Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bavar 2.

This is coolbert:

Hot off the presses!

Here with the latest and newest addition to the Iranian military arsenal.

A flying boat of indigenous design and manufacture, apparently pretty sophisticated from what I see.

"Iran unveils squadrons of flying boats"

NOT having, at least in the initial "mark", a formidable capability. At this point, merely a surveillance aircraft not possessing much in the way of an offensive threat?

"The craft, dubbed the Bavar 2, is armed with a machine gun and carries surveillance cameras"

"bloggers poked fun [2006] at Iran’s so-called stealth technology, saying the flying boat looked like something anyone could buy in kit form from mechanical magazine ads."

I am NOT poking fun at the Bavar. This could very well be one more area of concern for the U.S. Navy. These little itty-bitty flying boats COULD in the future pose a challenge to an aircraft carrier or any other American warship for that matter.

The Iranians will be able to produce this low technology but still "stealth" type of flying boat in profusion. That is whole point of using such low technology. You can build with relative ease a whole bunch of these flying boats very cheaply, deploy them considerable numbers, disperse to any location WHERE THERE IS WATER and attack targets in the low-level attacker mode!

[it would interesting to know if Bavar works well in the ground-effect mode!]

If any of the Bavar are ever able to carry a TORPEDO, we may very well see in the future a type of combat as last seen almost seventy years ago now - - during the Battle of Midway [1942]? A concentrated mass of Bavar in numbers overwhelming defenses!

An asymmetrical attack weapon? See what you will. My conclusions differ with that of the "experts"? You decide for yourself.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the tip from the blog Jungle Trader for the der Spiegel article.

War is bad for the economy! Read thoroughly this amazing stuff!

"Germany Closes Book on World War I With Final Reparations Payment"

"Germany will make its last reparations payment for World War I on Oct. 3, settling its outstanding debt from the 1919 Versailles Treaty and quietly closing the final chapter of the conflict that shaped the 20th century."

"the final chapter of World War I with the end of reparations payments 92 years after the country's defeat."

[let me abundantly clear here! We are not speaking about the Second World War, we are speaking about the Great War, the First World War!!]

"The German government will pay the last installment of interest on foreign bonds it issued in 1924 and 1930 to raise cash to fulfil the enormous reparations demands the victorious Allies made after World War I."

"The sum was initially set at 269 billion gold marks, around 96,000 tons of gold, before being reduced to 112 billion gold marks by 1929, payable over a period of 59 years."

Payment, the reparations to be made in GOLD MARKS! The victorious allies NOT accepting funny money of any type. Wanted actual gold or currency issued that could be redeemed for gold. Very reminiscent of the indemnity as forced upon the French in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870!

That borrowed money to pay for the gold and gold-back currency placed an undue burden upon the fledgling and generally unstable German government of the period. An excessive portion of the yearly budget was used merely to service that debt?

It has often been suggested that this onerous debt, the reparations as exacted on the German in the aftermath of World War One, the resentment leading to the eventual rise to power of Hitler and the Nazi party. Professor Niall Ferguson suggests that this resentment was not entirely valid, the Wiemar Republic government more inept than anything else, the "onerous" debt being actually a burden that could have been borne!

"Germany could have paid reparations had there been the political will . . . France paid 4,933 million francs in reparations to Germany between 1871 and 1873 totalling 25% of French national net income without causing national bankruptcy, and has argued that German claims . . . that reparations payments threatened Germany with bankruptcy were just an excuse to try to get out of paying reparations" - - Ferguson.

Please keep in mind that such a debt, when paid off over such a long time, is being paid in devalued currency, and NOT in gilt or anything even resembling gold or gold-backed currency.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

White Pine.

This is coolbert:

"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations . . . . He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance" - - T. Jefferson.

Broad Arrow!!

And among those officers - - eating out the substance thereof - - were agents of the Crown - - marking those largest, oldest and most perfect white pine trees that could be found - - as property of the Crown - - forbidden for the colonists to harvest and mill.

"The Broad Arrow mark was made on the base of the tree by three blows with a marking hatchet. It was said to resemble a crow's track more than an arrow. Mast trade with England declined steadily. Surveyor-Generals and their agents were responsible for selecting, marking, policing, and enforcing. They became very unpopular and enforcement more difficult, as they stepped up the marking of more and more trees with the ‘Broad Arrow’."

White pine - - the largest specimens, suitable as masts for the Royal Navy, greatly coveted for their strength, durability, straightness, size! Britannia ruled the waves in large measure because of the white pine forests of British North America? Timber of such a nature not obtainable ANYWHERE ELSE!!

"During the age of sail, tall white pines with high quality wood were known as mast pines. Marked by agents of the Crown in colonial times with the broad arrow, they were reserved for the British Royal Navy."

"The British built special barge-like vessels which could carry up to 50 pine trunks destined to be ship masts . . ."

[the USS Constitution when originally constructed had masts of white pine!! "The original masts on the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) were single trees but later they were laminated to better withstand cannon balls."]

A practice, the marking of the mast pines, reserved for use by the Royal Navy only, a disagreeable practice - - loathed by the American colonialists.

"Marking of large specimens by the Crown was very controversial in the colonies, and their de facto seizure was a point of great contention among the colonists and played a significant role in the events leading to the American Revolution."

"Among the real causes for the revolt by the Colonies was their resentment against the unpopular restriction on their right to cut tall pines (marked Broad Arrow), and against the efforts made by authorities to preserve them for exclusive use of the Crown."

Among the many "repeated injuries and usurpations" as visited by the Crown - - were the marking and harvesting, exclusively so, of those white pines most suitable as masts for ships!

"... for better providing and furnishing of Masts for our Royal Navy wee do hereby reserve to us . . . ALL trees of the diameter of 24 inches and upward at 12 inches from the ground, growing upon any soils or tracts of land within our said Province or Territory not heretofore granted to any private person. We . . . forbid all persons whatsoever from felling, cutting or destroying any such trees without the royal license from us . . . upon penalty of 100 pounds... for every such tree so felled... without such license had, etc. etc .... "

The White Pine forests of North America to include New England, Pennsylvania, New York, and what was to become the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, were an extremely valuable resource. Clear cut almost totally in the 1800's, only small and isolated remaining old growth stands of the timber now existing.

[for some unknown reason, when cut, white pine forests do not naturally regenerate.]

The broad arrow "vexation" was another unnecessary "repeated injury" that need not have occurred? An amicable settlement to the timber "issue" could have been arrived at? WAR between the American colonialists and their British masters and the Crown could have been avoided? A lot of scholars seem this is so! King George was "stubborn and stiff necked - - like unto an ass"?

The broad arrow represented a casus belli? Thomas Jefferson and the other colonial subjects of the Crown seem to have felt so! Who would have thought it!



This is coolbert:

"Built in an era when a wooden ship had an expected
service life of ten to fifteen years, Constitution
was now thirty-one years old."

From the wiki entry for the USS Constitution, some interesting items regarding the various repairs/refurbishments/restorations - - past, present, and future.

Wood from certain specific species - - once found in abundance, now scarce. NOT only hard to find, but hard to find in the right sizes, age, and shapes!

And, those materials used during previous repairs/refurbishments/restorations as replacements - - but NOT of the original material - - found to be lacking.

1. Southern live oak being the preferred wood as used in the construction of the Constitution, a material at the time easily obtainable:

"Primary materials used in her construction were
white pine, longleaf pine, white oak, and, most
importantly, southern live oak, which was cut and
milled at Gascoigne Bluff in St. Simons, Georgia . .
. In total, 60 acres (24 ha) of trees were needed
for her construction [USS Constitution]"

2. Southern live oak, at the time of the 1925 restoration being hard to find, at least in the sizes and quantities needed:

"Materials were difficult to find, especially the
live oak needed . . . [there was found] uncovered a
long-forgotten stash of live oak . . . at Naval Air
Station Pensacola, Florida that had been cut sometime
in the 1850s"

3. And during the 1970 repairs/refurbishments/restoration, those materials initially thought to be an adequate substitute for the original, rather found to be lacking, replaced without further ado:

"large quantities of red oak were removed and
replaced. The red oak had been added in the 1950s as
an experiment to see if it would be of better
quality than the live oak, but it had mostly rotted
away by 1970."

[live oak works well, other types of oak do not! The shipwrights of yore knew what they were doing! Live oak si, red oak no!]

4. Repairs/refurbishments/restoration work on the USS Constitution requiring an abundance of top quality white oak, the U.S. Navy creating [1976] a forest preserve exclusively for the cultivation and harvesting of this species [white oak]:

"Commander Martin dedicated [1976] a tract of land
located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in
Indiana as 'Constitution Grove.' The 25,000 acres
(100 km2) now supply the majority of the white oak
required for repair work"

5. The repairs/refurbishments/restoration work of 1992 again requiring live oak wood in quantities not normally obtainable. Various concerns to the rescue:

"The most difficult task, as during her 1920s
restoration, was the procurement of timber in the
quantity and sizes needed. The city of Charleston,
South Carolina donated live oak trees that had been
felled by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and the
International Paper Company donated live oak from
its own property"

6. Current repairs/refurbishments/restoration work underway, as we speak, perhaps already reaching completion, a restoration to the original with regard to the support beams and decking, previous replacements found to be inadequate [?]:

"Also in October 2007, she entered a period of repair
expected to last until September 2010. During this
time the entire spar deck will be stripped down to
the support beams and the current Douglas fir
decking will be restored to the original white oak
and yellow pine."

It can be said that the USS Constitution possesses a certain "sacredness"?

And who too from that era of over two hundred years ago would have ever imagined that in the year 2010 the Constitution would still be afloat, a commissioned warship of the U.S. Navy, manned by active duty sailors? I doubt few, if anyone!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tenth Fleet.

This is coolbert:

"Tenth Fleet never put to sea, had no ships, and never had more than about 50 people in its organization."

The Tenth Fleet!

What is this? A fleet without ships, ports, etc. A fleet for which there was no sea duty!

Such a thing can be? Such a thing has been, and is now! A venerable tradition of the U.S. Navy ONLY JUST RECENTLY REACTIVATED!

The Tenth Fleet. A fleet having a wartime [World War Two] administrative function sans vessels - - but possessing great authority as to how the war at sea [Atlantic] was fought!

"The Tenth Fleet [was and] is a functional formation of the United States Navy. It was first created as an anti-submarine warfare coordinating organization during the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. It has been reactivated as Fleet Cyber Command."

Tenth Fleet - - the mission of which was:

"Tenth Fleet's mission included the destruction of enemy submarines" AND any and all measures taken to win the Battle of the Atlantic - - the anti-submarine warfare being waged against the U-boat fleets of the Kriegsmarine!!

Again - - the proud tradition, a venerable one even, being reactivated, AND ONLY recently:

"Tenth Fleet was reactivated January 29, 2010 as U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet at Fort Meade, Maryland . . . Tenth Fleet has operational control over Navy information, computer, cryptologic, and space forces."

"A fleet without ships, ports, etc. A fleet for which there was no sea duty!"

But with responsibility that cannot be denied! Tenth Fleet stand tall!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

USS Constitution.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the wiki entry for that most famous warship in the history of the U.S. Navy - - some elucidation on the variety of missions as performed during the over two hundred year [200] career of the USS Constitution.

1. A warship. Obvious. Serving as a ship-of-the-line until the time of steam. A sailing ship, a war vessel with a combat record second to none. WHEN BRITANNIA RULED THE WAVES, CONSTITUTION GAVE THE ENGLISH A COMEUPPANCE!!

2. A training ship.

"A training ship is a ship used to train students as sailors . . . Essentially there are two types: those used for training at sea and old hulks used to house classrooms."

3. A receiving ship.

"A receiving ship is a ship that is used in harbor to house newly recruited sailors before they are assigned to a crew."

"Receiving ships were typically older vessels that could still be kept afloat, but were obsolete or no longer seaworthy."

Here is an image of the USS Constitution at dock, the year is 1905, the ship serving as a barracks!

4. A museum ship.

"A museum ship . . . is a ship that has been preserved and converted into a museum open to the public . . . also used for training and recruitment purposes"

And - - the USS Constitution - - NOT merely a museum piece, but something much more than that. A symbol of the nation, a historical item of much pride and honor, revered!

A warship still on active status with the U.S. Navy. Manned by active duty sailors, and currently [only recently] capable of independent movement and sailing capability. The traditional war vessel from the era of sail still going strong - - undergoing constant restoration to the original as launched!!


USS Illinois.

This is coolbert:

This is not a way to treat a lady!!

[American warships are referred to as "she"]

The USS Illinois. A battleship of the pre-dreadnought era, First commissioned in 1901, only being finally scrapped in 1956 [!!].

A warship of the U.S. Navy, performing faithful service in a variety of capacities, long beyond reasonable life expectancy from time of initial sailing!

"USS Illinois (BB-7) , the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 21st state, was a battleship, the lead ship of her class . . . commissioned on 16 September 1901"

Post-war [World War One], removed from the rolls of active warships, converted into a "building", a floating armory, used for training by the Naval Reserve.

Continuing to serve as a training facility during the Second World War, and even in the aftermath thereof, only being broken apart for scrap in 1956!

"Excluded from further use as a warship by the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, Illinois was fitted out as a floating armory at New York Navy Yard in 1924 . . . She remained there for more than 30 years . . . she served as a Naval Reserve Midshipmen Training School at New York. Following the war, she was retained . . . as quarters for a Naval Reserve unit until 31 December 1956.

These before and after images are quite striking, are they not? I wonder if the below deck guts of the ship were kept intact, as a training tool. Above deck the "building" served as class rooms, barracks, etc.

"Prairie State, after over 50 years of useful service to the Navy and the Nation . . . sold for scrap . . . 18 May 1956."

[during the lifetime of the ship, was known as the USS Illinois, IX-15 and Prairie State]

Proud service for a period of over fifty years, in whatever incarnation!


Friday, September 24, 2010


This is coolbert:

Watching the other night the Part Three episode from the BBC documentary series: "Age of Terror"

"In his epic new series, the Age of Terror, jourby nalist Peter Taylor traces the modern history and development of terrorism through four major acts of terror over more than 30 years."

"In each episode Peter Taylor investigates a notorious terror attack that was emblematic of a particular phase in the modern history of political violence."

[I recommend this television documentary series highly, without qualification!!]

This particular program, part three of a four part series, dealing with: "How Islamic extremists hijacked a plane in Algiers in 1994 on its way to Paris" details the hijacking of an Air France Airbus en route from Algeria to Paris. Hijacked by terrorists of the Algerian GIA. A particularly loathsome group of villains, very homicidal.



That aircraft eventually stormed successfully by the French anti-terrorist unit - - GIGN!

GIGN, the personnel of which appear to be military, but are actually para-military.

Units consisting of French gendarmes. The police. SWAT [special weapons and tactics] type units with a formidable capacity.

GIGN, having an internal and external [French] responsibility for:

* Anti-terrorist operations.
* Hostage-taking situations.
* Suppression of prison rebellions.

French gendarmes [policemen] but much more than that. Having a capability to include:

* Trained in a variety of small-arms weaponry.
* Parachute qualified. [HAHO AND HALO]
* Attack dog capacity.
* Martial arts [krav maga?].

GIGN, very highly motivated and trained individuals, GIGN characterized by their wearing of a helmet with face shield and the carrying of the .357 magnum revolver. European police and military normally preferring the use of the auto-loading pistol.

This particular gun battle occurring between the GIA terrorists [bad guys] and the GIGN [good guys] lasting twenty minutes!! Two of the terrorists killed more or less instantly, the remaining two villains fighting desperately in a protracted manner until finally terminated!

A passenger airliner - - filled to capacity - - makes a difficult target for an anti-terrorist unit to storm? Advantage here is totally in favor of the terrorists. GIGN is hesitant to fire in the confined environment, for fear of hitting an innocent bystander, and EVEN HAS DIFFICULTY IN DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN THE GOOD AND THE BAD!! The villain has no problem is firing in an indiscriminate manner, even relishing the opportunity to do so!!

GIGN in this case prevailing and with panache'! As you would expect from a Frenchman! Tres bien!


Flying Humvee?

This is coolbert:

Here is an idea that will not "fly"?

The "Flying Humvee" they call it. A hybrid vehicle - - the "flying jeep"!

Read it all.

"Pentagon Chooses Two Companies to Build Flying Humvee"

"The race to build the world’s first flying military jeep just moved a step closer to the finish line."

"The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected two companies to proceed with the next stage of its Transformer, known as TX—a fully automated four-person vehicle that can drive like a car and then take off and fly like an aircraft to avoid roadside bombs."


* Described as "automated"? Evidently a dedicated human pilot is not necessary? This remains to be seen. FLYING AN AIRCRAFT IS NOT THE SAME AS DRIVING AN AUTOMOBILE. FLYING AN AIRCRAFT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT.

[with an automobile, you are moving forward or backward and right or left. With an airplane, you are moving forward or backward [rotary wing], right or left, AND up and down all at the same time, and with the pilot having to make constant correction or you will CRASH!!]

* Generally speaking, when you try to engineer a "mechanism" of whatever type to be able to do "everything" - - you end up with a contraption that can do nothing? This will be similar?

* And as for avoiding the roadside bombs - - why not just stay off the roads? Used tracked vehicles that "lay down" their own road or just move cross-country on foot?

Let me predict that TX will not advance beyond the prototype stage and that will be that. NOT a good idea from the get-go!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coke Submarines.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the SmallWarsJournal - - here with material dated in some instance but still useful as a point of reference, as to the "submarines" used by the drug smugglers of the Latin American drug cartels.

"Submarines", for the most case semi-submersibles originally, but now found in ever increasing sophistication and capability. Generations already of "submarines", CLASSES EVEN! Most recently true submarines in every sense of the word, presenting an ever increasing threat NOT easily countered.

This is a semi-submersible as used by the drug cartels?

"Submarines" NOW being the vehicle of choice to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.?

"Submarines" having a foreign connection [Russian]. Perhaps ex-Soviet or Russian military, EVEN underwater experts of the naval Spetsnaz persuasion?

"UNDERSEA TRAFFICKING:Colombia's Cocaine Cartels Learn a New Trick"

"Colombian authorities have found seven of the secret shipyards since 2007. In each shipyard, 15 workers spent up to a year building a single boat. They built the hulls and then installed the engines and propellers. A boat agents managed to seize last summer before it was sunk measured 17 meters (56 feet) long and weighed 46 tons. There were 10 tons of cocaine in the vessel's hold."

This particular sub is all-metal, and a true submersible [described as semi-only], in the tradition of a military midget submarine, with pretty good capability? The design does look sophisticated from this image.

"SPIEGEL ONLINE speaks to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph L. Nimmich"

"Nimmich: . . . they refined the semi-submersibles. We talk in terms of three generations of semi-submersibles. The new ones have steel construction, two engines, larger capability, more fuel, and greater distance capability. They can go longer distances by themselves. Between 3,000 and 3,500 miles (4,800 and 5,000 kilometers)."

"The first generation subs found in 1999 were around 78ft, and Russian nationals were involved in the construction."

"The Submarine Next Door"

"Before that, in the mid-nineties some Russian mob guys . . . were in negotiations with a cartel to provide an old Soviet diesel sub fully crewed. They had already sold some heavy lift helicopters to the cartels to run chemicals out to labs in the jungle"

And here are the various sections of the hull, under construction, of an all-metal sub of pretty large size, sophisticated, awaiting welding or further fabrication! These are not play things by any means! This particular class or version was meant to be a true sub in every sense of the word?

We should not be surprised that Russians are intimately involved with the Latin American drug cartels. That Colombian special operations commando unit that hunted down and eliminated the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar had to fight and kill the best mercenaries in the world, English and Israeli. For a price, you can hire and use the expertise of anyone to accomplish your goals. And for the Latin American drug cartels, price is often not an object!! Money is more or less unlimited!

One generation, two generations, three generations - - MORE! Expect soon to see these vessels have an offensive capability too! What next?



This is coolbert:

"a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown."

Thanks to the tip from the blog Jungle Trader.

Here is a description of a malware, a worm, infecting computers as currently found at industrial sites and plants world-wide. Stuxnet most properly perceived and thought of as a WEAPON OR WAR! Invasive, insidious, able to destroy OBJECTS in a manner not totally dissimilar as would be the results from a military attack by combat aircraft dropping conventional ordnance.

"Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant?"

"The Stuxnet malware has infiltrated industrial computer systems worldwide. Now, cyber security sleuths say it's a search-and-destroy weapon meant to hit a single target. One expert suggests it may be after Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant."

A malware not merely rendering the function of a computer null and void - - but destroying in the process a physical object. An industrial plant, a process, a factory put out of action!

"Stuxnet's arrival heralds something blindingly new: a cyber weapon created to cross from the digital realm to the physical world – to destroy something"

A malware of incredible, even PROFOUND sophistication, NOT the work of an amateur. A malware designed as a weapon of cyberwarfare, ONLY a handful [?] of nations having the ability, the expertise, the know-how, the wherewithal to design and create such software.

"it took a massive expenditure of time, money, and software engineering talent to identify and exploit such vulnerabilities in industrial control software systems."

The Iranian just-recently-fueled-now-on-line nuclear reactor at Bushehr being the main target of this malware - - Stuxnet?

This malware is in keeping with the admonitions and teachings of Machiavelli? "men more frequently advance themselves by guile and artifice than by force!!"

YES indeed!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Evade & Evasion II.

This is coolbert:


Survive and evade - - Spetsnaz.

Here with, according to the defector Suvorov, an instance of how the Soviet/Russian train their elite special purpose forces [Spetsnaz] in the art of survival, evasion, eluding! A much more realistic and formidable type of challenge. And MUCH MORE DANGEROUS TOO! Much more!

"In the conditions prevailing in Western Europe today different habits and different training methods are necessary. For this part of their training spetsnaz soldiers are dressed in black prison jackets and dropped off at night in the centre of a big city. At the same time the local radio and television stations report that a group of especially dangerous and criminals have escaped from the local prison . . . The population thus get only small crumbs of information, so that they are scared stiff of criminals about whom all sorts of fantastic stories start circulating."

"The 'criminals' [spetsnaz troops] are under orders to return to their company. The local police [militia] and MVD troops are given the job of finding them . . . The middle and lower ranks of the MVD operate as if it were the real thing."

Spetsnaz soldiers, dressed as escaped convicts, being told to repatriate themselves, eluding and evading capture! Chased as if they were actual escaped criminals, dangerous!

Those in pursusit NOT knowing that this an exercise, a test!

Eluding and evading the forces of the police [Russians call their police "militia"] and the troops of the MVD [Interior Forces]. Those MVD units using DOGS that can bite and even kill you.

"The MVD uses dogs on exercises, and the dogs do not understand the difference between an exercise and real fighting."

Those dogs not only can bite, but WANT to bite!

C'est le guerre! And for those being pursued and those in pursuit, it might as well really be war!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Evade & Evasion I.

This is coolbert:

Survive and evade - - SAS.

SERE is more or less an obligatory requirement - - a fundamental, basic, universal and necessary part of special forces and special operations training world-wide?

For instance - - the British SAS:

"Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract" [called "Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape" in U.S. military jargon]

Candidates for inclusion into the ranks of the foremost British special operations unit, having to exist - - survive in the wilds for an extended period, all the while being "hunted" by friendlies playing the role of aggressor.

"Personnel undertake Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract training. The test stage for this training phase requires the candidates to undergo an evasion exercise, dressed in greatcoats to restrict movement and operating in small groups. A Hunter Force from the Special Forces Support Group provides a capture threat."

"The last main test is the Combat Survival course. you are taught survival skills for two weeks, and then . . . you're turned loose . . . dressed in Second World War [WW2] battledress trousers and shirt, a greatcoat with no buttons, and boots with no laces. The hunter force was a company of guardsmen in helicopters. Each man was given the incentive of two weeks' leave if he made a capture."

That Hunter Force [capture threat] is a dedicated unit whose mission is to play the role of the aggressor, chasing after and capturing the the SAS troop if possible. These soldiers from the Hunter Force are competent and very able in their own right, skilled professionals adept at tracking and "hunting" other humans in a rugged environment. If you can get away from them, you can get away from anyone!

The use of a greatcoat sans buttons and boots sans laces is designed in a purposeful and almost maliciously cruel manner to make the job of the evading SAS troop as difficult as possible. Impediments to swift and easy movement - - restrictive - - the idea being again, if you can evade capture dressed in such a manner you can evade and avoid capture probably under any circumstances.

Tough stuff. And I bet a lot of fun for those doing the chasing, the Hunter Force? There is a certain enjoyment to be had in capturing one of your own, running the quarry to ground, an apprehension relished by all other than the SAS soldier. And good training for everyone!



This is coolbert:

"shock, deafness, and hopelessness"

Here from the book: The Gulag Archipelago" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a description of the tenacity, the determination, the implacable resolve to fight to the end on the part of the Hiwi!

"We soon discovered that there really were Russians fighting against us and that they fought harder than any SS men. In July, 1943, for example, near Orel, a platoon of Russians in German uniform defended Sobakinskiye Vyselki. They fought with the desperation that might have been expected if they built the place themselves. One of them was driven into a root cellar. They threw hand grenades in after him and he fell silent. But they had no more than stuck their heads in than he let them have another volley from his automatic pistol [a sub-machine gun?]. Only when they lobbed in an antitank grenade did they find out that, within the root cellar, he had another foxhole in which had taken shelter from the infantry grenades. Just try to imagine, the degree of shock, deafness, and hopelessness in which he had kept on fighting."

The Hiwi! Soviet citizens, soldiers of the Red Army, prisoners-of-war [POW] captured by the German, volunteering to fight ON THE SIDE OF THE GERMAN, against their own citizens.

[estimates suggest that about 1 million Soviet citizens in some capacity fought on the side of the German during World War Two!!]

The Hiwi, realizing that death on the battlefield was preferable to the slow and torturous death in a Soviet labor camp, if indeed you did survive capture and immediate execution!


Sunday, September 19, 2010


This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog:

"Umm, SERE Training is purely voluntary and a person can stop at any time in the process, that's kind of the point. They try to get you to sign a false confession."

"Anyone who knows anything about the military or the special forces community ought to know that."

That SERE training is "voluntary" so as it is stated is questionable to me! Voluntary participation in practical "exercises" is possible and not mandatory? Of this I am not sure! [I personally am not special operations or SF trained and experienced!]

"Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape" [SERE] is an integral part of military training for various commands, MOS, positions, etc.

Rangers, Special Forces [SF] troops, combat aviators, etc. Anyone who has an elevated chance of capture by the enemy or find themselves in a very hostile natural environment undergoes SERE training!

[CIA personnel involved in field work - - if not military trained, also receive SERE training of some sort?]

From the wiki entry:


"The curriculum has three key parts: survival and evasion; resistance and escape; and water survival; some parts are classified."

And taught at different levels as well.

* Survival and evasion as taught suggesting a troop NOT in the hands of the enemy!

Woodcraft, eating roots and berries, how to move cross-country and regain friendly territory without capture, etc.

The survival and evasion portion of SERE NOT being voluntary! You must actually go out into the woods and survive for a period of time eating nuts, roots, berries, building an expedient shelter, and evading teams of the "enemy" "hunting" you. NOR could you say: "OK, I did the classroom work, now I call off the practical exercise!"

* Resistance and escape as taught suggesting a troop IN the hands of the enemy!

Subjected to mental and physical abuse, torture, etc. This is where the controversial episodes of waterboarding as PART OF TRAINING HAVE OCCURRED.

American military personnel, as part of SERE training, being subjected to waterboarding, simulated drowning. NOT MERELY A CLASSROOM SUBJECT DISCUSSED!! Actual physical waterboarding occurring.

[about 15 seconds of waterboarding has been found to be the limit of what most folks can withstand!]

American military personnel also subjected to other forms of abuse as part of the Resistance portion of SERE training. Forced nakedness, being placed in a coffin, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, etc.

My understanding is that this "training" is not necessarily VOLUNTARY! You can [?] call a halt to the abuse at any time, but classroom "work" and a mere discussion of the subject is not enough!

And U.S. military personnel WERE being waterboarded as part of SERE. That is a fact. That was the whole point of the previous blog entry. The question was raised [and not answered] - - if the U.S. military and the CIA for that matter have been told that it is illegal to waterboard an enemy combatant, is it also now illegal to waterboard OUR OWN personnel as part of "training"? Resistance training in totality now consists only of a classroom lecture?

[SF personnel prior to deployment to Laos as part of the White Star missions [1960] were required to spend SIX WEEKS in the forests of Eglin AFB surviving and eluding "friendly" personnel "hunting" for them. This was a basic requirement, to be completed successfully prior to being sent overseas. NOT merely classroom work!]

Certain aspects of SERE have been and are NOW controversial. The entire course is not necessarily voluntary. YOU CAN "call off" waterboarding if subjected to the ordeal, but that is only an ASPECT of SERE.

And the legality of administering "measures" as the troop may encounter during Resistance training is still an open subject. Perhaps the classified nature of the subject in some regard precludes a definitive answer? I just don't know!


Saturday, September 18, 2010


This is coolbert:

War is bad for the economy?

For a variety of reasons - - this is so?

Here is an instance that seems to indicate this is so.

That war indemnity as paid by the French to the German in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War - - 1870 had as a consequence the destruction, intended or otherwise, of a monetary system that had served the world very well for over FOUR HUNDRED YEARS!! A war-indemnity, paid in GOLD and gold-backed currency, throwing the world economic system into chaos?

Silver and silver-backed currency, used by traders for centuries, the value of silver suffering a "nose-dive" with severe ramifications for international trade, as a result of WAR!

"The silver standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver. The silver specie standard was widespread from the fall of the Byzantine Empire [1453] until the 19th century . . . silver . . . coins played the role of an international trading currency for nearly four hundred years."

Measures, the indemnity, designed to cripple the economy of France for three decades, had a world-wide consequence that was not anticipated? A shock felt across the international trading community from which the value of silver did not recover?

Gold and gold-backed currency, the sudden influx of wealth into Prussia and the German Empire, creating a situation resulting in trauma on a world-wide scale! Four hundred years of economic and currency stability no longer valid to the same degree!

"Since the time that silver was discovered by the Spanish in the new world in the 16th, until the latter half of the 19th century, the value of gold in relation to silver, maintained a relatively stable ratio of 15½/1. The reason for the subsequent sharp decline in the relative value of silver to gold has been attributed to Germany's decision to cease minting the silver Thaler coins in 1871 . . . following the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war, Bismarck exacted one thousand million dollars in gold indemnity, and then proceeded to move Germany towards a new gold standard"

The actions of Bismarck and the Prussians had unintended consequences? Merely the thought was to enrich Prussia and the German Empire while crippling the French? NOT to destroy or throw into impossibly chaotic conditions an international monetary system that had served the world admirably so for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS?

But this did happen!

C'est le vie!


Friday, September 17, 2010


This is coolbert:

The idea for this blog entry thanks to a comment from a devoted reader.

The concept of the "safeguard" is a venerable tradition? NOT only a modern custom and practice having a basis in military law but having "roots" that are ancient and olden.

Here with some accounts - - "ancient" and "olden" - - of the safeguard?

First from ancient times - - Alexander the Great of Macedon, suppressing a rebellion, razing to the ground the Greek city-state of Thebes - - sparing but one structure - - the home of the poet Pindar:

"His [Pindar] house in Thebes became one of the city's landmarks, especially after Alexander The Great demolished every other house there — he left the poet's house spectacularly intact out of gratitude for some verses praising his ancestor, king Alexander I of Macedon."

Secondly from olden times the Hindu ruler Shivaji also demonstrating a benevolence during a time of war:

"during pillage of Sourate, Seva-ji, the Holy Seva-ji! Respected the habitation of the reverend father Ambrose, the Capuchin missionary. 'The Frankish Padres are good men', he said 'and shall not be attacked.' He spared also the house of a deceased Delale or Gentile broker, of the Dutch, because assured that he had been very charitable while alive."

Properties, declared inviolate, not subject to attack, even during a time of war, sacred honor being pledged, "safeguards" established and honored! War is not total chaos and anarchy.

It is noteworthy that Alexander the Great had as his tutor Aristotle. Aristotle is reputed to be the last man who knew "everything". Was during his lifetime the foremost expert on the sciences, literature, philosphy as it was understood at the time.

Alexander had an appreciation of the fine arts and was NOT a barbarian, the destruction of Thebes as a punitive measure notwithstanding!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Any person subject to this chapter who forces a safeguard shall suffer DEATH!"

The safeguard. A little known or understood provision of the Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ].

"safeguard - 'Safeguard. A safeguard is a detachment, guard, or detail posted by a commander for the protection of persons, places, or property of the enemy person or property.'"

Armed guards, a detachment or even individual soldiers, sentries, whose duty involves "the protection of persons, places, or property" belonging to the enemy!

"The effect of a safeguard is to pledge the honor of the nation that the person or property shall be respected by the national armed forces."

The SACRED HONOR of a nation on display when a safeguard is established!!

A provision - - a military code - - a tradition having an almost sacred nature to it!

During the Confederate invasion of the northern states by the Army of Northern Virginia [1863], Robert E. Lee was noted for placing armed guards to protect the more luxurious and prosperous residences of "Yankee" towns and villages invaded. To prevent looting and wanton destruction. R.E. Lee, the civilized man behaving in a civilized manner!

"The commanding general [Lee], therefore, earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain, with most scrupulous care, from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property, and he enjoins upon all offices to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against orders on this subject." - - R.E. LEE, General.

"sentries were placed out side many of the more pretentious houses to enforce the General's edict."

"safe-guards were individual soldiers or detachments placed to prevent places (often farms full of tasty crops and livestock) from being plundered. Forcing a safe-guard was the crime of overpowering a safe-guard. Safe-guards were often individual soldiers assigned to watch over an entire farm, so it only took a few marauders to 'force' him.'"

A safeguard when established - - those troops on detail, a detachment or an individual - - are guaranteed an inviolability, the violation of the safeguard [FORCING] a crime punishable by DEATH under normal circumstances!!

Recognized since ancient times as a very grave violation of the rules of land warfare - - malefactors when caught suitably punished!!

Safeguard.-A safeguard is a detachment of soldiers posted or detailed by a commander of troops for the purpose of protecting some person or persons, or a particular village, building, or other property . . . The violation of a safeguard is a grave offense against the laws of war."

Inviolability of soldiers as safeguards.-Soldiers on duty as safeguards are guaranteed against the application of the laws of war"

"forcing a safeguard (current) - Forcing a safeguard. 'Forcing a safeguard' means to perform an act or acts in violation of the protection of the safeguard."

Punitive Articles of the UCMJ:

"Article 102—Forcing a safeguard 'Any person subject to this chapter who forces a safeguard shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.'”

The American military during the 2003 invasion of Iraq was REMISS - - not placing a safeguard on the Iraqi national museum, to prevent looting? Treasures from antiquity stolen, many later however being recovered, some only recently. That museum should have been the object of a safeguard but was not!

The safeguard is an indication of proper comportment during battle and war, the presence of the safeguard indicative of civilized behavior, the lack thereof resulting in behavior of the seemly nature on occasion!


Monday, September 13, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with two interesting images. One thanks to drakegoodman and the other courtesy of Jungle Trader.

First an image of the German soldier from almost 100 years ago. The other image of the German soldier [actually an airman, a member of the Luftwaffe] - - current!

Here a German fahnrich from
the era of the Great War [WW1], dated around
1915. An officer-cadet, a man aspiring to
officer rank serving first as a junior
non-commissioned officer, finally becoming
a commissioned officer, having learned
the trade of soldiering from the bottom up!
Note the map case around the neck.

"Fähnrich (officer candidate) is a German and Austrian military rank in armed forces which has no direct comparison in the English speaking world."

Zeitzler the German Chief of Staff [succeeding Halder] under Hitler marched off to war during WW1 as a fahnrich!

And now the German soldier from the current era
- - the year 2010! An airman - - a master sergeant
serving in the Luftwaffe!

The uniforms are different - - the facial hair not too unlike - - the national characteristics of the German the SAME in either case - - contributing to the traits that make for a good soldier?! Troops you want on YOUR side!


Sunday, September 12, 2010


This is coolbert:

From the wiki entry for Stalingrad, here is the sort of thing that catches my attention right away:

"According to the German documentary film "Stalingrad", over 11,000 soldiers refused to lay down their arms at the official surrender, presumably believing that fighting to the death was better than a slow end in Soviet camps. They continued to resist, hiding in cellars and sewers, but by early March 1943, the remaining small and isolated pockets of resistance had surrendered. According to Soviet intelligence documents shown in the documentary, 2,418 of the men were killed and 8,646 captured."

We have to fully understand this. Even in the aftermath of the official surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, 91,000 German soldiers going into captivity, there WERE STILL POCKETS OF RESISTANCE - - up to 10,000 or so Axis troops continuing the fight!!

NOT necessarily German soldiers however? What were called Hiwis? Russian and Soviet citizens and nationals who had joined forces and fought with the German? Those individuals who for a variety of circumstances collaborated with the German invader and fought on the side of the fascists!

"Hiwi is a German abbreviation: 'voluntary assistant' (Hilfswilliger, literally one willing to help)"

And constituting a goodly portion of the "German" front line troops at Stalingrad! Much more than I would have ever thought possible! Amazingly so even!

"the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, where they added up to about 25% (50,000) of the front-line strength. Some German divisions had a higher ratio—for example, the 71st and 76th Infantry had parity between German and 'Hiwi' manpower."

"It is disturbing that we are forced to strengthen our fighting troops with Russian prisoners of war, who are already being turned into gunners. It's an odd state of affairs that the 'Beasts' we have been fighting against are now living with us in closest harmony." - - German Colonel Groscurth

The Hiwi preferred death to surrender. And was able to survive under the harshest circumstances as well and even continue to fight. I can imagine Hiwi donning civilian clothes or Soviet uniforms and passing for the "enemy". Hell, the Hiwi WERE for the most part Soviet soldiers!! Able to scrounge, forage, speak the language, etc.

And death was preferable to surrender. ONLY 5,000 of those 91,000 Germans captured at Stalingrad emerged alive from captivity. Death WAS better than surrender!



This is coolbert:

Devoted readers to the blog, informed persons without exception, by now are aware of the trapped Chilean miners. Many thousands of feet underground, trapped, escape shafts being bored as we speak - - but a safe return to the SURFACE a long time off, about four months!

Food, water, communications being provided to the trapped miners. What is also of concern is the mental health of these unfortunates, living as they must in very cramped and confined circumstances for such an extended period, almost unheard of!

Keeping these folks from going insane is not an unwarranted concern? NASA [National Aeronautic and Space Administration] is being consulted in this matter. They have the expertise, the experts, the body of data, and the know-how needed? Advice being given as how these miners can "entertain" themselves for that four month period without going "stir-crazy" is forthcoming!

Here with an entry from another blog, by a man self-described as a "47 year old retired submarine officer", concerning the plight of the Chilean miners:

"Chilean Miners -- Can Submariners Help?"

"NASA has been called in to help the team supporting the 33 Chilean miners trapped far underground, since it looks like they might be down there for up to four months. While there's no doubt that NASA would have some expertise in that area, I'm thinking that the U.S. Submarine Force might be even more helpful. After all, boomer [nuclear submarine] patrols are about that long [three months normally, now having been extended to six months in the aftermath of the Cold War], in conditions about as cramped."

[the USS Texas at this very moment is on a six-month cruise, a deployment. It would be interesting to know if the Texas is going to remain submerged the entire time!]

And where exactly does NASA get their raw data from? That data analyzed by psychologists to determine the best way for numbers of individuals living a cramped existence for months on end, to not only survive, but thrive?

Perhaps from those members of the U.S. Navy submarine force. See this particular comment to the blog entry:

"As far as NASA goes... NASA sent a bunch of surveys with us on a 117 day (all submerged) deployment. So I imagine, some, of their expertise comes from us." - - RS

US! American submariners. I do recall just snippets of the television coverage from Chile as seen on the American nightly news and there are Chilean naval officers on the scene of the mine disaster.

Psychological approaches will work in this instance? I hope so! And above-ground too. It seems that one trapped miner has had several women show up, each claiming to be his legal wife. That one man might NOT want to return to the surface?



This is coolbert:

"those that in both places [Stalingrad and the mountains of Italy] compared the two unfavorably!"

"He [German] surrendered none of his positions readily."

Here is "Little Stalingrad". Combat action of the Italian campaign. Battle between elite military units of Germany and Canada.

"The Battle of Ortona (December 20, 1943 to December 28, 1943) was a small, yet extremely fierce, battle fought between a battalion of German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) . . . and assaulting Canadian forces from the 1st Canadian Infantry Division"

Ortona, Italian port on the Adriatic, deemed absolutely vital to the allied war effort. An importance of which was recognized as well by the German defender. The order being given to defend Ortona to the last. German elite troops, experienced and well prepared for urban warfare defending. German troops knowing full well how to properly defend an urban area, having gained bitter experience at Stalingrad!

"Ortona was of high strategic importance, as it was one of Italy's few usable deep water ports on the east coast, and was needed for docking allied ships"

Canadian attackers - - having a very great learning curve to overcome, the fighting at Ortona being intense in the extreme. In this particular instance too - - you have very good troops as opposed by very good troops, contesting the same ground!

The tactic of ABOVE-GROUND TUNNELLING BEING EXTENSIVELY EMPLOYED! The use of the "mouse-hole" being vital and essential to an urban offensive - - or defensive for that matter!

See here this intelligence bulletin from the period describing the fighting at Ortona. Thanks to the Lone Sentry. "How the Enemy Defended the Town of Ortona"

"It was a grim and bitter defense, and a very costly one for the Germans. The enemy frequently replaced personnel in positions as often as four times before our troops were able to occupy and consolidate the ground or the building."


* Urban warfare is generally recognized as being extremely difficult. Troops on the offensive in particular need special training, equipment, lots of hand grenades, explosives, etc.

* The use of heavy artillery, tank fire, aerial bombardment in the urban combat situation quite often creates an environment MUCH MORE favorable to the defender. Generally speaking the "heavy-handed" approach during city fighting does not work!!

* The American military DID in the aftermath of the Second World War make an extensive study of urban warfare and DID think the problem through very thoroughly incorporating into doctrine "lessons learned". With good results as witnessed at Fallujah during the current Iraq war. The use of proper tactics and equipment in the urban environment can ease the situation greatly.



This is coolbert:

"'The Russians have been playing games with us, the Americans and French in the North Atlantic,' a senior Navy commander said."

Shark! Akula in Russian means SHARK!

Here thanks to the Telegraph, more disturbing news vis-a-vis the Russian military threat and the Russian "flexing muscles"!

"Russian subs stalk Trident in echo of Cold War "

"Russian submarines are hunting down British Vanguard boats in a return to Cold War tactics not seen for 25 years, Navy chiefs have warned."

"A specially upgraded Russian Akula class submarine has been caught trying to record the acoustic signature made by the Vanguard submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles"

"British submariners have also reported that they are experiencing the highest number of 'contacts' with Russian submarines since 1987"


* Those British Trident missile firing submarines are the MAIN STRIKING FORCE OF THE ENGLISH INDEPENDENT NUCLEAR DETERRENT!! Each sub having sixteen missiles - - each missile having ten warheads. A formidable deterrent, more or less undetectable, or so was thought.

* Undersea "contacts" with the Russians of a type not seen in over twenty years. Resurgent and very proud Russian once again posing a threat. Machinations NOT needed and part of a clear and distinct pattern.

* The Soviet/Russian "Akula" class submarine in a CLASS by itself! Powered by a liquid-metal cooled nuclear reactor that allows for a whole lot of power [Akula is reputed to achieve underwater speed that allow the sub to OUTRUN THE FASTEST AMERICAN TORPEDO!!] - - and a hull made of titanium [super light but super strong], a crush depth for Akula of about 4,000 feet [1,300 meters] allegedly! Far beyond the capability of American and NATO submarines.

* This is specially outfitted Akula for reconnaissance purposes? Akula was NEVER intended to be a long-range patrol boat but originally was foremost a "test-bed" for undersea warfare technologies? Never built or deployed in "numbers"!

This disturbing trend on the part of the Russians is all for no good!


Saturday, September 11, 2010


This is coolbert:

"With this sort of weapon, you cannot hide in a hole and snipe; the only way to use it effectively is to get out of the hole and go after the enemy"

Here with info on the German MP18 submachine gun from the era of World War One!

The MP18, "the first practical submachine gun used in combat", was designed specifically with trench warfare in mind, weaponry of the time not ideally suited for the task of close quarters combat between troops involved in the trench raid, etc.

In specific, widely employed by those German storm troopers during the German Spring Offensives of 1918. The "Kaiserschlacht offensives". 1 million German troops, spearheaded by the most elite of the German soldiers, physically fit, aggressive, combat-experienced, having initiative, AND EQUIPPED WITH ENORMOUS FIREPOWER AT THE PERSONAL LEVEL!!

Battalions of storm troops, having to clear trenches of allied forces, engage in close-quarters combat, possessing a weapon, the submachine gun, that gave them a marked advantage. Weaponry as used by both sides during trench raids prior to 1918 was ad hoc? What ever was useful at close-quarters and was available, use it! The MP18 - - rather - - more suited for this type of combat [trench warfare]!

[that the submachine gun was even used during World War One [WW1], much less employed in such an extensive manner, was ALL NEW TO ME!]

"The MP18-I manufactured by Theodor Bergmann . . . was the first practical submachine gun used in combat. It was introduced into service in 1918 by the German Army during World War I as the primary weapon of the Stosstruppen, assault groups specialized in trench combat."

"the MP18 primarily served in final stages of World War I in 1918, especially in the so-called Kaiserschlacht offensive. At least 5,000 MP18.1 were built and used during World War I"

The MP18, a brand new category and design of weapon - - beyond a pistol, but less than a rifle, capable of automatic fire by the individual soldier. AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON USED BY TROOPS ON THE OFFENSIVE!

An effective weapon that made A VERY BIG IMPRESSION UPON THE ALLIES!

"The firepower of this new class of weapons made such an impression on the Allies that the Treaty of Versailles specifically banned further study and manufacture of such light automatic firearms by Germany."

That says a lot, doesn't it?


Friday, September 10, 2010


This is coolbert:

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

Here is what General Normal Cota was thinking about when he advocated a night assault on the Normandy beachhead?

NOT a daylight assault by the main invasion force into the manned and ready German beach defenses.

Night assault by specially trained, equipped, and highly motivated special operations units, ranger/commando type troops of the "hunter class".

Night assaults as had been done at least three times previously during the various campaigns of the European theatre during World War Two [WW2].

Night assaults done most successfully too. Ranger units able to assault by beach landing during the early hours of darkness, overwhelm the surprised defenders, eliminate strong points in the path of the main invasion force. Ranger units confining their action to the immediate beachhead, not proceeding inland to any degree, consolidating the beachhead for subsequent follow-up forces.

1. Port of Arzew - - Algeria - - 1942.

"the 1st Ranger Battalion spearheaded an invasion at the Port of Arzew in Algeria. This was accomplished by executing a surprise night landing [November 1942], silencing two gun batteries, and opening the way for the capture of Oran"

2. Gela - - Sicily - - 1943.

"In Sicily the Rangers served first as assault troops in the landing . . . At Gela in the early morning darkness of 10 July [1943] the 1st and 4th Ranger Battalions . . . attacked across a mined beach to capture the town and coastal batteries."

3. Anzio - - Italy - - 1944.

"At 0200 on the 22'nd [January 1944] the 6615th Ranger Task Force comprised of the 1st, 3d and 4th Rangers, 509th Parachute Bn and Cos. A and B of the 83'd Chemical Mortar Battalion landed in the city of Anzio. Their immediate mission was to clear the beach-head. The mined beach was crossed and only a handful of enemy was encountered."

In the Pacific theatre, the landing on the beach at Kiska [1943], early hours of darkness by the First Special Service Force [FSSF], is of course another instance of this type of assault. NOT moving inland, the specially trained, equipped, and high motivated special operations units [FSSF], able to capture and hold the beachhead for the main invasion force.

[Kiska of course was not defended by the Japanese, but the idea was the same!]

Norm Cota was right about a night assault? Perhaps NOT the MAIN invasion force attacking during hours of darkness. Special Operations troops attacking would have been the more feasible and better idea. There was precedent for this sort of thing. Successful precedent that would have worked. The terrible casualties of 6 June could have been greatly alleviated in this manner?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Site 85.

This is coolbert:

"This was the largest single ground combat loss of USAF personnel during the Vietnam war"

Soon - - a Medal of Honor [MoH] to be awarded - - to an airman - - killed in combat action from the Vietnam War, over forty years ago now!!

Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. “Dick” Etchberger having been posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross for his Vietnam era heroics, the original decoration now being upgraded to the highest award for valor [MoH] that can be bestowed by the U.S.!

"Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Airman"

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2010 – A fallen Vietnam War-era airman will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for heroism from President Barack Obama during a Sept. 21 White House ceremony."

"Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. “Dick” Etchberger was killed March 11, 1968, in Laos during the battle of Mount Phou Pha Thi."

Heroics in the defense of Site 85. An electronics facility vital to the air war over the skies of North Vietnam. A navigation and radar site absolutely essential to the "Rolling Thunder" campaign.

"The MSQ-77 is [was] a sophisticated piece of electronic equipment to direct air strikes without the pilot actually seeing his target. The advantages being 1) that the aircraft can fly at an altitude reachable only by Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) and 2) bombing can be accomplished in all types of weather day or night."

The attack and destruction of this site by North Vietnamese forces controversial to say the least.

U.S. airmen, isolated and totally out of their league, more or less trapped on a mountain top, twenty or so airmen with twelve [12] battalions of North Vietnamese infantry [NVA] arrayed against them!

Etchbergber killed during the battle and evacuation, paying the ultimate price, brave unto the end beyond measure.


* Being awarded the MoH more than forty years after the fact is almost unprecedented?

* Those airmen at Site 85 were totally unequipped and unprepared, untrained and unready to do combat with a highly skilled and motivated enemy!

* What are described as NVA "rangers" or "commandos" in actuality were SAPPERS, noted for their ability to penetrate any sort of defensive position and wreak havoc, normally using demolition and satchel charges while on the attack. Quite often penetrating defenses WHILE NAKED!! With regard to special operations troops of the sapper/demolition variety, THE BEST IN THE WORLD!!


* For an enlisted airman to receive a MoH is a very rare event. Other than the PJ's [pararescue jumpers] and the Air Force Security troops, air force [USAF] enlisted personnel for the most part are almost without exception non-combat arms.

* These airmen at Site 85 were on civilian status in neutral territory, given a cover story, a "black operation"! Ambassador to Laos Sullivan seems to the only man keenly aware of the danger those airmen were in? Troops on "black ops" mission normally are not awarded decorations, heroism or not?


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This is coolbert:

"those that in both places [Stalingrad and the mountains of Italy] compared the two unfavorably!"

And from a previous blog entry:

"In the aftermath of German and Japanese surrender, there were only two Congressional investigations regarding the conduct of the war. One of course dealt with the debacle at Pearl Harbor. The second dealt with the Italian Campaign, the apparent inadequacy or even outright incompetency of command!"

The Italian Campaign in the aftermath of World War Two [WW2] being the subject of a Congressional investigation. Mark Clark in particular singled out for what was seen as an unimaginative and lackluster command performance. Plenty of recriminations to go around.

Rather than strictly emphasize allied failure, allied ineptness, let me offer a much more valid alternative.

It was not so much that the allied forces were bad as the German was GOOD!

A set of circumstances came together in a bad way, factors that made the military campaign of the allies that much more difficult. The situation was to the disadvantage of the allied commanders and troops in a way that was difficult to overcome.

First you had:

* Good German troops.
* Good German leadership.

Secondly in addition:

* Rugged terrain suitable for the defense.
* Pre-positioned fighting positions. [layers of defense in depth]
* NO room for maneuver on the part of the allies. [allied troops having to go on the attack straight at the German defenses, direct frontal assault!]

"Defense is the stronger form of combat!"


The idea that Italian collapse would prompt a quick and relatively bloodless German withdrawal from the "boot" of Italy was just not realistic!

It should be noted too that it was just NOT U.S. military forces that had hard time in Italy. The allied contingents across the board - - British, New Zealanders, Polish, Canadians, British Indian army troops, French colonial forces, NO MATTER WHO they were - - all experienced the same difficulty.

Again - - not so much that the allies were bad but that the German was good - - AND - - in large measure, terrain of a difficult nature being put to good use by the defender?



Monday, September 6, 2010

Red Corridor.

This is coolbert:

Here with continuing coverage of the Maoist forest guerrillas of India and what is called the "Red Corridor". Thanks for the lead-in from the television channel of the local community college.

"The Red Corridor is a term used to describe the region in the east of India that experiences considerable Naxalite maoist militant activity"

That area of India most susceptible to the insurgency of the Maoists - - communists seeking to overthrow the democratic, legal government of India.

Maoists having some degree of success, even frighteningly so!

"More recent figures put the strength of the movement at 15,000, and claim the guerrillas control an estimated one fifth of India's forests, as well as being active in 180 of the country's 630 administrative districts"

Active primarily in the eastern part of India, that area and lands bordering the Bay of Bengal. Active for a very long period of time now [the Naxalite movement began in the early 1970's], the guerrilla movement NOW expanding in an unanticipated manner, worrisome.

These "Red Corridor" Maoist forest guerrillas of India appear to be well organized, having a standard uniform, battle kit, carrying a range of communist-bloc light weaponry, those weapons obtained from where exactly?

This "Red Corridor" must be very troublesome and worrisome both to the Indian government. India is on the verge of becoming a major world power, economically and militarily. And yet there is also present this threat, almost an anachronism, of the forest guerrilla, adherents to the philosophies of Mao, threatening the very wholeness of India in an unexpected way. Resources diverted to combat the guerrillas are not forthcoming either? The paramilitary police of the various Indian states are sorely pressed and lack the wherewithal to deal with the Maoists?

These Maoists are a nuisance now, but a real problem for the future? I think so!


Anzio VII.

This is coolbert:

Anzio conclusion!


First this from "The Ultra Secret" by Winterbotham:

"There was no sign of any troop concentration in the direction of Anzio . . . right up to the moment of landing, Mark Clark was assured of complete strategic surprise and the probability that no new opposition could be brought to bear before forty-eight hours."

Winterbotham is of course referring to intelligence appreciations as gleaned from Ultra intelligence. The MOST SECRET source of the Second World War [WW2]. Intercepts of encrypted, supposedly secure German radio traffic, "secured" by the Enigma cipher machine, "read" with impunity by the English throughout the length of the war!

Almost absolutely perfect and reliable intelligence regard the enemy [German]!

Locations [dispositions] and strength of enemy units in totality at a minimum. Operational plans and valuable insights most of the time in addition. Precise and accurate intelligence without guess work for the most part.

Mark Clark had been briefed on Ultra and was privy to the secret for a good portion of the war. It would have been apparent to him AND MUST HAVE BEEN APPARENT TO HIM that Anzio was more or less totally undefended. Proceeding inland as quick as possible was the plan - - with a good chance of success. At Anzio THE GERMAN WAS CAUGHT TOTALLY UNAWARE AND LACKING and the allies would have understood this to be the case from the beginning!

[the German had anticipated a possible amphibious assault to alleviate the impasse at Cassino - - but further up the coast, probably north of Rome!]

NOW this:

"One specific area of Intelligence baffled the Allied Command [at Anzio] under General Lucas."

"The US command was almost completely in the dark about the numbers of enemy troops they were facing or what units they represented. In fact; intelligence reports and prisoners represented almost every unit known to be in that part of Italy; as the Germans only had a hodge podge of newly assigned and attached units."

"Lucas and his staff could only assume they were facing all the elements of each unit represented; which was not the case at all. Instead of an aggressive offensive. Lucas built up a ten mile beach-head; and opted for a defensive posture expecting a German Counter-Attack at any moment."

Lucas was NOT privy to Ultra? Perhaps NOT! But should have been given very accurate intelligence appreciations based upon SANITIZED versions of Ultra!

This whole thing about being "almost completely in the dark" sounds very strange to me. INCOMPREHENSIBLE is a better word. Lucas and his staff thought they had the WHOLE GERMAN ARMY IN FRONT OF THEM WHEN THE ACTUAL FORCES CONFRONTING THE ANZIO LANDING FORCE WAS ALMOST NIL!

NOT acceptable.

In the aftermath of German and Japanese surrender, there were only two Congressional investigations regarding the conduct of the war. One of course dealt with the debacle at Pearl Harbor. The second dealt with the Italian Campaign, the apparent inadequacy or even outright incompetency of command!

Such an investigation was indeed warranted? Obviously so!