Sunday, February 27, 2011


This is coolbert:

The Colonel - - the long-time dictator of Libya, facing an uprising of unprecedented scale, not willing to trust his own soldiers - - hiring and employing mercenaries. This is now a well-known and reported fact. Mercenaries shooting with abandon unarmed civilians, the rebels!

Mercenaries in name only, foreign nationals, migrants in many circumstances, NOT EVEN trained soldiers, evidently young men and boys, teenagers mostly, having an AK thrust into their hands and told to: "go get them!" "Them" the rebels, those in rebellion against the despotic rule of the Colonel!

"Mercenaries" in name only, routed and sent fleeing in almost a heartbeat by the first sign of resistance, NOT trained military men with a structured force!

NOW facing the music and the music is grim indeed!!

"African mercenaries in Libya nervously await their fate"

"Mercenaries captured in Libya are facing an uncertain future, writes Nick Meo in Al-Bayda."

"Crowded into an empty classroom which was stinking of unwashed bodies and reeking of fear, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's defeated mercenary killers awaited their fate."

"A week earlier the men – Libyan loyalists of the dictator and black African recruits – had been landed at airports throughout eastern Libya and sent out into the streets to shoot protesters in a murderous rampage. They killed dozens before they were overwhelmed by anti-Gaddafi militias."

The Colonel, so fond of the most ostentatious displays of military hardware and the most regimented and spiffy marching troops, finds his own people not even willing to defend him - - rather, want to do the blighter in and fast too!

Over forty years of autocratic and tyrannical rule is coming to an end? This remains to be seen? Perhaps the son Saif can muster the defense? After all, Saif means "Sword".

May the sword be DULL!!



This is coolbert:

"There is much about this famous battle
that seems inexplicable to outsiders,
and we will have to leave a serious
background presentation to analysts
more competent than ourselves."

Back to the subject of Dien Bien Phu [DBP]. My intutive analysis, how "serious" and correct an analysis I leave to the devoted reader of the blog to decide.

1. Na San.

The battle at DBP cannot be properly understood unless considered within the context of Na San.

As understood with an appreciation of Na San, the French plan at DBP was WORTHY?

Na San, one year earlier [1953], the French content with fighting a strictly defensive battle, the results most favorable to the French. Three Viet Minh divisions not able to overcome the "hedgehog" battalion sized strong points surrounding and centered upon an airfield.

Replication of Na San was the main French goal at DBP? Prevail in a similar fashion over the Viet Minh and establish conditions favorable for negotiations which had already been agreed to.

Na San and DBP can be seen as a form of the "strategic defensive". 1. Invade enemy territory. 2. Occupy terrain suitable for the defensive. 3. Present a challenge to the enemy that cannot be refused. 4. Fight a defensive battle, husbanding your forces for an eventual counter-attack!

2. Mass.

French resources and combat effective "mass" as compared to the Viet Minh were lacking?

There was a definite, almost overwhelming [?] disparity of "mass" between the two combatants, everyone agrees in that regard - - but let me suggest that is not the full story.

* Giap successfully employed in an intentional manner FOCUSED and CONCENTRATED energy, both combat infantry and artillery, the French - - dispersing a goodly number their combat effectives - - not employing their troops in an effective and CONCENTRATED MANNER!!


* A rather significant percentage [2,000 soldiers] of the French Union troops during the battle became what is known as INTERNAL DESERTERS! Merely refused to fight any further, content to sit out the remainder of the battle, non-participants.

* About 500 soldiers of the Vietnamese National Army [those Vietnamese loyal to and fighting with the French] performed so poorly that they were discharged, cashiered on the spot - - stripped of combatant status, given "coolie boy" duties!

* French artillery a DBP was indeed numerically inferior to that of the Viet Minh, and in addition had been incorrectly situated, unable to provide counter-battery/counter-mortar fire.

That "disparity of mass" being exacerbated from a variety of factors, the French not anticipating such eventualities [?], whatever could go wrong - - did go wrong!

3. Leadership.

Bob Seals has spoken that the French Indo-China higher command in Hanoi was not effectual throughout the battle. It SHOULD BE NOTED TOO THAT THE FRENCHCOMMAND WITHIN DBP WAS ALSO INEFFECTUAL.

* De Castries the overall garrison commander two days before the start of the battle began to have misgivings about the entire operation.

* De Castries was only a Colonel, in charge of a divisional size element! A man of such relatively low rank did not possess the sufficient authority to control assets and implement command decisions with the necessary gravitas? This is not clear.

Keep in mind that Na San was commanded by Colonel Gilles, also a relatively low ranking officer. This must be the French way?

Roger Trinquier, while a Major during the First Indo-China war, was in command of GCMA [French Special Forces Indo-China] and had no less than 20,000 "troops" at his beck and call! The French must expect a lot from their officers?

* Piroth the artillery commander and 2nd in command of the French garrison at DBP committed suicide when it was determined that the French counter-battery/counter-mortar fire was not able to silence the Viet Minh artillery.

* Keller the Chief of Staff [CoS] had a mental [nervous] breakdown several days into the battle.

There is even the suggestion that an armed confrontation between de Castries and his combat arms subordinates occurred. De Castries becoming from that moment forward a commander emeritus, no longer having operational command of the garrison and the combat arms elements. This cannot be positively confirmed nor are any of the survivors or witnesses saying if they are still alive.

4. Anti-aircraft-artillery.

Giap at DBP was able to amass an overwhelming amount of firepower - - tube artillery and heavy mortars, ALSO and perhaps even equally important Giap possessing considerable anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA] assets as well.

That airhead that the French had relied upon for supply, casualty evacuation, reinforcement, perhaps even "a line of retreat" became untenable FROM THE START!

* French close-air-support [CAS] at DBP negated to a degree [how much?], no less than thirty "Bearcat" F8F fighter-bombers shot down during the battle. Those "Bearcat" having to fly a distance about one-third further than at Na San just to reach the airspace over DBP.

A fully fueled and laden F8F could not have had much time for "loiter", unable to pick and choose significant targets carefully, AND having to run a gauntlet of again, CONCENTRATED AAA did not stand much of a chance.

* Transport aircraft attempting to air-drop supplies to the DBP garrison because of heavy and effective Viet Minh AAA having to fly at four times the recommended altitude, many of those supply drops ending up in the wrong hands. IF YOU WERE A FRENCHMAN - - THINK NOT JUST FREE SUPPLIES BUT ALMOST NO SUPPLIES!

5. Terrain.

The French in a purposeful fashion occupied the low ground at DBP, the high ground having been conceded to the Viet Minh. Troops placed into a combat situation having to fight from the MOST DISADVANTAGEOUS POSITION! This was PURPOSEFUL? It is almost as if the French were saying: "here we are, go ahead, take a punch, I dare ya'"!

At Na San, the FRENCH DID OCCUPY THE HIGH GROUND, AS IT EXISTED! The French senior commander in all of Indo-China specifically stated in his memoirs that NO OBJECTIONS were ever raised as to the positioning of the strong points at DBP. What are we to make of that?

NO line of retreat NOR free supplies - - the overwhelming concentrated and focused energy of the Viet Minh beyond what the French had experienced at Na San! The French were doomed from the start, unbeknownst to them - - that seems to be clear!

It should be noted that once the forces of Giap encountered the main concentration of French strong points centered around the now-defunct airfield, siege warfare was initiated rather than the Viet Minh continue with mass-wave assault! The French DID fight very bravely and with considerable ability and did inflict very heavy casualties on their Viet Minh adversaries. But in the end it was all for naught!

Of those 10,000 or so French Union troops captured at DBP, only 3,000 emerging alive from POW camp after just FOUR MONTHS of captivity? Very pitiful.

DBP may have been a climactic and one of the most thirty most important battles in history, but consider too that the guns in all of Indo-China did not go completely silent until almost twenty years later! Think about that!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This is coolbert:

"a 'fierce and turbulent race'."

The news from the Indian Ocean area is not good.

The four American missionaries, sailing the waters of the planet, passing out Bibles as they go, have been murdered by the Somali pirates.


The villains now either dead or captured, one of the miscreants killed IN A KNIFE FIGHT WITH NAVY SEAL!!

"Pirate Killed in a Knife Fight With a Navy SEAL"

Such occurrences, martial arts type fighting, mano-a-mano, is very rare in modern warfare. A lot of time is spent in physical training and preparation for such an eventuality, but the occurrence is again, very rare. NOT in this instance it was. With disastrous consequences for the Somali pirate.

This is one of those very seldom occasions when the good guys prevail, albeit with tragic loss of life, the four missionaries now passed, gone under very sad circumstances.

The Somali can with good justification be considered to be the most dangerous group of persons on the planet? 10 % of the adult males able to field strip an AK in less than a minute blindfolded. And quite willing to use that AK as they see fit.

And historically having a very fierce reputation as fighters!

A fierceness as attested to by the great Victorian era English explorer, military man, scholar, swordsman, duelist - - Sir Richard Francis Burton.

"Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton . . . was a British explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures."

"He also earned the name 'Ruffian Dick' for his 'demonic ferocity as a fighter and because he had fought in single combat more enemies than perhaps any other man of his time.'"

An encounter with a group of Somali [1854] almost resulting in the death of Burton, a wounding of the most terrible type suffered in a fight - - a battle with an enemy. The type of combat as sought out and relished by Burton, on this occasion the results not favorable for the Englishman.

"his party was attacked by a group of Somali waranle ("warriors"). The officers estimated the number of attackers at 200 . . . Burton was impaled with a javelin, the point entering one cheek and exiting the other . . .He was forced to make his escape with the weapon still transfixing his head."

Sir Richard would have enjoyed the knife fight between the Navy SEAL and the Somali? Wished he had been there and could have joined in? I suspect it is so!

As it was then, as it is now, as it always will be.


Monday, February 21, 2011


This is coolbert:

"a religious dimension as well as a cultural one"!

Here through Asian Times Online an article from the noted blogger Spengler [David P. Goldman].

NATO forces in Afghan, the troopers beardless, fit, muscular young men - - finding themselves the object of homosexual advance by Afghan males. Unanticipated and unwanted attention very troubling and disconcerting - - a cultural dimension and clash occurring ever since the very first NATO ground operations in-country.

Fit, muscular and beardless young men having lustful intentions directed at them - - from other men.

" Sodomy and Sufism in Afgaynistan"

NATO soldiers, on the hunt of Al Qaeda and Taliban, not only having to guard against ambush and sniper fire from an armed foe, but also having to guard against "attack from the rear" from an unexpected source!

The normally strict and very tightly controlled sexual mores of the Muslim, as perceived by the "westerner" being defined in a different sense by the locals [Afghans]:

"homosexuality is indeed prohibited within Islam,
warranting great shame and condemnation.
However, homosexuality is then narrowly
and specifically defined as the love of another man.
Loving a man would therefore be unacceptable
and a major sin within this cultural interpretation
of Islam, but using another man for sexual gratification
would be regarded as a foible -undesirable but far preferable
to sex with a ineligible woman"

Too - - that absolute insistence by American and NATO commanders that those soldiers under their command adhere without exception to the daily ritual of shaving and going beardless actually backfires within the cultural milieu of the Afghan?


Forward Marines - - just watch your back!!



This is coolbert:

Here thanks to a tip with the story of the Nihang. A warrior caste - - found among the Sikh religious ethnic group.

The Sikhs as a religion and people having totally embraced the warrior ethic! The Nihang regarded as the "shock troops" of the ethnicity, highly regarded and esteemed.

"Nihang . . . is an armed Sikh order. Early Sikh military history is dominated by the Akali Nihang military order, particularly for many famous military victories won while often heavily outnumbered . . . The Nihang order is mostly ceremonial in peacetime but during times of war, they have historically spear-headed the attack on the enemies of the Sikh religion."

The Nihang famous for their consumption of cannabis [hemp/marijuana], as an aid to meditative practices:

"Nihang consume cannabis . . . to help in meditation . . . 'peace-giver' is the term Nihang use when they it. It was traditionally crushed and taken as a liquid, or baked into cookies and eaten, especially during festivals . . . It is never smoked" [smoking is forbidden to the khalsa, those enrolled members of the Sikh faith!]

A group now whose role is mostly ceremonial in nature. But also a lot of prestige for belonging to the "caste"?

The Zulu also were renowned for the use of dagga, the local African form of cannabis, the drug being given to Zulu "commando" units prior to a battle! Dagga and bhang [the Indian form of cannabis] both having a calming effect. Bhang can be mixed with milk and drunk! Mellow!


Sunday, February 20, 2011


This is coolbert:

Here from the book "Dien Bien Phu" another instance of the crossbow as used in modern warfare.

As employed by the French irregular fighting force in Indo-China, the GCMA.

GCMA analogous to American Special Forces ["Green Berets"], fighting an unconventional war against the Viet Minh, often employing weaponry chosen for stealth, to include the crossbow:

"The GCMA was fighting a unique type of warfare, calling for a special type of soldier. Capt. Deodat Puy-Montbrun was one of them. Four times wounded, holder of nineteen citations and a commandeur de la Legion d'honneur at thirty-six, Puy Montbrun led his mixed-race command group on innumerable hazardous operations behind enemy lines. Slipping ashore on moonless nights or dropping into jungle clearings armed with silencer-equipped weapons, infrared night scopes, handguns, and fighting knives."

. . . .

"Puy-Montbrun's men, the ultimate masters of stealth, sometimes used a crossbow. 'Imagine,' he recalls with a laugh, 'if I'd told the headquarters' operations division that!'"

Crossbows as used by the montagnard tribesmen of Indo-China. Crossbows described in the Robin Moore book "The Green Berets" as used for hunting monkey. Also could be used for HUNTING HUMANS AS WELL!

Fighting knife tactics and methods as employed by a variety of martial arts forms and practiced by the GCMA troopers or their montagnard charges?

Keep it simple and keep it quiet!

[I recall reading of American Huey helicopters in Vietnam returning from a low-level mission and finding crossbow bolts stuck in the bellies of the "choppers"! Apocrypha or otherwise I cannot say.]


Saturday, February 19, 2011


This is coolbert:

Here with some insight into the thought process and the mentality of William T. Sherman? Sherman not finding to his liking the activities of the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco. Sherman, while serving as a commander of local militia, taking exception to the draconian methods of the Committee, finding their activities distressing.

We are able to infer that Sherman was NOT ONE therefore to adopt harsh and unremitting methods even if needed? Rather preferred the legal and agreed upon approach!

From the wiki entry: "San Francisco Committee of Vigilance"

"One prominent critic of the San Francisco vigilantes was General W. T. Sherman, who resigned from his position as major-general of the Second Division of Militia in San Francisco. In his memoirs, Sherman wrote:

"As they [the vigilantes] controlled the press,
they wrote their own history, and the world
generally gives them the credit of having purged
San Francisco of rowdies and roughs;
but their success has given great stimulus
to a dangerous principle, that would at any
time justify the mob in seizing all the power
of government; and who is to say that the
Vigilance Committee may not be composed of the worst,
instead of the best, elements of a community?
Indeed, in San Francisco, as soon as it was demonstrated
that the real power had passed from the City Hall
to the committee room, the same set of bailiffs, constables,
and rowdies that had infested the City Hall were
found in the employment of the 'Vigilantes.'"

Sherman was not a man given over to excessive methods in pursuit of higher goal? Convention and established mores were to prevail regardless? This can be inferred reasonably.

Recall also the admonitions regarding the Kiowa renegades and Sherman desirous that no extra-legal action taken, only due process to be done!

Obtain and read the memoirs of Sherman here for free! Grant and Sherman were noted for their writing ability! The memoirs of both men are quite good!


Dien Bien Phu.

This is coolbert:

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

"There is much about this famous battle
that seems inexplicable to outsiders,
and we will have to leave a serious
background presentation to analysts
more competent than ourselves."

Here with some interesting articles from different web sites concerning the climactic battle from the First Indo-china War, Dien Bien Phu [DBP].

"'Peace' in a Very Small Place: Dien Bien Phu 50 Years Later"

"Dien Bien Phu – A Fatal Gamble"

"Dien Bien Phu 1954"

DBP considered to be among the thirty most decisive battles of all time?

The story of DBP by now is well-known [?]. French Union forces content to fight an almost strictly defensive battle, NOT prepared for the onslaught of the Viet Minh, defeat from the start [?] being inevitable, the consequences for the French most disastrous, battlefield defeat and an unsuccessful conclusion to the First Indo-China War being the result!

In violation of the dicta of Mahan, the French Union troops at DBP in a quite deliberate manner with premeditation almost malicious in nature being allowed NO LINE OF RETREAT!!

That free flow of supplies [also a dicta of Mahan] as required by the French garrison at DBP also negated!

Both "essentials" gone, the French Union troops were "goners" from the start? This can be undeniably surmised, even by the most casual of observers?

French Union forces at DBP predominantly NOT Frenchmen! Rather consisting of a "mixed force" primarily consisting of:

* French North African colonial troops.
* T'ai troops.
* French Foreign Legion troops.
* Vietnamese National Army troops.

During the period of the First Indo-China War, a French conscript, a draftee, COULD NOT BE COMPELLED TO SERVE in Southeast Asia.

"Frenchmen", as that term is generally, commonly, and ordinarily understood, a distinct minority at DBP, the command structure however, being almost [?] exclusively French!

[T'ai an ethnic group indigenous to Vietnam, not to be confused with the Thai of Thailand! Vietnamese National Army soldiers those Vietnamese loyal to the French, not aligned with the communists.]

From "Dien Bien Phu 50 Years Later" we find an objective analysis of the battle that is more or less correct - - the competent authority and analysis of a man described as: "a retired Army Special Forces officer with service in the 1st and 3rd Special Forces Group". If anyone will know the reasons for French defeat and Viet Minh victory, it would be this man?

According to Bob Seals, French defeat at DBH was due to factors that should have been foreseen and taken into account during planning for CASTOR, but were not. To include:

• "Objective". "There was no agreement on the French side on a 'decisive, obtainable result.'"

• "Mass". "There was insufficient combat power on the French side."

• "Battle positions were not mutually supporting".

• "Insufficient logistics". "The French needed at least 200 tons of supplies a day, Normally only half that amount could be provided."

• "French General Officer leadership". "Cogny (in Hanoi) and Navarre, the Theater Commander in Saigon), were barely on speaking terms during the conduct of the battle and did not work together at all effectively."

• "Terrain and Weather advantage". Vietnamese occupying the high ground, French the low ground! Additionally: "the crachin, or fog and heavy rainfall that characterize the weather in this area of North Vietnam severely complicated French air support"

NO line of retreat at DBH further exacerbated by an additional lack of flow of "free supplies". French Union forces placed in extreme peril without possibility of amelioration to their plight!

A disastrous result that had consequences for almost two decades later!

More on DBH later.



This is coolbert:

"I cannot imagine how the German Army
could have fought and lived through four years
of war against Russia if it had not made
use of these carts, sleighs, and horses."
- - General Rendulic.

Those Kalmucks, fighting alongside the German in the Second World War [WW2], more than likely rode the panje horse into battle?

More like a pony, a shaggy breed, smallish in size, indigenous to Russian and most of eastern Europe, providing transport in the mud of the Russian autumn or the severe cold and deep snow of a Russian winter, an absolute necessity for the armed forces of either side in the conflict.

These are Soviet scouts riding what
appears to be panje horses. Note
the snow is almost belly deep on the horses!

Horses as imported by the German from the western parts of Europe found to be lacking. NOT able to last for long in the sub-zero and arctic conditions as found in Russia, not as hardy or having the stamina required!

"The ubiquitous, shaggy, hardy Russian ponies once more proved indispensable for transport in bad weather. Many of the larger horses that the Germans had brought from western Europe died from the cold, but the native breed could survive in the open at almost any temperature if merely sheltered from the wind."

Panje a term as used by the German applying to the horse, cart and sleds as pulled by the ponies. Those sleds OFTEN the ONLY form of transport still able to function during times of severe cold and deep snow.

"The Germans called those small, patient animals panje horses, a term they also applied to the native carts and sleighs."

The indigenous "breed" proved to be much more successful than the imported version? It is so. Part of the steep learning curve the German in Russia had to go through was to become reliant upon the locals, man, animal and machine to a large extent. Even the lubricants as obtained for weaponry locally were superior. Weapons oil as made from locally grown sunflower seeds was better than the German variety, more resistant to freezing in the sub-zero cold!


Friday, February 18, 2011


This is coolbert:

The recent Egyptian upheaval has created a new dynamic - - Israeli security on the southern border with Egypt, the Sinai desert, now in peril?

Lots of alarming headlines, courtesy of the DEBKAfile:

1. "Sinai is up for grabs: Friday, half a million rioters seized towns, oases in demos against Mubarak, Suleiman. Egyptian army, police posts came under RPG and automatic attack."

Rioting and insurrection more the case in the Sinai than to be found in other parts of Egypt. An armed resistance movement is taking place - - as we speak - - unreported!

2. "Thirty-two years of peace leave Israel militarily unprepared for the unknown on their 270-kilometer long southern border: an army trained and equipped only for the hostile fronts of Iran, Lebanon's Hizballah and Syria; no experience of desert combat; a dearth of intelligence about the Egyptian army and its commanders, and no clue to the new rulers' intentions."

The vaunted Israeli military has not faced a challenge from the Egyptian in almost forty years now. Peace with Egypt and the threat of attack from the Sinai or across the Suez canal has been a trifle for many decades, but now all that must be reconsidered?

"After signing peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel scrapped the combat brigades trained for desert warfare and stopped treating the Egyptian army as a target of military intelligence."

3. "Feb. 12 . . . [the Egyptians are] transferring 900 men of two 18th Division battalions to Sinai to rein in the lawless rampage raging there . . . Members of the Multinational Force policing Sinai under the peace treaty, mostly Americans and Canadians, have been locked in their camps for nearly three weeks under virtual Hamas and Bedouin siege."

That Force in the Sinai if not under direct attack is besieged in a way that was unheard of just a few weeks ago. And this HAS NOT BEEN REPORTED IN THE AMERICAN PRESS TO ANY EXTENT!

What a difference a month makes. The world is totally changed in a way that was unforeseen and in a troubling way too. Chaos, crisis management and instability are the watchwords!

Good luck Mr. President Obama!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Order No. 120.

This is coolbert.

Here with an extract from the "infamous order" No. 120.

The March to the Sea.

William Tecumseh Sherman, the plan of march for an army of 50,000 men, totally devoid of organized supply, foraging freely off the land.

Widely believed in some circles to have a "march" of apocalyptic proportions, predations upon the locals something that would have done an Attila the Hun or a Genghis Khan proud. A legend and a myth both, but again, widely believed in some circles.

You have to decide this one. My extracted portion highlighting those instructions to the troops that were most controversial:

"Sherman's Special Field Orders, No. 120"

"IV. . . . Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass"

"V. To army corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted"

VI. "the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely (horses, mules, wagons) and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly . . . In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language . . . and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance."

* "must not enter . . . commit any trespass"

* "Corps commanders alone . . . general principle . . . no destruction"

* "discriminating between . . . refrain from . . . endeavor to leave"

There you have it. NOT wanton and indiscriminate and totally unwarranted destruction. The orders, the instructions, the INTENTION was to destroy that of MILITARY VALUE, and to the greatest extent possible spare for the civilian populace that which was needed by them - - UNLESS resistance was encountered. And leaving the locals what they needed also for their own sustenance and survival, again, to the greatest extent possible. But the desire and intention at least, WAS NOT to behave as the barbarian, murderers, pillagers, arsonists, rapists.

Violations of intent obviously occurred and we would be surprised if such instances did not occur, but the INTENT was not that of the barbarian!



This is coolbert:

Thanks to the wiki, details of an event on this date, in 1865!

The burning of Columbia.

That Atlanta was burned to the ground during the American Civil War is a well-known fact. That Columbia, South Carolina was also burned to the ground, is far less known!

In both cases, the army of General Sherman laying waste? This is controversial. The exact cause generally accepted to be UNKNOWN!

"The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with some claiming the fires were accidental, a deliberate act of vengeance, or perhaps set by retreating Confederate soldiers who lit cotton bales while leaving town."

"Sherman's forces destroyed virtually anything of military value in Columbia, including railroad depots, warehouses, arsenals, and machine shops."

Anything of MILITARY VALUE! NOT wanton destruction, the savagery of the barbarian.

Again, the fire was set in a deliberate manner or spread accidentally or what? Lots of possibilities here. But no definitive judgment can be made.

"Controversy surrounding the burning of the city started soon after the war ended. General Sherman blamed the high winds and retreating Confederate soldiers for firing bales of cotton, which had been stacked in the streets . . . Firsthand accounts by local residents, Union soldiers, and a newspaper reporter offer a tale of revenge by Union troops for Columbia's and South Carolina's pivotal role in leading Southern states to secede from the Union . . . other accounts . . . portray it as mostly the fault of the Confederacy."

The burning and destruction of Columbia was NOT an intentional act? This is clear? Was unintentional and the arson source has not one culprit but instead many? The army of Sherman run amok, released and vengeful Yankee POW, new freed slaves, even the Confederates themselves? A multiple number of suspects and the "finger of blame" cannot be pointed with any degree of certainty.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This is coolbert:

Thanks to Jungle Trader and from several sources the story of "Curveball". A defector from Iraq, a fabulist, a teller of make-believe tall tales, who in part was responsible for the Iraq war [2003] and eventual demise of Saddam.

[for those of you not American, the term "curveball" can have a negative connotation.]

" 9. a misleading or deceptive trick; cheat; deception. - - 18. throw (someone) a curve, a. to take (someone) by surprise, especially in a negative way."

It should be noted, ONLY in part and nothing more than that, the veracity of the man for a time accepted as FACT not only by the CIA but by the Germans [BND?] as well!

1. "Iraqi Says He Made Up Tale of Biological Weapons Before War"

"WASHINGTON — The Iraqi defector whose claims that Saddam Hussein’s government had biological weapons became part of the Bush administration’s justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq has admitted that he fabricated his story."

"The defector, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi . . . concocted his tale that Iraq was hiding mobile bioweapons laboratories."

2. "Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war"

• "Man codenamed Curveball 'invented' tales of bioweapons"
• "Iraqi told lies to try to bring down Saddam Hussein regime"
• "Fabrications used by US as justification for invasion"

Fabrications BELIEVED AND in the aftermath of 9/11 accepted as true by the U.S. And fabrications that must be seen as a small part of a much larger whole.

Disinformation from a variety of sources, intended to scare. Create fear that would PREVENT war, not cause it. Disinformation that backfired on the perpetrators, with very bad results for all parties?

Disinformation on the part of individual defectors [yes], sent agents of Saddam [yes], and possibly false data as fed to the U.S. by the Iranians through their man Chalabi?

Saddam in particular wanting to appear strong when he was weak. This idea worked well prior to 9/11, but went awry post-9/11?

Being able to separate the true from the false, the wheat from the chaff is a hard job for any intelligence agency. Intelligence collection and analysis of itself is a difficult business! Your adversary is simultaneously preventing you from finding out what you want to find out - - and also feeding you bogus info with the intent to fool!

"Curveball" did throw everyone a curve. That is so much "water over the dam now"! Everyone swung at the pitch and has MISSED!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This is coolbert:

From a recent comment to the blog:

"Character, Demonstrated Knowledge
( recurrent testing throughout one's career ),
and Objective Evaluation of Performance
were used and whose motto was
'Better No Officer than a Bad Officer'"

Recurrent testing?

This is an idea that has merit? But never seemingly ever implemented? Retention of career military officers in large measure based upon "recurrent testing", demonstrable proficiency and knowledge of general and specialized military subjects A MUST!

And from the "Art of War" by Sun Tzu, the translation by Lionel Gilles, as annotated and edited by James Clavell, an extract from the foreword by Clavell most pertinent:

"If I were a commander in chief or president or prime minister
I would go further; I would have written into law that all officers,
particularly all generals, take yearly oral and written examination
on these thirteen chapters, the passing mark being 95 percent - -
any general failing to achieve a pass to be automatically and summarily
dismissed without appeal, and all other offices to have automatic demotion."

Among that "recurrent testing" would be an oral and written exam, administered yearly, on the "Art of War"?

Such an idea is not far fetched? I would have to think that an annotated version of the book would be most valuable. Such is the always valuable, timeless, and eternal verities and truths of war as enunciated by Sun that a basic understanding thereof is an essential. ONLY one recurrent test among many, but an essential that cannot be ignored?


Monday, February 14, 2011


This is coolbert:

"A total of around 3,000 horsemen, cavalry, fighting
on the side of the German against the Soviet,
acquitting themselves with a lot of honor, very good fighters,
not to be trifled with . . . UNDER THE COMMAND OF A GERMAN
Reputedly the only German officer that could speak Tibetan!"

This Dr. Otto Doll was the nom de guerre of the man?

"nom de guerre – - noun . . . an assumed name, as one under which a person fights, paints, writes, etc.; pseudonym. French: literally, war name"

His real name [?] was Rudolph Vrba?

This is very confusing and the material as found at that Axis History web site too is not clear on the matter.

There is a historical figure named Rudolph Vrba. But surely not the same Dr. Otto Doll!

Rudolph Vrba was a Jew, one of only four persons known to have successfully escaped from Auschwitz, and the co-author of the first report giving an eye-witness account of the atrocities as perpetrated at the Nazi death camp.

The historical Rudolph Vrba and the German commander of the Kalmuck cavalry fighting for the German during World War Two are NOT ONE AND THE SAME PERSON!

Unless someone can clarify otherwise, we are all on the same page? Who then exactly is this Dr. Otto Doll? ONLY man [officer?] in the German army reputedly able to speak Tibetan!


Sunday, February 13, 2011


This is coolbert:

Headlines from only today. Violence in the south Sudan! What I was afraid of, but the trouble not exactly occurring as I had thought it would.

Killings and warfare in response [?] to the vote of the southern part of Sudan to secede.

NOT the central government in Khartoum, however, fomenting the trouble. Seems it is factionalism here at work. Rebels against rebels! Hard to say with exact certainty, but that seems to be the case.

1. "South Sudan violence leaves 105 dead"

"Fighting erupted in South Sudan after rebels attacked the army on Wednesday and Thursday. The violence claimed the lives of 105 people, officials said."

"39 civilians, 24 South Sudan soldiers, and 42 of the rebels"

"The clashes happened between armed men loyal to a former high-ranking southern army commander who attacked the South Sudan army"

2. "Sudan clashes leave 105 dead as south readies for secession"

"South Sudan army and renegade general's militia in firefights after south voted for independence from north"

3. "105 killed in fighting between South Sudan army and rebels"

"A spate of attacks by rebels against the SPLA in the troubled Jonglei State killed 105 people, including 39 civilians on Wednesday"

NO ONE ever expects such transitions to go smoothly and without incident? There is a lot of prior baggage here, the south of the Sudan being the scene of warfare continuing for at least two full decades, more or less non-stop, the central government in Khartoum waging a form of warfare that can be only described as genocidal in nature!

Factionalism within an insurgency as existed among the various fighters of the south Sudan is not uncommon. One would hope for reconciliation and peace to reign but that will occur only with much turmoil along the way? Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst!


"Kalmyks in Paris"

This is coolbert:

"To Paris by camel!"

"Another nation, fiercely independent and associated traditionally
with the Russian cavalry, was the Kalmuck . . . German writers,
are almost unanimous in their statements that the Kalmucks were
the most loyal and the most efficient of all the Russian peoples
who volunteered to serve with the Germans"

From another web site, another person having a fascination with the Kalmuck ethnic group. Asians [Orientals] and Buddhists having settled originally in that area just north of the Caspian Sea.

At one time nomadic pastoralists, following the Euro-Asian steppe land "highway" that runs east-west from the Ukraine to Mongolia, almost all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

An Asian people practicing a religion alien to the region [Europe], establishing themselves as an indigenous people to the area.

See my previous blog entry on the Kalmucks.

"Kalmyks at the fall of Paris"

The Kalmuck people having a very long warrior tradition, a decided martial tradition, in the manner of the Cossack. Participating for instance in the successful allied campaign against Napoleon [1814], Kalmuck regiments of cavalry entering Paris complete with camel train!

"Kalmyk regiments participated in a number of the large-scale battles of the Patriotic War (Borodino, Leipzig’s Battle of the Peoples, etc.) and in the foreign campaign. On March 19, 1814, Kalmyk regiments No. 1 and 2 entered Paris along with the Russian Army’s vanguard. … As many as 216 Kalmyks received silver medals for capturing Paris."

"The broad Oirat faces and steppe-weathered garb on promenade must have sent a chill . . . down the spines of their onlookers. So striking were these Bactrian-mounted cavalrymen that teen-aged witness Honoré de Balzac could not help but pen the short story 'Kalmyks in Paris'"

The Kalmucks ride horses into battle! Those camels [The Bactrian two-hump version] must have part of the baggage train, carrying supplies, etc.

Those interested can go to the Axis History web site and read further on the Kalmucks and their role in World War Two, fighting on the side of the German against Soviet rule. An extract, you can scroll down to see, from Clement [a Frenchman], that text taken from a web site devoted to "Adolf Hitler research".

That research containing fascist doggerel such as: [their words, not mine!]

"Stalinist [Jewish-Bolshevik] rule"

"the [Jewish] Communist"

"Jewish-led onslaught"


"Kalmuck Cavalry Corps"

A total of around 3,000 horsemen, cavalry, fighting on the side of the German against the Soviet, acquitting themselves with a lot of honor, very good fighters, not to be trifled with! Riding their native panje horses into battle, probably accompanied by a camel-borne baggage train! UNDER THE COMMAND OF A GERMAN OFFICER GOING BY THE NAME OF DR. OTTO DOLL! Reputedly the only German officer that could speak Tibetan!

"The story of the Kalmuck volunteers is extremely fascinating, not only because the Nazis had allegedly seen these people as 'Untermenschen,' [lesser people] but, more importantly, because they were ardent followers of their own religion and steadfast way of life, which found itself somewhat in opposition to National Socialism"

Right! Within the doctrines and ideology of National Socialism the Kalmucks were deemed to be INFERIOR PERSONS, NOT EVEN WORTHY OF LIFE! But found to be useful and became to be highly respected, as were various other Soviet nationalities that took sides and fought with the German!

The Kalmuck people, opposed to communism as they were and presumably are, now dispersed throughout the world, including New Jersey, USA!

The 20th Century, the two world wars, and the various totalitarian regimes have not been kind to such folks as the Kalmucks. May they thrive in their new homes, where ever they may be!


Thursday, February 10, 2011


This is coolbert:

"Preparedness is the key to success and victory." - - D. Mac Arthur.

Douglas Mac Arthur, that most notable American military man whose career, deeds and exploits are nearly unrivaled [?] almost NOT gaining entry into the United States Military Academy, West Point!

Mac Arthur having been referred to as an American "Caesar"! "Caesar" in this case proving his worth at an early age!

Denied a Presidential appointment by two Presidents, Mac Arthur having to take a competitive exam, admittance to the Academy being gained "the hard way" by besting mere "mortals", the presence of Cadet Mac Arthur not being guaranteed, not a "slam dunk", Douglas demonstrating considerable mettle in the process!

"After he graduated in June 1897 [West Texas Military Academy] the MacArthurs devoted themselves to getting Douglas in the U.S. Military Academy. His influential grandfather and father convinced several prominent politicians, generals, and clergymen to recommend him for a presidential appointment . . . Neither Grover Cleveland nor his successor, William McKinley, responded positively . . ."

"The category of 'Presidential" nominations is for children of active duty soldiers or those who have retired having served a full (at least 20 year) career and for active reservists with at least 8 continuous years of service"

The family Mac Arthur having and was able to wield considerable political clout - - yet an appeal to two Presidents not being successful! Something was going on here behind the scenes, ruffled feathers, etc. NONE of that is clear!

The chosen path to West Point not being clear, Douglas Mac Arthur left with no alternative but Congressional appointment!

"In October 1897 Douglas hoped to attain a congressional appointment from Rep. Theobald Otjen . . . With the assistance of two tutors Douglas spent the next eighteen months preparing for the grueling West Point entrance exam. When not studying he received medical treatment for the slight scoliosis which had caused him to fail his first physical examination for admission."

Eighteen months of study being required PRIOR to the competitive exam, Douglas faring quite well, his scores exceeding all others, the man receiving his Congressional appointment, well deserved.

Mac Arthur was undeniably a man of considerable intellect. Did very well at academic studies - - among his peers in all instances ranking FIRST! Mac Arthur may have been what is called a "grind" [one who studies constantly] but he DID have a very good head on his shoulders, a brain in that head that was first-class! That atmosphere at West Point is intended to test your mental faculties and physical abilities, Mac Arthur was MORE than ready for the challenge!

"Douglas attended [1893] the West Texas Military Academy San Antonio, Texas, where he was awarded the gold medal for 'scholarship and deportment.' . . . He was named valedictorian, with a final year average of 97.33 out of 100"

"he passed an examination for an appointment from Congressman Theobald Otjen, scoring 93.3 on the test."

"[while at West Point] . . . academically earned 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14. He graduated first in his 93-man class."

BUT it was an almost? I would be curious to learn the path by which the older brother, Arthur, gained admission to the Naval Academy. Whether by Presidential appointment or by competitive exam. Anyone can venture a guess?

It can even be argued that in this instance, the hard way was the correct way? Rather than having to rely upon political muscle and pull, Douglas had to EARN his way to the Academy, his own self-esteem bolstered in the process. A valuable lesson WAS learned. NOT only was preparation the key to success, but Douglas convinced himself in his own mind that he was both WORTHY and COULD!

If you believe you CAN, you probably CAN!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This is coolbert:

From the mega-list of those persons sharing the same personality type as myself, INTJ, we find a number of military leaders and combat commanders of repute.

INTJ. Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging.

A personality type, one of the sixteen recognized personality types, characterized by:

* "INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know"

* "INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion 'Does it work?' to everything . . . This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake."

Prominent military leaders having the INTJ personality type include:

* Dwight D. Eisenhower - general officer and American President.

* General Colin Powell - former U.S. Secretary of State.

* Hannibal Barca - Military Commander.

* General Ulysses S. Grant – Union general, American President.

* Helmuth von Moltke – German military general.

And too the fictional character from "Star Trek":

* Ensign Ro Laren - "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Seems I am in pretty good company. In particular U.S. Grant and Hannibal Barca [yes, THE Hannibal!] stand out. NOT merely military leaders but combat commanders, battlefield tacticians and masters of the operational art! Grant indeed did have "an unusual independence of mind"! This is incontrovertible? NOT slavish adherence to the rules, rather knowing "what works" was the Grant style? In the aftermath of the major blunder at Cold Harbor [10,000 Union casualties in ten minutes!!], Grant NEVER did repeat such a mistake.

"If men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail." - General Ulysses S. Grant.

True then, true now, true always!


Sunday, February 6, 2011


This is coolbert:

"innocence is presumed unless found guilty”

Here thanks to Mike through Colonel Craig is the sort of thing that makes you shake your head and say to yourself: "what was the man thinking?"

Senior Marine field grade officer allegedly caught shoplifting. Pilfering minor items of small monetary value! Facing charges, conviction, and possibly worse, an inglorious end to his career!

What was the man thinking?

"24th MEU commanding officer facing larceny charges"

"The commanding officer of Camp Lejeune’s 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is due in court later this month on misdemeanor larceny charges."

"arrested around 5:15 p.m. Saturday at Walmart on North Marine Boulevard and charged with one count of larceny"

"accused of stealing two printer cartridges and a bottle of STP gas treatment, the stolen goods having a total value of $65.68"

Accused of stealing - - innocent until proven guilty, etc. This is not good.

And reminds me of the case involving BG Karpinski! Was in 2003 the senior Military Police officer for Central Command and in charge of the army MP's in Iraq, INCLUDING THE MISCREANTS GUARDING THE PRISONERS AT THE INFAMOUS ABU GHRAIB PRISON!

BG Karpinski too was caught shoplifting! Attempting to carry off from the BX at Mc Dill AFB a bottle of perfume! The one person in charge of catching thieves was herself accused of being a thief!

And we understand fully well THAT THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MONEY OR THE LACK THEREOF! HAS TO DO WITH POWER AND THE ABILITY TO WIELD POWER! A senior officer saying to the world: "I am somebody and can do what I want when I want and world be damned!"

Such an attitude in the mind of a senior military commander is very unsound and downright dangerous? You judge this one. Demonstrative of a warped mentality not to be tolerated!

The Marine Colonel if brought up under charges under UCMJ as a career man will face the option of either a courts martial or resigning? This remains to be seen!


.303 SMLE.

This is coolbert:

From a prior blog entry:

"The SMLE first issued over one hundred years ago
now but still going strong. As currently used by
the Canadian Rangers of the far arctic north,
the Maoist rebels in Nepal and perhaps at this
very moment the forest guerrillas of India?"

NOT perhaps! IS!

More on the Indian Maoists, the forest guerrillas, a most troublesome and very active insurgency now infesting various regions of India. Maoists well organized, their fighting units apparently having a standard uniform, battle kit, and armed to a large extent with the British old-fashioned but very potent SMLE rifle. Presumably captured or stolen weapons, ammo also captured or stolen, found in abundance throughout the Indian sub-continent?

See for yourself. Thanks in all cases to the web site devoted to the Maoist guerrillas, WORLDNEWS Indian Maoists. Everything you wanted to know about the insurgents, from soup to nuts as the saying goes.

Notice in the one photo the number of women. Same as with the Maoists of Nepal. The incorporation of women in numbers into the combat units being accepted as normal! It can be suggested that these are staged photos, posed for the camera as a propaganda tool. I fear that is not the case. These Maoists have been around for over forty years now and are well organized, the 2nd stage of the three-part Maoist-style insurrection having been attained. Roving guerrilla bands striking at will, wreaking havoc, creating disorder on a large scale, slowly but surely exercising quasi- governmental dominion over a wider area!

A Maoist-style rebellion, greatly aided and abetted in large measure to a weapon the basic design of which is from over one hundred years ago! Who would have thought it? That SMLE, whether in the hands of a man or a woman, when you are hit by that .303 caliber round, it does not matter!



This is coolbert:

"If you are caught using it, even once,
you will be processed for separation from
the Navy. There is no second chance."

For those stodgy old persons such as myself and those of you devoted readers to the blog that are perhaps of near retirement age as I am, more on the subject of Spice.

A hot button topic within the military right now? Seems so.

From the Chicago Tribune only yesterday:

"'Spice' use concerns Navy: 16 sailors discharged"

"Marijuanalike drug rises in popularity"

And Spice is:

"also known as K2, is a mixture of herbs and spices that typically is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana"

[K2 of course is the mountain that used to be known as Godwin-Austen, the second tallest mountain in the world, second only to Mt. Everest. Get high as K2 dude! Get it?]

More from the Tribune article:

"WASHINGTON - - The Navy has discharged 16 sailors assigned to the USS Bataan for using or dealing the synthetic marijuana-mimicking drug 'spice.'"

Spice in most locales is totally legal, can be purchased over-the-counter, bought at what are called "head shops".

Legal to civilians - - NOT LEGAL WITHIN THE MILITARY!

And even beyond being warned not to use Spice, according to the Tribune article:

"In April [of 2010] the commander of the USS Bataan went a step further, requiring the crew to sign a letter advising them that designer and herbal products as spice were prohibited."

A LEGAL DOCUMENT - - violation of the provisions of which can be used to process for immediate discharge any malefactors!

Persons enlisting in the military must understand from the get-go that they are expected to comport themselves to a regimen of discipline and behave according to a uniform set of standards that is much more rigorous that would they would encounter in the civilian sector. With commensurate harsh punishments warranted as well. Just a fact!!


Saturday, February 5, 2011


This is coolbert:

"Rods of God"


Yet further on the warheads and payload of the Prompt Global Strike system. Improved conventional weaponry, having the same destructivness as a tactical nuclear bomb. Tungsten rods, descending in an almost vertical path from outer space at high velocity, what is called a kinetic energy weapon, the bombardment of which is referred to as kinetic bombardment.

A hyper-velocity re-entry vehicle carrying a warhead consisting of such tungsten rods, launched from a high-flying B-52 bomber, allowing the U.S. to have a non-nuclear but very potent capability agaainst any point on the planet within thirty minutes, BUT minus all the drawbacks to the atomic detonation! Tungsten rods having twelve times the energy level of a fifty caliber [.50] round upon impact!

And even beyond the hyper-velocity vehicles, constantly orbiting satellites also having a payload of "flying telephone pole" sized tungsten rods, also with extreme lethality, AND TOTALLY LEGAL UNDER THE CURRENT CONVENTIONS REGARDING SPACE WEAPONRY!

"the SALT II (1979) prohibited the deployment of orbital weapons of mass destruction, it did not prohibit the deployment of conventional weapons"

[weapons of mass destruction defined as nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological, NOT "crowbars"!]

From Popular Science:

"Space-launched darts that strike like meteors"

"This technology is very far out—in miles and years. A pair of satellites orbiting several hundred miles above the Earth would serve as a weapons system. One functions as the targeting and communications platform while the other carries numerous tungsten rods—up to 20 feet in length and a foot in diameter—that it can drop on targets with less than 15 minutes’ notice"

"The weapon can be down-scaled, an orbiting 'crowbar' rather than a pole . . . [a] 20-foot-long (6.1 m), 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m) tungsten rods . . . with impact speeds of Mach 10, and strike 25-foot accuracy."

It would seem that such a system is comparable to the Soviet Fractional Orbital Bombardment System [FOBS] from the 1960's, but WITHOUT THE NUCLEAR OPTION!

Kinetic bombardment, what it is called, NOT a brand new concept. Actually having been described as a "possible" by science-fiction writers from the 1930's and 1940's!

"A kinetic bombardment is the act of attacking a planetary surface with an inert projectile, where the destructive force comes from the kinetic energy of the projectile impacting at very high velocities."

The idea of kinetic bombardment is encountered in science fiction quite often, a popular "item" found within the genre'? The origins of the however, again, are disputed:

"from E. E. "Doc" Smith's 1930s and 1940s Lensman series"

"Jerry Pournelle originated the concept while working in operations research at Boeing in the 1950s before becoming a science-fiction writer"

The general notion of "kinetic bombardment" incorportated by a variety of sci-fi authors of some repute:

* "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" - - Robert A. Heinlein.
* "Footfall" - - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
* "Shadowrun" - - roleplaying game.
* "Traveller RPG" - - roleplaying game.
* "Babylon 5".
* "Starship Troopers" - - Robert Heinlein.
* "Mass Effect 2".
* "Endwar" - - Tom Clancy.

Science-fiction is NOW? Or will be shortly? ONLY for those nations that have the technological wherewithal and the gumption to use such a weapon will these "crowbars" be a deployable and use-able option. And NO radioactive fallout either!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

George Cross.

This is coolbert:

Here with a young English bloke that has done himself proud. I guess it is safe to say that as long as there are Englishmen such as this, there will always be an England!

Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher. Royal Marine Commando serving with 40 Commando in Afghan, behaving in a most courageous manner, saving the lives of his compatriots, awarded the George Cross. The second highest award possible for a Brit who has comported himself with great valor!

"The 26-year-old was awarded the George Cross after he flung himself onto a Taliban hand grenade to save his comrades during an ambush in Helmand Province in 2008."

"He was serving with 40 Commando when his patrol came under fire but he miraculously survived because his backpack took the force of the blast."

"L/Cpl Croucher became the most highly-decorated serving Marine when he received the George Cross for 'outstanding bravery not involving direct contact with the enemy'."

"Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher GC . . . is a member of the Royal Marines Reserve and recipient of the George Cross, the highest British (and Commonwealth) medal for gallantry not in the face of the enemy, for his extreme valour in risking his life to safeguard the lives of his comrades."

"The George Cross is awarded for the same level of bravery expected of a VC but is awarded when no enemy is present"

NO enemy was present, Croucher setting off a booby trap, himself taking in a deliberate manner the force of the blast, saving his comrades in the process! BUT NOT IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY! The Taliban were not in the vicinity - - not nearby.

Otherwise, under normal circumstances the Victoria Cross [VC] would have been awarded, the highest British military decoration that can be given for heroism in combat!

The awarding of the George Cross disputed! It is suggested that the Victoria Cross is more appropriate! According to the English Telegraph:

"Why Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher deserves a Victoria Cross"

"An expert on the Victoria Cross, Michael Ashcroft believes we should show our gratitude to Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher for his actions in Afghanistan."

[Michael Ashcroft is more appropriately Lord Ashcroft - - and acknowledged expert on the VC - - and is "a deputy chairman of the Conservative party."]

Read further of the George Cross and in particular the exploits of two recipients from the era of World War Two [WW2], the Australian troopers Hardy and Jones.

"The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom . . . the highest gallantry award for civilians as well as for military personnel in actions which are not in the face of the enemy"

Heroics NOT in the face of the enemy - - or in the case of the Cowra Prison Breakout, NOT an armed enemy.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This is coolbert:

"War, oil shortages, global warming, nuclear bombs,
and economic collapse... All of it seems unlikely,
but don't you want to be prepared?"


Recall the admonitions made not so long ago now of the British Admiral Parry. The world order will begin to break down around the 2012. NOT a total collapse necessarily world-wide, but upheaval on a gigantic scale, occurring in many locales, far-flung. The reasons for such a collapse many, each and every particular break-down going to be unique.

A break down of the world order being precipitated by a natural calamity for instance, such as Cyclone Nargis, for instance.

That exact confluence of factors creating an unmanageable crisis that will spiral out of control and SPREAD! In the case of Nargis, Burma did not collapse, although I had thought there was a strong possibility of this happening.

And now with the business outlook on the total collapse scenario. A series of articles from the BusinessInsider web site, very prescient in a way we do not like to admit some times! The upheaval, the turmoil in first Tunisia and now Egypt being the catalyst for these news items.

Dissension, turmoil, upheaval! The organization of which is aided and abetted to a large degree by Internet connections, pervasive and put to good use by those involved:

"the social media factor, which has allowed protesters to circumvent traditional state run media sources and organize more efficiently"

1. "The 11 Countries At Risk of Becoming The Next Egypt"

"Egypt has been embroiled in political turmoil since protests, inspired by those that overthrew the regime in Tunisia, started last week."

"While Egypt, and its Suez Canal, have been worry one for investors world wide since last week, the next big question is whether this dissent could spread to other countries around the region, and world."

2. "The 25 Countries Whose Governments Could Get Crushed By Food Price Inflation"

[the food "crisis" and rankings based upon what is called Normura Index. Nomura's index is calculated using these three variables. The higher per capita GDP, the better the number, as consumers have more to spend. The lower percentage of income spent on food, the better. And the more food exported, the better, as it means there is excess for domestic consumption.]

"Food inflation is now a reality for much of the world. It contributed to the overthrow of the Tunisian government, has led to riots across the Middle East and North Africa, driven up costs in China and India, and may only be getting started."

Nations with teeming populations, extensive poverty, not able to feed their people with locally grown crops, having to import grain and other food stuffs at high prices, the inflated price due to DEMAND world-wide. Let us be clear about this too. There is not a shortage of food, it is that the demand has caused a rise in prices some can ill afford.

I notice that Bangladesh is the worst nation on the planet with regard to the rising cost of food. Enormous population unable to expand, crop land from time to time inundated by sea water from cyclones, NOT able to feed the populace from locally grown crops! Admiral Parry rated Bangladesh as the one nation on the planet most susceptible to breakdown of a cataclysmic nature!

AND if you decide to hide from the breakdown of the global world order, BusinessInsider does recommend a dozen places to flee to. Several of those "safe havens" I am personally skeptical about, international upheaval will be present almost everywhere, being an "ostrich" is probably not going to help you!

3. "12 Places To Go If The World Goes To Hell"

"War, oil shortages, global warming, nuclear bombs, and economic collapse... All of it seems unlikely, but don't you want to be prepared?"

"If you have to jump on a plane (or a boat or a train or a hot air balloon) and head for safety, you want to know where in the world you should go."

"We've selected places that we expect will remain fortresses of stability, safety, and prosperity no matter what the world throws at it."

Upheaval that will often result in WAR - - locally, regionally, globally! Incessant warfare that has not been seen on such an enormous scale since the end of World War Two?




This is coolbert:



From an anonymous source a response to the original comment by Roger - - the UCAV. The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle blog entry from way back when.

The gist of the response is that:

1. Combat aviators of MANNED aircraft are NO better at differentiating between a SAM site and a CNN crew on the ground. UCAV are not able to tell this difference with any precision, BUT then neither the pilot of a manned combat aircraft.

2. Costs of the UCAV as with other combat aircraft [manned or unmanned it does not matter] are not associated primarily with crew compartments and any and all systems associated with same. Rather the expensive costs of modern combat aircraft are a result of other factors.

From the anonymous source:

"Roger has one good point and one not-so-good one."

"tactical air pilots are no more likely to be able to distinguish between a SAM site and a CNN site for a variety of reasons. First, they have little time to observe, process and make decisions. Second, human processing abilities are not what they are cracked up to be . . . A psychological/physiological study . . . discovered that this premise was mostly based on anecdotes and hubris, and that humans were decidedly awful at making decisions based on partial information."

"The second point on which he is correct, is that uninhabited aircraft have the potential for greater range and payload once all the subsystems in them that provide a crew environment are eliminated. However, it is not all that stuff that drives the cost of aircraft like the F-22 and F-35. The principle cost drivers are the structure, materials, power and avionic requirements that enable those aircraft to be hyper-lethal and highly survivable."


* The modern combat aviator, if flying at low altitude [Nape of the earth], is traveling so fast, inputs from a variety of sources cannot be processed quick enough to make sound decisions! ESPECIALLY in a situation where the enemy is in a deliberate manner trying to deceive you! Decoys in particular pose a real problem, the ability to make split-second decisions - - drop the bomb or not drop the bomb - - becoming very difficult. Reaction time under the tremendous pressure as faced by the combat pilot are beyond what is reasonable and then some!

UCAV as the are now "not good to go" for the ground support mission, the dropping of bombs or the firing of missiles at targets. BUT to a certain extent neither are combat aircraft piloted by HUMANS!



This is coolbert:


Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle.

NOT merely a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV] designed strictly with surveillance in mind, and having weaponry such as the Hellfire missile added as an afterthought.

NO, that is not what we are speaking about. UCAV designed from the get-go, from the start as a COMBAT AIRCRAFT, UNMANNED, NO PILOT ABOARD!

UCAV performing the traditional role of air superiority and and ground support aerial warfare and combat.

As has been the subject of a blog entry from way back when, the Military Thoughts blog!

Please carefully read that entry and the pertinent comments by Roger. Roger seems to be a person in-the-know?

Comments most germane, the gist of which are:

* Autonomous operation during air superiority missions the UCAV is "good to go"!

* An autonomous UCAV in the ground attack mode the is "not good to go"!

* Various design advantages to having a "pilot less" UCAV.

* Still cheaper to build a brand-new UCAV than convert and F-16 or F-15 to a UCAV.

* Jamming and other aspects of electronic combat are worrisome if the enemy is sophisticated.

* Enemy capture and able to exploit UCAV avionics.

In a nutshell, the UCAV as it is NOW, is suitable for air-to-air combat, air superiority missions! Shoot the other guy down with missiles or guns, avoid being shot down at the same time. And do so autonomously, without human control! Perhaps YES, perhaps NO! I am just not sure.

UCAV, autonomous, as it is NOW, not suitable for ground support, bombing missions, close-air-support [CAS]! NOT having the "brains" to differentiate between friend and foe, target or non-target to the degree desired.

In an environment where there is a strong enemy electronic warfare [EW] presence, the possibility of jamming, spoofing, intrusion cannot be eliminated. A data link used to remotely control a UCAV is susceptible to EW, for all that will mean.

The worst case scenario the enemy might actually be able to take control of the UCAV and use it against you!

I would have to think too that captured avionics is not so much a threat as would be the embedded software? Software on board will have to be encrypted with some sort of one-time-pad? This can be done?

UCAV are not pie-in-the-sky? ARE NOW or shortly will be the future of aerial combat. Autonomous or remotely controlled seems to be the question of the day?

More than anything else, COST has to be a definite major factor with the UCAV! What is it, A F-22 Raptor is $100 million a copy, compared to less than $10 million or so for a high performance UCAV! Such figures catch the attention of the higher ups right away.



This is coolbert:

"we want to pause to share a fresh look at some of the Taliban’s weapons,
based on the battalion’s recent captures from slain Taliban fighters
or caches, as a means to understanding more fully how the Taliban fights."

Well, you can understand that this catches my attention right away. The Taliban, fighting against U.S./NATO forces in Afghan, using a melange of weaponry, to include the British SMLE rifle. Knock-off copies of the original - - but still very potent.

Captured weaponry, the assorted types as you would find among an insurgent force, on display for reporters, including those of the New York Times.

"Taliban Gun Lockers: The Rifles of Rural Ghazni Province"

"Within the assortment, two of these rifles were particularly eye-catching: a pair of apparent Short Magazine Lee Enfields, known among those who follow firearms evolution as S.M.L.E.’s, that were captured"

"We’ve seen aged Lee-Enfields in Afghan service in the past . . . and their use by a better breed of Taliban marksmen in Helmand Province . . . the officially obsolete arms of old empires still find their way to war, and can be put to effective local use by insurgent cells."

The bolt-action, ten-round rifle [SMLE] that served the British Empire so well for so long, a marked contrast to the modern assault rifle.

Almost exclusively, the Taliban and those Afghan guerrillas before them during the communist occupation, primarily used captured Soviet type weaponry, the AK, The PKM, the RPK and the RPD! Taliban under certain circumstances preferring the OLD BUT STILL VERY EFFECTIVE SMLE!

The SMLE first issued over one hundred years ago now but still going strong. As currently used by the Canadian Rangers of the far arctic north, the Maoist rebels in Nepal and perhaps at this very moment the forest guerrillas of India?

Some times the old ways are the best ways - - most assuredly so if the old weapons are used too!