Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Desperate circumstances require desperate measures"

Here with a topic that has been a favorite of mine. Near and dear to my heart and the subject of many of previous blog entry.

Hunt the wild boar! As a training exercise, simulation of combat, good training for the military.

The European wild boar! Big, nasty, ugly, smart, destructive of the environment and DANGEROUS!

Make no mistake about it! This boar, if provoked, will come at you to kill you in an instant. And very capable of doing so too. A big and very dangerous animal.

This time with a German twist! Thanks to Der Spiegel.

"Calling in the Big Guns"

"German Farmers Want Army to Help Combat Wild Boars "

"Desperate circumstances require desperate measures, say German farmers who are demanding that the army be brought in to help kill the growing number of wild boars damaging their crops. But the request is likely to be rejected."

But, a request - - apparently - - REJECTED!

"The request for troops seems bound to be rejected. The German army is already stretched to the limit with its foreign missions and the country's constitution forbids troops from being used on German soil."

"the country's constitution forbids troops from being used on German soil"

What is this? German troops cannot be used on German soil? Perhaps in civilian oriented endeavors perhaps? In this case, the wild boar present a clear, present, and eminent danger to the society at large. As go the farmers, so does go Germany.

IN THE MIDDLE AGES, THE HUNTING OF THE WILD BOAR FROM HORSEBACK, USING LANCES ["PIG STICKERS"] TO DO SO WAS A "SPORT" RESERVED FOR THE NOBILITY! An honorable and pleasurable pastime that obviously was "good training" for military combat of that era!

See my previous blog entries on the wild boar:




AND there is precedent for this sort of thing. Eradication by military units of wild boar populations that have proliferated in prodigious number, the pigs creating environmental damage of major proportions.

It is reputed that an American Special Forces [SF] unit in the 1950's conducted a live-fire operation on a remote Japanese island, the purpose of which was the elimination of a wild boar population run wild, eating the place literally to the ground. Troops probably from the SF battalion "forward" located on Okinawa. Live-fire and good training!

And those that have eaten the meat rate it as good! Hey, those German farmers need HELP!


Monday, August 30, 2010


This is coolbert:

"May there not be methods of using explosive energy incomparably more intense than anything heretofore discovered? Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of buildings—nay, to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke?" - - Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, 1924.

Here with a very "cool" image:

[that is a man on the far-right. RAF = Royal Air Force. USAAF = U.S. Army Air Force.]

From left to right:

* "RAF 22,000 lb Grand Slam"
* "RAF 12,000 lb Tallboy"
* "USAAF 4000 lb Blockbuster"
* USAAF 2000 lb Blockbuster"
* USAAF 1000 lb armor-piercing bomb"
* USAAF 500 lb standard demolition bomb"
" USAAF 100 lb bomb with nose fuse"

And further, for comparison sake:

* "the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a weight of 8,900 lbs, and had an explosive power of 10,000 tons of TNT"

* "Fat Man" delivered on Nagasaki was larger, weighing 10,200 lbs and having the explosive power of 21,000 tons of TNT."

And how exactly was Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill able to have the vision of the atomic bomb - - in 1924 - - way before the discovery of nuclear fission was even discovered? Can someone tell me that?



This is coolbert:

Here is a military campaign from the Second World War [WW2], perhaps best characterized as a side-show of a side-show, that nonetheless had an unanticipated war-winning [for the allies] consequence.

Ironclad. The attack and capture of the island of Madagascar from Vichy French forces.

A campaign, albeit as a response to a perceived threat from Japanese naval contingents active in the Indian Ocean. But a campaign that in the aftermath became of even greater significance to the entire nature of atomic research resulting in the ATOMIC BOMB!!

"The Battle of Madagascar (or Operation Ironclad) was the Allied campaign to capture Vichy-French-controlled Madagascar during World War II. It began on 5 May 1942. Fighting did not cease until 6 November."

"In early 1942, Allied leaders believed that ports on Madagascar might be used by Japan, an idea shared by the German Navy."

"the possibility of Japanese naval forces using forward bases in Madagascar had to be addressed. The potential use of these facilities particularly threatened Allied merchant shipping"

Graphite as produced by the mines of Madagascar, pure in a way that allowed for a nuclear self-sustaining reaction to be controlled as was hitherto impossible, that reaction allowing for the creation and further processing of fissionable plutonium.


"Uranium 238 gives off neutrons at too fast a rate to sustain a chain reaction. Graphite was one of the substances that could modulate (control) the rate so that a chain reaction could be sustained. But the graphite had to be especially pure - and evidently the graphite from Madagascar was pure enough . . . When Fermi got a chain reaction (using graphite) going in Chicago, it was found that a nuclear reactor could produce plutonium . . . plutonium was an even better fissionable material."

NOT ONLY pure enough, but obtainable in the sufficient quantities needed! And also denied to the fascist forces as well in the process!

At the time Ironclad was planned and put into execution WHO EVER thought that the military operation, the invasion and conquest of far-off Madagascar would have such consequences! NO ONE!

But that is how things work in this world! Believe it!


Sunday, August 29, 2010


This is coolbert:

"The failed campaign, and in particular the Battle of Leros, inspired the 1957 novel 'The Guns of Navarone' and the successful 1961 movie of the same name."

Here with the Dodecanese Campaign [1943] from the Second World War [WW2].

The "Twelve Islands" of the Aegean, occupied primarily by Italian troops whose fighting capacity was deemed as totally lacking. The campaign seen by planners as an opportunity that offered advantage.

Almost exclusively a British operation, badly gone awry.

A decisive German victory [the last major German victory of the war], a decisive English defeat [the last major British defeat of the war]!

An attempt at Balkan machinations by Churchill. An attempt to bring Turkey into the war on the side of the allies. An attempt to use the airfields of the Dodecanese as bases from which the oil fields of Romania [Ploesti] could be bombed.

NOTHING going according to plan. English efforts resulting in significant loss for allied forces, German troops perpetrating some atrocity at the behest of Hitler!

"The Dodecanese Campaign of World War II was an attempt by Allied forces, mostly British, to capture the Italian-held Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea . . . The Allied effort failed, with the whole of the Dodecanese falling to the Germans within two months, and the Allies suffering heavy losses in men and ships"

"The United States were skeptical about the operation, which they regarded as aiming mostly at post-war political benefits for Britain, and an unnecessary diversion from the main front in Italy. They refused to support it, warning the British that they would have to go on alone"

Once again - - almost exclusively a British military adventure, against the wishes of Eisenhower!

"With Mussolini's government gone, Winston Churchill wished to take control of these islands as bomber bases to attack Adolf Hitler's oil fields in Romania. His plans were opposed by American General Dwight Eisenhower based on his suspicion of British imperialistic ambitions as well as Eisenhower's favor for a direct confrontation with German forces in Western Europe. Churchill proceeded with his own plans to align the Dodecanese Islands with the Allies despite Eisenhower's decision that he could only spare some air cover for Churchill's detachments."

Ike is generally seen by military historians as being a timid commander? NOT taking chances for which the odds of success were NOT 100 %?

Eisenhower greatly desired to keep the allied coalition on an even keel during WW2. Harmony among the various allied militaries [most of all among American and British commanders] was a stated goal of Ike. Eisenhower was keenly aware from studying the campaigns of Napoleon that coalition forces do ordinarily NOT fight well. Always of concern to Ike was for FOCUSED AND NOT DISSIPATED ENERGY!

Obviously the Dodecanese Campaign was an instance of unfocused energy on the part of the allies - - NOT contributing to the whole!!

Ike was right!


Thursday, August 26, 2010


This is coolbert:

"To drop ten targets at 400 yards in less than a minute was regarded as good but by no means exceptional"

Here with some interesting stuff.

Appleseed!! Persons desiring to become expert shootists please apply!

An American private and non-profit concern, devoted to creating a "nation of riflemen" Persons, civilians, adept at firing military-style rifles at long-range, able to hit targets with impunity.

Firing high-power military style rifles in a rapid fashion, hitting targets at DISTANCE with ACCURACY!

NOT an easy task. A series of contradictions present and apparent. Distance and accuracy with power create dilemma for the shooter. ONLY the properly trained, experienced, practiced and knowledgeable can achieve such a goal!

Appleseed advocates:

* Using high-power rifles of the 7.62 NATO round or the 7.62 X 54R old style Russian caliber. "Inferior" calibers such as the 5.56 NATO [M -16] or the 7.62 X 39 Soviet [AK] are not favored.

* Riflemen are trained to hit a 20 inch [8.3 centimeters] target at 500 meters with accuracy and rapidity, an aimed shot being fired every three seconds being the goal!

* Riflemen firing from one of three positions [standing, sitting, prone], using a military-style SLING for support and steadiness!

Riflemen using the semi-automatic M1A1 [civilian version of the military M-14], the FN FAL rifle, or the Mosin-Nagant [7.62 X 54R]!

[Appleseed has overlooked the British .303 caliber SMLE rifle! This is a glaring omission. That quote from the start of this blog entry refers to British troops at the Imjin firing the SMLE! A guild of riflemen!]

"The Rifleman is a person capable of hitting 20 inch [8.3 centimeters] targets from 500 meters with standard, rack grade equipment and ammunition. The Rifleman does not rely on special equipment for excellent marksmanship, but on true skill and knowledge."

"For this reason, the 7.62×51 nato (.308 winchester), 30.06 springfield or 7.62x54r are preferred over smaller or more unstable calibers. The other common calibers are 5.56 nato (.223 winchester) or the 7.62×39. These are inferior because they are not as effective at longer ranges."

"Riflemen’s Cadence"

"The Rifleman is capable of delivering rapid, well aimed fire. This is accomplished through good position, natural point of aim, the Nine Steps to Firing the Shot, and cadence. Cadence is the Rifleman’s rhythm, delivering a well aimed shot approximately every three seconds"

Marksmanship of the rifleman accomplished using the NINE STEPS!

British soldiers from the era of one hundred [100] years ago would feel right at home during an Appleseed event. The "Lord Roberts" shoot where a Sergeant Instructor Snoxall would display his mettle is the type of thing the Appleseed movement seeks to emulate!

OR - - the Designated Marksman [DM] program of the U.S. military [a squad level marksman able to deliver accurate semi-automatic rifle fire on enemy targets at ranges up to 800 meters] OR a Dragunov would also feel "right at home" during an Appleseed event!!

Best wishes to Appleseed and good luck to them!! Their intentions are noble and worthy!

Personally - - it would be hard for an old-timer like me to SEE a target at 500 meters!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


This is coolbert:

From a prior blog entry:

"the Kaiser, who could hark back TO NO [my emphasis] Drakes or Nelsons, could never really believe that German ships and sailor could beat the British"

"The moral is to the physical as three is to one" - - Napoleon.

Here also with a quotation by Lieutenant Stephen King-Hall:

"The German seaman had a respect and almost traditional veneration for the British Royal navy, and entered the war with an inferiority complex in striking contrast to the superiority complex which the German Army felt towards all other armies." - - Lieutenant Stephen King-Hall. [as related by King-Hall in the aftermath of Dogger Bank]

And NOW this quote from the famous Field Marshal Mannerheim:

"For a strong adversary (corps) the opposition of twenty-four squadrons and twelve guns ought not to have appeared very serious, but in war the psychological factors are often decisive. An adversary who feels inferior is in reality so." - - Field Marshal Carl Gustav Baron Von Mannerheim, 1953

Mannerheim - - in this particular case, speaking of the Soviet [Red Army] attack upon Finland - - 1940!! For all the size and advantage the Red Army seemed to possess over the Finns, and the outrageous bluster and threat making of Stalin - - the mental wherewithal was LACKING - - and severely so?

The British rightly [??] perceived that the German Navy thought themselves to be inferior - - therefore: "An adversary who feels inferior is in reality so"!

Mannerheim is 100 % correct! If anyone would know, it would be him?



This is coolbert:

"Soviet/Russian submarines have always [?] been constructed with specially reinforced sails to withstand the 'smashing through"' [the Arctic ice cap] to the surface."

One such Soviet submarine possessing the strengthened sail was the Hotel class sub. A submarine able to "smash through" the Arctic ice cap without threat of damage. A procedure [surfacing] prior to the Hotel firing nuclear equipped missiles at American targets.

"The Hotel class is the general NATO classification
for a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile
submarine that was originally put into service by
the Soviet Union around 1959. The Soviet designation
is Project 658."

The Hotel class submarine [of which the K-19 was the original], nuclear powered, deploying with three nuclear equipped missiles of limited range. A submarine that had TO SURFACE FIRST, FUEL THE MISSILES [LIQUID FUEL], AND THEN FIRE!!

The Hotel class as originally put to sea only being able to fire missiles when surfaced. Later versions of the Hotel class could fire when submerged.

Missiles as carried in the sail - - that sail being especially strengthened for "breaking through" the Arctic ice pack?

"The D-2 launch system on the Hotels placed three [3] R-
13 missiles in vertical containers directly behind
the sail. The submarine had to be surfaced to
launch, but all three missiles could be fired within
12 minutes of surfacing."

The R-13 missile carrying a mighty wallop, but only with very limited range:

* "Warhead: single nuclear: 1.2 to 2.0 Mt (perhaps as low as 1.0 Mt)"
* "Propulsion: liquid-fuel rocket"
* "Range: about 600 km (370 miles)"

Missiles unable to reach American cities [those located in the lower forty-eight outside of Alaska] from any point in the Arctic!

It could be reasoned that perhaps a Soviet Hotel class sub could have ventured into Canadian territorial waters and fired the three missiles, but still, that range of the R-13 leaves a lot to be desired. It would seem being able to surface through the Arctic ice cap at least for the Hotel class did not offer advantage.

That R-13 is analogous [?] to the American Polaris missile, the Polaris being far superior however. Polaris having greater range [1500 miles], solid-fuel, and could be fired from a submerged sub.

See here the National Geographic interactive web site dealing with the K-19 - - the abortive and almost catastrophic maiden voyage!


Monday, August 23, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Don't mess with Texas"

Here with the voyages of the USS Texas. Virginia class submarine, a capital ship, the latest and most up-to-date version of the type of warship that allows the U.S. to have world-wide projection of power. Most impressive.

"The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; the ones with the heaviest firepower and armor. A capital ship is generally a leading or a primary ship in a fleet."

The Texas, on a shake-down cruise [?], sailing from the Atlantic - - under the polar ice cap, surfacing at or near the North Pole, an attempt to reach the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait unsuccessful.

A most impressive display of capability for a vessel newly minted and only entering operational status. A real indication that the U.S. Navy has a lot of confidence in the design of the Virginia class submarine.

"The ship . . . departed New London Naval Submarine Base at Groton for Pearl Harbor on September 16, 2009. On its way to Pearl Harbor, the sub traveled to the Arctic Ocean and surfaced near the North Pole's ice pack. Due to the thickness of the ice on the West Coast, the sub turned around and completed its westbound transit via the Panama Canal."

The waters of the Bering Strait are relatively shallow. There must be an adequate clearance between the oceanic bottom of the strait and the underneath of the ice pack to allow for a submarine to make a safe passage! If the ice pack in the strait is too thick, the Texas or any other submarine cannot make a submerged transit.

"The Bering Strait is approximately 53 miles (85 km) wide[clarification needed], with an average depth of 98–160 feet (30–49 m)."

I can recall very well the reports at the time that when the USS Nautilus made the first voyage under the ice cap to the North Pole, traveling from the Pacific NORTHWARD through the Bering Strait, three attempts had been made prior - - each occasion the thickness of the ice pack denying the Nautilus further movement north!

I am just hoping that those sensors atop the masts extending from the "sail" of the Texas are undamaged? The masts can be retracted when surfacing through the ice? Otherwise damage may occur. Soviet/Russian submarines have always [?] been constructed with specially reinforced sails to withstand the "smashing through" to the surface. Was actually in the early days when missiles were carried in the "sails" of submarines, and important feature to consider within the context of arctic naval warfare.

As of right now, as we speak, the Texas, on "her first six-month operational patrol", sailing the oceans of the world, projecting American power in an unseen manner but with very great potentiality! Out there "somewhere", we just don't know where "somewhere" is!

"The sub departed Pearl Harbor for her first six-month operational patrol on May 19, 2010."

"Looked for - - cannot be seen, listened for - - cannot be heard, felt for - - cannot be touched!!"

Don't mess with Texas!


Sunday, August 22, 2010


This is coolbert:

As of yesterday - - 21 August 2010 - - the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr is now fueled and active?

And NOW, immune from attack by the Israeli Air Force or any other military for that matter?

From the DEBKAfile "weekly summary":

"16 Aug. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decided it was safe to go ahead and load Iran's first nuclear reactor with fuel on Aug. 21 - effectively making it active - after the US and Israel did not seem troubled by the prospect of the reactor going on stream"

Because the reactor is now fueled and active:

"Bushehr will be immune from attack because of the risk of spreading radiation '…once it has gone critical, any attempt to do so (attack the reactor) would risk the release of a radioactive plume that might kill civilians and poison surrounding areas.'"

Keep in mind that a critical factor in the decision by the Israeli prior to the attack [1981] on the Iraqi Osirak reactor by F-16 fighter-bombers was THAT OSIRAK WAS ON THE VERGE OF BEING FUELED!


The date for action against Bushehr has now come and passed!!



This is coolbert:

The Iranians have just today unveiled and now have at their disposal an unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV], a cruise missile, greatly resembling the German V-1 "buzz bomb", allowing the Iranian to have an offensive capability hitherto NOT possible!

This is a news item of some concern? Thanks here to the Guardian.

"Iran unveils bomber drone that aims to deliver peace and friendship"

"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says craft has 'main message of peace and friendship' but is intended to deter aggression"

This is the "Karrar"! "Striker!

A Striker. Has a drone capability remotely controlled from a distance all the way to the target?

"Karrar, meaning 'striker' in Persian"

NOT nuclear capable. A capability, but only limited. Conventional weaponry warheads ONLY!

"the Karrar 4 meter long had a range of up to 620 miles [traveling] "at speeds of 560 miles per hour (900 kilometers)", which is not far enough to reach Israel."

"Iranian state TV reported that the UAV could carry . . . two 250lb bombs or one 500lb bomb."

A sub-sonic UAV of this type is NOT unlike the German V-1 and is very susceptible to interecept and shoot down, or even attack by MANPAD [man portable air defense] pea-shooters located on the ground?

At least not yet, the Israeli have not much to fear from the "Striker"?

For the "Striker" to be effective, the Iranian would need to manufacture these UAV in abundance and send a huge barrage more or less simultaneously toward an opposition. Otherwise, not much more than a nuisance. At least, again, SO FAR!


Saturday, August 21, 2010


This is coolbert:

Again, from the cast of the famous war movie: "The Guns of Navarone", we have another famous British actor playing a part for which he was ideally suited.

David Niven, playing the role the English commando Corporal Miller [an explosive expert with a very irreverent attitude toward the military], joins the English behind-the-lines mission to destroy the German coastal artillery guns of Navarone.

Niven, as was Anthony Quayle, totally familiar with the military and dangerous duty - - serving with panache during the Second World War [WW2]!

"pa·nache - – noun 1. a grand or flamboyant manner; verve; style; flair"

"James David Graham Niven . . . known as David Niven, was a British actor and novelist, best known for his roles as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days and Sir Charles Lytton, a.k.a. 'the Phantom,' in The Pink Panther."

"Niven joined what became known as the Hollywood Raj, a group of British actors in Hollywood." [this in the period of the 1930's, prior to the outbreak of WW2!]

David Niven - - serving in the British Army unit known as "Phantom"! Better known as GHQ Liaison Regiment!

"GHQ Liaison Regiment (known as Phantom) was a special reconnaissance unit first formed in 1939 during the early stages of World War II"

"It had its origins as the No 3 British Air Mission in France, 1939 . . . its role was to report back information about the allied forward positions . . . to the Advanced Air Striking Force HQ so as to pinpoint the changing locations of 'bomb lines'. These were the battle areas not occupied by Allied troops, and therefore suitable targets for bombs and shells."

"Phantom" - - locating and marking enemy targets suitable for air bombardment. And also marking the locations of friendly units as well. Preventing "friendly fire" incidents!

The "skill-sets" of troops and officers assigned to "Phantom" being eclectic.

"ec·lec·tic  - – adjective 1. selecting or choosing from various sources. 2. made up of what is selected from different sources."

"Phantom recruited men with various skill-sets – linguists, drivers and mechanics and undertook rigorous training in wireless communication and cipher"

Officers of "Phantom" drawn in large measure from the upper-crust of English society. Men of education, bearing, nobility, etc.

"Famous Phantom officers included actors Major David Niven (who initially commanded A Squadron) and Tam Williams; MPs Jakie and Michael Astor, Sir Hugh Fraser, Sir Carol Mather, Peregrine Worsthorne, Maurice Macmillan and Christopher Mayhew. Sir Robert Mark became Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police whilst others excelled in other arenas – academia, athletics, horseracing (Sir Gordon Richards and John Hislop)."

[It is worth noting that the English upper-class does not eschew military service. Serve proudly and with even flair when called upon! David Niven obviously being one such person!!]

"Niven took part in the Invasion of Normandy, arriving several days after D-Day. He served in the 'Phantom Signals Unit', which located and reported enemy positions, and kept rear commanders up to date on changing battle lines"

I was vaguely aware that David Niven had performed admirable military service during WW2. Thought to be however NOT a combat veteran and man of valor.

I STAND CORRECTED!! Excuse me David Niven!


Friday, August 20, 2010


This is coolbert:

Those of you who have seen the outstanding movie: "The Guns of Navarone" will remember the character of Major Franklin. British army officer tasked with an impossible but essential war-time mission, World War Two [WW2]:

"Small group of British and Greek commandos, led by Major Franklin (played by Anthony Quayle) is sent to land on the island, contact the local partisans and, using their help, sabotage the guns before the evacuation convoy gets near Kheros."

Major Franklin, the partisan fighter, as played in the movie by the excellent English actor, director, thespian of the highest order, Anthony Quayle.

Anthony Quayle playing a part in a movie for which he was most suited, the man having fought during WW2 as a partisan, as a member of the British Special Operations Executive [SOE]!

"Anthony Quayle, whose real life WW2 adventures actually resembled those of his character [Major Franklin]"

Quayle, having fought in Albania during the war, hesitant to speak of his war-time exploits

"During the Second World War he was an Army Officer . . . he joined the Special Operations Executive and served as a liaison officer with the partisans in Albania (reportedly, his service with the SOE seriously affected him, and he never felt comfortable talking about it). He described his experiences in a fictionalised form in 'Eight Hours from England'."

[I can recall very well an interview Quayle had on American TV during which he was asked about his WW2 exploits. The man was hesitant to speak and totally down-played his mission, his role, his war-time adventures. Anthony WAS NOT comfortable in talking about the war!]

Originally trained as a partisan and would have commanded English guerrilla units in case of a German invasion of England!

"Auxiliary Units were the 'stay-behind forces' put in place in UK in case of a German invasion"

In the case of Anthony Quayle, art imitated life, and not the other way around.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


This is coolbert:

Among the major news headlines of the day - - we find:

"Last full U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq"

"Final fighting force rolls into Kuwait; 50,000 Americans to remain"

"IRAQ-KUWAIT BORDER — The last U.S. combat troops crossed the border into Kuwait on Thursday morning, bringing to a close the active combat phase of a 7½-year war"

"about 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in the country, in a non-combat role providing support and training for the Iraqi military."

AHEAD of schedule - - the last U.S. ground combat unit [combat arms] leaves Iraq.

50,000 American soldiers to remain in Iraq for some time - - but not combat arms units. Combat support [CS] and combat service support [CSS]. That 50,000 to be withdrawn as well over a period of time [how long the slower withdrawal will take I am not sure!].

Personally I have grave concerns about the manner with which this draw-down from Iraq has occurred. Combat arms troops first to go - - leaving the CS and CSS soldiers behind. This strikes me as being an ass-backwards approach.

And very reminiscent of the situation as present in Vietnam - - FORTY YEARS ago now.

U.S. CS and CSS troops, not organized or equipped and having an organic combat capability - - IN PERIL if the situation in Iraq [as it did in Vietnam] goes from bad to worse. Troops, if need be, having to fight their way out of the country [Iraq] - - and again - - not having an organic capability to do so!

The Easter Offensive [1972] of the North Vietnamese [NVA] - - NEARLY resulting in a total breakdown and capitulation of the South Vietnamese Army [ARVN], those American soldiers remaining in Vietnam being placed in great danger. American forces in South Vietnam, as in Iraq today, NOT HAVING AN ORGANIC COMBAT CAPACITY!


Even the outstanding television news anchor and journalist, and a man who was easily conversant in such matters - - Howard K. Smith - - made the off-hand remark [I personally can recall vividly the exact words of the man himself] during an evening broadcast that someone at the top had made a very bad decision here [withdraw combat arms troops first], leaving the remaining American contingents in a dangerous and unwarranted position.

Let us hope the situation in Iraq DOES NOT go from bad to worse. A very bad potential disaster could be in the making.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This is coolbert:

Again, from the excellent web site "The Imperial German Navy, 1869 - 1919":

"Wilhelm sold his countrymen short. The record of German seamanship and courage proves the High Seas Fleet was an effective and canny fighting force when permitted to fight, and that its more recent ships were at least a match for the British. The war record of von Spee's Asiatic Squadron . . . of German commerce raiders and submariners . . . [the] strikingly effective escape in the night at Jutland -- this is a worthy record. It bespeaks high standards of gunnery, seamanship, and discipline, with not a little gallantry and panache thrown in"

"pa·nache- – noun 1. a grand or flamboyant manner; verve; style; flair"

The German Navy, at Jutland [1916], giving out better than it received [sank more enemy ships with greater enemy casualties], twice successfully executing difficult high-speed maneuvers to prevent English entrapment, escaping under conditions of low-visibility, demonstrating considerable prowess and fighting ability when outnumbered and out-gunned. Jutland is generally considered to have been a DRAW! On several occasions, however, the "contest" could have gone either way?

Consider also those surface naval engagements during the early years [1914-1915] of World War One [WW1] between English and German squadrons.

1. Coronel.

"The World War I naval Battle of Coronel took place on 1 November 1914 off the coast of central Chile near the city of Coronel. German Kaiserliche Marine forces . . . defeated a Royal Navy squadron"

Decisive German victory.

Coronel having been:

"This was Britain's first naval defeat since the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812 and the first of a British naval squadron since the Battle of Grand Port in 1810"

2. Falkland Islands.

The Battle of the Falkland Islands was a British naval victory over the Imperial German Navy on 8 December 1914 during the First World War in the South Atlantic.

Decisive British victory.

3. Heligoland Bight.

"The First Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first naval battle of the First World War, fought on 28 August 1914"

British victory.

4. Dogger Bank.

"The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval battle fought near the Dogger Bank in the North Sea on 24 January 1915, during the First World War, between squadrons of the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet."

British victory.

[not to be confused with the Dogger Bank incident of 1905. Russian naval forces obliterating British fishing vessels in a case of mistaken identity!!]

This too - - as written by an English naval officer in the aftermath of Dogger Bank:

"The German Navy was manned by a personnel no less courageous and at least as well trained as our own; their ships were superior type for type; their gunnery was more accurate. Yet in the mind of every German seaman was the reflection that they were challenging the might of a navy [British] which, by and large, had dominated the seas for four centuries. The German seaman had a respect and almost traditional veneration for the British Royal navy, and entered the war with an inferiority complex in striking contrast to the superiority complex which the German Army felt towards all other armies." - - Lieutenant Stephen King-Hall.

And once again, "the moral is to the physical as three is to one" - - Napoleon.

The German - - when timid, did not succeed? The German - - when having the initiative, did succeed? You have to judge for yourself!

Timid - - that word, when used in the military context, is extremely pejorative - - a big NEGATIVE!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kiel Canal.

This is coolbert:

"If the U.S. fielded a two-ocean navy, the Kaiser had at least a two-sea navy, operating in the Baltic and the North Sea."

This is correct. During the German naval build-up in those decades prior to World War One [WW1], the pre-Dreadnought and Dreadnought navy of Imperial Germany was required to operate in both the Baltic and North Sea.

A fleet with pelagic-going [deep blue water] capability but an orientation primarily toward the east [Russia] and west [Britain].

An intrinsic part of German naval strategy during that pre-WW1 period being the building, maintenance, and usage of the Kiel Canal.

A waterway designed to connect the Baltic and North Sea, bypassing Jutland and Denmark, allowing for an expeditious passage for warships [civilian merchant marine too] in either direction [west to east or east to west] in time of emergency or war.

"The Kiel Canal . . . is a 61 mile (98 kilometre) long canal in the German . . .that links the North Sea . . . to the Baltic Sea . . . An average of 250 nautical miles (460 kilometers) is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula. This not only saves time but also avoids potentially dangerous storm-prone seas."

"A combination of naval interests—the German navy wanted to link its bases in the Baltic and the North Sea without the need to sail around Denmark"

"In June 1887, construction works started at Holtenau, near Kiel. The canal took over 9000 workers eight years to build"

The Kiel Canal an essential part of German naval strategy in quite the same manner as the Panama Canal was an essential part of American naval strategy. Fleets able to move in a rapid manner from one location to another as the situation warranted, NOT being impeded by natural barriers, a bypass, a short-cut!!

The canal, rendered to an extent ineffective with the naval build-up subsequent to the Dreadnought era. Pre-Dreadnought style battleships able to use the Kiel Canal, battleships of the larger Dreadnought class NOT ABLE to navigate the canal.

An ambitious program taking six years to complete, the widening and deepening of the canal by the German - - Dreadnought class German battleships by 1914 ABLE to use the canal

"It is said that part of Jacky Fisher's gambit in building the 18,500-ton dreadnoughts was to deflate Germany's willingness to compete, since to follow suit would require enlargement of the newly completed Canal . . . The Kiel Canal was duly widened between 1907 and 1914 to fit the beamier dimensions of the Kaiser's dreadnoughts."

Such was the importance of the Kiel Canal to German military and naval interests in the pre-WW1 period that the "enlargement" of the canal was correctly seen by Admiral Jacky Fisher as a PRELUDE TO WAR!

"In 1908, he [Jacky Fisher] predicted that war between Britain and Germany would occur in summer 1914, which later proved exactly accurate, basing his statement on the projected completion date of the Kiel Canal, which Germany needed to move its warships safely from the Baltic to the North Sea"

To what extent historians have been able to determine German war-making machinations in 1914 based upon the completion of the canal "enlargement" project is a mystery to me. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the ability of the German navy to move Dreadnought class battleships through the canal was NOT EVEN a consideration in the final decision process.

The German TOP SECRET naval plan in 1914 was that there WAS NO plan!!


Monday, August 16, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here from the excellent web site "The Imperial German Navy, 1869 - 1919":

"Historian Barbara W. Tuchman speculates that Wilhelm had deep-seated doubts about the ability of German seamen to outfight British crews."

And the speculation of Tuchman is a follows: [from "The Guns of August"]

"although ship for ship it approached a match with the British and in gunnery was superior, the Kaiser, who could hark back TO NO [my emphasis] Drakes or Nelsons, could never really believe that German ships and sailor could beat the British. He could not believe bear to think of his 'darlings' . . . his battleships, shattered by gunfire, smeared with blood or at last, wounded and rudderless, sink beneath the waves"

The German Navy, in those days prior to Imperial Germany, NORMALLY a non-entity, in the pre-Dreadnought and Dreadnought era, became the SECOND LARGEST NAVY IN THE WORLD PRIOR TO WORLD WAR ONE [WW1], Germany also possessisng the SECOND LARGEST MERCHANT MARINE!

A formidable force, well-equipped and well-trained, prepared to do combat with the British.

The German Navy, at the behest of the Kaiser, becoming a force to be reckoned with, posing a challenge that the British, undisputed rulers of the seas for over one hundred years, were not accustomed to.

Indeed, those various treaties and alliances as engaged in by the world powers and most decidedly so the English prior to 1914 were in large measure a response to the prodigious naval build-up of the German? Alliances and treaties, designed to prevent war but rather leading to a world war as a consequence.

Much has been made, however, of the hesitancy of the German to deploy, sortie forth from protected bases, and engage the English in a decisive naval battle.

The TOP SECRET orders for the German Navy in time of war prior to 1914 was THAT THERE WERE NO ORDERS!

"Despite his prewar [WW1] swagger . . . he [the Kaiser] turned out quite timid when the actual risk of losing his beautiful ships was near at hand. You would think he were speaking of exquisitely made models, not deadly warships crewed by thousands of men ready to die for him. The Kaiser's vacillating moods would make an interesting psychiatric study"

In can be suggested that the German Navy was indeed numerically inferior to the British with regard to capital ships, those capital ships of the English being also superior in firepower, British naval commanders having more experience and a strong tradition, etc.

However, to the aggressive commander [German in this case], whether it be on land on at sea, numbers and firepower alone are not always requisite for victory. The inspired and able leader and commander will FIND A WAY TO VICTORY, EVEN WHEN THE ODDS ON PAPER ARE AGAINST HIM!

The inactivity, the sluggishness, the inertia of the High Sea Fleet was due primarily to a lack of mental wherewithal, a hesitancy, a lack of confidence

"The moral is to the physical as three is to one" - - Napoleon.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vanguard II.

This is coolbert:

Came across this item quite by accident. The type of thing that makes you want to scratch your head.

A modern warship, of the most advanced type, blown apart, taking with it to the bottom almost the entire crew, all from non-hostile action.

The HMS Vanguard, British World War One [WW1] "Dreadnought" type of vessel, an accidental explosion sinking the ship, WHILE MOORED, IN HARBOR!! An explosion, devastating, not from enemy action, a non-combat situation.

"Just before midnight on Monday, 9 July 1917 at Scapa Flow, Vanguard suffered an explosion, probably caused by an unnoticed stokehold fire heating cordite stored against an adjacent bulkhead in one of the two magazines which served the amidships gun turrets 'P' and 'Q'. She sank almost instantly, killing an estimated 843 men; there were only two survivors."

Here is an excellent photograph of the Vanguard. Note that amidships turret. Ammo storage area would have been adjacent to the coal-fired boilers? Those cables attached to the mast were radio antenna for the spark-gap transmitters of the era?

EVERYONE on the ship was probably in their berth, blissfully asleep, NO warning or any possibility of escape subsequent to the accidental detonation.

"In terms of loss of life, the destruction of the Vanguard remains the most catastrophic accidental explosion in the history of the UK, and one of the worst accidental losses of the Royal Navy."

Perhaps THE GREATEST SINGLE LOSS in the history of the Royal Navy? And while the armed forces are actually in a state of conflict!

This "accident" speaks poorly to design features of the ship? Amidships turrets requiring ammunition storage facilities located NEAR the engine room and coal fired boilers? ONLY a single bulkhead separating the compartments.

Even in a time of non-hostilities, military service can be dangerous. Think too of the sinking of the USS Maine. According to Admiral Rickover almost the same sort of scenario [accidental ammunition discharge] may have sunk the Maine, also while at anchorage - - a non-hostile situation!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Type 93.

This is coolbert:

In those previous blog entries where I have mentioned the Japanese World War Two [WW2] era torpedo, the Type 93 ["Long Lance"], I have described the Type 93 as a weapon with potential war-winning performance and potentiality.

A naval weapon, a torpedo, fired from SURFACE vessels, especially during night-time engagements, able to negate an American numerical superiority in warships, allowing for Japanese victory!!

I doubt few experts would deny that the Long Lance was indeed a formidable weapon, to which American naval planners needed to pay proper caution and heed! But the evidence seems to suggest that the Type 93 WAS NOT a war-winning weapon.

[until actually encountering the Type 93 in battle, American and other allied naval planners did not even know of the existence of this torpedo!]

Here from an interesting web site, an analysis of the Type 93 and combat effectiveness of same:

"Were the Best Good Enough?"

"The Performance of Japanese Surface Forces in Torpedo Attack versus the expectations of the Decisive Battle Strategy." - - By Joseph Czarnecki.

Contrary to generally accepted opinion, massive barrages of Type 93 did NOT always provide the desired outcome during the various surface naval battles as fought in the Pacific theatre. The massive use of Type 93 torpedoes during a decisive battle with American naval forces would have been an important factor, but not necessarily conclusive in itself!

"Torpedo attack was the cornerstone of the night attack, and a critical element of the day attack intended to rectify Japan’s initial 3:5 and worsening deficit in numbers."

[American naval forces by TREATY were assured of a numerical advantage in capital ships vis-a-vis the Japanese prior to 7 December 1941! An advantage that would only worsen to the disadvantage of the Japanese during a time of PROTRACTED WARFARE!]

Long Lance - - formidable - - but NOT war-winning!

I stand corrected?



This is coolbert:

Here with a comment to the blog by Steiner:

"The American ground-attack aircraft of choice during the Vietnam War was the Douglas Skyraider, which served with distinction. Over 3000 of these radial piston-engined ships were built for the Navy and Air Force, and the type is featured prominently in the films 'Bat*21', 'Flight of the Intruder' and 'Rescue Dawn'."


Before there was "Warthog" there was "Sandy"!

American ground attack aircraft of the era 1950's through 1970's.

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider.

Ground-attack aircraft providing close-air-support [CAS] to American troops during the Korean and Vietnam War.

Single-seat, single-engine [internal combustion] combat aircraft of rugged design and reliability, carrying an impressive amount of ordnance, being able to "dish out" punishment while able to survive in low-level aerial combat, taking hits from enemy ground fire [small arms and anti-aircraft-artillery] and "keep going"!!

A versatile warplane originally developed as a dive bomber or torpedo bomber for the U.S. Navy during World War Two [WW2]. Flown rather in the CAS capacity and carrying an impressive array of weaponry:


"Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) M2 cannon"
"Other: Up to 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) of ordnance on 15 external hardpoints including bombs, torpedoes, mine dispensers, unguided rockets, or gun pods"

NOT specifically designed with the ground-attack CAS role in mind, nonetheless having formidable characteristics to include:

* Immense loiter time.
* Carry a lot of ordnance.
* Attack using cannon fire or drop bombs.
* Able to sustain damage and "keep going"!
* Operate out of unimproved airfields.

"The piston-engined AD Skyraider was designed during World War II to meet requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber, and was a follow-on to earlier dive bombers and torpedo bombers used by the Navy such as the Helldiver and Avenger."

"the aircraft excellent low-speed maneuverability, and enabled it to carry a tremendous amount of ordnance over a considerable combat radius and loiter time for its size . . . The aircraft was optimized for the ground-attack mission and was armored against ground fire in key locations"

"The A-1 was famous for being able to take hits and keep flying. Battle damage images from the Korean and Vietnam wars speak for themselves. There was added armor plating around the cockpit area for added pilot protection."

Flown most successfully so in combat by the U.S. Navy [USN], U.S. Air Force [USAF] and Vietnamese Air Force [VNAF]! Especially during the Vietnam War, the Skyraider proved to be almost the perfect combat aircraft for the counter-insurgency [COIN] role! Some of those South Vietnamese pilots in particular saw YEARS of combat flying the Skyraider. Contrary to popular opinion in the U.S., the South Vietnamese were not gutless cowards who refused to fight. Quite often very brave and excellent combat veterans of amazing tenacity and courage. NOT persons who shirked their duty! The opposite!

Incidentally, the famous pilot of the Vietnam War Dieter Dengler was flying a Skyraider on his FIRST mission when shot down. Please see the documentary by the famous German movie director Werner Herzog about Dieter and his exploits.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


This is coolbert:

"We realized then and it should not be forgotten now, that our entire superiority was due almost entirely to our possession of radar. Certainly we have no edge on the japs in experience, skill, training, or performance of personnel."

Here is a rather significant but generally unheralded American naval officer from the era of World War Two [WW2].

Willis Lee.

Affectionately called "Ching". Commander of U.S. naval forces during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal [1942]. Kept his cool and prevailed over an enemy that hitherto had gotten the best of a variety of allied commanders, Dutch, American, British, Australian!

Lee, aboard the battleship USS Washington, composed, alert, aware, etc., RESPONSIBLE FOR VICTORY OVER THE JAPANESE DURING A NIGHTTIME SURFACE NAVAL BATTLE! The defeated Japanese Navy from that point forward NEVER AGAIN during WW2 gaining a measure of ascendancy over allied forces!!

"Willis Augustus "Ching" Lee, Jr. (May 11, 1888 – August 25, 1945) was a Vice Admiral of the United States Navy during World War II. Lee commanded the American ships during the second night of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 14–15, 1942) . . . The victory . . . marked a turning point in both the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Pacific War itself."

Also a man, Willis Lee, a skilled marksman and accomplished Olympic athlete of the highest order!!

"Lee was also a skilled sport shooter, and won 7 medals in the 1920 Olympics shooting events, tied with teammate Lloyd Spooner for the most anyone had ever received in a single games. Their record stood for 60 years."

Lee, in addition, a graduate of the US Naval Academy [Annapolis], a man with a solid background in mathematics, science, engineering, able to understand and put to good use the latest technological advancements of the era, the SG radar and the TBS radio. That combination of SG surface search radar and the ship-to-ship voice VHF TBS radio giving U.S. commanders a significant edge over the well-trained night fighting Japanese surface naval task forces.

"The SG radar, along with the TBS radio, was certainly the equipment that prevented the U.S. Navy from being swept aside during the fierce night battles fought in the dark waters of the Solomons Islands chain."

Merely possessing the SG radar and TBS radio did NOT guarantee victory in the night surface naval battles of WW2. That proper combination of fighting ability and the advantage gained through the use of superior technology did enable "Ching" Lee to succeed where others had failed.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here are a series of traditional surface naval battles, fought primarily sans aviation, between the Imperial Japanese Navy [IJN] and the various allied navies, in the months immediately following 7 December 1941, that seemed to vindicate the belief that Japanese Navy, pre-Pearl Harbor, was the most combat ready, the most professional, the most able military service in the world!

Surface naval combat actions, major warships engaging major warships in the "traditional" manner, naval gunfire and massive barrages of torpedoes fired by SURFACE VESSELS.

1. Battle of the Java Sea. [1942]

2. Battle of Sunda Strait. [1942]

3. Second Battle of the Java Sea. [1942]

4. Battle of Savo Island. [1942]

5. Battle of Cape Esperance. [1942]

6. First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. [1942]

7. Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. [1942]

8. Battle of the Komandorski Islands. [1943]

The Japanese Navy, very well trained and prepared for naval warfare of the traditional type. These naval encounters of 1942 and 1943 not in the style of Pearl Harbor, Repulse and Prince of Wales, Coral Sea, Midway, etc.

Naval warfare during which the Japanese maximized their advantages, all the while minimizing their weaknesses.

The Japanese having trained for and preferring surface naval NIGHT COMBAT!

In particular, the Japanese making extensive use of the Long Lance torpedo as a war-winning secret weapon, the existence and potentiality of the Long Lance NOT even being appreciated by allied naval war planners!

It can be justifiably argued that ONLY in the case of Cape Esperance and surely in the case of Second Guadalcanal did the allied navies get the best of the Japanese, and in both cases, ONLY barely so and with some luck.

Those instance of allied naval defeat, such as Java Sea, Savo Island, being humiliating in the extreme, unexpected and catastrophic, unanticipated!

More than anything else, it was a matter of numbers and a dogged persistence that FINALLY allowed the allied navies to gain the upper hand over the Japanese during that period 1942-1943?

In all instances, it is NOT that the allied navies were so bad, the allied ships, the allied sailors, the allied commanders were so bad, but that the Japanese were so GOOD? More than likely so!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Type A.

This is coolbert:

Very interesting program on public television broadcast this evening.

From Nova: "Killer Subs of Pearl Harbor".

An entire program dealing with the five Japanese midget submarines attacking Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.

An attack to have been made simultaneously with and in conjunction with the attack on the American fleet moored at anchorage, Pearl Harbor. Attack from above and below!

It is well known what happened to four of the five attacking midgets. Failed totally in their mission, sunk, run aground, scuttled, etc., all accounted for by the U.S. Navy and historians.

One sub and what happened to it remains a mystery and has for almost seventy years now?

Mystery, however, now, solved?

One of those five midget subs DID penetrate the defenses of Pearl Harbor, and DID fire two torpedoes, ONE of which may have been a dud [fired at the Arizona], the other striking home, crippling an American battleship [Oklahoma or West Virginia].

So seems to be the evidence. A midget sub, apparently dumped outside of Pearl Harbor, at a depth of 1,000 feet, MISSING the two torpedoes normally carried by the Type A midget. This apparently is the fifth up-until-now unaccounted for missing sub.

This entire program however, omits a point that to me is even more important.

The torpedoes carried by the Type A were of the Long Lance variety. Top secret potentially war-winning weapon developed as a means for the Japanese Navy to wage asymmetric warfare against the surface fleet of any potential rival. A torpedo used most effectively on a number of occasions during naval surface battles [1942], A WEAPON OF WHICH THE ALLIED NAVAL INTELLIGENCES SUPPOSEDLY HAD NOT INKLING OF!

It was supposedly not until 1943 that the allies captured intact an unexploded Long Lance that had run aground on a Pacific island, having missed the intended target, continuing to run long and far, finally coming ashore without detonating! This is the generally accepted history.


* That Long Lance was a formidable weapon. Carrying a 1,000 pound warhead that could do a lot of damage. The Arizona showing absolutely no sign of torpedo damage, but was the target of the dud found in the aftermath of that 7 December attack?

* Those subs [Type A Ko-Hyoteki midget sub] were engineering marvels, running strictly on an electric motor with battery power, two man crew operating the vessel from a compartment about the size of a closet!

* An asymmetric weapon system firing an asymmetric weapon make for a deadly combo.

* Surely analysis of that dud or those Long Lance captured from any of the other Type A subs at Pearl would have alert allied naval intelligence that the Japanese were in possession of an extraordinary naval weapon that gave the enemy a significant advantage during a surface engagement. NO HEED was paid to whatever analysis was done, if any?


Sunday, August 8, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here is a battleground where that inhaled drug, as currently being developed by Darpa, could be field tested, the efficacy of the chemical being instantly proven or disproven - - an aid to troops working and fighting in a high mountainous combat zone.

Siachen glacier.

A massive field of ice, at high altitude in the Karakorum mountain range, just southeast of K2 [second highest peak in the world], referred to by those in the know as the 3rd Pole!!

"Siachen is the world’s largest non-polar glacier, and thus is sometimes referred to as the third pole."

NOT ONLY "world’s largest non-polar glacier" but also located at high altitude [5500 to 7300 m (18,000 to 24,000 feet)].

Exactly on the border [??] between Pakistan and India, Kashmiri territory claimed by both nations since independence was achieved from Britain over sixty years ago now. Claims, territorial, never resolved, conflict occurring from time to time over Kashmir a constant sore point between two nations NOW NUCLEAR POWERS!

Intermittent combat taking place on the glacier and the surrounding mountains since 1984, about 4,000 soldiers killed total combined, the glacier now having a known armed military presence year-round, a WAR ZONE!!

Warfare occurring well beyond was is called the "Dead Zone". That altitude [14,000 feet/meters] beyond which human life is UNSUSTAINABLE!! NO matter what measures are taken, humans living within the dead zone suffer sure but steady deterioration of their bodies, mentally and physically, a person NEVER BEING ABLE TO BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO LIFE AT THAT ALTITUDE!!

As with jungle warfare, most casualties as suffered by the combatants on the Siachen glacier are of a NON-COMBAT nature. Cold, altitude sickness, avalanche, accidental fall from precipitous heights, etc.

Troops to operate in such an environment needing special equipment, training, experience, and the appropriate mental wherewithal.

A three month deployment and duty on Siachen being deemed as the MAXIMUM possible for a soldier - - the physical and mental breakdown of the troop beyond that point rendering a man ineffective!!


* The Kashmir "situation" has festered without amelioration for over sixty years now! NEVER will be resolved in a peaceful manner? Kashmir is one of those intractable problems that only warfare can resolve?

* Troops [Indian and Pakistani both] deploying from a tropical climate to Siachen must undergo a traumatic shock of the worst possible sort? Mental preparedness in such situations is a MUST!

* Those borders between Pakistan, India, China were never successfully surveyed and agreed upon. The chickens have come to roost. Trouble is, chickens can never live at that altitude, and neither can people!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

High Altitude.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the Danger Room here.

American soldiers while forbidden to take illegal controlled substances, BEING ISSUED DRUGS TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE AT HIGH ALTITUDE [mountain warfare]!

"Darpa’s Inhaled Drugs to Boost Troops at Extreme Altitudes"

American soldiers finding it hard going in the high altitude mountainous terrain of Afghan. Especially when fighting a guerrilla enemy BORN AND BRED IN THE SAME MOUNTAINS, ACCUSTOMED FROM BIRTH TO THE HIGH ALTITUDE!!

Darpa [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] has an antidote to the problem in the works. An antidote that will come too late at least for Afghan?

"Extreme altitudes are a major barrier for troops fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan, and the military’s spent millions trying to minimize altitude’s impact on physical and cognitive ability. Now, Darpa-funded researchers are making impressive progress towards inhaled drugs that would pump up troop performance by fast-tracking the body’s natural adaptations to altitude."

"the drugs will work by increasing blood levels of nitric oxide, which is naturally released by red blood cells to dilate vessels and increase blood flow."

This is similar if not analogous to the amyl nitrate capsules that used to be issued to American soldiers during the Cold War. Amyl nitrate capsules, called "poppers", were the antidote to blood agent poisoning [HCN]. Blood vessels constricted by blood agent could be dilated by inhalation of the amyl nitrate.

"Within three years, Darpa wants to see animal models and human subjects capable of immediately exercising more efficiently at altitude after taking the drugs"

Within three years the majority of U.S. troops in Afghan will have been withdrawn. NO need for the drug after that unless the U.S. becomes involved in another part of the world where mountainous terrain exists.

American Special Forces [SF] troops that for some time have been training for Afghan style mountain warfare are reputed to use oxygen bottles during combat operations. At even higher altitudes, the use of oxygen in this manner will give a distinct advantage to the user. BUT also add a lot of weight to the basic fighting load.

And too, abuse of the drug, inhaled, when fielded, will be a potential problem?

Troops using amyl nitrate as a way of getting "high" became such a problem that the capsules had to be taken away from the soldiers, not issued, indiscriminate and callous use a "drug" problem!! Too many uses of "poppers" being "popped" and voila' you have a "stoned" soldier!


Friday, August 6, 2010


This is coolbert:

More updates on ground attack aircraft.

Combat aircraft providing close air support [CAS] for friendly infantry. Combat aircraft flying close to the ground, dropping bombs, strafing with cannon or machine gun fire enemy forces.

From the era or World War One [WW1] we have the Junkers I. The Halberstadt CL family of ground attack warplanes were not the only German CAS of the era.

The Junkers I also saw yeoman service during the German Spring Offensives of 1918.

The Junkers in particular ARMORED, having the "flying bathtub" armor structure protecting the pilot and tail gunner.

A plane, flying slow and very ponderously at low-level over the battlefield, referred to by the German troops as the "furniture van"! But a deadly "furniture van"!

"The Junkers J.I . . . was a German "J-class" armored sesquiplane format warplane of World War I, developed for low-level observation and ground-attack . . . the first all-metal aircraft to enter mass production . . . its metal construction and heavy armour, which comprised an extremely advanced, single-unit armoured "bathtub" that ran from just behind the propeller to the rear crew position, and acted both as the main fuselage structure and engine mounting setup in one unit, was an effective shield against anti-aircraft artillery."

The Junkers I NOT able to drop bombs, a strafing type of aircraft, relying upon dual machine guns for firepower. Possessing too the rearward facing tail gunner providing cover and protection [also firing a machine gun]!


"2 × fixed, forward-firing 7.92 mm (.312 in) LMG 08/15 machine guns"
"1 × trainable, rearward-firing 7.92 mm (.312 in) Parabellum MG14 machine gun"

"They were used on the Western Front during the Kaiserschlacht {Kaiser's Battle} of March 1918 . . . none were apparently lost in combat, a tribute to its tough armoured design."

A rugged robust specimen of combat aircraft, advanced for the time. And the basics of CAS and the type of airplane most suited for the mission already having been worked out in the minds of the German military. Dedicated and sophisticated CAS airplanes of the WW1 era existed and saw good service. Much more so than realized.



This is coolbert:

"Have 30 mm gun, will travel - - wire Paladin, San Francisco"

From some time ago now, the blog had an entry that dealt with the aircraft, military and civilian versions both, that was build AROUND an engine. Enormous and powerful radial engine up-front to which was attached an itty-bitty airplane with stubby little winds and fuselage. A fundamental inherent instability found in both the military [Soviet I-16 "Rata"] and civilian [speed race GeeBee] versions posing significant danger to the pilot.

Here now with the airplane built AROUND a gun.

The American A-10 Thunderbolt.

Affectionately called the "Warthog" by pilots, ground crews, airplane spotters and aficionados.

The A-10, a warplane designed specifically for the ground-attack role. Able to fly low over the conventional battlefield, providing support to the ground forces using cannon fire, dropping bombs, firing anti-tank [Maverick] missiles. Also incorporated into the design a robustness of structure allowing the aircraft to absorb enemy AAA [anti-aircraft-artillery] and small-arms fire and keep going. A heavyweight "boxer" without the glass-jaw.

[heavyweight boxers with a "glass jaw" are said to be strong and have a very good knockout punch, but also susceptible to taking a single punch and being knocked unconscious themselves. The A-10 IS NOT THIS WAY!!]

The A-10, performing the ground attack combat support role as did the famous Soviet Il-2 of World War Two [WW2] or for that matter the German Halberstadt CL of World War one [WW1] fame.

It should not be suggested that the American military has NOT previous to the A-10 had ground-attack warplanes. The P-47 and P-51 in WW2 and the F-100, F-105, and F-4 from the Vietnam era all functioned as ground-attack role, however, in LESS than a satisfactory manner, those jet aircraft from the Vietnam War era supersonic "fast-movers" originally designed to drop an atomic payload, not conventional weaponry! The A-10, again, has been specifically designed as ground-attack from the start, from the "get-go"!

The A-10, possessing an extremely powerful and devastating 30 mm rapid fire automatic gun [GAU-8], designed as an anti-tank weapon. A gun firing a uranium depleted round able to defeat any known Soviet armored vehicle. A TANK KILLER.

Modern 30 mm ammo as fired by the GAU-8 also explosive as well!

The A-10, the American answer to the worst case nightmare scenario of NATO military planners. Soviet tank armies and GROUPS of tank armies moving west during a conventional war, the Cold War having turned HOT, the aim of the communist powers the defeat of NATO and the subjugation of western Europe under RED control. A conventional military offensive by the Soviets of course to be spearheaded by massive use of armor [tanks], overwhelming and unstoppable. The A-10 poised to play an important role in STOPPING such an attack!!

The A-10, unfortunately, a warplane that when originally proposed [early 1970's], NEITHER the plane or the mission [ground-attack] being desired by the U.S. Air Force [USAF].

The A-10 was not felt to be adequately "sexy"! A jet aircraft NOT flying at supersonic speeds. NOT able to fly at 40,000 feet on an intercontinental bombing mission, dropping a single atomic bomb on a Soviet target. The A-10 having also an unaesthetic appearance, ungainly and even grotesque, not sleek and aerodynamic - - not "sexy".

It was also thought that the A-10, having the ground-attack role, conflicted with the agreed upon 3,000 foot rule! Army rotary-wing attack aircraft [HueyCobra] operating in the envelope BELOW 3,000 feet, the U.S. Air Force operating in that airspace ABOVE 3,000 feet! It being thought the combat mission of the A-10 would violate and negate the agreed upon rule!

Congress and the Pentagon finally prevailing upon the Air Force to take into the inventory the A-10, the "Warthog" proving itself most successfully so in four wars now [Gulf War One, Bosnia/Kosovo, Gulf War Two, Afghan War]!

Indeed, the USAF, in the aftermath of the First Gulf War, attempted to relegate the A-10 to the scrape heap, decommission every single plane in existence, again the Congress and the Pentagon carefully instructing the USAF to retain the "Hog" in the inventory, both on active duty and in Air National Guard units. A situation that remains to this day. A-10's as currently envisioned will remain on duty until at least 2028!! Amazing and remarkable both!!

A LOT of consideration was given to the proper design of the A-10. Considerations as to what features were necessary for a ground-attack warplane to accomplish a difficult mission on the modern battlefield, surviving all the while operating in the offensive role. Features found to be useful, even fundamental, to include:

* Dual jet engines.
* Dual tail.
* Redundant and triple-redundant controls.
* Titanium armored protective "bathtub" for the pilot.
* Immense "loiter time". Carry a lot of fuel and "hang" for a long time over the target area.
* A radio that will net directly to the ground forces.
* A tank-killing gun.

Indeed, it has even been suggested that the famous German combat aviator from WW2, Hans-Ulrich Rudel acted as a consultant during the design phase of the A-10 development!! If any man would know the pros and cons and desirable features as to be possessed by a ground-attack aircraft, it would have been Hans-Ulrich!!

The A-10, all the while "unsexy" and "unwanted" has proven to be an eminent success!! Combat proven and still going strong. What more could one want?

NOW, for the pièce de ré·sis·tance . See this accompanying photo contrasting the size of the GAU-8 30 mm gun with a Volkswagen! For scale purposes this is incredible!!

The A-10, the plane that can, has and is! Long live the A-10!

Surely so!