Saturday, June 30, 2012


This is coolbert:

In the previous blog entry I had referred to the Super Phantom. That American F-4 Phantom from the Vietnam War era "souped" up with new and more powerful engines, new fuel tank and avionics. A much more robust and capable aircraft the basic design of which dates to the late 1950's!!

And here from the era of World War Two [WW2] was the Super Stuka!

The Ju-187. German dive bomber the successor to the famous Stuka, the Ju-87. That Ju-87 the aircraft of which even by 1940 the performance of which was found to be inadequate , in particular too vulnerable to attacking enemy fighter war planes. A "sitting duck" shot down with ease by the adversary.

That dive bomber concept still felt to be valid, the much more adequate war plane as needed by the Luftwaffe for the same mission as was to be the Ju-187. An improved and "super" version of the original aircraft.

That Super Stuka a project and development that never got further than the R & D phase, some interesting and novel design features nonetheless included, REARWARD DEFENSE A MAJOR CONSIDERATION!!

That Ju-187 design features to include:

* Retractable landing gear.
* Pressureized cabin.
* Remote rear-ward firing machine gun and cannon.
* Rotating 180 degree tail fin!

That rotatable 180 degree tail find allowing the rear gunner a clear shot at an enemy attacker! I would have to think that such an assembly would be a contrivance that the idea of which was worthy but the difficulties from the mechanical standpoint would out weight the advantages?

  "One of the most unusual features was the movable vertical tail fin, which could be moved 180 degrees in flight, thus clearing the field of fire for the rear gunner."

That tail gunner firing a remotely operated turret with weaponry of DIFFERENT CALIBERS contained in the same assembly! Armaments described by various web sites as consisting of:

* "one 151/20 20 mm cannon and one MG 131 13mm machine gun."

* "A 13mm MG 131 series machine gun as well as a 15 mm MG 151/15 series cannon"

Calibers of different types makes for a ballistics problem that creates difficulties that are not needed and only complicate the mission of that rear gunner!!

That Ju-187 never did fly in combat other warplanes already fulfilling the task of dive bomber and doing so in a manner superior to what was expected of the Super Stuka. That Super would not have been in hindsight so Super?


Friday, June 29, 2012

Super & Greyhound.

This is coolbert:

 Thanks to the DEBKAfile we have the update and intel on the shoot-down of that Turkish Phantom jet that has caused a lot of consternation in some quarters!

"Newly-supplied Russian anti-air missile downed Turkish warplane"

"23 June. Syria Friday shot down the Turkish Super Phantom jet with the sophisticated self-propelled medium range anti-air Pantsur-1 missile recently supplied by Russia. Short of time to master the improved missile system, the Syrian crews would have called on their Russian instructors to help launch them."

That Turkish jet described as a Super Phantom [F-4]!

 That Syrian air defense weaponry the most up to date and sophisticated Russian hardware available, a SA-22 "Greyhound".

 1. That Super Phantom an upgrade of the original Phantom F-4 the original airplane as coming off the drawing boards in the late 1950's!!

Improved to include:

 * New upgraded and much improved engines.

"a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW1120 turbofans . . . The PW1120 turbofan was 40 inches shorter than the J79 and 25 percent lighter in weight. However, it had 35 percent greater dry thrust and 30 percent greater afterburner thrust."

* New upgraded and improved fuel tank. 

"The aircraft [Super Phantom] was also to have had a 1100-US gallon conformal fuel tank fitted onto its belly."

"Such a tank could carry nearly twice the fuel of the standard centerline drop tank of the Phantom and offered only 29 percent of the drag."

* New upgraded and improved avionics. 

" The electronics were also to have been upgraded . . . options being proposed were the fitting of a GEC heads-up display, a Honeywell 423 ring laser gyro inertial navigational system, and APG-65 radar."

2. The Russian SA-22 "Greyhound" the newest and latest anti-aircraft system available?

Able to engage targets using either MISSILES OR GUNS!! Self-propelled and totally self-contained and very formidable.

 "It is a short to medium range ground based air defence system, wheeled, tracked or stationary with two to three operators. Its air defense consists of automatic anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air-missiles with radar or optical target-tracking and radio-command guidance . . . Aerial targets include . . . all types of aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and air-to-ground precision guided weapons. The system is able to defend against stealth aircraft."


DEBKA has "sources" and now you the devoted reader to the blog know the rest of the story and thanks to DEBKA! Perhaps David P. Goldman [Spengler] is wrong from time to time!!


Stolen Valor.

This is coolbert:

 First from Harry at the Sharkhunters web site: we have this comment: 

"STOLEN VALOR! - By now, everyone knows what the Supreme Court of the United States did yesterday and each of us has an opinion..........and we will not go into that here. In our opinion, however. the Supreme Court did a tremendous DIS-service to our military and our veterans when they struck down the 'Stolen Valor' Act. For those who are not familiar with this law, it makes it a crime for anyone to claim military decorations that were not awarded to them. In other words, those who FALSELY claimed they were decorated with the Medal of Honor - or any other decoration for that matter, they could be arrested and charged with a crime. The Supreme Court threw that law out! They said that telling lies is not a crime!"

 I was afraid this was going to happen and it has!

 The Stolen Valor Act has been ruled and deemed as unconstitutional.

A violation of the First Amendment - - no abridgment of freedom of speech.

Those military wannabee heroes, the prevaricator, the poseur, that person claiming to have performed all sorts of military heroics and having been awarded decorations NONE of which is factual NO LONGER can be arrested and sent to prison for LYING!! 

I-was-an-Army-airborne-ranger-and-won-the-Congressional-Medal-of-Honor-but-I-can't-tell -you-the-details-as-it-is-TOP-SECRET-don't-you-know!!

 Let the sad sack mentally terribly troubled individual rave on, so all may know the sad sack mentally terribly troubled individual for what he is.

 [the court seems to say that merely telling lies is not a crime, telling lies as part committing fraud is a crime, that is true!!]


Thursday, June 28, 2012


This is coolbert:

 Something is not right here!!

 Something is VERY wrong!!

 From the [GFP] web site we have comparisons and ratings, those nations of the world, their military firepower conventional ONLY "compiled" from "various sources".

 That type of intelligence and data at one time only available to a handful elite at the very highest echelons of government now for the perusal of one and all.

 "GFP provides a unique analytical display of data covering global military powers with statistics compiled through various sources . . . nuclear capability is not taken into account for the final ranking . . . Therefore GFP comparisons are for consideration in a conventional war based solely on each individual nation's capabilities on land, at sea and through the air while including logistical and financial aspects when waging total war."

 Nuclear weaponry to include radiological, chemical and biological munitions NOT a consideration!!

The ability of a military to put lead on the target in the classical conventional sense on display and measured with a degree of accuracy!

 Sources [partial] of information listed as: "US Library of Congress; Central Intelligence Agency".

 And immediately I see a problem here.

NORTH KOREA [DPRK] is way down the list, shown as only # 22, barely ahead of the Philippines.

This cannot be right.

That NKPA [North Korean Peoples Army] of 1 million men lavishly equipped so we are told, ten thousand tube artillery pieces alone arrayed on the DMZ facing southward.

 My expectations were that the NKPA would have ranked and been listed as at least in the top half-dozen nations of the entire world with regard to military firepower.

This is not so??

 From the GlobalFirepower web site for North Korea alone we have the listing as extracted, artillery and anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA]:

 "North Korea Military Strength

* Towed Artillery - - 1,500 [2011]
* SPGs - - 1,600 [2011]
* MLRSs - - 600 [2011]
* Mortars - - 2,000 [2011]
* AA Weapons - - 650 [2011]

 [SPG = self-propelled-gun, MLRS = rocket artillery]

 Those "Final Thoughts" from the GlobalFirepower web site:

 "It goes without saying that lists such can be completely subjective, though the GFP intention is to be wholly unbiased. The final GFP rankings are based on a formula taking some 45 factors into account and compiling totals against each country, applying bonuses and penalties as needed to generate this list."

 Even with a million man army the NKPA threat on paper awesome but not so overwhelmingly so?

 From a single alternative source, FAS [Federation of American Scientists] we have figures as to merely the artillery assets of the NKPA that are more in line with what the U.S. military has long held to be the case: 

"Korean People's Army" [NKPA]

* Artillery [total] - - 11,200
* Self-propelled - - +5,500
 * Towed - - +3,000
 * Multiple rocket launchers - - 2,400
 * Mortars - - 60-160mm +9,000

 "Its artillery forces possessed over 8,300 of the 76.2 mm, 100 mm, 122 mm, 130 mm, 152 mm, and 170 mm howitzers and guns, over 2,700 of the 107 mm, 122 mm, 132 mm, 240 mm multiple rocket launchers, and more than 12,500 anti-aircraft guns."

 [under the Soviet system, all mortars of size greater than 122 mm are counted as artillery!!]

 Again from FAS that count as of 1999 the "Korean People's Army Equipment" artillery assets alone:

* ARTILLERY, TOWED - - 3,500

 [AAA I would have to assume inclusive of all weaponry, heavy single and multiple barrel machine guns, and those conventional AAA of gun size as encountered by American airmen in the skies over North Vietnam

Who is to be believed here? GFP or FAS or the U.S military or WHOM? According to FAS, the NKPA possesses firepower from artillery alone FAR in excess of what GFP purports to be the case!!

There is a striking and marked deviation between the various figures for artillery assets alone! What about the rest?

Regardless of numbers alone, the NKPA artillery it must be realized is concentrated and focused in a manner that is indicative of offensive action, the blitzkrieg and not layered in depth as would be a defensive posture? Focused and concentrated firepower distorting absolute quantities, AND HOW THINGS ARE COUNTED BEING CRUCIAL, DEFINITIONS NOT TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drone Warfare.

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times and Yahoo we have further regarding the drone strikes, controversial and being called into question by "some", those Predator and Reaper firing Hellfire obviously causing big time hurt to the adversary, the Taliban of Omar and Al Qaeda remnants!!

 1. "Congress zooms in on drone killings" Senators on a monthly basis personally viewing video footage of drone strikes. Ascertaining as best they can that the drones are hitting legitimate targets with a minimum of collateral damage. As claimed and hopefully as is.

 "I don't know that we've ever seen anything that we thought was inappropriate," - - senior staff member [Congressional staff.]

 "some members of Congress have recently raised questions about 'signature' drone attacks based on an individuals pattern of behavior."

 "Signature" drone attack against a GROUP of Taliban or Al Qaeda adherents, NOT aimed at individual persons, a dozen or two dozen enemy fighters gathered, armed poised and ready to strike the target.

This is in question? 

 2. "U.S. Tightens Drone Rules"

 From the Wall Street Journal [WSJ] too we have an article the description of those two types of drone strikes, Hellfire missiles and such that more than likely is giving the adversary a lot of grief.

 Two types of drone attack possible. What are called "signature" a group the target as opposed to "personality" a high value target [HVT] as was recently the case in Yemen against the American natural born citizen the cleric Al-Awalki.

 * "Signature strikes target groups of men believed to be militants associated with terrorist groups, but whose identities aren't always known."

 * "a 'personality' strike, targets known terrorist leaders and has faced less internal scrutiny."

 3. "Jimmy Carter Accuses U.S. of 'Widespread Abuse of Human Rights'"

 Former American President Carter ONLY today in the harshest and unexpected terms in strong opposition to purported American human rights abuses, DRONE STRIKES BEING ONE SUCH ABUSE AS SINGLED OUT THE EX-PRESIDENT!!

 "A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the 'widespread abuse of human rights' by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists"

 From the same article we read the estimations of drone strike casualties over a period of three full years to be:

 "the New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan alone 265 drone strikes have been executed since January 2009 . Those strikes have killed at least 1,488 people, at least 1,343 of them considered militants" 

Folks, this is not Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo or Hiroshima for that matter. 

 That area of the world too, Waziristan and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan make the situation more difficult and tense.

Persons within that region habitually carry firearms and wage blood feuds, tribe and clan against other tribe and clan. Hard for even the expert to differentiate between the local Pathan strongman and a Taliban or Al Qaeda terrorist.

 Again, these drones are not waging war from the air in an indiscriminate manner, ala Dresden, Hamburg, etc. Many protocols in place before a Hellfire launched, even it would seem according to the New American Foundation the results rather good, collateral casualties at a minimum?


Four & Five.

This is coolbert:

 Is everyone following this thing with Turkey and Syria?

If not you should be! 

 The shoot-down of the Turkish F-4 Phantom [it is a F-4?] by Syrian air defense.

NOT sure if the plane was intruding Syrian airspace or not, or is that germane at this point?

 Turkey has invoked Article Four of the NATO charter and is on the verge of also invoking Article Five of the same charter!

"Article 4" 

 "The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."

 Article Four calls for mass consultations of all NATO members PRIOR to the commencement of military action. An urgent and critical step just prior to Article Five being invoked.


"Article 5" 

 "The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area . . . and maintain international peace and security."

 The screws are being ratcheted up and tight, the situation with the civil war in Syria and the intervention of foreign powers nearly becoming a reality for all that will mean!

 NATO and the Syrian insurgents on one side. Russia, Hezbollah and Iran aligned with Syria. Israel on the sidelines for now but their response if hostilities escalate leave it to the experts to decide, if they can!

This is all to the detriment of everyone.

 Please recall that in those days immediately following 9/11 [2001] the United States declaring Article Five in effect, that being the ONE AND ONLY TIME Article Five has become manifest!!

 By treaty, those nations of NATO MUST come to the aid of Turkey, American law under the U.S. Constitution superseding more parochial interests, such as that the war in Afghan has not yet been concluded.

 We pray for the best but prepare for the worst! Over and over it seems.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Swords & Stuff.

This is coolbert:

 Here with a whole bunch of related stuff regarding Tom Harrisson, the Dayak, swords of the Dayak, "going native", etc.

 1. This image of a serviceman with a Dayak, that serviceman [not identifiable as an American airman or one of the Australian special forces troops] adopting "native" dress.


 The serviceman having "gone native" the sarong, barefoot and the amulet. The Dayak on the right wearing shoes please note. 

 2. "Going native" not a term of endearment to the British Foreign office, the representative of the sovereign in far-flung Empire having adopted "native" dress and costume, eschewing "western" dress. Persons such as T.E. Lawrence or St. John Philby for instance. American Special Forces the vanguard of the military operation in Afghan [2001] finding that the wearing of beards a necessity, grown men among the Afghan NOT having a beard being considered effeminate and not manly!! American SF men defying regulations to "better fit in".

 3. Here an excerpt describing the first Dayak guerrilla warfare expedition led by the special forces unit as commanded by Tom Harrisson. Dayak [described as Iban] going at the task with glee and much enjoyment, and NOT even discouraged by their Australian mentors:

 Thanks to Google from the book: "The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life"

 "Chapter 22 The Ants take Heads." 

 "That night, Sandy and Phil prepared themselves and the Iban men of the long house to enter into their first military action . . . 'Those without [guns] prepared blowpipe darts and sharpened parangs. From off the ceilings came colourful [Iban] battle jackets and feathered head dresses.' . . . Two of the Ibans hailed the Japanese on the longhouse veranda, complained of malaria, and asked the Japanese for quinine. 'They reached the veranda with the pretence of collecting the medicine but instead pulled out their parangs and lopped two Japanese heads off.' . . . The Ibans were overcome with excitement at the first heads taken in decades . . . There were not enough heads. . . . At the next longhouse, the Ibans . . . had already tied up their four Japanese soldiers . . . the four prisoners were taken across the river and shot . . . 'The Ibans then took the four heads . . . The blood squired into the river and changed the colour of the water and the women and children screeched.'"

 4. The sword of the Dayak best called a parang and NOT a machete as that latter weapon commonly understood. The parang made from the iron ore of meteorites having fallen to earth in some distant past. The Dayak I would have to assume knowing metallurgy of an esoteric variety, probably learning the fine art of Damascus steel from Arab traders, a weapon razor sharp and honed to a fineness that cuts a head off so clean. A weapon in the minds of the Dayak even having SUPERNATURAL POWERS!!

 "Like the Keris, the Dayak Parang, is believed to have supernatural power and is transmitted from generation to generation. Good quality blades are made of iron which does not oxidize. Also like the Keris, meteorite ore including titanium, was used to make blades."

 5. Depending whee they live, the Dayak referred to by an ethnic designation, various groups living on the coast, rivers, or inland. That tribe recruited by Tom Harrisson living inland and reportedly Christian to a degree and NOT Muslim!!

 "The Dayak live in Borneo and are divided in various ethnic groups: the Penan, Klemantan, Kenyah, Kayan, Murut and Iban people. The Iban, known as Sea Dayak and famous as pirates, were converted to Islam by the Malays and were probably the latest of the Dayak to arrive in Borneo."

 6. Thanks to Federico this image of Moro Datu Abdul. From around the year 1900? A Filipino Muslim related by kinship to the Dayak? Note the Krag-Jorgesen rifle, the pearl handled revolver AND THE SWORD. All worn proudly. That rifle and revolver more than likely taken off the dead body of an American soldier.


 Moro Datu Abdul. I so do love this photo!! That form-fitting sharkskin [?] suit affording protection against glancing sword thrusts? 

 The Moro and the Dayak not feeling completed dressed and ready for a time on the town unless the obligatory sword a part of the outfit!!

 7. As for the taking of heads in modern times, from that prior blog entry: "That taking of heads by the Dayak no longer a practice?" I am able to answer my own question referring back to an earlier blog entry. YES indeed heads are still taken. That island nation of Borneo, the Indonesian part, recent civil unrest between various ethnic groups resulting in HEAD-HUNTING AND THE TAKING OF TROPHIES!!

 Those ancient ways of the traditional people long suppressed under the certain circumstances becoming again apparent, the practitioners relishing the task evidently.


Saturday, June 23, 2012


This is coolbert:

Thanks to public broadcast television and the continuing series "Secrets of the Dead" we have the story of yet another of those very talented but also very eccentric and dotty Englishmen who during wartime perform extraordinary duty beyond the capability of mere mortals.

"'The Airmen and the Headhunters,' an episode of the PBS television series Secrets of the Dead."

Tom Harrisson. A man in the same league and caliber as a T.E. Lawrence, an Orde Wingate, a Brookes Rajah of Sarawak!

"Major Tom Harnett Harrisson . . . was a British polymath. In the course of his life he was an ornithologist, explorer, journalist, broadcaster, soldier, guerrilla, ethnologist, museum curator, archaeologist, documentarian, film-maker, conservationist, and writer."

Tom Harrisson a man intimately familiar with the island of Borneo and the indigenous peoples, especially those Dayak tribesmen, the Dayak by reputation HEADHUNTERS AND FEARSOME WARRIORS!!

Harrisson as commander of an Australian special operations team parachuting into the interior of Borneo the mission of which was the combined rescue of American airmen and the waging of guerrilla warfare against the Japanese.

"He [Harrisson] had been recruited . . . for a plan to use the native peoples of Borneo against the Japanese. He was attached to Z Special Unit [Australian] . . .  part of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD: a branch of the combined Allied Intelligence Bureau in the South West Pacific theatre). On 25 March 1945, he was parachuted with seven Z Force operatives from a Consolidated Liberator onto a high plateau occupied by the Kelabit people.

Harrisson in command his "troops" succeeding most successfully. That Z team organizing, training, planning, and leading into battle their contingents of Dayak  tribesmen. Waging the war of the flea, the Dayak very eager to please, their favorite weapons the blowgun and the sword [called a machete] THAT TAKING OF JAPANESE HEADS AS A DEMONSTRATION OF VALOR IN COMBAT VERY IMPORTANT TO THE DAYAK AND A PRACTICE EVIDENTLY ENCOURAGED BY HARRISSON!!

Harrisson too during the Brunei Revolt of 1962 again favorably responding, those Dayak following the call to arms of the leader:

"Brunei Revolt in 1962 . . . Tom Harrisson also arrived in Brunei. He summoned the Kelabits from the highlands around Bario in the 5th Division, the centre of his wartime resistance. Hundreds of Dayaks responded, and formed into companies led by British civilians all commanded by Harrisson."

The Dayak one of only three peoples left on the planet that to this day, the modern time, continue to carry swords on a habitual basis. The other two ethnic groups still fond of carrying swords being the Taureg of the Sahara and the Tibetan nomad!

That taking of heads by the Dayak no longer a practice? The Dayak have become Christian and given up the ancient ways? One might hope so!


This is coolbert:

Virtual tours.

Here with several virtual tours that have a military naval dimension to them.

American warships from past times, now museum pieces, memorial, monuments to American naval greatness. Olympia, Texas, Alabama.

The cruiser USS Olympia and the battleships USS Alabama and USS Texas moored more or less permanently now, not able to sail on their own accord [not seaworthy even if able to "power up and underway"].

Historical reclics now of a bygone era, that time of the large size warship using gunfire to sink the enemy, battles fought in an age-old manner, mano-a-mano, as in the time of Nelson, Trafalgar and all that.

Warships the manner of warfare at sea even having changed as it has in modern times, the building of such a vessel NOW COST PROHIBITIVE  missions even now archaic!!

1. "Virtual Visit to the OLYMPIA"

The Olympia flagship of the American Asiatic Squadron at the Battle of Manila Bay [1898]. Commodore Dewey and Captain Gridley leading the way, the United States with this one battle ascending to the ranks of a major power, a player on the world stage undisputed, with global reach thanks to the U.S. Navy.

 Here the crew quarters. Hammocks for sleeping standard for the period. I can imagine for the average sailor his accomodations were hot as hell during the summer and cold as ice during the winter!

 The stateroom of the Olympia. That stateroom with separate entry-way for either Dewey or Gridley not merely for show but used during diplomatic functions and negotiations! Presenting the best face forward to the foreign visitor of some rank and station most imporrtant!

Personally, if I was a billionaire or similar, I would BUY that USS Olympia [is it for sale or can it be bought], refurbish that ship, make it sail-able again and have it for my own personal use. Please keep in mind that the eight inch [200 mm] guns of the Olympia are merely for show, replicas and are not real.


The USS Alabama a much more modern and robust and deadly naval vessel than the Olympia.


Those various panning images from the virtual tour showing the exterior and interior of the Alabama, at least those portions open to the public immaculate and in fine shape, almost as if NEW!!

3. "Battleship TEXAS   First TEXAS Volunteers' Website"

 An interesting aspect of the USS Texas exhibit is that the civilian during a "hard hat tour" can be led into the interior of the ship by guides to see portions rarely open.

"Hard Hat Tours"

Participants will be able to see areas of the ship rarely seen by the public. Featured highlights of the tours include the Ammo Handling Room, Drying Room, Boiler Room, Main Radio Room, Plotting Room, Forward Dynamo Room, Forward Power Distribution Room, Central Station, # 1 Turret, and the Pilot House."

Hard hat tours taking over three hours and be prepared. Tours offerred only at certain times of year, such is the interior of the ship becoming so hot that it is unbearable and not for the faint or meek!!

"During the May and October Tours it can be warm below decks. You should exercise caution when booking your tours. There are NO tours during the summer months."

For the retired person with independent means you could almost make a career touring the United States and viewing all these naval monuments and memorials. Floating museums that the tourist can avail themselves of in a way that is seldom possible!


Thursday, June 21, 2012


This is coolbert:

Saw this item in the op-ed section of the Chicago Tribune the other day and have linked for your perusal.

"The grim Reaper" - -By Robert C. Koehler.

Drones in all their myriad of types and variations and NOW having an enhanced KILL capability and not merely reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence gathering are the NOW and future of the U.S. military undeniably.

Those descriptive names for the drones too Mr. Koehler stating evocative of almost supernatural forces at work: "Reaper", "Predator", "Hellfire", and now "Switchblade".

[are you prepared for a knife fight??]

Drones the program of which was one of the two projects that President Bush told President Obama were vital and should not be curtailed. Drones the one war-making tool NOW used in a much greater way by the current President than was used by the former.

[and drone warfare not waged willy-nilly either or in an unrestrained manner but with a lot of protocols in place to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage, so we are told!!]

Drones making war more likely NOW THAT THE DANGER TO AMERICAN PARTICIPANTS IS MUCH LESS? Long-range warfare fought via a television console and home to mother or wife for dinner tonight!

"computer operators several thousand miles from the action, in Nevada or Ohio, California or Missouri, can take out 'insurgents' in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen with no more risk than gamers face as they pursue their fantasy conquest of evildoers — drones also indulge a dark yearning to acquire godlike power, to attain omnipotence."

[Mr. Koehler doubts that adherents to Al Qaeda are a threat and danger to the United States and all the citizenry? NOT a threat in the mind of Mr. Koehler? NOT unlawful enemy combatants waging war against the United States?]

Drones are an example of asymmetric warfare as waged by the American military? Fight the enemy with weaponry for which he has no response? Recall the admonition of Alexander Survorov:

"fight the enemy with weapons you have and he does not!!"



This is coolbert:

 Switchblade. Anubis. The Keeper of the Way. 

 Thanks to the Chicago Tribune for the tip.

 In the religion of the ancient Egyptians, Anubis the jackal headed god was the Keeper of the Way. That Way being the transition between life and death!!

 Here is Switchblade. [those wings fold when not in use, hence the name Switchblade]

The latest and greatest unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] NOW [?] currently being fielded.

 Allowing for troops at the company level a UAV KILL CAPABILITY!

NOT merely reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence gathering capability at such a low echelon BUT now that Switchblade, miniature in size similiar to your everyday average radio-controlled model aircraft AND CARRYING A WARHEAD OF SOME LETHALITY!!


 Predator and Reaper for some time large-scale drones carrying Hellfire missiles at work and doing yeoman work  in Afghan.

This Switchblade can kill too but is miniature! 

 Project Anubis one aspect of which is Switchblade?

 "The objective of Project Anubis was the development of a prototype, Non Line of Sight (NLOS) munition enabling engagement of time-sensitive fleeting, high value targets with an armed, tactical miniature aerial system (MAV) . . . Anubis will be able to perform what special operations snipers are doing today - but offer operators more opportunities to strike, perform more complex missions at longer range and ensure maximum safety for the shooter."


 Scale and perspective are important with the images as accompanying this blog entry. The size of Switchblade is best understood in this photo? Switchblade is tiny! 

 That specific warhead as carried by Switchblade not described. [it takes only a quarter pound of C4 explosvie to bring down a commercial airliner!] This is DIME weaponry? NOT sure, is not mentioned but it would not surprise me that the effort has been made to reduce markedly collateral damage from drones and DIME is one way to do that.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Liu Tao.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to Professor Al Nofi and his CIC # 385 we have this item of interest.

Sun Tzu and the "Art of War" hardly unique, Chinese military strategists and tacticians, those commanders, practitioners of the operational art as understood for a period of at least fifteen hundred [1,500] years having at their disposal an even more detailed treatise those students of war being able to avail themselves of.

"Liutao 六韜 'The Six Secret [Teachings]'"

"The first two chapters, Wentao and wutao deal with political strategy and are based on Confucian, Daoist, legalist and strategist thinking. The four other chapters describe troop formations, equipment, command and  tactics, personal abilities of troops and commanders, training, transmission of orders and messages, logistics, and special tactics depending on circumstances. Various types of warfare are described in detail, like siege war, war of defense and attack, pursuit of inimical troops, battle in mountains, in forest, in swamps, at night, chariot attack, cavalry and infantry attack, and the war with fire. All these practical tactics are described much more detailed than other military books like Sunzi [Sun Tzu] bingfa, Wuzi or Weiliaozi."

Those various Chinese kingdoms at constant war with one another during that time of what is called the "warring states" until the creation of the Chin Empire and the consolidation of centralized rule, many experts and commanders having an intimate knowledge of warfare, the compilation of those tactics, methods, means, strategies that allowed for the winning way NOT confined merely to Sun Tzu!!

So much to know and so little time to know it all. We only touch the tip of the iceberg and barely even that. Everyday something new and we are all the better for it.



This is coolbert:

From the Sail Billabong web site we have this item:

"The Battle of Tarawa [WW2] made history in another way as well; the film With the Marines at Tarawa, was the first war footage with dead American soldiers to be released and shown in the States. While this bloody battle proved that the war would not easily be finished, thereby increasing war bond sales, it had a dramatic effect on military enlistments, causing a 35% drop."

Those persons in the aftermath of Tarawa/Betio [Tarawa atoll, Betio island] having second thoughts regarding enlistment. Especially if that enlistment entailed joining the U.S Marine Corps. Every young American man [?] aspires to be a Marine? The few, the proud, never given, always earned, etc.

A means [joining the Marine Corps] by which a young American man can test himself against his peers and achieve what few others are able to.

Tarawa/Betio of course a bloodbath, a slaughter of unprecedented proportions and not what a lot of folks thought war was like. American young men having to wade across almost a half-mile [about 800 meters] of lagoon in water up to their waist or chest, totally and without mitigation exposed to the merciless and well prepared small arms fire of the Japanese. 1,000 American dead in three days, NOT what was expected.

Courage of those present at Tarawa/Betio NOT lacking, hardly the case, the OPPOSITE, AND IN WAYS THAT TRULY AMAZE!!

From the book: "Last Stand" by Bryan Perrett.

"It had been decided that the Shermans [tanks] would be landed immediately behind the assault waves, but because of the low tide they had to leave their landing craft at the reef and drive ashore. As the sea bed was an unknown quantity to their drivers, they had to be led in by guides wading ahead of the vehicles. Many of the guides were shot down, but there was never a shortage of volunteers to take their place."

Sherman tanks accompanying the initial assault wave of lifht infantry at Tarawa/Betio having to "wade" through the shallows of the lagoon a task for which they eminently capable, that "sea bed" however pockmarked and littered with craters of unknown depth, unanticipated and a result of the pre-invasion heavy naval bombardment, naval gunfire from fourteen inch [355 mm] guns many rounds missing the target.

"A large number of heavy caliber rounds exploded between the reef and the landing beaches, creating craters that were to hinder the attackers.

We have to be clear here. Those tanks so vital to a quick and successful amphibious invasion of Tarawa/Betio in danger of foundering , engines flooded, American supporting naval gunfire creating a hindrance [submerged craters] that required "ground" guides to walk in front of the armor clearing a path, those brave personnel knowing full well the danger!!

The Marines. The few, the proud, the brave!! Indeed!!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Texas & Olympia.

This is coolbert:

Help!! SOS! Our ship is sinking!!

American warships now museum pieces, historical memorials while moored at the dock taking on water and sinking. Monuments that someday will be gone if not remedial and perhaps even drastic action taken!

First thanks to National Public Radio [NPR]:

"Rag Saves USS Texas From Sinking"

 "The battleship USS Texas, which is now a museum, nearly sank at its permanent berth in the Houston Ship Channel. A rag and a backup pump saved the Texas. A pump in the steering compartment had burnt out. A rag was used to stop the leak and more than 100,000 gallons of water were pumped from the battleship."

The USS Texas sinking at dock, the ship having sprung a leak an essential pump having failed, the vessels only saved by bailing out the flooded compartments, ship saved but with complications for the future that cannot be ignored.


And too from the PreservationNation web site the saga of the USS Olympia continues. That flag ship of Commodore Dewey of Manila Bay fame, again dock but in unworthy condition, expedient repairs made repeatedly, much more drastic steps and measures needed and QUICK!

"USS Olympia Remains Afloat, but Repairs are Needed"

"In her nearly 120 years of existence, USS Olympia has shown herself to be a resilient survivor. Today, the world’s oldest steel-hulled warship afloat remains afloat."

Olympia, sitting at dock for some time now, also a museum piece of dire repair, the ship having undergone a series of expedient repairs that work to a degree but solving the problem ONLY IN THE INTERIM!

Both with the Texas and Olympia those warships for some time now having sprung a multitude of leaks and suffering damage at the waterline and below, rust damage from sea water and just plain aging of the steel the culprit. 

Texas and Olympia both steel hulled warships, the former from the Dreadnought era and the latter from the pre-Dreadnought era, BOTH in need of DRASTIC work and rehabilitation, mother nature using the elements of salt water and exposure for a prolonged period to do terrible damage the enemy during war could not do.

MOSTLY if not almost totally exclusively that steel below and at the water line slowly but surely rusting away, steel as strong as it is not impervious to oxidation, rusting, deterioration of a major nature occurring with rapidity unless constant maintenance and repair the norm.

Indeed, modern warships since the pre-Dreadnought era, those steel hulled warships needed to be placed into a dry dock, the hull scrapped and re-painted  periodically or the life expectancy of the warship greatly reduced.

Normally even during peacetime the fleet of a nation a goodly percentage of the inventory in dry dock or port undergoing in some manner repair, re-fitting, periodic and scheduled maintenance, the crew in port enjoying dwell time but often even when not sailing involved in laborious and very dirty PM [preventative maintenance].

What exactly that percentage of ships not on the seas at any given moment I am not aware of. Routine maintenance and overhaul incapacitates a quarter [?], a third [?], a half [?] of the naval inventory? This I am not sure of.

Please be aware of that all man-made objects made of steel are subject to rapid deterioration unless properly maintained. Given several thousands of years and even the most ponderous of items made of steel will degenerate rather quickly when compared to other metals and become a pile of rust and iron powder. Just is a fact. Make those ships of brass and they will last a billion years or so, but not steel!

Lots of money needed and quick to keep both the Texas and Olympia afloat and where is all this going to come from?


Friday, June 15, 2012

Chemicals & Masks.

This is coolbert:

From the DEBKAfile the typical alarmist type of headline that gets your attention right away.

As usual, it is worth noting that the noted blogger Spengler has rated DEBKA as unreliable under all and any circumstances. DEBKA too is as I have said, ALARMIST! In this particular case you have to wonder.

The various warring factions in Syria threatening to use chemical munitions? Within the context of those 3 millions gas masks as recently imported into Syria from Russia, it does make you take notice.

"Chemical warfare feared raising its head in the Syrian civil war"

"10 June. Tehran early Sunday June 10 accused Syrian rebels of arming themselves with chemical weapons originating in Libya and acquiring training in their use - sending shudders of alarm through the West and Israel. They fear the Assad regime is preparing the ground for chemical assaults to finally crush its foes.
Both sides to the conflict are talking about chemical warfare openly."

3 million gas masks for a nation with a populace of some 30 million might not seem a lot, but keep in mind that the total Alawite population of Syria [Alawites and the Assad family have ruled for forty years now] is roughly about 3 million.

Assad is planning a last ditch, last stand defense that would include the use of chemical munitions of a lethal nature. Syria is reputed to have a large amount of chemical stocks, an arsenal as provided by the Soviets initially and now by the Russians? Assad is willing to use real "muscle" to get his way, in desperation perhaps,  collateral damage and civilian casualties not even a calculation!

Indeed, too, the opposition includes many in the ranks that are deserters from the Syrian army, I would have thing trained and ready also to use GAS if and when they can get their hands on the product!

We pray it is NO, but fear the worst!


Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is coolbert:

"Dieu Protege la France!" ("God Save France!")

Thanks to Der Spiegel and the tip from DEC we have this photo album for your viewing.

The type of thing that perhaps archaeologists will studying in two thousand years?

And the type of thing you would find:

* In the Dordogne of France [cave paintings of prehistoric man].
* Tuscany [the burial chambers of the Etruscans].
* The catacombs under Rome.

Rather this time only from one hundred years ago almost now.

Carvings into the walls of medieval quarries, sanctuary for those French troops on the front lines of the Western Front, refuge from the combat that was an almost a daily occurrence. The French common soldier displaying a remarkable artistry and talent, the artiste!

"WWI Legacy in French Caves"

"Wall Carvings Convey Soldiers' Pride and Sorrow"

"Stone quarries in France sheltered thousands of troops during World War I. Amid the carnage and the fear, French soldiers showed startling artistry by making wall carvings that conveyed their patriotism, their homesickness -- and their love of red wine."

 "Deep in the cool, dank blackness of an underground limestone quarry in northern France stands an altar, carved from the wall by soldiers of the French army who sheltered here during World War I."

 "People still come here to pray every Sunday,"

"The medieval limestone quarry of Confrécourt, close to the village of Nouvron-Vingré some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Paris, is a veritable art gallery of murals hewn into the rock by the troops."

"There are some 500 such quarries between here and the town of Soissons less than 20 kilometers away, and all have wall carvings,"

Five hundred such quarries exist and they ALL have such wall carvings. And the best are now being preserved for posterity and recorded so that history and mother nature will neither forget or erase!!

This all makes "Kilroy was here" seem very amateurish.

Bravo and Dieu Protege la France!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This is coolbert:

Thanks to Radio Free Asia we can follow the latest developments in Burma. Ethnic violence between Muslims and Buddhists. Numbers killed and many more made homeless. I am following closely. A volatile situation if there ever was one.

Rape as the cause of the violence it is alleged. The passions of hate are stirred up in a big way by rape, perhaps as in no other way so intense. Obvious and recall that ten year war as fought in Lebanon from decades ago now began as a case of rape and retaliation!!

Rohingya people, stateless and refugees, related to their Islamic brethren in Bangladesh, restive and now in open conflict with the Buddhist majority of Burma, this is bad already and could get worse.

"Emergency Declared in Rakhine"

"Rakhine state was named after its dominant, mostly Buddhist ethnic group. But it is also home to a large Muslim population, including the Rohingya, a stateless people described by the U.N. as one of the world's most persecuted minorities."

It is from the ranks of the Rohingya people that terrorists, insurgents, suicide bombers are found.

"The Burmese government regards the Rohingya as foreigners and not among the nation's ethnic groups. Many Burmese consider them illegal immigrants."

"The emergency action came after riots in two Rakhine areas on Friday left at least seven people dead and 17 wounded, according to state media."

"The violence sparked off a week ago after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman. An angry mob, mistakenly believing the perpetrators of the rape were on board a bus, beat 10 Muslim passengers to death."

"This weekend, at least 500 houses and other buildings have been razed as the unrest spread with mob and revenge attacks, state media reported. One report said 5,000 people have been made homeless."

Please recall that the British Admiral Parry suggested from his macro world scale intelligence preparation of the battlefield that Bangladesh, that entire Bay of Bengal area the part of the planet where the world order as we understand it is most likely to break up. That might include Burma as I see it. Cyclone Nargis and all the damage it did perhaps could have been a catalyst leading to breakup and total disintegration of an entire society, with all that will mean. Did not occur, but the potentiality was there. With this too perhaps!!


Monday, June 11, 2012


This is coolbert:

Militia the French way!

From that previous blog entry Bert asks the question:

"the use of convicts released from prison and criminal elements in an organized and institutionalized fashion as a quasi-military force by a despotic regime perhaps UNIQUE to the Islamic world?"

And Bert with a little thought and investigation is able to determine that the use of criminals and released convicts in a quasi-military role is NOT confined to the Islamic world. Janjaweed and bashi bazook are not a purely Islamic phenomenon.

Such too was the French milice of the Second World War [WW2].

Criminal elements and released convicts [?] incorporated into the ranks of the French pro-Vichy and pro-Nazi anti-resistance militia called Milice.

That Milice consisting of right-wing French adherents, outright fascists, Vichy sympathisers AND to include criminals described as petty released from prison, their sentences expunged:

I would suppose the key word is petty. Normally serious crime at least in the United States is defined as murder, rape, or armed robbery. Perhaps it is the same in France or generally so? Murderous psychopaths were not included in the ranks of the milice?

Persons described as petty criminals getting an "out" and a chance to further bully and abuse society at large, to a much greater extent those elements seen as in opposition to the Nazi and Vichy.

Petty criminals becoming in their own eyes "big men" with authority over society and possessing a lot of attitude I would assume.

NOT a good combination - - miscreants NOT in any sense ordinarily making for good soldiers, undisciplined in their personnel life, not subjecting themselves in a measured and agreed upon manner to authority of any sort.

Quite often using their new found authority to take advantage of a situation to the detriment of everyone. And in a big way too I would assume in some instances taking advantage of one and all in their path. Just another opportunity to continue their criminal ways but EVEN MORE SO AND WITH A DEGREE OF GRUDGING ACQUIESCENCE OF THE AUTHORITIES.

As has been the topic of a number of previous blog entries, criminals of whatever stripe generally make poor soldiers, the infamous Kray brothers perhaps being the archetype in this regard..

Milice too working undercover were what the allied planners had in mind when those troops embarking on the Normandy invasion were told [according to DE] to NOT GET SO CLOSE AND CHUMMY WITH THE FRENCH CIVILIAN POPULACE? Could very well be.


Saturday, June 9, 2012


This is coolbert:

From that prior blog entry:

"An American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, for instance, expends on just one six month deployment about 1 million gallons of aviation gasoline [AVGAS], A PORTION [what percentage that is I am not sure] OF WHICH IS MERELY DUMPED OVERBOARD IN THE OCEAN!!"

A portion of that 1 million gallons of AVGAS merely dumped at sea! This needs to be clarified.

Aircraft fully fueled prior to launch not able to complete a mission as designated, for whatever reason returning to base [the flight deck of the aircraft carrier] dumping or jettisoning excess fuel for safety considerations. Dumped directly into the ocean without regard whatsoever to environmental concerns. Most of that AVGAS quickly it should be noted evaporating and dispersed by the ocean.

A fully fueled aircraft landing posing a serious risk and danger to the entire vessel.

"Fuel dumping (or a fuel jettison) is a procedure used by aircraft in certain emergency situations before a return to the airport [flight deck] shortly after takeoff, or before landing short of its intended destination (emergency landing) to either lighten the aircraft's weight or to reduce risk of fire."

Warplanes fully loaded and fueled landing in such a manner without expending a full tank of AVGAS in danger of suffering structural damage. Beyond that, a catastrophic crash on landing if occurring with explosion, imperiling that entire ship, fire spreading beyond control.

"Aircraft have two major types of weight limits: the maximum takeoff weight and the maximum structural landing weight . . . If a flight takes off at the maximum structural takeoff weight and then faces a situation where it must return to the departure airport [flight deck]. . . there will not be time to consume the fuel meant for getting to the original destination, and the aircraft may be over the maximum structural landing weight to land back at the departure point."

NOT that dumping and jettisoning callous disregard for mother nature but legitimate safety concerns without question!


Syn Fuel.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to National Public Radio [NPR] we have this broadcast from yesterday. The American military seeking energy self-reliance, plans for same opposed by those in Congress.  Listen the broadcast yourself or read the transcript.

"U.S. Military's Green Energy Criticized By Congress"

"The White House and military brass are calling for the development of alternative energy. One goal is cutting dependence on foreign sources. Another is reducing the carbon footprint of the largest fossil fuel consumer in the world."

The American Department of Defense [DoD] the LARGEST CONSUMER OF FOSSIL FUEL IN THE WORLD. Primarily I would think oil.

An American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, for instance, expends on just one six month deployment about 1 million gallons of aviation gasoline [AVGAS], A PORTION [what percentage that is I am not sure] OF WHICH IS MERELY DUMPED OVERBOARD IN THE OCEAN!!

That desire NOT to be dependent on foreign sources for oil I would think a major consideration for the various DoD "green" projects.

Programs already in the works and have been for some time for bio-fuels, half bio-half diesel, etc. Coal to oil, refined and processed synthetic fuel for vehicles and obtained from domestic sources. Processes the output and product thereof pretty well  understood and perfected, but NOT ON A LARGE SCALE AT THIS POINT IN TIME!! R&D continuing unabated and production being ramped up even as we speak?

As did the German during the Second World War so is the U.S. military today! Energy self-sufficiency or perhaps better understood as less reliance on foreign sources!!

The U.S. Senate as led by Senator Mc Cain NOT in favor of such projects and programs to develop alternative sources of energy [bio-fuels] for the military as BEING TOO EXPENSIVE [and such projects and the fuel derived from same ARE expensive!!].

Altruism considerations aside, the U.S. military is trying to put the cart before the horse? It has been predicted that by the year 2030 America will be TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT IN ENERGY. As the situation was in 1939 will also be the case in 2030. The U.S. actually able to export energy as does an OPEC nation today?


Thursday, June 7, 2012


This is coolbert:

This one I had forgotten. The transit of Venus across the face of the Sun only yesterday stimulating some thought on the topic.

Within the context of war, yet one more celestial phenomenon most unusual and intense, seen as an omen.

Celestial phenomenon normally taking the form of an eclipse [lunar or solar] or a comet. As a prelude to , during, or as in this case in the aftermath of a major military action.

In this case an aurora borealis, the Northern Lights!!

An aurora display of unusual and prodigious intensity, BLOOD RED, seen in the very aftermath of the Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862. Awesome and terrifying, a spectacle the participants taking proper note and making the proper appreciations from their own perspective.

Fredericksburg an acknowledged terrible defeat for the Union army, repeated charges of massed, bunched and compacted troop formations against dug-in and well prepared Confederate forces resulting in a stupendous loss of life, the attempted storming of Marye's Heights a futile offensive action that went horribly awry.

"The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. The Union army's futile frontal attacks on December 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights behind the city is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the American Civil War, with Union casualties more than twice as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates."


"The Aurora Borealis streamed overhead in the winter sky, and Stonewall Jackson and the Confederates saw this as a sign that the almighty was celebrating their victory"

"nature put on a bizarre light show: the aurora borealis lit up the night sky--a weird thing to be happening so far south!"

"The evening of Dec. 14 was unusually quiet until suddenly the sky burst with an exciting display of moving red and blue colors known as aurora borealis. These Northern Lights that glowed and shot across the sky were rarely [extremely so] seen this far south in Virginia."

"Both armies were mesmerized by the light show and thought it might be a sign from the Almighty to them. Some victorious Southerners felt it was a testament to their successes and the righteousness of their cause. Northern soldiers felt it was a message condemning the slaughter that had just taken place."

Indeed, the Northern Lights seen so far south as Virginia and of such intensity is a very rare phenomenon "awesome and terrifying" both when considering the context of Fredericksburg!!

A synchronicity in action!! You  devoted reader to the blog judge for yourself.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


This is coolbert:

This is major! Very much so!

An intact [?] and whole [?] Stuka to be raised from the depths. "Virtually no Original German aircraft left" from that era of the Second World War [WW2]! Thanks in totality to Der Spiegel and the tip from DEC.

This plane can be brought back to life? Perhaps not! If feasible and in fly-able condition, such an airplane would be worth a fortune and double in value each and every year!!

"German Army to Lift WWII Divebomber from Baltic"

"The German army is lifting a Junkers 87 'Stuka' divebomber from the Baltic Sea floor just off the coast. Berlin's military museum is eager to exhibit the feared plane, known for its ear-piercing siren designed to spread panic in World War II. There are virtually no original German aircraft left from either of the two world wars."

"The German army began an operation this week to lift a World War II divebomber from the seabed off the island of Rügen, located in the Baltic Sea just off of Germany's northern coast."

 The Ju-87 at least from 1940 and the Battle of Britain was considered to be an obsolete warplane? Various incarnations of further development from the circa 1940 model existed but the plane was still inadequate?

I had not noticed this before but the Ju-87 and the Soviet Il-2 bear a striking resemblance [Stuka does not have retractable landing gear]? Perhaps the Soviet design bureaus benefited in some manner from espionage or was it a case of independent and parallel development?

You the devoted reader to the blog have to decide for yourself!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This is coolbert:

From Der Spiegel and the tip from DEC the situation as we all know all too well rapidly deteriorating in Syria, mayhem by criminals now in the pay of the ruling elite the norm.

The Shabiha ("ghosts") at work. Criminal elements, Alawite, Christian, Sunni loyal to Assad terrorizing the populace, freed from prison [?] or recruited with the reward for the miscreants being rape and plunder.

"Assad's Pact With the Devil"

"Syrian Regime Using Hired Killers to Cling to Power"

"The regime of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has enlisted gangs of murderous thugs known as 'Shabiha.' No assignment is too brutal or bloody for these men who are free to kill, plunder and rape. Assad knows that outright victory over the opposition is his only remaining chance to stay in power."

That Alawite minority [10 %] of the Syrian population in control for over forty years now, opposition to the Assad family and their minions met with extreme force AND NOW THE USE OF CRIMINALS IN A MANNER NOT UNIQUE IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD.

 Indeed, the use of convicts released from prison and criminal elements in an organized and institutionalized fashion as a quasi-military force by a despotic regime perhaps UNIQUE to the Islamic world?

Of this I am not sure. 

 From recent times we have the on-going attacks on the people of Dar Fur by the janjaweed. Criminal gangs mounted horsemen noted for their murder, rape, plunder, scorched earth done at the behest of the Sudanese central government. 

And from past history the Ottomans deploying as standard-operating-procedure bashi bazooks, irregulars with a criminal background, often released convicts, an adjunct to the regular army of the Ottoman, the bashi bazook noted for their atrocity and just plain bad old behavior!!

 Houla today, Hama yesterday [thirty years ago], the Assad family digs in their heels and makes a last ditch effort at survival. And those 3 million gas masks imported from Russia are intended for?

Your guess is as good as mine but it bodes not well!! 


Monday, June 4, 2012


This is coolbert:

The chickens are coming home to roost! At least they are in Libya. Thanks to RIANovosti.

Scores are being settled, those complicit with the regime of the Colonel being taught a lesson they will never forget.


"Libya Jails Russian, Ukrainian pro-Gaddafi Mercenaries"

Men however, described a mercenaries but not as that term mercenary commonly, generally, and normally understood! Or are they?

"MOSCOW, June 4 (RIA Novosti) – A Libyan military court handed down on Monday long prison terms to a group of men from former Soviet republics on charges that they worked to repair military equipment for the Middle East country’s late strongman leader, Muammar Gaddafi"

NOT persons picking up a weapon and firing in combat with the intention to kill. Seems these folks are maintenance personnel for the most part, if not exclusively, and NOT combat arms.

Persons nonetheless apparently indeed in the pay of the Colonel, and mercenaries in that sense as the origin of the word would suggest, mercenary as desiring payment for services rendered in the military sphere, of whatever nature.

Lots of eastern Europeans having marketable skills as maintenance types, working on military gear of a complex nature, or even perhaps combat arms as well.

From that era immediately after the end of the apartheid government in South Africa, mercenaries in the employment of Sandline and Executive Outcomes from the recent history as applicable to those individuals fighting on the battlefield in the traditional manner!

The Colonel too for a long time employing the services of the CIA renegade case officer Edwin Wilson. Wilson recruiting Americans and using same to train an entire generation of disreputables arcane and secret arts all having a military application, quite often deadly.

Made that hard bed and now having to sleep on it? Good luck!



This is coolbert:

As originally from Harry and the Sharkhunters web site

On this date in 1944:

"Today, the 4th of June, marks the 68th anniversary of the capture of U-505 off the African coast.  This was the first time since the War of 1812 that the U.S. Navy captured an enemy Man-O-War on the high seas"

That capture of the German submarine U-505 an event now a thing of legend. The vessel nearly sunk, floated and towed as a prize of war, unheard of in modern warfare.

"We Captured a Submarine..."

"American sailors had not captured an enemy vessel on the high seas since the war of 1812. The last time the US Navy had boarded and captured a foreign enemy Man-Of-War in battle on the high seas had been back in 1815 when the U.S. Sloop PEACOCK, boarded and captured H.M.S. (His Majesty’s Ship) BRIG NAUTILUS in the Strait of Sunda, East Indies."

The last occasion an American warship capturing an enemy man-o-war on the high seas in 1815, with a most interesting twist. From the wiki this most interesting item:

"Peacock departed New York 23 January 1815 . . .  and rounded the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean, where she captured three valuable prizes. On 30 June, she captured the 16-gun brig Nautilus . . .  in the Straits of Sunda, in the final naval action of the war. Boyce informed Warrington that the war had ended. Warrington suspected a ruse and ordered Boyce to surrender. When Boyce refused, Warrington opened fire, killing and wounding 15 men aboard Nautilus. When Boyce provided documents proving that the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been ratified, Warrington released the prize . . .  A court of inquiry in Boston a year later, of course exonerated Warrington of all blame."

The last naval action [?] of the war and the capture accomplished when hostilities had ceased, the WAR HAD ENDED WITH A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT, THIS NOT KNOWN TO THE COMMANDER OF THE PEACOCK!!


* Please recall the land Battle of New Orleans [1815] also occurring under similar circumstances, the war having already ended. 2,000 of the finest English soldiers sacrificed for no gain!

 * During the American Civil War NO Confederate naval warships were captured on the highs seas by a vessel of the US Navy? Some devoted reader to the blog knows the answer to this?

 * British warship [Nautilus] captured by American warship [Peacock] in the Sunda Strait, Dutch East Indies! So far from home! American naval power has had global reach for over two hundred years and continues to do so.

 * That sloop Peacock continuing to perform yeoman service even in those years in the aftermath of 1815. Patrolling and engaging pirates in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Sounds just like today, doesn't it?


Sunday, June 3, 2012


This is coolbert:

 AAA - - conclusion. 

 Here from various Internet web sites some images of anti-aircraft-artillery from that period of the Great War [WW1].

 The weapon of choice for the most part a rapid-firing high velocity field gun of three inch [75 mm] bore mounted on a truck of a carriage in such a manner so that the barrel can be elevated to an almost vertical position.

  Ad hoc field expedient designs the development of which should be understood in a constant state of flux for the entire time of the conflict.

A British truck [lorry] with a three-inch [75 mm] gun mounted. 

Canadian troops so says the caption servicing and operating a AAA piece circa 1918. 

This too caught my attention. Used by the English and German both but found to be wanting [?] is the 37 mm auto-cannon!

First an innovation pre-war and intended to be used against massed formations of ground troops but put into service as an expedient AAA piece.

NOT favored for some reason?

I would have thought a mass of these guns in an assemblage firing all-at-once on the same target could have put a "wall of steel" into the path of an approaching enemy aircraft, considerations of height, distance, etc., being minimized. The ideal solution to the AAA problem?

This was not the case? 

German AAA unit using the 37 mm cannon. That Darth Vader type of mask and helmet creating a very sinister appearance emblematic of the "brutal Hun" soul-less and inhuman. 

 Heavy [?] machine guns [MG] mounted on poles too were used in the latter days of the conflict again as expedient weaponry, defense against ground strafing combat aircraft. I am thinking of machine guns of 12.7 mm [50 caliber] and such! Lewis guns of the .303 caliber perhaps more favored for the close-quarters AAA mission?


Saturday, June 2, 2012


This is coolbert:

 BASH once more. Bird strike. 

 Israeli military helicopter sustaining a bird strike nearly bringing the chopper down. That most senior Israeli ground force military commander on board as are almost a dozen other senior officers. A near disaster barely averted.

"Bird forces GOC's helicopter to make emergency landing"

"GOC Army Headquarters Sami Turgeman comes out of chopper crash unscathed in fourth close-call incident involving him in last few years"

"A nerve-wracking incident occurred on Thursday when the black hawk helicopter which had GOC Army Headquarters Major-General Sami Turgeman and 10 other senior officers on board was forced to make an emergency landing in southern Israel."

 "a bird hit the helicopter's main blade."

"Two air force pilots announce an emergency situation and landed the helicopter smoothly, in spite of the severely damaged blade."

That rotor blade of a helicopter very susceptible to damage, especially wobble as might be the case with a bird strike. Pilots unable to compensate or over-compensating an out-of-control chopper the result.


Who needs AAA when you have birds? Tzahal the Israeli Defense Forces suffering more warplanes "downed" from bird strikes over a period of decades than from enemy fire!!



 This is coolbert:


From the previous blog entry the topic of which was the observation balloon from the era of the Great War [WW1].

"Attacking enemy combat aircraft subjected to massed and dedicated AAA [anti-aircraft-artillery] fire, withering and intense."

Anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA] as it was known at the start of the Great War a NON-ENTITY?

Since the various general staff officers of the various combatants had the attitude toward the combat airplane as a curiosity and oddity not worthy of serious consideration as a weapon of war! The twinning of the words combat and airplane of itself is a curiosity and oddity as would  have been the case in 1914. NO SUCH thing even existed to my knowledge. Observation perhaps YES, but combat as that term understood, NO!

How much less must it have been the case then that the general staff officers of the various warring parties had given serious consideration to DEFENDING AGAINST THE WARPLANE? Almost none I would have to think.

AAA during the war becoming a combat arm as that term understood, dedicated units formed and armed, doctrine and tactics developed to what was at the time a degree of usefulness as was commensurate with the technology available during that period.

From several web sites concerning WW1 AAA we have these comments:

"The concept of an Anti Aircraft Artillery guns was not even to the imagination of field commanders in the early part of the Twenty Century. Aviation was a new field of battle at that time; a much misunderstood one too. But, as with any new human-developed field, there were countermeasures being developed almost at the same time that the first few planes took to the air."

Solutions to the problem of ground forces shooting down attacking enemy aircraft done on an expedient basis, ad hoc for the most part:

Solutions for the most part consisting of field guns of three inch bore [75 mm] modified and mounted on vehicles or carriages in such a manner as to allow the barrel to be raised to almost the vertical position, that caliber of gun [75 mm] found to be the weapon of choice.

The results of which are generally described as for the most part "useless"!!

"In general, these ad-hoc solutions proved largely useless"

Consider that an actual "shoot-down" was a very rare occurrence so it seems that DETERRENCE was more a factor with AAA of the period.

"Few aircraft were actually directly shot down, each requiring an average 4,000 - 4,500 shells, but guns were often employed in aerial barrages to deny an airspace to aircraft rather than to simply shoot down individually targeted aircraft . . . 'in the BEF [i.e. on the Western Front] stress was laid on long-range deterrent fire'"

By 1918 however, the ground-strafing attack warplane becoming an integral part of the blitzkrieg style offensive as originated with the German, effective allied counter-measures adopted in the form of machine-guns mounted on poles [for 360 degree traversing action] a quick and resourceful response, more "deadly" and effective!

"As aircraft started to be used against ground targets on the battlefield, the AA guns could not be traversed quickly enough at close targets and, being relatively few, were not always in the right place (and were often unpopular with other troops), so changed positions frequently. Soon the forces were adding various machine-gun based weapons mounted on poles. These short-range weapons proved more deadly"

AAA of the Great War era obviously an ever evolving process, counter-measures constantly in development  AND a new branch of combat arms being created in the process.


Friday, June 1, 2012


This is coolbert:

These are not the UGS your father knew!! 

Thanks to Danger Room and we have this item of interest.

Unattended ground sensors [UGS] an integral part of a net-centric system now being used in Afghan and before that in Iraq.

From over forty years ago now during the Second Indo-China War, those UGS as part of the Mac Namara Line once again in use, but this time much up-dated as you might well imagine, the size of the proverbial hockey puck, solar-powered, potentially able to operate for DECADES and resembling a rock more or less.

Can be "sown" in profusion allowing for economy of force, especially in the low-intensity counter-insurgency warfare.

 "This Rock Could Spy on You for Decades"

 "Palm-sized sensors, developed for the American military, will remain littered across the Afghan countryside — detecting anyone who moves nearby and reporting their locations back to a remote headquarters. Some of these surveillance tools could be buried in the ground, all-but-unnoticeable by passersby. Others might be disguised as rocks, with wafer-sized, solar-rechargeable batteries that could enable the sensors’ operation for perhaps as long as two decades,"

 "Arrays of up to 50 palm-sized acoustic and seismic sensors form a mesh network. When one sensor detects a person or a vehicle passing by, it uses unlicensed radio frequency bands to pass an alert from one node to the next. The alert finally hits a communications gateway, which can send the signal via satellite, tactical radio network, or Wi-Fi to a command and control center. That signal can tip off additional sensors — or it can send a Twitter-like message to an intelligence officer’s phone or tablet."

Sounds like net-centric stuff. Links to radio relay, remote sites, satellites uplink/downlink and accessible by a variety of decision makers and shooters. Able to detect the movement of persons or vehicles from a long distance, further investigation warranted, destruction a possible.

 UGS in Vietnam NOT such a big success. Too susceptible to variables and the various types of signals often not distinguish-able, the observer not able to determine an enemy soldier from a peaceful peasant or a herd of water buffalo.

UGS only one of many sensors available to the net-centric warrior and combined with other assets and used in tandem, those shooters relying on data remotely accessed, modern technology allowing for maximum of damage to the enemy with minimum of effort.

Such is the concept and the hope!


R.E. Lee.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to David G. and the tip from Larry we have this controversial item. ON THIS DATE IN 1862 ROBERT E. LEE ASSUMED COMMAND OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC [ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA].

And the course of history was changed forever.


"all of his [R.E. Lee] successes—the Seven Days, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville—served to ensure that one day the Southern way of life would be gone with the wind."

"One of the most overlooked dates in American history is the 1st of June 1862. This was the day when Robert E. Lee was given command by Jefferson Davis of the Confederate Army of the Potomac . . . The promotion of Lee changed everything for the South and it would change the course of the entire nation. Lee renamed his command the Army of Northern Virginia and infused it with the martial ardor necessary to win Southern independence on the battlefield."

“By mid-May the Army of the Potomac [Union] lay on the outskirts of Richmond, hoping to capture the capital of the Confederacy and perhaps end the war. If that strategy succeeded the nation might be reunified, but without abolition of slavery.”

Those southern states of the Confederacy in rebellion on the verge of defeat, the Union preserved and only that, AS WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THOSE IN OPPOSITION TO SECESSION! A protracted conflict resulting in large measure due to the efforts of R.E. Lee while in command the continued battlefield success of the Army of Northern Virginia the war continuing in an unanticipated manner THE GOAL OF THE UNION FORCES EVENTUALLY BECOMING PRESERVATION OF THE UNION AND THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY!!

Resolution of the conflict in 1862 would have meant a continuation of the Union BUT not an abolition of slavery?

Devoted readers to the blog have an opinion on this matter?