Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This is coolbert:

This is the sort of thing that Bert appreciates. The works of the military sketch artist. A person of artistic talent, WAR as portrayed with the sketch pad, the pencil, charcoal, colors, etc.

Scenes of battle and conflict, the daily life of the combat troop as seen by the "embedded" sketch artist.

Before the days of the single-lens-reflex [SLR] camera, the 8mm camera, the video-cam, etc., the sketch artist accompanying the troops doing a yeoman job - - presenting to the public the "face" of war.

An art form that is NOT gone. Hardly. Here with some examples of sketch art in the military context, first from the First World War [WW1] and then from the current Iraqi conflict:

1. "The Siege of Przemysl". WW1 combat sketch art of the British correspondent Seppings-Wright.

"Apparently as the Russian forces were entering
the city and taking care of the vanquished troops,
Austrian officers gave their parole to accept
surrender and not attempt escape. In return they
were allowed their freedom in the city for an
amount of time."

"British war-correspondant and illustrator,
H.C. Seppings-Wright accompanying the Russian
armies besieging Przemysl, made this sketch
as he was having a cup of tea with Russian
officers [the four gentlemen sitting at the
table, Seppings-Wright is the second from
the right]. So to see, there were no hard
feelings between victors and vanquished
and the café was doing a brisk business
with Russian and Austrian customers,
even during those eventful times."

[this particular sketch art of Seppings-Wright
evidently never published!]

See further and more complete sketch art of the Przemysl siege by Seppings-Wright!

2. AND from almost one hundred years later, the military sketch art of the Xavier Pick. English artist "embedded" with British troops in Iraq - - doing himself proud in the tradition of fellow countryman [from 100 years earlier] Seppings-Wright.

"In late 2008 British soldiers about to leave for Iraq are sketched by war artist, Xavier Pick who would be spending the next six weeks with them."

"In War and Paint: Diary of a Modern Day War Artist"

Almost a self-portrait by Xavier Pick.
Inside a British Bulldog IFV. NOTE the
sketchpad, the pens and brushes, the hands,
in the lower left corner. AND what exactly
is Xavier sketching?

See the entire "portfolio", the gallery/slide show of military sketch art as done by Xavier Pick. Thanks to the BBC! Xavier a very talented artist whose skill is to be greatly admired.

AND, those military officers of the opposing sides mixing freely in the cafe - - the aftermath of the surrender at Przemysl - - the type of event NEVER to happen again, a vestige of a bygone era, almost an attitude chivalrous in nature!



This is coolbert:

ONLY yesterday, Congressman Mark Kirk of Illinois sworn in as a newly elected Senator. In advance, by six weeks, Kirk the winner of TWO elections from earlier this month, in part to fill the contested and controversial Senatorial vacancy created When President Obama was elected to office TWO YEARS ago!

A swearing-in ceremony having a special military touch!

"Mark Kirk sworn into President Obama's former Senate seat"

"Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk was sworn into office Monday night, becoming the first of more than a dozen new Republicans to join the Senate after their party's sweeping wins earlier this month."

"Kirk, a five-term congressman, bested Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) to win the Senate seat once held by President Obama . . . enabled him to be seated six weeks ahead on the other new members of the Senate Class of 2010."

. . . .

"A Navy Reserve intelligence officer, Kirk took the oath of office on the 1827 Bible of David Farragut"

"The same Bible was used to swear in two iconic U.S. Navy Chiefs of Naval Operations—Admirals Thomas H. Moorer and Elmo Zumult."

[Admiral Moorer was during the Vietnam War also Chairman of the Joint Chiefs!]

Mark Kirk, a five-term Congressman AND a naval reservist, an intelligence officer, taking his oath with hand on the Bible of David Farragut. Farragut the FIRST officer in the U.S. Navy to attain the rank of admiral!

Kirk, even while serving as a representative, continuing his military duties, having seen duty during both Gulf Wars and also the Afghan mission! NOT THAT many Congressmen or Senators EVER could make such a claim of devoted military service while in office!

This particular Bible is as close to a holy relic as you can get. Of great significance to the U.S. Navy, almost a reliquary item, as if possessed at one time by a "saint"!

Kirk in specific requesting the Bible be provided for the ceremony, guards and an archivist wearing blue plastic gloves escorting the Bible of Farragut to the Senate chambers for the "rite"!

A very emotional event for all!


Sunday, November 28, 2010


This is coolbert:

"dragoon — n 1. (originally) a mounted infantryman armed with a carbine"

Here from the web site Military History an instance [the last instance?] of cavalry being employed as combat units. From the Portuguese Colonial Wars [1961-1974] - - Angola/Mozambique/Guinea-Bissau.

From the "Way of War".

Combat troops, cavalry, mounted horsemen of the Portuguese army, combating insurgents in the various African colonies of Angola/Mozambique/Guinea-Bissau [1961-1974], on patrol and successful in a way not anticipated. NOT functioning merely as reconnaissance, scouting, patrolling, etc., but as COMBAT TROOPS.

"Mounted Patrol"

". . . the Portuguese dragoons normally patrolled in platoon strength [30 to 40 troops] for 4 - 5 days and were often transported (truck or railcar) to the start of the patrol . But they could easily do longer patrols. An eight day patrol typically covered 250 km and patrols of 500 km were common. Patrols of 20 - 27 days required resupply by truck or helicopter every five days."

Men-a-horse able to counter the two most successful tactics of the guerrilla, the ambush and mining!

"Mounted men had better visibility than those on foot; they could see over vegetation and undergrowth so the insurgents found it hard to ambush the dragoons."

"'Shoot and scoot' [the insurgents initiating an ambush] was difficult when facing dragoons; if an ambush was attempted the platoon would immediately wheel towards the insurgents, surround them, then capture or destroy them."

"Because dragoons were use away from roads they didn't encounter mines too often; should a horse step on a mine the horse would die but the rider generally survived"

I know that the Rhodesians used cavalry during their counter-insurgency campaign of the 1970's. Primarily, however, as scouts, reconnaissance, patrolling, etc., and NOT as combat units. The Portuguese approached the situation differently and had surprising success?

My intuition told me that cavalry in certain situations has an advantage in the counter-insurgency environment, stealthy movement, self-sufficiency, cross-country movement, etc.

A light infantryman, astride a horse, also not worn down by the continuous marching, carrying of load, etc. LESS fatigued from the constant strain and physical effort of patrolling!

Patrols of dragoons did require re-supply in the conventional manner, so they were not so totally self-sufficient, but not excessively so. I would think too that finding enough men that were proficient horseback riders and able to handle their mounts with adeptness was difficult?

Those military leaders who have paid heed to the admonitions of the British Admiral Parry that the world order will begin to break up starting in the year 2012 would be wise to study the example of the Portuguese in Africa. Cavalry will return and be used in certain specific instances as absurd as that may sound!



This is coolbert:

Previously I have blogged about the Waverider. The X-51 hypersonic vehicle launched from a B-52 bomber, a sub-orbital "space-ship" with a military purpose, able to deliver a conventional warhead [having the lethality of a tactical nuclear weapon] to any point on the planet.

Here is part two of the hypersonic vehicle weapons system. An alternative to the Waverider, this "sub-orbital" space craft taken aloft by a missile.

Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle.

"Govt To Try Again For Successful Falcon HTV-2 Flight"

"The Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle was designed to fly at the top of the atmosphere just below space, and is an important element of the Pentagon’s Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, which centers on building non-nuclear weapons that can strike conventionally anywhere in the world in less than 60 minutes."

FALCON: (Force Application and Launch from Continental United States)

Again - - the hypersonic re-entry vehicle, sub-orbital, able to reach any point on the planet within an hour, delivering a conventional warhead in the target with great destructiveness and lethality.

The Minotaur missile used for testing the Falcon - - Minotaur a military missile taken off stand-by, refurbished and able to place satellites into orbit.

"The Minotaur is a family of American solid fuel rockets derived from converted Minuteman and Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles."

". . . The Minotaur I and II are derived from the Minuteman missile, whilst the Minotaur III, IV and V are derived from the Peacekeeper."

Both Waverider and Falcon have precision guidance, using GPS and also [?] having a capability for terminal guidance based on ground-based components [surveyed radio transmitter]!

And, once more, a lethality at least equal to that of a tactical nuclear weapon!


Saturday, November 27, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here Colonel [retired] Austin Bay comments on the most recent artillery duel between the armed forces of North [DPRK] and South Korea [ROK].

An intensive artillery barrage initiated by the North, an island, occupied by the South Koreans suffering considerable damage in the process. Artillery fire returned by the South Koreans, no word of damage as done to the North Koreans.

And the question is asked - - as usual - - what does Kim, reputed to be as sick as he is - - hope to gain by such measures [artillery duel]?

"The Korean War Continues "

"Why did North Korea lace a South Korean island with artillery fire this week, then threaten further escalation? Because sensational attacks are a vicious form of advertising that reap significant political and economic dividends."

According to Colonel Bay:

"Four deep concerns give South Korea and the U.S. pause when considering military action to topple the Kim regime."

Colonel Bay further lists these concerns as being:

1. "The global economy is a huge consideration."

2. "China's reaction is another concern."

3. "A dynastic change is brewing in the North"

4. The economic desolation of North Korea a matter of grave concern to the South: "it could take five decades to make the wretched place habitable"


* ONLY a truce, an armistice, exists between North and South Korea. There was NEVER a peace treaty, a total cessation to hostilities. Almost sixty years has gone by now and the two warring parties, including foreign contingents, remain on a war footing.

* The ramifications for the global economy in case of an all-out war on the Korean peninsula would be indeed GLOBAL! China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, all would see a drastic cut-back in the mainstay of their economies, exports! NOT to mention the tremendous devastation and loss of life.that would occur throughout all of South Korea.

* The use of widespread use of chemical weapons by North Korea in case of war with the South is a given. Biological weapons may also be employed by the North, that too is a possible, the deployment of nuclear weapons by the North at some stage of a conflict as being not precluded. Apocalyptic type of stuff dreaded by all!

* With the passing of Kim, close-at-hand or eventual, a power struggle within North Korea could perhaps even turn violent, the various factions vying for control creating an unwanted instability, unpredictable - - and that for a nation having a nuclear capability!!


Monday, November 22, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here from a web site that is in part devoted to UFO [unidentified flying objects] research, a reprint of a Harpers's Magazine article from 1946. An article listing in part SOME of the war secrets as gleaned from the various American technical intelligence teams scouring the German countryside, in the aftermath of German surrender. Technology new to American industry and science. It is well understood that Operation Paperclip, the German rocket scientists - - did not exist in a vacuum!!

German industry, science, technology, etc., in many cases was FAR AHEAD of their western and Soviet counterparts. The allies and Soviets both found the proverbial "goldmine" over and over - - secret and developed technologies of great importance.

Secret technology and developments having BOTH a military and civilian significance.

"NAZI Technology"

"Secret NAZI War Technology Reported in Harper's Magazine"

War Secrets by the Thousands Harper's Magazine - - October, 1946

Secrets by the Thousands - - By C. Lester Walker

Technologies, "devices", "developments" to include: [a smattering of the whole]

1. High power miniature vacuum tubes. [1000 watt tubes, ceramic, miniaturized]

2. Magnetic tape recorder.

3. Paper condensers [capacitors] - - "self healing".

4. Synthetic mica.

5. Cold extrusion process.

6. Textile processing.

7. Chemical processing.

8. Food processing.

* yeast

9. Synthetic plasma.

10. Negative ionized air. [beneficial to health]

11. Food Preservation.

* butter

* cheese

* milk

* fruit juice

12. Additional military applications:

* Acoustic homing torpedo.

* Infra-red technology. [the sniper-scope]

German science and engineers were pretty good during the era of WW2. In some cases, again, far ahead of their western and Soviet counter-parts. So it would seem. And this was NOT due to the reverse engineering of a captured UFO either! Please!


Saturday, November 20, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here is another "best" with a military dimension to it.

However, a disreputable "best"!

"Best" mercenaries in the world. Englishmen and Israelis - - "hired guns", working for the Latin American drug cartels. Specifically so, the cartel as run by the late Pablo Escobar. The most ruthless, deadly, remorseless villain you could possibly come across. A drug-kingpin at one time reputed to be the seventh [7th] richest man in the world.

A cold-blooded killer [Pablo] not above recruiting and using the services of foreign mercenaries, experts in security, training of "troops", use of advanced weaponry, etc. Englishmen and Israelis.

Those Colombian special police units , trained to "hunt" and kill Pablo, confronting English and Israeli mercenaries during their various anti-drug/anti-Pablo missions. Colombian police units such as the Search Bloc or the paramilitary Los Pepes having to FIGHT AND KILL THE BEST MERCENARIES IN THE WORLD!!

And here is one of those "best" mercenaries. An Israeli, only just released from a Russian prison. Thanks to RIANOVOSTI:

"'Israeli mercenary' Klein released in Russia"

"Russia has released a former Israeli soldier Yair Klein, who spent more than three years behind bars on Colombia's accusations of criminal conspiracy."

"Klein, a former Israeli lieutenant colonel, was captured by Interpol in Moscow in August 2007 following a request by the Colombian authorities, who accuse him of training drug barons' private armies and paramilitary groups in the 1980s."

Klein, however, will NOT BE extradited to Colombia. The man was tried in abstentia and sentenced to eleven years in prison, but is presently going free, the atmosphere in Colombia being "too hot" for assured survival of Klein.

I would supposed it could be suggested that three years in a Russian prison is probably about the same as eleven years in a Colombian prison? Justice has been served?



This is coolbert:

Quoting in entirety from Dupuy: "Understanding Defeat". The decision as made by Eisenhower in the late summer of 1944 - - mentioned or alluded to in previous blog entries. The "broad front" strategy a result of that decision! The war in Europe, according to Dupuy, being prolonged FOR ANOTHER EIGHT MONTHS AS A RESULT? The elocution of Dupuy [professional soldier/historian/writer/military analyst] far superior to my feeble efforts.

From Dupuy:

"In the 1944 Battle for France following the Allied breakout from Normandy, Germany was saved from complete defeat by Allied logistical problems, and the Allied operational decisions that had to be made because of that situation. This led to one of the great, still-unresolved controversies of World war II.

There were constraints on the amount of supplies that the Allies could put ashore in France after the breakout from Normandy. This was due to the limits on the artificial [Mulberry[ and permanent (but damaged) port facilities [Cherbourg] in Normandy and to the fact that the foresighted Germans were occupying other ports that the Allies might otherwise have used for logistical purposes Within those constraints, the Allied logistical performance was very efficient.

What could or should be done about the effects these constraints had on Allied operations? General Montgomery, Bradley, and Patton gave their advice (without being asked) to General Eisenhower. Conceptually this advice was the same; specifically it as quite different. Ike was urged to concentrate allocations of scarce fuel and ammunition to a relatively small section of the front - - probably one field army - - to enable that army to strike as rapidly and as deeply as possible through France into Germany. The Germans were close to collapse, these generals told Eisenhower; don't given them a chance to recover. Exploit if possible, they said, to the heart of Germany and the incipient collapse would become an actual collapse, and the war would be won before the end of 1944. Montgomery, of course, thought that the supplies should to one of this British armies; Bradley thought they should go to one of his American armies; Patton thought they should go to his Third Army

Eisenhower, properly respectful of the Germans, was fearful that if such a deep and narrow penetration of Germany were to be attempted, the penetration would be cut off and would lead to an Allied disaster. Also, for political reasons he was reluctant to favor the British over the Americans or vice versa. So he decided on a 'broad front' strategy. Supplies were allocated relatively equitably to all armies along the front and, when fuel for ran out early in September, all armies came to a halt. The pause was only for two or three weeks, but in that time the Germans made a remarkable recover. The subsequent Allied advance was slowed greatly. The Germans were able to mount their great Ardennes offensive, resulting in the Battle of the Bulge. The war dragged on for eight more months.

No one can be for certain either that Eisenhower made the right decision or, on the other hand, that he should have adopted the strategy suggested by Montgomery - - Bradley - - Patton. It is not accurate to say that the Allies were defeated by logistics and the operational decision which the logistical situation imposed upon them. Certainly, however, they were not victorious as a result of the decision Ike made. Furthermore, this historian believes the war probably would have been shortened by four to six months had Ike made the other decision."


* Those "artificial and permanent (but damaged) port facilities in Normandy" being Mulberry [artificial] and Cherbourg [natural]! Other port facilities along the French Atlantic coast denied access to the allies, occupied as festungs [fortresses] by the Germans. Cherbourg even when captured the port facility itself badly damaged, repair operations necessitating a month of work!

* Ike had a very healthy respect for the combat command abilities of the German generals. The German was very good during the Second World War at both containing a "breakthrough offensive" and forming ad hoc units that gave a good account of themselves. In specific, one of the most senior German commanders in opposition to the western allies was Model - - noted especially for his ability on repeated occasions to "plug" breakthroughs!

* Ike - - in addition, was very keen on maintaining a very harmonious relationship between the coalition of the western allies. Coalitions normally do not fight well! Napoleon was a master at fighting and defeating coalitions, Eisenhower being the foremost expert in the U.S. Army on the various campaigns of Napoleon and in full knowledge of this fact. Harmony, an even keel, and a lack of discord between primarily the American and English allies was always on the mind of Ike. to have shown favoritism with regard to supply would be a violation of the very "rules" as established by Eisenhower.

I think that Ike [the reputation of the man was that prior to WW2 he was the best staff officer in the U.S. Army] understood very well that plans and concepts - - on paper - - do not ever proceed as originally conceived or intended. TOO many imponderables and "fuzzy" appreciations that even with good intentions go awry for one reason or another.

A great controversy from the era of WW2. Such are the decisions the most senior military commanders have to make in time of war, with all the consequences, for better or worse.


Monday, November 15, 2010


This is coolbert:

Read this amazing stuff. Thanks to the on line edition of the Stars and Stripes:

"A fearful man is likely to remain that way
no matter what kind of training he undergoes.
During one experiment, completely untrained
airborne candidates were told to jump off a
thirty-four-foot tower. They jumped in a harness
that allowed them to fall about twelve feet
and then ride a 400-foot cable to the ground.
As easy as it sounds, more than half of a group
of qualified paratroopers said that jumping off
the tower was more frightening than jumping out
of a real airplane. The military tested roughly
thirteen hundred candidates on the tower and then
tracked their success through airborne school.
They found that the men who were 'slow' to jump
off the tower were more than twice as likely to
fail out of the program as 'fast' jumpers, and
those who refused to jump at all were almost
guaranteed to fail."

Exactly! Training to be a parachutist is a filter mechanism and should be understood to be such. Those soldiers, NOT fearful as the others, will pass through the filter and do in a demonstrable way. The soldier MORE fearful [not necessarily cowardly but more fearful] will either fail or in a demonstrable manner exhibit more difficulty!!

The famous First Special Service Force [FSSF] - - "The Devil's Brigade" under went three days total of parachute training. Passing the "course" being obligatory. ONE day of ground work, learning how to exit the airplane, ONE day of jumping off the back of a 2 1/2 truck moving at eighteen miles per hour [simulating the landing of a parachutist, the impact!], and ONE day of doing an actual jump. And that was that! A three day "course" encapsulating what normally takes THREE WEEKS!! The commander of the FSSF was looking for something, the brave and resolute soldier, a natural, able to "do". Parachute training again a filter mechanism to separate the wheat from the chaff!



This is coolbert:

Here with some interesting info regarding the actress Hedy Lamarr.

One of the most, perhaps the most glamorous actresses of the period World War Two [WW2] and for a decade or so thereafter.


Originally designed with the military in mind, as a "secret communications" system, impervious to intercept, jamming, counter-measures as understood at the time [1940's]!

"Not only a talented and glamorous star - she was also an inventor. She co patented a missile defense frequency hopping technology during 1941 that was so far ahead of its time that it wasn't implemented until the 1960's. It forms the basis of WiFi technology as we know it now"

"Together, Antheil and Lamarr submitted the idea of a secret communication system in June 1941 . . . This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam."

["secret" in the sense of being difficult to intercept!!]

"the patent was little-known until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr an award for this contribution"

What exact role Hedy actually played in the development of frequency-hopping technology is not clear. She had some sort of technical education or was just an inspired inventor, working in collaboration with another inspired inventor? What ever the case, SHE DOES hold the distinction as co-inventor, without a doubt!

Hedy too, a refugee from the Nazi regime, her first husband in Austria being a confidant of Hitler! Irony in life is a constant, for even a glamorous actress!


Sunday, November 14, 2010


This is coolbert:

This too was a new one on me.

Thanks to the tip from the book section of the Chicago Tribune.

From the Great War, the First World War [WW1], the siege of Przemysl Fortress. A catastrophic defeat for the military of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian army first besieging the defenders and then defeating the relief force. Winter warfare of the worst possible sort. Casualties extreme, mostly from the elements, snow, ice, cold, etc. A military campaign of WW1 that casualty wise perhaps at least equaled Verdun and even may have exceeded same!!

"Przemyśl fortress . . . was a series of fortifications constructed at Przemyśl by the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the mid 19th century until the First World War . . . saw extensive combat during World War I."

"The Siege of Przemyśl was one of the greatest sieges of the First World War, and a crushing defeat for Austria-Hungary . . . [the siege] began on September 24, 1914 . . . the Austro-Hungarian garrison surrendered on March 22, 1915 after holding out for a total of 133 days."

"119,000 troops surrendered to the Russian forces."

From a review of the recent publication "Blood on the Snow - - The Carpathian Winter War of 1915" by Graydon A. Tunstall, the Carpathian campaign covered in detail. A book recently released only this year.

"The Carpathian campaign of 1915, described by some as the
'Stalingrad of the First World War,' engaged the million-man
armies of Austria-Hungary and Russia in fierce winter combat
that drove them to the brink of annihilation. Habsburg forces
fought to rescue 130,000 Austro-Hungarian soldiers trapped by
Russian troops in Fortress Przemysl, but the campaign was waged
under such adverse circumstances that it produced six times as
many casualties as the number besieged."

"fighting in which a man lasted on average between five to six weeks before he was killed, wounded, captured, or committed suicide."

That relief force, attempting to "lift" the siege, suffering inordinate casualties, SIX TIMES THE NUMBER OF TROOPS DEAD, WOUNDED, MISSING AS WERE BESIEGED!! Breakthrough, a "lifting" of the siege NEVER ACCOMPLISHED, THOSE INSIDE THE FORTRESS OF PRZEMYSL FINALLY SURRENDERING. A capitulation of extraordinary proportions.

Verdun and Stalingrad are well know to the general lay public and especially to the military historian, amateur or otherwise. NOT so Przemysl or Wuhan! And that is why?


Saturday, November 13, 2010


This is coolbert:

Even Bert can be wrong.

Originally I had thought that the flak tower from the era of World War Two [WW2] was an uniquely German contribution to military architecture. But I was wrong.

Here, thanks to der Spiegel and the tip from Jungle Trader, we have the story of the BRITISH flak tower. Called "forts" but much more correctly referred to as a flak tower?

Structures, towers built out over the water, protecting the approaches to English port facilities and estuaries. Topped with radar, searchlights, heavy and light AAA [anti-aircraft artillery]. Raised above the water on stilts, allowing for an unimpeded 360 degree field of fire!

"'Fort Madness:' Britain's Bizarre Sea Defense Against the Germans"

"Clusters of steel huts and manned triumphal arches: From bizarre fortresses off the coast, the British military fought German mine layers in World War II. The huge forts weren't just a thorn in the side of Hitler's air force, but also drove their British crews insane."

Duty on one of these flak towers driving some men insane!

"The isolation and close quarters were hard to bear . . . The men remained on board for six weeks at a time, spending 10 days on land in between deployments. Many required psychiatric treatment, and the soldiers soon came up with their own name for the man made platforms: 'Fort Madness.'"

Forts, flak towers, NOT bizarre. Effective and an answer, in part, to a problem for which there seemed to be no amelioration. Forts even occupied and in use during the early period of the Cold War! NOW rusting hulks in severe disrepair and a hazard to shipping!



This is coolbert:

"miscellany - — n 1. a mixed assortment of items"

Here with some miscellany regarding U.S. Army MOS! Military Occupation Specialty [MOS]. The job the individual soldier is qualified in. Each and every "job" requiring some sort of skill or special training.

1. The only two MOS for in the U.S. Army which a soldier can be qualified by CIVILIAN education and experience are vehicle mechanic and military policeman. Experience and training in these two areas [mechanic or policeman] as a civilian qualifies you to perform the MOS in the military without further adieu!

2. The only MOS in the U.S. Army for which you CANNOT BE COMPELLED to perform your duty is Graves Registration. Those persons with MOS of Graves Registration having to "police" the battlefield, gathering the bodily remains or body parts of American soldiers killed in battle. Performing hasty burial in certain circumstances, or stabilizing the body for transfer to a military mortuary. Also burying enemy dead when required, quite often to prevent disease at a later date.

Graves Registration not normally a MOS sought out by the average enlistee! NON-combat duty nonetheless traumatic - - very stressful!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Green & Blue?

This is coolbert:

"he·gem·o·ny  - – noun
1. leadership or predominant influence exercised
by one nation over others, as in a confederation.
2. leadership; predominance.
3. (esp. among smaller nations) aggression or
expansionism by large nations in an effort to
achieve world domination."

Much has been written about the [purported] Chinese naval doctrine: "String of Pearls". Chinese naval bases and facilities located in the Indian Ocean - - allowing for a continued Chinese military presence, access to resources and an ability to protect same. A doctrine gaining ever-increasing importance as China emerges as an economic global player of almost overwhelming proportions.

Bases, facilities, access to same, located at:

* Marao - - Maldive Islands.
* Coco Island - - Burma.
* Chittagong - - Bangladesh.
* Gwadar - - Pakistan.

Less has been written about Chinese machinations in the Pacific Ocean. It should not be a surprise that the Chinese have not neglected those oceanic areas immediately adjacent to their coastal regions and too have "plans" for deeper waters previously solely the almost private domain of the U.S. Navy?

This is Green Line and Blue Line?

From the magazine "Sea Classics" - - a map indicating what are called:

"Chinese Navy's long range plans."

1. Green Line. Littoral [green waters?] over which the Chinese desire to establish hegemony and dominance? A line running north to south from Tsushima, west of the Ryukyu Islands, east of Taiwan, west of Palawan, to the very northern tip of Borneo.

Littoral [shallow green waters] within the Chinese sphere of influence, Chinese naval forces to be dominant.

2. Blue Line. Pelagic [deep blue oceanic waters] contested deep sea waters - - the Chinese naval presence to rival and threaten American interests in the area? A line running north to south from the Kurile Islands, east of Japan, through the Mariana Islands [Guam], southward to the point where the island of New Guinea is divided between Irian Jaya [Indonesia] and Papua New Guinea.

Pelagic [deep blue oceanic waters[] oceanic region, hegemony contested with the U.S. Navy AT SOME FUTURE DATE, A DECADE OR SO FROM NOW!

This is all speculation?

"Guam - - where America's day begins". And the most critical currently existing American outpost and military facility in the Pacific? As it was one hundred years and recognized as such, so it is today!!


Thursday, November 11, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Si vis pacem, para bellum - If you want peace, prepare for war" - - Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus.

Thanks to the magazine: "Sea Classics" - - a translation very pertinent. Reasons from the Chinese perspective as to WHY China lost the Sino-Japanes War of 1894-1895!

A war - - the parnevu [upstart] nation of Japan triumphant over Imperial China. Sea power and the defeat of a Chinese fleet playing an important role in ultimate Japanese victory.

A war the legacy of which lingers even unto modern times. Taiwan [Formosa], the Chinese Nationalist versus Communist standoff, a war indemnity of staggering proportions, even the disputed islands of Senkaku & Diaoyu!

From the translation of a Chinese naval analyst:

"In that war, [the Sino-Japanes War of 1894-1895], the firepower of the Japanese combined fleet was four to six times larger than that of the Chinese fleet."

. . . .

"Why did the Japanese Combined Fleet have firepower four to six times bigger than China's?"

"the powers that be, both inside and outside the Imperial Court, failed to have foresight . . . and went on to stop Naval spending for 2-yrs. Even worse, it appropriated 7.5 million taels of silver out of the Naval budget to spend on renovating the Summer Palace for Empress Dowager's birthday celebration . . . Let us not even mention the other 10 million taels of silver the Ministry of Revenue misappropriated for the wasteful "Sanhai Project". Just before the war, the Northern Fleet planned to spend 320,000 taels of silver to purchase twelve rapid-firing guns, but failed to come up with this meager amounts of funds."

. . .

"After the defeat, China paid 230 million tales as indemnity. But China had to borrow money from the British and the French to pay for this, which, including interest, would later amount to 600 million taels of silver in total. In addition, we also lost Taiwan to Japan. If the 7.5 million taels of silver were not misused before the war, [if] instead we used it to purchase 280 rapid-firing guns . . . [and] if we used the misused 10 million taels of silver to purchase warships . . . we could have won that Naval battle [Battle of the Yalu River], or at least we could have shared the command of the sea."

The Chinese court and treasury, miserly when it came to military allocations, especially for naval expenditures, but profligate or wasteful with funds for frivolity - - the result being a Chinese fleet woefully equipped to face a much more prepared, agile, resilient and dynamic Japanese enemy.

Again, the peace treaty ending hostilities between the two nations calling for an indemnity, payable in SILVER or SILVER-backed currency, an indemnity very crippling to an already "on-the-ropes" Imperial China.

The resolute and savvy Japanese not wanting payment in "funny money", worthless or devalued paper, SILVER only please!!

"You can pay me now - - or you can pay me later!" Seventeen million now or six hundred million later! Take your pick!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Air Power.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to the magazine, "America in WWII" in this case:

From the de-briefings of the most senior German officers in the aftermath of the Second World War [WW2] - - "reasons" as to WHY Germany lost the war:

"Allied air power was the greatest single reason for the German defeat" - - Kesselring.

"This is especially true with reference to attacks on the fuel industry . . . which by the end of the war proved to be the decisive factor." - - Vietinghoff.

"The front died of slow starvation" . . . "ever increasing disruption of plant and transport facilities." - - Wolff.

All three persons, of course, important German commanders during the Italian Campaign.

The allied air campaign, both strategic and tactical, critical to victory. Victory was an assured thing no matter what [?], but a process greatly facilitated and accelerated due to the preponderance of allied air forces - - air superiority and eventual air supremacy being more less guaranteed from the period of 1944 onward to eventual victory in the spring of 1945.

Those massive strategic bomber fleets of the western allies [U.S. and Britain], a thousand strong massed for a single raid beginning in 1944, exacting a terrible toll on German industry and fuel production, severe disruption of the transport system also a major factor.

[strategic bombardment of German targets almost solely a matter for the western allies, the Soviets throughout the entire war not possessing a long-range bomber in the numbers adequate enough to achieve similar results.]

And of course, as noted by Albert Speer but not taken into account by the USSBS study, the Reich requiring a MILLION MAN ARMY with impedimenta to defend against the allied aerial onslaught. This including all the day fighters [ground crews], night fighters [ground crews], anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA] and crews, searchlight batteries, radar installations and manning staff, air wardens, firefighters, etc. The entire panoply of personnel and equipment immense and a severe drain on German resources.

[during the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese also required a massive number of troops to guard against American bombing! Protecting targets throughout all of North Vietnam necessitated a force on the ground of about 700,000 men [women too]! A diversion of resources of great consequence!]

Some skeptics have even have suggested that the allied bombing offensive against Germany and the German military was AT BEST ineffective and often counter-productive! The German generals beg to differ?

You have to judge for yourself.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Na San!

This is coolbert:

"... sans elle [l'aviation], Na San n'était pas possible et je perdais la bataille du Nord-Ouest - (... without it [air-support], Na San would not be possible and I would've lost the Northwest battle)." - - Raoul Salan

"... it (the battle) wasn't a defeat - but we suffered losses." - - Vo Nguyen Giap

"Nous ne sommes pas entamés! Ca tient partout! C'est un déluge de feu indescriptible." (We have not been overrun! All (positions) hold! It is an indescribable deluge of fire.)" - - Jean Gilles

"Defense is the stronger form of combat" - - Clausewitz

Well, this was a new one on me.

Na San. A battle of the First Indo-China War! A decisive victory for French Union troops!

"The Battle of Na San was fought between French Union forces and the communist forces of the Viet Minh at Na San . . . during the First Indochina War"

And even more importantly, a model for which the French high-command had in mind when they embarked upon the mis-adventure at Dien Bien Phu [DBP]. The tactical precepts as followed at Na San were a success and the French hoped to replicate the same at DBP! The strategy, operational art and tactics of the French at DBP WERE NOT TOTALLY WITHOUT MERIT!!

French Union troops establishing an outpost in enemy territory, defended by a series of surrounding strong-points, fighting a strictly defensive battle [with appropriate counter-attacks], able to successfully defend and defeat the overwhelming numbers of the attacking Viet Minh. Goad the enemy into an attack over ground for you which prepared a suitable defense.

"the hedgehog" (le hérisson), [was used] for the first time. The hedgehog defense consisted of an outpost surrounded by several armed positions (Point d'appui or P.A.). The objective was to provoke an enemy frontal assault . . . Na-San's hedgehog consisted of 30 P.A. with a complicated trench system, enforced with barbed wires. Its defense forces consisted of 11 battalions (15,000 men) and 6 artillery batteries."

"after nearly 2 weeks of trying to overrun Na San, General Giap withdrew his troops leaving behind 5,000 dead and over 2,000 wounded prisoners. The defending Franco-Vietnamese forces lost close to 2 battalions."

"sometimes the attackers outnumbered the defenders 15 to 1. Na San had achieved the unthinkable: halting Giap's seemingly unstoppable Vietminh forces"

French Union troops at Na San predominantly NOT Frenchmen but consisting of Colonial North African troops, indigenous friendly Vietnamese and Tai soldiers, and of course the French Foreign Legion contingents. The same exact mix of units that fought at DBP.

"Defense is the stronger form of combat". Easier to do and you can accomplish more with less!! Determined troops in well-fortified positions well commanded and prepared doing well at Na San. NOT SO at Dien Bien Phu!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Y Service.

This is coolbert:

The recent comment from Steiner to the blog has stimulated my interest again regarding the Bari Raid - - 1943. Worst shipping disaster since Pearl Harbor. Allied naval vessels and transports and supply ships in harbor caught flat footed, defenseless mostly, night-time attack by the Luftwaffe successful.

It is generally accepted that the Luftwaffe raiders were able to approach Bari undetected because: [taken from the "The Enemy is Listening"]

"the Allied radar coverage looking eastward was not yet adequate . . . It happened on that day our main radar installation in Bari was unserviceable."

According the author of the book: "The Enemy is Listening" - - Aileen Clayton, the Luftwaffe at Bari had also dispersed Dueppel [German radar jamming chaff] and flown low to the target to escape expected radar detection.

NO radar detection was possible at the time [the allied radar at Bari was not working] but the GERMAN DID NOT KNOW THAT!

In addition, according to Clayton, the British Y Service [radio interceptors], while not totally ignorant of Luftwaffe intentions in the area, were slow to respond to radio traffic of the raiders, interception and decoding of communications of the aerial attackers late or non-existent!

"The raid on Bari coincided not only with the defective radar but also with a state of flux in the Y organization in the Mediterranean"

At that exact moment of Bari, units moving, preparing to displace, inadequate personnel left behind to accomplish the mission in an adequate fashion.

"There is no record available of messages being monitored from the bombers as they approached the target. When we did hear them, the damage had already been done."

Right! British Y Service radio interceptors during the Second World War were adept at fashioning real time intelligence on the combat actions of the Luftwaffe, based upon intercepted communications, ground-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-air, high frequency [HF] long-range communications.

Luftwaffe communications, relatively low-level so I surmise, using simple cryptographics, intercepted and decrypted by the English, providing allied forces with forewarning of German aerial attack. Intelligence gleaned from radio intercepts of Luftwaffe communications an invaluable tool throughout the entire war!

NOT SO in the case of Bari. Everything failed the allies at Bari. Radar out of action, Y Service ineffective, place [harbor at Bari] lit up like a gin mill, over-confident even cocky English Air Marshal - - total failure across the board.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Amos & Andy.

This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog by Steiner:

"Steiner said...
You mean, it is cheaper for the United States to pay to have these vehicles manufactured in the U.S. for delivery to Israel. The government of the Jewish state won't pay a penny for these things."

Well, what Steiner says regarding the manufacture of the Nemer infantry fighting vehicle in the U.S. is very true!

The proper understanding of the entire scenario is:

1. The U.S. borrows money from China.

2. The U.S. loans [gives?] the money to Israel in the form of military foreign aid.

3. The Israeli pays the U.S. firm [General Dynamics} to build the Nemer.

4. General Dynamics pays the workers of the firm.

5. Those workers pay taxes to the U.S. government, a portion of those taxes used to pay off the debt owed to China. That original money borrowed from China in the first place.

Sort of sounds like an Amos & Andy comedy routine - - doesn't it? But is NOT merely a shell game! Goods and services are being exchanged.

In addition AND perhaps even more important it is true that in recent times manufacturing costs in the U.S. HAVE become lower AND that it is eminently important that the U.S. continue to have an expertise in the manufacture of heavy military weaponry.

[Adam Smith said that free trade should ordinarily be absolute, with two exceptions, one being that a nation must maintain an ability to manufacture weaponry necessary for defense!]

Skills, abilities, expertise that can only be had by DOING [making the thing!].

Items such as:

* Submarines.
* Armor plate.
* Nemer IFV.

Normally, the proud and self-reliant Israeli would ONLY want to do this work on their own. But NOW the situation is such than the costs of doing the work in the U.S. are just plain CHEAPER!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hittokapu Bay.

This is coolbert:

Taken in isolation, this is not a big [a minor?] issue. Taken in the context of the Japanese dispute with China over the contested islands Senkaku & Diaoyu this suggests something else?

President Medvedev makes a visit, scheduled [?] to the Kurile Islands, this raising an instantaneous and somewhat furious reaction from the Japanese.

"Russia defiant as Japan recalls envoy over islands"

"MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia announced that President Dmitry Medvedev planned more trips to a disputed chain of Pacific islands Tuesday, adding more fuel to a diplomatic row after Japan said it would recall its envoy to Moscow."

The Japanese ambassador to Moscow being recalled in protest! NOT a minor event!

"Lavrov's message of defiance came after his counterpart Seiji Maehara said he had summoned home Japan's ambassador to the Russian capital."

The Kurile Islands, rich in resources, controlled by the Soviets/Russians from 1945 onward, ownership of the the island chain disputed to a degree!

"The Kuril Islands, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II, but Tokyo claims the southernmost four as Japanese territory."

From Hittokapu Bay, Kurile Islands, is from whence the Kido Butai embarked on Pearl Harbor mission, 7 December, 1941! A very minor theatre of the war in the Pacific - - occasionally bombed by long-range American aircraft flying out of the Aleutians/Alaska!

"Hittokapu Bay (147.63E 44.93N), also known as Tankan Bay, is located on the island of Etorofu in the southern Kuriles. It was the assembly point for the Pearl Harbor strike force, chosen for its isolation, but it played little further role in the war."

This visit of Medvedev is a deliberate provocation, orchestrated in concert with the Chinese, provoking the Japanese in a manner unwarranted? I hate to think it is so, but regrettably the thought is more or less foremost in my mind.

Disputes not subject to negotiation over land are traditionally a casus belli! Let it not be so in this case!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


This is coolbert:

Hot intel dope!!

Thanks in large measure to "Sharkhunters": http://www.sharkhunters.com some inside info concerning the sunken German submarine U-864. From the era of World War Two [WW2], a sunken German submarine, leaking for some time mercury - - contaminating valuable Norwegian fishing grounds. The "leak" now becoming precipitous, a decision in the works as how to proceed with the hulk. Raise or entomb, that is the question!

U-864, NOT to be confused with the U-234. The U-864, on a similar mission, perhaps even carrying ATOMIC MATERIAL!!

The end-game for the U-234 a well known fact, surrender to American naval forces at the end of the war, transporting unusual and very valuable cargo, EN ROUTE TO JAPAN!

"German submarine U-234 was a Type XB U-boat . . . during World War II. Her first and only mission into enemy territory consisted of the attempted delivery of uranium and other German advanced weapons technology to the Empire of Japan . . . the submarine surrendered to the United States on 14 May 1945."

"The cargo included technical drawings, examples of the newest electric torpedoes, one crated Me 262 jet aircraft, a Henschel Hs 293 glide bomb, and what was listed on the US Unloading Manifest as 560 kg (about 1,200 pounds) of uranium oxide"


U-234 WAS NOT ALONE! Other U-boats also were dispatched on extended voyages to Japan, carrying similar cargo, AMONG THEM THE ILL-FATED U-864!

"We ["Sharkhunters"] also determined that other U-Boats had similar cargoes but unlike U-234, they were all sunk with all hands and their cargo. One of these other boats was U-864"

Additionally, from "Sharkhunters":

"a report from S.E.I.G. Agent Vm 469 who filed this report":

“From reliable people, I know that the Norwegians know the location of U-864 and also have learned the cargo aboard which included Uranium Oxide and Heavy Water."

There IS mercury aboard the U-864 and it is leaking, BUT also uranium oxide and heavy water - - ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ATOMIC WEAPONS RESEARCH!

Such quantities of uranium oxide suggests [?] that Japanese atomic weapons research and development was far more advanced than what the conventional histories tell us, the Japanese NOT lagging the U.S. by much? So is the reasonable inference?


Monday, November 1, 2010


This is coolbert:

Normally criminals do not make for good soldiers. "Noble" experiments to release criminal elements from prison during a time of war - - a parole being offered convicts in return for the inmate being willing to perform honorable military service, often backfires, not worth the effort.

Persons, criminal elements, not having from the get-go the proper character and not willing to conform to discipline of an unremitting nature, just make poor material for incorporation into the military.

Here thanks to the wiki, some info regarding the Soviet approach to the matter during the Second World War [WW2]. Members of the "guild of thieves" - - inmates of the GULAG, being offered release in return for faithful military service. SOME vor [criminals] accepting the offer, BETRAYING THE THIEVES CODE IN THE PROCESS!

As one might expect, the Soviet experience - - very harsh and brutal, both during the war and SUBSEQUENTLY!

The Thief in Law those Soviet underworld criminals sentenced to the GULAG, organized criminals, thieves, habitual and irredeemable.

"Thief in law (Russian: вор в законе, vor v zakone . . . ("A criminal who obeys The Thieves' Code") is a criminal . . . within the criminal underworld in the old Soviet Union, Russia and the republics that formed the former Soviet Union"

Those person released from the GULAG, performing honorable military service during WW2, post-war returning to their criminal ways and eventual re-incarceration, becoming participants in what became known as the "Bitch Wars". Criminal inmates of the GULAG versus other criminal inmates of the GULAG in mortal combat! War outside of prison, war inside of prison.

"After World War 2, the vory in the GULAG system were weakened by the so-called Bitch Wars - a prison gang war between pure vory [those that refused to perform military service] and the so-called suki ("bitches"). The 'suki' . . . had broken the thieves' code by agreeing to join the Soviet army and fight against Nazi Germany during World War 2 (in exchange for being freed from prison)."

"By joining the army, they violated the Thieves' Code which expressly forbids assisting authority in any way."

"Since most 'suki' were tough, life long criminals and assassins hardened by the experience of brutal combat during World War 2 . . . This resulted in the so called Bitch Wars which lasted for decades. Due to a large number of 'suki', most gulags were divided into two separate zones: one for 'suki' and one for 'vors'."

Right! Both sets of combatants were tough in the extreme. Hardened criminals make even rougher by the experiences of the GULAG, the suki furthermore trained veterans of WW2, seeing a lot of death, and probably having to kill on many occasions as well!

Rough customers all around! Persons quite willing to use violence, kill, and experienced and adept at doing so!

Vor too, sentenced to death, making appropriate candidates to become a "volunteer" [NKVD], a "Robinson" [Smersh], a "gladiator" [VCheka], a "puppet" [spetsnaz]! A criminal sentenced to death, being used as a live training "dummy" in mortal combat with the trained martial artists of the various Soviet special operations units. [Suvorov writes at length about the Soviet use of condemned criminals in such a manner.]