Sunday, March 31, 2013

D-Day!

This is coolbert:

From a StrategyPage article satire directed at the Main Stream Media [MSM] what it is called, how the allied landings at Normandy, 6 June 1944 would probably have been reported on today.

The modern MSM seen as having an unhealthy obsession with trivialities, superficiality, appearance, sensationalism and controversy, contrived or otherwise. Also almost a fascination with and a desire to accentuate the negative while avoiding any coverage of the positive.

"The bubble-headed bleach blond comes on at five, speaks about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye!!"

"If D-Day Had Been Reported On Today - - by William A. Mayer."

"Tragic French Offensive Stalled on Beaches (Normandy, France - June 6, 1944) - Pandemonium, shock and sheer terror predominate today's events in Europe."

And as listed by Mr. Mayer events of 6 June not all going well for the allied troops:

* "soldiers of the 1st and 29th Infantry as well as Army Rangers are now bogged down and sustaining heavy casualties inflicted on them"

* "U.S. Naval gunships have inflicted many friendly fire casualties"

* "elements of the 82nd and 101st Airborne seemed to be in disarray as they missed their primary drop zones"

Worthy in addition to the article by Mr. Mayer just on 6 June alone:

* An entire battalion of amphibious Sherman tanks foundering and sunk, NOT ONE reaching shore.

* Army Rangers scaling the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc assaulting an objective enemy gun emplacements from which the guns had been moved previous. Casualties deemed normally catastrophic [50 %] and all for nothing..

* Each and every bomb dropped by the massed allied air forces [6 June] missed their targets altogether.

* That most major objective [British] of Caen not captured on the first day as planned but not until a month later.

American landings on Omaha beach faring poorly, that performance of U.S. soldiers less than satisfactory, even more so when considering the quality of the opposition!

* German units of the 352nd Division opposite the American landings at Omaha beach were predominantly conscripts, teenagers malnourished and considered physically capable of DEFENSIVE action only.

Important too in that month subsequent to the D-Day landings of 6 June all not well with the Normandy campaign, failure and even debacle quite common:

* Four thousand Frenchwomen raped by allied soldiers during the Normandy campaign. [in FOUR years of German occupation a total of 400 Frenchwomen were raped by German troops.]

* The somewhat significant French town of St. Lo reduced to kindling. "We had to destroy the town to save it!"

* French fascists in civilian dress surreptitiously and accurately directing German artillery fire on allied troops. "Some of the French don't want us there!" [some might be one or two but to the MSM one or two is one or two too many!]

* During the allied breakthrough offensive Cobra the massed air forces of the allies bombed friendly positions with a lot of casualties, also killing a lot of French civilians in the process..

* The coastal city of Cherbourg considered essential for further military operations but when captured that port facility rendered unusable by German sabotage. Allied coup de main not successful!

* British offensive [Canadian tank crews] action Operation Goodwood, 400 allied tanks destroyed in three days, objective not reached.

Those journalists embedded [that word would not have been used at the time] with the allied forces having the same status as a staff officer, wearing uniforms, being given proper and appropriate deference, etc. AND not so eager to concern themselves with "trivialities, superficiality, appearance, sensationalism and controversy"

coolbert.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

North & South.

This is coolbert:

To war with Kim?

Is everyone paying close attention to events as they are transpiring on the Korean peninsula? You should be!!

See here from the Christian Science Monitor the latest on North Korea [NK] and the very heated and bellicose rhetoric as emanating from same:

"North Korea: What happens if Kim Jong-un acts on his threats?"

"In the event that the 'bellicose rhetoric' of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un turns into something more serious, the opening hours of conflict could be 'pretty ugly,' defense analysts warn."

Those threats to include but not limited to:

* NK ranger/commando/special operations/unconventional warfare units in abundance, prodigious numbers of them.

* Chemical warfare as unleashed by NK forces unlimited and sustained.

* An artillery barrage of mind-boggling proportions, also abundant, prodigious, unlimited and sustained, lethal and catastrophic.

This all in just the first few hours of a conventional war.

We are not even speaking nuclear. And please do not preclude the use of atomics. As to who will be the first to fire off nuclear weaponry I cannot even say.

I have seen estimates that among those 28,000 or so American troops [of all services] currently serving in South Korea [ROK], ABOUT HALF MIGHT BECOME CASUALTIES IN THE FIRST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS!!! All of Iraq and Afghan combined will be seen as a gemutlichkeit [cordiality] as compared to one day in Korea!!

And from the CS Monitor article page 2:

“'But as the ammunition starts to run low, as food is low, with counterattacks, I  [Howard] have my own personal view that they would probably start to disintegrate within the first week,' . . . 'I’m not being flip [flippant] when I say this, but it really depends on how hungry they are.' . . . Analysts suspect that the North Korean military is not particularly well-fed."

Indeed! NOT only not well-fed but generations of young North Koreans growing stunted and physically weak from malnourishment, the North Korean Peoples Army [NKPA] UNABLE to sustain a blitzkrieg offensive in the manner as needed. As it was with the German units of Rommel in 1917 so it will be too with the NKPA units of 2013?

We hope for the best but prepare for the worst! If possible by all means avert war on the Korea peninsula rather than have to fight.

Pray the worst does not come!

coolbert.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Proud Prophet.

This is coolbert:

This was all a new one on me. Perhaps devoted readers to the blog the same for them too?

Able Archer I had heard of.

RYAN I had heard of.

Proud Prophet I had never heard of.

In isolation, the Soviet response [RYAN] to Able Archer seems strange.

Within the context of Proud Prophet and Able Archer BOTH The Soviet response makes much more sense!

The Soviet response [RYAN] a fear of a pre-emptive nuclear strike by the United States atomic assets seen as a possible and not out of the question? From the standpoint of the Soviet this seems at least more than reasonable. Atomic attack and full scale thermonuclear war was imminent!

Proud Prophet [June 1983] a war game, a simulation, a "command post exercise" [CPX] at the national level with the National Command Authority actually participating, the results of the simulation frightening.

 "In a major classified war game played in 1983, 'Proud Prophet,' in which the secretary of defense [SECDEF] played a part, a U.S. limited first-strike during a crisis led to a massive Soviet retaliation, a massive U.S. response, and more than 500 million dead."

"a June 1983 war game, codenamed Proud Prophet . . . This war game differed from earlier exercises in that . . . actual war-fighting plans were used."

"The result was a catastrophe that made all the wars of the past five hundred years pale in comparison. A half billion human beings were killed in the initial exchanges and at least that many more would have died from radiation and starvation. NATO was gone. So was a good part of Europe, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Major parts of the northern hemisphere would be uninhabitable for decades."

. . . .

"after Proud Prophet, there was no more over-the-top nuclear rhetoric coming out of the United States. Launch on warning, horizontal escalation, early use of nuclear weapons, tit-for-tat nuclear exchanges – these were banished, conceptually and rhetorically."


["The Proud Prophet war game has not been disclosed before. Phillip Karber promised Secretary Weinberger that he would not discuss any aspects of the simulation for twenty-five years, that is, until 2008."]

Able Archer [November 1983] the NATO level CPX again a simulation, a war game, an exercise an escalation of hostilities notionally the result of which was a nuclear war with devastating and far reaching consequences.

 "Able Archer 83 was a ten-day NATO command post exercise [CPX] starting on November 2, 1983 that spanned Western Europe . . . Able Archer exercises simulated a period of conflict escalation, culminating in a coordinated nuclear release."

"This scale shows what DEFCON 1 would look like, implying that nuclear war is imminent
The 1983 exercise [Able Archer] incorporated a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, participation by heads of government, and a simulated DEFCON 1 nuclear alert."

The Soviet Union the command structure civilian and military making those pertinent observations that quite reasonably might allow them to infer that war with the United States/NATO was not only imminent but perhaps inevitably close at hand.

Soviet paranoia and concern during that period WAS NOT WITHOUT FOUNDATION! Again Able Archer by ITSELF not so significant but within the context of Proud Prophet Soviet reactions very reasonable!!

coolbert.


James Shoal.

This is coolbert:

Brookes Raja, where are you when we need you now?

We were just talking about this yesterday, weren't we?

Yet one more land mass in the South China Sea the sovereignty in dispute, claimed by various parties, the Chinese ONLY this last week flexing military muscle in furtherance of dominion, a demonstration of force, having the appearance at least to me of a SOVPAT [sovereignty patrol].

More also too like a reconnaissance in force, a mission to test the resolve of surrounding nations and observe the response or lack thereof.

1. "Chinese navy makes presence felt at disputed shoal"

"YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Chinese amphibious task force conducted patrol and training missions at a shoal 50 miles from Malaysia’s coast Monday, furthering its assertive claims to nearly all territory in an area that most of the world considers international waters."

"Chinese officials said they'“were determined to safeguard the country’s sovereignty with their services on the South China Sea' during a ceremony at uninhabited James Shoal"




James Shoal underlined in RED!

"The visit to James Shoal, known as Zengmu Reef to China, was unusual for the firepower brought to bear on a territory also claimed by Malaysia and Taiwan."

Depending on who you are speaking to at any given particular moment, these "islands" called:

"Zengmu Ansha [Chinese], James Shoal [English], Beting Serupai [Malaysian]".

"James Shoal is a small bank in the South China Sea, with a depth of 22 metres (72 ft) is claimed by Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of China (Taiwan)."

Claimed by three parties, China, Taiwan and Malaysia. These "islands" about fifty miles from the coast of what used to be called Sarawak, the James Shoal at the southern most point of the Nine Dash Line.



Chinese Nine Dash Line all within claimed as sovereign Chinese territory! NOT subject to negotiation! Step lightly and obey tremble-ing-ly!

We need to be especially clear with regard to the James Shoal. NOT an island or series of islands as that term understood. A shoal, a reef, shallow waters, NOT ANY OF THE JAMES SHOAL APPEARING ABOVE WATER, THE SHALLOWEST PORTION OF WHICH LIES ABOUT 22 METERS BELOW THE WATER!! Upon arriving at the location of the James Shoal NO islands are to be see at all!!

Also from the Claude Arpi web site:

2. "How a non-existent island became China's southernmost territory"

"Where is the 'southernmost point of Chinese territory'? It's a controversial question and the least controversial answer might be Hainan Island . . . officially the southernmost point is even further south - as far south as the James Shoal, about 100 kilometres from the coast of Borneo. What's more surprising is that this piece of the motherland is actually invisible. There's nothing there to see, unless you have diving equipment. [The James Shoal lies 22 metres below [the] sea.]

Thank you Mr. Arpi.

SOVPATS at least once every five years actually "touching ground" for claims of dominion and sovereignty to be solid and legal, recognized by international law. The Australians do it, the Danes do it, the Canadians do it, so I guess the Chinese can too.

coolbert.




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pratas Islands.

This is coolbert:

Pratas Islands.

Here yet one more point of contention in the South China Sea. Land "mass" barely visible above the waterline and yet having a strategic location of importance and also claimed by multiple parties as sovereign territory! As of yet NOT a controversial item, geopolitical machinations seemed to have passed beyond the Pratas islands. SO FAR!

"The Pratas Islands, also called Dongsha Islands . . . consist of three islands forming from an atoll located in northeastern South China Sea, 340 km (211 mi) southeast of Hong Kong. The islands are governed by the Republic of China (Taiwan). The People's Republic of China [PRC] claims sovereignty over these islands along with all other territories currently controlled by the Republic of China [Taiwan]"



Pratas/Dongsha in the upper right hand corner! That box labeled Zhongsha also referred to as the Macclesfield Bank not even the smallest portion of which "land" above the waterline totally submerged yet claimed by the Chinese.

These islands too barely above the waterline during low tide occupied by the Japanese military during the Second World War [WW2].

"Japanese Naval personnel occupied Pratas Island during World War II. The Japanese Navy utilized Pratas Island as a weather station and listening outpost until May 29, 1945 when a landing party consisting of Australian Commandos and US naval personnel from the USS Bluegill SS242 raised the US flag and declared the Island as a United States territory and named it Bluegill Island . . . The Islands were later restored to the Republic of China's Guangdong Province."

The Pratas Islands at one time AMERICAN CONQUERED TERRITORY! Restored to the Republic of China in the aftermath of the war after a period of United Nations mandate.

Islands unoccupied and perhaps uninhabitable [no fresh water], guano islands but possessing a landing strip. Territory claimed as  by both mainland China and Taiwan, the latter currently and generally recognized as the sovereign ruling authority!

Pratas also during WW2 used as a seaplane base by the Japanese?

The United States having a bilateral defense treaty with Taiwan as it does with Japan and the Philippines! Confrontation between mainland China and Taiwan over these insignificant land specks requiring a legally obligated response by the United States.

coolbert.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Light & Escort.

This is coolbert:

From that prior blog entry some extracts with comment:

 "But if the supercarrier is sinking, what could rise to take its place? Smaller, cheaper flattops"

1. During that era of the Second World War [WW2] THERE WERE "smaller, cheaper flattops". To include:

The light aircraft carrier. The USS Cabot being the archetype.



 
The USS Cabot steaming during WW2. Subsequently when equipped with Harrier jump jets used by the Spanish Navy the vessel not scrapped until 2002!!

"A light aircraft carrier is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized or 'fleet' carrier. A light carrier was a similar concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers"

Smaller size, smaller number of combat aircraft, but higher speeds and able to move with alacrity when need be. Can be built faster, cheaper and in greater numbers but retaining a formidable combat capability.

The escort carrier. Even smaller than the light carrier. NOT capable of high speed and carrying even yet a smaller contingent of warplanes. Built during WW2 primarily as just that, an escort vessel,  providing convoy air support and protection. The USS Long Island the archetype vessel of this class. The Long Island during the Guadalcanal campaign those combat aircraft organic used for close air support [CAS] for the ground forces.



USS Long Island [CVE-1]. Limited role, limited capacity, but effective in the sense as envisioned by military planners. The CVE doing the job for which it was intended and nothing more!

"The escort aircraft carrier or escort carrier, also called a "jeep carrier" or "baby flattop" in the USN . . . They were typically half the length and 1/3 the displacement of the larger fleet carriers. While they were slower, less armed and armored, and carried fewer planes, they were less expensive and could be built in less time. This was their principal advantage, as escort carriers could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce."

Escort carriers more can be built faster and cheaper acknowledging the limited combat capability as compared to a "fleet" carrier of the WW2 era. But not intended to fulfill a mission beyond that of escort duty and this understood to be so from the start.

"Those large fleet carriers even during the time of the Second World War [WW2] often described as heavy-weight boxers with a glass jaw. Able to administer the knock-out punch against the adversary but at the same time also very susceptible to damage EVEN FROM A SINGLE BLOW. As was the case with the USS Franklin."

2. Glass jaw. Once single punch and the formidable heavyweight boxer is stunned and helpless, even knocked out. "Glass jaw" a term pejorative, defensive ability questioned.

This fact having been observed with American aircraft carriers of the WW2 era. A single bomb hit in the wrong place at the wrong time and the warship render3ed ineffective and impotent, neither able to further defend or take offensive action!

This being the case most egregiously so with the USS Franklin. Two bombs from one plane and the ship disabled, in peril and nearly sinking, out of action for the duration of the war, casualties ONLY exceeded for a American naval ship during the war by the sinking of the Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

"a single aircraft . . . pierced the cloud cover and made a low level run on the ship to drop two semi-armor-piercing bombs. The damage analysis came to the conclusion that the bombs were 550 lb (250 kg) . . . One bomb struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck, effecting destruction and igniting fires through the second and third decks, and knocking out the Combat Information Center and air plot.?

"Official Navy casualty figures for the 19 March 1945 fire totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded. Nevertheless, casualty numbers have been updated as new records are discovered. A recent count . . . brings [the] total 19 March 1945 casualty figures to 807 killed and more than 487 wounded . . . the worst for any surviving U.S. warship and second only to that of battleship USS Arizona"

Indeed, measures taken to douse the out-of-control and raging fires ONLY making matters worse, reminding one of the Normandie at dock, sunk while anchored by the enormous weight of water hosed onto the stricken vessel!!

"The enormous quantities of water poured aboard her to fight the fires further reduced freeboard (exacerbated, on her starboard side, by the list), and her stability was seriously impaired, such that her survival was in jeopardy"



For there to be a viable alternative to the modern super-carrier it is necessary for that F-35 Lightning in the vertical or short take-off mode to be successful? VTOL and STOL is what is needed, the issue at this exact moment in doubt, that F-35 in VTOL or STOL mode not perfected!!

coolbert.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Alternatives?

This is coolbert:

From Danger Room and Wired thanks to the tip from Jeff:

"After the Aircraft Carrier: 3 Alternatives to the Navy’s Vulnerable Flattops"

A discussion - - those very large nuclear American aircraft carriers, the Truman, the Lincoln, the Ford, etc., super-carriers what they are called, very expensive to built, very expensive to maintain, and that not including the cost of the air wing. Warships their service admittedly lasting decades and able to project power to all points on the planet but at a cost that is no longer sustainable AND warships [large size aircraft carriers] now seen and having been seen as vulnerable to enemy attack as never before.

"The U.S. Navy’s huge, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers — capital ships that have long dominated military planning and budgeting — are slowly becoming obsolete, weighed down by escalating costs, inefficiency and vulnerability to the latest enemy weapons."

AND THE ALTERNATIVES ARE?

"But if the supercarrier is sinking, what could rise to take its place? Smaller, cheaper flattops; modified tanker ships; and missile-hauling submarines are three cheaper, more efficient and arguably more resilient options."

1. “Light amphibious carriers”. Those ships of the USS America class [2013].

USS America. "PCU America (LHA-6) . . . Her mission is to act as the flagship of an expeditionary strike group or amphibious ready group, carrying part of a Marine expeditionary unit into battle and putting them ashore with helicopters and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, supported by F-35B Lightning II aircraft [20 F-35B strike fighters].and helicopter gunships."

Light amphibious carriers carrying helicopter gunships and the vertical-takeoff-landing [VTOL] version of the F-35 Lightning. Also I would assume an anti-submarine warfare [ASW] capability helicopters of the counter-rotating rotor variety also organic.

2. "Everything’s a Carrier". Those ships of the Montford Point class.

Montford Point "(T-MLP-1), the lead ship of her class of Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP)"

USNS Montford Point not necessarily a "modified tanker ship" but rather a multi-purpose vessel that can act as a "mother ship" during an amphibious assault, a floating pier and also perhaps can be configured for a variety of other purposes on demand, task tailored, combat aircraft incorporated a possible?

3 "Underwater Arsenal". Warships of the Ohio class cruise-missile configured firing submarines of which the USS Georgia is the archetype vessel.

"four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines  From 2002 to 2008 the U.S. Navy modified the four oldest Ohio-class submarines into SSGNs. The conversion was achieved by installing vertical launching systems (VLS) in . . . 22 of the 24 missile tubes, replacing one Trident missile with 7 smaller Tomahawk cruise missiles . . . This gave each converted sub the capability to carry up to 154 Tomahawks."

Those Ohio class submarines the original mission nuclear deterrence, firing intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads. Four of those Ohio class to include the USS Georgia now able to carry prodigious numbers of Tomahawk cruise missiles, presumably of the tactical variety, and able to use NetCentric warfare for targeting. Can engage targets in a surreptitious manner at long-range, relatively impervious to counter-attack!!

Those large fleet carriers even during the time of the Second World War [WW2] often described as heavy-weight boxers with a glass jaw. Able to administer the knock-out punch against the adversary but at the same time also very susceptible to damage EVEN FROM A SINGLE BLOW. As was the case with the USS Franklin.

That super-carrier of the modern era not a lot less vulnerable than the WW2 counter-part, and not being to be built in such large numbers, but best understood AS AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON, TAKING THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY - - OFFENSE IS THE BEST FORM OF DEFENSE!

Devoted readers to the blog can suggest other alternatives to the super-carrier? Power projection as that term understood today slowly but surely as a concept the validity diminished as the world order develops and changes in an organic manner, such warships becoming superfluous at some point?

coolbert.

Phantom II.

This is coolbert:

Conclusion!

Also from that StrategyPage article the Iranian F-4 Phantom "Shy and Retiring":

"Iranian engineers designed and built flight simulators for the F-4. These entered service in 2008.
"The first Iranian F-4 simulator cost about a million dollars to develop and build, and it apparently used a lot of off-the-shelf hardware and software. With that approach, and an F-4 cockpit wired into a PC running the whole thing, you could create a credible simulator for really cheap. Large screen flat panel displays and high end video cards can provide a reasonable approximation of the dome type displays used in high end Western simulators (which go for $40 million and up)."

That Iranian having an abundance of crude oil but lacking the refining capacity to produce AVGAS [aviation gasoline]. Iranian pilots and especially those pilots assigned to the Phantom F-4 [several dozen still fly-able and in the inventory] flying time limited but using home-brewed simulators of indigenous design, those simulators effective and very CHEAP [while remaining effective] as compared to internationally available analog designs. Iranian F-4 pilot using these simulators at least able to maintain some level of proficiency.

ONE MILLION as compared to FORTY MILLION and up!

This approach quite valid NOT unique to the Iranian.

I am reminded of a prior blog entry, off-the-shelf PlayStations configured by the American Air Force into a super-computer of some pretty good capability. Super-computer with a single [?] application for a single purpose, but done on the CHEAP and producing results comparable to the most advanced super-computer available!

"New US military computer made from nearly 2,000 PlayStation consoles"

"The United States Air Force has transformed almost 2,000 Japanese Sony PlayStation consoles into a powerful supercomputer suitable for military tasks. "

Necessity is the mother of invention and all that stuff. In some case it is so!

coolbert.





Phantom I.

This is coolbert:

From a recent StrategyPage article:

"Iranian F-4s Are Shy And Retiring"

"March 19, 2013: On March 12th an Iranian F-4 jet flew towards an American MQ-1 Predator patrolling the Iranian Gulf coast. The MQ-1 was in international waters (more than 22 kilometers from the Iranian coast) and it was feared that the Iranians were going to try and shoot it down . . .. Last November an Iranian F-4 fired two missiles at an MQ-1 in a similar situation, but both missiles missed"

"Iran bought 225 F-4 Phantom jets in the 1970s, and several dozen are still operational. Spare parts are obtained via a smuggling network, with some of the less complex parts manufactured inside Iran."

ONLY the other day an Iranian F-4 Phantom heavy fighter attempting to engage and destroy an American UAV. NOT the first time this has happened.

That F-4 Phantom originally designed in the 1950's, still going strong! A "workhorse" during the Vietnam War, widely used world-wide by a variety of nations for many decades, and remaining a combat aircraft NOT to be trifled with. About 5 % of the 5,000 or so Phantom as manufactured still in service!

American F-4 in the SEAD [Suppression Enemy Air Defense] mission leading the way during the First Gulf War [1991].

Spare parts for the variations of the Phantom I would assume difficult to obtain - - and those models in existence presenting a maintenance problem! From an acknowledged aviation authority we have this comment:

 "Still a good weapons platform! And with the advanced avionics available today, it can be upgraded to current standards for weapons."

"However the downside is that each F4 is unique, a near hand-built airplane with wiring, components and parts unlike any other F4, making them a maintenance nightmare when it comes to commonality of parts, blueprints, etc. . . . They were made in 'blocks' of 20, 30, or 50 planes, with each block incorporating different changes to avionics or design, and then each plane within the block receiving add-ons or changes as it progressed through the manufacturing process . . . Maintenance guys . . . never knew what they were going to see the first time they lifted the side panels off an F4"

As it was for an American air force maintenance man during the 1960's so it is now for an Iranian almost fifty years later? That situation for the latter even more dire, spare parts not obtainable through normal channels, and those "blocks" of F-4 presenting in some cases presenting a difficulty beyond amelioration I might think!

coolbert.







Friday, March 22, 2013

PPAML.

This is coolbert:

Devoted readers to the blog will understand my instantaneous reaction to this headline"

"Darpa Sets Out to Make Computers That Can Teach Themselves"

Skynet. Daleks. "Machines", computers and drones able to "think" for themselves and formulate solutions to unforeseen problems and difficulties. DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration] as usual at the forefront of the envelope.

One more aspect of the self-replicating [3D printing] war machine, autonomous and thoughtful, replacing man on the battlefield, a killing device with awesome potentiality. What has always been the purview strictly of science-fiction is slowly but surely coming to pass as reality.

"'Called “Probabilistic Programming for Advanced Machine Learning,' or PPAML, scientists will be asked to figure out how to 'enable new applications that are impossible to conceive of using today’s technology,' while making experts in the field 'radically more effective,' according to a recent agency announcement. At the same time, Darpa wants to make the machines simpler and easier for non-experts to build machine-learning applications too."

* New applications.
* Radically more effective.
* Simpler and easier.

Drones in the sky. Drones on the ground. Drones under the sea. At some point becoming sentient, self-aware and autonomous perhaps in a way not even understood by the creator [mankind]? At least for the present again science-fiction now but that reality closer than we have ever thought.

NOT an easy endeavor as the article suggests YES, but also consider that:

“Improvements on the order of two to four magnitude over the state of the art are likely necessary.”

State-of-the-art with regard to computer hardware and software combined. AND machines the final product as well NOT thinking as a human would but rather processing information and using algorithms unique to the machine world foreign and unique, alien even!

coolbert.

Agent 15.

This is coolbert:

Regarding the alleged chemical warfare attack as reported having occurred in Syria.

From the DEBKAfile: 

"Agent 15 'choking gas' used lethally in Aleppo"

"20 March. DEBKAfile reports from western military sources that present in the rocket which exploded in the Aleppo neighborhood of Khan al-Assal Tuesday March 19 were phosphorus, chlorine and Agent 15 or BZ. Although the Assad regime and the Syrian rebels charged each other with firing the rocket, which killed 15-31 people and injured more than a hundred, it was not possible to verify which side was responsible. The White House denied it was the rebels, while Moscow backed Damascus by insisting that it was."

NOT able to determine who fired the rocket or missile and this poison [?] gas a mixture of choking agent and BZ ["buzz"]. "BUZZ" more than anything else an incapacitating or hallucinogenic causing disorientation and loss of mental faculties.. "Buzz" NOT necessarily lethal of itself but when used in combination with other chemical agents to include chlorine death may be the result undeniably so.

BZ reputedly ingested by terrorist elements in Iraq just prior to a suicide attack or an assault that of itself was "suicidal" in the sense that the chances of survival were nil! Overcome all natural inhibitions and fear of death. Within the Middle East context alcohol not culturally acceptable - - opiates of some sort normally a substitute and NOW BZ also!

coolbert.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

MoH Vera Cruz.

This is coolbert:

"More on this later."

From several prior blog entries we have more on the Vera Cruz episode, Douglas MacArthur comporting himself with extraordinary bravery and displaying courage of the type as would deserve the awarding of the Medal of Honor [MoH] but denied.

The MoH being awarded to fifty-six recipients in the aftermath of the Vera Cruz Expedition [1914], that denial of MacArthur at least understood as having a basis in the regulations as were pertinent at the time.

Regulations governing the decoration [MoH] requiting:

* "the oral or written testimony of at least two eyewitnesses to the action."

Eyewitnesses ONLY those persons Mexican mercenary elements in the pay of MacArthur, that reconnaissance mission consisting except for the presence of MacArthur NOT Americans or persons deemed as disinterested parties.

This is NOT to say and also acknowledged by authorities that the account as given MacArthur was falsified or exaggerated but that necessity for independent and unbiased verification from eyewitnesses was lacking!

It can too be suggested that this independent reconnaissance mission on the initiative of MacArthur without the consent or even the knowledge of the American commander on the ground [Funston] actually imperiled the entire expeditionary force, movement beyond the established perimeter of the harbor at Vera Cruz forbidden, further action against Mexican forces of whatever persuasion not allowed without further commands or directives as issued by President Wilson and the War Department in D.C.

MacArthur authorized to conduct intelligence and reconnaissance at this discretion with his line of reporting direct to the General Staff in Washington BUT the assumption being that such missions were to be more discrete and within guidelines?

Douglas MacArthur too in the aftermath of his denial of high decoration [he did receive a Distinguished Service medal] in a fit of petulance making his thoughts publicly known and not doing himself any favors.

coolbert.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Anti-tank!

This is coolbert:

From Professor Al Nofi StrategyPage CIC # 413 we have this entry:

"•The 'Winter War' with Finland in 1939-1940 cost the Red Army about 2,400 armored vehicles, or roughly 23 a day, against an enemy who possessed no armor whatsoever and only primitive anti-tank weapons."

That Winter War of course the border dispute between Finland and the Soviet Union. The latter prevailing but at prodigious cost, including manpower and material both.

As stated by Professor Al, the Finn not possessing either armor [tanks and armored cars] or anti-tank weaponry. The Soviet in contrast having an abundance of armor almost overwhelming in nature AND used in a profligate manner.

Armor in the sense of BOTH tanks and armored cars available to the Soviet, countered with primitive and expedient ad hoc weaponry and tactics of the Finn most effective.

It should be noted that some Finnish leaders had made the correct observations of anti-tank tactics of the man-a-foot from the Spanish Civil War, the Nationalists when confronted by Soviet tanks crewed by Soviets able to resist armor even lacking the proper weaponry.

Sir John Keegan rating the Finnish soldiers as the BEST OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR!!

Finnish troops not so much braver than any other troop but able to PERFORM TEAM TASKS BETTER!

Dupuy of the opinion that three factors needed for success on the battlefield:

* Officers are more dynamic and aggressive.
* Weapons, tactics and doctrine are more suited to the conditions.
* Troops PERFORM TEAM TASKS BETTER.

Soldiers as contrasted to warriors the former:

* Acting according to a plan.
* Fighting as a team.
* Comporting themselves to discipline.

That ad hoc anti-tank weaponry as employed by the Finn including sticky bombs, gasoline bombs, not much than that and a whole lot of sisu [guts and determination in the face of adversity]!

Finland ONLY a nation-state as that term understood for twenty years prior to 1939, I might assume too that Finnish soldier having high morale, esprit, and motivation.

That observation of Sir John is right on the money? I would venture it is so!

coolbert.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Pigeon!

This is coolbert:

To war by pigeon!

Winkie & Stott!

First thanks to the BBC and the article by C. Sleight:

"The pigeon that saved a World War II bomber crew"

Winkie the carrier pigeon as released by the crew of a downed English bomber aircraft during the Second World War [WW2], Winkie arriving "home" a sure indication of trouble, Bomber Command initiating a search, rescue successful!!

"Seventy years ago a carrier pigeon performed the act of "heroism" that saw it awarded the animal's equivalent of the Victoria Cross - the Dickin Medal."

"The pigeon was not carrying a message, but the RAF were able to calculate the position [approximate] of the downed aircraft using the time difference between the plane's ditching and the arrival of the bird - taking into account the wind direction and even the impact of the oil on Winkie's feathers to her flight speed." MEN SAVED!

And from the Daily Mail this amazing and most recent discovery. The little pigeon that could. Almost!

"Skeleton of hero World War II carrier pigeon found in chimney with a secret message still attached to its leg (and now Bletchley Park are trying to crack the code)"

Skeletal remains of a carrier pigeon from the era of WW2 found after many decades, CAPSULE CONTAINING SECRET MESSAGE STILL INTACT!

•"David Martin, 74, found the stricken bird when he opened the disused fire place while renovating his Surrey home"

•"It is thought the pigeon may have stopped on the chimney and become overcome with fumes"

"Experts say the red capsule Mr Martin found is the type used by the Special Operations Executive [SOE]." The recipient of the secret message however thought to be Bomber Command. Sergeant Stott who drafted the message his unit and mission perhaps that can be researched?

"The message was written by a Sergeant W Stott and contains columns of groups of five letters. It is thought that its intended recipient, ‘X02’, is code for Bomber Command."

That secret message the decryption as not yet accomplished. Thought to have a solution but that in dispute.

AOAKN HVPKD FNFJW YIDDC RQXSR DJHFP GOVFN MIAPX PABUZ WYYNP CMPNW HJRAH NLXKG MEMKK ONOIB AKELQ UAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH LKXGH RGGHT JRZCQ FNKTQ KLDTS GQIRU AOAKN.

The English eccentrics so do love the old ways! These stories also making for good copy, print and interest.

coolbert.

First Air Cav II.

This is coolbert:

Conclusion.

Once more a response to a comment the subject that original blog entry, Ia Drang valley, Chu Pong mountain, Vietnam.

From my original entry: * Inexplicably - - twice at Ia Drang, the American infantry was surprised and much to their chagrin nearly annihilated. This cannot have been considered to be anything but an inauspicious and unfavorable start to major ground combat as undertaken by American forces in Vietnam. Even established a trend and tenor that was to last the entire duration of the war?

"Anonymous said...
It wasn't quite as one-sided as you make it sound. Albany sucked but American forces punched back about as well as they got punched, especially considering they were significantly outnumbered...actually inflicting more casualties as is typical of a defensive position. Many soldiers demonstrated immense acts of valor in defense of their comrades on both sides. Both sides actually claimed victory at the end of the day. I think you are trying way too hard to make this out to be a huge military blunder."

This is all correct. It was not so one-sided. At least at LZ X-Ray the American troops did defend in an admirable manner using indirect fire and close air support [CAS] that North Vietnamese enemy losing a lot of men. This is understood. That Colonel Moore [later Major General] was conducting a reconnaissance in force [?] BUT almost instantly found himself and his battalion besieged and threatened with annihilation cannot be seen as an auspicious start to large scale American ground combat in the war.

LZ Albany I would indeed categorize as a debacle. That an entire battalion in unfamiliar territory with unknown numbers of enemy in the vicinity was told to lay down in the open [tall grass] with the entire command apparatus of the battalion going to the front of the column [commanders call] at that exact wrong moment just suggests to me a certain degree of incompetence. And no discernible flank security either? What was that?

At LZ Albany whatever command structure remained [green lieutenants and sergeants] most of them cut down by enemy fire within seconds, at that time [1965] badges and chevrons of rank not subdued, the fight as it was left organized by specialists and privates!!

NOT a happy state of affairs.

coolbert.



First Air Cav I.

This is coolbert:

From my original Ia Drang blog entry:

"* Those American soldiers at Ia Drang each and every one parachute qualified, paratroopers the finest and best and most prepared infantry the American army could deploy to Vietnam!"

A response and comment from a devoted reader regarding that "best and most prepared":

"? Are you sure? Coleman had a different opinion on this subject: 'The green troops expended a lot of ammunition early on, firing mostly at shadows. During the early days at An Khe, the saga of Maggie the mule ended tragically. She wandered too far outside the perimeter one cloudy night and was shot by a spooked picket guard. The flailing about on the perimeter revealed a fundamental truth about the division for someone who was perceptive enough to see it: the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) that had just arrived in Vietnam was not an elite unit. True, the concept of airmobility was elite, but the troopers who were to provide the sinew for making the concept a reality were typical of the American infantry, artillery, and engineer soldiers the U.S. Army was providing to all of its line outfits in 1965'"

"Are you sure?" And the answer is YES without qualification!

Vietnam was the FIRST WAR fought by the U.S. Army where instantly deploy able divisional sized and combat ready troops were at the disposal of the national command authority, ready to go as a unit NOT combat TESTED but nonetheless as prepared as they could be.

All combat paratrooper units by definition are ELITE units. Those individual soldiers of the highest physical capacity and brought to an extraordinary level of physical fitness, motivated volunteers possessing initiative, morale and esprit not ordinarily common having undergone a screening and FILTER mechanism of parachute qualification.

Those combat arms battalion, brigade and divisional commanders of the First Air Cav also having combat EXPERIENCE, combat TESTED!

"The green troops expended a lot of ammunition early on, firing mostly at shadows."

This is correct. American soldiers for better or worse had been trained to expend their ammo and in Vietnam did so quite often leveling entire areas of forest in the process, "spooked" is the term. NO targets or maybe probing in front of them and using an entire issue of small arms ammo in response to an erroneously perceived threat!!

Poor form YES but hardly not unique to any other military unit facing mortal combat for the first time.

Nonetheless: "the finest and best and most prepared infantry the American army could deploy to Vietnam" and the answer is once more YES!

coolbert.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rat II.

This is coolbert:
 
"Salamis de rats. Sauce Robert. (rats)"

Conclusion! And we should hope so.

Thanks to the web site "Military History Of the 20th Century" a number of images from the Great War [WW1], proud Frenchmen with their displays and collection of DEAD TRENCH RATS!









That small dog in the arms of the man on the left a terrier, that most effective opponent of the rat. Terriers bred specifically to be fearless and extraordinary hunters and killers of the rat.
 


The hotel of the dead rat! Indeed!

I hope and prey these Frenchmen did not contemplate cooking and eating these rats! Spitted rat on the end of a bayonet all the rage by the occupants of the Commune, during the Franco-Prussian War, 1870. The besieged and starving residents of Paris resorting to extraordinary means during times of extraordinary circumstances. Please keep in mind those trench rats probably at one time or another had dined on HUMAN FLESH!!

coolbert.

Rat I.

This is coolbert:

"Rats came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses, and multiplied exceedingly. While I stayed here with the Welch. a new officer joined the company and, in token of welcome, was given a dug-out containing a spring-bed. When he turned in that night he heard a scuffling, shone his torch on the bed, and found two rats on his blanket tussling for the possession of a severed hand." - - Robert Graves.

Multiplying EXCEEDINGLY and with vigor!

From that era of the Great War [WW1] we have:

Trench raid, trench foot, trench fever, trench knife, trench club, trench shotgun, AND TRENCH RAT!

From the Spartacus web site courtesy of John Simkins we have vivid descriptions of the trench rat, populating the same living space as the soldiers of WW1, a disease carrying pest parasitic on the human species, a scavenger living on the refuse of mankind, an omnivore and during a time of war CONSUMING WITH RELISH THE FLESH OF THE BATTLEFIELD DEAD!!

The filthy conditions of the trenches and the lack of a "proper system of waste disposal" allowing for rat populations to explode, "exceedingly", tins as mentioned being the empty container left over from canned rations, the cans merely tossed out into "no mans" land providing a feast for the vast multitude of RATS!

"There was no proper system of waste disposal in trench life. Empty tins of all kinds were flung away over the top on both sides of the trench. Millions of tins were thus available for all the rats in France and Belgium in hundreds of miles of trenches. During brief moments of quiet at night, one could hear a continuous rattle of tins moving against each other. The rats were turning them over." - - George Coppard.

These were brown rats? A species that has become so accustomed to living as a parasite dependent on man that the creature would become extinct if humans were to disappear from the planet?

Rats too when given an abundance of food breed at an exponential rate, a single mated pair producing a larger brood more often with a higher percentage of their offspring reaching maturity the young doing so at an earlier age. Exponential population growth virtually limitless in scope!

Efforts to contain that rat population futile at best, the rat so vigorous and adaptive, flexible and responsive in a way few other animals are! RAT!

coolbert.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Heavy III.

This is coolbert:

Conclusion.

Further more from the comment to the blog by Steiner:

"the heavy fighter concept has prevailed in post-war fighter design, except of course with twin jet engines. Since the early sixties, America’s front-line air superiority fighters (F4, F15 and now F22) have all been twin-engine ships with multirole/multiweapon capability and the size and power to carry the commensurate radar, hardpoints and avionics."

F4 & F14.

Those famous warplanes Phantom F-4 and Tomcat F-14, heavy fighters originally as developed for use by the US Navy but NOT envisioned by the military planners as "dogfighters" as that term understood with the context of aerial combat.

F-4 and F-14 more correctly seen as warplanes the mission of which was to protect the aircraft carriers of the US Navy from Soviet bomber and cruise missile attack. Warplanes launched and flying Combat Air Patrol [CAP] orbiting and able to engage enemy attackers with missile fire at long range.

F-4 and F-14 heavy fighters possessing multi-engines, multi-crew, equipped with heavy weaponry [missiles] guided to the target with advanced avionics and having a long range and endurance capability. Stay aloft for a long period if necessary ON GUARD!

Enemy approaching aircraft or cruise missiles acquired at a distance and destroyed without the aircrew ever making visual contact.

That F-4 as originally leaving the factory only able to fire missiles, sans cannon or guns of any sort!

F-4 during the Vietnam War as fielded [taken to the air] by the USAF also having added an attack capability, more and more ordnance added constantly, that 20 mm Vulcan cannon allowing for "dogfighting" with MiG-21 for instance in the venerable tradition of air-to-air combat.

F-4 a heavy fighter generally seen as ponderous as compared to the MiG-21, not as agile or maneuverable in a dogfight as the MiG, but this not always the case. From conversation with an acknowledged aviation authority:

"The Mig 21 was better than the F4 in turning radius at higher altitudes, the F4 was very good below 5,000'"  [1600 meters.]

Furthermore, in the skies over North Vietnam American aviatiors also encountereing a mix of MiG-21 AND MiG-17 that latter superior at LOWER altitudes. American pilots seeking aerial dogfight combat at lower altitude having a reception of MiG-17 awaiting them!!

"the Mig 17's much superior performance at the lower altitude made for an interesting tactical mix for the N. Viets . . . [Ameican pilots descending to 5,000 feet finding] Mig 17s already there, circling and waiting to pounce as soon as F4s showed up at those lower elevations.  It was a fine tactic and one which indicated how much they or someone thought these things out."

That MiG-17 also superior at the lower altitude, less than 5,000' and armed with cannon of 23 mm and 37 mm and a gun ranging radar but ONLY a very limited ammount of ammo with a slow rate of fire:

"the rate of fire really makes a difference with planes actually flying between the bullets in the stream."

American pilots flyingin Korea described the smaller round [23 mm] as having the appearance of a ping pong ball, the larger round [37 mm] having rthe apearance of a tennis ball!

It seems that maneuverability and agility are not necessarily paramount? When the heavy [F-4] in combat with the light [MiG-17] that ability of the pilot to maximize his strenghts and limit his weakness is more important?

coolbert.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Heavy II.

This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog by Steiner:

"I suspect some of the reluctance in the popular mind to admit the superiority of the heavy fighter concept comes from two sources. First, the successful and persistent propaganda campaign of disparagement against the Bf110 during the Battle of Britain, despite the successes of the type as the prototypical strike aircraft during that campaign and as a radar-equipped night fighter in the following years."

That German heavy fighter the Bf110 not performing as hoped during the Battle of Britain, 1940.

The Bf110 as designed by the military planners a heavy fighter plane also able to carry an internal bomb load, able to escort bomber aircraft to the target, almost a jack-of-all-trades. Two-engines, multiple crew, heavy armaments, etc. HEAVY!

HEAVY in the sense also of having a three-man crew. A pilot, radio operator/navigator/bombardier and a rear gunner!

"The Messerschmitt Bf 110 . . . was a twin-engine heavy fighter in the service of the Luftwaffe during World War II."




When arrayed against the Spitfire and Hurricane the Bf110 found lacking, not as fast, not as agile, not as maneuverable inadequate as a "dog fighting" airplane in mortal combat against English adversaries.

"Battle of Britain"

"The Battle of Britain revealed the Bf 110's fatal weaknesses as a daylight fighter against single-engine aircraft."

"A relatively large aircraft, it lacked the agility of the Hurricane and Spitfire and was easily seen. The World War I-era Bristol Fighter had done well with a rear gunner firing a rifle-caliber machine gun, but by World War II, this was insufficient to deter the eight-gun fighters facing the Bf 110. Its size and weight meant that it had high wing loading, which limited its maneuverability. Furthermore, although it had a higher top speed than contemporary RAF Hurricanes, it had poor acceleration."

"The Bf 110 served with success in the early campaigns, the Polish, Norwegian and Battle of France. The Bf 110's lack of agility in the air was its primary weakness. This flaw was exposed during the Battle of Britain, when some Bf 110-equipped units were withdrawn from the battle after very heavy losses and redeployed as night fighters, a role to which the aircraft was well suited."

Heavy losses INDEED! Being shot down faster than they could be replaced.

As with other heavy fighters of the era the Bf110 carrying considerable firepower:

"Armament"

"The Bf 110's main strength was its ability to accept unusually powerful air-to-air weaponry. Early versions had four 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns in the upper nose and two 20 mm MG FF/M cannons fitted in the lower part of the nose."

"The fighter-bomber versions could carry up to 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) of bombs, depending on the type."

With regard to the Battle of Britain, DEFENSE IS THE STRONGER FORM OF COMBAT! Easier to do and you can accomplish more with less. So it was in 1940 the English able to husband their forces and employ their fighter aircraft in the defensive mode judiciously. ALL advantage to the British and much to the disadvantage of the German attacking Luftwaffe warplanes to include the Bf110.

The Bf110 as a night fighter perhaps without equal, the radar equipped version flown by German aces of which there were MANY! The German night fighter pilots of WW2 as having flown the Bf110 emerging from the war with their honor intact.

That Bf110 a heavy fighter again a niche type aircraft the mission of which was not as originally envisioned.

P.S. Forgot this one. Those British Spitfires during the Battle of Britain had available high octane American AVGAS [aviation gasoline] that WAS NOT obtainable during the Battle of France [1940] just a few months earlier. That added boost of power gave just that right amount of advantage to the defender so that performance of the Spitfire was superior from what was the case only several months earlier.

coolbert.



.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Heavy I.

This is coolbet:

Here begins a series of blog entries the topic of which is the heavy fighter. Thanks to Steiner for stimulating thought and research in this regard.

Those fighter aircraft as of World War Two [WW2] and subsequent as characterized by multi-engine, multi-crew, long range, heavy and abundant armament.

As described, not so successful in the traditional role of "dogfighting", aerial combat in the style as conventionally understood, the various designs of the combatants from that period of WW2 however finding valuable niches for the type warplane.

That heavy fighter in mano-a-mano one-on-one daytime aerial combat matched against a single-seat fighter plane of the era such as a German  Bf 109 at a distinct disadvantage, too slow, too heavy, not being to turn as well generally seen as clumsy in the "dogfight" and not agile! This is the perception which was indeed FACT?

Perhaps the best type specimen of the heavy fighter from the period of WW2 the BEAU! The English Beaufighter!

"The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter, often referred to as simply the Beau, was a British long-range heavy fighter derivative of the Bristol Aeroplane Company's earlier Beaufort torpedo bomber design. The name Beaufighter is a portmanteau of 'Beaufort' and 'fighter'."



"By fighter standards, the Beaufighter Mk.I was rather heavy and slow. It had an all-up weight of 16,000 lb (7,000 kg) and a maximum speed of only 335 mph (540 km/h) at 16,800 ft (5,000 m)."

"its ruggedness and reliability soon made the aircraft popular with crews although it was heavy on the controls and not easy to fly, good landings being a particular challenge"

It cannot be said that the Beau was underarmed. Rather the contrary:

"Armament"

* 4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk III cannon (60 rpg) in nose, and depending on role

"Fighter Command Variant"

 * 4 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns (outer starboard wing)
 * 2 × .303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun (outer port wing)
*  8 × RP-3 "60 lb" (27 kg) rockets or 2× 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs

That most famous [?] British combat aviator of the Second World War [WW2] Guy Gibson [VC] having flown ninety-nine missions in the Beaufighter, the "Beau" configured as a night fighter complete with airborne radar. This all during the Battle of Britain, 1940!

"As a night fighter pilot flying the Bristol Beaufighter with 29 Squadron he claimed four kills in 99 sorties."

Gibson at the time of his being awarded the Victoria Cross [VC] having flown one hundred- seventy missions [Bomber Command alone?] and one hundred-eighty seven mission when touring the United States, is that number of ninety-nine night-fighter missions included in the total or is that a separate tally? I am not sure.

ALSO, the Beaufighter as flown by the Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] playing a critical role during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, those Beaufighters provided Suppression Enemy Air Defense [SEAD], a mission for which the Beau was ideally suited:

"Southwest Pacific"
 "the Bristol Beaufighter Mk IC was employed in anti-shipping missions."

"The most famous of these [anti-ship missions] was the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, where they were used in the fire-suppression role in a mixed force with USAAF A-20 Boston and B-25 Mitchell bombers."

"No. 30 Squadron RAAF Beaufighters flew in at mast height to provide heavy suppressive fire for the waves of attacking bombers . . . The Beaufighters inflicted maximum damage on the ships' anti-aircraft guns, bridges and crews during strafing runs with their four 20 mm nose cannons and six wing-mounted .303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns."

Very impressive firepower indeed. That Beau as a heavy long-range fighter having found several niches for which there was no peer!

coolbert.

Monday, March 11, 2013

RSS Sabah.

This is coolbert:

As almost an experiment, those of you devoted readers to blog may want to go these web sites and subscribe to RSS feeds, the topic that news emanating from Sabah, the insurrectionist invader Royal Sulu Army now in mortal combat with the military of Malaysia.

Able to follow day by day and hour by hour in some cases at your leisure the blow-by-blow account AS IT DEVELOPS IN THAT NOW EMBATTLED PART OF THE WORLD!

RSS feeds once the domain and type of "thing" as once available ONLY to the top governmental echelon officials now for one and all and FREE.

1. From the Straits Times of Singapore.  

RSS Breaking News - SE Asia

‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2013, ‏‎14 hours ago

"Philippine government, Sulu clan discuss ways to end Sabah crisis
‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2013, ‏‎6 hours ago"

"March 11, 2013 9:26 PM"

"MANILA (AP) - A Muslim royal clan leader has met a top Philippine government official to discuss possible ways of resolving a deadly crisis that started when his brother and 200 others barged into a village in Malaysia's Sabah state to revive an old claim to the territory."
 
"Sabah stand-off: Remote village cleared of armed Filipino intruders
‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2013, ‏‎8 hours ago"

"March 11, 2013 7:00 PM"

"KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian police said on Monday they had cleared a remote village at the heart of a month-long incursion by Filipino Islamists as another gunman was killed, raising the toll in the crisis to 63."
 
2. From The Star of Malaysia. 

The Star Online: Nation

‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2013, ‏‎53 minutes ago

"Lahad Datu: It was – and is – Malaysian soil
Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2013, ‏‎2 hours ago"

"LAHAD DATU: Malaysian security forces fully secured ground zero at Kampung Tanduo and raised the Malaysian flag there as the guns fell silent after a week of heavy bombardment and sporadic fire fights."
 
"Zahid Hamidi: Filipinos in Sabah not mistreated
‎Today, ‎March ‎11, ‎2013, ‏‎2 hours ago"

"GOMBAK: The Defence Ministry has denied reports that Filipinos in Sabah were being mistreated and shot at by security forces in search of Sulu terrorists in Lahad Datu."

That Royal Sulu Army persons described as "Filipino" but preferring to see themselves as MORO!

coolbert.

Ehud Barak.

This is coolbert:

From the DEBKAfile Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the news.

1. Stern and harsh words from Barak. The Iranian again as the Israeli has stated over and over WILL NOT EVER BE ALLOWED TO POSSESS NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!

"March 3, 2013 Briefs":

"Barak: Israel will never let Iran develop a nuclear weapon"

"Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told thousands of delegates at the opening of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Sunday: 'It is Iran's pursuit of a nuclear capability which is the greatest challenge facing Israel, the region and the world today,' He added: 'Frankly, while exhausting all diplomatic means is understandable, I do not believe it will lead to… the ayatollahs giving up their nuclear status. Therefore, all options must remain on the table because Israel will never allow them to develop a nuclear weapon.' On another issue, Barak said he did not believe Israel would ever achieve a comprehensive and final peace with the Palestinians."

AND Barak also pessimistic that twenty years after Oslo, a lasting peace "comprehensive and final" ALSO will NEVER be achieved with the Palestinian.

2. Washington confirms to Barak that Hezbollah has indeed acquired and HAS IN THEIR STOCKPILE CHEMICAL MUNITIONS!!

"05 March":

"Washington: Hizballah has got hold of chemical weapons"

"When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 5, he heard for the first time in years American criticism of the Israeli army for under-reacting . . . Barak received official US confirmation that chemical weapons had reached Hizballah."

Terrorists or terrorist groups generally seen in most cases to be a nuisance rather than an existential threat. UNLESS THOSE PERSONS OR GROUPS ACQUIRE AND HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION FOR USE WEAPONS OR MASS DESTRUCTION [WMD] CHEMICAL WEAPONRY CLASSIFIED AS WMD!!

You take it from there.

coolbert.

USS Chicago.

This is coolbert:

From that prior blog entry:

"2. USS Chicago. "At least four U.S. Navy ships have been so named: a cruiser commissioned in 1889 . . . a cruiser torpedoed and sank in the Solomons Islands in 1943 . . . and a nuclear-powered attack submarine still in service."

Among those four warships named Chicago:

 1. "The first USS Chicago (later CA-14) was a protected cruiser of the United States Navy, the largest of the original three authorized by Congress for the 'New Navy'."

"She was launched on 5 December 1885 . . . and commissioned on 17 April 1889"

That "New Navy" [American] ocean-going ships able to operate in pelagic [deep] waters, able to project power to all parts of the world. American naval assets in those decades following the end of the American Civil War coastal in nature, monitors and coastal artillery [army] strictly so!

The USS Chicago of that time [1885] best referred to as an "ironclad"? A wooden hulled [this is so in the case of the Chicago?] warship the deck and sides of the ship covered by a protective plate of iron armor. Also the most critical "innards" of the Chicago also protected by iron plate armor.

"The protected cruiser is a type of naval cruiser of the late 19th century, so known because its armoured deck offered protection for vital machine spaces from shrapnel caused by exploding shells above. Protected cruisers were an alternative to the armoured cruisers, which also had a belt of armour along the sides."





The USS Chicago circa 1885. Having steam for power but also masts for "sail" to be used when needed! Guns ONLY half of which of the most largest bore able to engage an enemy at any particular instant as it had been during the time of Nelson.







As taken from the wiki that description the armor configuration of a protected cruiser such as the USS Chicago. "A schematic section of a protected cruiser illustrating the protection scheme. Red lines are the armoured deck and gun shield and grey areas are the protective coal bunkers. Note the deck thickest on the slopes, the upper coal bunker divided longitudinally to allow the outer layer of coal to be maintained while the inner bunker is emptied, and the watertight double-bottom."


2. "USS Chicago (SSN-721) is a Los Angeles-class submarine, the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Chicago, Illinois . . . her keel was laid down on 5 January 1983. She was launched on 13 October 1984 . . . and commissioned on 27 September 1986"

The SSN-721 performing yeoman duty for almost a period of three full decades now there existing at the time of commissioning and launching a small degree of controversy !!

Chicago at the time [1985] and NOW [2013] as well declared by the city council to be a NUCLEAR FREE ZONE.

No nuclear power plants allowed, no nuclear weapons either stored or permitted transit within the city limits and boundaries.

[ONLY sixty miles southwest of downtown Chicago is the MOST nuclear area in the United States. Four operating nuclear power plants and one storage facilities in close proximity within a twenty minute drive of one another. ]

Chicago the city government initially somewhat hesitant to sponsor and provide traditional and conventional amenities to the namesake ship. A "day room" aboard ship with movies, magazines, paperbacks of any and all genre' for the amusement and entertainment of the crew when not on duty. After some hesitation and debate, the city of Chicago however delivering in a commendable manner, as should have been instinctively the case.

As reported from an archived article originally appearing in the Chicago Tribune:

"City Goes Overboard To Ensure Bon Voyage For Namesake Sub"

"Known as the Commissioning Committee on the Submarine Chicago, its 76 members raised about $75,000 cash and a whole passel of donations from local businesses, said chairman Everett Barlow. He said a club is being formed to keep city and sub in touch beyond the commissioning."

"When the USS Chicago is officially commissioned . . . its curtains and table tops will display the Chicago skyline, its walls will feature paintings of Chicago by Chicago artists and its 135 crew members will be presented a duffel bag of Chicago-oriented goodies."

"Crew members and their spouses will receive free Chicago vacation packages next spring, the sub will feature Chicago-donated computers and video games, and its officers will be able to entertain up to 24 people on donated silver, china and crystal place settings--among other booty".

"A committee directing the city`s support for the submarine arranged for its cook to be trained by the city`s culinary elite."

That most current USS Chicago still going strong, YEOMAN duty and performance INDEED!

YEAH Chicago!

coolbert.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Royal Sulu Army.

This is coolbert:

"The injustice most foul committed by both Philippine and Malaysian colonialism in land-grabbing the Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA) cannot be forever hidden to a mere footnote in history. Certainly, an immoral and criminal activity of this magnitude has to surface to haunt and scare the perpetrators that a grievous injustice has to be rectified. Otherwise, it will always end humiliating the colonizers even though using the majesty of law in legitimizing the crime against an oppressed humanity." - - declaration from the web site of the Moro National Liberation Front [MNLF].
 
 
Rush bulletin, latest breaking news from just now, from various web sites we have the details, persons referred to as Filipinos run amuck in Sabah. A battalion sized invading army more correctly called MORO at this very moment in mortal combat with the armed forces of Malaysia.

Sabah called North Borneo during colonial times, now part of Malaysia, the invader my original thought belonging to those guerrilla/terrorist forces associated with the Moro National Liberation Front.

1. "Battle for control of Kampung Tanduo"

"'They came in the dead of the night. I woke up and saw armed men docking off from boats with long knives. I've never seen them before in my life," says Ben Ahmid.'"

"Calling themselves the Royal Sulu Army, they demand recognition and the right to permanently stay in Sabah. There are about 500 of them, they say, and are followers of the Sultanates of Sulu, who once ruled over Sabah and Northern Borneo."

And right next to the Sultanate of Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei believed to be richest man in the world, oil deposits and reserves of immense wealth, again, that area of the Souoth China Sea most contentious.

2. "Malaysia bombs armed Filipino group in Sabah"

"Jet fighters backed by hundreds of troops move against 'Royal Sulu Army,' a group laying claim to resource-rich state"

That Royal Sultan Army consisting of persons possessing Filipino citizenship but seeing themselves as outcasts in their own land, NOT Filipino but MORO. This should be understand, the context and perspective MOST important!

"The Sultanate of Sulu Dar al-Islam . . . ruled over many of the islands of the Sulu Sea, in the southern Philippines and several places in northern Borneo. The sultanate was founded in 1457"

Those various Sultans and their followers for a period of over FIVE HUNDRED YEARS RESISTING WHAT THEY PERCEIVE AS FOREIGN INCURSION AND DOMINATION! Armed Moro at one time or another waging war against the military forces of:

* Spain.
* United States.
* Philippines.

AND NOW Malaysia.

The Moro noted for his ferocity in combat, willing to stand his ground, kill and be killed, perhaps without peer never to be taken lightly!

3. "Lahad Datu: MNLF strongly condemns violent acts by Sulu invaders"

"JOHOR BARU: The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) strongly condemns the violent acts committed by Sulu terrorists in Lahad Datu and Semporna, said its chairman Muslimin Sema."

These invaders, the Royal Sultan Army being MORO but not part of the MNLF? So it appears.

The Moro an ETERNAL people. The name, the race, the flag flown by the invader changes, but the MORO does not. As it was five hundred years ago as it is NOW!

coolbert.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Push-Pull.

This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog by Steiner:

"Steiner said...
What about the Dornier Do335? A combo push/pull, it has been described as the most effective iteration of the twin-engine 'heavy' fighter concept in the Luftwaffe's WW2 deployment."

Indeed, two items of interest here:

1. The heavy fighter warplane of the Second World War [WW2] era.

A warplane the heavy fighter most often characterized [perhaps in all cases?] by having two engines, able to escort long-range bombers all the way to the target, the heavy fighter carrying ordnance beyond that of the normal "light-weight" fighter of the same war.

"A heavy fighter is a fighter aircraft designed to carry heavier weapons or operate at longer ranges. To achieve acceptable performance, most heavy fighters were twin-engined, and many had multi-place crews."

Heavy fighters types and Marks of WW2 to include but not limited to:

* Mosquito [British].
* Bf 110 [German].
* Beaufighter [British].
* P-38 [American]

The concept of the heavy fighter worthy but as implemented during the war the results less than satisfactory:

"heavy fighters largely failed in their intended roles during World War II, as they could not outmaneuver the more conventional, single-engined fighters. Many twin-engined heavy fighters eventually found their niche as night fighters, with considerable successes."

2. And add to that list  the Dornier 335. A heavy fighter with the engines mounted in the push-pull configuration, one at the front and one at the rear.




This plane as displayed in the United States having the swastika symbol. That same plane as a museum piece in Germany would be sans swastika.

"The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil ('Arrow') was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company . . . The Pfeil's performance was much better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique "push-pull" layout and the much lower drag of the in-line alignment of the two engines"

The Do 335 having that tricycle landing gear and possessing some considerable firepower:

"Armament"
* 1 × 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 103 cannon.
* 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cowl-mount, synchronized autocannons

The Do 335 several some interesting features disadvantages and potential difficulties with the design taken into consideration remedies incorporated from the start:

* "The choice of a full 'four-surface' set of cruciform tail surfaces in the Do 335's rear fuselage design, included a ventral vertical fin–rudder assembly to project downwards from the extreme rear of the fuselage, in order to protect the rear propeller from an accidental ground strike on takeoff."

* "explosive charges built into the aircraft to blow off the tail fin and rear propeller in the event of an emergency."

Recall that the Swedish Saab-21 also having the same explosive capability! Blow that rear tail assembly away in case of pilot bail-out!

Also, as with the experimental "pusher" designs of the same war, the formidable combat capability of the Do 335 and the advantages of the push-pull design made MOOT by the advent of the jet engine!

coolbert.



Chicago!


This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune from only the other day:

"THE TALK"

"Chicago IN NAME ONLY"

Chicago Illinois, USA.

As seen in a recent edition of the National Geographic magazine, Chicago IL USA rated as the SIXTH most important city in the world.

That rating scheme listing by importance # 1 New York City, # 2 London, # 3 Paris, #4 Tokyo, # 5 Hong Kong!

That word and name Chicago having a military dimension most surprising:

1. Port Chicago disaster.

"This little-known incident occurred at Port Chicago, Calif., northeast of San Francisco, during World War II [1945]. A hung explosion at a naval munitions base left more than 320 people dead."

2. USS Chicago.

"At least four U.S. Navy ships have been so named: a cruiser commissioned in 1889 . . . a cruiser torpedoed and sank in the Solomons Islands in 1943 . . . and a nuclear-powered attack submarine still in service."

3. Chicago, the aircraft.

"A fleet of four U.S. Army Air Service planes [one of which was named Chicago] set out westward from Seattle in 1924 with the goal of being the first to circumnavigate the globe . . . Chicago and New Orleans made it all the way around the world in 175 days."

4. Chicago, the Israeli training site.

" Israel's military has built a fake town in the middle of the Negev desert and used it for decades to train for urban combat. The town's code name: 'Chicago.'"

Comment:

* Chicago during the Second World War [WW2] the city inextricably linked also to the atomic bomb project. A. Chicago [Dodge plant] where the engines for the B-29 bomber were built. B. Mt. Forest the site for the experimental reactors as used by the Manhattan Project. As went Chicago so went the war effort so it seems!

*  That Port Chicago disaster two merchant vessels being loaded with munitions spontaneously and sympathetically exploding, the nearby town of Port Chicago reduced to kindling and NEVER REBUILT!

That location now called the Concord Naval Weapons Depot.

Some conspiracy advocates have suggested probably erroneously so that the explosion was in actuality a surreptitious test of a uranium "gun" type atomic bomb as was detonated at Hiroshima.

This seems not to be the case the soil of the depot not containing [?] those trace elements of radioactivity as would have been the residue of an atomic detonation! Still, the controversy continues.

coolbert.