Friday, October 31, 2008

Knives & Shovels.

This is coolbert:

Here are two more "silent weapons that would be carried and employed by Soviet/Russian Spetsnaz troopers. Ranger/commando/special operations type soldiers, raiders, attacking a facility or an installation, desiring stealthy and surreptitious entry, killing or disabling sentries, guards, dogs, in as quiet a manner as possible.

1. Soviet/Russian ballistic knife.

"A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable blade that can be expelled from the handle/frame as a projectile by means of a spring-operated or gas-driven mechanism."

"Ballistic knives are used as covert 'stealth' weapons when a firearm is not appropriate. The Russian Spetznaz ballistic knife is a metal tube with a powerful spring to deploy the blade . . . The spring in these knives is powerful enough to propel the blade about 20 feet. When combined with an overhand throwing motion it will penetrate clothing and flesh. [and, reputedly too, body armor?]"

From Suvorov:

"he [spetsnaz troop] carries on his right calf a huge knife . . . and on his left calf four spare blades. The Spetsnaz knife is no ordinary knife. It has a powerl spring in it so that when you remove the safety catch and press the release button the knife blade shoots out with a terrible hiss . . . the blade can carry 25 meters. If It lands in a tree it is not always possible to pull it out"

I do recall very well the enormous brouhaha that erupted when these ballistic knifes found their way to the market. Seemed like a whole lot of people wanted to own one. Senator Moynihan was on record as saying that these "devices" needed to be banned, and promptly.

The thought was that every impressionable young man who read the magazine "Soldier of Fortune" would be buying and carrying a ballistic knife, a lot of mayhem being the result. Dead piles of stuck-though police and civilians laying around everywhere!

2. Spetsnaz fighting shovel.

The common Soviet/Russian entrenching tool. Sharp on three sides, a single monolithic object, unlike the current American entrenching tool. Used by Spetsnaz soldiers as a fighting weapon, silent, and in the right hands, downright deadly.

"In a combat training of Spetsnaz soldiers a great attention is paid to their ability to engage in hand-to-hand combat and to use hand-held weapon . . . an entrenching shovel is of special importance . . . it is a formidable weapon of the close combat."

"the entrenching shovel is an excellent throwing implement - the range of aimed throw made by a well-trained specialist is 10 meters or more."

A weapon used as a hand-to-hand fighting tool, and, WHEN USED IN THE RIGHT HANDS, A THROWING WEAPON ALSO!

Again - - from Suvorov:

"In the hands of a spetsnaz soldier the spade is a terrible noiseless weapon . . . The little spade can be used in hand-to-hand fighting against blows from a bayonet, a knife, a fist or another spade . . . Finally a soldier is taught to throw the spade as accurately as he would use a sword or a battle axe . . . As it spins in flight [the spade has] accuracy and thrust. It becomes a terrifying weapon. If it lands in a tree it is not so easy to pull out again."

Here, thanks to the Russian web site: "Entrenching Shovel in Close Combat. Version of Spetsnaz GRU. Basic Fighting Technique." you can see video clips of Alexander Popov [???], demonstrating the fighting shovel combat technique.

You see a lot of twirls, pirouettes, jumps, etc. Ballet-like in form??!! This is characteristic of Russian style martial arts? Russian All-round Fighting [RAF] DOES emphasize Russian folk dance as a basis for many martial arts "moves"!? An indigenously developed Russian close-quarters-combat fighting form that is very effective!?

I would ask the question too, HOW OFTEN WOULD SUCH WEAPONS BE EMPLOYED?
Martial arts as taught to special operations units the world over are obviously useful, to say the least, but how often used? I would think very rarely, if at all?

Such martial arts techniques are more than anything else an excellent way of developing physical fitness, building confidence, instilling aggressiveness, AND OF COURSE - - PERHAPS KILLING AN AMERICAN SENTRY - - NOISELESSLY - - WITH A KNIFE OR A SHOVEL!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This is coolbert:

Thanks to the Russian web site WorldGuns.

Here is a collection of silenced firearms - - the like of which would be carried and employed by ranger/commando/special operations units that perform direct action missions.

Direct action missions requiring stealth, surreptitious entry of a facility, the elimination of guards and sentries in a silent manner, etc.

Perhaps the word MUFFLED is more appropriate when speaking of "silenced" firearms? The report [the sound a firearm makes is called the "report"] is not totally eliminated with most silenced weapons [?], but is rather markedly reduced? This is more correct?

Silencers do have drawbacks that preclude widespread battlefield use! To include:

* Reduced effective range and "stopping power" of the firearm! ["stopping power" is especially critical with a handgun, ALL handguns being marginal stoppers to begin with!]

* A silencer, according to what I read, is effective for only about ten to twenty rounds max, and then loses all ability to "muffle" the report!

Here with a smattering of silenced military firearms, past and present:

* PB silenced pistol [Soviet/Russian].

Each and every Soviet/Russian spetsnaz soldier carries one of these pistols, strapped to his leg. Allow for the parachutist to defend himself immediately upon landing, his AK having been secured in a case prior to exiting the aircraft. A pistol that can be used in either the silenced or non-silenced mode!

"The PB (Pistolet Besshumnyj - Silenced Pistol), also known for Soviet/Russian army as 6P9, has been developed by 1967 for Spetsnaz elements of the Soviet army . . . The pistol is based on significantly modified Makarov PM pistol, and features an unique integral two-part silencer. The rear part of the silencer is fixed around the barrel, which is drilled to decrease the muzzle velocity below the speed of sound."

* Welrod silenced pistol [British].

"British World War Two [WW2] era silenced pistol. A bolt-action pistol [!!], originally of .32 caliber, used by special operations units even up until the 1990's!"

"[the]Welrod pistol was developed in UK by Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.), a government organisation which was tasked with intelligence, diversions and other special operations . . . 9mm Welrod Mk.I commenced in 1944, on request of the British Special operations forces. The latter model survived for a quite long time, and some 9mm Welrod Mk.I pistols were apparently still in operational use by British Special Operations forces as late as in 1991, during the operation Desert Storm.

* VSS silenced sniper rifle [Soviet/Russian].

Currently IN USE by Russian airborne and special operations [Spetsnaz] units. Effective range with integral silencer is about 200 meters.

"VSS (Vinovka Snaiperskaja Spetsialnaya = Special Sniper Rifle) was designed for special operations . . . [this weapon uses ] a new subsonic cartridge, based on the 7.62x39 case, necked out for 9mm bullet. The bullets used in new cartridges are long and heavy (about 16 gram), and of ball (SP-5) and AP (SP-6) type. The latter bullet features a hardened steel penetrator as the core, and can defeat most military issue body armors at ranges up to 300-400 meters." [this rifle is accurate out to about 200 meters]

The above photo taken this year, 2008. That young-looking Russian troop [either airborne or spetsnaz!] guarding those captured Georgian soldiers is carrying the VSS silenced sniper rifle.

* Sten - - Mk.II(S) [British].

A silenced version of the famous Sten gun. WW2 era sub-machine gun produced for a cost of about $8! THIS WEAPONS WAS CARRIED AND USED BY THE JAYWICK RAIDERS DURING THE ABORTIVE OPERATION RIMAU!

"Some Mk.II STEN guns were manufactured with integral silencers for undercover operations and were marked as These guns had shortened barrels enclosed into integral silencer. The silencer was rather effective so most audible sound when firing Mk.IIS was the clattering of the bolt moving back and forth in the receiver."

* De Lisle Carbine (De Lisle Silenced Carbine) [British].

This was an interesting prototype [?] weapon that may have been used by the troops of the Long Range Desert Group [LRDG]! A modified British SMLE rifle with integral silencer, firing the .45 caliber ACP pistol round!

"the De Lisle carbine was invented by William De Lisle. The weapon is a combination of the modified SMLE bolt, receiver, and stock mated to a shortened Thompson submachine barrel. The magazine housing and the bolt’s face has been adapted to accept the 7 round magazine for the Colt M1911a1 pistol . . . An integral sound suppressor is fitted to the carbine and ran the full length of the barrel and then several inches beyond."

"The .45 ACP round was selected because it is a subsonic round . . . The 45 ACP was ideal because it retains close to its full lethality even with a suppressor."

[and the LRDG too carried as a standard [?] weapon the Thompson .45 ACP sub-machine gun! You would have a commonality of ammunition here. An important consideration for special operations units?]

"A primary use for the carbine was to kill radio operators, high value targets (leaders) and sentries when conducting raids or planting explosives on airfields or other important targets."

Exactly! As I have said: "direct action missions requiring stealth, surreptitious entry [penetration] of a facility [airbase]"!



This is coolbert

From the Chicago Tribune today:


"U.S. nuclear weapons need update, Gates says"

"WASHINGTON - - Unless the United States modernizes its inventory of nuclear weapons and develops a replacement warhead, the arsenal's long-term safety and reliability will deteriorate, Defense Secretary - - Robert Gates warned Tuesday."

"Gates also broke with the Bush administration by saying the United States 'probably should' ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and international agreement prohibiting new testing or nuclear weapons."

"Some experts think support could build in the Senate if the Pentagon establishes that it can build a new weapon without testing. Gates suggested Tuesday that a new replacement warhead could be developed this way."

"He said the current nuclear stockpile has been re-engineered to extend its life span, but such extensions cannot continue indefinitely. Without a modernization program, Gates said, the long term outlook for the arsenal it 'bleak'."

"No one has designed a new nuclear weapon in the United States since the 1980's and no one has built a new one since the early 1990's."

Some comments here:

* There is a shelf-life to all these nuclear weapons? The high-explosive shaped charges for an implosion style nuke and the fissionable material as well - - have a certain shelf-life and must be replaced or tested from time to time for reliability? Indeed, an entire nuclear munition of whatever type of style WILL NOT LAST FOREVER WITHOUT DETERIORATION!? Consequently, reliability is a major concern?

* And we are not talking here about developing NEW WARHEADS FOR NEW DELIVERY SYSTEMS?! Merely fitting older delivery systems with NEW WARHEADS?
* And there is here too a conundrum? Develop new warheads and guarantee reliability WITHOUT TESTING?! Can this be done? NO ONE has designed a new nuclear warhead since the 1980's? That would suggest to me that all the old-timers have by now retired, the new men NOT having the degree of experience to ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE RELIABILITY WITHOUT TESTING!!
* This "new" warhead. Able to be retro-fitted on a variety of delivery vehicles? Can be fitted to an ICBM, SLBM, GLCM, ALCM, "dumb" bomb dropped from a B-52? Many questions to be asked here!

* Keep in mind that you just do not need that many nuclear warheads any more. The U.S. currently has stockpiled about 8,000 total nuclear warheads, of which 2,000 are actually fitted on delivery systems, the remainder mothballed? Primarily, prodigious numbers of nukes are not needed - - due in large measure to the destructive power of newly developed conventional [non-nuclear] weapons. Such as - - the to be fielded next year - - the X-51 hypersonic delivery vehicle. The warhead of the X-51 will saturate a square mile area with thousands of tungsten rods, each rod having twelve times the energy of a fifty [.50] caliber machine-gun round!!!

* And from that Tribune article - - further: "$89 million to determine the cost of building a new warhead." Let us be perfectly clear here. It will cost a mere $89 million JUST TO STUDY THE COST OF BUILDING A NEW WARHEAD!! NOT the cost of the warheads themselves [that cost will be in the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS?] BUT only to study the whole matter. NO ONE said national defense was cheap, did they?

* And when Bob Gates says that the U.S.: "'probably should' ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty", this is of course CONTINGENT UPON THE WEAPONS DESIGNERS DEVELOPING A WAY OF GUARANTEEING RELIABILITY WITHOUT TESTING!! NOT otherwise!
* The entire question of testing in itself will raise a lot of hackles in some quarters. I recall very well from way back when in 1971 when the Amchitka Island Cannikin underground test took place. All sorts of unfounded and unwarranted dire predictions were made prior to the atomic detonation. World-wide catastrophe was prophesied, ruin occurring on a Biblical scale. NO LESS a personality than David Brinkley aloud questioned the need for such a test. "What have the people at Los Alamos been doing for the last thirty years that they cannot build an atomic bomb and NOT know it will work without testing!!"

[maybe what is needed is to approach the Israeli scientific community and sound them out on this matter. Perhaps their expertise is even greater than what could be expected from U.S. weapons designers?]

Personally, I would not certify any nuclear weapon unless it was tested first.

A lot of questions have to asked and answered before a weapons upgrade can occur? Appears so!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This is coolbert:

More alarming headlines, only today, from the Congo:

"Q&A: Fighting in Congo"

"Tens of thousands of civilians flee in east Congo"

"Tens of thousands of people have fled in heavy fighting in east Congo after rebels seized a key army base near the town of Goma. At least 200,000 people have been displaced in the area in the last two months amid growing concern about a return to full-scale war."

"Nkunda [Rwandan rebel commander], who has been implicated in numerous war crimes, is believed to command around 5,500 highly trained and disciplined fighters [Tutsis].

"The UN has 17,000 peacekeepers in Congo, its largest mission in the world . . . Thousands of demonstrators attacked the UN headquarters in Goma yesterday, smashing cars and office windows in a show of anger."

"UN force is in disarray. The commander of the UN mission, Lieutenant General Vicente Diaz de Villegas of Spain, resigned yesterday citing personal reasons after having been appointed only seven weeks ago."

"diplomats . . . seemed receptive to sending additional battalions and other reinforcements to shore up the U.N.'s peacekeeping force in Congo"

"the force [U.N peacekeepers] can use additional 'capacity' to defeat its attackers."

Right! Additional capacity is needed. Those African peacekeeping troops just do not have the physical or mental wherewithal to deal with the situation. This Spanish general officer - - having been appointed commander of the U.N. force only seven weeks ago - - HAS JUST UP AND LEFT!! What does that say!!


Once, more, we see evidence that the nation-state system of government is not appropriate for Africa? What is the alternative? De-populations of entire regions by a combination of endemic warfare and disease is the future of sub-Saharan Africa?


No amelioration to an already bad situation is possible?

French Foreign Legion [FFL] troops are needed to stabilize the current crisis? But what then? Answers are lacking!



This is coolbert:

"it doesn't matter whether the cat is white or black, only that it catches mice!"

From the Chicago Tribune yesterday:

Once again, an indication that the FARC, the Colombian guerrilla group, at one time controlling a goodly portion of Colombia, is coming apart at the seams. This time, a Colombian legislator, held prisoner for eight years, has walked to freedom - - accompanied by the youthful rebel who was his [the legislator] captor.

"Colombian captive and jailer flee"

"Desertion and escape are dual blows to rebels"

"BOGOTA, Colombia - A 62 year-old lawmaker held captive eight years by leftist rebels walked to freedom in a western Colombian jungle, on Sunday along with the young guerrilla commander, who had been his jailer."

"Presidente Alvaro Uribe [of Colombia] said the rebel and his girlfriend would be rewarded with cash and asylum in France."

"Colombia's military has put pressure on the guerrillas, known as FARC since early 2007, killing or capturing top commanders and spurring record desertions and betrayals among rebels with lucrative reward offers."

"Uribe said 'Isaza' [the youthful rebel captor] would received a reward - - . . . about $400,000 and asylum in France along with his girlfriend."

Well, another FARC bites the dust - - a captive is repatriated - - all is well that ends well. "Isaza" and his girlfriend can lead a comfortable life of leisure now?

Paying off the rebel is a cost efficient way to do business? A lot of folks would prefer that things NOT be done this way? Rewarding "Isaza" for his misbehavior is NOT perceived as a totally just end to the situation?

One method by which the Huk rebellion in the Philippines was suppressed was to offer the guerrilla fighters [mostly landless peasants] plots of land, free acreage, in return for surrender. Under certain circumstances, the carrot-and-stick approach DOES work well to combat insurgencies. Keep up unremitting pressure militarily, and, at the same time, offering inducements - - encouraging desertions from among the ranks of the guerillas!!

Those FARC guerrillas have been out there in the jungle fighting for over forty years now. With no end in sight, and the situation now rapidly now going "sour", cash rewards in return for surrender and asylum/amnesty is the way to go?


Monday, October 27, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here are several other instances, post-World War Two [WW2], of ranger/commando/special operations units able to attack and destroy military aircraft on the ground.

Attacks, at least on one occasion, the reaction to, resulted in consequences that were far-reaching!

1. Bien Hoa air base, South Vietnam - - 1 November, 1964.

Viet Cong/North Vietnamese [?] [VC/NVA] sappers successfully attack the Bien Hoa air base, South Vietnam. Destroy five and damage fifteen American B-57 light bomber aircraft parked on the tarmac. Attacked by a VC/NVA special operations unit of the highest caliber, those B-57 bombers being destroyed by a combination of mortar fire AND DEMOLITION SATCHEL CHARGES THROWN BY SAPPERS WHO PENETRATED THE AIRBASE PERIMETER AND MADE IT ONTO THE FLIGHT LINE!

[those satchel charges like unto a Lewes bomb,?!]

A direct action mission of the VC/NVA, successful, that resulted in a very big black eye for the U.S. military.

As a result of this raid [in large measure] by the VC/NVA force, President Johnson made the decision to initiate Operation Barrel Roll. Retaliatory bombing missions by U.S. aircraft BEYOND THE BORDER OF SOUTH VIETNAM!!


2. Pebble Island Raid, Falkland Islands, 14 May 1982.

In this particular instance, a direct action mission of the British SAS. Special Air Services. Another ranger/commando/special operations unit that "specializes" in destroying enemy aircraft on the ground, following the tradition first began during WW2 in the north African desert campaign. Here, we have the raiders targeting Argentinian aircraft parked on the ground, the airfield at Pebble Island!

Again, as with Bien Hoa, we find the combined arms style attack to be most effective! Indirect mortar fire - - and troops on the ground, the latter rushing up to the parked aircraft, flinging demolition satchel charges that also have an incendiary nature [?], the attackers escaping almost unscathed.

And, once again, we have the defender left humiliated, with a pile of burnt-out hulks all that remains of a once proud air capacity!

"when you least expect them, is when they are most likely to appear!!" - - anonymous.


Sunday, October 26, 2008


This is coolbert:

"Non Vi Sed Arte -- Not by Strength, by Guile" - - Motto of the LRDG.

"These men [LRDG] are dangerous!!"

Here are the Englishmen who during World War Two [WW2], pioneered the concept of ranger/commando/special operations troops attacking and destroying enemy aircraft while on the ground.

The Long Range Desert Group [LRDG] .

"The Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was a British Army unit during World War II. The unit was founded in Egypt, following the Italian declaration of war in June 1940 . . . The group specialised in mechanised reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and desert navigation."

[not exclusively Englishmen, but for the most part so?]

LRDG! Unconventional warfare troops, small, autonomous units, adept at reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence gathering, and DIRECT ACTION MISSIONS! Direct action missions the goal of which was to destroy enemy [Axis] aircraft ON THE GROUND!

Direct action missions, using measured audacity, units employing for movement specially modified jeeps, automobiles, trucks! Movement over terrain [Saharan desert] thought be either next to impossible or impossible! Missions that sometimes involved movement across trackless waste of THOUSANDS OF KILOMETERS!!

Units, officered to a certain extent by the sons of the English elite? Officers, quite often persons themselves of noble rank, not shirking their duty but commanding ground troops performing the most dangerous and rugged duty possible!

Credited [along with other similar units] with having destroyed, in the North African campaign, over four hundred [400] Axis aircraft, those planes sitting ducks on the ground!!

[this too at a time when the British campaign in North Africa had a number of serious ups-and-downs. LRDG maintained, almost singlehandedly, an offensive spirit that was undeniable and admirable!]

A unit [LRDG], that even devised and employed their own unique demolition explosive device, ideally suited for destroying aircraft on the ground. The Lewes bomb.

"The Lewes bomb was a blast-incendiary field expedient explosive device, manufactured by mixing diesel oil and Nobel 808 plastic explosive . . . powerful enough to destroy and set fire to aircraft on an enemy airfield. Weighing approximately 1 pound (0.45 kg), the Lewes Bomb could be carried in quantity by an individual."


"From now on all men operating against German troops in so-called commando raids, even if they are in uniform, whether armed or unarmed, in battle or in flight, are to be annihilated to the last man.... Even if these individuals on discovery ... give themselves up as prisoners, no pardon is on any account to be given."

An order, that in the main, was not followed by German commanders in the field! [on some occasions, was followed, the executions constituting a war crime of the most serious nature!]

"These men [LRDG] are dangerous!!"

You betcha'!


Saturday, October 25, 2008


This is coolbert:

I see that World Airways is still in business and going strong.

"World Airways, Inc. is an American non-scheduled airline"

An airline whose history is intrinsically linked to the U.S. military!

An airline that does business and makes money primarily through charter service, and most of that made through U.S. government contracts - - flying American troops all over the world!!

"World became a key military contractor during the Vietnam War, flying troops and equipment between the war zone and World's base at Oakland International Airport [OART]"

"During the first Persian Gulf War, World did a substantial amount of profitable business for the military . . . During the mid 1990s, World operated the military passenger trunk route from Osan Air Base, Korea and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa to Los Angeles"

"The airline still receives a substantial amount of its business from the military, especially in its role connecting American bases in the U.S. to the Middle East."

Right! Flying American serviceman to Iraq and other points in the Middle East! A large portion of World business is directly related to American war efforts, past and present? First during the Vietnam era, then Gulf War One and Two, and now during the Global War on Terror [GWOT]!

Recently on television they showed a unit of military policemen from the Iowa National Guard boarding a World jumbo-jet, en route to Iraq!

Young women, stewardesses [I still call them that], greeting the troops as they board! I give those "stewies" a lot of credit. Going into danger and knowing so, and making such flights over and over.

And, the contrast with what was the situation forty years ago, when I first flew World Airways [my initial active duty overseas deployment] is most striking!

Back in my day - - you ONLY traveled in Class A uniform, white-side wall haircut, and inspected before embarkation! If you did not meet standards, you did not fly.

Today - - troops such as the military police unit from Iowa, board a World aircraft wearing BDU with web gear, AND CARRYING THEIR M-16 RIFLE!! [presumably no ammo in their possession?]

Nowadays, you are expected to hit the ground running and perform to standard from the get-go!! This is no pleasure cruise [flight]!


Friday, October 24, 2008


This is coolbert:

From a prior blog entry:

"Airmen, performing their mission utilizing a variety of surveillance devices, sentry and guard dogs, fighting vehicles as warranted!"

Military units, such as the Air Force Security Forces, guarding airbases from ground attack, utilizing sentry and attack dogs. Versatile and very effective companions to the human soldier [airman]!

"he [dog] can see two looks, and when a cloud passes overhead, he [dog], can hear it!!" - - as told by a Mohawk American Indian to a NYC detective in the movie, "Wolfen"!

* Sentry dog - - detects the presence of an intruder and alerts the handler, but does not attack!

* Guard dog - - NOT only detects your presence, but is released and comes after you TO KILL YOU! NOT ONLY TRYING TO KILL, BUT DOING SO WITH RELISH!

Suvorov is most empahatic that "the most frightening, demoralising opponent of the spetsnaz soldier has always been and always will be": DOG!

Spetsnaz! Those troops of the Soviet/Russian ground forces whose primary mission is to attack in time of war, and even prior to the beginning of overt hostilities, the nuclear weapons assets of an enemy nation. Cutthroat killer elite ranger/commando/special operations soldiers who recognize that their [spetsnaz] most dangerous opponent on the battlefield will be the enemy [American] military working dog [MWD]!

"A Spetsnaz soldier has many enemies . . . But your principal enemy always remains the same. Your principal enemy, my friend, has its ears standing up, yellow fangs with drops of evil saliva, a gray fur with a long tail. Its eyes are brown with yellow spots and its coats is red-brown beneath the collar. It is your principal enemy because it is quicker than you. It detects your scent with it nose. And it has a tremendous leap when it hurls itself at your throat."

"The most frightening, demoralising opponent of the spetsnaz soldier has always been and always will be the dog. NO electronic devices and no enemy firepower has such an effect on his morale as the appearance of dogs."

"Surveys conducted among soldiers, sergeants and officers in spetsnaz produce the same answer again and again: the last thing they want to come up against is the enemy's dogs."

Spetsnaz troops, being taught during their intensive training, a variety of martial arts techniques that allow them to DEFEAT an attacking dog! NOT ONLY learn the methods of close-quarters-combat with a vicious dog, but PRACTICE these methods in REAL LIVE FIGHTS WHERE DEATH IS A REAL POSSIBILTIY!!
"A soldier armed with nothing but the spade is shut in a room without windows along with a mad dog, which makes for an interesting contest."

"Unpleasant surprises are always awaiting the spetsnaz soldier . . . sometimes in the most unlikely situations . . . On a Saturday evening, when it seems that a hard week is behind him, he is grabbed and thrown into a small prison cell with a snarling dog."

The Soviet/Russian spetsnaz units may also have with them, canine companions whose sole purpose is TO DEFEAT AMERICAN ATTACK DOGS!!

"Dogs perform a lot of tasks in the modern spetsnaz . . . They are just as mobile as the men themselves, since they can be dropped by parachute in special soft containers . . . Some especially powerful and vicious dogs are trained for one purpose alone - - to guard the group and to destroy the enemy's dogs if they appear."

One such American air base, utilizing dogs as part of the security and guard force is: Whiteman Air Force Base

"Whiteman Air Force Base is a base of the United States Air Force in Johnson County, Missouri, United States."

Whiteman has been and is now an important part of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and retaliatory capability. WOULD BE IN TIME OF WAR AN IMPORTANT TARGET FOR SPETSNAZ FORCES!!
"The host wing is the 509th Bomb Wing (509 BW) of the Air Combat Command (ACC), which operates the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber."

"In 1961 Whiteman AFB [was selected] as a support base for a wing of Minuteman ICBMs . . . with 150 missile silos and 15 launch control centers being built . . . The 351st Strategic Missile Wing [Minuteman missile equipped] continued to serve until the end of the Cold War and was later deactivated in the 1990s"

Whiteman AFB - - the kennels of which are now undergoing a "makeover"!

"DOGS' LIFE: Whiteman getting $4.2 million dog kennel"

"$4.2 million set aside for the building and equipment of a new security force dog kennel and animal clinic at Whiteman."

"The kennel will house the 12 authorized military working dogs, giving each of them a 12 x 8-foot living space."

A couple of things about this photo. That orange coat is impervious to the bite of the dog. Great for the wearer. And those ROTC cadets witnesssing the practice attack, should be grateful they are on the side of the fence they are on!

The military working dog [MWD] does deserve decent care and treatment. MWD are valuable assets EVEN TO BE CHERISHED!! Not to be treated "as dogs"!

Incidentally, Paul Tibbets III now flies the B-2 Stealth bomber, presumably out of Whiteman! The grandson of the man who flew the Enola Gay, dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dog Hospital

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

Walter Reed for the dogs of war

State-of-the-art hospital opens in Texas for canines wounded in combat

“SAN ANTONIO - - A new $15 million veterinary hospital for four-legged military personnel has opened at Lackland Air Force Base, offering advanced medical treatment for combat wounded dogs.”

“At the base, dogs working for all branches of the military and the Transportation Safety Administration are trained to find explosive devices, drugs and land mines. About 2,500 dogs are working with military units.”

“Dogs injured in Iraq or Afghanistan get emergency medical treatment on the battlefield and are flown to Germany for care. If necessary, they’ll fly on to San Antonio for more advanced treatment”

“The new hospital has operating rooms, digital radiography, CT scanning equipment, and intensive-care unit and rehab rooms with an underwater treadmill and exercise balls, among other features.”

Dogs as used by the U.S. military in war zones DO indeed perform amazing yeoman [dog] work.

Sentry dogs, attack dogs, sniffing out land mines, tracker dogs if properly trained with an individual also trained in tracking operations, etc. AND YES - - AT ABU GHRAIB PRISON - - USED TO INTIMIDATE DETAINEES DURING INTERROGATION!!

[The saliva of the dog is considered to be unclean to the Muslim, NOT the dog itself. A Muslim who has been touched by the saliva of a dog is considered to have been rendered unclean and not fit to make ritual prayer!! ]

It used to be if a dog, civilian or military, became injured in some manner, the usual course was “to put the dog down”! Euthanized! That is no longer the case. The level of care now available to canines is very impressive, veterinary services offering more or less the same degree of medical treatment for a dog that is available to a human!

[and you can’t even ask them, “where does it hurt?”]

“Working dogs usually enter training at 1 ½ to 3 years old, and most can work until they’re about 10”

The U.S. government does have a considerable investment in the canines. Housing, feeding, training, regular veterinary care, etc. Even with a dog, Uncle Sam wants to recoup the money spent on the critter.

And humane treatment is also a consideration? MOST [??] of the dog recruits are donated by civilians who might not “volunteer” their pet if they knew the animal was not going to receive good care?


Virginia Class

This is coolbert:

Here is some interesting stuff on the most recent and advanced class of American submarine.

The Virginia class boat.

"The Virginia class (or SSN-774 class) of attack submarines are the first U.S. subs to be designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions around the world"

The follow-up to the abortive Seawolf class fast-attack submarine. The Seawolf, only three of which were built, thought to be too expensive and NOT versatile enough for modern naval warfare demands?

About thirty of the Virginia class of submarine are to be built. For the cost of $2 billion per vessel. Yes, you heard me right, $2 billion per vessel. Modern naval warfare is NOT CHEAP. And, it takes SEVEN YEARS just to build one warship, from the time when construction commences until the ship is ready for use!

BUT, is a formidable combat naval vessel, able to perform a whole host of missions, designed to do so from the start. Versatile, responsive, multi-functional. IT HAS TO BE FOR THE COST!!

To be equipped with an impressive arsenal. To include weaponry such as:

* Torpedoes.
* Missiles.
* Mines.

And perform, as has been said, a variety of missions. To include:

* Traditional submarine warfare [obviously].
* Deploy combat swimmers and SEAL teams.
* Conduct reconnaissance, intelligence-gathering, surveillance.

"The Virginias incorporate several innovations":

* NO periscope. Uses electro-optic displays [via extend able "photonics masts"]
* NO propeller. Uses "pump-jet propulsors for quieter operations" [with shroud]!

And, as with the German Type XXI submarine of the World War Two era, is built using modular construction techniques.

"The Virginia class is built through an industrial arrangement designed to keep both GD Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News (the only U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear vessels) in the submarine-building business"

I recall very well the political hot-potato that was created when it was announced that the Seawolf project would be discontinued after only three boats were built! Lots of anger and outcry from experienced, very skilled shipwrights. AND the U.S. Navy would lose "forever" the only facility still capable of building an atomic-powered submarine. The remedy is for modular construction and assembly at two facilities, aspects of the process shared or alternated! Sounds like a good idea!

Double-click on the above photo to see the Virginia class in high-resolution. Impressive. And for Russian naval GRU officers, no need to spend lavish sums of money to obtain drawings and plans of the sub either!!

Even the U.S. Navy cannot afford any longer various "classes" of submarine. Having several different types of boats, each having a distinct dedicated mission, is just not sustainable any more? One type [class] of submarine must be able to launch missiles, attack via torpedoes, deliver special operations personnel [SEAL], do reconnaissance and intelligence gathering when needed, operate efficiently in pelagic and littoral waters, etc.

And, in the case of American submarines, nuclear-powered, able for extended missions with a world-wide reach, projecting power to any point of the globe at will!

Such is the Virginia class of American sub!!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dirty Bomb II.

This is coolbert:

Here is the final and ultimate dope on the Iranian vessel, allegedly carrying an enormous cargo of radioactive sand, intended to be detonated in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Israel? A gigantic "dirty bomb"!! Spewing highly toxic radioactive waste, carried by the prevailing winds, rendering Israel an uninhabitable wasteland?!

Thanks here again to Devorah for the tip to the TBR News web site!

"The ship was released by Somali pirates on October 10, after a $250,000 cash bribe was paid by the U.S. Navy for her release. The MV Iran Denyant was taken into immediate custody of a joint naval task force present, to include Russian and French ships. Crew members had all been interrogated and all of them, deemed 'uninformed of the ship’s course or cargo' were duly released to their diplomatic representatives. The ship was boarded, occupied and thoroughly searched by U.S. Navy specialists but a subsequent report on the suspicious cargo containers has been heavily classified.(‘Top Secret - Galactic’)"

[Top Secret - - Galactic!!?? Sounds fishy to me!!]

"Russian sources indicate that the ship was carrying a 'highly radioactive' cargo in 'specially built' containers . . . At the request of American authorities, the Russians have refused to release any further information."

"Her [the Iranian ship] cargo contained 'a significant quantity' of radioactive waste from China, in lead-lined and secured cargo containers . . . The ship was never boarded by anyone from the time she left Nanjing in China until the Somali pirates grabbed her. Sixteen pirates died within two weeks, of heavy radiation poisoning, and three more are expected to die. An international force consisting of American, Russian, French and Dutch ships were involved in blockading the ship and preventing her from leaving Somalian waters. A 'ransom' of $250,000 was eventually paid by the U.S., the ship boarded by the Navy, her cargo secured and the crew interrogated and eventually released and the ship was moved, under her own power and with an American crew, to the Muscat port where the U.S. Navy has docking rights."

Regarding TBR NEWS, validity and veracity of same:

"We [TBR News] have been accused of being neo-Nazis, Communists, anti-Semites, Christian haters, certainly not Bush friendly and guilty of treason, aggravated mopery, theft of mattress tags from cheap motels, chronic jaywalking and disturbers of the political peace."

"I [Walter Storch, the webmaster] run this site all by myself with a little help from various friends, both inside and outside of the Beltway."

"Contrary to the hysterical views of rabid trailer park Bush supporters, I [Walter Storch] was not suckled by a werewolf and I am not a member of the far left. In point of fact, I am a very disillusioned moderate Republican whose family were bankers, brokers and CEOs of various nice companies."

A "dirty bomb" creating a spew of radioactivity, contaminating in one fell swoop the entirety of Israel, or a goodly portion thereof, would invite, nay, almost mandate NUCLEAR RETALIATION ON THE PART OF THE ISRAELI THAT WOULD BE OF APOCALYPTIC PROPORTIONS!!
This "news item" has been totally and irrevocably "blacked out" by the main stream media [MSM]?

At some point we shall learn more? Doubt it if the story is TRUE!!



This is coolbert:

Here is another instance from the Second World War [WW2] where the German [Hitler] desire to guarantee access to and protect the last remaining reserves of oil available to the Nazi war machine overrode practical, logical, reasonable and well-thought-out military doctrine, policy, operational and strategic considerations!

Operation Spring Awakening!

March, 1945, Hungary! The LAST serious German offensive of the war. Analogous to the Ardennes Offensive of December 1944? Carefully husbanded German forces, primarily Waffen SS, attempting to secure the Hungarian oil fields of Nagykanizsa [vicinity of Lake Balaton]!

[Until the discovery of North Sea oil between Scotland and Norway, the only two places in Europe that had exploitable reserves of oil were the Lake Balaton region of Hungary and of course Ploesti!?]

An offensive that initially was successful, then sputtering to a halt, and finally having all ground gained eventually lost to a Soviet counter-offensive.

The oil fields not being secured!

This German offensive occurred only two months before the end of the war in Europe. As with the Ardennes Offensive of three months earlier, “Spring Awakening” turned out to be a fiasco, causing much more harm than good?

By the end of “Spring Awakening”, Soviet artillery was already in range of Berlin and bombarding the Reichs Chancellery!!

Hitler by this time was at the end of his tether? NOT totally lucid, or acknowledging the situation as it actually existed? German troops committed in the fashion with which they were in the Lake Balaton operation just were wasted when needed for a much more dire situation that existed elsewhere?

Oil, oil, everywhere, and nary a drop to drink!! And NO troops left either!!


Monday, October 20, 2008


This is coolbert:

It comes as a surprise to many - - that the air forces of a variety of nations have units possessing an organic GROUND combat capability?

Airmen, normally performing sentry, guard, surveillance duty, and, if necessary, carrying out missions normally relegated to and associated with INFANTRY!

Airmen trained in a variety of small-arms, heavy arms in some cases, guarding and securing airbases in time of peace and war.

Airmen, performing their mission utilizing a variety of surveillance devices, sentry and guard dogs, fighting vehicles as warranted!

A mission NOT ONLY from the perimeter fence of an airbase INWARD, but also OUTWARD as the circumstances warrant! Guarding an airbase against saboteurs, enemy surveillance and reconnaissance, AND ATTACK DURING WARTIME BY HIGHLY TRAINED ENEMY UNITS OF THE "HUNTER CLASS"!
[troops of the "hunter class" is a term used by Winston Churchill when describing commando units!!]

Air forces possessing an organic ground combat capability include:

* American. Air Force Security Forces.

"Air Force Security Forces . . . are the military police of the United States Air Force."

"They are also the first and only ground based line of defense for the USAF . . . They are trained in ground combat skills . . . [and] also provide the law enforcement function on all Air Force bases"

Right! Guards, sentries, and military police as well! A variety of functions!

* British. RAF Regiment.

"The Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF Regt) is a specialist airfield defence Corps.The Regiment [is] responsible for defending airfields against ground attack."

* French. Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air.

(French for "Fusilier Commandos of the Air")

"These personnel of France's Armée de l'Air . . . are airmen armed and trained as infantry, who provide ground defense of air bases and secure forward base areas; they also participate in combat search and rescue missions"

"...3600 force protection specialists and firemen...34 protection units, 33 fire-fighting...and three intervention paratrooper commandos."

Troops some of which have a parachute capability. To be used when deployed in AN OFFENSIVE MANNER, SECURING CAPTURED AIRBASES OR PARTICIPATING "in combat search and rescue missions"!!

* German. German Air Force Regiment.

"The German Air Force Regiment (German: Objektschutzregiment der Luftwaffe "Friesland") is a ground based branch of the German Air Force"

"The purpose of the regiment is ground based defence of air force bases and installations, as well as capturing and securing enemy air installations."

Again, as with the French, the German Air Force Regiment has a capability for OFFENSIVE ACTION, in furtherance of "capturing and securing enemy air installations"!

Three battalions, one solely infantry, a second infantry and air defense, and a third described as "passive", providing speciality in "Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare and defense measures (NBC), Explosive Ordnance Reconnaissance and Disposal (EOR/EOD), air base damage disposal, as well as fire fighting and defensive measures." An ALL-ENCOMPASSING PROTECTIVE FORCE!

* Australian. Airfield Defence Guards.

"The Airfield Defence Guard (ADG) mustering of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) performs specialist ground defence tasks to protect air power assets from hostile ground action."
Particularly with the American, British, French, and to a degree [when part of NATO mission] the German; the main task of these air force ground combat units is to guard and secure nuclear weapons assets against sabotage and attack. NOT only during a time of open warfare, but potentially also in those months and weeks prior to the commencement of overt combat!! This would include the actual warheads in depots, the delivery systems [i.e., B-52 bomber], the aircrews, the command and control structure, and the communications network used to send "go" commands!

[Suvorov speaks of the "gray", and "pink", terror as graduated phases of "combat" carried out by Soviet/Russian special purpose units PRIOR to the initiation of hostilities. Such "combat" in large measure would be directed at all and any nuclear weapons assets!]

Securing, protecting, guarding nuclear deterrent and retaliatory assets is a mission not to be trifled with! These air force ground combat units have a dull and boring job in peacetime, but in wartime or during a period of crisis, a role of the utmost importance, with a potential lethality second to none?

I think so!


Sunday, October 19, 2008


This is coolbert:

This is the type of headline and story that sentimental Americans are fond of:

"Dog gone: Iraqi puppy adopted by American soldier on charter flight en route to US"

"BAGHDAD (AP) _ Ratchet the Iraqi puppy finally had his day."

"An animal rescue group flew into Baghdad on Sunday and picked up the dog, which was adopted by Army Spc. Gwen Beberg, 28, of Minneapolis in a case that highlighted military rules barring troops from caring for pets while in Iraq."

"Ratchet was loaded onto a charter flight, which took off Sunday night for Kuwait. He's due in Minnesota later this week."

A dog, perhaps even a puppy, found wandering the streets of Baghdad, mangy, flea-bitten, hungry, alone, cared for and adopted by American soldiers. A dog finally brought back to America with the prospects of being given a good home! Thanks too in large measure because of the efforts of self-described animal/dog-loving-persons!

There is precedent for this sort of thing!! American soldiers have a long tradition of rescuing dogs from war zones and returning to the U.S. with a newly adopted and grateful pet.

One such dog was the famous cinematic "star" Rin Tin Tin!!

"The first of the line [Rin Tin Tin] was a shell-shocked pup found by American serviceman Lee Duncan in a bombed-out dog kennel in Lorraine, France, less than two months before the end of World War I. He was named for a puppet called Rintintin that French children gave to the American soldiers for good luck. The dog returned at war's end with Duncan to his home in Los Angeles, California."

Rin Tin Tin actually is credited [??] with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy, such was the "star" appeal of this "actor", originally "starring" in silent movies!

"His first starring role, 1923's Where The North Begins, playing alongside silent screen actress Claire Adams, was a huge success often credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy."

"His financial success for Warner Brothers inspired several imitations from other studios looking to cash in on Rin Tin Tin's popularity"

[there was in the 1970's, a movie entitled, "Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood"! About a dog WHO BECAME A FILM STAR - - ACCIDENTALLY - - MUCH IN THE MANNER OF RIN TIN TIN!!]

The legacy of Rin Tin Tin is still going strong. The tenth generation in the bloodline of Rin Tin Tin is active and doing promotionals.

"The authentic bloodline of Rin Tin Tin was not lost . . . the bloodline continued . . . the authentic bloodline of Rin Tin Tin continues through breeding of his offspring at El Rancho Rin Tin Tin in Latexo, Texas. The current Rin Tin Tin is tenth in line from the original and makes personal appearances across the country"

There is too - - a cultural dimension to all this that is surprising? A dog is a somewhat despised animal within Islamic culture? The saliva of a dog is thought be unclean [a dog licks it's own hindquarters]! The animal, unless you know otherwise, is felt to be unclean and unworthy of the same sort of affection an American would give to the animal!

"The saliva of a dog is impure, but the dog itself is not impure."

Muslims, those of Iraq, must look askance at the efforts made by American troops to save one dog, and return with same to the U.S.? Moving a "mountain" to provide a good home for a dog is NOT something an Iraqi would do?

"These Americans - - really must be crazy!!"



This is coolbert:

Thanks here to Yale and the Avalon Project:

The Raufoss fifty [.50] caliber round fired from the Barrett sniper rifle, is an illegal weapon of war? So it has been speculated!

The reasoning behind this speculation is the wording of articles from the St. Petersburg Convention of 1868.

"Laws of War : Declaration of St. Petersburg; November 29 1868"

The wording of which, reads in part, without regard to weaponry:

"the employment of arms which uselessly aggravate the sufferings of disabled men, or render their death inevitable"

"The Contracting Parties engage mutually to renounce, in case of war among themselves, the employment by their military or naval troops of any projectile of a weight below 400 grammes, which is either explosive or charged with fulminating or inflammable substances."

The Mk211 is an armor-piercing, incendiary, explosive round. Gives the Barrett sniper rifle an enhanced capability to do significant damage!

And, weighs between 43-47 grams. Well below the 400 grams [grammes] as specified in the Convention.

Would seem to be outlawed under the St. Petersburg Convention?

Still remains, however, a legal round. The experts have determined that the Raufoss round will pass through a body intact and only explode AFTER EXITING!!


Whatever the circumstance, if you get hit with a Raufoss round from a Barrett rifle, you are probably dead, whether the round explodes or not!!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dirty Bomb I.

This is coolbert:

"The purpose of terror is to terrorize!!" - - V.I. Lenin.

The Iranian ship hijacked by Somali pirates, the latter who became sick with the symptoms of radiation poisoning, was - - an enormous dirty bomb??!!

Read it all from Devorah, through Baron Bodissey at the Gates of Vienna web site:

"Hijacked Iranian Ship was a Dirty Bomb Meant for Israel on Yom Kippur "

"She [the Iranian ship] was an enormous floating dirty bomb, intended to detonate after exiting the Suez Canal at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in proximity to the coastal cities of Israel. The entire cargo of radioactive sand, obtained by Iran from China (the latter buys desperately needed oil from the former) and sealed in containers which, when the charges on the ship are set off after the crew took to the boats, will be blasted high into the air where prevailing winds will push the highly dangerous and radioactive cloud ashore."

"The ship has a crew of 29 men, including a Pakistani captain, an Iranian engineer, 13 other Iranians, 3 Indians, 2 Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans, stated to be Albanians."

I would admit, "stories" like this have a life of their own. Symptoms of radiation poisoning do catch a lot of attention and create speculation, sometimes not warranted!

And - - that radioactive sand - - if that is what it is - - WOULD NOT HAVE TO BE HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE TO CAUSE PANIC OF AN UNPRECEDENTED NATURE! Even minor doses of radiation cause alarm and trepidation, even if the dose is of a minute nature. JUST THE THOUGHT OF BEING AROUND RADIATION - - EVEN IN NON-HAZARDOUS QUANTITIES - - CAN SET OFF AN EMOTIONAL REACTION FOR WHICH THERE IS NO CONTROLLING!


This is coolbert:

"Never let the enemy be aware your weaknesses". - - Haji Sahib.

We all recognize now that the "hunt" to find and kill or capture Osama bin Laden is NOT going to easy. Over seven years now since 9/11 and almost seven years also since THE LAST CONFIRMED SIGHTING OF BIN LADEN! [not even really a sighting. The man was heard in a radio transmission]

Bin Laden, hiding in the border area [so it is assumed] between Afghanistan and Pakistan. What is called the Tribal Areas/Northwest Territory/Waziristan/Swat Valley!

Protected, in part, according to the rigorous and time-honored Pashtun practice of sanctuary. A practice of giving sanctuary to wanted persons NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, FOR NO MATTER WHAT REASON!

The "hunt" by a "western" foreign power for a much-wanted fugitive in this part of the world has a precedent from one hundred years ago? On this particular occasion, the English "hunting" an Islamic agitator, a man on-the-run, as is bin Laden!

Haji Sahib Turangzai.

Here from the National Geographic, December 2004 issue:

"a Pashtun freedom fighter and outlaw, Haji Turangzai, who was sheltered from the British by local tribesmen for nearly 20 years. In the early 20th century, the British mounted 17 operations to grab him and failed every time. The bin Laden of his day, Turangzai died in his sleep at age 81."

"Haji Tarangzai Rahimahullah led a successful Jihad against the British Imperialists from the area presently known as the Mohmand Tribal Area."

The British - - at the time - - exercised ONLY nominal control over the areas along the Afghan border. NO Pakistan at the time, but was part of the British Raj.

17 operations to get this guy in 20 years and the English were unable to apprehend the man! What does that say about the "hunt" for Osama?

It does not bode well!


Friday, October 17, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here is your geography lesson for the day! Pay attention and learn something new! Slightly different from what I had thought was the accepted orthodoxy!

Maritime geography. Classification of "waters" as seen by the navies of the world [US Navy at least?]!

My thoughts were that there existed only three classifications of "waters"! Brown, green, and blue!

Brown being those of rivers, green being coastal, and blue being all else. Current teachings say this is not totally correct. Defined slightly differently.

From the wiki entry on maritime geography.

"Maritime geography is often discussed in terms of four loosely-defined regions: Riverine, brown water, green water, and blue water."

* Riverine - - "The riverine environment consists of all navigable rivers of interest."

* Brown water - - "The brown water environment consists of the littoral areas, from the coast and estuarial areas to perhaps a hundred miles from shore . . . A 'brown-water navy' focuses on coastal operations and primarily takes a defensive role."

* Green water - - "The green water environment extends from the outer edge of the brown-water zone past any continental shelves, archipelagos and islands; perhaps a thousand miles from shore."

* Blue water - - "The blue water environment extends from the outer edge of the green-water zone through the global deep ocean."

The global deep ocean! The great abysmal depths. Usually around 10,000 feet [3,000 meters] deep or so. Pelagic waters, international, beyond the range of national jurisdictions!

Few navies of the world can AFFORD blue water fleets. Naval warfare of the future will be almost totally confined to combat within the "brown" and "green" regions? Combat vessels must be designed from the start to operate with effectiveness in any type of "waters", but particularly close to shore!



This is coolbert:

During the Second World War [WW2], strategic decisions made by both the allied and Axis high commands quite often centered upon the Ploesti oil fields of Romania! Strategic decisions influencing military operations the purpose of which was either to defend [German] or deny [allied] the flow of POL [petroleum/oil/lubricants] to the German war machine!

Strategic decisions to include:

* The German airborne invasion and conquest of Crete [Merkur]!

A German paratrooper/mountain troop operation that was done in part to deny the airbases of the island to British long-range strategic bomber aircraft. Without the Cretan airfields being available, British long-range bombers COULD NOT HAVE COMPLETED ROUND-TRIP MISSIONS TO PLOESTI!
* Hitler giving the command to begin planning for the invasion of the Soviet Union, with the resolve to see the deed through.

An order, prompted by the movement of two Soviet airborne brigades to airfields in Bessarabia. A movement that placed those two airborne units within range of Ploesti.

"In the same month [June, 1940] the 201st and 204th airborne brigades [Soviet] were dropped in Bessarabia to capture the towns of Ismail and Belgrad-Dnestrovsky. This was close by the Ploesti oilfields."

Let us be clear about this. Hitler had instructed his general staff to begin planning for the invasion of the Soviet Union in the fall of 1940. AND THE GERMAN ARMY GENERAL STAFF HAD BEGUN PRELIMINARY PLANNING FOR SUCH AN INVASION EVEN BEFORE THAT!!

The movement of 3 million men [German army troops arrayed against the Soviets] and all their impedimenta creates a momentum that is difficult to stop under any circumstances. Hitler had intended to invade the Soviet Union - - “come hell or high water!!”

The command by Hitler, “get ready to go - - now!!” was prompted by the movement of those two airborne brigades?

More than anything else, the TIMING OF WHEN TO GO IS THE QUESTION HERE!!
"I cannot take responsibility for the waiting any longer, because I cannot see any way that the danger will disappear . . . . The concentration of Soviet forces is enormous . . . All available Soviet armed forces are now on our border . . . It is quite possible that Russia will try to destroy the Rumanian oilfields." - - Hitler - - in a letter to Mussolini - - 21 June 1941.

[it has been argued that the German invasion was month late due to excessive flooding of the Bug River and complications arising from the German campaign earlier that year [1941] in the Balkans. Hitler, however, ABSOLUTELY SAW THE MOVEMENT OF THE TWO SOVIET AIRBORNE BRIGADES AS A CLEAR INDICATION OF THE NEED TO BEGIN PREPARATIONS!!]

* Tidal Wave. The American massed long-range strategic bomber attack on Ploesti [1943]!

A low-level attack, by unescorted American B-24 bombers, flying out of Benghazi, Libya, the idea being to utterly destroy the Ploesti oil fields and associated refining capability. A single attack that would drastically shorten the war and compel German surrender.

* The decision by Hitler NOT to evacuate and withdraw German forces from the Crimea [1943]!

In the aftermath of the Kursk debacle [1943], German units all along the eastern Front were on the defensive, an overall withdrawal to more suitable defensive positions being mandated!

Against all military logic, Hitler forbade a withdrawal of German units from the Crimea, ordering those units already engaged to hold fast, regardless of the situation.

There was sound reasoning to this strategic move? Soviet bomber aircraft, flying out of Crimean airfields, WOULD HAVE BEEN WITHIN RANGE OF PLOESTI!!

It was not until a year later that the final evacuation [with great loss of life] of German forces from Crimea was completed. BUT - - THE REASONING OF HITLER - - WAS SOUND - - WITH REGARD TO THE DANGER POSED TO PLOESTI FROM SOVIET AIRCRAFT OPERATING OUT OF CRIMEAN AIRFIELDS?
* The formation and deployment of the First Special Service Force [FSSB]!

The FSSB! A ranger/commando/guerrilla warfare unit, comprised of American and Canadian soldiers! Highly trained and motivated soldiers, unconventional warfare practitioners, skilled in demolitions and all aspects of behind-the-lines-missions!



The internal-combustion engine, so vital to warfare as fought in the Twentieth Century [20th], requires military forces to have access to an abundance of oil. Either acquiring sources of oil or denying same to your opposition was important to all warring parties in WW2.

BUT - - please keep in the mind that for almost all of the war, at least until late 1944, the production, refining, and movement of oil from Ploesti went unabated and uninterrupted!

“Defense is the stronger form of combat!” - - Clausewitz. Easier to do, accomplish more with less. True at the strategic level as well as at the tactical?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Working on the Railroad

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

"Nation and World"

"Decades, later, back pay due"

"Cash was withheld from Mexicans who toiled in U.S. during WWII."

"By the numbers."

"2.5 million"

"The estimated number of braceros who worked in the U.S. from 1942 to 1964, largely in agriculture." [this number includes all those working in all industries, and NOT confined to the war years alone!]

"10 %"

"The portion of pay withheld from workers from 1942 to 1946 and sent to the Mexican government"

"Ramon Ibarra remembers his backbreaking days repairing railroads in the American Southwest, a contract job for which he left Mexico in 1942 as part of a guest-worker program. More than 60 years later, he’s looking forward to the rest of his paycheck."

"Now 86, Ibarra was one of the hundreds of thousand of Mexican laborers, or braceros , who helped the U.S. meet it labor demands during World War II.Now they can apply for money that was withheld from their paychecks in the 1940’s and sent to the Mexican government as an incentive for them to return home."

[sent to the Mexican government and deposited in a Mexican bank for "safekeeping"]

"Many never saw the money again."

"Ibarra, of Chicago, and others like him are entitled to about $3,500 each, according to a judge’s preliminary approval last week of a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement in San Francisco."

Collecting this money, what there is of it, is not going to easy. To collect, an entitled person must:

* Present original paperwork.
* Present original identification.
* Must be living in the U.S. [if you present you claim at the Mexican embassy in D.C.]

I remember this quite well when originally reported and becoming an issue. Workers, from Mexico, replacing American men drafted and taken into the military during WW2, were primarily used as railway road gangs. Doing maintenance-of-way [MoW] operations Repairing and maintaining sections of railroad track. Intensive, hard, backbreaking, pick and shovel manual labor of the worst sort. Replacing broken or damaged rail or ties, driving spikes, shoveling ballast, etc. All done before the advent of modern machinery.


Persons - - bracero laborers - - CHEATED OUT THEIR MONEY!! Money, 10 % of their wages [and these guys probably did not get paid much to begin with!], deposited in Mexican banks and simply disappearing!!

Consider this figure. Prior to 1945, as many as 400,000 laborers were employed nation-wide in the capacity of MoW crews! Today - - the number of MoW laborers is about 40,000 [maybe less?], such has the industry changed!

Just one section of rail - - weighs about a TON [2,000 pounds]. Calculate how many men are needed to manually lift just one section of rail and you easily can understand why it was necessary to import contract laborers to the U.S. during WW2.

There just cannot be that many of the WW2 contract workers alive! Only about 18 % of American WW2 veterans are still living. A similar percentage of Mexican contract workers still survive?

And those amounts of money persons such as Ramon are entitled to? That works out to about a dollar a week for a period of over sixty years! NOT A WHOLE LOT!

And let us be absolutely clear here. The Mexican government and banks CHEATED Ramon and his compatriots, NOT U.S. concerns.

I guess symbolism is most important in this instance?