Sunday, October 31, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with some interesting details, gleaned from the Strategy Page web site, concerning the Israeli infantry fighting vehicle [IFV], the Nemer.

"Designed In Israel, Built In America"

"Israel is having a U.S. firm (General Dynamics) manufacture 600 of the new Nemer IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) over the next eight years. The first hundred or so were built in Israel, but the rest can be built more cheaply in the United States"

We have to be clear about this. Manufacturing costs have become such that it is cheaper to build [re-build] the newest Israeli combat vehicle in the U.S. rather than in Israel!!

Merkava, indigenous designed and manufactured tanks, of a variety of "marks" being stripped of turrets, rebuilt in the U.S. [the majority of them will be eventually], "morphing" into the most capable and advanced IFV in existence.

"The Nemer is based on the chassis of older Merkava I and II series tanks. These vehicles are being retired, so they can either be scrapped, or recycled . . . The Merkava lends itself to this kind of modification, because the engine is mounted in the front and there is already a door in the back of the vehicle."

Please note what appears to be a woman on the far left of the photo, standing next to the Nemer. This is a big vehicle and more commodius inside than might be expected.

Troops able to exit from the rear. Very desirable when you are under fire. As it was with the very old-fashioned American M113 for instance. Merkava when conceived was designed to carry a fire team of five infantry - - a rear entry and exit point a must!

Nemer can carry ten troops, commander, driver, a casualty, has weapons capability, heavily armored ["a 54 ton Nemer, the heaviest IFV ever built"] AND is relatively CHEAP at a cost of "about $3 million".


Saturday, October 30, 2010


This is coolbert:

Feldgendarmes. German military police [MP]. Those from the era of the Second World War [WW2] deemed as particularly harsh, given almost extraordinary powers to apprehend and punish in a summary manner deserters. Punishment of the type most often involving execution!

Consider the figures from both World Wars:

"The German army carried out at least 48 death-sentences. The real figure is probably much higher; most documents seem to be destroyed" [World War One]

"during the Second World War. 15,000 men were executed." [World War Two]

[these numbers obtained from the Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage - - executions carried out by the various combatants for the crime of desertion!]

Military Police, patrolling the combat zone, attempting to apprehend deserters, those persons also best categorized as malingerers or shirkers. Those not willing to do their duty. Slackers.

Military Police, again, seeming to have been given extraordinary powers of arrest AND having the authority to punish almost at whim. Punishment, once again, quite often involving summary execution of those apprehended.

Feldgendarmerie: "received full infantry training and were given extensive police powers . . . [training to include] Subjects included Criminal code, general and special police powers, reporting duties,"

Trained in an unremitting manner, to the highest standard, possessing skills of the infantryman but also of a policeman and much more than that!

"passport and identification law, weapons drill, self-defence techniques, criminal police methodology, and general administration . . . Courses lasted one year and failure rates were high: in 1935 only 89 soldiers graduated from an initial intake of 219 candidates"

"Many ordinary soldiers deemed to be deserters were summarily executed by Feldgendarmerie units . . . they screened refugees and hospital transports for potential deserters with orders to kill suspected malingerers. Rear-echelon personnel would also be checked for passes that permitted them to be away from the front."

German Field Gendarmes having extraordinary powers, AUTHORITY! As symbolized by the gorget worn about the neck. Persons also, those enlisted troops in the field having substantial rank beyond the ordinary as commensurate with their duty. [traditionally, the gorget is a symbol of authority, often associated with the officer class!]

"A typical 'trupp' attached to an Infantry or Panzer Division would have up to three officers, 41 NCO's and 20 enlisted men."

[among those NOT officers, a rank heavy unit!]

"the Feldgendarmerie became more popularly known by the pejorative Kettenhunde (English: chain-dog) for the gorget they wore with their uniforms."

During the campaign on the Eastern Front during WW2, desertion WAS NOT uncommon. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures?

Even the German soldier has his breaking point? The Feldgendarmerie were an antidote that went way beyond the norm!


Friday, October 29, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with more on the Belgian Shepherd Dog, the Malinois. A favorite of police, the military, and quasi-military organizations such as the French GIGN.

A dog possessing all the ideal qualities - - and having that special combination of characteristics most admirable.

"The Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) . . . a breed of dog . . . popular [with] police departments"

"The United States Secret Service and Royal Australian Air Force use the breed exclusively."

AND many others besides them!

In particular, a breed, the Malinois, of the exact right size, able to be picked up and carried easily [?] by a man, but also large enough and aggressive enough to function well as an attack dog. Pose a significant threat to an opponent. Picked up and carried by a man in a manner that would not be so easy with a German shepherd dog?

Also a breed of dog that works well in a hot environment. Such as in Israel. The dog of choice by the Israeli military dog handlers, Unit Oketz.

"The Oketz Unit  . . . is the independent canine special forces (sayeret) unit"

"Oketz prefers Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), over the German Shepherd Dog and Rottweiler, which were employed formerly. The reasons for the choice are twofold: they're the perfect size to be picked up by their handler while still being able to attack an enemy, and their coats are short and general neutral to fair in color, making them less prone to heatstroke."

Soldiers of Unit Oketz wear the red beret of the paratrooper. It is not clear whether the Malinois of Oketz are also air-droppable, parachute capable!



This is coolbert:

SQUANDERED YEARS… - - Victor [Shalnev]"

Here with an interesting photograph obtained from a Russian web site - - "Angolan Veterans Union" through African Crisis.

See here a rough English translation of the web site.

Shows purportedly an awards ceremony [some of those in the photo seem to be sporting newly awarded medals] - - Soviet advisers to the MPLA "central government" of Angola in the aftermath of combat with the South African military.

The Angolan "bush war". From the late 1970's. Over thirty years ago now. The Angolan MPLA/Soviet/Cubans versus the Angolan UNITA rebels, aided and abetted by the American CIA and the South Africans.

These persons in the photo, wearing what appears to be Cuban uniforms, are not exactly who they seem to be? Combat troops, commanders of the Cuban military, in reality Soviet citizens more correctly known as ninos [children in Spanish]?

The caption for this photo reads: 'A collective photo of Soviet advisers who received (Cuban) medals' For the defense of Cuito Cuanavale". There are about 30 officers."

Soviet and not Cuban nationals. Persons, native Spanish speakers, wearing the uniform of the Cuban army and fighting as Cubans, EVEN CLAIMING TO BE CUBANS [?], all the while a citizen of the old Soviet Union and nothing more than that?

Persons, descendants of those Spaniards who fled Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, settling in the Soviet Union, invited by Stalin. Persons whose parents fled Spain in fear of fascist rule and retribution by Franco. Persons born and bred a Soviet citizen, all the while retaining their native Spanish tongue and Spanish ways. ABLE TO PASS AS A CUBAN FOR REVOLUTIONARY PURPOSES - - SEEING DUTY ALL OVER THE WORLD IN THAT REGARD DURING THE COLD WAR?

At least from what I can see, those in the photo DO SEEM to NOT have a Slavic appearance to them, but rather are what is best characterized as "Latins".

My appreciation!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here with an online blog ["Men in Action!"] of a retired, reportedly, GIGN operative.

[unfortunately this blog seems to have been NOT active for over two years now!!]

GIGN, the French police special operations unit, quasi-military, having a responsibility for:

* Anti-terrorist operations.

* Quelling prison rebellions.

* Hostage negotiations. [hostage rescue if needed!]

Highly trained French gendarmes, special operations type unit of the highest ability, very professional, having at their disposal a wide range of weaponry to include an ATTACK DOG CAPABILITY.

The dog of choice for GIGN operations being:

"The Belgian Shepherd Malinois"

Superior qualities of the Malinois to include: [from an English translation of the GIGN blog]

• "He proved it met all the criteria for intervention of the dog."
• "It is a template, allowing him to sneak into the most inaccessible places."
• "Solid dog, exceptional physical condition, very strong."
• "It must be balanced chooses = osmosis between master and dog mandatory."
• "Nerve impulses inexhaustible, go-getter, a great sensitivity."
• "Gives to his master all he has in the guts, waiting for his master returned the favor."
• "Returned with a dazzling teeth exceptional."
• "Relaxation breathtaking: able to perform jumps of 2.50 m and more."
• "Which is where the obstacle that does not cross?"

Attack dogs that can be included as part of an air assault mission, winch lowered from a helicopter in a harness, attached to the handler, the dog and man in reality as ONE!!

Master and dog "knowing the ropes" here! It is imperative that the dog and handler arrive on the ground as a team! The chopper does not have to land in this case!

Dogs too that can be dropped by parachute if need be? This is not clear. All GIGN "troops" must be parachute qualified [recall that GIGN are police and NOT military!].

Suvorov speaks of Soviet/Russian spetsnaz [special purpose] troops being accompanied by attack dogs of the most ferocious kind. Dogs parachuting to the ground - - precautions being taken to safeguard the landing of the dog!

"They are just as mobile as the men themselves, since they can be dropped by parachute in special soft containers."

The synergistic value of the combined team - - man and dog - - is very great indeed, attack dogs appearing on the scene, especially in an unexpected way, having a shock effect on the adversary that must be profound!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This is coolbert:

Primitive warfare.

Am watching the other night the public television broadcast of the Travelscope "adventure" series as hosted by Joseph Rosendo.


"In TRAVELSCOPE, award-winning travel journalist Joseph Rosendo explores the world's treasures"

In this particular episode, Joseph travels to the highlands of New Guinea, visiting a western-style lodge from which day-trips can be done, exploring the surrounding jungle and observing the traditional life of the Huli Wigmen tribal group.

"Papua New Guinea - Cultural Encounters in an Ancient World"

"Joseph heads to Papua New Guinea's remote highlands for cultural encounters with the Huli Wigmen"

As shown during the broadcast is a formidable structure, a pair of earthen and packed clay berms, pretty substantial, with a moat in between. Berms delineating and marking the boundary between the territories of two clans. Berms hand-constructed and maintained over a period of decades, centuries, millennium?

High fences make for good neighbors! And earthen berms server the same purpose as well!

Earthen berms not only a marker but a defensive structure in time of war. Primitive warfare being endemic to the highlands of New Guinea. Primitive warfare as fought by traditional people still occurring, the rationale, the reasons, the motivations for war being: [from top to bottom, in descending order of importance]

* Land.

* Pigs.

* Women.

The denial of access to land and the resources thereof historically quite often a motivation for war!

Pigs not only a valuable food source but a status symbol too among the highlanders. Wealth measured in the number of pigs a man possesses. [in the ancient Indo-European tradition, cattle is the status symbol]

Bride-snatching also a common practice among "primitive peoples". Men not able to defend their females not worthy of respect in any society, New Guinea or elsewhere.

See also at these web sites other instances of primitive warfare, brutal and merciless, as practiced by various American Indian tribes, prior and after the arrival of Columbus:

"Peaceful tribe met a violent end in long-ago wars"

"Massacre at Sacred Ridge"

Warfare is part of the human condition, whether we like to admit it or not!


Monday, October 25, 2010


This is coolbert:

"The art of war is simple enough.
Find out where your enemy is.
Get at him as soon as you can.
Strike him as hard as you can,
and keep moving on.” - - U.S. Grant.

"Hit em' as hard as you can
as quick as you can
where it hurts em' the most
and when they ain't looking!"
- - as told to Cadet Bill Slim by
a British Sergeant Major.

Here with the six strategic principles of war as enunciated by Sun Tzu, gleaned from the Military History Online web site article: "Sun Tzu and the Overland Campaign of 1864" - - by Richard Podruchny:

1. The first principle: "Win all without fighting; achieving the objective without destroying it."

2. The second principle: "Avoid strength, attack weakness; Striking where the enemy is most vulnerable."

3. The third principle: "Deception and foreknowledge; winning the information war." [consisting of] four subcategories;

* "knowing the enemy"
* "knowing one's own capabilities"
* "knowing the environment"
* "utilizing deception"

4. The fourth principle: "Speed and preparation: Moving swiftly to overcome resistance." [allowing for] four advantages:

* "speed is a substitute for resources"
* "surprises and shocks the enemy"
* "exploits fleeting opportunities"
* "builds momentum"

5. The fifth principle: "Shaping the enemy: preparing the battlefield," [consisting of] three aspects:

* "holding strategic positions"
* "attacking the enemy's strategy"
* "direct and indirect forces"

6. The sixth [and] last principle: "Character-based leadership: leading by example," [consisting of] six categories:

* "character"
* "lead by example"
* "share soldier's trials"
* "morale and motivation"
* "delegation of authority"
* "providing clear direction"

Regarding the Overland Campaign [1864], Lee versus Grant:

"There is no comparable historical example of two great, evenly matched generals fighting each other to a standstill in operations marked on each side by wary caution, brilliant boldness, and sound estimates of the opponent's capabilities and intentions coupled with sincere respect for the other's ability." - - Dupuy.


* Within the "Art of War" the six principles are not listed in such a cogent, concise, and compact manner. Such a listing with sub-categories can reasonably be inferred, however.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


This is coolbert:

From a comment to a previous Military Thoughts blog entry of 2008:

"Don't be such a neocon. They let Hilter's driver go after the war. The whole thing is absurd." - - Dave G.

Salim Hamdan, a man who has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden, actually the personal chauffeur for the man [Bin Laden], tried and convicted of terrorism related charges - - incarcerated at Guantanamo for some years now.

I think also the actual charge against Salim was that he was not only a chauffeur for Bin Laden, but that he had transported MANPAD while acting as a driver for Al Qaeda. Man portable air defense weapons [MANPAD]. Pea-shooters similar to the Soviet GRAIL that do have a significant capability when in the hands of a terrorist.

And when Dave G. mentions the driver of Hitler, he is of course speaking of Emil Maurice. ALSO not merely the driver and personal chauffeur but for a time THE BEST FRIEND OF HITLER AND REGISTERED AS THE # 2 SWORN MEMBER OF THE SS!!

In this particular photo Maurice is to the left of Hitler, Maurice in the dark overcoat with the hat in his hands. Hitler and Maurice side-by-side, the others keeping a respectful distance. THE BEST FRIEND!

Hitler did NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE AN AUTOMOBILE. But did appreciate the value of the auto to society in general and promoted the German auto industry, and the development of the "peoples car" - - the Volkswagen.

To my knowledge Maurice, although never accused of any wrong doing, was investigated by the allied powers in the aftermath of WW2 and released without charges being filed against the man.

Incidentally, the word we all associate with Hitler - - Fuhrer - - is best translated not so much as leader, but rather as "driver", a man behind the wheel.

Controlling the direction thereof. Well, that WAS the case, wasn't it?


Friday, October 22, 2010

Royal Navy.

This is coolbert:

Here within a span of two days, the British Royal Navy [RN], much chastened - - feeling the aftermath of a (1) grounding and an (2) announced cutback.

1. NOT a happy day for the once mighty RN.

"Shunt for red October"

"A MAJOR investigation was under way last night into how the Royal Navy's new nuclear submarine got STUCK on rocks."

"HMS Astute was out on sea trials when her rudder got wedged in shallow water - leaving her stranded"

The HMS Astute - - the most advanced and capable submarine in the world [?] - - indeed, the most complicated THING ever made by man, run aground, stranded, as if a beached whale.

Big time egg on the face - - and probably a lot of recriminations to be had by all!

Prior to the HMS Astute, the most complicated thing made by man was the American Space Shuttle, and prior to that, the Iowa class battleships.

Again, thanks to the Sun, go on a tour of the Astute:

"Tour navy's £1.2bn super sub"

"HMS Astute (S119) is the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered Fleet submarines . . . Astute is one of the most 'advanced submarines in the world'."

NO, the Astute, NOT "one of the most 'advanced submarines in the world'" but THE most advanced sub in the world? Perhaps even more advanced that the USS Virginia class American sub now prowling the waters of the world "somewhere"?

2. Also, this troubling news regarding one of the two remaining British Royal Navy [RN] aircraft carriers, the Ark Royal.

"Ark Royal 'more likely to be sold as scrap'"

"Doomed HMS Ark Royal is more likely to be sold as scrap than as a ship, The News understands."
ONLY one carrier left available to the RN for sea duty. And at least half of the time, that ship will be in port, refitting, casual duty for the sailors, etc.

The one remaining carrier, the Illustrious, also eventually to be on the chopping block, the cost too prohibitive for the RN to keep EVEN ONE aircraft carrier in the inventory?

"The navy's second carrier, HMS Illustrious, is also under threat following the defence review."

Great Britain, ever since the end of World War Two [WW2], slowly but steadily a decreasing influence on the world stage - - militarily - - now a medium-rate power, NOT capable to the same degree, if at all, to project power world-wide? One hundred years ago the RN had the German Navy as the main opponent. Today - - the opponent is?


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fourteenth Army IV.

This is coolbert:

Fourteenth Army - - conclusion.


Please see this previous blog entry first - - then continue.

"The capital city of Burma has been moved [began in 2005?], unexpectedly and without rationale, two hundred miles [320 kilometers] upriver from Rangoon [Yangon]! The ruling junta has done so, with the advice of astrologers, fearing an attack by the U.S. Marines?"

The fear of the ruling Burmese junta, a paranoia verging upon the insane, that a force of U.S. Marines, sailing up the Irrawaddy River from the ocean will depose the military dictators and their cronies is not without reason. There is Second World War precedent for such a military operation!

This movement of the Burmese seat of government is NOT without rationale or is being done for "mysterious motivations"!

I am thinking of Dracula. Operation Dracula to be exact. A simultaneous amphibious and airborne assault upon Rangoon by elements of the British Fourteenth Army. An eminently successful military operation - - the liberation of this most important Burmese city and port facility being accomplished almost without loss of life, the English forces greeted as liberators!

The perception of the junta - - the perceived threat is almost totally unwarranted?

Or am I wrong here? Please recall during the episode with the recent Cyclone Nargis. American warships with humanitarian supplies were standing off-coast from Rangoon, waiting permission to proceed - - a permission NEVER received.

The military men in charge of Burma are desperately worried of any challenge to their rule, and DO SEE foreign intervention as a distinct possibility, intervention occurring in the same manner as did Dracula, over sixty years ago now!

"It is not so much reality that counts as the perception of reality that counts" - - J. Jackson.


Fourteenth Army III.

This is coolbert:

Fourteeth Army - - continued!

The Rani of Jhansi Regiment.

An integral part of the Indian National Army [INA], an all-woman combat unit.

The INA, comprised of persons desiring Indian independence from Great Britain, taking sides with the Japanese during the Second World War [WW2]. Collaborators and wanted persons by the British Raj, hoping to form a military force of some striking power that would aid and abet the Japanese conquest - - eventual - - of the Raj.

"The Indian National Army (INA) . . . was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II."

"The aim of the army was to overthrow the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese assistance"

This particular all-woman combat unit, called a regiment, but in actuality much smaller, about 500 or so females trained in the soldiery arts, prepared for combat!

"The Rani of Jhansi Regiment was the Women's Regiment of the Indian National Army, the armed force formed by Indian nationalists . . . [consisting of] volunteers [females] from the expatriate Indian population in South East Asia."

"These cadets underwent military and combat training with drills, route marches as well as weapons training in rifles, hand grenades, bayonet charge."

[a unit whose strength was greater than a company, but less than a battalion!]

Very similar to the Russian Great War [WW1] "Legion of Death"? The "Legion" a combat arms unit comprised strictly of women!

[in size the Rani Regiment and the "Legion of Death" were comparable?]

The Rani regiment NOT seeing combat, the advance of the British Fourteenth Army into Burma in the latter days of WW2 not allowing for suitable deployment as envisioned?

These women of the Rani Regiment could have had their talents used more appropriately? Signallers, ambulance drivers, maintenance crews, etc. NOT really suitable for combat duty.

The Rani Regiment and "Legion of Death" are exercises primarily cosmetic in nature, not meaninfgul, the time, effort and energy spent in combat arms training could have been better utilized?


Fourteenth Army II.

This is coolbert:

Fourteenth Army - - continued.

Ramree Island crocodile massacre!

"That night [of the 19 February 1945] was the most horrible that any member of the M.L. [motor launch] crews ever experienced. The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth . . . Of about 1,000 Japanese soldiers that entered the swamps of Ramree, only about 20 were found alive."

Here with info, more informative - regarding the Ramree Island crocodile massacre.

An episode from the Burma campaign, 1,000 Japanese entering a mangrove forest - - during the period of only a single night - - ONLY TWENTY LEFT ALIVE - - the survivors found in a stupefied state, the remainder of the Japanese force dead as a result of a massive and overwhelming attack by salt-water crocodiles.

So it is alleged! It has also been suggested that the massacre did not even occur!

Figures, the deaths of so many Japanese soldiers, devoured by rapacious and very-hungry crocodiles - - DISPUTED!!

"The Battle of Ramree Island was fought for six weeks during January and February 1945, as part of the Indian XV Corps 1944/45 offensive on the Southern Front of the Burma Campaign during World War II."

"On Ramree the Japanese garrison put up tenacious resistance . . . the nine hundred defenders [Japanese] within it abandoned the base and marched to join a larger battalion of Japanese soldiers across the island. The route forced the Japanese to cross 16 kilometres of mangrove swamps . . . Trapped in deep mud-filled land, tropical diseases soon started afflicting the soldiers, as well as scorpions, tropical mosquitoes, and saltwater crocodiles."

"In all, about 500 Japanese soldiers escaped from Ramree"

Approximately 1,000 or so Japanese soldiers did enter the mangrove swamp. About half completing the crossing of the island unscathed, the remainder killed, BUT NOT ALL FROM CROCODILE ATTACK! So it would seem.

Half of the Japanese soldiers perishing from various reasons, to include:

* Dehydration.
* Exhaustion.
* Scorpion bites.
* Crocodile attack.

A goodly number of Japanese indeed killed and eaten by crocs, but NOT the entire force of 1,000! This is a reasonable assumption and clarification?

As to: "the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles"

[crocs alone or in a group working cooperatively are able to "disassemble" large prey into "swallow-able" chunks of meat by clamping their jaws tight on a carcass of a large animal and spinning their bodies, dismemberment instantaneously and grotesquely so!!]

Such is the wild kingdom!


Fourteenth Army I.

This is coolbert:

Fourteenth Army. "Forgotten".


Here begins a series of blog entries on the British Fourteenth Army. That English fighting force from the Second World War [WW2] - - seeing action in the CBI [China-Burma-India] Theatre.

More correctly a combat force of Imperial England, a "commonwealth" army, contingents draw from all areas of the Empire.

A massive force, unprecedented in size:

"In 1945 not only was the Fourteenth Army the largest army in the Commonwealth, it was the largest single army in the world with about half a million men under command . . . the majority of the army was built around the British Indian Army, which was stated to be the largest all-volunteer army in history.

[the wiki entry is not consistent concerning the numbers of troops. See this: "The Fourteenth Army was the Second World War’s largest Commonwealth Army, with nearly a million men by late 1944."]

Soldiers forming the Fourteenth Army from a variety of locales and regions, to include:

* India - - British Indian Army troops.

* Africa - - West and East African troops.

* England - - Englishmen to be sure!

Please recall the rating scheme of the Japanese Colonel Tsuji as to the fighting "ability" of those combatants to be found in the Pacific theatre and CBI. [#1 equals best, ability not fully defined!]

#1 - - Japanese, #2 - - Chinese, #3 - - Russians, #4 - - Ghurkhas, #5 - - Americans, #6 - - Australians, #7 - - British Indian Army, #8 - - English!

The difficulties encountered by those fighting in the jungle environment of Burma are well known! For each battlefield casualty, TWELVE non-combat related injuries, mostly from illness! NOT even counting the difficulties of commencing and continuing military operations during the monsoon season.

Terrain, weather, a fanatical and very tough enemy made the going of Fourteenth Army very difficult. "Forgotten" but not by this blogger.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This is coolbert:

9 January 2011. Just a few months away now. Mark that date and mark it well!

The people of the south Sudan on that date will vote in a plebiscite. The vote - - to decide - - whether the south of the country [Sudan] will secede or retain a union of some form with the north of Sudan. One nation or will it become two is the question!

With a risk of resumed hostilities between the two areas of Sudan being a strong possibility!!

"In the plebiscite set for January 9, the oil rich south, where most people are Christians or follow local traditional religions, will determine whether to secede from the Arab and Islamic dominated north."

Right now, according to the peace accord of 2005, the south has a rough form of autonomy. But part of the peace accord as signed was an eventual vote on secession!

And that date is now approaching with rapidity. An apprehensiveness is growing on all sides?

A vote FOR Independence of the south Sudan will result in renewed conflict? This is the fear. A civil war, north against south, Muslim versus Christian, etc.

Oil riches believed to be at stake here? So is the assertion.

The previous conflict in Sudan, called "The Second Sudanese Civil War" - - lasting for over twenty years, resulting in horrific casualties of an apocalyptic nature, almost genocidal in nature.

"The Second Sudanese Civil War started in 1983 [ended in 2005] . . . It took place, for the most part, in southern Sudan and was one of the longest lasting and deadliest wars of the later 20th century."

Millions reputed dead [?] and millions more [?] reputed as well forcible conversions to Islam to avoid destruction!!

"Roughly 1.9 million civilians were killed in southern Sudan, and more than 4 million southerners have been forced to flee their homes at one time or another since the war began. The civilian death toll is one of the highest of any war since World War II."

See this article from the Anglican Journal with details:

"After referendum, Sudan church leaders want protection"

The Christian leadership see the possibilities, the "hand-writing" on the wall, and are preparing for the worst. The despotic and authoritarian government in Khartoum will not let the south go their own way easily?

And the one man who could have been counted upon to keep a cool head under these tense circumstances - - John Garang - - DEAD, having lost his life unfortunately under mysterious circumstance.

Secession of itself should not be thought to be always a bad thing. It all depends on what follows afterwards.

BUT - - when oil riches are at stake, all reasonableness disappears in the proverbial heartbeat. ALL it takes is the thought or the belief that the oil is "out there somewhere" and "emotion clouds reason" - - Michael Corleone.


Monday, October 18, 2010


This is coolbert:

"And here let me say, let no one suggest that we British have not at least as great an interest as the United States in the unstinting and relentless waging of war against Japan.

And I am here to tell you that we will wage that war side by side with you in accordance with the best strategic employment of our forces, while there is breath in our bodies and while blood flows through our veins." - - WINSTON CHURCHILL - - May 19, 1943.

Winston Spencer Churchill, before a Joint Session of Congress, 1943, pledging unconditional support toward the defeat of Japan, resources of England and the British Empire to be unstinting.

This is a little known aspect of the Second World War [WW2].

British contributions to ultimate victory in the Pacific theatre during WW2 - - up unto at least 1945 - - rather meagre, almost non-existent.

I am of course speaking of combat as waged against the Japanese not including the CBI theatre [China-Burma-India]. Burma and India being an almost exclusively British action, the Fourteenth Army [14th Army] performing yeoman service of the most difficult sort for a period of YEARS!

"yeo·man - - 6. performed or rendered in a loyal, valiant, useful, or workmanlike manner, esp. in situations that involve a great deal of effort or labor"

British forces, when deployed to the Pacific theatre, almost exclusively naval units, not a token deployment, but a rather significant and powerful striking force.

This was the British Pacific Fleet.

"The British Pacific Fleet (BPF) was a British Commonwealth naval force which saw action against Japan during World War II. The fleet was composed of British Commonwealth naval vessels."

"The British Pacific Fleet was, and remains, the most powerful conventional war fleet assembled by the Royal Navy. By VJ Day it included four battleships, eighteen aircraft carriers, eleven cruisers and many smaller warships and support vessels."

BPF seeing extensive combat during the Okinawa campaign, 1945, guarding the western approaches to the U.S. naval task forces involved in the landings and the subsequent battle to capture the island. Deployed in such a fashion to ward off kamikaze attack from Japanese ground based aircraft flying out of Formosa [Taiwan].

And was successful in this mission. As with the Fourteenth Army in the CBI theatre, BPF also performing yeoman duty, greatly appreciated!

If indeed a land invasion of Japan had occurred, other British combat units were slated for deployment to the Pacific theatre and would have seen action! Units to include:

* British Special Air Service [SAS]. SAS units conducting unconventional military operations against Japanese targets, target marking, reconnaissance, guerrilla warfare, etc.

* Royal Air Force [RAF] "Dam Busters" Squadron dropping "Tall Boy" and "Grand Slam" bombs on selected targets.

* Underwater demolition teams [UDT] and naval special operations units infiltrating Japanese coastal waters and harbors, gathering intelligence, sabotage missions, etc. Naval special operations units as trained by the Italian Decima Mas.

By 1945 Japanese defeat was a foregone conclusion? It is thought by some that British involvement in the Pacific theatre was a mere token - - more of a political gesture? This does not seem to be the case. British aid and assistance seems to be significant enough to have warranted a big thank you! I for one think so!


Sunday, October 17, 2010


This is coolbert:

From my previous blog entry "Eclipse I:

"those lakeside cliffs, on the five-hundred-year-old-firs of the beloved ancestral land"

"It was said that 'if Prussia ruled Germany, the Junkers ruled Prussia, and through it the Empire itself.'"

The ancestral land, the estates, of those persons classified as Junkers. Nobility, minor and otherwise, landed gentry, persons of much power first in Prussia and then in Imperial Germany, a small in number but very influential social and ruling elite. A ruling and social elite who saw themselves as natural leaders, having an especially vital role as commanders of the military.

A knowledge and understanding of the Junkers, at whatever rudimentary level is necessary to under the history and policies of Prussia and Imperial Germany?

"A Junker (English pronunciation: YOONG-k?r) was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany."

"Junker in German . . . is understood as country squire . . . Over the centuries, they rose from disreputable captains of mercenary cutthroats to influential commanders and landowners in the 19th century, especially in the Kingdom of Prussia."

"the Junkers controlled the Prussian Army, leading in political influence and social status, and owning immense estates, especially in the north-eastern half of Germany"

"The aristocratic character of the officer corps was established early in the eighteenth century as Prussian kings tried to gain the support of wealthy landed aristocrats, known as Junkers, by granting them a virtual monopoly over the selection of officers."

Generations of Junkers, the menfolk, seeing military service as a their natural duty and station-in-life. Sons following in the footsteps of their fathers, etc., a pattern followed for centuries. An obligation to the society-a-large.

Also a way for the Junkers, landed nobility to some degree and persons of independent means, to maintain the status quo, the loyalty of the officer class to the sovereign guaranteed. NO decisions of special note could be made without the consultation and perhaps even the approval of the Junkers.

Those ancestral lands of the Junkers, "beloved", threatened by the Russian steamroller, 1914, a challenge that could not be ignored, and WAS NOT! Tannenberg being the result!


Saturday, October 16, 2010


This is coolbert:

"one side-effect of the war was the change in the public's attitude to crime. 'It introduced people to crime and the possibilities of crime that they hadn't necessarily been aware of before'"

Thanks here to the Guardian:

"London in the blitz: How crime flourished under cover of the blackout"

"As the 70th anniversary of the start of the blitz approaches, Duncan Campbell reveals how black marketeers, thieves and looters took advantage of the misfortunes of war"

The image of England and the English people, as it was prior to 1939, tarnished to some degree - - by this article, these revelations, this book?

The English people - - prior to the Second World War [WW2], considered to be THE MOST LAW ABIDING PERSONS ON THE PLANET, however, as well might be expected, not in absolute totality.

Criminal elements, released from prison - - taking advantage of a situation to commit crime of a worse type on a greater scale!

"As the declaration of hostilities was announced in 1939, the gates of the country's prisons swung open for any inmate with less than three months left to serve and all the Borstal boys who had completed six months.

"A borstal was a type of youth prison in the United Kingdom, run by the Prison Service and intended to reform seriously delinquent young people."

The hope that criminal elements, done a good turn by having early release conferred upon them, would turn to "good" while aiding and assisting with the war effort was merely that - - a hope. Rather, the instantaneous, intuitive, and normal reaction for such persons was to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION FOR THEIR OWN GAIN!!

Criminals by and large, almost without exception, make poor material when it comes to soldiering. Persons very ill-disciplined, contemptuous and surly when confronted by authority, possessing a poor character to begin with, NOT fit to wear a uniform and quite often latent cowards - - NEVER have and NEVER will make for a good soldier!



This is coolbert:

"The shadow of Providence (Vorsehung) fell too on that fortified line of Muhlen, on those lakeside cliffs, on the five-hundred-year-old-firs of the beloved ancestral land and where the Russian 2nd Army was now so violently and so vulnerably advancing to this place the united forces of Slavdom had come in 1410 and shattered the Teutonic Knights near the little village of Tannenberg."

"Half a millennium later fate had so arrange things that Germany could exact retribution (das Strafgericht)" - - A. Solzhenitsyn.


The shadow of Providence [GOD] not merely figurative but actually literal.

A total eclipse of the sun, 21 August 1914, the path of totality actually passing over the advancing Russian forces, East Prussia, the ancestral land of the Teutonic knights and so many of those Junkers that comprised the senior military leadership of Imperial Germany. 

Ancestral land threatened as it had been five hundred years earlier, the Battle of Grunewald.

The German in East Prussia executing a retreat almost panicky in nature, the forces Imperial Russia closing in again in a manner appearing to be overwhelming and unstoppable. This all prior to 21 August 1941.

The total eclipse of the sun, the path of totality in particular, darkness at midday - - and other celestial phenomenon for that matter - - have always been seen as harbingers, omens, signs, great portents of THINGS TO COME that are of a portentous, stupendous, earth-shaking nature!!

And in fact such an even did occur. The Battle of Tannenberg. Defeat of the Imperial Russian army from which the entire tenor of warfare on the Eastern Front WW1 became the norm.

Tannenberg retribution for Grunewald five hundred years earlier?

Defeat of the unstoppable and unbeatable Russian army in a manner that was apocalyptic almost, not expected, catastrophic, a miraculous reversal of mind-boggling proportions! This all in the aftermath of 21 August! Retribution for a defeat that happened five hundred years earlier? You have to judge that.

But it was all foretold, and signs were sent, don't you see!

"I'll show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below (some day)". [Acts 2:19.21]

Oh yes, take it for what it is worth!



This is coolbert:

Here thanks to the SF Chronicle and the web site SF Gate, details of the negotiations, ongoing [?] between the central Afghan government of Karzai and parliamentarians of the Taliban.

Negotiations, however tenuous, at least a start to ending the war in Afghan with accommodation allowing for a settlement of some sort?

This all remains to be seen. American and NATO coalition forces allowing for SAFE PASSAGE of Taliban negotiators, on the traditional manner, safe passage a necessity for negotiations to even occur, much less be successful.

"Gen. Petraeus: Taliban get safe passage to talks"

"Commanding Gen. David Petraeus confirmed Friday that coalition forces have allowed Taliban representatives to travel to Kabul for peace discussions with the Afghan government, but a Taliban spokesman said all such talk is only propaganda, designed to lower the morale of the movement's fighters."

This is the way to solve the Afghan "problem". Negotiations leading to a cessation of hostilities, compromise on key issues leading to a truce, an armistice, and end to the war?

The traditional and tribal society of Afghan has NEVER had and probably will never abide a CENTRAL GOVERNMENT that rules with a heavy had, however well-intentioned. Authority and control exists at a decentralized level, always has, and this is perhaps for the best too.

Compromise and horse-trading, give and get are will achieve results that cannot be obtained on the battlefield?

The Taliban too are not a monolithic group, of only one mind-set. Factions do exist and can be exploited? Omar is not omnipotent? Are predominantly Pashtun and ARE not liked by the other racial and ethnic groups of Afghan, but in the proper context the various groups can get along?

This war is currently stalemated - - neither side able to prevail over the opposition - - not now and not for the foreseeable future. Negotiations allow for a resolution of the impasse! Karzai and the various Taliban leaders both realize this?

This makes sense if all interested parties proceed in good faith!! And that DOES remain to be seen!


Thursday, October 14, 2010


This is coolbert:

"eclectic and free-ranging"

The military blog of Bert, "eclectic and free-ranging". Entries the material of which chosen from a wide variety of sources.


I am watching just the other day on public broadcast television the cooking show of Andreas Viestad: "New Scandanavian Cooking". Andreas, Norwegian cook who specializes in regional recipes using locally obtained foods, meats such as cod and wild goose.

During this particular episode, Andreas is visiting the island of Svalbard land. Arctic wasteland of the far north, an island almost totally uninhabited, a population of only several thousand full time residents at most, an island barren and desolate.

Andreas travels inland, doing so ONLY WHEN ARMED WITH A HIGH POWER RIFLE! Anyone traveling AWAY from the areas of human habitation on Svalbard land MUST be armed in such a fashion. A military-style rifle of high-power [7.62 mm NATO or equivalent] to be carried anywhere and at ALL TIMES!

A rifle carried as protection against attack from polar bears.

The arctic north dangerous terrain to the human, and not just from the cold weather and treacherous conditions from the elements. Danger also to soldiers operating in the far north, the threat from wild animals as much a danger as the threat from an attacking enemy force.

There are few examples left of such danger as posed by wild animals to the soldier [sailor] on active military operations? [I am not thinking of insect bites causing disease such as yellow fever] I am thinking of wild animals stalking you, killing you, eating you!!

Modern day instances of predator attack obviously to include:

* The great white bear of the north. The polar bear. Voracious and perhaps most dangerous land predator that there is. Will attack with intent to kill and eat a human in an instant.

* The salt-water crocodile of southeast Asia, Indonesia, northern Australia. Again, a vicious and very capable predator, a known man-eater.

* Sharks! The World War Two [WW2] incident involving the USS Indianapolis instantly coming to mind. Sailors in the water, blood-flowing from wounds, sharks drawn from a distance - - men killed and eaten! Efforts to stave off shark attack only EXACERBATING THE SITUATION, MEN FLAILING IN THE WATER MIMICKING THE MOTIONS OF A DYING FISH!!

[the Greenland shark, normally a denizen of deeper waters of the Arctic, was observed feasting on the floating bodies of dead sailors, their ship sunk, during WW2, during the various Murmansk convoys. A shark taking advantage of a situation, an abundance of food at the surface!]

* Any of the traditional big-five game animals of Africa. Lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, cape buffalo. Large and very dangerous animals, easily provoked, attacking almost at whim, often stalking and killing humans.


* "Predator control" is an essential element of Arctic operations? A mission carried out by the Canadian Rangers, armed with the .303 British SMLE rifle, most recently during Nanook 09!

[incidentally - - nanook in the language of the Eskimo means polar bear!]

* The jury is still out on the World War Two era Ramree crocodile massacre? 1,000 or so Japanese troops killed and devoured by salt-water crocodiles in a single night! See too my previous blog entry on Sobek, the Nile crocodile-god!

* African big-game predators such as the lion and leopard can become accustomed to human flesh, scavenging the bodies of dead soldiers and developing a "taste" for people that places everyone in great danger. Such was the case of tigers in Vietnam devouring the bodies of North Vietnamese troops killed by B-52 strikes. Predators that normally flee a human now seek them [humans] out!


Sunday, October 10, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Fight the enemy with the weapons you have, and he does not" - - Suvorov.

From my previous blog entry "Long-Range":

"A possible alternative here is to use Dragunov sniper rifles as captured in Iraq? The Dragunov fires the same round [7.62 X 54R] as the PKM. U.S. units standardizing on Soviet weaponry?"

American and NATO forces in Afghan, fighting long-range gun battles with the Taliban, riflemen using the 5.56 mm round as fired from the M-16 or English SA-80 at a distinct disadvantage - - not able to successfully engage the enemy in fire fights occurring at distances in EXCESS of 500 meters!

My suggestion of course being that U.S. and NATO units could "standardize", adopt for use Soviet era weaponry and ammo available in apparent abundance - - captured in Iraq.

NOT unsurprisingly, the Taliban, for some time, using the SVD [Dragunov] sniper rifle and PKM machine gun during these gun duels, fire fights at extended range. The Taliban did not have a learning curve to follow. From long experience they already KNEW what worked in Afghan and what did not!

From a web site of Anthony G. Williams:

"The British and US Armies has also been finding the 5.56mm weapons to have insufficient range in the open spaces of Afghanistan, where foot patrols are engaged by small groups of Taliban, using 7.62x54R SVD rifles and PKM LMGs, at ranges of up to 900m"


[the Taliban also having a compatibility of ammo between the Dragunov and the PKM. Both fire the old-fashioned but very lethal Russian 7.62 mm X 54R round! ]

Further, according to Williams:

"The issue generating most complaints from
the British Army is the lack of effective range.
When the 5.56 mm cartridge was adopted,
combat experience in previous wars had established
that 90 per cent of all small-arms actions
took place within 300 m."

And this is absolutely correct. Perhaps MOST gunfights of the era World War Two [WW2] occurred at a range of 200 meters or less. And riflemen almost never got a chance to fire a careful aimed shot over long distances. That was a RARE OCCURRENCE! VOLUME [quantity] of fire was considered to be important than quality [careful aimed shots]!

Additionally, the adoption of the 5.56 mm round enabled the average infantryman to carry twice the amount of ammunition for the same weight. This is obviously [?] an advantage?

I would be remiss in NOT mentioning that Dragunov was not only an excellent weapons designer but an OUTSTANDING COMPETITIVE MARKSMAN AS WELL! That SVD [Dragunov] rifle is a marvel!

[so much a marvel the importation of the SVD into the U.S. is banned!!]

I also recommend you go to the home page of Mr. Williams. An English author, military consultant and writer of some ability. Writes in the manner of Robert Heinlein - - alternative history, science-fiction etc.


Saturday, October 9, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here is the story of "three-star". Another Vietnam War hero wannabee.

NOT a total charlatan, but pretty close.

NOT being indicted for false claims of military valor but for FRAUD! Cheating and de-frauding the government for disability benefits:

"collecting in excess of $30,000 in disability payments in the last three years due to false combat claims;"

"Locals react to Hamilton indictment"

"Michael Delos Hamilton, 67, of Richlands, was indicted Thursday on four counts: giving false accounts to VA officials about top-secret exploits in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, during which he was injured multiple times and saw the deaths of many of his men"

Michael claimed to have been awarded a variety of medals for valor and heroism, all from Vietnam service [strictly TOP SECRET service too!!]:

* Two Navy Crosses.
* Three Silver Stars.
* Five Bronze Stars.
* Eight Purple Hearts.

Michael at least having performed some military service, not exactly during the Vietnam era however:

"Hamilton entered the Marine Corps July 18, 1961, and left the Corps as a private first class at Camp Lejeune on April 30, 1962, having never deployed. His only awards were a rifle qualification badge, good conduct medal and national defense service medal."

There is something wrong with the real military record of Michael? Normally an ordinary enlistment for the Marines has been four years. Michael did not even complete even ONE FULL YEAR OF SERVICE!! And too, being awarded the Good Conduct Medal normally means three continuous years of service without having received a courts martial conviction. Again, something wrong with what is purported to be the true record.

Michael too was not satisfied with the rank of Colonel. Saw himself as being a person of much higher stature. He wanted to be recognized as a "three-star" general, a Lieutenant General officer of formidable rank.

"Hamilton was sentenced to probation and $100 in fines in 2009 after altering his military ID card to represent himself as a three-star general"

Michael is a person with severe character difficulties and needs medication for mental problems?

There seems to be so many of these wannabee military types. NOW, as to MY last TOP SECRET mission during my active military service days. As I have said before, it involves chainsaws, stinging wasps the size of helicopters, an expedient rope bridge, a 1,000 foot deep chasm, and natives firing blow-gun darts. Other than that, I can say no more!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Torpedo Bomber I.

This is coolbert:

Torpedo bombers!

Attacking naval aviation, land-based or carrier-based, dropping aerial torpedoes against capital ships, torpedo bombers doing from the air what a submarine does from below the surface.

Those instances from the Second World War [WW2] of successful torpedo bomber attacks upon capital ships occurring under ONLY certain specific circumstances.

Instances of successful attack to include:

1. Taranto. Attack against moored warships in harbor.

2. Bismarck. Attack against capital ship not having friendly air cover.

3. Pearl Harbor. Attack against moored warships in harbor.

4. Repulse and Prince of Wales. Attack against capital ships not having friendly air cover.

5. Yamato. Attack against capital ship not having friendly air cover.

The torpedo bomber of the era [WW2] generally successful only when the "conditions were just right".

The torpedo bomber against much more robust, agile, and prepared opponents, NOT so successful.

WW2 instances of unsuccessful torpedo bomber attack against capital ships to include:

1. Battle of Rabaul.

2. Battle of Midway.

Torpedo bombers, heavy and somewhat ungainly aircraft when loaded with an aerial torpedo, not able to maneuver with alacrity when attacking, in particular too susceptible to shoot-down by combat air patrol [CAP].

* That group of Japanese torpedo planes so successful when attacking and sinking the Repulse and Prince of Wales uniformly UNSUCCESSFUL in combat against the American Lexington aircraft carrier battle group during the Battle of Rabaul.

"The Genzan Air Groups would attempt a torpedo attack on USS Lexington on 20 February 1942, losing seventeen aircraft to the carrier's combat air patrol and anti-aircraft guns"

* American torpedo bombers successfully attacking the Japanese battleship Yamato doing so as part of a coordinated attack in concert with dive bombers and strafing fighter escorts. Overwhelming numbers alone able to defeat the organic air defense of the Yamato!

[the concept WAS for a coordinated attack by all air elements simultaneously! Dive bombers, torpedo bombers, horizontal bombers, escort fighters acting in concert, as a team, again, coordinated, synergistic!!]

* To what extent torpedo bombers were successfully employed by the Japanese during the Indian Ocean Raid of 1942 is unclear.

Torpedo bombers when used in combat under the right circumstnaces were effective - - otherwise NOT so effective!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This is coolbert:

Let me weigh in on a major issue, a case being heard just today before the Supreme Court of the United States [SCOTUS].

A free-speech issue with a military dimension to it.

The person of Reverend Fred Phelps and his controversial behavior is at question here.

Phelps and the congregation of his church picketing, demonstrating at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghan. Phelps and his congregation voicing their apparent approval at the death of an American serviceman.

Odious, unwanted, and unwarranted behavior - - an egregious violation of all that is decent.

From a legal standpoint, under CRIMINAL LAW - - constitutionally protected free speech. Phelps and his congregation - - gadflies, nonetheless, behavior, however provocative - - protected.

"gad·fly - – noun, plural -flies. 2. a person [presence unwanted] who persistently annoys or provokes others"

Phelps having lost A CIVIL JUDGMENT for $5 million [the original decision reversed in favor of Phelps], the litigant appealing all the way to the Supreme Court.

This case is a major news item today. And will remain so for some time I would have to think.

Some observations about the Reverend Phelps: [this all needs to be made abundantly clear!!]

* The "church" of Phelps is his home, his abode, his place of residence, and nothing more!

* The "congregation" of Phelps is himself and his immediate family members, and no one else!

I am not even sure if Reverend Phelps is an ordained minister or anything of the sort. He is what is called a "lay preacher" without significant credentials, no divinity degree or graduation from a seminary?

[he is reputed to in his youth to have attended Bob Jones University?]

Reverend Phelps is NOT a "reverend" or is the "pastor" of a "church" or has a "congregation" as those terms are normally, generally, ordinarily, and commonly understood!!

I might even so far as to suggest that Reverend Phelps and his "congregation" are FALSE FLAG! Something is just not right here with this bunch. Creating controversy and stirring up trouble to make OTHERS look bad?

"While false flag operations originate in warfare and government, they also can occur in civilian settings among certain factions, such as businesses, special interest groups, religions, political ideologies and campaigns for office."

We have not heard the last of Phelps and his "congregants", regardless of how the Supreme Court rules! I fear this is so!



This is coolbert:

“in Afghanistan (most of the) engagements are long distance,”

Here with an article, American infantry being instructed in the art of long-range rifle shooting. The Appleseed civilian shootist project at work!

This from only this last August, very recent. Troops in preparation [?] for deployment to Afghan, their marksmanship being stressed, techniques and methods for successfully engaging a fleeting enemy at long-range being taught!

American infantry, firing the M-16 .223 caliber rifle, NOT accustomed to firing at long-distances with carefully aimed and accurate shots. That M-16 rifle even not really capable of accurate shooting at such range?

[knock-down and "stopping power" of the .223 round at long-distance also questionable!]

"Most Soldiers learn how to shoot at maximum distances of 300 meters. Soldiers in the four-day course shoot at 400- and 500-meter targets."

“'(This helps) familiarize Soldiers with long-distance shooting,' . . . 'We are engaging targets up to 500 meters with just standard weapons. Nearly all the engagements that occur in Afghanistan are at 500 meters and beyond, so it’s important to be accurate.'”

"To help improve marksmanship, Soldiers learned how to shoot without being supported by any sandbags or rocks, just your weapon’s sling for support. Soldiers also learned how to analyze the shot and how to shoot."

The use of the sling as a "support" an integral element of Appleseed "doctrine" and instruction!

Read it all! Hooray Appleseed and good hunting Tenth Mountain!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This is coolbert:

"in Nam, the majority of firefights occurred at a range of twenty meters or less!" - - Bert.

Here thanks to the Small Wars Journal, American and NATO infantry, engaging an insurgent enemy in Afghan, confronted by a situation that is the opposite of what was encountered by the American soldier in Vietnam. Gun battles, rifleman against rifleman, mano-a-mano in many cases, gun fire at extreme long-range rather than the very close.

Gun battles - - firefights, occurring at distances over which the ordinary combat infantryman is neither trained or equipped to deal with.

* "52% of the fights in Afghanistan begin at 500 meters and go out from there."

* "a majority of the fights in Helmand Province are between 500 and 900 meters."

Ranges and a situation, counter-insurgency in the "tribal" environment - - for which automatic and heavy weapons fire is proscribed, prohibited!

"Because we are fighting a counterinsurgency campaign against a tribal warrior society we have and increasingly continued to limit the use of supporting arms."

[the tribal warrior of the Pashtun society. As encountered by the British on many occasions!]

The rifleman is the man of the hour. And again - - not having the training or the equipment for the most part. Combat as fought in the open and barren terrain of Afghan requires and mandates skilled shootists to deal with a wary and very skilled enemy!

"The result is that we must rely more and more on our riflemen to engage and defeat the enemy."

The American or NATO infantryman, the common soldier equipped with a standard infantry weapon of .223 caliber, the M-16 or SA-80 rifle, NOT capable of careful aimed and accurate shooting over long ranges at a distinct disadvantage here. NOR firing a round that has adequate "stopping power" for distant targets.


* Rifles of larger caliber are needed for accurate shooting at such extreme long distances, in excess of 500 meters! Rifles firing the 7.62 mm NATO round and such. Rifles of the type M-14 and FN FAL! Rifles of the caliber as advocated by Appleseed! EVEN THE OLD-FASHIONED BRITISH SMLE RIFLE IS PREFERABLE IN SUCH A SITUATION!

* The extent of this problem has been recognized and been addressed to some extent by the American military? I am thinking of the Designated Marksman [DM] program and the adoption by the U.S. Marines of the Designated Marksman Rifle [DMR]!

* The American military has had to buy back from foreign nations M-14 rifles to equip those troops trained as part of the DM program!

* A possible alternative here is to use Dragunov sniper rifles as captured in Iraq? The Dragunov fires the same round [7.62 X 54R] as the PKM. U.S. units standardizing on Soviet weaponry?

There is no easy fix to this problem. There has to be an entire "sea-change" here! Ever since the era of World War One and subsequent to, the machine gun has been the primary weapon of the infantry squad, riflemen firing merely in the "supporting role" relying upon VOLUME OF FIRE.

That is not the case now!


Monday, October 4, 2010


This is coolbert:

"During the war, the Brenner Pass was of vital importance to the Axis powers as a supply route to the Mediterranean."

Here from the files of the CIA, thanks to the tip from Jungle Trader, the Second World War [WW2] heroics of an OSS officer, Roderick Stephen Hall.

[OSS of course the forerunner to the CIA! ]

"Remembering OSS’ Heroes: Roderick Stephen Hall and the Brenner Pass Assignment"

An officer of the OSS, most famous for a sabotage mission during WW2, Hall a man most suited for the mission.

A mission in the Italian Alps. Those alps - - the mountainous terrain and the climate historically of themselves posing a more serious threat and danger to a military force than the enemy.

A mission by Hall, the object was to interdict the German supply route through the Brenner Pass. That arterial highway connecting northern Italy with southern Germany.

Hall, a man possessing that absolutely correct combination of "skill sets" that made him perhaps uniquely qualified for the mission.

Hall combining that proper combination of:

* Military skills - - "military demolitions, mapping, reconnaissance, communications".

* A man with a high degree of intellect.

* Young, physically fit, unmarried, an "Expert rifle and pistol shot"

* Accustomed "to living in the open under all conditions".

* Adept at winter sports, mountaineering, etc.

* "Familiar with the Val Ampezzo" and the surrounding countryside. Had actually traveled, hiked, and climbed the Italian Alps - - the vicinity of the Brenner Pass.

Hall envisioned the mission as a one-man enterprise. Himself being dropped by parachute with supplies and explosives - - leave the rest to him. Sabotage to the greatest extent possible bridges, roads, tunnels, etc, vicinity of the Brenner Pass, making the life of the German as miserable as possible.

The go-it-alone approach as advocated by Hall not transpiring. Hall leading a team of saboteurs in the Italian Alps, his mission having some success.

Hall as other before him finally succumbing in part due to the mountainous terrain and severe alpine climate - - that impossible to predict conditions of cold, snow, wind, blizzard-white-out, etc. Captured by the German, finally either executed or a feigned suicide.

"Tired, frostbitten, and hungry, he was caught in a blizzard and collapsed in the snow in Campo, a suburb of Cortina". [Cortina has been the site of the Winter Olympics!!]

Again, historically - - winter warfare in the mountains of Italy and the Alps in particular being especially dangerous for all participants. Consider the case of the Dulcinian partisans - - the year is 1305!!

"The winter of 1305 was particularly cold and the pressure from the Catholic troops and the inhabitants of the valley was particularly effective so Margaret of Trento [Margharita di Trank] decided to lead another march through the mountains to escape the siege."

That combination of cold, hunger, severe deprivation causing more casualties than enemy action! What the enemy cannot do the mountains and the cold can!


Sunday, October 3, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Free supplies and open retreat are two essentials to the safety of an army or a fleet" - - Rear Admiral [Alfred Thayer] Mahan"

I am glad that Admiral Mahan is thinking along the same lines as I have been!

From the Chicago Tribune yesterday more bad news regarding the main supply route [MSR] for the American military in Afghan:

"36 tankers for NATO torched in Pakistan"

"Afghan supply route stays shut after strike kills Pakistani troops"

"Karachi, Pakistan - - Suspected militants in Pakistan set fire to nearly three dozen tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan on Friday, officials said, a day after three Pakistani soldiers were killed in a cross-border NATO air strike."

This "air strike" was a cross-border raid by MANNED HELICOPTERS AND NOT DRONES!! "Suspected" militants were the target but some Pakistani soldiers were killed instead!

The ire of the Pakistani is great over this. Drone strikes are OK, manned helicopters strikes are NOT!

These 36 fuel tankers had just fueled at the harbor in Karachi and were NOT EVEN EN ROUTE TO AFGHAN OR CLOSE TO THE BORDER AREA BETWEEN AFGHAN AND PAKISTAN - - NOT NEAR THE KHYBER PASS?

Ever since 2001 it has been my fear that U.S. and NATO forces could potentially find themselves in a situation - - untenable - - no retreat if required possible from the landlocked nation of Afghan, resupply becoming more or less impossible, the MSR severed!

"Free supplies and open retreat!"

Surrounded by unfriendly nations, where would the U.S. and NATO contingents go if the situation went from bad to worse? Fight their way out to where exactly?

Always keep in the back of your mind the British Christmas Day retreat from Kabul - - 1842!! 18,000 English troops and camp followers attempted a 90 mile march to the Khyber Pass - - ONLY ONE individual surviving!!

Worries and concerns about the Afghan MSR continue, and with good reason!

Post script: This attack against the tankers on Friday has been followed up by further "militant" violence directed against the Afghan MSR! Both on Saturday and today further "incidents" have occurred, with considerable damage in all cases. Three days in a row the MSR has been attacked! That cannot bode well.



This is coolbert:

Here from the Chicago Tribune today info on the grumblings, the protests, the complaints - - the Medal of Honor [MoH], not being awarded as it has been in the same approximate numbers - - for acts of heroism as has been the case in previous wars.

"Pentagon pressured over few recent Medals of Honor"

"Some experts point to battlefield changes; other cite politics"

The highest award for heroism on the battlefield only having been awarded "eight Medal of Honor citations have been announced for actions in Iraq of Afghanistan." [in a ten year period now!]

Without question, the awarding of the MoH, the criteria, the back ground checks of potential recipients, has become much more exhaustive than in the past.

Even after being recommended - - criteria and background checks for potential recipients includes: [and is potentially not limited to]

* "disciplinary actions" [none allowed?]
* "messy divorces" [none allowed?]
* "questionable personal habits" [alcoholism?]
* "immigration violations" [no illegal aliens?]
* "other background issues" [?]

" 'stand-off' weapons such a drones, coupled with modern surveillance techniques, produces fewer 'individual combat actions' most likely to produce heroic actions"


NO! The very nature of the combat in Nam produced situations, close-quarter combat [most fire fights in Nam occurred at a range of 20 meters or less], of a nature that required battlefield valor. Either you acted instantly with bravery or you died!

It is important to remember that the CRITERIA for awarding the MoH is CONSTANTLY CHANGING and has always done so. Prior to World War One [?] the MoH was the ONLY decoration for bravery on the battlefield that could be awarded. The DSC, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, did not exist.

The MoH should not be an object of politics. But politics is a component undeniably of the award process, in varying degrees, depending upon the war, the tenor of the times, the criteria, the protocols. Always has been and perhaps always will be to some degree!