Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fire Force.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the three part Internet article by Dan Tharp and SOFREP replete with diagrams, drawings and photographs. Thank you Dan!

As identified by Dupuy those three factors eternal and unchanging contributing to battlefield success being:

* Officers are more dynamic and aggressive.

Dynamic as responding better to changing conditions.

* Doctrine, tactics and equipment are more suited to the conditions of combat and the environment.

* Troops perform team tasks better.

Here an excellent example of those three factors at work. From that era of the Rhodesian Bush War the Rhodesian Fire Force concept.

Fire Force a platoon sized infantry on-call unit each man "jump" qualified and having at the instantaneous disposal air force transport and combat fire support. Fire Force normally consisting of:

* Heliborne assault.
* Fixed wing close-air-support [CAS].
* Parachute assault.

That heliborne assault in part consisting of one chopper of which providing both C^3 [command, control, communications] and suppressive fire support. A most senior ranking officer [major] in the command helicopter in control and issuing orders and instructions as the battle develops. Similar to the American Firefly concept of the Vietnam War. That comparative senior ranking officer for a platoon sized element necessitated by the authority as deemed required.

Those paratroopers the "stripped down" soldier to the minimum. Slightly encumbered with gear and ready for battle instantly. Normally jumping with a bare minimum of equipment, that to include the FN FAL rifle and one hundred rounds of ammo in pouches, full canteen, the uniform consisting of running shoes [not boots] running shorts, an undershirt, some web gear and that is that.

These Rhodesian troops over-loaded with equipment? Perhaps on a multi-day mission? Please forgive me for being pedantic and pretending to be the expert but those men should be approaching the chopper from the front at a forty-five degree angle.

 Multi-day operations paratroopers on demand their load for an extended mission greater and tailored as needed.

That Rhodesian military espousing and developing an entire and unique doctrine and methodology as established for counter-insurgency [COIN] operations as BEST suited to the totality of conditions.

An enemy unit of squad or platoon size located by intelligence units to include trackers or surveillance teams on the ground, that initial squad  heli-lifted to the target area, the mission to engage and pin down the adversary.

That additional two squads of Rhodesian infantry parachuting to a drop zone in the vicinity of the on-going fire fight, able to engage and destroy the insurgents, applying conventional infantry tactics to do so.


Fire Force to the extent as a military measure successful and should be recognized as such, the insurgents however eventually carrying the day, a negotiated settlement bringing an end to the war.

Please note also that I have it on very good authority the insurgent combat element in the Rhodesian Bush War were VERY POORLY TRAINED UNIFORMLY SO!!

 Fire Force might not have worked in Vietnam!


Friday, June 28, 2013


This is coolbert:

"We have a little bit of larceny it all of us boys" - - A. Capone.

Traitor, informer, thief, spy, murderer.

They don't get worse than that.

And all found in one man from the time of the Second World War.

Augustin Preucil. An odious character perhaps without peer during that conflict, his behavior and treachery undiminished in any way, an incorrigible individual lacking in any redeemable value.

As reported in the # 35 issue of "AFTER THE BATTLE" this item as copied in entirety:


"Spy in R.A.F. Shot His Pupil, Fled"



"PRAGUE, Tuesday"

"A FORMER 33-year-old Czech-Slovak Air Force sergeant, Augustin Preucil shot his pupil, a Polish airman while serving as an instructor in Britain and escaped with the plane to Belgium."

"This was stated at Prague to-day, when the People's Court sentenced Preucil to death for treason."

"Preucil entered the service of the Gestapo as an informer at the beginning of the German occupation of Czecho-Slovakia."

"Sent to Poland"

"The Gestapo sent him to Poland, where he joined the Czech-Slovak Air Force, and went with it to France."

"From France he went to Britain, where he was given the job of training pilots. When he fled to Belgium he was hidden by Belgian patriots, who game him civilian clothes."

"From Belgium Preucil went to Berlin where he betrayed his Belgian helpers and gave away to his Gestapo several military secrets he had learned in Britain."

"He was then sent to Prague. There he gave the Gestapo information on Czecho-Slovak airmen in Britain, which led to the persecution of their families."

"Later he serve as a 'stool-pigeon' in Terezin concentration camp - - Reuters."

"Shot his pupil" and "Fled" says the headline but much more than that.


Preucil sentenced to death and presumably executed, the article does not state the finality.

And as to the motivations of the man? Perhaps the Internet has further entries on Preucil?

That Terezin camp too a "model" concentration camp for Jews, used as a Potemkin village to fool international officials, including the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC].

P.S. Here and here are several Internet entries on Preucil. Yes, he was executed, his motivations remain not so totally clear. His betrayals enormous. Terezin also seems to have been a camp for American POW. He also infiltrated the Theresienstadt concentration camp occupied by Jews and informed on them as was the forte' of the man. Is there anything Augustin did not do? That "AFTER THE BATTLE" article more than twenty years before the unmasking of Preucil by the Observer! Preucil I think too a man who relished his task, a perverse and terribly warped mentality Augustin taking a great pleasure in his betrayals, sadly so!.


Thursday, June 27, 2013


This is coolbert:

Here with unique German military architecture from that era of the Second World War [WW2].

Above ground air raid shelters.

Protection from the combined strategic allied bombing offensive.

Concrete structures very sturdily built, robust in the extreme. A nearby bomb detonating probably leaving the occupants of the shelter unscathed. Thick walls and even roofs affording the maximum protection for the general populace, munitions factory workers and vital governmental personnel.

Air raid shelters strictly defensive in nature and not to be confused with the flak tower. The later having an offensive capability form the anti-aircraft-artillery mounted on the roof.

Thanks to a variety of web sites for the images.

A small sized air raid shelter but still affording protection to those gathered inside.
This air raid shelter resembles a missile about to take off. And is reputed to have a capacity of 500 persons. The base described as also being reinforced. Even a nearby hit the population inside relatively out of danger, even totally impervious.
This is a flak tower for comparison. A battery of anti-aircraft artillery [AAA] and searchlights mounted on the roof. That interior also serving as an air raid shelter. The persons lounging on the grass in the lower right hand corner give you some sense of the scale. These structures even seventy years later cost prohibitive to demolish?
This particular structure of multi-stories could very well accommodate 18,000 persons crammed in like the proverbial "sardine".  Again, such a building so robustly build cost prohibitive to demolish?

When Albert Speer speaks of the allied [American and British] strategic bombing offensive during WW2 as causing great damage to the German war effort, he relates that a 1 million man army and impedimenta was needed to defend against the aerial onslaught.

That 1 million man army including in totality the day and night fighters, the fire fighting crews, the radar pickets and communication network, the air raid wardens, searchlight battery crews and AAA units, etc. Manpower again in totality and the resources as needed by same.

I might suggest resources and manpower to include the enormous quantities of concrete and those construction crews required to build these various bomb shelters.

I have also seen figures that the allied bombing offensive during WW2 resulted in one to two million German dead. This figure seems too HIGH to me. Devoted readers to the blog have a better "handle" on this? Let me hear from you.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


This is coolbert:

As originally in The Economist and reprinted today in the Chicago Tribune, in entirety:

"For (Barack) Obama, this is a no-win situation. The only thing worse than missing a terrorist attack because an [a] NSA surveillance program had been blocked would be having the NSA leak that the terrorist attack was missed because you blocked their surveillance program. Now, having given the NSA what it said it needed to prevent any nasty surprises, he finds himself dealing with a different nasty surprise, the leak of the NSA program themselves. And that surprise has made the chances of accomplishing anything on the issues Obama really cares about - - health care, climate change, immigration reform, inequality - - more remote than ever. - -  The Economist."


1. This IS SETTLED CASE LAW AND HAS BEEN FOR DECADES. For the government to obtain your phone records is NOT an invasion of privacy and again this has been the case for DECADES!

Who you called, when, and for how long has been deemed an open record and the government can obtain and does obtain your phone records.

2. What I would think is controversial is the volume and quantity of such records as being gathered. Indiscriminant it so seems and voluminous without almost measure. Phone calls, fax, e-mails, IM chat, etc.

3. And that the records are then being subjected, supposedly, to computer search using proprietary algorithms and protocols looking for unusual or suspect connections. As related to persons perhaps involved in terrorism.

4. This issue reminds me of TIA [Total Information Awareness]. Admiral Poindexter from Iran Contra fame/infamy [depending upon your perspective] having stated that in a notional and virtual city of 1 million persons, twenty or so terrorists residing in that virtual world, enough data collected and using computers with specific programs, algorithms and protocols, those twenty terrorists can be identified.

5. Also a problem [?] is the lack of awareness on the part of the general public as to the nature of the Internet and how it works. Two terrorist totally within the boundaries and confines of Pakistan having and Instant Messaging [IM] chat might have some of their communication electronic impulses pass through American routers, making those two Pakistani whether they realize it or not for the purposes of law "American persons". Again, such is the misunderstood nature of the Internet.

6. Also, keep in mind the pronouncements of Rabbi Akiva two thousand years ago: "During a time of war all laws may be set aside except for murder and apostasy".

Enough said on the topic.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three Technologies.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to Colonel Austin Bay, the Telegraph and Victor Suvorov in all cases.

1. As elaborated upon by Colonel Bay in the aftermath of the Boston terrorist bombing:

"2013 Boston Terror's 19th-Century Roots"

"European anarchists in the late 19th century relied on three technologies to commit and then transform human massacre into international political terrorism: the railroad, improved explosives and the telegraph."

"for some 140 years, the world has yet to balance the benefits and threats of mobility and miniaturization."

Again those three technologies greatly facilitating terrorism as favored by anarchists and nihilists of the 19th century:

* The railroad.
* Improved explosives.
* Telegraph.

Transportation [railroad], means [explosives], and communications [telegraph].

Those three technologies in the modern era improved upon by magnitudes. The current analog technologies the jet airline [transportation], the Internet [communications] and Semtex [explosive].

Explosives available to the terrorist in the modern form even beyond ordinary Semtex or C4 [both of the plastic explosive variety] but to also include the ANFO [ammonium nitrate fuel oil] bomb or perhaps weapons of mass destruction to include nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological [NBCR].

2. ONLY from today these arrest having been made, persons with apparently aspiration planning terrorist attacks the intention to use model radio-controlled aircraft to do so:

 "Students 'planned terror attack using remote control planes'"

"Police have carried out raids in Germany and Belgium targeting a suspected Islamist plot by aeronautics students at the University of Stuttgart to use remotely controlled planes for a terrorist attack."

"Two of the suspected plotters were students in the aeronautics department at the University of Stuttgart, who were developing systems for using GPS to guide pilotless aircraft, according to the German public broadcaster SWR."

3. Finally, that suggestion that model radio-controlled aircraft might be used in a terrorist incident quite plausible. From 1987 as described by Suvorov:

"Chapter 15 SPETSNAZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR from the book by Suvorov 'SPETSNAZ'."

"On 12 August, at 0558 local time - - a van comes to a halt on that vast empty parking lot in front of a supermarket in Washington. Three men open the doors of the van, roll out the fuselage of a light aircraft and attach its wings. A minute later its motor bursts into life. The plane takes off and disappears into the sky. It has no pilot. It is controlled by radio with the aid of very simple instruments, only slightly more complicated than those used by model aircraft enthusiasts. The plane climbs to about 200 meters and immediately begins to descend in the direction of the White House. A minute later a mighty explosion shakes the capital of the United States. The screaming of sirens on police cars, fire engines and ambulances fills the city."

"Three minutes later a second plane sweeps across the center of the city and there is a second explosion in the place where the White House once stood. The second plane has taken off from a section of highway under construction, and has a quite different control system. Two cars with radio beacons in them have been left earlier in the middle of the city. The beacons have switched on automatically a few seconds before the plane's take-off. The automatic pilot is guided by the two beacons and starts to descend according to a previously worked-out trajectory. The second plane has been sent off by a second group operating independently of the first one."

Those 19th century terrorists of the ilk anarchist or nihilist too NOT wanting too many collateral damage casualties. Precautions taken to minimize those numbers of innocent bystanders killed or maimed. In marked contrast to the modern terrorist who is absorbed and pre-occupied with having AS MANY innocent bystanders and passers-by killed or wounded.


KO & SO.

This is coolbert:

From issue Number 79 of "AFTER THE BATTLE" magazine we have this interesting item. KO & SO.

Brandenburgers we have heard of.

Brandenburgers during the Second World War [WW2], those German behind-the-lines special operations military units whose mission was coup de main or sabotage.

Wearing the uniform of the adversary and also able to speak the language of the enemy in a fluent manner, Brandenburgers troops predominantly manned with what were called Volksdeutsche.

KO and SO we have not heard of.

Apparently before there was Brandenburger there was KO and SO?

KO - -  KO-Groups (Kampforganisation) and SO - - SO-Groups (Sabotage-organization).

The former devoted to the coup de main mission.

The latter devoted to the sabotage mission.

"The KO-Groups were to prevent vital objectives being destroyed by the enemy while the So-Groups were to demolish or immobilize targets and objectives which were of prime importance to the enemy's defense."

KO & SO also consisting predominantly of Volksdeutsche. KO & SO performing their duty dressed as civilians the mission of which to be accomplished prior to commencement of overt hostilities.

KO & SO both in that fashion greatly resembling the modern Soviet/Russian spetsnaz during that period of "pink terror".

KO & SO units dressed as civilians BUT carrying their weapons openly and uniformly wearing a Nazi armband. From an authoritative source that wearing of the Nazi armband qualifying a KO & SO "troop" as a lawful combatant under the various conventions and laws of land warfare as they existed at the time.

That uniform wearing of the Nazi arm band does indeed qualify these men as lawful combatants! That officer in the center was a commander and controller but would not have accompanied his charges into battle!

KO & SO under the command of the Abwehr, German military intelligence. That Abwehr for whatever reason a hot bed of discontent against fascism and fascist methods.

Those officers in command of KO & SO units in some cases men of authority who were anti-Nazi, opposed to the regime of Adolf Hitler.

How so very ironic. Those troops initiating that combat of WW2 in the European theatre commanded by anti-Nazi officers!!

Let it be understood too that these officers, anti-Nazi, commanders and controllers of KO & SO, were not necessarily liberal democrats. Were for the most part in favor of a return to the autocratic and aristocratic rule as was the case in Germany prior to the First World War, the German Empire. Officers or the reactionary type and referred to as such by Hitler. Reactionary aristocrats such as the Austrian-Hungarian naval officer Von Trapp.

German special operations units finally for the most part merged into Skorzeny commando, firmly and without question under Nazi control.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Beach Landing.

This is coolbert:

Here from the Number 96 edition of "AFTER THE BATTLE" magazine we have this interesting item as found in the article "THE GUNS OF VITI LEVU: [thanks to the author David Green]

"the Japanese were experienced in attacking and coastal forts from earlier conflicts taking Port Arthur  from the Chinese in 1894, and again from the Russians in 1905, and capturing Tsingtao from the German in 1914. In each case, the main contingent troops were landed away from the fort's striking distance, advancing to the rear and attacking the position from behind."

Correct! Frontal assaults against fortified and prepared beach defenses even when successful and the defenders overcome, quite often resulting in horrific or catastrophic casualties, the defender having in all cases a marked advantage.

The Japanese methodology to use an indirect approach where possible.

Indeed, during the Second World War [WW2] the Japanese possessing naval infantry [not marines] whose sole mission seems to be the capture of beach defenses during an amphibious operation.

Troops whose mission can best correctly be described as special operations type, training, equipment, selection of personnel and objectives the combat missions of which were short duration - - overwhelm the defender and capture of a beach as a prelude to a general landing.

That same methodology of using special purpose units during an amphibious landing could have been used with success during the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944?

American Range, British commando and troops from the First Special Service Force ["Devil's Brigade"] could have gone ashore at Normandy during hours of darkness, landing via rubber Zodiac style boat, attacking and killing those Germans manning the beach defenses, capturing vital terrain and greatly facilitating the approach and landing of the general invasion force?

Such to a degree was the suggestion [night assault] made by General Cota, deputy commander of the 29th Division, landing the first day on Omaha beach.

That advocacy [night assault] of General Cota not heeded, casualties among American troops at Omaha beach that day of 6 June very heavy, nearly catastrophic.

Omar Bradley at one point seriously considering a full withdrawal of all units engaged at Omaha, so dire was the situation.

Casualties at Omaha beach horrific and terrible, even worse than anticipated, furthermore that 352nd German infantry division manning the beach defenses at Omaha categorized as an "inferior" German division, capable of defensive operations only!!

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

[The same was true during Jubilee at Dieppe [1942]. An inferior German unit armed with inferior weaponry able to give a very good account of itself when in mortal battle with the best combat arms units at the disposal of the British!!]

It is worth noting that the First Special Service Force [FSSF] was trained in small boat operations and had previously made a night small boat assault in the Aleutians securing the landing beaches most expeditiously. That FSSF also their most famous and successful mission the capture of Monte la Difensa during the Italian campaign, two hundred men in two hours able to do what twenty thousand men previously could not do in two weeks!!

Senior commanders at Normandy such as Bradley and Montgomery almost to the exclusion of other options ONLY in favor of the direct approach to amphibious assaults, that conventional commander not always seeing the advantage to the indirect and special operations type of assault?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Baron & Walt.

This is coolbert:

I guess this is some sort of a plus, but only in a tepid manner.

From the Chicago Tribune of only the other day.

A new law directed at the military impostor. The prevaricator, the fabulist, the wannabee war hero.

"Revised law targets phony boasts of military honors"

"Washington - - Pretend military heroes could face up to a year in prison under the latest version of the Stolen Valor Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law June e. it's a measure similar to one the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional last year."

An individual merely lying about his military status and military honors and decorations not an offense. So ruled the U.S. Supreme Court. This particular legislation a further attempt to set right an affront to all veterans.

An important proviso to the new legislation:

"The Stolen Valor Act of 2013, however, has one key difference that set it apart from the 2013  version. It likens the lie to fraud and makes it illegal to falsely claim military honors for the purpose of obtaining 'money, property or other tangible benefit.'"

There you  have it in the proverbial nutshell. Lying of itself about honors and decorations not a crime. Lying and and deception about honors and decorations for the purpose of obtaining TANGIBLE BENEFITS wrong!

That wannabee war hero: "I won the Medal of Honor in Vietnam and five Silver Stars and was wounded seventeen times during secret missions [they are always secret missions] but all the files are classified" at least having some sort of action that can be taken against him, but ONLY if fraud for "monetary or other form of tangible gain" involved seems to be the case. Mere lying of itself not a crime.

This legislation better than nothing I guess. Blowhard prevaricator, fabulist, Walter Mitty and Baron Munchhausen persons with "issues" and terrible mental problems continue your act but do so with care. BEWARE IF UNMASKED!


Friday, June 21, 2013


This is coolbert:

"Darfur was a case where the bad buys won, and continue to win."


Thanks to StrategyPage we have an update on the Darfur situation.

A long running case of ethnic cleansing, the central government of the Sudan waging war against it's own people, the villains in this case apparently triumphant.

"Victory For The Bad Guys In Darfur"

As was FIRST reported and became and international item in 2006 and continues seemingly, unabated and unameliorated, the murder, rape, pillage, scorched earth and arson directed against the Fur people never stopping.


As described by StrategyPage:

 "A decade ago the Sudan government decided to deal with a rebellion by African tribes in the southwest by chasing the rebellious population away. Africans."
. . . .

"To get rid of the Fur, and Fur rebels, the government had loyal tribes in Darfur that were mainly nomadic herders who considered themselves Arab (although they looked like the sedentary Fur) . . . The government provided the nomads with guns and other equipment, as well as air support. The ethnic cleansing was largely done via raids that included looting, rape, murder, and extensive destruction of property . . . After a few years of this there were over 300,000 deaths (mostly among the farmers) and half the Darfur population (most of them black African farmers) driven from their homes. There are still over two million farmers in refugee camps." 
 . . . .

"The attacks on black African farmers continues with several hundred thousand driven from their villages so far this year."  


* Bashir the despot in Khartoum under indictment by the International Court but sitting pretty and not bothered by efforts to extradite him. Travels freely in the Islamic world without a care or concern so it seems.

* When we speak of SCORCHED we mean just that, the very earth of the Darfur region entire villages depopulated and then laid waste by burning, black as a cinder from the arson perpetrated,

* Nomads in reality the janjaweed! Convicts released from prison mounted on HORSEBACK committing ethnic cleansing. And EVIDENTLY SPREADING THEIR CRIMES BEYOND THE BORDERS OF THE SUDAN, POACHING THE ELEPHANT HERDS OF THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AS WE SPEAK!

* Rape and BRANDING OF THE RAPE VICTIMS are integral part of the "war". A psychological measure with intent to destroy not only the current generation of young Fur woman of child bearing age but prevent future births within that ethnic group [Fur].

The release of convicts from prison and organized into paramilitary groups for the waging of war a strictly Islamic phenomenon? Devoted reads to the blog know better than Bert?

The villains have won? I fear it is so. That number of refugees continues to grow even as we speak a de-stabilizing factor for neighboring nations.

Chinese Gordon of Khartoum where are you when we need you?


The March X.

This is coolbert:



Finale! Extract with comment from the novel by E. L. Doctorow, "The March".

As described by Doctorow, General Sherman subsequent to the surrender of Joe Johnston and the armies of the Confederacy, considering his actions.

Did I go too far?

Was I given over to callous excess?

Did the ends justify my means?

"ONLY AFTERWARD, IN the late night, as Sherman sat by the hearth in the billet provided him, did he feel a peculiar envy for Joe Johnston and the South he represented. How unsettling. In one hand Sherman held his cigar, in the other his schooner of brandy. He stared into the fire. There was this about the end of a war, that once the cheering was over, you were of two minds. Yes, your cause was just. Yes, you could drink your flagon of pride. But victory was a shadowed, ambiguous thing. I will go on wondering about my actions. Whereas General Johnston and his colleagues of the unjust cause, now embittered and awash in defeat, will have sublimed to a righteously aggrieved state that would empower them for a century."


1. "Embittered" and "righteously aggrieved".

* Indeed the American Southerner for a period of almost one hundred fifty years even unto this very moment has had a nostalgic and very long-lasting affection for what is generally referred to as the "Lost Cause". The Confederacy, the Old South, secession as a RIGHT and everything that goes with it.

2. "Of two minds" and The Great Compromise.

* The Great Compromise in the aftermath of the war was that: 1. The American Southerner generally agreeing it was probably better that the Union was preserved. [it was] 2. The American Northerner generally agreeing that the Confederates had fought bravely for their cause with honor [they did]!

3. Further.

* Those states constituting the Confederacy during the time of the American Civil War economically devastated and NOT sharing in the general prosperity of the rest of the nation for about a period of one hundred years.

4. The penitent?

* Sherman having his doubts about his actions even in that period shortly after a cessation of hostilities without question. The man hastening south in an effort to alleviate as best possible suffering of the southern population. It that regard Sherman in a manner acting as a penitent?

A penitent much as did another military man from two thousand years earlier. Ashoka the Great King of India. A unifier of the Indian sub-continent who in the aftermath of victory is recorded as lamenting the means and measures necessary for victory. Ashoka too a penitent seeking to make atonement and make amends when possible.

“What have I done? If this is a victory, what’s a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other’s kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant…. What’s this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil?” - - Ashoka.

Such is war, such was the American Civil War, and such will always be war.

Thanks again in all cases to E. L. Doctorow.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The March IX.

This is coolbert:

As described by E. L. Doctorow in his novel "The March", the negotiation, between Sherman and Confederate General Joe Johnston surrender with terms - - Johnston only at that moment made aware of the assassination of Lincoln:

"Johnston, an older man with a silver-white mustache and goatee and an impeccably fitted smart gray uniform, was clearly shocked when Sherman handed him the telegram. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead. Surely, he muttered, you do not charge this heinous crime to the Confederate government. Never to you , sir, Sherman said, nor to General Lee. But of Jefferson Davis, and men of that stripe, I would not say as much. This is a disgrace to the age, Johnston said. I have always recognized in President Lincoln a man of compassion and forbearance. That if the war ended badly for us, he would mete out terms that were just and charitable."

Those terms of surrender and offered by Sherman and accepted by Johnston just and fair, even to a fault so. But necessary! Deemed as such, retribution and revenge as NOT sought by the Yankee. Terms "just and charitable" those states of the American South in rebellion to be brought back into the Union without malice further resistance on the part of recalcitrant secessionists not desired.

Those states comprising the Confederacy for a period of ten years in the aftermath of the war ruled by a military governor, under Federal control dictates of Reconstruction observed however without harshness or brutality.

Johnston at the funeral of Sherman many years later acting as a honorary pall bearer having caught a cold from which the man [Johnston] expired two weeks later. Such was the respect one senior commander had for the other.

"He caught a cold that day, which developed into pneumonia and he died several weeks later in Washington, D.C"


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The March VIII.

This is coolbert:

"Forty acres and a mule"

That famous order as issued by W.T. Sherman, Field Order Number 15.

Even one hundred and fifty years after the fact an item that is controversial in some quarters.

A response to dynamic change an expedient and ad hoc measure designed to alleviate an unanticipated situation.

That Army of the West having gathered a large band of refugees in tow, seriously impeding further progress of the army. Refugees freedmen [black slaves having been set free no longer at the command of their masters] and to included numbers of Southern whites.

Those refugees not allowing forward progress of the army as desired by Sherman, Field Order 15 issued in the hope of alleviating the situation.

Black freedmen head of families promised that forty acres title of land consisting of abandoned plantation acreage.

As described by E. L. Doctorow in his novel, "The March":

 "Your pen, Major. Get this down. Field Order whatever it is.

"It would be Number 15 sir."

"Number 15, he said."

"The Sea Islands from Charleston south, and all the abandoned plantation acreage along the rivers for thirty miles inland in South Carolina, and I'll throw in parts of Georgia, and the country bordering on the St. John's River in Florida, are reserved for black resettlement. Have you got that? Black resettlement. Every free Negro head of family is to be given title to forty acres of tillable ground. Yes, and the seed and equipment to farm them. All boundaries to be determined and possessory titles issued by a general officer of the U.S. Army as - - call him - - Inspector of Settlements and Plantations."

That order a means to disperse in a fain and equitable manner the refugees, continued forward progress of the Army of the West no longer impeded.

Such was the intention of Sherman, a promise in the aftermath of the war unfulfilled.

It can be suggested that Sherman in his capacity as military commander having an unwritten authority in furtherance of his mission to take measures he deemed necessary to accomplish further tasks in an efficient manner. That authority allowing him to issue an order Number 15.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

March VII.

This is coolbert:

Warfare of the type as fought in that era of the American Civil War quite often degenerating into a melee', hand-to-hand combat at close quarters AND AS ENCOUNTERED BY THE LONDON TIMES correspondent Hugh Pryce:

As extracted from the novel "The March" by E. L. Doctorow:

 "It was only with a sudden rift in the thickened atmosphere that he realized he had misjudged his [Pryce] position and was not in relation to the action that he has supposed. The war had come to him. Lines of men were grappling hand to hand beneath him, wrestling one another to the ground, wielding knives, bayonets, swinging rifles about their heads, their desperation bringing concerted sounds from the depths of them like the chords of a church organ. He had never been closer to war than at this moment and all the reportorial powers of observation were resolved to one terrifying vision of antediluvian breakout. This was not war as an adventure, nor was for a solemn cause, it was war at it's purest, a mindless mass rage severed from any cause, ideal or moral principle. If was as if God had decreed this characterless entanglement of brainless forces as his answer to the human presumption."

Pryce the cool and unemotional observer recording his observations and thoughts in the proverbial heartbeat finding himself in the thick of the fray of the type where controlled chaos rules supreme, combat as NOT taught at Command & General Staff school!

Caveman warfare of that period not so antiseptic as the modern drone and killing power from afar, that must we intuitively understand.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The March VI.

This is coolbert:

That Army of the West as commanded by Sherman having as a primary mission the destruction of:

"those facilities in their path that replenished the Confederate war effort such as cotton gins, farms, foundries, lumber mills, etc."

Including all railroads, telegraph lines, factories and sundry "facilities" that had any potential for providing war-making munitions AND AS DEFINED BY W.T. SHERMAN.

Yet one additional extract with commentary from the novel "The March" by E. L. Doctorow:

"Kilpatrick's forces were arrayed on a road that ran beside the tracks of the Charleston & Augusta line. As far as Morrison could see in either direction, details were at work prying up the rails and laying them in bonfires made from the ties. he thought of this as an inverse industrial -process. The rails, when red-hot, were removed from the fire and bowed and twisted. it was a releasing duty for the cavalry, and the men's voices came through to him as burble of camaraderie."

That "inverse" industrial process the destruction of the Southern railway system to the greatest extent possible. A subject of which was a previous blog entry.

That tearing up a section of railway hard physical back-breaking labor all done by hand without the aid of machines, but the young men of the time accustomed to hard back-breaking labor. A man during that period of the American Civil War [one hundred fifty years ago] TWICE AS STRONG POUND FOR POUND AS A MODERN and again used to hard physical labor on a daily basis!!

As described by Doctorow the cavalry almost enjoying their "sport", relishing the non-combat task and proceeding with abandon!

Yet once more from that previous blog entry:

"There was also a certain amount of malicious delight derived from this 'phenomenon'. A gleeful enjoyment of the destructive nature of man that is latent in all of us? Giving themselves to abandon and able to do on command what is ordinarily in civilian life a grave criminal offense is pleasurable? I am not sure but this might well be the case."

NOT ONLY targets destroyed but the adversary [the American South] unable to repair or replace damaged "facilities" war-making potentiality much reduced beyond amelioration!

Civilian structures, property and apparatus NOT to be touched UNLESS resistance encountered. That commander at the scene allowed to take retribution and retaliation and having the delegated authority to do so upon his appreciation of the situation.

Sherman and his troops not a mindless group of barbarians destroying in a wanton manner without thought UNDOUBTEDLY AS DURING WAR EXCESSES OCCURRING!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

The March V.

This is coolbert:

Centipede or Millipede?

Continuing with extracts and commentary from the novel by E. L. Doctorow, "The March".

That Army of the West under the command of Sherman, three corps sized columns marching in parallel, moving eastward the forward progress twelve to fifteen miles per day in some respects analogous to a living organism.

Moves, uses energy, responds to stimuli, has an organized structure, etc.

Here Wrede the army surgeon [Union] in conversation with Emily, a southern woman of patrician bearing, now a refugee in the aftermath of the Yankee destruction of Milledgeville.

"She [Emily] found in the steady peaceful march thought the pine forest a reason to admire men. As Northerners these soldiers were far from their homes and families. Yet they persisted and walked the earth as if the earth were their home . . ."

"I [Wrede] confess I no longer find it strange to have no habitation, to wake up each morning in a different place, he said. To march camp and march again. To meet resistance at a river or a hamlet and engage in combat. And then to bury our dead and resume the march . . ."
We have everything that defines a civilization . . . We have engineers, quartermaster, commissary, cooks, musicians, doctors, carpenters, servants, and guns."
. . . .

"Imagine a great segmented body moving in contractions and dilations at a rate of twelve or fifteen miles a day, a creature of a hundred thousand feet. it is tubular in its being and tentacled to the roads and bridges over which it travels. It sends out as antennae its men on horses. It consumes everything in its path. It is an immense organism, this army, with a small brain. That would be General Sherman . . ."

NOT necessarily a centipede or millipede but perhaps better thought of as army ants. The social insects and man those "creatures" of the animal kingdom that wage war. Ants "responding to stimuli" by chemical reactions, that Army of the West responding to orders and commands issued by W.T. Sherman.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

The March IV.

This is coolbert:

"forage freely off the land" - - W.T. Sherman.

The bummers!!

Having made the decision to march to the sea unencumbered with impedimenta to the greatest degree possible, and eschewing all customary and normal supply as understood at the time, Sherman and the Army of the West moving toward Savannah the plan being to obtain all necessary supply and sustenance from the local communities in the path of the army, FORCIBLE CONFISCATION OF ALL EDIBLES AND DRAFT ANIMALS.

Those foraging parties platoon in size referred to as "the bummers".

"Bummers was a nickname applied to foragers of Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's Union army during its March to the Sea and north through North Carolina and South Carolina during the American Civil War. The designation bummers', although originally used to describe soldiers officially appointed to foraging duty by the Army, was used, both by soldiers and civilians, to describe Sherman's soldiers, official and unofficial, who requisitioned food from Southern homes along the route of the Army's march"

As described by E. L. Doctorow in his novel "The March":

"Clarke [lieutenant in command of a platoon sized foraging element] had in his foraging party a two-man wagon train, a string of three extra mules, and twenty men mounted. General orders specified no fewer than fifty men. He was several miles off the column, and so coming upon the plantation, he resolved to make quick work of it."

"As they rode onto the ground he immediately saw, and ignored, the slaves standing there. He shook his head. They had their old cracked drummers's cases and cotton sacks tied up with their things on the ground beside them. He posted his pickets and set the men to work. In the yard behind the outbuildings, the fodder stack was a smoking pile, flakes of black ash blowing off in the breeze. There were three mules with their heads blown all to hell. His orders were to respond to acts of defiance commensurately. Nor was he less determined when the men marched out of the dairy with sacks of sugar, cornmeal, flour, and rice on their shoulders. In the smokehouse, the shelves sagged with crocks of honey and sorghum. Hanging from hooks were the sides of bacon and cured hams the Massah didnt' have time for the taking. And one of the bins were filled with a good two hundred pounds of sweet potatoes."

"The men worked with a will. They slaughtered the sows but somehow, from someone's incompetence, the chickens flew the coop. There commenced a holy racket - - enough to bring the Negro children running . . . Everyone is having a good time, Clarke thought. It's a happy war, this."

That march terminating in Savannah requiring less than a month, the Army of the West almost thriving along the route, that harvest just brought in from the fields an abundance, the Yankee soldiers not subject to privation it would seem of any sort.

Resistance to the bummer foraging seems to have been minimal at best, the psychological trauma to the Southern population in the path of the Army of the West accentuating the futility of further warfare.


Friday, June 7, 2013

The March III.

This is coolbert:

Warnings & Admonitions!!

Continuing the blog series, extracts with commentary from the E. L. Doctorow novel "The March".

Many persons in the path of the Army of the West, those Southerners of aristocratic mien or planters, persons of wealth, fleeing at the approach of the Yankee, panic stricken in some cases no recourse or amelioration to the situation possible.

 Here Letitia Pettibone, a woman of the South and also of substance both issues a warning to all that will listen.

"Letitia would not come down from her carriage, there was no time, she said. She was a badly frightened woman with no concern for her horses, as John saw and quickly ordered buckets to be brought around, as the woman cried, Get out , get out, take what you can leave, and seemed to be roused to anger as they only stood listening with some of the field hands appearing now around the side of the house with the first light, as if drawn into existence by it. And I know Him! she cried. He has dined in my home. He has lived among us. He burns where he has ridden to lunch, he fires the city in whose clubs he once gave toasts, oh yes, someone of the educated class, or so we thought, though I never was impressed! NO, I was never impressed, he was to spidery, too weak in his conversation, and badly composed in his dress, careless of his appearance, but for all that I thought quite civilized n having so little gift to dissemble or pretend what he not feel.  And what a bitter gall is in my throat for what I believed was domesticated man with a clean love for wife and children, who is not more than a savage with not a drop of mercy in his cold heart."

HIM! HE! General William Tecumseh Sherman of course.

Sherman in that period just prior to the commencement of the American Civil War a known figure to some in the American South. A career serving military officer and in 1860 the Superintendent of the Louisiana Military Academy. Sherman a man of the North his observations most prescient almost in the manner of an Old Testament prophet!!

"You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail."
  • Comments [of W.T. Sherman] to Prof. David F. Boyd at the Louisiana State Seminary (24 December 1860);
That seminary and military academy today the institution of higher learning known as Louisiana State University!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

March II.

This is coolbert:


Continuing extracts and commentary from the novel "The March" by E. L. Doctorow:

That approach of the Army of the West under the command of Sherman having the nature of an "end time event.", the apocalypse.

As seen and heard and FELT by the black slave Jake Early whose master had fled in advance of Sherman, Early and his compatriotts observing a very change to the atmosphere itself. Those three corps sized columns as if a wrath of GOD, world-changing!

"He [Jake] himself stood in the middle of the road with his stuff and did not move. He listened. For the longest while there was nothing, but the mild stirring of the air, like a whispering in his ear or the rustle of woodland. But then he did hear something. or did he? It wasn't exactly a sound, it was more like a sense of something transformed in his own expectation. And then, almost as if what he held was a divining rod, the staff in his hand point to the sky westerly. At this, all the others stood up and came away from the trees: what they saw in the distance was smoke sprouting from different points in the landscape, first here, then there. But in the middle of all this was a change in the sky color itself that gradually clarified as an upward-streaming brown cloud risen from the earth, as if the world was tuned upside down."

And, as they watched, the brown cloud took on a reddish case. It moved forward, thin as a hatchet blade in front and then widening like the furrow from the plow. When the sound of this cloud reached them, it was like nothing they had ever heard in their lives. It was not fearsomely heaven-made, like thunder of lightning or howling wind, but something felt through their feet, a resonance, as if the earth was humming. Then carried on a gust of wind, the sound became for moments a rhythmic tromp that relieved them as the human reason for the great cloud of dust. And then, at the edges of this sound of a trompled-upon earth, they heard the voices of living men shouting, finally. And the lowing of cattle. And the creaking of wheels. But they saw nothing. Involuntarily, they walked down the toward the road but still saw nothing. The symphonious clamor was everywhere, filling the sky like the cloud of red suet that arrowed past them to the south and left the sky dim, it was the great processional of the Union armies, but of no more substance than an army of ghosts."

It is not without reason that Margaret Mitchell when she wrote her great novel "Gone With the Wind" referred to Sherman as the "wind".

"War makes all of man's other activities seem trivial by comparison" - - Patton.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The March I.

This is coolbert:

Here begins a series of blog entries, extracts from the E. L. Doctorow novel "The March" with commentary. Thanks to E. L. Doctorow in all cases.

That "march" of course Sherman's March.

Also variously referred to as:

* "Sherman's March to the Sea."

* "The Savannah Campaign.

* "Sherman's March to Savannah by the Sea."

The "march" events as transpired at the very end of the American Civil War. Events often described in an apocalyptic manner and that have assumed an almost mythological status within American history.

"Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted through Georgia from November 15 to December 21, 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia, on November 16 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on December 21 . . . Sherman 'defied military principles by operating deep within enemy territory and without lines of supply or communication'."

E.L. Doctorow an author of acknowledged significance in modern American literature, this particular novel having won awards when first published and released to the general public.

"The March is a 2005 historical fiction novel by E. L. Doctorow. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (2006) and the National Book Critics Circle Award/Fiction (2005)."

"The March is a historical fiction novel set in late 1864 and early 1865 near the conclusion of the American Civil War. Central to the novel is the character of General William Tecumseh Sherman as he marches his 60,000 troops through the heart of the South, carving a 60 mile wide scar of destruction in their wake."

And from the jacket to the book:

"In 1864, after Union general William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, he marched his sixty thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea and then up into the Carolina's. The army fought off Confederate forces and lived off the land, pillaging the Southern plantations, taking cattle and crops for their own, demolish cities, and accumulating a borne-along population of freed blacks and white refugees and until all that remained was the dangerous transient life of the uprooted, the dispossessed and triumphant."


* NO! Sherman  did not burn Atlanta to the ground. NOR did Sherman burn Columbia, South Carolina to the ground. Atlanta and Columbia large portions of both cities "burned to the ground" indeed BUT NOT AS A RESULT OF OVERT, CONSCIOUS AND MALICIOUS ACTIONS ON THE PART OF SHERMAN.

* The March often thought of as those three corps size columns proceeding in parallel through Georgia but also including that further "march" through South Carolina and North Carolina after reaching Savannah That "march" through Georgia meeting little if any resistance, only six hundred men lost from an army of sixty thousand troops!

* That Army of the West [Union] very workman-like. Experienced and hardened campaigners march twelve to fifteen miles a day, break camp, accomplish the mission and objective for the day, make camp, repeat the process over and over.

* Having broken off all lines-of-communication [LOC] and organized supply, Sherman having exhorted his men to "forage freely off the land" confiscation of edibles and draft animals from the local populace allowing for prolonged sustainment. That destruction of Confederate war making potentiality, railroad lines, telegraph lines, factories, etc., retribution and retaliation against the civilian population ONLY if resistance met!

* With regard to organized supply, that Army of the West [60,000 men] normally would have required 1,500 wagon loads of supplies per day under normal conditions not even during times of combat.

To be continued.


Sunday, June 2, 2013


This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today.


"Piracy starting to lose ground"

"3 Somalis face U.S. trial as security efforts turn tide"

It would seem that the multi-national, involuntary, non-coercive MILITARY effort to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa region has had success and most markedly so.

"acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. Reports show a dramatic decrease of attacks in the area since 2011.


2008    - -   26

2009    - -   163

2010    - -   174

2011    - -   176

2012    - -   35

2013    - -   3


Good news without question, the villains put to rout. The advantages as gained by piracy far outweighed by the consequences of being caught. The one measure to put the pirates to rout as with all criminals being the knowledge of swift and sure capture and punishment or death, .

Resolve, having the physical and mental wherewithal, the will power to commit to a sustained effort apparently contributing to a major success. So far! Continued strong and undiminished effort also needed for the long haul.

Those major maritime choke points of the Horn and Malacca traditionally plagued by piracy, the British Admiral Parry having predicted an exponential rise in the instances of the scourge, perhaps this not to be the case after all.

Those nations of the world order having responded in a timely fashion, continued vigilance required from this point forward.


Sergeant Bales.

This is coolbert:

This also from the Chicago Tribune.

Sergeant Bales will plead guilty. In all probability will avoid the death penalty.

"News briefing"

"Bales reaches plea deal to avoid death penalty"

"Seattle - - A U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in two rampages from his Army post last year has reached a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty, one of the lawyers said Wednesday."

This again is Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales: "a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan"

Bales his actions even more inexplicably so from all descriptions A MODEL SOLIDER OF THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PROFESSIONALISM AND COMPORTMENT AT ALL TIMES.

And there seems to be no suggestion other than this man just went amuck NOT during combat operations but single-handedly massacring civilians in a willful manner, not accidentally so or in a panic or a state of confusion!!

And this too!

Another American soldier having taken a plea bargain to escape the death penalty. Sergeant Russell in this instance having killed FIVE FELLOW SOLDIERS!

Also a man with repeated overseas deployments to a combat zone.

Russell at that actual moment of the deed being done IN THE MEDICAL CLINIC WHERE MENTAL CASES ARE DIAGNOSED AND TREATED!!

"Report: U.S. soldier pleads guilty to killing 5 comrades in Iraq 'out of rage'"

"(CNN) -- A U.S. Army sergeant pleaded guilty Monday to gunning down five fellow service members at a combat stress clinic in Iraq after military prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty."

"Sgt. John Russell admitted to the May 11, 2009, killings at Baghdad's Camp Liberty, telling a Joint Base Lewis-McChord court that he 'did it out of rage,' according to The News Tribune of Tacoma."

I am not sure what the term "life" sentence means under military law [UCMJ]. A life sentence as that term understood in the civilian realm usually meaning TWENTY YEARS! Natural life a sentence meaning until the day you day, however long that is into the future. As for Bales and Russell and sentencing of same, that degree of discretion left to the judges under UCMJ unknown to me.



This is coolbert:

Here from the Chicago Tribune of several days ago we have the timeline of events the survival of the ancient manuscripts from the University of Timbuktu at stake!

"Mali mission preserves history, hope"

That university and the manuscripts ancient and valuable, Timbuktu during the Middle Ages a center of learning for all of northern Africa at least equal during the same period to universities such as Bologna, Salamanca, the Sorbonne, Oxford and Cambridge.

Those manuscripts in danger of destruction at the hands of the fundamentalist jihadi allied with and taking inspiration from Al Qaeda.

That timeline:

"How manuscripts were saved"

April 2012: "Islamists seize Timbuktu . . . a secret operation move the ancient manuscripts to safe houses was set into motion."

Late May, early June: "workers at the old state run library . . . contact their director . . . saying the documents would be destroyed if the Islamists discover them."

June: "The director sends a reconnaissance mission to Timbuktu . . . return[ing] to Bamako with a computer hard drive containing the library's records of the manuscripts."

Late July: "A second mission to Timbuktu returns to Bamako with two trunks of manuscripts."

August: . . . "more than 2,000 trunks containing about 275,000 pages are evacuated."

Late January 2013: "Jihadists burn about 4,000 pages they find days before the French troops arrive."

As was NOT the case at Baghdad [1253] or Leuven [1914] a certain degree of foresight and the situation was saved. Some documents burned but that bulk saved!

See here and here previous blog entries regarding the ancient library of the University of Timbuktu.