclear arsenals, the most potent striking force available to the Soviet/Russians and Americans.

A trend that continues.

Some of these graphs on the number of warheads previously available to each side tell a most interesting story.

Maximum production and deployment of U.S. nuclear warheads peaked in the mid-1960's! Around 30,000 atomic weapons of all types could be fielded by the American military. Total as of today DEPLOYED is 2,626 nukes with another 6,774 "in reserve/to be dismantled"!!

Soviet/Russian warhead numbers peaked in-and-around 1989 at about 40,000 nuclear weapons available and deployed. Today that number is 12,000, 4,650 on-station, 7,350 "in reserve/to be dismantled"!

MAJOR reductions in quantity of nuclear weaponry available has ALREADY OCCURRED! And will continue to do so!

This remarkable achievement of disarmament is only worthy of praise!

coolbert.

Myths?

This is coolbert:

Here from the wiki entry on Niall Ferguson, copying in large measure with comments- - the ten [?] myths of the First World War [WW1]:

"Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson . . . is a British historian who specialises in financial and economic history as well as the history of colonialism."

Our professor Niall, the ubiquitous Niall, a man who is making quite a name for himself. An iconoclast, an economist and a professor of financial history, a man of astute learning, an academic and now a celebrity!

"He is best known outside academia for his revisionist views rehabilitating imperialism and colonialism; within academia, his championing of counterfactual history"

"In 1998 Ferguson published the critically acclaimed The Pity of War: Explaining World War One. This is an analytic account of what Ferguson considered to be the ten great myths of the Great War."

Niall the professor, constantly trying to "roil the waters" with controversy! A man too perhaps quite often on the money.

According to Professor Ferguson ["his counter-arguments in parentheticals"]:

1. "That Germany was a highly militarist country before 1914 (Ferguson claims Germany was Europe’s most anti-militarist country)"

2. "That naval challenges mounted by Germany drove Britain into informal alliances with France and Russia before 1914 (Ferguson claims the British were driven into alliances with France and Russia as a form of appeasement due to the strength of those nations . . .)"

3. "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)"

4. "That the pre-1914 arms race was consuming ever larger portions of national budgets at an unsustainable rate (Ferguson claims that the only limitations on more military spending before 1914 were political, not economic)"

5. "That World War I was . . . a war of aggression on [the] part of Germany that necessitated British involvement to stop Germany from conquering Europe (Ferguson claims if Germany had been victorious, something like the European Union would have been created in 1914)"

6. "That most people were happy with the outbreak of war in 1914 (Ferguson claims that most Europeans were saddened by the coming of war)"

7. "That propaganda was successful in making men wish to fight (Ferguson argues the opposite)"

8. "That the Allies made the best use of their economic resources (Ferguson argues the Allies “squandered” their economic resources)"

9. "That the British and the French had the better armies (Ferguson claims the German Army was superior)"

10. "That the Allies were more efficient at killing Germans (Ferguson argues that the Germans were more efficient at killing the Allies)"

11. "That most soldiers hated fighting in the war (Ferguson argues most soldiers fought more or less willingly)"

12. "That the British treated German prisoners of war well (Ferguson argues the British routinely killed German POWS)"

13. "That Germany was faced with reparations after 1921 that could not be paid except at ruinous economic cost (Ferguson argues that Germany could have easily paid reparations had there been the political will)"

The wiki entry describes TEN MYTHS but there are thirteen indicated by asterisk.

Professor Niall is an avid practitioner of what is called counterfactual history? His assertions regarding WW1 are indeed having having a basis in counterfactual history?

This counterfactual history is a new one of me. Had never heard of it before. Is only a house-hold word, "counterfactual", within academia?

"Counterfactual history, also sometimes referred to as virtual history, is a recent form of historiography which attempts to answer 'what if' questions known as counterfactuals. It seeks to explore history and historical incidents by means of extrapolating a timeline in which certain key historical events did not happen or had an outcome which was different from that which did in fact occur."

Counterfactual is not to be confused with:

"Counterfactual history is neither historical revisionism nor alternate history."

Counterfactual!

coolbert.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chili.

This is coolbert:

This is a major news item today!

From the Chicago Tribune. [a major Internet news story too!]

"WORLD"

"India spices up arsenal with chili grenades"

"GAUHATI, India - - The Indian military has a new weapon against terrorism, the world's hottest chili."

"After conducting tests, the military has decided to use the thumb-size 'bhut jolokia,' or 'ghost chili,' to make tear-gas like hand grenades to immobilize suspects."

"It [bhut jolokia] has more than 1,000,000 Scovill units . . . Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 . . . units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000 [units]"

A solution obtained from the chili to be used in a type of grenade during close-quarters combat with terrorists. Instantly paralyzing - - akin to a flash-bang or concussion grenade. NON-LETHAL, but still every effective.

An intense sensation of pain that will instantly overpower and immobilize the opponent!!??

Why NOT!! Field test on Daood if possible.

coolbert.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alfred.



This is coolbert:

It is an amazing thing how so many of these distinguished German "aces" from the era of World War Two [WW2], themselves sustained damage during air-to-air combat, were "shot down", bailing out, parachuting to the ground, landing successfully, surviving to fight again.

Sometimes over and over.

In addition, quite often sustaining damage in aerial combat that necessitated a crash-landing, the pilot being injured in the process.

In addition to be very good fliers, aviators, combat pilots of marked ability, THESE GUYS WERE ALSO VERY LUCKY!!

German combat fighter pilots of WW2 to include: [but scarcely limited to]

Alfred Grislawski.

"He was credited with 133 victories claimed in over 800 combat missions."

* "18 January 1943, Grislawski's Rotte was intercepted by Russian I-16 fighters and Grislawski’s Bf 109 was hit, setting [the Bf 109] on fire. He nursed his aircraft over German lines before baling out, sustaining facial burns."

* "He was shot down by USAAF bombers over Baske on 24 January 1944 and wounded, bailing out of his Fw 190A-7"

* "On 27 July [1944], Grislawski was shot down by Spitfires, baling out safely"

* "On 26 September 1944 . . . His Bf 109 G-14 was hit in the engine by a P-51 and caught fire. He baled out"

And this instance of crash landing not to be ignored:

"On 5 November [1942], he shot down four Ilyushin Il-2s but was shot down in [a] Bf 109 G-2 and belly-landing with a few bruises"

Well, only a few bruises. I guess that was not so bad. Again, German "ace" WW2 fighter pilots should not be understood to have been TOTALLY OMNIPOTENT in the skies over Europe. The "best" should be recognized as being not only exceedingly good fliers and combat aviators, but also LUCKY!

coolbert.

Credit.

This is coolbert:

Am watching again another episode from the outstanding public television broadcast series: "Ascent of Money".

Written, narrated, hosted by Professor Niall Ferguson. Niall seems to be everywhere lately, and such a young man still. This guy has a very promising future. Whether you agree with the man or not, he does have a lot to say.

"a British historian who specialises in financial and economic history as well as the history of colonialism."

Professor Niall deals with all aspects of modern finance, as currently exists on the global scale - - stocks, the stock market, bonds, private corporations and companies that have a global reach, etc.

Bonds as used to finance wars being a major topic of this particular episode.

Professor Niall makes some interesting assertions. To include:

1. Napoleonic Wars.

* The British financed their war effort against Napoleon through the sale of bonds. Credit obtained in what we moderns would now consider to be the old-fashioned way.

In contrast:

* The French and Napoleon financed their war effort through PLUNDER! Rob, steal, loot the wealth of a vanquished foe.

* The primary role of Nathan Rothschild WAS NOT to finance the war against Napoleon, but rather to procure as much gold coin as possible and provide same to Wellington. The locals, where ever the British army marched only willing to provided the commissary needs of the English when paid with the international currency, GILT!

"From 1809 Rothschild began to deal in gold bullion . . . From 1811 on, in negotiation with Commissary-General John Charles Herries, he undertook to transfer money to pay Wellington's troops, on campaign in Portugal and Spain against Napoleon"

2. American Civil War.

* The climactic and most important military action of the American Civil War was not the Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, both on the same day!

The most important military action of the American Civil War was:

* The capture of New Orleans by Admiral David Farragut. Once New Orleans was in Union hands, the Confederacy NO LONGER had the ability to ship large amounts of cotton to European textile manufacturers.

Cotton of course being the one commodity that provided the greatest revenue for foreign exchange that the various southern states in rebellion had at their disposal.

So valuable was cotton to the issuance of bonds as used by the Confederacy to finance their war effort through credit, that if indeed a bond issue had been defaulted upon, owners of war-time issued bonds could redeem their bond issues for actual bales of cotton!! Such was the promise!





Note at the bottom of the bond - - 20,000 pounds of cotton!!


A promise becoming null and void upon the capture of New Orleans by Farragut.

Professor Niall sees all things through the eyes of the economist and expert on financial matters. But his perceptions are pretty much right on?

coolbert.




Friday, March 19, 2010

Problem?

This is coolbert:

Again, from the Chicago Tribune today, more headlines pertinent to the Global War On Terror [GWOT]:

"Al-Qaida's shifting tactics a challenge for U.S. "

"Terrorist group emphasizing speed, likely success instead of complex larger attacks"

"WASHINGTON - - Al-Qaida and its affiliates have adapted their tactics to emphasize speed and probability of success over spectacle, U.S. intelligence officials believe, a shift in strategy that poses problems for spy agencies that were reorganized in recent year to stop large-scale attacks like those on Sept 11, 2001."

"al-Qaida may have come to support the new approach reluctantly, weakened by a campaign of drone strikes . . . and frustrated by its inability over the past nine years to orchestrate a strike of similar magnitude to Sept. 11."

Comment:

* It has been recognized for many years that Al Qaeda was a phenomenon quite different from other terrorist organizations. Al Qaeda was rather unique from the standpoint of being: 1. Very plan-ful! 2. Very hate-ful!

AND the perpetrator of terrorist actions on the GRAND SCALE!! "Gestures" of great magnitude, not small events. Terrorist incidents of epic proportions guaranteed to get the attention of everyone!! Events such as 9/11!!

NOW, "small events" are all the bad guys can do? "Battlefield" losses, the deaths or capture of so many important operatives and leaders and a constant unremitting pressure has taken the very "stuffing" out of Al Qaeda? The "grand event", the terrorist incident on the epic scale is now out of the question?

A "shifting of tactics" from the standpoint of the U.S. is NO bad thing? An indication that all is NOT going the way as Al Qaeda would like it!!

coolbert.

Guilty!

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

"Chicago man admits role in Mumbai attack"

"Guilty plea spares hm the from death penalty in terrorism case"

The evil-doer, the terrorist spy Daood, the accomplice to mass murder in Mumbai, has entered a plea of guilty, and presumably will spend the rest of his life in prison.

"David Coleman Headley pleaded guilty Thursday to the most significant terrorism case ever linked to Chicago, acknowledging he was an operative here who traveled to Indian multiple times to scout targets for as team of gunmen who carried out the bloody coordinated assault in Mumbai in 2008."

Comments:

* I wish the main-stream media [MSM ] would stop referring to Daood as David Coleman Headley. The man merely changed his name as a ruse, a ploy, a device, to facilitate his terrorist machinations.

* Daood will NOT face extradition to India. This is a disappointment to the folks in India! Indian investigators will have access to Daood, however, and I am sure they have a long list of questions to ask the man.

* Daood is talking and "spilling the beans", and doing so freely? The proverbial "babbling brook" perhaps? Cooperation was a pre-requisite for sparing Daood from a death sentence?

* Daood is reputed to be ready to testify against his co-conspirator, Rana? Rana is NOT going to plead guilty and will stand trial? A main witness against Rana will be Daood?

Personally, I had hoped to have seen Daood extradited to India, stand trial, been found guilty, and hung. That is what the man deserved. NOW, that is not to be. Daood has made a hard bed, and now he is going to have to sleep on it, and for a LONG time too!!

coolbert.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Williams.


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the tip from Jan, generating the idea for this blog entry.

Here is the naval non-commissioned officer [NCO] who was [still is??] the most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the U.S. Navy.

James E. Williams.

"James Elliott Williams . . . He was the most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the United States Navy."

Williams the winner of the Medal of Honor [MoH] in Vietnam, a man who stood very tall in two wars.

While at the helm of a putt-putt PBR patrol craft [patrol boat rigid or is it patrol boat river?] engaged successfully a much larger enemy force in Vietnam.



These PBR actually carried some pretty significant fire-power for such a small boat!


A sailor in the riverine task force U.S. "brown water" navy, seeing action at the lowest level of command, and distinguishing himself in a manner few naval enlisted personnel ever find possible.



This particular photo gives you a sense of scale, the small size of the PBR being more apparent!


Consider the number of decorations as awarded to Williams for courage on the "battlefield"! Evidently NOT merely confined to a single combat action for which the man won the MoH! Williams displayed outstanding courage on a number of occasions!

* Medal of Honor.
* Navy Cross.
* Silver Star. (2)
* Bronze Star. (3)
* Purple Heart. (3)

Normally it is not possible for a navy enlisted man [or an airman for that matter] to stand out in such a remarkable manner. The very nature of a warship usually means that the low-ranking men are part of a whole and do not find themselves in situations that allow for individual heroism.

NOT so with James E. Williams.

coolbert.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Perception.

This is coolbert:

Thanks once more here to Dirk and the Nuclear Vault.

Again with an extract from the interview with the Soviet General Danilevich. Regarding the capability of the Soviet to mobilize their industry for war production during a time of PROTRACTED CONVENTIONAL WAR with the NATO powers. "Tooling-up" for war, industry and manufacturing capacity changing over from a peace-time economy to military production. How easy and how well could this be done?

"Cold War Interviews." - - 1992 Gen-Col. (Ret.) Andrian A. Danilevich.

"A General Staff Officer from 1964 to 1990. Director of the General Staff authors collective that composed and refine, between 1977 and 1986, the top-secret, three-Volume Strategy of Deep Operations"


"The mobilization capacity of the U.S. military industries was estimated to be very high, according to our intelligence sources. . . . Furthermore you have tested mobilization and shifting to war production many times . . . we could never conduct a test of the mobilization readiness of our whole industry. There was one such attempt in which four small plants were tested, and even that experiment was stopped quickly because it hurt production. Therefore the real mobilization readiness of military industry . . . . was never tested."


Well, this is all a surprise? I think the standard thinking during the era of the Cold War was that the Soviets were a "planned" and "centralized" economy that had an enormous advantage over the U.S. when it came to military production and the mobilization of the entire society and industry during a time of war.

NOT only was this perception of Soviet strength and advantage incorrect, but it was the OPPOSITE of reality? The U.S. was strong and the Soviet was weak!

A PROTRACTED CONVENTIONAL WAR - - between the Soviets and the NATO powers WOULD NOT HAVE GONE IN FAVOR OF "BIG RED" - - regardless of what was perceived?

"It isn't so much reality that counts as the perception of reality that counts!" - - J. Jackson.


coolbert.

Tanks.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the web site of Dirk and the Nuclear Vault.

Here with an extract - - the most interesting observation from the Soviet General Danilevich. A most senior Soviet general staff officer, as interviewed by an American military "think tank" expert in 1992. Previously classified and presumably top-secret info from the land of "Big Red"!

"Cold War Interviews." - - 1992 Gen-Col. (Ret.) Andrian A. Danilevich.

"A General Staff Officer from 1964 to 1990. Director of the General Staff authors collective that composed and refine, between 1977 and 1986, the top-secret, three-Volume Strategy of Deep Operations"

Danilevich, presumably a man IN THE KNOW!

In the case of a PROTRACTED CONVENTIONAL WAR [chemical and biological weaponry used, non-nuclear - - PROTRACTED!] with the NATO powers, the ability of the Soviets to replace battlefield losses of tanks was recognized and understood to be more than difficult:

"To produce a T-34 [WW2 era Soviet tank] you needed four plants, one for engines, one for the main body, one for the control systems [one plant for final assembly?] . . . Now you need 340 plants to build a medium tank, say a T-64A [1964 era]. You need all of the above, plus night vision systems, laser sights, stabilization systems for fire-on-the-run, fire control systems, anti-radiation systems, various kinds of armor, etc. 340 Plants! Try doing all of this during war. And you cannot use low tech. Well, you can, but if the other side has high-tech, it will be a rout."


340 plants just to one build a state-of-the-art modern tank, as compared to just four plants during the era of World War Two [WW2]! And this for a T-64 tank as compared to a WW2 era T-34. [Soviet tank design and development too has gone far beyond the era of the T-64! T-72, T-80 and T-90 have surpassed and supplanted the T-64 a long time ago!]

According to Suvorov, the Soviets did possess for export purposes what was called the "Monkey Model". A stripped-down version of their main-battle-tank! The standard tank MINUS important features such as night-vision devices, anti-radiation systems, etc. Presumably the Soviet could built during a time of protracted conventional war the "Monkey Model" and issue these less-than-efficient tanks to their troops, but with expected less than satisfactory results from the Soviet standpoint.

Hey, nobody ever said this was easy!

coolbert.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Marmaduke.


This is coolbert:

The British Royal Air Force [RAF] combat fighter pilot during the Second World War [WW2] was: "the most capable - - the most aggressive!" - - Gunther Rall.


Rall, of course, the esteemed German Luftwaffe fighter pilot from WW2. Himself possessing a very distinguished combat record on all fronts, against all opposition.

Here is the RAF pilot that was the "best" of the "best"?

Marmaduke Pattle.

"Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle DFC & Bar (3 July 1914 – 20 April 1941) was a South African-born World War II Flying ace for the Royal Air Force. He was an ace with a very high score, and is sometimes noted as being the highest scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of World War II. He has been unofficially credited with about 50 victories."

"first saw action . . . in August 1940"

"Pattle did all his scoring in a period of nine months, against Axis opponents who outnumbered the RAF fighter contingent at all times."

"His final 'score' will probably never be known . . . Pattle's final score as 50 individual and two shared victories."

Pattle, a combat aviator, an outstanding flier, an excellent shot, a squadron commander and a leader of men.

Pattle, if he had lived during the Middle Ages, would have had the reputation as a CHAMPION!

FIFTY VICTORIES SCORED IN A PERIOD OF NINE MONTHS!

Pattle losing his life tragically - - being shot down himself and killed in aerial combat.

Pattle, scorning FIFTY VICTORIES- - some of which occurred while Pattle was at the controls of an obsolescent aircraft, a BIPLANE, the Gloster Gladiator!! The accomplishments of Pattle are therefore even more remarkable!



Marmaduke Pattle - - the BEST of the BEST? Probably so!

coolbert.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Democracy.


This is coolbert:

"Pray tell, my brother,
Why do dictators kill
and make war?
Is it for glory; for things,
for beliefs, for hatred,
for power?
Yes, but more,
because they can"

“No War between democracies?”

"No sovereign states with democratic political systems have ever fought each other."

"virtually no military action between them."


Here from the Rudy Rummel web site, some extracts, Q&A by the Professor.

Professor Rudy Rummel, quite a remarkable figure. Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii, and a man who has been nominated FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE!!

A man who advocates and attempts to popularize the proposition that DEMOCRACY - - widespread throughout the world, those nations comprising the international order - - AND NOT totalitarian, authoritarian, dictatorial, almost absolutely DO NOT engage in warfare or violence directed against one another.

"freedom also saves millions of lives from famine, disease, war, collective violence, and democide (genocide and mass murder). That is, the more freedom, the greater the human security and the less the violence"

WAR or the threat of war, not absolutely eliminated from the human condition, but greatly ameliorated!!

For the purposes of the Q&A, democracy and war are defined as:

A: "[an] electoral system through which people choose their representatives and leaders . . . regular elections for high office, a secret ballot, a franchise including nearly the whole adult population, and competitive elections" [democracy]

A: "I limit what is war to the international system and that fought between sovereign states that mutually recognize each other as a sovereign." [war]

That democracies as we understand them DO NOT fight war among themselves, is open to question? Certain historical examples seem to suggest that from time to time, democracies do engage in mutual warfare? As part of his Q&A, the Professor answers back:

1. War of 1812. USA versus Great Britain. Two democracies in conflict with one another?

A: "At the time of the War of 1812, Great Britain was not a democracy, regardless of the existence of a parliamentary government. Voting was not secret, the franchise was highly restricted to a small minority . . . only less than one-third of the Commons was properly elected . . . the House of Lords, an appointed body, had considerable power and could veto any general legislation the Commons passed."

2. American Civil War. Northern states forming the Union versus the southern states in rebellion, secession. Two democracies in conflict with one another?

A: "No. This was a civil war, not an international one. The South was not a sovereign democracy at that time . . . the franchise was limited to free males (which constituted about 35 to 40 percent of all males in the Confederacy), President Jefferson Davis was not elected, but appointed by representatives themselves selected by the Confederate states."

3. World War One. Germany versus France. Merely two of the combatants in the Great War. Nonetheless - - two democracies in conflict with one another?

A: "No. At the time of World War I Germany was not a full democracy. The Kaiser still had much power. He had control over the army, appointed and could dismiss the chancellor, and played a key role in foreign affairs. In effect, therefore, in foreign and military affairs, the German legislature had little control"

4. World War Two. Hitler, an elected leader, appointed chancellor of a democratic nation. Again, Germany and France, combatants during The Second World War. Two democracies in conflict with one another?

"A: Germany was not a democracy at the time it carried out its genocide and mass murder, and aggression. Nor was Hitler elected. Before then, he turned Germany into a dictatorship."

[Hitler was appointed Chancellor, NOT elected. He did have a plurality of the votes but not a majority!]

5. Wars fought between the various American Indian nations and the USA. The Iroquois and the Cherokee for instance, practiced a form of democracy perhaps even more "pure" than the form of republican democracy as found in the current USA. Democracies in conflict with one another?

A: "Now, while Indian tribes were truly independent, they were not part of an international legal system that recognized that independence, and, in fact, were seen as tribes of savages."

Widespread democracy will mean an end to war as fought on the international level? Rudy Rummel makes a good case that this will be so. That is not to say that all war or human conflict will be eliminated. But the types of war as fought in the 20th Century, war on a global between the various nation-states, will be lessened to a degree where the phenomenon will more or less disappear.

coolbert.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Belisarius.

This is coolbert:

"It was for him I chased
The Persians o'er wild and waste,
As General of the East;
Night after night I lay
In their camps of yesterday;
Their forage was my feast.

For him, with sails of red,
And torches at mast-head,
Piloting the great fleet,
I swept the Afric coasts
And scattered the Vandal hosts,
Like dust in a windy street."


Here is a figure from ancient history, a general of the Byzantine Empire, a strategoi, a commander of some repute.

Belisarius.

"Flavius Belisarius (ca. 500[1] – 565) was one of the greatest generals of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire"

"One of the defining features of Belisarius' career was his success despite the little or no support he received from Justinian. He is also among a select group of men considered to be the 'Last of the Romans'".

Belisarius, a military man of marked ability. In the same league as a Julius Caesar, a Napoleon, a Genghis?

A master of the combined naval and ground offensive, amphibious warfare as practiced during the time [500 A.D.]!

A man whose military conquests in large measure enabled the Byzantine Empire to enlarge by almost fifty percent [50 %] during the reign of Justinian.

[rulers whose realm increased in size are said by historians to have been successful?]

Over a period of thirty years, almost constantly in the field, Belisarius commanding the Byzantine army in battle against a variety of enemies, in various theatres of combat, enemies to include:

* Sassanids. [Persians]
* Vandals.
* Ostrogoths.
* Goths.
* Slavs and Bulgars.

Also - - a man - - Belisarius, whose life and personae have been touched upon by a wide variety of modern writers in various genres'. Literary geniuses to include:

* Isaac Asimov. "Foundation and Empire – a science fiction novel"
* Jorge Luis Borges. "the legend of Belisario as a blind beggar"
* L. Sprague de Camp. "Lest Darkness Fall – an alternate history novel"
* Robert Graves. "Count Belisarius – a novel"
* Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. "Belisarius, 19th century poem"

"Ya puedes ver el tragico escenario y cada cosa en lugar debido; la espada y la ceniza para Dido y la moneda para Belisario"

"You already can see the tragic scene and each thing in place due; the sword and the ash for Dido and the currency for Belisario"


coolbert.

Bacteria.

This is coolbert:

Here with a response to a comment to the blog by Pat!

NOT germane to the blog but in deference to Pat:

"Pat said... Hi Albert . . . can you let me know where you found this reference to bacteria in Parisian soil ? I am a microbiologist, if this is true this is could be very significant."

From the blog entry on the rebuilding of Paris:

"ONE REASON WHY PARIS WAS BUILT FROM ANCIENT TIMES WHERE IT STANDS IS THAT THE EARTH CONTAINS A BACTERIA THAT EATS FLESH WITH AMAZING RAPIDITY."

This particular tidbit is from so far back when that I cannot remember with certainty the source.

Just that where Paris stands now has been inhabited for over 2,600 years and one reason for the site being chosen as a suitable location for a village, a town, a city, is that the soil was found to have almost magical properties. Some sort of flesh eating bacteria that can consume the body of a corpse within TWO DAYS!

The disposal of the dead in a sanitary manner being of vital importance and being well understood even in ancient times.

When Haussmann had the Great Cemetery of Paris dug up, the SOIL WAS SAVED, PLACED INTO GLASS VIALS! To this day the vials can be purchased, the glass broken and the soil spread inside a casket of the deceased just prior to closing for the last time!! Within two days you know the body will be consumed. Such a practice still exists?

Further I cannot comment on, only that it is so!!

coolbert.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Best!

This is coolbert:

Here with a listing from blog entries, current and past, related to the topic of "best". BEST of course being that subjective judgment, many arbitrary, often "fuzzy", sometimes right-on-the-money contradictory criteria being taken into consideration.

1. P-51 Mustang fighter plane. Best fighter plane of World War Two [WW2].
2. British RAF fighter pilots. "The most aggressive and capable fighter pilot during the Second World War". Best!
3. General Sarath Fonseka. Best army commander in the world.
4. "Hermann Goering" division. Best unit in the German army, WW2.
5. Hezbollah fighters. Best light infantry in the world.
6. U.S. cavalry, circa 1870's. Best army in the world.
7. Chinese Communist 8th Route Army, circa 1930's. "The best organized, best led fighting force in the world for its size and purpose."

Comments and elucidation regarding each "BEST":

1. As pronounced by the recently deceased Gunter Rall, the P-51, was, in his experience, the best fighter plane of WW2. According to Rall, had unheard of [for a German pilot or any other allied pilot of WW2 for that matter!] luxuries. A fighter plane, the P-51 Mustang, also having the unique capability [??] using drop tanks, to accompany long-range bomber aircraft of the USAAF] all the way to the target, provide protection, and return to base.

2. Again, according to Gunther Rall, the British Royal Air Force [RAF] pilotwas the finest combat fighter aviator of WW2. "The most aggressive and capable fighter pilot during the Second World War."

[Since Gunther Rall was himself an outstanding combat flier, flew on all fronts of WW2, and experienced aerial combat against British [Spitfire], American [P-51], and Soviet [Lavochkin] combatants, the pronouncements of Rall should carry great weight?]

3. General Sarath Fonseka. Commander of the Sri Lankan Army. Presided over the recent defeat of the EELAM Tamil Tigers. Was able to achieve victory while others were not. Mobilized his forces, developed a strategic vision employing the operational art to attain that victory. Obliterated a wily and industrious enemy on the battlefield in a fashion that was thought to be impossible.

4. "Hermann Goering" division. BEST unit in the German Army, WW2? Combined arms unit, fighting on all fronts of WW2, exceeding [?] the performance of other outstanding German combat units. Rated #1 unit by the American military historian and researcher Trevor Dupuy.

5. As stated by the # 3 man at the FBI. Hezbollah fighters are not only able to perform in the conventional light infantry role on the battlefield, but are also able to conduct operations of a quasi-military nature in furtherance of the "cause", far from home base, acting autonomously, often a lone "troop". And having an intense fanaticism. Devoted to the cause in the extreme.

6. U.S. cavalry, circa 1870's, fighting the American Indian on the high plains of North America, in combat with a skilled and determined foe, American cavalry, often outnumbered and sometimes outgunned, able to accomplish their mission without a whole lot of support, living rough for an extended period, units fighting often independently, having commanders of high caliber exercising initiative. This is what Lord Wolseley had in mind?

7. Chinese Communist 8th Route Army. Rated "the best organized, best led fighting force in the world for its size and purpose." . This determination made by the U.S. Marine observer Evans Carlson in the later part of the 1930's. 8th Route either able to fight as a conventional unit or disperse and operate as a guerrilla army, on command and by design. Doctrine, concept and tactics all facilitating the insurgency of the Chinese communists under Mao.

These subjective judgments as to what constitutes the "BEST" is in large measure correct according to the expertise of the observer and commentator? A Gunther Rall, an Evans Carlson, the # 3 man at the FBI were and are persons qualified and able, having the experience and the knowledge to pass judgment that is valid and solid!

coolbert.

Ground Attack.

This is coolbert:

Ground attack aircraft of the allied air forces of course played a prominent role during the Battle of Normandy [1944].

Flying out of airfields in England and also presumably from those expedient air strips constructed in Normandy itself, American Thunderbolt [P-47] and British Typhoon aircraft flying in the ground attack role were effective in providing direct fire support to allied ground troops in contact with the German.

Thunderbolt and Typhoon aircraft in the strafing ground attack mode also KILLED a number of high ranking German officers in the days immediately after D-Day. The death of such senior officers undoubtedly extremely bothersome to the Nazi command, crippling losses - - commanders of experience and expertise not easily replaced - - and at a most crucial time during a major battle.

German general offices killed to include:

1. Erich Marcks. [June 12, 1944]

"While on a daily round of troop unit inspections, Marcks was mortally wounded on June 12, 1944 by an Allied fighter-bomber attack near Hébécrevon (near Marigny), several kilometers northwest of Saint-Lô"

2. Heinz Hellmich. [17 June 1944]

"commander 243rd Infantry Division, was killed by a strafing fighter near Cherbourg."

3. Rudolf Stegmann. [18 June 1944]

"commander of the 77th Infantry Division, was struck in the head by 20 mm cannon fire from a strafing Allied fighter plane while driving in his command car near Briebeque France"

4. Fritz Witt. [14 June 1944]

[Witt killed by naval gunfire!!]

"Fritz Witt . . . was a German Waffen-SS officer . . . Witt was killed by an allied naval barrage in 1944"

5. Erwin Rommel. [17 July 1944]

Rommel of course wounded by a ground strafing allied aircraft. Wounded to the extent that hospitalization was required, the removal from the battlefield at a critical moment of such an outstanding strategist, tactician, practitioner of the operational art and inspiration to his troops being significant.

"Rommel was driving along a French road near the front in his staff car. A British Spitfire strafed the car near Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery and Rommel was thrown to the ground. He was hospitalised with major head injuries"

Of one hundred thirty-six [136] German general offices killed during the Second World War [WW2], about thirty-two percent [32 %] met their deaths at the hands of a ground attack strafing aircraft!!

Ground attack strafing deaths of German general officers at Normandy of course was only a fraction of the whole, but a most decisive number, coming as it did at such an important point in the war!

Those allied ground attack aircraft were MORE than important!

coolbert.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A400-M.

This is coolbert:

Saw some TV coverage of this military aircraft the other day.

At first I thought I was seeing a Boeing C-17 transport in action.

BUT NO - - it is the A400M transport.

The Airbus A400M military transport. A size between the C-130 and the C-17?

Brand new design, swept back wings, BUT using turboprop engines with the eight-bladed propellors. An airplane only making the maiden flight several months ago now!!




Seeing a "jet" aircraft and not seeing the JETS is a surprise to many? Those turboprop engines can and do give a good performance, more efficient than a jet engine and yet the performance is not that much less.

And this Airbus transport is not merely going to be a "transport"? Using modules, the aircraft will be able to "morph" into forms, each form having a specific non-tranport mission.

"The Airbus A400M will operate in many configurations including cargo transport, troop transport, Medical evacuation, aerial refuelling, and electronic surveillance."

The plane does look sharp! Things that look good, quite often are good?!

coolbert.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Invalid?

This is coolbert:

Here is another example - - from the American Civil War - - of military personnel, NOT fit for combat duty, but still willing and able to contribute to the war effort, continued in the ranks - - often performing yeoman duties.

"yeo·man [duty] - - 6. performed or rendered in a loyal, valiant, useful, or workmanlike manner, esp. in situations that involve a great deal of effort or labor"

The Invalid Corps.

"The Veteran Reserve Corps (originally the Invalid Corps) was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the American Civil War to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirmed soldiers (or former soldiers) to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines."

"soldiers . . . rendered unfit for active field service on account of wounds or disease contracted in line of duty, but who were still fit for garrison or other light duty, and were, in the opinion of their commanding officers, meritorious and deserving"

Troops, enfeebled quite often from wounds but:

"still able to handle a musket and do some marching, also to perform guard or provost duty"

Camp Douglas, Chicago, a prisoner-of-war [POW] camp for Confederate soldiers, was guarded by the Invalid Corps. Also, those Union troops confronting the hoodlums during the New York city draft riots of 1863 were also invalided soldiers, not fit for front line duty. [this was not made apparent during the movie: "Gangs of New York"?]

The spirit is willing, even though the body is weak? But commensurate duty and function can be found, and WAS!

coolbert.

Ad Hoc.

This is coolbert:

"Defense is the stronger form of combat!] - - Clausewitz.


As been mentioned in a previous blog entry, during World War Two [WW2], the German did make use of Luftwaffe [German Air Force] combat GROUND units, field divisions [LwFD]. Dedicated combat units fighting as infantry [used primarily on the Eastern Front].

It should be noted that the use of Luftwaffe "troops" fighting as infantry was not limited exclusively to the LwFD!

Luftwaffe "troops" also saw ground combat in the latter days of WW2 on the Western Front, against allied forces [American and British], "troops", however, not fighting as dedicated air force units, but rather as "troops" incorporated into conventional German divisional-size army units.

German army units best described as ad hoc, or even as ersatz.

"ad hoc - - adj. 1. Formed for or concerned with one specific purpose: an ad hoc compensation committee. 2. Improvised and often impromptu:"

"er·satz- – adjective 2. an artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute."

Units of "troops", organized for ground combat in desperate circumstances, a man-power shortage on the part of the German army being extremely acute. Also, the very borders of Germany proper being threatened by advancing enemy armies.

Extraordinary circumstances requiring extraordinary measures as they say.

A German army "division" consisting of:

* A regiment of conventional, trained, experienced, equipped infantry.
* A battery [six guns] of artillery.
* A company [ten tanks] of armor.

Furthermore, a number of battalions, consisting of "troops" best described as "comb outs" or ancillary military personnel. Personnel whose traditional mission had by circumstances been made null and void. Excess man-power sitting idle, without purpose, whose bodies could be put to better use.

* Luftwaffe ground personnel.
* Kriegsmarine sailors.
* Searchlight battery crews.
* Hitler Youth.
* Fortress or reserve personnel. [quite often middle-age or mildly enfeebled]

A German army "division" in name only, severely under-manned and equipped, however, often giving a good account of itself on the battlefield - - WHEN FIGHTING STRICTLY DEFENSIVELY!!

Defense is the stronger form of combat in that it is easier to do and more can be accomplished with less!

Indeed, the decision of Eisenhower for the allied armies to advance [1944-1945] in a cautious manner was in part a decision based upon the understanding by Ike that the German general officer corps was able to organize and employ in combat WITH EFFECTIVENESS such ad hoc units, rendering the possibility of a quick and easy victory over Nazi forces almost nil!

Even Luftwaffe ground units, hastily organized and trained, ill-equipped for the job, BUT COMMANDED BY SUPERIOR GERMAN GENERAL OFFICERS - - ARMY COMMANDERS - - COULD AND DID - - GIVE A GOOD ACCOUNT OF THEMSELVES!

coolbert.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rapists!

This is coolbert:

"'every soldier without exception would take part'."

"understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle'." - - J. Stalin in conversation with Milovan Djilas.

"'the minute they saw a female, whether you were young or old, whether you were 8, 80, 18, or 28, they didn’t care. They raped you whether you were pretty, ugly, fat, skinny, it didn’t matter. It was a female.'"


Here thanks to Der Spiegel some articles dealing with the topic of rape during war time.

In particular, the rape of German women during World War Two [WW2]. The invading, all-conquering Red Army [allies to a much lesser extent too] raping German women, doing so on a mass basis, joyfully, with abandon and without the slightest degree of inhibition.

Behavior, seemly in the extreme, brutal and barbaric, widespread, all-pervasive, deplorable, AND - - TOO - - condoned and even encouraged.

It is estimated that about 2 million German women at the very end of the war and EVEN IN THE AFTERMATH OF SURRENDER, WERE RAPED BY RED ARMY TROOPS!!

"Lost Red Army Children Search for Fathers"

"New German Study Looks at Rape Trauma 60 Years On"

"German Woman Writes Ground-Breaking Account of WW2 Rape"

Please do not think, however, that this sort of behavior on the part of the Red Army soldier was strictly confined to Germany OR DIRECTED SOLELY AT GERMAN WOMEN. WHERE EVER THE RED ARMY MARCHED AND CONQUERED, DURING THE ADVANCE TOWARD BERLIN, RAPE WAS A CONSTANT - - A GIVEN - - AN ALMOST OBLIGATORY BYPRODUCT OF THE WAR!!

And this rape, this sexual violence, is NOT merely a product of lust gone wild! Is an expression of raw power, the conqueror demonstrating their power over the vanquished!! "You are weak - - we are strong!!"

"When soldiers commit rape during war, it is not just 'to humiliate a particular individual,' . . . It also represents a 'signal to the enemy population that its political leadership and its own army can no longer guarantee its safety'"

"The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your
enemies and chase them before you, to rob
them of their wealth and see those dear
to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp
to your bosom their wives and daughters
." - - Genghis Khan.


coolbert.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Haussmann.


This is coolbert:

"NO life without death, NO death without life"

"the man who destroyed Old Paris . . . the man who created New Paris"


Here from the wiki entry on Baron Haussmann. The man who destroyed the old city of Paris, rebuilding the new city so familiar to countless of millions of persons. The Paris of the Trocadero, le grand monument, the spacious and overwhelming boulevards, the revolutionary city planning - - the inspired genius of one man!




"Georges-Eugène Haussmann . . . who called himself Baron Haussmann, was a French civic planner whose name is associated with the rebuilding of Paris"

Re-construction, re-building on a massive, even biblical scale, to include [but not limited to]:

* "[the] Bois de Boulogne"
* "extensive improvements in the smaller parks"
* "the formation of new streets"
* "the Boulevard de Sebastopol"
* "wide 'boulevards' of hitherto narrow streets"
* "A new water supply"
* "a gigantic system of sewers"
* "new bridges"
* "the opera house"
* "other public buildings"
* "the inclusion of outlying districts"

NO life without death. It must be kept in mind that Haussmann did not work with a blank slate. MUCH had to be destroyed to make way for the new!!

"His work had destroyed much of the medieval city. It is estimated that he transformed 60% of Paris' buildings"

And always in the mind of Haussmann, perhaps FOREMOST - - there was a military dimension to the planning scheme of the Baron.

RE-CONSTRUCTION OF PARIS INCLUDED MEASURES INCORPORATED FROM THE GET-GO TO ALLOW THE FRENCH ARMY, THE MILITARY FORCES OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EASY ACCESS TO ALL PARTS OF PARIS, FACILITATING MOVEMENT, ALLOWING FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF REBELS, INSURRECTIONISTS, THE MOB!!

Considerations of a military nature to include:

* "streets too broad for rebels to build barricades across"
* "[room]where coherent battalions and artillery could circulate easily if need be."
* "broad avenues linked to the main train-stations so army troops from the provinces could be operative in a short amount of time"

Those broad boulevards, those avenues of prodigious width all were designed with a military consideration! Quick and easy entry to the city for army troops, cannon and artillery in the direct fire mode having a clean and open expanse for employment. MOW EM' DOWN!!

[The digging up and removal of the Great Cemetery of Paris was among the many measures as taken by Haussmann. Millions [?] of graves were unearthed and the remains removed. ONE REASON WHY PARIS WAS BUILT FROM ANCIENT TIMES WHERE IT STANDS IS THAT THE EARTH CONTAINS A BACTERIA THAT EATS FLESH WITH AMAZING RAPIDITY. A HUMAN BURIED IN THE EARTH OF THE GREAT CEMETERY OF PARIS WAS STRIPPED OF ALL FLESH - - CONSUMED - - IN TWO DAYS!!]

Haussmann - - both the destroyer and the creator, all rolled into one.

coolbert.